Galloping at full speed with the wind blowing her hair out of its formerly neat and tidy style and sure she’d lost several ribbons in the process, The Honorable Matilda—Maud—Somerset almost flew over the neck of her horse when she pulled on the reins too hard.

Her mother standing on the porch of their country house, clearly agitated, was enough to cause Maud consternation. “It appears we’re in trouble again, Khan.”

Two grooms appeared. One took control of her large black horse and one assisted her off the animal’s back.

As soon as she was on her feet, her mother strode over to her. In a tone as frosty as if were mid-January instead of July, said, “Would it be unreasonable for me to expect a bit of decorum from you? Here you are dressed again in some long-deceased female’s gown you found in the attic and acting like a hoyden.”

“I was merely exercising Khan. What harm is there in that?”

“When you’ve been told the mother and father of the young man your uncle and father have chosen as your potential groom are coming to call, I do expect you to be ready and properly attired.” Her mother flicked one of the loose ribbons. “I blame your father. He should never have allowed you to learn about firearms, swords and crossbows. He’s ruined you.”


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