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Authors: B.D. Fraser

Lady: Impossible

BOOK: Lady: Impossible
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Title Page



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33


About the Author

Lady: Impossible

by B.D. Fraser

Copyright © 2013 by B.D. Fraser

The moral right of the author has been asserted.

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

First Edition, 2013

Cover source image and vectors by Theresa Tibbetts. Used under licence.

Cover design by B.D. Fraser.

Editing by Tanya Brown and Sophie McClelland.

For Kassiah:

Thank you for plucking me out of obscurity and giving me the encouragement I needed.

Chapter 1:

Heathrow. Of all the airports I’ve been to in the world, it’s my least favourite. Unbearably crowded, impossible to navigate and a bedlam of traveller stress, it’s the most unwelcome of all welcomes. Lately, London has meant one thing and one thing only: tolerating my mother’s antics.

Here I am again, comforting her in her ‘time of need’. It’s attention that she wants, and when my father is tired of giving it to her, she packs up and leaves, claiming she’s had enough of country life. These
, as I call them, never last more than three months and are always conveniently timed so that I’m ‘free’ to join her. She even stays at the family home, for crying out loud. And while I love the house and my group of London friends, I’d rather spend this summer doing something else.

Caroline Pembroke, the Countess of Silsbury – Mother has no title in her own right, and no life of her own, either, as she frequently tells me.

Sighing, I enter the arrivals lounge and scan the crowd for my name. She warned me that her new butler would be late and, indeed, there’s no one here. Brilliant. I deliberately avoid all screaming children and seedy-looking men, and finally settle on a seat next to an elderly lady.

I hope to goodness that she’s merely sleeping and not dead – this airport is not where you’d want to die. Mind you, if any deaths were to occur here, they’d be murders. All airline employees should consider themselves lucky that I haven’t killed any of them for losing my luggage. Part of me wants to tell the baggage agent to forget sending my bags here and to deliver them back to my flat in Fife instead. Clearly it’s a sign I shouldn’t be here. However, such an instruction would be useless anyway – they’d have to find the damn suitcases first.

I tell myself to calm down. I’m going to have to keep a lookout for a doddering old man with a placard with my name on it, and being angry won’t help. He’ll at least have seen a photo of me, so hopefully between the two of us we can meet successfully without a phone call to my mother. She is so technologically challenged that she couldn’t even text me his number. Who knows, maybe I’ll be summoned over the PA system like a lost child in a department store?

It’s sad, really, for the butler. The poor man will be out of a job before the Olympics. She should’ve done what she usually does – bring a maid over from the estate.

Ten minutes later, a white-haired man in a grey suit approaches and, for a moment, I’m convinced it’s him. But it soon becomes apparent that he’s here for the lady next to me. It’s like a geriatric version of
Snow White
: he leans down, kisses her on the cheek and, suddenly, she’s alive again. It’s sort of sweet, if you discount the drool and the smell of Old Spice.

I get so caught up in watching this fairy-tale unfold, I don’t notice that someone has stopped three feet in front of me. When I do look up, all I see is the sign – a piece of white card with a name written in black marker:
Lady Emilia Pembroke
. Since hardly anyone calls me by my full name, let alone my title, I burst out laughing.

‘I don’t normally go by that…’ I trail off when I see the butler’s face.

He’s not old. In fact, he’s probably my age and, after I get over the shock of his youth, I lean forward for proper look. He seems to be the quintessential gentleman: tall, with a distinct haughtiness to his features; defined cheekbones; chiselled jaw; neat, cropped hair in the colour of light toffee… Add the sharp black suit, complete with grey waistcoat and tie, and it’s as if he’s just stepped out of a tailor’s on Savile Row. Still, I wouldn’t mistake him for a businessman. Something about the way he stands to attention is deferential, like he really is a butler.

But surely it’s a mirage. This extremely attractive man
be my mother’s new butler. I have half a mind to nominate her for the next season of
Wife Swap
in retaliation, though I probably shouldn’t punish other families so cruelly.

The butler finally speaks.

‘I’m sorry for the delay, Lady Emilia.’

Well, at least he’s polite. Unfortunately, I’m still not entirely sure how to respond, so I remain seated and mute. This makes him uncomfortable, and his smile noticeably tightens. I find it telling – surely he can’t be that experienced if one slightly awkward incident is going to make him squirm? I imagine such moments are common when working in service, or in the hospitality industry as a whole.

He clears his throat. ‘Her Ladyship did manage to give me your number, so trust that I would’ve found you had I not recognised you.’

‘Sorry, it’s just that I can’t quite believe
the butler.’

His grip on the placard tightens. ‘Not all butlers are over forty, m’lady, if that’s what you’re thinking.’

I pull a face. ‘Oh no. She really did tell you to be formal.’ I finally stand up so I can converse with him properly. ‘It’s usually best to remind her that the aristocracy isn’t what it used to be. And apparently neither is service. You
be a butler.’

He responds by extending his hand. ‘I’m Blair Baxter. Your mother’s butler, and yours too while you’re here in London. I assure you I am qualified. Her Ladyship poached me from The Savoy.’

