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Etienne and Lydia: A Love Story, Part 3

My husband and I had a great time at Lake Patagonia! It was so relaxing and beautiful. I’m not sure the dogs love the canoe as much as we do, but they would enjoy staying in the trailer even less!

Book three, At the Mercy of the Sea, has been sent out to my beta readers! Yay! And then it will receive a final proofreading before going into production. It should be available for presale starting in January with a ship date of April 7th. However, if you come visit me at the Tucson Festival of Books March 9th and 10th, I will have some advanced copies available to sell. I can’t wait to share Etienne and Alsoomse’s continuing story, and to introduce Abraham Dayton to you!

As we approach the holidays, here is the 3rd part of Etienne Gayneau’s and Lydia Mestereau’s love story. If you missed the first two parts you can catch up by following these links: Part 1 and Part 2.

The image below is of two unknown 17th century girls by an unknown artist.

1653, La Rochelle, France

The two weeks seemed to creep by, but Lydia tried to keep herself busy spending hours embroidering with her mother and sister in the back sitting room. She tried her best not to show any anxiety or concern over the passing time. She stuck her finger with the needle, drawing blood, and quickly put her finger in her mouth to stop the flow. In frustration, she placed her embroidery back into her basket and stood. She couldn’t sit still any longer and retreated upstairs to her room.

She walked to the armoire and pulled out the string of pearls Etienne had given her. She rubbed the soft beads between her fingers and sighed. Still no word had come from Etienne. What was taking him so long? Had he run into trouble? Had he changed his mind?

She turned to the window in despair just as a visitor arrived at the door and was ushered into the parlor. Lydia caught a glimpse of the young man as he passed beneath her bedroom window. For a moment she thought it looked like Etienne, but that couldn’t be. He would never brave coming to speak to her father directly. She brushed the thought aside and returned the pearls to the armoire.

Then she heard an urgent knock at her door. She answered and Emma rushed in. “Etienne has come to speak to Papa?” she said.

“But, why?” Lydia was up and rushing toward the door.

“Wait! We must be quiet.”

Lydia followed her sister down the hallway to the edge of the catwalk overhanging the parlor. She gripped the dark wood railing tightly to steady herself. They could just see their father standing by the hearth with his hand resting on the tall, stone mantle, doubling the imposing glare of his portrait hanged above.

Etienne stood erect, hat in hand, and faced their father. “Sir, I have come to ask for Lydia’s hand in marriage.” Etienne lifted his chin as he awaited the response.

“And who are you to be asking for such a favor?” Her father’s chilly words hung in the air like a threat.

“I am Etienne Gayneau. My father owns the import shop on the Rue Saint Michel.”

“I know his shop. There is a rumor that the owner has dismissed one of his sons from the trade?” Her father’s eyebrow rose in question.

Lydia held her breath as she registered the slight shudder in Etienne’s posture.

Etienne took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. “It is true that my father has dismissed me in favor of my brother, François. But I have found other work as a stove-maker merchant, and I have secured a home for us.”

“So, you have fallen from bourgeoisie to proletariat? And you want my daughter to give up her title, wealth, and promise of a good match, for what? A Huguenot laborer?” The hostility in his voice caused Etienne to shrink back, as if he’d been struck. “Now, get out of me house, and if you ever return, I will have you arrested!”

“For what charge, sir, would you have me arrested?” Etienne asked and his eyes hardened.

Her father batted his hand, as if shooing away a fly, and said, “God willing, our young King Louis will outlaw the Huguenot heresy. Failing that, I will find something. Now leave my premises!”

Etienne turned and left without another word.

Tears were streaming down Lydia’s face. She opened her mouth to call after him, but Emma clamped a hand over her mouth and pulled her back to her room before she could utter a word. She ran to the window and as she watched her betrothed retreating down the walkway she hardened her resolve. She would marry Etienne, whether her father approved or not!

(to be continued …)

I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season! I hope you can spend it with family and friends. Have a blessed Christmas!

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