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Lady Fred
by Melissa McCann

Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: When the notoriously eccentric Lady Winifred Westerly is invited to her cousin Claudie's wedding, she is horrified to learn that little Claudie is being forced to marry a roué nearly three times her age. Before Freddy and her foppish cousin Dickie can spirit the bride away to safety, the abhorrent groom is murdered. Will Freddy and Dickie be able to expose the murderer, or will Freddy's strange, inquiring mind make her the next victim of the killer's art?
eBook Publisher: Awe-Struck E-Books, 2005
eBookwise Release Date: October 2005


20 Reader Ratings:
Great Good OK Poor
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [296 KB]
Words: 70690
Reading time: 201-282 min.

"The heroine of Lady Fred is endearingly outrageous. She causes numerous mishaps that keep the story quickly moving along. The other characters are definitely intriguing and strange, and they keep you wondering which one committed the crime. The intrigue elements of the story were very good ... If historical mysteries are your cup of tea, then I suggest adding Lady Fred by Melissa McCann to your shopping cart. 3.5 Roses!"--BJ Deese, eCataRomance Reviews

"A complicated tale with lots of cross purposes and surprises for the reader that will please the most demanding romance or mystery fan. Highly recommended for your reading pleasure. Enjoy. I certainly did."--Anne K. Edwards, CoffeeTime Reviews

Chapter One

"Winifred Edwinna Westerly, what in the name of decency have you done now?"

At the sound of her full name uttered in her godmother's wrathful voice, Lady Fred gave a start that spilled half her morning chocolate down the front of her morning dress. She was mopping at the brown stain when Lady Evans stamped into the morning room with her newspaper in her hand.

Lady Evans flourished the newspaper. "What have you done to Lord Ebberly?"

Freddie gave the question her full concentration for a moment before she replied, "I don't think I have done anything to him. Why?"

Lady Evans perched her tiny figure in a high-backed chair across the table from Freddie and scowled. "Because he has put up his house and stables for sale and fled to the continent. Why would he have done that if you had not refused his suit?"

Freddie furrowed her brow in deep concentration. "Did I refuse him? I don't think I refused him. In fact, I don't think I remember him asking me to marry him at all."

Lady Evans threw her newspaper down in disgust. "Ha. Don't think I don't know your ways, my girl. How did you do it? Spill champagne on his cravat? Embarrass him with some nonsensical rigmarole? You found some way to run him off. You might as well admit to it."

Freddie squinted down at the chocolate stain on her gown and wondered vaguely if her maid, Peebles, would be able to remove it. "Are you very disappointed, Godmama? Really, you know, I don't think Lord Ebberly wanted to marry me at all. It was just his estate was in such a bad way, he was desperate to get his hands on a fortune."

"Don't play the bird wit with me, my girl. He was ready to offer for you a week ago. You must have done something to make him cry off."

"I don't think so," Freddie said dubiously.

Lady Evans' very discrete butler entered the morning room on silent feet. He extended a salver on which lay the morning mail and a single calling card. Lady Evans read the card. "What does he want? Blast it, never mind. Send him in, Cutler."

"As you say, Mme." The butler left the room and returned a moment later with a young man some five years older than Freddie's twenty. Artemis Cobb had been described as an Adonis in some circles, but he was more the model for a Cupid with his dark gold curls and full, sensuous mouth that seemed always to be quirked in a knowing smile.

"Georgiana," he said as he bent over Lady Evans to kiss her cheek.

"Impudence," the old woman snapped, but she tipped her face up to him and accepted the salute. "What, come to rub my nose in Winifred's latest disaster?"

Mr. Cobb kissed Freddie's hand and helped himself to a place at the table between the two women. "Hardly a disaster, Georgiana. You can't say Ebberly was any great catch for Lady Winifred." He winked at Freddie.

"Blast Ebberly," Lady Evans said. "You think I mind getting that nodcock off my doorstep? Here's the disaster I'm talking about." She snatched up the newspaper, opened it to the On Dits , which was the only section she ever bothered with, and read aloud. "Rumor has it a certain Viscount E___, seen much in company of late with a certain notorious Lady W____, has rolled up his accounts and set sail for the continent. It seems yet another hopeful suitor prefers exile to the prospect of marriage to Flighty Freddie."

Freddie sighed. "Papa will be furious."

Lady Evans appealed to Artemis Cobb. "How am I to get the girl off my hands if her name is forever appearing in the newspaper in this fashion?"

Cobb said, "At least it is too early for the city to be full of society. Really, Georgiana, I doubt anyone of consequence will read it or care." As he spoke, his fingers turned idly over the mail in the salver which Cutler had set upon the table. He paused on a folded letter, turned it to read the direction. "Edgar and Margaret Tuttle. Lady Winfred, didn't your mother have a sister who married a Tuttle?"

Lady Evans snatched the letter from his fingers. "Trust you to pry into our private mail."

Copyright © 2005 by Melissa McCann

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