Title: Love's Debt
Author: Rachel Brimble
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Length: 91 pages
Genres: Historical Romance
To keep herself from the depths of poverty, Milly Shepherd needs to be appointed manager of the Red Lion Tavern. The elderly owner is in failing health and has promised her the job permanently if no one more suitable applies. Milly will fight with her entire being to make the job her own.
Joseph Jacobs needs to supplement his income to pay off his father’s creditors and save him from debtor’s prison. Though the job as manager of the local tavern looks promising, Milly is favored by both the owner and customers. Instead, Joseph swallows his pride and agrees to tend bar.
As they work together, their attraction grows, their goals cross, and both Millie and Joseph find they must face their fears …the question is whether they face them alone or together?
Joseph Jacobs closed the tavern door behind him and paused a moment to take in his surroundings. As a man used to looking over his shoulder and sensing trouble, experience taught him to be aware of others before they became aware of you. He narrowed his gaze. The meager number of patrons at the tables surprised him at an hour when he expected the bar to be fairly busy. He glanced at the clock; maybe it wasn’t time for the workers yet.
He shifted his gaze to the woman standing beneath the clock and his heart kicked. Her green-gold eyes held him where he stood. She stared and Joseph swallowed, willing some words to come forth from his frozen tongue or at least a smile to curve his paralyzed lips.
She lifted her eyebrows and slowly pulled a cloth from her shoulders. Her hair was a mass of fire-tipped curls around her oval face, her skin creamy-white and her parted lips, a soft delicate pink. Joseph cleared his throat and belatedly removed his hat.“Good evening, miss.”
Her smile slipped easily into place. “Good evening to you, sir.” Her voice was smooth, clear and full of confidence. “Are you looking to quench your thirst or just planning on soaking up the atmosphere?”
Joseph inhaled a long breath through flared nostrils as if trying to smell her. Something told him she’d smell of lavender…or maybe musk. Something to throw a man off guard, to lower his defenses.
He stepped forward. “Neither. I am looking for the landlord. Would you happen to know if he’s available?”
Her gaze lingered on his a moment longer before she looked to the four glasses at the table beside her. She grasped them expertly between her fingers and carried them behind the bar without answering his question.
Joseph couldn't take his gaze from the natural sway of her hips beneath the deep burgundy dress she wore, the bustle a little too prominent for the current fashion showing her lack of money to afford better. Why else would a woman with the features of an artist’s model be working in a tavern unless necessity demanded it?\
“No, I take it from here.” His jaw tightened. “I mean it, Milly. I don’t want you in there.”
“Why are we arguing about this? I thought we’d built a trust between us.”
His gaze darted over her face, lingered at her lips. “This has nothing to do with trust.”
“Pride. If I haven’t got that…if I’ve stooped so low as to put a woman at risk, then there’s no point in going on at all. I won’t do it, Milly. I won’t expose you to whatever is behind that door. If you can’t stay here, then go back to the tavern. I’ll see you there shortly.”
His face was set, his shoulders stiff and Milly’s irritation grew. She poked a finger into his chest. It was like iron. She swallowed. “Have you heard the saying, pride before a fall?” He nodded. “Good, because if people don’t reach out to other people, Joseph Jacobs, they fall further than ever with nobody there to catch them.”
She raised her hand. “Go. Do what you want. I’ve got more important things to worry about that a man full of so much pride, he looks fit to burst.”
Turning, Milly gripped her bag tightly in her hand and strode away. She did not look back, and she didn’t stop walking. Her stupid heart had let her down. Made her get involved in a man’s life and begin to care about him. Well, the buck stopped there. No more. If Joseph Jacobs ever needed her help again, he could take a long walk off the dock.
Blinking against the rare sting of tears, she tilted her chin and retraced her steps across town. Her shift at the tavern started in an hour’s time, but that didn’t matter; there was always plenty to be done and at least there, she was appreciated. Joseph certainly didn’t see what was right in front of his damn face.
