Book Title: Saving Grace: Deception. Obsession. Redemption.
Series: The Ropewalk series, Book 2
Author: H D Coulter
Publication Date: 11th May 2021
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 330 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Saving Grace: Deception. Obsession. Redemption.
(The Ropewalk series, Book 2)
By H D Coulter
Beacon Hill, Boston. 1832.
“You are innocent. You are loved. You are mine.”
After surviving the brutal attack and barely escaping death at Lancaster Castle, Beatrice Mason attempts to build a new life with her husband Joshua across the Atlantic in Beacon Hill. But, as Beatrice struggles to cope with the pregnancy and vivid nightmares, she questions whether she is worthy of redemption.
Determined to put the past behind her after the birth of her daughter Grace, Bea embraces her newfound roles of motherhood and being a wife. Nevertheless, when she meets Sarah Bateman, their friendship draws Bea towards the underground railroad and the hidden abolitionist movement, despite the dangerous secrets it poses. Whilst concealed in the shadows, Captain Victor Hanley returns, obsessed with revenge and the desire to lay claim to what is his, exposes deceptions and doubts as he threatens their newly established happiness.
Now, Beatrice must find the strength to fight once more and save Grace, even if it costs her life.
An Excerpt from Chapter 2
“That is quite a debt you are racking up, dear Max.” Hanley stacked the gold coins into a pile as he held the owing slips of paper in his left hand.
“I can pay you; I just need a couple of days to free up the money.” Max licked out the last dregs of whiskey from his glass. There were three other tables surrounding them in one of the smaller rooms in the club where high stakes were thrown away more often than anyone involved cared to note.
Hanley grinned and gestured to the serving staff to bring two more. “On me.” They placed the tumblers down in front of them within seconds. With a simple nod, Max lifted his and swallowed the contents it in one gulp. “We both know you are running out of capital. That’s the dreadful business with ships, you never quite know when you’re going to lose them like that.”
Max relaxed back in his chair and allowed the haze of alcohol to blur his thoughts. “Storms happen... we have insurance.”
“Yes... and yet I had heard they are refusing to pay - and that would suggest you owe me a great deal of money that you simply do not have.” Hanley laid the pieces of paper in front of him like tarot cards, then gathered five more from his pocket and added them to the spread. “Your friends were more than happy to allow me to buy your debt.”
Max jumped forward in his chair and stared at the extra pieces of paper on the cards table. “You will get your money – I just need time.” He could no longer hide the panic in his voice.
“But Max - I can make sure the wheel of fortune turns again and makes all your troubles disappear.” Hanley drew an invisible wheel in the air in front of them, turning it around with his hand. Max watched the motion as if Hanley were casting a spell over him.
“What... what would you want in return?”
“Information... tell me where they are.”
The Captain’s face twitched in anger and his tone became darker. “The boy and his whore.”
“I don’t know. I cut ties with him after that dreadful... situation.” Max paused, remembering who he was speaking to and the lengths that person would go to to achieve their aims.
“A little birdie has told me he has been sending you letters.” Hanley held the younger man’s gaze, warning him to weigh his next words.
Max leaned in a little closer and lowered his voice from the other gentlemen in the room. “If I told you, then – then it would all disappear – the debt?”
Hanley mirrored his actions playfully. “You have my word.”
“They... they are in America. Boston, to be exact.”
“Excellent, what else?”
“He wants help to find work. Once word spread of their situation, none of the usual employers would send him a reference after they heard his own father had washed his hands of him. Without a reference, he can’t get a decent situation, not one that would... suit.” Max stared down at his empty glass, longing for it to fill once more with whiskey. Hanley paused, his hand in the air, and waited. “Joshua seems to think I can help him, that I know of people in Boston. I told him... I couldn’t - I can’t... I won’t, I won’t help him now, not anymore - but the letters keep coming.” Hanley moved two fingers, a sign for a refill.
“I want you to send him a letter back, informing him of the contrary – a convenient position in Boston has manifested itself, and you can furnish him with the relevant names and addresses.”
“Why? What’s in it for you, Hanley? Why would you want to help him get a job?” Max paused, the glass touching his lips, the smell of the single malt intoxicating.
“That is none of your business now, is it, Max? But, if you do this, I will sweeten the deal by having a word with your insurance company.”
Even through his hazy thoughts, Max realised the power that this man held, and knew it would not be wise to cross him, especially on the behalf of a disgraced and former friend. “If you tell me what to write, I... I will send it.” He masked the taste of guilt and betrayal in his mouth as he gulped down the whiskey. “I must say, it will make him pleased, especially with the news... Oh -”
“What news?” Hanley tilted his head,, and a curious grin fell across his mouth.
“That he... well... he is to be a father, you see. A wedding night blessing, he said, but if that’s the case why ask for me to keep it quiet...?”
“Now... that is excellent news!” Hanley looked elated as he ordered two more drinks. “We must toast to their newfound fortune.”
Confused as to what he might have said, Max kept his thoughts to himself on the transaction. “You will... keep to your part of the deal, won’t you, Victor?”
“You doubt me?”
“No, no, of course not.” Max lowered his eyes from Hanley’s stare; the world was moving around him, a sign he needed to call it a night.
Hanley played with the pieces of paper in his hands, shuffling them like a deck of cards. “A man will deliver a letter to you tomorrow. You must copy it, word for word, and hand it back to him. In return you will get your little pieces of paper, and the good news you’ve been waiting for.” Max nodded in agreement, finished the last of his drink, and made his move to leave. Hanley rose to his feet and remarked loudly, “A pleasure doing business with you, Sir Max Elliot.”
Max held his head high and staggered out of the club, dotting his hat to familiar faces and disapproving looks.
Hanley sat back in his chair and gestured for another drink. Joyous news. His plan was taking effect and now, on top of everything, he was going to be a father. He knew there was no way the baby was a wedding-night blessing. He relived the event in his head for the hundredth time, knowing he had left his seed in her. There was no doubt in his mind that the baby was his, but what was he going to do about it? He smiled at the imminent chaos, wishing he had been there when she had realised, when she had told Mason boy of the news.
An image of Bea popped into his head, smiling at her sisters in their old cottage kitchen. How much they had looked like her; how sweet she had seemed... how innocent. The scene shifted to her standing in front of him, holding out their child. His child. And in that moment, he knew the game had shifted.
Copyright: H D Coulter
Saving Grace: Deception. Obsession. Redemption.
Book 2 in the Ropewalk series.
Published 11th May 2021.
Ropewalk; Rebellion. Love. Survival (The Ropewalk Series, Book 1) is only 0.99 on ebook during the tour. Here are the buy links:
H D Coulter
Hayley was born and raised in the lake district and across Cumbria. From a young age, Hayley loved learning about history, visiting castles and discovering local stories from the past. Hayley and her partner lived in Ulverston for three years and spent her weekends walking along the Ropewalk and down by the old harbour. She became inspired by the spirit of the area and stories that had taken place along the historic streets.
As a teacher, Hayley had loved the art of storytelling by studying drama and theatre. The power of the written word, how it can transport the reader to another world or even another time in history. But it wasn't until living in Ulverston did she discover a story worth telling. From that point, the characters became alive and she fell in love with the story.
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