Richard Armitage shares the newest/steamiest “Obsession” trailer, March 24, 2023 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1517)

Thanks to the multi-talented British actor Richard Armitage for sharing this newest and steamiest “Obsession” trailer (below)!

“Obsession” is a 3 episode mini-series for tv—with at least a German tv release date of April 13 (thanks to @violetta_m_, via RABulgaria & TeresaA):

So hopefully, the other languages and countries will also soon have release dates as well.

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, & peaceful day! Hugs, Love, & Cheers!  Grati ;->

Posted in "Obsession" 2023 (formerly "Damage"), Drama, Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, intrigue, Love and Relationships, Lust, Netflix, Richard Armitage, Romance, smoulder, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Lonesome Lord,”  Ch. 07:  The Woodbury Castle Garden Party, by Gratiana Lovelace, March 20, 2023 (Post #1516)

all rights reserved by Gratiana Lovelace; copyrighted 2023); [(1) Story Cover, below left]

0aaaA-LonesomeLord-story-cover-wText_Jan21-2023byGratiL-szd256x402-HiRes-clr-brt-brdr-smlrIllustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors  or illustrations, including:  Richard Armitage as Lord Pendleton  MacKittrick (aka Lord Mac to the Carpenter family), Justine Waddell as the widowed Corinne Carpenter, various Noah Carpenter illustrations, Bill Peterson as Dr. Finneas Lively, Samantha Bond as Lady Anne Elizabeth Pendleton, and others as noted.

Author’s Notes:  This original Regency romance is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes, locations, historical, medical topics, or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author—visit the reference links to learn more about them.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love, marriage, and Regency society put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.

                                                   Ch. 07:  The Woodbury Castle Garden Party

An ecstatic Noah does get to sit atop and then ride a small pony girl named Saffron in the corral with Lord MacKittrick watchfully walking by him in the days leading up to the Saturday, June 22, 1820 Woodbury Castle Garden Party for Woodbury Village and surrounding area.

And with about two hundred souls planning to attend the Woodbury Castle fete during this four hour event, Lord MacKittrick and his Aunt Lady Anne–serving as his co-hostess–will have a very large group of attendees.  But of course, the Woodbury Castle tenants, village, and county attendees will come in waves—with no one wanting to leave their homes or estates unattended, lest marauders or thieves try to take advantage of the situation.

So Lord MacKittrick and Lady Anne comprise a very short receiving line for their visitors at the 1pm and then later at the 3pm influxes of their guests.

Lord MacKittrick: “Welcome Vicar and Mrs. Jacobs and family! I hope that you enjoy the lovely weather that we are having today”  Lord MacKittrick  greets them warmly—as his Aunt Lady Pendleton has had him practicing on daily.  Her having recognized that her nephew Pendleton’s only deficits as a gentlemen being his lack of experience in conversing easily in formal and informal situations. So she guides him, as his mother would have—had his Mama, Papa, and his brother Dartmouth not been murdered by highwaymen twenty two years ago.

Vicar Jacobs: “I thank you for your kind invitation on behalf of my family, Lord MacKittrick and Lady Pendleton.”  He bows and moves along.

Lady Anne is quite please with her nephew Pendleton seeming to come out of his shell and converse more easily with his guests than he would have previously. And she attributes this to her reminding him that his guests will likely be very nervous about meeting him, their feudal Lord—such that he need not be anxious about how he will be perceived, since he will be focusing upon how his guests feel.

And it helps that Lady Anne encourages her nephew Pendleton to oversee the children’s play area since he seems to be less nervous around children—which she surmises is due to him becoming friends with Mrs. Carpenter, her six year old son Noah, and her [almost 10] month old baby daughter Nancy.  And Lady Anne suggested–and her nephew Pendleton Lord MacKittrick adopted her advice–to have young Noah Carpenter at his side during the games to provide his insightful childlike observations to Lord Mac.

And in point of fact, Lord MacKittrick is unconsciously also serving as young Noah’s in loco parentis for Noah at the children’s games—with Noah’s Mama Corrine enjoying some tea and conversation under one of the many tents providing shade and seating for the ladies after they have perused the various vendor booths and have purchased ribbons, toys, etc.

First up is Lawn bowling/skittles [(2)]. And since the bright sun is making things warmer, Lord MacKittrick removes and sets his jacket and cravat aside and rolls up his shirt sleeves for coolness.  He smiles at the first eight small children in four teams of two each.

Lord MacKittrick: “Alright children, we have ten wooden pins set up about ten feet away in each of these four lanes bordered by string.  For each team, your object…”  Lord Mac stops when young Noah elbows him in his leg with his good arm.  “What?”  He quizzically looks down at young Noah.

Noah: “Object?”  He raises his small eyebrow in confusion.

Lord MacKittrick:  “Ah!  What I meant to say was, each team’s goal is to knock over as many pins as you can by rolling your small twig ball in your lane, like this.”  Lord MacKittrick rolls his [twig] ball all the way to the pins and knocks half of them over.  “Any questions?”

There seeming to be no questions from the still slightly shy younger children, the bowling play begins.  Initially, the young children do not roll the twig ball hard enough and it stops after three feet.  So the children pick it up again and roll it some more—repeating these efforts until they reach the wooden pins, which they then knock over with great cheer.

Lord MacKittrick: “Well done, everyone!”  He praises.  “Now enjoy playing a few more rounds of skittles bowling, before you go to the next play area.”

Leaving a Woodbury Castle grounds man to oversee the bowling, Lord MacKittrick picks up his jacket and cravat—draping them over his arm—and then he waves goodbye to the children, and they wave back to him.

Then Lord MacKittrick and Noah walk over to the next children’s nearby play area of hoops tossing, before the table top draughts, bobbing for apples, tree swinging, charades, and foot races.  The children will also rotate as a group through each of these activities about every twenty minutes, before being given refreshments to enjoy.

So when Lord Mac and young Noah reach the final children’s play game area of foot races, after only three groups of children rotations—since Lord Mac merely introduces himself at each subsequent games station play area that is overseen by a groundskeeper—Noah sees that the other children have doffed their shoes and socks and he does so accordingly.

Noah: “Well?”  He looks challengingly at Lord Mac.

Lord Mac: “Well what?”  He asks amusedly.

Noah: “You should take off your boots and socks before you race, too?”

Lord Mac: “Me?  Race?  No no, this game is for you children.”  He smiles affably.

Noah: “Well children …”  Noah intones conspiratorially.  “Shall we invite Lord Mac to also race with us?”

Children: “Yes! Race, race, race!” The children jump up and down, clap, and cheer for Lord MacKittrick to join them.

Naturally, each of  the children’s minders—be they their parent or their nurse—[bemusedly] smile broadly at Lord MacKittrick as he sits on a nearby wooden bench and he obligingly  removes his boots and socks, setting them aside and also laying his jacket and cravat over the back of the wooden bench. It is unheard of for a proper Englishman to so display his bare feet in public.  But then what is proper for adults is more tedious than what is properly more fun for children.   Then Lord MacKittrick joins the children at the start line—bare toes and all. The race route will take them to a purposely situated flower pot about twenty feet away that they must run around and then head back to the starting line to finish the race.

