A Natural Mother [ON HOLD]
Annabelle Thatcher’s mother passed away just over a year ago from pneumonia, and after months of wasting their money away with gambling and drink from the crippling grief of losing his beloved wife, her father was attacked in an alleyway and killed by a man he was indebted to. Belle is left with nothing – no family to turn to, no savings, and hardly a possession to her name. When the bank sends a policeman to foreclose on the house she grew up in, she is terrified of living without a home. But a mysterious woman asks for a meeting with Belle and she goes with the man to the police quarters, desperate for anything that can get her off the streets. Upon meeting the mysterious Mrs. Roselyn Moore, the woman presents Belle with a completely insane proposition: Become the ‘mother’ to her son Kieran’s illegitimate son, the two-month-old Gabriel. Of course, that’s not what makes the proposition insane. In order for the entire thing to not cause a complete scandal and ruin the family name in London society – and to ensure that Gabriel grows up in a stable and loving home – Belle is asked to marry Kieran, a complete stranger whom she only knows through Mrs. Moore’s descriptions. Not that her descriptions are at all assuring; Mrs. Moore paints a vivid picture of a man who is dark, serious and withdrawn, with a terrifying temper very easily ignited. In accordance with the agreement, she would move to America to live with the insufferable man – like a normal married couple – and raise Gabriel as her son. She would also receive a substantial monetary settlement from the Moores for her cooperation. Having a strong fondness for children, with nothing left for her in London and literally having no other option, Belle agrees.