I shake his hand but don’t let the gesture placate me.

‘My mother has hated The Savoy since its refurbishment.’

It’s true. When we attended the formal reopening of the hotel, all she did was complain about how it had lost its original character, ‘two hundred and twenty million pounds down the drain’, she kept saying. She was so upset that she had to spend four hours drinking Moët to get over it – she drank twice as much as me that night.

Blair has a smooth answer. ‘Yes, that’s why she had no qualms about poaching me.’

‘But when was she even at The Savoy recently?’

He probably thinks I’m being incredibly difficult, but the fact is it’s in my best interests not to fall for this trick. My brother, Alastair, got disinherited for being an idiot, and I’m not seeking to emulate him. Truth be told, I don’t even know where he is right now – nobody does. He’s very difficult to track down.

Blair ignores my question and surveys the ground around me. ‘Where’s your luggage?’

‘Apparently, it’s “in transit”.’

‘And you didn’t bring a carry-on?’

‘No. I prefer to just check everything in.’

‘Well, if you give me the claim number for the lost bags, I’ll continue to chase it up for you.’

Now he’s looking at me expectantly, as if he’s waiting for an acknowledgement that he’s not an impostor. Unfortunately, I’m not so easily swayed.

‘I’m going to call my mother.’

‘Yes, m’lady.’

‘I thought you’d dispensed with the formalities.’

There’s a flicker of annoyance in his eyes. ‘How should I address you, then?’

‘I’m not entirely sure yet. It’s been a long time since we hired anyone new.’ I retrieve my phone from my handbag and dial her number. ‘I’ll get back to you on that one.’

This whole thing is bizarre. It doesn’t help that he gives off a ‘hotel staff’ vibe – ostensibly cheery on the outside, but secretly wanting to kill you on the inside. I remember catching a hotel maid muttering about my mother being ‘a royal bitch’. I promptly told the maid not to give her ideas about royalty – it’s bad enough that she’s a countess.

She answers on the eighth ring. I bet she was confused by the whole touchscreen thing and merely stared at the ‘accept’ button instead of tapping it.



I briefly consider asking how she is, but there’s a more pressing matter at hand. ‘Listen, I just need to confirm that you poached a twenty-something-year-old butler from The Savoy,’ I say, looking directly at Blair. He holds my gaze, seemingly confident his story will check out. ‘I’m very confused.’

‘Oh yes. Blair. He was my butler when I stayed at the hotel for the Forster wedding. Isn’t he wonderful? Such a fresh face. So much energy.’

What does he need so much energy for? A sudden, horrific thought of her banging this guy creeps into my head and is so frightening that I can’t help but look away. ‘You know what I’m going to say next, don’t you?’

‘No, people won’t think I hired him as a toy boy.’

I pinch the bridge of my nose. ‘You don’t think people will talk?’

I would love to attend a charity event or polo match without anybody talking about us, but who am I to know what’s sane?

She huffs. ‘It’s not worth discussing. He’s just the help. It’s your brother who causes the trouble. Do you know it’s become a phrase now – ‘pulling an Alastair’? I thought it was a reference to the Sixth Baron Pillington but, no, it’s not. One of these days I’m going to break out in hives from all the stress that boy causes me. ’

I decide to end the call. There’s no point in interrogating her further – the main thing is I’ve confirmed that he works for us.

‘Okay, whatever. Blair will drive me home, and we’ll resume this conversation later.’

‘Yes, dear. See you soon.’


Defeated for now, I turn my attention back to Blair. ‘All right, we can go. I believe that you are the butler, though I swear I’ve seen you somewhere before. That’s not a pick up line, by the way.’

‘I’m sure it’s not, m’lady.’

‘I detect a hint of sarcasm in your voice.’

‘No, m’lady.’ How he’s managing to keep a straight face, I have no idea. ‘Now, if you’ll kindly wait at the curb outside, I will bring the car around.’

‘Oh, so you
old enough to drive. Good to know.’

He raises an eyebrow and turns on his heel, walking swiftly away. It must be strange power-walking in a suit like that. I don’t know how he manages to look so graceful.

It takes me a second to realise that I’m staring at his arse as he walks away. He is way too good looking. He’s the kind of good looking that makes you hurt when you notice. It’s like a punch to the gut or kick to the knees. No male should be

‘Shit,’ I say, shaking my head.

Someone in my vicinity lets out a low whistle. ‘I’ll say. He’s well fit.’

I glare at the tracksuit-clad woman, who should be more concerned that I swore within earshot of her little girl. Then again, even the little girl is looking in Blair’s direction.

‘Get your own butler.’ I hurry out before I lecture the woman any further.

Great. Now I’m protective of a man that I didn’t even want to believe worked for my family. I shake my head, wondering if it’s possible to be jet-lagged after an hour-long flight.

Once I’m outside, I put on my sunglasses and look back at the terminal windows to check my reflection. Thank God I wore a fitted dress instead of a tracksuit. This is also why I never leave the house without make-up – you never know who you might bump into. I can now wait at the curb with dignity, and not like I’m here to be part of a police line-up.

BOOK: Lady: Impossible
7.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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