Grounds Keeper: “Ready, Set, …”

Noah: “Lord Mac?  Since you have longer legs and can run faster than us, perhaps you will give us a running start?”  He asks politely.  The rest of the racing children bob their heads up and down in agreement.

Lord Mac: “Very well. I accept. I will count to five after you start running, then I will start running myself.”  He nods his head to the Grounds Keeper to resume the racing countdown.

Grounds Keeper:  “Ready, set. GO!”

And the children begin to run pell mell toward the flower pot—as their racing course turn around spot.  And after Lord MacKittrick counts to five, he also takes off running!  Lord Mac’s long legs do indeed eat up the distance between him and the children. Though he is slowed down a bit by a young child who tumbled over and sits crying at being left behind.  So Lord Mac scoops up the little boy and then continues on racing with him under his arm. The rest of the children have just run around the flower pot as Lord Mac begins to catch up with them, when a teary eyed little girl child also falls and sits down—her now holding her arms up to Lord MacKittrick.  So Lord Mac scoops up the little girl in his other arm and he races around the flower pot.

With Lord MacKittrick now carrying forty pounds of children under each arm as he races to the finish line, he  is somewhat hampered in his ability to catch up with the children.  As it happens, the fleet footed Noah Carpenter crosses the finish line with two other boys and girls, followed by several other children.  Then Lord Mac and the two children being carried under his arms cross the finish line and he sits them and himself down in a heap of laughing exhaustion.

All of the children in the race now surround Lord MacKittrick patting his head, arms, and shoulders in congratulating him upon also crossing the finish line, as he heartedly laughs and smiles.  This has been more fun that he has had since he was a young child, before his parents and brother were killed, so many years ago.

Then after farewelling the first half of their Garden Party invitees, a thoroughly disheveled Lord MacKittrick races inside Woodbury Castle for a quick bath and change of clothing.  Then at 3pm, the second half of invitees arrive and he stays with the receiving line longer, since his Aunt Lady Anne Pendleton’s guest of Dr. Lively attends her with his children and his grandchildren.   Lord MacKittrick smiles happily for his young forty  year old Aunt Lady Anne to have the prospect of having her own family some day—should their courtship prove fruitful.

And during the Woodbury Castle Garden Party latter half of guests, Lord MacKittrick plans to spend more time with the adults—after greeting all of the children heading off to the games—with him particularly hoping to be able to chat with the widowed Mrs. Corinne Carpenter for a bit before she returns home for the day.

As Lord MacKittrick finishes the Woodbury Castle Garden Party’s 2nd receiving line for its latter half of invitees, he looks around, but he does not see Mrs. Corinne Carpenter with her baby Nancy.  So he dashes inside his Woodbury Castle home to look for her there—in case she is nursing her daughter privately.  He has guessed well, when he finds the widowed Corinne  Carpenter just exiting the  ladies retiring room lounge attended to by a maid that they have set up on the ground floor for when they host balls or—as in the case of today–garden parties.  There is also a smaller men’s lounge down the hall that is attended to by a footman

Lord MacKittrick: “Mrs. Carpenter!”  He uses her formal address, but his manner is so joyfully excited to get a chance to talk with her privately, that she is quite bowled over by his exuberant informality.

Corinne: “Oh goodness!  You startled me, Lord MacKittrick!”  She flutters her hand at her neck.

Lord MacKittrick:  “I am abjectly apologetic about that, Mrs. Carpenter.  But I hope to …”  He pauses, him shyly wondering if he should state his interest in Corinne so forwardly.

Corinne: “You hope to …?” She prompts him as she cradles her baby Nancy in her arms.

Lord MacKittrick: “Well I, … hope to …” Then he is saved.

Noah:  “I see that you found me, Lord Mac.” Young Noah Carpenter sidles up to him and clasps his good right hand in Lord Mac’s left hand.

Lord MacKittrick: “Why … yes, I did.  We did.”

Corinne: “Oh?”  She smiles knowingly at Lord Mac’s seemingly friendly bond with her young son.

Lord MacKittrick: “Well, what I meant to say was that …I  hope to chat with you as well, Mrs. Carpenter.”  He smiles shyly at the young and pretty widow Corinne Carpenter.

Noah: “See Mama?  I told you Lord Mac likes you.”  Noah smiles preeningly—which startles both Lord Mac and his Mama Corinne.

Lord MacKittrick: “Kkkkhhh!”  He coughs in nervousness for the boy’s announcement of his partiality for Corinne.

Corinne: Her eyebrows rise in astonishment, then she blushes crimson and lowers her eyes to her young son.  “That is kind of you to say, Noah Dear.  It is a happy occurrence when neighbors like and are friendly with each other.”  She hopes that she has diffused her son Noah’s childlike wont of discretion.  She has not.

Noah:  “Thank you, Mama!  But I thought that if Uncle Finn marries Lady Anne, then you could marry Lord Mac.  And then we would be one big family.”  A family with him having a new father figure is what Noah wants and needs.

Lord MacKittrick: “You honor me with your liking me as a friend, Noah.”  He also discreetly  tries to disguise the feeling of anxious hope within him for his developing feelings for Corinne.  “As do you, Madam.”  He smiles and nods at Corinne.

Corinne:  “Thank you, Lord MacKittrick. I am grateful for our neighborly friendship as well.”  She states politely and with a benign facial expression—though her cheeks are still blushing crimson.  As a Lady, Corinne will not reveal more about her own feelings about or toward Lord MacKittrick.  Let alone, because she has only been widowed [almost] seven months now and she is still in mourning for her beloved late husband Franklin Carpenter.

Then a footman interrupts them by holding out a [small] silver  tray to Mrs. Carpenter with a single calling card placed upon it.  She picks up [the calling card and reads it]—at once happy, and then anxious.

Lord Mac: “Who is it, Mrs. Carpenter?”  Lord Mac gazes soulfully into her eyes.  And he wonders how an acquaintance of hers would know to find her at his home?

Noah:  “Mama?” He soothingly pats her arm.

Corinne:  “It is … it is my Grandpapa Lively, Lord Livingston.”  Corinne looks uncertainly into Lord Mac’s sincere eyes.  Then she remembers herself and asks the Footman.  “And where is Lord Livingston now?”

Footman: “I seated him in the Blue Parlor, Madam and your Lordship.”  He states respectfully.  “And he bade me send another footman with his card to Dr. Lively at the garden party.”

Lord MacKittrick: “Well!”  He rubs his hands together.  “This should be …  interesting?”  He nods and smiles kindly to Corinne.  She absentmindedly nods back to Lord Mac.  Then he turns to his Footman.  “Please have refreshments for five conveyed to the Blue Parlor—and please take Noah to invite Dr. Lively and my Aunt Lady Anne to join us, whilst Noah plays with Dr. Lively’s grandchildren.”  Noah looks forward to more playtime.  And his Mama Corinne and Lord Mac are relieved to have Noah occupied.

