I did promise myself my next heroine would be a sarcastic, snarky, annoying person. Much easier for me to relate to and to write. You'll meet Lydia Burke, governess to piratical offspring in [working title] The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby. In the meantime, download Daphne and Alexander (and Pompom's) tale in Castaway Dreams and enjoy a trip to an island paradise. Here's an excerpt:
"I do have a useful skill, Dr. Murray."
He looked at her.
"I am quite talented at picking out just the right hat or gloves to complement an ensemble."
She smiled, waiting for his praise.
"Miss Farnham, I would hardly term that a useful skill."
"Oh, but I beg to differ, sir. Knowing which accessories make an outfit complete is what makes us civilized, and attractive to look upon."
He found his mouth opening to argue this and then shut it. What was the point? But now, with her mind engaged, she was prepared to defend her claim. She came closer then and lightly laid her lilac-gloved hand on his arm.
"What is life without some color, some entertainment, Doctor? Should our days only be filled with work and useful functions? What of..." She thought for a moment, and since he suspected this was a rare event, he did not interrupt her. "Butterflies! Butterflies spend their days flitting from flower to flower, Doctor. They live to entertain."
"You are mistaken, Miss Farnham. Butterflies are useful creatures, as are other members of the Lepidoptera family. Butterflies and moths spread pollen amongst plants. Even the ugliest and plainest moth can do that job, just as a butterfly does. They also make a meal for birds."
"My dear Dr. Murray! Do you see butterflies floating through a meadow on a summer morning and only think of them as food for larger creatures?"
He would have told her how long it had been since he'd seen a summer meadow, with or without butterflies adorning it, but he was too aware of the feel of her hand on his arm. She was not applying any pressure at all, but it drew his senses. That butterfly touch, even muted by her gloves and his coat, made him aware of how alien she truly was, how soft and clean and fragrant, so different from the men with whom he spent his days and his nights.
"Miss Daphne Farnham!"
Mrs. Cowper's grating voice broke his concentration, and he looked up from the soft lips of his interlocutor to see her chaperone bearing down on them like a ship of the line. Even in the near dark he saw how pale the older woman's face was. She was also short of breath, but given her size that was to be expected. One could not haul that much weight up and down between decks without strain.
"Mrs. Cowper, are you well?"
She looked at him disdainfully.
"I am well enough, Mr. Murray! I just need to sit down and drink my cordial to feel tip-top again. As for you, miss, you should not be out here. What would your father say?"
Bertha Cowper's jowly cheeks were aquiver with indignation, and small wisps of hair that had dared to escape her tightly pulled bun were sticking to the sweat pouring down her forehead. He started to speak again, but she was still going on.
"And if I need medical attention, I will wait until we are in England and I will consult a proper physician." She punctuated this by grabbing Miss Farnham by the arm in a grip that made Alexander wince for the young woman's sake, and pulled her charge behind her, still talking.
"You should not be speaking to the likes of Mr. Murray, Miss Farnham. He's only a ship's surgeon. You are in enough trouble, young lady, you do not need to be looking for more..."
"But the sailors call him doctor, Mrs. Cowper."
"They are common, and ignorant. You are above him in station and it will not help your reputation to be seen spending time with him or with the other riff-raff aboard this vessel!"
But then an odd thing happened. Even as she was being hauled away, Miss Farnham turned. She smiled at Alexander, a smile of such surpassing sweetness he was struck dumb by the gesture. He could see all too clearly now how even a reasonable man could lose his composure over a cloth-headed young lady.