Mistletoe and Magic (Novella): A Loveswept Historical Romance

Mistletoe and Magic (Novella): A Loveswept Historical Romance by Katie Rose

Book: Mistletoe and Magic (Novella): A Loveswept Historical Romance by Katie Rose Read Free Book Online
Authors: Katie Rose
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Historical, Contemporary Women
your marzipan. You must give us the recipe for our cook.”
    “You are very welcome.” Agnes Marton exchanged a glance with Catherine Parks. “And how are you finding Vassar, my dear?” Agnes directed the question toward Susan. “I know some folk don’t believe in educating women, but a knowledge of literature, music, and the ability to speak well on the topics of the day would certainly be an asset to any husband.” She looked pointedly at Jared.
    Susan blushed. “I do hope my meager accomplishments will prove advantageous. I believe a pious and intelligent homemaker would provide a stable and compelling influence in the family. That is a woman’s arena, is it not?”
    “Quite so.” Agnes turned to Jared and lifted an eyebrow, obviously expecting a comment.
    “Yes, right.” He glanced up, having no idea what they were talking about.
    “I am glad to hear you say so,” Jacob Parks said, finishing up a sandwich. “Too many young men are supportive of this suffragette movement. Didn’t Mrs. Stanton and Miss Anthony put on a ridiculous show last year, marching through town with those terrible Appleton women? I recall it had to do with a court case …”
    “I think it’s time we gentlemen retired and left the ladies to their talk.” Theodore rose, indicating the library. He was well aware that Jared, who’d been noticeably absent throughout the conversation, had perked up when the Appletons were mentioned. “I have a new brandy I’d like to get your opinion on.”
    The gentlemen rose and followed Theodore to the library.
    “So, my boy, I understand you are becoming quite the prosecutor.” Jacob clappedhis hand on Jared’s shoulder. “That must be a satisfying feeling, putting away these criminals. Didn’t you help break up that Kelly gang in Hell’s Kitchen a few years back?”
    “Yes,” Jared replied. “Although I admit, I wish they’d gotten more time. The worst of the gang, Black Jack Kelly, got released a few days ago.”
    “I remember that case,” his father commented. “Bank robbery, if I’m not mistaken? He killed the teller and made off with the money.”
    “Correct.” Jared nodded and took a seat. “The witness couldn’t identify him. Because of that and the fact that the police never found the gun, he was only sentenced to five years.”
    “It was thanks to your hard work that he got any time at all.” Jacob nodded approvingly. “It’s men like you who will lead this country. Men of morals, character, and fortitude. Why, I mentioned to Senator Kernan just last week …”
    Jared fought a yawn as the man was happily heard out by his father. Glancing out the window, he saw the snow glistening against the pane and a chill went through his heart.
    He’d read and reread the letter from Penelope, but he still couldn’t fathom what had changed her mind. It was very polite and simply pointed out that a marriage between them would never succeed. She wouldn’t see him and mysteriously had disappeared from the social engagements they’d shared. He’d confronted his father, but the old man insisted he’d done nothing to induce her to break their courtship. Instead, he implied that Penelope had come to the conclusion on her own.
    Why? It didn’t make any sense. As he stared at the evergreen sugared with snow, he thought of Susan Parks. The woman was beautiful, elegant, poised, and articulate. All through tea she’d worked hard to demonstrate her knowledge of current literature and the theater. She shyly even offered to play the pianoforte when her mother indicated she was quite an accomplished musician. She had all the qualities of an excellent wife, and yet …
    He felt nothing for her.
    Was this what his life was to be like? Jared glanced around the rich room, at the paintings and leather-bound books, the chairs made of supple burgundy leather, the crystal lamps and the comfortable sofa. His father had ensured they had the best of everything, and yet it all seemed so hollow.

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