Chapter 1

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The ballroom of the house of Mr. and Mrs. Matthews shimmers and sparkles with Christmas cheer. Colorful lights of red and gold are strewn across the walls, a large Christmas tree covered with silver and blue Christmas balls, along with gold and white lights, rests in the center of the room. A quintet a violin players is playing a beautiful waltz, and several couples dressed in their finest attire for the holiday season are either dancing, drinking, or mingling around. Outside, snow covers the ground with a blanket of white velvet.

Standing at the far corner of the room, pressed against the wall, 21-year-old Edwin Radcliffe, duke of London, does not want to dance with anyone. Quite frankly, the young gentleman is rather bored. Although he enjoys and adores the holiday season, he has not found himself a suitable partner to dance with. He stands against the wall with his arms crossed, his right leg resting across his left leg. He is wearing a uniform of deep red velvet that is trimmed with gold at the shoulders and sleeve cuffs. A white linen  undershirt can be noticeable from the collar. 

Alexander. Come now, Edwin. Be sensible. Go and dance with a lovely young lady. Don't stand here like a stone all evening.

Edwin pushes his Shoulder length chestnut brown hair out of his hazel eyes, sighing. Please don't push me any further,  Eastwood. I am in no mood to dance with anyone.

Alexander Eastwood stares at his best friend as if he is mad. Why ever not? There are so many beautiful young ladies here that you can dance with. Why are you not interested?

Edwin. Because I am not interested in any of them.  Besides, I'm also not interested in finding love at the moment.

Alexander. Is it because you don't want to end up in the same situation that you did with Charlotte?

Edwin growls. Charlotte March was the foulest most disrespectful woman I ever came across.

Alexander. Radcliffe, not every woman is like that. Give someone here a chance. You never know who you will find.

Edwin. You're right. He is about to remove himself from the wall, but then stops abruptly as his eyes fall upon the most beautiful woman in the entire room.

She is a few inches shorter than he is, with honey blonde hair, blue eyes, and porcelain skin, touched with pink.  She is wearing a gown of pale pink, trimmed with off the shoulder puffy sleeves  and white lace at the neckline. She is also wearing satin white opera gloves. Her hair has been fixed into a French twist with a pair of ringlets on either side of her temples, exposing the teardrop diamond earrings and necklace that she is wearing.   She appears to be running her fingers across the skirts of her ensemble, feeling the beautiful material beneath her fingertips. She is speaking to a lady beside her, asking her to describe the room, and her companion does so.

Edwin. Alexander, do you know who that is?

Alexander glances at the young woman. He smiles. I do. Miss Olivia Michaelson.

Edwin. She is... not able to see.

Alexander. Sadly, you are correct. She has been blind since the age of 10.

Edwin. What happened?

Alexander. She had a very large mass in her brain, but doctors were able to remove it. However, they were not able to save her vision.

Edwin. And who is the woman with her?

Alexander. That is Kathrine Bradshaw. Olivia lost her parents when she was 12 years old, because of a carriage accident. Katherine decided to take her into her household and raise her as her own. She is olivia's aunt.

Edwin nods. How do you know so much about her? Do you know how old she is?

Alexander. She's 18 years old. And mrs. Bradshaw and I used to be companions.

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