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Miranda Ellerton is in serious trouble, Miranda, or Mouse, as she is known to her friends and family, is forced into marriage to the most mysterious figure in London’s infamous ton. Michael Kelton, known as the Mad Earl, suffers from bouts of seizure and insanity. Unable to resist her growing affection for her tortured husband, Mouse sets out to learn the truth about his past and soon finds herself in the midst of danger and intrigue, and both of their lives in danger.
Michael Kelton, the fifth earl of Winningham, was acquitted of being a traitor by reason of insanity. When his guardian forces him into marriage to save his family’s inheritance, he soon learns that his bride is a most beautiful and determined woman. Try as he might to hold on to his secrets, the lovely Mouse has quite the knack for unlocking the mystery and intrigue that surround him as well as an uncanny ability to heal his shattered heart.
"Do you understand the terms of the charges, Lord Winningham?" The man’s deep, resonant tones cut into the silence of the room.
Michael Kelton, the fifth Earl of Winningham, lifted his gaze from the floor for the first time since the proceedings had begun. With unrelenting expressions four men stared down at him. Three of them were generals who’d commanded Michael during the torturous months he’d served his country fighting the war in Spain. The fourth was a lord from Parliament.
"I do," he said quietly, looking away from the stern faces that studied him.
"So you tell us," Lord Kensington noted. A general of a different sort, his part in the war effort was fought in the House of Lords using words to maim the enemy, much in the same way Michael had wielded his sword. Listening to the proceedings, Michael decided that the cut of his bayonet had been much cleaner.
"I have no evidence to prove my sanity, my lord." Michael watched his judges for any sign of their understanding. There was none. He knew that any attempt at explanations would make little difference in the outcome of their decision. "The truth is that I cannot remember the events that occurred the day I was captured or many of the days that followed. I only learned later from my cousin that I was held for over a month and that I was in ill condition when I was found."
"Can you recall anything from your confinement, Lord Winningham?" General Wexely asked, leaning forward in his seat.
"I remember being in a dark, damp underground cell." Though Michael fought the images in his mind, the cool stench of decay remained with him always. When he closed his eyes he could still feel the promise of death from that place. "They gave me foul tasting concoctions, tainted water, and stale bread from time to time. I vaguely remember being questioned but I’ve no recall of how I answered them. I suppose that’s enough to cast suspicion on me."
"But," General Wexely interjected, "is it enough to brand you a traitor?"
"I believe the question cannot be decided at the present time," General Barton said. "We must therefore carry out the sentencing and pray to God that we are not wrong in our judgment." He turned to the soldier standing guard. "Please bring in Mr. Kelton and the physician, Winthorp."
Two men were ushered in. Michael tightened his fists, determined to keep his fear and dread at bay. I can do this! he reassured himself. Besides, what choice did he have? It was either accept what fate had given him, or know in his heart that he’d not done all he could for those that had died under him. In an odd way, accepting his punishment gave their deaths meaning. He did not die with them as he should have, but he would greatly suffer now. That knowledge helped to lessen his guilt in a small way.
"Mister Kelton," General Wexely waved Michael’s fair-haired cousin forward. Standing side by side, it was clear that he and Ambray were a sharp contrast to each other. Michael sported a quieter, darker appearance. Ambray Kelton’s blond hair and fair complexion demonstrated his lighter, more outgoing personality.
"Yes, my Lord?" Ambray stepped up to the table, but not before bestowing a brave expression upon Michael.
"You have offered to see to the care of Lord Winningham from this day hence?"
"Yes, my lord. He and I were boyhood friends. We even served together for a time. I am very fond of my cousin and very saddened by recent events. It is my hope that Michael’s malady is responsible for his behavior and not any defect in his character."
"You need not try to defend Lord Winningham. This court has already decided upon his innocence, by way of insanity. It has been clearly demonstrated that Michael Kelton, the fifth Earl of Winningham, is no more responsible for himself than a suckling babe. Were it not so, this court would see to his immediate execution as a traitor. We do not believe that he could have purposefully given vital information to the enemy. As i
Since the age of 13, when she asked her parents for only one Christmas present—a typewriter, Pam has dreamed of being a writer. Past President and Treasurer of the Central Florida Romance Writers, she has spent the last ten years working at becoming a published author. An Intensive Care nurse, wife, and mother of two, she spends her time writing historical romantic fiction when she’s not working full time, running kids to dance and school, taking care of four dogs and two cockatiels, and just being a mom.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 290
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