Then they all converge upon the Blue Parlor to meet their esteemed guest.

To be continued with Chapter 08

References for  Ch. 07 of  “A Lonesome Lord”, March  20, 2023  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1516)

  1. My “A Lonesome Lord ” story logo is a composite of a portrait of British actor Richard Armitage from 2020 by An Le, and Harrington text on a teal background.
  2. For more about Lawn bowling/skittles, please visit

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site  link for  Ch. 07  “A Lonesome Lord”,  March 20,  2023  (#1516):

Previous SAL blog Post # 1514  link  for  Ch. 06 of “A Lonesome Lord”,  March 12, 2023:

Posted in "A Lonesome Lord" (2023) by Gratiana Lovelace, Creative Writing, Family, Fiction, Friendship, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obsession Netflix release on April 13, 2023! March 18, 2023 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1515)


Hoping all language versions of the multi-talented British actor Richard Armitage‘s new 3 episode mini-series “Obsession” are released by Netflix worldwide on April 13th as well!

Thanks for sharing @violetta_m, RABulgaria & TeresaA!

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, & peaceful day! Hugs, Love, & Cheers!  Grati ;->

Posted in "Obsession" 2023 (formerly "Damage"), Drama, Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, intrigue, Love and Relationships, Lust, Richard Armitage, Romance, Sexy SatuRdAy, smoulder, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Lonesome Lord,”  Ch. 06:  Party planning & more bonding time, by Gratiana Lovelace, March 12, 2023 (Post #1514) 

all rights reserved by Gratiana Lovelace; copyrighted 2023); [(1) Story Cover, below left]

0aaaA-LonesomeLord-story-cover-wText_Jan21-2023byGratiL-szd256x402-HiRes-clr-brt-brdr-smlrIllustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors  or illustrations, including:  Richard Armitage as Lord Pendleton  MacKittrick (aka Lord Mac to the Carpenter family), Justine Waddell as the widowed Corinne Carpenter, Noah Carpenter illustration, Bill Peterson as Dr. Finneas Lively, Samantha Bond as Lady Anne Elizabeth Pendleton, and others as noted.

Author’s Notes:  This original Regency romance is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes, locations, historical, medical topics, or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author—visit the reference links to learn more about them.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love, marriage, and Regency society put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.

Ch. 06:  Party planning & more bonding time

It takes only one week for planning the Woodbury Castle Garden Party for the Woodbury Village area—with another week of organizing the food, local vendors booths,  games , and such to come.  And her being  now  fully recovered from her poison ivy allergic reaction,  Lady Anne Pendleton as Lord MacKittrick’s closest female relative visiting him for several weeks is his natural hostess.

But with Lady Anne not knowing the details of the Woodbury Village  shop keepers and surrounding landowner farmers, she enlists her new friend the Widow Corinne Carpenter for advice on what food and vendor options are available as they take tea together at Woodbury Castle on Saturday, June 15th, 1820.

Lady Anne: “Thank you for visiting with me for afternoon tea today, Corinne Dear, as we sort out the final invitations lists  for guests and vendor booths.  But where is young Noah?” Lady Anne asks as Corinne sweetly cuddles her dozing baby Nancy.

Corinne: “Oh, thank you for your kind invitation, Lady Anne.  And my young son Noah commandeered Lord MacKittrick almost as soon as we arrived. Ha ha ha!”  She chuckles.  “I believe Noah is looking forward to a pony ride today, due to Lord MacKittrick’s kind invitation.”

Lady Anne:  “Oh yes, my nephew Pendleton mentioned that he and young Noah were going to do that and then devise some children friendly games for Woodbury Castle’s  fete next Saturday.”

Corinne: “Yes, Lord MacKittrick is most patient and encouraging of my young son Noah.  And Noah likes his Lord Mac very much.”

Lady Anne:  “Yes, it is almost as if …”  But she hesitates to reveal her opinion of her nephew.

Corinne:  “As if, My Lady?”

Lady Anne: “Well, as if Pendleton were reliving his childhood through young Noah–since with his parents and brother’s death, Pendleton’s childhood was cut short when he was just eight years old.

Corinne: “How heartbreakingly devastating that must have been for Lord MacKittrick as a young child then—to lose both of his parents and his older brother.”  She says compassionately.  Lady Anne nods somberly.

Lady Anne: “My then unmarried brother Arthur Pendleton became our nephew Pendleton’s legal Guardian and lived with him for ten years in Pendleton’s childhood.  And though my brother  Arthur was well meaning regarding the decision to keep our nephew home for his private tutoring as a means of protecting him from harm, it did not allow Pendleton to develop childhood friendships, as boys normally do when they are allowed to attend school.  It was only when Pendleton went away to University that he made some … friends.”  Lady Anne was not fond of some of her nephew’s university friends, since some of them were big drinkers and gamblers.  Though as far as she knows, her nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick never crossed the boundaries of being a gentleman noble.

Corinne:  “And I understand that Lord MacKittrick has invited three of his old university friends with families to also come for the fete.”

Lady Anne:  “Yes.  We will see if they have matured, since they have families now.”  Lady Anne raises a censorious brow.

Corinne:  “Oh!  And I have something for you, Lady Anne.” Corinne smiles knowingly.  “From … Dr. Lively …my uncle.”  Lady Anne looks up in surprise.  “Yes, he told me that he took you into his confidence, so as to allay for you any misconceptions about his and my … relationship.”

Lady Anne:  “Yes, Corinne, Dear.  And I promise you that I will keep your and his confidence.”  Corinne holds out a small wax sealed note on fine stationery to Lady Anne.  “Oh!”  Lady Anne blushes pink at receiving a note from Dr. Lively.  And she stares at his missive for a moment, before opening it.  Then silently she reads the socially proper  message contained therein.

Dr. Lively’s note to Lady Anne:
Dear Lady Anne,  I am most happy to see you returning to health after your recent illness. And with you now helping Lord Woodbury with the Woodbury Garden Party for the Village and area planning, I offer my assistance in any way to help with that endeavor.  I have been physician to this area but three months, yet I find myself feeling quite at home with its kind and industrious citizens.

And now my acquaintance has expanded to yourself, I find myself looking forward to our next meeting.  Since I will be attending to young Noah Carpenter’s splinted broken arm whilst he is at Woodbury Castle today, I hope that I might also see you. I have been widowed for ten long years and find that my thoughts have taken a brighter turn now that I have met you.  However, if you do not wish to expand our acquaintainceship via courtship, I will respect your decision.  You need only reply to me in the negative, and I will cease my overtures to you.

I remain your humble servant, Finneas Lively, M.D.” 

