Lady Drusilla's Road to Ruin

Lady Drusilla's Road to Ruin
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MAD DASH TO GRETNA!Considered a spinster, Lady Drusilla Rudney has only one role in life: to chaperon her sister. So when her flighty sibling elopes Dru knows she has to stop her! She employs the help of a fellow travelling companion, who looks harmless enough…Ex-army captain John Hendricks is intrigued by this damsel in distress. Once embroiled with her in a mad dash across England, he discovers that Dru is no simpering woman. Her unconventional ways make him want to forget his gentlemanly conduct…and create a scandal all of their own!

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Mr Hendricks swore aloud, then said in a more moderate tone, ‘The upper classes are all quite mad. I had hoped for a time that you were proving to be otherwise, for your request to go to Scotland was within the bounds of possibility. But you are blessed with a stubbornness that is well outside the bounds of sanity, and a single-mindedness that could wear reason down to a nub.’

‘At least I am consistent, Mr Hendricks.’

‘You are that, My Lady.’

And then Dru tried something that had not occurred to her before, and dipped her head slightly, doing her best at a shy smile, as her sister would have done when trying to charm a man. Then she looked up at him through her long dark lashes. ‘I am sorry to have been such a bother. You have done your best to keep me safe, and I have much to be grateful for. If you can help me in this one last thing, I will see to it that you are properly rewarded for the inconvenience of it.’

He laughed. ‘So it has come to this, has it? You mean to use your wiles on me now that all else has failed.’ There was a strange pause before his response, as he stared boldly back at her in challenge. ‘And how might you reward me if I risk my neck for you?’


When I sat down to write LADY FOLBROKE’S DELICIOUS DECEPTION I had a pretty good idea of the communication problem between the two main characters. But beyond that there was nothing but a grey area, and a lot of silence. If Emily had friends, she wasn’t telling me. And, other than drinking and fighting, Adrian didn’t seem to have much of a social life. The more people I added, the more likely these two were to come to an understanding before I could start their story. It was a conundrum.

And then John Hendricks arrived and sorted out my plot for me. As always, he was timely and efficient, hovering just on the edge of the plot, stepping forward when I needed him and disappearing when I didn’t.

It was a thankless job. But I had birthed him into an era when he had no reason to expect anything more than being a secondary character. And yet I liked him. I thought he deserved better. When he decided to storm off at the end of my last book I was eager to know where he’d end up.

And then I met Drusilla. And that explained everything.

About the Author

CHRISTINE MERRILL lives on a farm in Wisconsin, USA, with her husband, two sons, and too many pets—all of whom would like her to get off the computer so they can check their email. She has worked by turns in theatre costuming, where she was paid to play with period ballgowns, and as a librarian, where she spent the day surrounded by books. Writing historical romance combines her love of good stories and fancy dress with her ability to stare out of the window and make stuff up.

Previous novels by Christine Merrill:



(part of A Yuletide Invitation)


(part of Halloween Temptations)

And in Mills & Boon>® HistoricalUndone!eBooks:



Lady Drusilla’s

Road to Ruin

Christine Merrill

To Jim, James and Sean:

for holding down the fort.

Chapter One

John Hendricks took a sip from his flask and leaned back into his corner of the northbound mail coach, stretching his legs in an effort to take up as much space as he could before another passenger encroached on his person. After the week he’d had, he was in no mood or condition to be packed cheek to jowl with strangers.

Mr Hendricks, if there is something else you have to say on your hopes for my future, know that I decided on the matter from the first moment I laid eyes on Adrian Longesley. Nothing said by another is likely to change me on the subject.

The words were still ringing in his ears, three days later. And with each repetition of them the heat of his embarrassment flared anew. The woman was married, for God’s sake, and above his station. She’d made her uninterest in him plain enough. If he’d suffered in silence, as he had for three years, he could have kept his job and his pride. Instead, he’d been so obvious in his infatuation that he’d forced her to speak the truth aloud.

He took another swig from the flask. If the blush on his cheeks was visible in the darkness, better to let the others think it was from drunkenness and not the shame of unrequited love.

Adrian had known all along, of course. And would have allowed him to continue as a part of the household, if he’d not made such an ass of himself. But once it was out in the open, there was nothing to do but give up his position and slink away from London.

John’s feelings for his old friend rose in a tangle of jealousy, pity and embarrassment at his own behaviour. Despite all that had happened, he liked and respected Adrian, and had enjoyed working for him. But what did it say of his own character that he’d even consider stealing the wife of a man who would need her support and unwavering love as the last of his vision faded?

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