Yet each step that took her across town weighed heavier and heavier. She’d seen where he and his father lived. It was little better than a hovel. She’d seen the newspapers stuffed around the window frames in an attempt to keep out the cold, the bare floorboards, and thick layers of soot from the fireplace spilling into the room. The landlady should be seeing to that, all of it. Bitter resentment furled in Milly’s stomach as her past flashed through her mind. She’d pulled her family from the gutter, and the future looked brighter than ever before.
Which didn’t help the nagging feeling that she could do more—wanted to do more to help Joseph. But she couldn’t. It would mean putting a hold on her own plans. All for a man she had hardly known more than two weeks.
She curled her hands into fists. This feeling inside her was new. This sense of wanting to fight for someone outside of her family. How had it gotten like this? To kiss him was bad enough, but to have this…this fear for him? That scared her more than anything.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near
in the UK. She started writing short stories about eight
years ago but once her children were at school, she embarked on her first
novel. It was published in 2007. Since then, she’s had several books published
with small presses as well as securing her first contract with Harlequin
Superromance in May 2012.
agent Dawn Dowdle, of Blue Ridge Literary Agency, Rachel is a member of the
Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, When she isn’t
writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful
English countryside with her family. Her
dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England. And in the
evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused…
Contact Rachel at:
Website - http://www.rachelbrimble.com
Twitter - https://www.twitter.com/rachelbrimble or @rachelbrimble
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rachel-Brimble/181873201887441
1. Why did you write the story in a Historical setting?2. Can you relate with the characters Joseph and Milly?I love alternating between contemporary and Victorian romances – I hope it keeps my writing fresh and my readers looking forward to seeing what I have published next.A walk around the famous harbor and docks in Bristol, England inspired this book. It was a hugely busy place in the 1800s and many, many famous ships came into dock there. Today, it houses the famous SS Great Britain and attracts thousands of visitors each year.I ‘saw’ my hero and heroine at the quayside and went from there!
3. It is a very quick read. Did you do this on purpose and why?I think there is a little of myself in all the characters I create – I’m usually trying to say something. Milly is a very headstrong, independent woman who is scared of losing what little money she has earned and Joseph is proud and loyal. I hope I’m a little of all those things too! They go after their goals but don’t expect to succeed without putting the work in – I think the fact I’ve been trying to get my kids to understand this lately has a lot to do with the writing of this story, lol!
4. Did you have any official training in writing?No, not at all! It just came to an end that way and I was happy with it. Having said that, I have received some truly overwhelming reviews with readers and reviewers telling me they wish the story was longer. Maybe I should have given Milly and Joseph into a novel! I am thrilled readers love them as much as me
5. What inspire you to write?No – I learned my craft through trial and error. I left school at sixteen and worked in a bank until I got married and had my first daughter at twenty-four. When my second was born two and half years later, I took up my passion for writing which was something I’d always dreamed of doing.I started with short stories, the rejections followed…slowly, over time, I was published and then I embarked on my first novel.I have had at least one novel published per year ever since which I am very proud of. Writing is a craft, anyone can do it with perseverance.
See above – I've wanted to write since I was very young but never actually pursued it as a serious goal until my second daughter started school. My writing is now a compulsion! If I go more than a day without writing, I am not a nice person to be around – ask my family, lol! J
My 5 Star Review
Make your favorite coffee/latte/cappuccino/tea sat back and enjoy this quick read.
Two main characters is thrown together when they compete for the same position. Milly the young woman out to prove her self in the late 1800 standing on her own feet and providing for her family wanted the manager job. She has worked hard for it, earned it. All the patrons vote for her.
Joseph out to help his father from the debtor's jail doing two jobs to keep them afloat. Once well respect now a dock worker and bartender. They are challenged with trust issues and having the faith to see the light again. Confronted with a attraction they want to deny but yet drawn to each other in the desperate search for a lost father.
Enjoy this fast pace but yet good read.