Lady Anne blushes crimson at the thought of having a suitor in Dr. Lively–at her decidedly spinster age of forty years.  Yet, she is intrigued also.  And though Corinne has smilingly watched Lady Anne’s blushing and smiling in reading her Uncle Finn’s note to her with great interest, she will not press Lady Anne to share the contents of the note—unless Lady Anne wishes to share.  Then after reading her letter from Dr. Lively a second time, Lady Anne refolds it and places it in her reticule.  Sadly, women’s clothing do not have pockets, as men’s clothing have.  But this realization gives Lady Anne an idea that she tucks away.

So the two ladies  sip their tea and nosh on their cinnamon [(3)] cakes that the Woodbury Castle Cook made fresh just this morning.

Then they get down to business and make short work of creating two lists for the Woodbury Castle Garden Party planning—one list for vendors for food, fabrics, ribbons, candle making, toys making, furniture making and repair, and blacksmithing (for horse shodding, as well as, iron work fencing), etc.; and the other list contains the names of the Woodbury Village and area  families and Woodbury Castle Tenants families guests.


Meanwhile, six year old Noah Carpenter insists on his promised  horse ride first—before garden party games planning for the fete next Saturday—barely allowing Lord Mac a brief nod in greeting to his Mama Corinne, as Noah grabs Lord Mac’s hand and heads back out the door to follow the carriage to the stables. Lord Mac finds young Noah amusing, and helps guide him to a short cut to the stables.

So Noah and Lord Mac walk eagerly to the Woodbury Castle stone stables to see the horses.  And walking into the Woodbury Castle stables, young Noah is agog with the size and grandeur of the Woodbury Castle stables, with stalls for twenty horses for carriages and riding, as well as, ten empty stalls for guest horses, and a carriages storage area at the back of the stables.

Noah:  Tucking his good right hand into Lord Mac’s left hand–because Noah is overwhelmed with the size of the Woodbury Castle stables–he asks in wonder at the curious horses waiting at their stable doors to be greeted by their master, Lord Mac.  “Are all of these horsies yours?”

Lord Mac: “Why, yes, Noah.  And we actually have several families of horses.  For example, my current riding horse Victory, here, is ….” He beckons to Victory to come to his top half open stall door, and Victory obliges.  Lord Mac gently rubs his nose up to his forehead and ears.   “Well, Victory has been my horse since I graduated from University, eight years ago—and Victory is now ten years old.  And his parent horses, Victor and Regina—who had been my parents’ riding horses—are retired, so to speak, living out their days enjoying the many Woodbury Castle estate horse pastures and streams when they wish.” Lord Mac gestures to the  two horses sharing a larger stall together.

Noah: “That sounds nice.  Does Victory have any horse children?”  Noah asks, hoping to find a smaller pony sized horse for himself. Because Lord Mac’s horse Victory is a very tall and large brown horse.

Lord Mac:  “Indeed he does.” Lord Mac smiles knowingly.  “Victory’s son Charger is in the next stall so that his parent horses Victory and Annabelle may see him.  You see their son horse Charger is only about a year old, and has not reached his final height, because he is still growing.”

Noah: Noah looks warily up at Charger, who is still very tall for a young horse, from the safety of standing slightly behind Lord Mac.  “He is too tall for me.”  Noah pouts, then Lord Mac gently pats his back.  And even if Lord Mac were to show him a small pony sized horse, Noah at six years old is still very young and skittish about riding a horse by himself.

Lord Mac: “Perhaps.  So let us both ride today on my horse Victory, so you can get the feel of being atop a horse, and I’ll hold on to you securely.”  And Lord Mac fondly remembers this is how his older brother Dart acclimated him to horses when he was a five year old.  “Then perhaps this coming week, you might try one of the smaller ponies to ride in the corral, with me walking by your side to watch over you.”

Noah: “Alright.  But no running with the Victory horse.”  A sober faced Noah admonishingly wags his finger at Lord Mac, despite his Mama Corinne’s efforts to curtail her son Noah’s impolite pointing.  Noah is only six years old and they live in the countryside, so he can still get away with breaching polite behavior now and then.

Lord Mac: “Understood.” Lord MacKittrick suppresses a smile and he nods benignly at young Noah.

So Lord Mac’s Head Stable Groom Walker saddles Victory for them.  Lord Mac mounts his horse Victory in one smooth motion after stepping into the stirrup and pushing himself up with great strength, and without the aid of a mounting  block.  Then he walks Victory over to a mounting block that his Head Stable Groom Walker guides Noah to stand upon.  Then Lord Mac reaches down and carefully lifts up Noah to sit in front of him on the horse, before the saddle pummel—so Noah has something to hang on to, in addition to Lord Mac Kittrick placing his arms about him, protectively encasing Noah on both sides–with Lord Mac’s hands on the reins.

Then Lord Mac encourages Victory to walk  slowly out of the stable, to give young Noah time to accustom himself with the horse’s motion.

Noah: “I feel so tall on this horsie.”  And Noah excitedly swings his legs a bit.

Lord Mac: “Now Noah, you must leave your legs still.  Victory might think that you want him to gallop if you kick your legs up and down.  And you said you do not want him to run and gallop yet.”

Noah: “Nooooo!  Good to know.”  Then Noah tenses up and sits very still on the horse.  Even Noah’s face looks frozen in fright.

Lord Mac: “Relax Noah, and let Victory’s lilting walking pace soothe you.”  Lord Mac intones soothingly to the very young six year old Noah.

So Noah tries that, him finding that him holding onto the saddle pummel  for dear life  with only his good right hand, still doesn’t help him feel that he is balancing himself on the horse.

Noah: “I am afraid  I will fall off.”  Noah pleads to Lord Mac.  Noah still wears a sling on his left arm, as his broken arm is still healing.  So learning to ride a horse might be a bit adventurous for young Noah, at present.

Lord Mac: “No you won’t fall off, now that I have you secured with my arm.”  Lord MacKittrick states confidently, as he gently but securely places his arm under Noah’s left arm sling, holding on to Noah’s chest to keep him stabilized on top of the horse.  Which leaves Lord Mac holding both of Victory’s horse reins with his right hand.  And Noah relaxes by leaning back onto Lord Mac’s chest, as his fear slowly abates.

So though Lord Mac will not have his horse Victory do even a gentle canter yet today–due to this being a fearful Noah’s first time on a horse—Noah at least has the experience of starting to learn about riding horses with the gentle horse walk that they are taking toward the back of Woodbury Castle.


And as it happens, Lady Anne and Noah’s Mama Corinne carrying a dozing baby Nancy in her baby sling carrier walk out onto Woodbury Castle’s back terrace to watch Noah’s progress riding on the horse with Lord MacKittrick.  The two ladies wave at Lord Mac and Noah, who slowly head toward them while riding on Lord Mac’s horse Victory.

Lord MacKittrick: “Ladies! Noah and I are glad to see you!” And he especially smiles at Mrs. Carpenter.   And Corinne Carpenter shyly smiles back at him.

