Authors: Jasmine Hill
Tags: #Erotic Romance Fiction
A Totally Bound Publication
Lillian’s Light Horseman
©Copyright Jasmine Hill 2014
Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright November 2014
Edited by Faith Bicknell-Brown
Totally Bound Publishing
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Totally Bound Publishing.
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The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2014 by Totally Bound Publishing,
Newland House, The Point, Weaver Road, Lincoln, LN6 3QN
Totally Bound Publishing is a subsidiary of Totally Entwined Group Limited.
This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a
LILLIAN’S LIGHT HORSEMAN
Are the span of an ocean, ten years and a cruel deception too much for love to overcome?
The year is 1921. At the age of twenty-six, Lillian Hamilton is alone, desperate and living in England. An ocean away in the Australian outback, her childhood sweetheart and decorated Light Horseman, William Cartwright, is running a sheep station and nursing a deep betrayal while the local ladies vie for his attention. But Lillian’s and William’s paths are about to cross once again, unexpectedly and dynamically spinning each of them into turmoil, igniting past hurts and spurring them on to a wary truce.
As they work through their deep-seated issues of distrust, others are conspiring against them, until a shocking revelation sends Lillian running from the safety of William’s arms and into the path of another man. William will have to work against time to find Lillian before he loses her—forever.
To my editor, Faith Bicknell-Brown—thank you for your tireless analysis, your invaluable input and your constructive criticism.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Dorothea Mackellar 1904
: Daniel Defoe 1719 Public Domain
Singer Treader Sewing Machine: The Singer Company Limited S.à.r.l.
Goodwill: Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
When I Lost You:
Thermos: Thermos L.L.C.
Henry Baxter lit a cigar and relaxed into a wingback chair as he reflected on the day’s events. It had been emotionally draining, but his decision to detach young William Cartwright from Lillian was a necessary evil.
He wouldn’t soon forget the look of utter desolation and betrayal on Cartwright’s face when he had informed the young man that he, Baxter, intended to resettle his family in England where his daughter Lillian was promised to a young man of established connections and family. He recalled the furious glint in Cartwright’s eyes and the hard set of his jaw, as he had demanded to know when Lillian had agreed to a marriage. For a moment, Henry had felt a frisson of fear at the young man’s vehement reaction at the news of Lillian’s imminent departure and her promise to another, but just as quickly, Cartwright’s anger had been replaced by resignation and an odd acceptance. Henry guessed that Cartwright knew his influence was minimal. After all, Lillian was only sixteen and required the consent of a parent or guardian for marriage, and Henry had no intention of giving his consent to a young man whose only claim in life would be that of a country solicitor.
Now, if William’s older brother James Cartwright had petitioned for Lillian’s hand, that would have been a different matter entirely. James would inherit all sixty thousand acres of the family’s Mulga Creek Sheep Station and would make a formidable son-in-law and an excellent connection for the Baxter family. Unfortunately, James was aware of the affection his younger brother held for Lillian and would not play any part in being the cause of William’s unhappiness. Henry knew this to be the case because he’d approached James with an offer of his daughter’s hand, which the man had refused immediately in favor of his brother’s feelings.
The most disturbing aspect of the day had been when he’d had to inform his daughter they would be relocating to England. He supposed he hadn’t needed to follow that statement with the lie that William Cartwright was soon to be married. But it was imperative to Henry that Lillian relinquish all hope of a future connection with the young Cartwright. His daughter’s desperate, anguished sobs at the news would live with him always. It had been heartbreaking for him to witness and know he was the cause of her misery, but he consoled himself with the idea that what he’d done, he’d done for the benefit of the Baxter name.
One of his most advantageous assets was his daughter. Her beauty, charm and wit were incomparable and he would not squander such a treasure on a lowly solicitor. Lillian was young and impressionable and she would soon outgrow her girlish infatuation with William Cartwright. Then Henry would be able to present to her a more favorable proposition.
He assured himself that his actions were not motivated by his dire financial situation but had everything to do with affection and concern for his daughter. He was a loving and considerate father, after all, and the well-being of Lillian was his top priority. If that meant separating her from Cartwright, unfortunately, that was what had to happen.
The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of gray-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.
—Dorothea Mackellar (1904)
Ten years later
Lillian Hamilton packed the last of her belongings into her trunk and prepared to leave her aunt’s home for the last time. She doubted that she’d return. Her aunt had passed away three months before and now there was nothing keeping Lillian in England. She mourned her aunt dreadfully, her mother’s sister. Her Aunt Agnes had been kindness personified when Lillian’s father had died two years previously, leaving Lillian destitute and homeless. She owed her life to the woman and shuddered to think what would have happened to her had her Aunt Agnes not swept in and taken Lillian into her care. Not only had she given Lillian shelter and affection, but she’d also suggested that Lillian take her last name of Hamilton. The Baxter name, thanks to her father’s unscrupulous business dealings and gambling debts, was besmirched with suspicion and corruption, and no decent family or acquaintance would have their good reputation tainted by any association to it. Lillian’s already fragile social status would have been irreparably damaged had she continued in English society as Lillian Baxter. As it happened, a change of county, social circle and name meant that Lillian’s connection with her father and his dubious transactions was limited to those who knew the family personally. To all new acquaintances, she’d been largely able to start afresh, free from suspicion and conjecture.
It was a flight of fancy, however, to believe that she could continue to be untouched by her past. Angry energy rippled through her as she recalled the words of her aunt’s attorney.
“I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Miss Hamilton, but your aunt’s estate is tied up in legal disputes. As you will be aware, your father left considerable debts and there are a number of creditors applying to Mrs. Hamilton’s estate for reimbursement. You are her sole heir, but after legal damages and settlements, I fear that the lion’s share of your inheritance will be consumed.”
Lillian had been unprepared for the fury that had suffused her at the thought of her beloved aunt’s belongings and home being sold to pay Lillian’s irresponsible father’s debts. Suddenly her aunt’s asking Lillian to take her jewelry and hide it until such a time that Lillian could safely sell it didn’t appear so odd. Her aunt must have been aware of her father’s debts and Agnes’ dying wish had been that her niece might have a little money before the creditors took everything.
Lillian had done what her Aunt Agnes had requested and as soon as she was able, she’d sold most of her aunt’s jewelry and any dresses and outfits that served no practical purpose. If Lillian were careful, she’d have money enough to last her for some months.