“The Shopkeeper’s Widow” by Izzy James is now available!! Click on your favorite vendor to learn more about this historical romance.
Delany Fleet, a widowed former indentured servant living in the colonial port of Norfolk, Virginia, dreams of having an estate of her own where she will never have to compromise her freedom.
When the only man she ever loved shows up with a load of smuggled firearms, Delany is forced to leave her home and her livelihood to protect her family and property from Lord Dunmore’s raids and the conniving plots of a man who claims to be her friend.
Now, with her destiny forever altered, Delany must find a new way to happiness. Can reconnecting with her husband’s family and a former love be the path that God has for her?
Delany swung back into her shop looking for something to punch and rushed right into Field Archer’s chest. At once surrounded by strong arms and a strong need to bathe, Delany forgot to breathe.
“Aunt Delany,” Ben laughed “Mr. Archer is here to see you.”
“So I see, Ben.” She looked up into his twinkling brown eyes and stepped back a proper distance. Of course his height had not changed, but he had filled out. His chest was broad and solid. She pulled her hands back to her chest before she let them slide over to his shoulders. It was Field Archer. He was right here in her shop.
“Mrs. Fleet.” His baritone strummed a girlish cord of humiliation that she thought long gone.
Before she could respond, the door opened again.
“Well, Mrs. Fleet, that’ll show them, won’t it?” John Crawley’s fat face was slick with glee. His small black eyes gave her the usual once over that made her feel exposed. She squelched a shudder and moved behind the counter.
Field turned his back to them and moved toward the toy shelves.
“The association will back down now.” Crawley wiped his hands down the front of his brown frock coat. “It won’t be long before we can get our ships out of here. We are saved, Mrs. Fleet.”
“What does his lordship want with a printing press?”
“To silence the dirty-shirts.”He hooked his thumbs in the pockets of his coat. “No voice. No followers.”
“It remains to be seen, Mr. Crawley, what the militia will do.”
“We just saw what those yellow-bellies will do.” He bent forward over the counter, enough that she could smell his luncheon ale. “It will all be over soon, and we can get back to business.”
“Was there something you needed, Mr. Crawley?” Delany stepped back from the counter and took a glance at Field hoping for an interruption. Seeing only his back, she gazed at the shelf beneath. A new box of wax inserts for missing teeth caught her eye. “Some plumpers for Mrs. Crawley, perhaps?”
The red in Crawley’s face deepened to crimson. “No, thank you.” He checked his tone. “My mother is in need of nothing at the moment.” This time when he leaned in, the gleam in his eye hinted of impropriety.
Delany leaned back.
“Were you frightened?” He rocked back on his heels, looked over his shoulder at Field, rested his elbows on the counter, and breathed a rotten cloud. “I will protect you.”
Over my dead body. “Thank you, Mr. Crawley, for your offer, but I can take care of myself.” She came out from behind the counter. “Now if there is nothing else” I really shouldn’t keep my customers waiting.” After a last glance at her” and then Field” he exited.
Delany wiped the counter of his greasy imprint.
When the doorbells tinkled, indicating the departure of Mr. Crawley, Field turned toward Mrs. Fleet. The insinuation in Mr. Crawley’s declaration of protection gave Field pause. Perhaps his mother had been wrong to send him here.