Noah:  “Yes, we are!”  Noah grins happily.  “Mama!  I am riding Lord Mac’s horsie Victory!”

Corinne: “I can see that Noah, Dear.  How do you like riding a horse?”

Noah: “Well, I was scared at first, Mama.  Because the horse is so tall, and I was afraid that I would fall off.  But Lord Mac held on to me.  And riding Victory is fun!  But Lord Mac says that he might have a smaller pony sized horse to let me try riding in a few days.”

Lady Anne:  “I am glad to hear that you are enjoying yourselves, Noah, and Pendleton.”  Lady Anne smiles at the small boy Noah, his mother Corinne, and then at her nephew Pendleton. “I have never been much of a rider myself.”

Lord MacKittrick: “We are having a very fine day today for our excursions into nature.  I only hope the weather will be as fine for all of us on next Saturday for the fete.”

Noah: “What is a fet Lord Mac?”

Lord MacKittrick: “Calling something a fete is another way of describing our Woodbury Castle Garden Party and games here next Saturday.”

Noah: “Ohhh!”  Noah nods his head sagely.  Then he startles and looks surprised as he looks over his shoulder at Lord Mac.  “Lord Mac!  We forgot to decide on what games that children can play next Saturday!”

Lord MacKittrick: “Well let us sit up on the terrace and think about the games.  But first, let us remove ourselves from my horse Victory here and let my Head Stable Groom Walker take him back to the stables to be rubbed down and fed.  Noah, since we do not have a mounting block here for you to stand on when you get off Victory, I will hand you off to the groom.”  Then Lord MacKittrick makes his groom aware of Noah’s infirmity.  “Now be careful of Noah’s left arm in his sling.  He is still healing from a broken harm.”

And Lord Mac carefully lowers Noah to the waiting arms of his Head Stable Groom Walker—who then sets Noah upon his feet on the grass.  And though Noah has only been atop a horse for about fifteen minutes, he still feels wobbly now that he is back on solid ground.  So Lord Mac easily dismounts his horse Victory and goes to carefully steady Noah, after handing the horse’s reins to Walker.

Corinne: “Thank you for your kind solicitude of my young son Noah, Lord MacKittrick, and thank you to your Head Stable Groom.” She smiles appreciatively at Lord Mac and then at his Head Stable Groom who leads Victory back toward the Woodbury Castle stables.

Lord MacKittrick:  “It was my pleasure, Mrs. Carpenter.”  Lord Mac gives the widow a shy smile, that softens her perception of the stirringly deep tone and  vibration of his voice.  He is untutored in conversing and making small talk with women, but he so wishes that he were more socially adept and charming like some of his old university friends.

Noah: “Lord Mac?”  Noah tugs at Lord Mac’s sleeve and Lord Mac looks down at him questioningly. “The games?”

Lord MacKittrick:  “Oh?  Right!” Then he rattles off several suggestions to Noah. “For children’s games next Saturday, we could have several areas of lawn bowling, foot races, table top draughts, bobbing for apples, and charades.  What say you, Noah?”

Noah: “Wellll. Dr. Lively also wants to shoot a bow & arrow.”  He reminds Lord Mac.

Lord MacKittrick: “Yes, I had remembered that.  But with so many children of villagers and tenants likely to be about, I do not think we will have room for an archery field.”  Nor a croquet field. Lord Mac does not want to risk the childrens’ safety by exposing them to sharp or heavy objects, like croquet mallets.

Corinne: “That is most prudent, Lord MacKittrick.  And Noah also likes hoops tossing and tree swinging.”

Noah: “Thank you, Mama.  I had forgotten about those play games!”  Noah [(2) right] NoahCarpenter image titled Leende Pojke by Maria Wiik was found at Pinterest Mar12-2023viaGrati smiles sweetly at his Mama Corinne.  Then Noah looks expectantly  at Lord Mac for confirmation of these latter two play games.  And Lord Mac nods.

Lady Anne: “Very well, I have listed those play games and will ask the grounds staff to cordon off a children’s play area for this coming Saturday’s Garden Party. And we will encourage that families will either have a parent or their child’s nurse supervising them.”  For Lady Anne is as much aware as anyone is of the propensity for children to get overly boisterous, when they are unchaperoned.”


Lord MacKittrick: “Shall we return inside for some refreshments? Or has Cook prepared some treats for us to enjoy on the terrace?”  He looks at his Aunt Lady Anne for guidance.

Lady Anne: “I have asked for refreshments to be laid out for us upon the terrace.”  Then she looks up toward the terrace.  “Ah!  And here is Dr. Lively come to visit.”  She smiles cordially at the distinquished looking 60 year old physician.  Though seeing Dr. Lively now after reading his most kind letter makes her blush again.

Dr. Lively:   He walks forward, bows to Lady Anne, then he kisses her hand.  “My Lady Anne. It is delightful to see you again.”

And Lady Anne blushes with Dr. Lively’s gallant attentions to her.  Then he repeats the same greeting and actions to his niece Corinne.  But Lady Anne’s nephew Lord Pendleton is still unknowing of the familial connection between Dr. Lively and Corinne Carpenter, so he is a bit annoyed at the Doctor’s seeming charm to the ladies—especially with Corinne.

Noah: “Hello Dr. Lively!  I rode Lord Mac’s horsie Victory today!”  Noah grins broadly.

Dr. Lively: “Did you now? By yourself?”  He asks in concern.

Lord MacKittrick: “Of course not!”  He snaps.  “I held Noah securely so that he did not fall off the horse.”

Corinne: “Yes, thank you, again, Lord MacKittrick, for taking such good care of my young son Noah.”

And though Lord MacKittrick is glad that Noah is healing, he finds Dr. Lively’s solicitude and innate charm to the ladies and Noah annoying.  And Lord Mac’s face betrays his displeasure, though only his Aunt Lady Anne notices that before Lord Mac schools his features back into a benign expression.

Dr. Lively:  “Well Noah, since I am here now, let me check your splint to see if it needs tightening.”  Noah poutingly submits to this splint tightening which makes him a bit sore. “All done, you are healing nicely Noah.”

Noah: “When may I fish again, and ride my own horse, Uncle Finn?”  Noah’s Mama Corinne and Lord Mac’s Aunt Lady Anne freeze,  And Noah realizes his mistake and winces.  “Sorry, Mama.”

Lord MacKittrick:  “Noah, why did you address Dr. Lively as Uncle?”  He wonders if that is a disguise his Mama uses as a ruse to explain Dr. Lively’s frequent visits to her home are truly to tend to Noah’s splint.  Or is something less respectable going on?  And Lord Mac feels protective of the Widow Carpenter. Though his jealously threatens to consume him.

Lady Anne: Leaning forward to whisper into Corinne’s hear, she advises.  “I think you had best let my nephew Pendleton know that Dr. Lively is your blood Uncle–before he challenges him to a duel over you.”  She adds impishly.  Then Lady Anne most assertively walks over to Dr. Lively and places her arm around his arm, and he pats her hand upon his sleeve with a small smile.

