When an uptight countryside vet and a sexy TV star meet on the cricket pitch, they’re both knocked for six!
Henry Fitzwalter is a solid sort of chap. A respectable rural vet and no stranger to tweed, he is the lonely inhabitant of crumbling Longley Parva Manor.
Captain George Standish-Brookes is everyone’s favorite shirtless TV historian. Heroic, handsome and well-traveled, he is coming home to the village where he grew up.
Henry and George’s teenage friendship was shattered by the theft of a cup, the prize in a hard-fought, very British game of cricket. When they resolve their differences thanks to an abandoned foal, it’s only a matter of time before idyllic Longley Parva witnesses one of its wildest romances, between a most unlikely couple of fellows.
Yet with a golf-loving American billionaire and a money-hungry banker threatening this terribly traditional little corner of Sussex, there’s more than love at stake. A comedy of cricket, coupling and criminality, with a splash of scandal!
About the Author
Catherine Curzon is a royal historian who writes on all matters of 18th century. Her work has been featured on many platforms and Catherine has also spoken at various venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Dr Johnson’s House.
Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.
She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.
Eleanor Harkstead often dashes about in nineteenth-century costume, in bonnet or cravat as the mood takes her. She can occasionally be found wandering old graveyards, and is especially fond of the ones in Edinburgh. Eleanor is very fond of chocolate, wine, tweed waistcoats and nice pens. She has a large collection of vintage hats, and once played guitar in a band. Originally from the south-east, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead 2018. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.
What on earth are they feeding these babies?
Another ruddy-cheeked mother passed her enormous child to Henry. He balanced it on his hip, smiling politely as he jiggled it up and down.
“What a lovely boy!”
Puppies, kittens, foals, lambs, calves and piglets were more Henry Fitzwalter’s style, the daily business of a countryside vet. He was at ease around them. But not human babies—they were strange and alien beasts indeed. The infant reached out its pudgy hand and tugged Henry on the nose, yanked Henry’s neatly trimmed sideburn then grabbed a length of his hair and pulled.
Henry winced. “Certainly a strong ’un!”
“Daniel, you bad boy!” His mother at least had the grace to be contrite regarding her infant’s outrageous thuggery, and wrestled the unfeasibly large child from Longley Parva’s vet.
Nestled in the South Downs, Longley Parva had been the home of Henry’s family for generations. And today, on this sunny Sunday afternoon, Longley Parva was closed for a street party to raise funds for the roof of the village hall.
Daniel was swapped for another child, who came accompanied by the odor of milk. Henry bounced the baby and it cooed at him. It appeared to be a little girl, judging by how frilly its outfit was, and although it was almost entirely bald, it was wearing a sequined Alice band.
A car tooted, an engine revved. A nearby shout of, “The road’s closed for the party—what’s the bloody matter with people?”
Women’s Institute stalwart Mrs. Fortescue tutted. “Mind your language in front of the babies!”
Henry, ignoring the baby’s grip on his knitted tie, stared from his vantage point at the top of the village’s High Street toward the other end, where barriers and stalls were being shifted as a car approached.
A classic car in British racing green nosed its way toward him. He knew it, because it had been tootling around the village for Henry’s whole life and for decades before that too. Everyone in England knew it, because this was the soft-top Jaguar of Captain George Standish-Brookes. This was the soft-top Jaguar that had transported its driver and his popular histories straight into the nation’s hearts.
Henry clenched his jaw. That bloody man.
Cries of “It’s Captain George!” filled the street, the Longley Parvans nudging one another and grinning, some even waving as the car wound its way along the crowded road. The final of the Bonny Baby Competition was forgotten.
George drove into the center of the village like the returning hero he was, classic Wayfarers hiding his eyes, the car horn blaring merrily and a crowd following as though the Red Sea had just parted.
George—Henry’s childhood friend through thick and thin, until the day the Longley Parva Cup disappeared. George—the television historian with the knowing wink and dazzling smile. George, who sailed through life without a care in the world, waving now at the locals as he drove toward the podium with one hand on the steering wheel.
The handsome bastard.
Of course the road closure didn’t apply to George, even though the vicar on his bicycle had been turned away and told to come back on foot. Rules never applied to Captain George Standish-Brookes. Not at school, not in his Bohemian home, and now, not at the village fête.
George made his own rules.
Unable to raise a hand in polite though grudging welcome without dropping the baby, Henry gave George a terse nod.
“Fitz!” George turned off the ignition and the car, somehow, came to rest at just the right angle for a classic car shoot. He pushed open the door and hopped out onto the green, a vision of easy, casual confidence in cricket sweater and chinos, his dark hair tousled just so, the sun glinting from the face of his watch.
Who still wears a watch these days, anyway?
Captain George did, because then he could wear a regimental watch strap too.
“What a welcome.” George laughed, pushing the Wayfarers up into his hair. He looked around at the bunting and sausage rolls, the orange squash and bonny babies. “Have I crashed a party?”
Henry clenched his jaw. “I suppose those sunglasses prevented you from being able to read the sign at the top of the road, Captain George? ‘Street party—strictly no entrance’. You nearly mowed down half the village, you fool!”
He had forgotten that he was standing in front of a microphone. After a blast of feedback, his sarcastic reprimand echoed down the bustling street.
“Shut up, vet’n’ry!” someone shouted from the crowd.