Noah:  “Mama?”

Corinne:  “Well, Noah and Lord MacKittrick.  I have been private about my family connections, also for private reasons.  But to clarify, Dr. Lively is my Uncle—my mother’s brother.”  She smiles benignly at both her Uncle Finn, and at Lord Mac. “So technically, he is Noah’s and baby Nancy’s Great Uncle.”  Dr. Lively nods to Corrine and to Lord Mac.

Lord MacKittrick:  Looking astonished at this turn of events, Lord Mac can only nod curtly and reply.  “Oh!”  And with his mouth still open on that single syllable, his Aunt admonishes him.

Lady Anne:  “Pendleton, Dear.  You had best close your mouth before some flying insect decides to inhabit it.”  And Lord Mac promptly shuts his mouth.

Lord MacKittrick:  Then rising to his position as host today, he apologizes.  “My error, Dr. Lively, and Mrs. Carpenter.”

Then Corinne Carpenter walks over to Lord Mac and similarly touches his arm at the elbow, then whispers so that her young son Noah will not hear her.

Corinne: “Lord MacKittrick, I am sorry for the misunderstanding about my Uncle Finn, Dr. Lively.  It is just that when I married my husband seven years ago, my parents refused to accept us—them hoping that I would have married a wealthy and titled gentleman of their choosing.  And I have had no contact with my parents since, by their choice.  It is only through My Uncle Finn and his father my Grandpapa Lord Livingston that I have any familial contact at all.”  Corinne’s face is saddened in recalling this family rift.

Dr. Lively: “There, there, Corinne.  You are doing your best with your small family—especially given your recent widowhood.  But My Papa, your Grandpapa Livingston sends his regards to you and hopes to visit me soon, as do my own children.  So Papa also wants to see you and meet your children.”

Corinne: “Oh?  Grandpapa is coming here, to Woodbury Village?”  She frets, because her secret will come out to her village acquaintances.

Lord Mac: “Why are you distressed by your grandfather visiting?  Was he hurtful to you?” Lord Mac asks in a whisper to Corinne.

Corinne:  “Oh no!  Quite the opposite!  You see, when my parents rescinded my dowery when I chose to marry my late husband Franklin Carpenter, Grandpapa generously gave me the same dowry amount from his own funds—which allowed Franklin and I to buy our Carpenter Orchard Farm Estates, buildings, and our snug stone cottage, as well as our saving back monies for any of our future sons’ private school & university tuitions and our future daughters’ dowries.  But I do not want this  or my station bandied about the Village.  I am the Widow Carpenter, and that is all anyone needs to know.”

Lord Mac: “Of course.”  He nods about her wish to maintain her privacy.

Dr. Lively: “Well, Corinne, though I will ask Papa to decrease his entourage when he visits me in a few weeks, your Grandpapa rarely complies with such requests.”

Corinne: “True, Uncle Finn.  I was just hoping not to be revealed as Lady Corinne Thackery Carpenter, the daughter of an Earl and the granddaughter of a Marquess.”  She bemoans the likelihood of her secret getting out to the villagers.

Then Lord Mac exchanges astonished glances with his Aunt Lady Anne and then with Corinne.  Yet, the Carpenter Family’s previously undisclosed noble connections that are now revealed,  puts them all upon an equal footing of honesty with each other.  And Lord MacKittrick is even more certain that he does not know how to interact socially with this now revealed  Lady Corinne Carpenter—and her forthright independent streak.

And the upcoming Woodbury Castle Garden Party next weekend will prove to be most interesting as several people and guests  converge upon the fete.

To be continued with Chapter 07

References for  Ch. 06   of  “A Lonesome Lord”,  March  12, 2023  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1514)

  1. My “A Lonesome Lord ” story logo is a composite of a portrait of British actor Richard Armitage from 2020 by An Le, and Harrington text on a teal background.
  2. Image representing a smiling Noah Carpenter, and titled Leende Pojke by Maria Wiik, was found on Pinterest at

3. For the history of cinnamon, please visit

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for  Ch. 06  “A Lonesome Lord”,  March 12,  2023  (#1514):

Previous SAL blog Post # 1513  link  for  Ch. 05 “A Lonesome Lord”,  March 04, 2023:

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“A Lonesome Lord,”  Ch. 05:  Finally playing draughts & piano forte, March 04, 2023 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1513)

 (all rights reserved by Gratiana Lovelace; copyrighted 2023); [(1) Story Cover, below left]

Illustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors  or illustrations, including:  Richard Armitage as Lord Pendleton  MacKittrick (aka Lord Mac to the Carpenter family), Justine Waddell as the widowed Corinne Carpenter, Noah Carpenter illustration, Bill Peterson as Dr. Finneas Lively, Samantha Bond as Lady Anne Elizabeth Pendleton, and others as noted.

Author’s Notes:  This original Regency romance is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes, locations, historical, medical topics, or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author—visit the reference links to learn more about them.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love, marriage, and Regency society put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.

Ch. 05:  Finally playing draughts & piano forte

Though it takes several days for Lord MacKittrick’s Aunt Lady Anne Pendleton to recover from her Wednesday June 5th, 1820 poison ivy allergic reaction, she is made much more comfortable  by the loan of the young widow Corinne Carpenter’s  two aloe  vera plants—whose leaves’ healing sap Dr. Lively applies judiciously mornings and evenings to her rash covered skin–so as to have enough aloe vera sap throughout her recovery without killing the plants, via using fresh batches of his burdock leaves for the midday applications.

Naturally, Mrs. Carpenter had to return home that Wednesday afternoon with her children after seeing that Lady Anne was on the mend.  You see, since Lady Anne as Mrs. Carpenter’s offered chaperone for her visiting the bachelor home of Lord MacKittrick, could not leave her bedroom—so Mrs. Carpenter could not stay at or further visit  Woodbury Castle.  And Corinne has to suffice with brief daily visits of her Uncle Dr. Lively to her Carpenter Orchard farms home’s lovely stone manor —on his way to, or back from attending Lady Anne at Woodbury Castle—for updates on how Lady Anne fares and for him conveying Corinne’s notes of well wishes to Lady Anne.

And not unsurprisingly, Lord Mac begins to notice Dr. Lively’s repeated references to Lady Anne of the Widow Carpenter’s solicitude on her behalf, that Lord Mac is made unsettled by it.  Then when Dr. Lively slips a time or two and familiarly refers to Mrs. Carpenter  as Corinne, Lord Mac is made more suspicious of Dr. Lively developing a tendre for the young and lovely widow Mrs. Corinne Carpenter.  Well, afterall, there is a connection  between Dr. Lively and Corinne Carpenter—that of blood Uncle and niece, he is her mother’s brother.  But Lord Mac does not know of that familial relationship.

And in Dr. Lively’s kind doctoring of his Aunt Lady Anne, Lord Mac observes the man’s innate charm as being possibly that which some vulnerable ladies might find pleasing.  Oh, Dr. Lively’s  manner with his Aunt Lady Anne is kind and respectful, in Lord Mac’s view. But it still disturbs  Lord Mac that his Aunt Lady Anne seems to be warming to Dr. Lively.  And Lord Mac wonders if the young and lovely Mrs. Carpenter is also responding to Dr. Lively’s charm—despite that Dr. Lively being thirty five years her senior at sixty years of age.

So Lord Mac must wait it out and still his tongue while his Aunt Lady Anne is convalescing with Dr. Lively’s medical aid. But Lord Mac becomes a tad more surly and snappish at the doctor—beyond Lord Mac’s usual taciturn ways.  Such that Lady Anne notices and admonishes her nephew Pendleton/Lord Mac on Saturday, June 8th, 1820 at the first breakfast she is allowed out of bed to attend in a lightweight day frock that does not irritate her still healing poison ivy rashes.

Lady Anne gracefully walks into Woodbury Castle’s lovely breakfast room in the conservatory and she gazes out upon the lovely flower garden.  It is a testament to her own fortitude that she does not begrudge the flowers for luring her to them and then she became infected with poison ivy lurking within their depths. Nor does she blame the Woodbury Castle gardeners for not removing any toxic plants. Though she did make that hint to her nephew and he has set his gardeners to that task.

Lord Mac:  “Aunt Lady Anne, how good it is to see you at breakfast again.”  He smiles warmly at her as he stands up from the table.

Lady Anne: “Again?  If you’ll recall nephew, I  breakfasted alone the day that I became ill with the poison ivy. You were still sleeping in your bed.”  She does not directly convey that her lack of companionship in her nephew that day contributed to her seeking out the garden flowers–and ultimately, to her coming into contact with poison ivy.  Yet, Lord Mac winces.

Lord Mac: “Aunt, my apologies for my tardiness that day.  I work late into the night on estate matters most days, so I tend to sleep until 9 o’clock in the morning.  And though I have altered my hours during your convalescence—by curtailing my attention to business matters—I will need to return to them.”

Lady Anne: “Yes, and I am grateful for your attention to my care—with Dr. Lively attending me.  However I am returning to full health and I wish to begin socializing.”

Lord Mac: “Is that wise?  Are you certain that you feel well enough to socialize?” He asks, concerned for her welfare. And this business of having the care of someone—or indeed, a family—is new for Lord Mac at thirty years of age.  His tenant dependents are another matter entirely—for his attending to the practicalities of fixing roofs or expanding drainage, etc., he deems to be improvements to his land and properties, though his tenants do also benefit from his largesse.

Lady Anne: “Oh, do not be a mother hen.  I am only speaking of the Carpenter Family coming to visit us this day.  I have had my footman take a note to Corrine inviting she and the children for a visit.  I hear from Dr. Lively that young Noah longs to play draughts with you, as well as wishing to hear his mother play your piano forte.”

Lord Mac:  “Aunt!   You act rather rashly—no pun intended—given that Woodbury Castle and estates is my home and not yours.  It is I who should be issuing invitations, not you.”

Lady Anne: Smiling knowingly at her now seemingly skittish nephew.  “But you did issue them an invitation to visit Woodbury Castle, when we were at their home earlier this week. I simply let Corinne know that I am now well enough now to watch over baby Nancy while she plays piano forte—and Noah plays draughts with you.   And I adore music. So I hope that she plays well. And, of course, I am well enough now to act as her chaperone when she visits your home.”

Lord Mac: “Chaperone? Why would she need a chaperone?” Then his face darkens.  “Are you playing match maker and arranging for Mrs. Carpenter to visit us socially when Dr. Lively will be here?”  If Lord Mac were self reflective, at all, he would realize that his enmity for the good doctor is jealousy of the ease and friendliness he has with Mrs. Carpenter.

Lady Anne:  “You astound me, nephew!”  She laughs self consciously.  “I am not matchmaking for the young and lovely Widow Corinne Carpenter and Dr. Lively—who has a good thirty five years on her.”  She stares at Lord Mac incredulously.

Lord Mac:  “Well, that is fine then.  But I have not even found my old draughts game.  I will have to scour the attic for it with my other childhood toys.”

Lady Anne: “Oh good!  Then you can take Noah with you after luncheon to search for them. And perhaps you fill find other toys or games that young Noah would like to play  with you.”

Lord Mac:  “Play with me?”  Lord Mac Scowls perplexedly.  “I am not a child. Nor did I have childhood play friends after … well after Dart died with my parents.”  He sighs with a melancholy moroseness.  “I do not know how to play.” He blanches.

Lady Anne:  “Well then it is high time that you learned, Pendleton.  Afterall, you will have a family one day.  And your children will want a Papa who plays with them.  So think of your interactions with Noah today as practice.”  She states with bemused aplomb.

Lord Mac: Lord Mac sighs resignedly.  “Very well. I will try to be civil to the Carpenters.” Lady Anne cocks a knowing eyebrow.  “And play with Noah.”

Lady Anne: “Excellent!  Now I have invited the Carpenters and Dr. Lively for a light luncheon today—I have spoken to cook already and ordered the Woodbury carriage to collect the Carpenter Family this day, so you need not burden yourself with the arrangements.  Then after luncheon, you and young Noah may search for and play draughts—and any other games and toys that you come across.  And Dr. Lively and I will enjoy listening to Corinne play on your piano forte.”

Lord Mac: “Bbbut…” He starts to object to Dr. Lively joining them for luncheon and being with Mrs. Carpenter, but his Aunt forestalls him with her raised hand.

Lady Anne: “Pendleton, do not worry about your having to listen to Mrs. Carpenter play the piano forte—unless you want to.  She and I will chaperone each other with Dr. Lively.”

Lord Mac: “Chaperone each other?” His eyebrows lower in confusion.  Then his face brightens.  “Aunt,  have you formed an attachment for Dr. Lively?”  Lord Mac thinking that his Aunt Lady Anne at forty years is a more suitable direction for Dr. Lively to turn.

Lady Anne: Blushing her response, she states.  “I do not know yet, Pendleton.  I consider Dr. Lively to be a most agreeable gentleman. And his great kindness to me during my poison ivy allergic reaction illness helped speed my  recovery.”  Her nephew Lord Mac blinks and leans forward, him urging his Aunt to continue clarifying her statements.  “I would like to acquaint myself with him, informally.” She is too much of a lady to relate her full feelings to her nephew without first ascertaining whether Dr. Lively is even interested in her as more than his patient.  “And when I marry, I would like to parent a child or two—of my own, or orphans needing a good home.”

Well that first notion of his Aunt Lady Anne marrying and having children of her own quite embarrasses Lord Mac. It is simply not polite to discuss such matters as the getting of children in mixed company.  Let alone, that his spinster Aunt is contemplating marriage to Dr. Lively that would involve the … begetting of children.  Though he supposes that her begetting children at her forty years of age is a possibility, since some of his tenants’ wives have had more children at seemingly such advanced ages. And he wonders whether or not the physician Dr. Lively would turn his interest from Mrs. Carpenter to his Aunt Lady Anne—who is still lovely in appearance, though much older than the twenty five year old Mrs. Carpenter.


And so it is that at high noon on Saturday, June 8th, 1820 that both Dr. Lively and Mrs. Corinne Carpenter and her children baby Nancy and young Noah arrive at Woodbury Castl in Lord MacKittrick’s open carriage, since it is such a lovely day e for their luncheon and then afternoon of play.

Once again, Lord Mac is perturbed at seeing Dr. Lively riding with and being solicitous of the young and lovely Widow Carpenter.  But he is their host, so he has to reign in his angry feelings.  So he assists Mrs. Carpenter from stepping down from his carriage—with her having handed baby Nancy to him first, him holding out the child with both he and the baby eyeing each other warily.

Corinne: “Oh Lord MacKittrick,  thank you ever so much for tendering your kind invitation to us to luncheon and play today that includes my children.  I do not attend  village society events since I am my children’s only caregiver–so this is a real treat.  Come Noah.”  She smiles at her young son Noah who has been looking forward to playing draughts with Lord Mac.  Then she deftly lifts baby Nancy out of Lord Mac’s arms.

Startled to hear that Mrs. Carpenter thinks that he is the architect of today’s invitation, he recovers with alacrity.

Lord Mac: “Not at all, Mrs. Carpenter.  My Aunt Lady Anne wishes to see you again as well, now that she is feeling better.”  He smiles.  “And cannot you not afford a nurse or nanny for your children?”  He wonders if her cost saving is due to her being in pecuniary circumstances.  Though to Lord Mac, her having straightened finances seems belied by her prosperous Carpenter Orchard Farms estate, her lovely stone manor cottage, and her and her children’s neat country gentry attire today.

Corinne:  “Well.”  She blushes.  “It is just that, I would rather employ a village girl to help with maid duties and laundering duties for my home  during the day, whilst I care for my own children.”  Her response is said with a smile, but she still regards his asking about her finances to be an impertinence on his part.

Then Lady Anne steps forward to greet and chat with Corinne [(2) right], and with Dr. Lively.

And fortuitously, Noah has stepped  in and greets Lord Mac, before his Mama might say something more—or before Lord Mac’s Aunt Lady Anne might chastise him for his impertinence.

Noah: “Hello Lord Mac!  We’ve come to eat and play.”  He smiles broadly. Living at their Carpenter Orchard Farms Estate, means that their home is too far to walk to the village where he might find children his own age to play with and to have friends.  And at six years old, Noah would like to have some friends to play with, fish, and have general fun with.

Lord Mac: “It is good to see you, Noah!  How does your arm feel?”  He pats the boys right shoulder so as not to cause pain to his injured left arm. And they walk into Woodbury Castle’s large foyer hall.

Noah: “So, so. It still pains me because Dr. Lively makes daily visits to tighten the splint as the swelling goes down.  And we talk about the book he loaned me to read, Gulliver’s Travels.”

Lord Mac: “Dr. Lively visits you? Daily?”   Lord Mac asks worriedly.

Noah:  “Yes, on his way to your home, or from it.  Mama says that Dr. Lively is tending to Lady Anne’s illness each day.”  Then he looks over to the brightly smiling Lady Anne.  “But she does not look ill to me.”

Lord Mac: “She is feeling better.”  Then he notices Noah looking around for something.  “Can I help you find something here?” He smiles.

Noah:  “Where is your dog?  All gentlemen have dogs.”  He states knowingly.  And Noah would dearly love a doggie of his own, but his Mama says that they must wait until baby Nancy is a little older, and out of diapers.  Noah does not understand why his baby sister Nancy wearing diapers would be a problem with him having a dog. But then, he does not understand the added responsibility that having a pet entails.

Lord Mac: “Oh!  I do not have a dog.”  Lord MacKittrick replies off handedly.

Noah:  Tilting his head to one side, Noah looks aghast at Lord Mac.  “No dog?”  Lord Mac sheepishly shakes his head no.  “Not even a cat?”  Lord Mac smiles and shakes his head again.

Lord Mac: “I do have a horse.  But Victory is not truly a pet, since he and I travel the estate to visit with my tenants from time to time.  And, of course, he is too big to sit on my lap.  Ha ha ha ha ha!”  Lord Mac laughs at his own jest.  But young Noah does not find the humor in poor Lord Mac not having a dog.

Noah: “I’m sorry that you do not have a dog. Mama told me that when Nancy is out of diapers, we may have a dog then.  Since you do not have children in diapers, you might think about getting a dog for yourself now.  Then I could visit and pet it, play fetch, and run with it.”

Lord Mac is amused that young Noah’s pity that he did not have a Woodbury Castle dog quickly shifted to Noah wanting  Lord Mac to have a dog so that he could visit and pet it.

Lord Mac:  “Do not your friends have dogs for you to pet?”  He asks jovially.  Then he sees Noah’s face sadden.

Noah:  “I do not have friends.  We live too far away from the village for me to walk back and forth there. And though we go to church on Sundays.  And there look to be boys my age at church.  But Mama says we have to go home to tend to baby Nancy right after church.”

Lord Mac remembers his own friendless childhood, and he resolves to help young Noah have friends.

Lord Mac:  “I have an idea, Noah.  Though Woodbury Castle Estates has not had a village fete for many years—since my parents and brother were alive—perhaps I could host a garden party tea with games of skill for young children?  Would you like that?”  And Lord Mac hopes that his Aunt Lady Anne will help him with the planning for such an event while she is here visiting him.

Noah: “Oh that would be wonderful!”  Noah’s young face radiantly smiles at Lord Mac.  Then Noah shyly tucks his good right hand into Lord Mac’s left hand as he lets himself be guided to their luncheon at Woodbury Castle.


Then later after lunch Lord Mac and Noah comb the upper attics of Woodbury Castle for a game of draughts, and other such games and toys that Noah might enjoy.  And Noah is almost as excited to see all the games and toys options in the attics—dusty though they might be—than if he were playing them.

Meanwhile after a garden stroll, Lady Anne, Dr. Lively, and Corinne Carpenter return to Woodbury Castle to listen to Corinne play on the piano forte in the music room–whilst her baby lies sleeping in a bassinette near Lady Anne.  Initially, Corinne begs their forbearance as she finds her way playing.  So Lady Anne and Dr. Lively distract themselves with conversing as they sit across the room from Corinne.

Lady Anne: “Mrs. Carpenter is lovely and sweet.  And I adore her children—even after knowing them only a few days.”

Dr. Lively:  “Yes Corrine … I mean Mrs. Carpenter, is blessed with her children.  My own children are grown and have children of their own now. They live in London, but plan to visit soon.”

Lady Anne: “That will be delightful for you.”  She nods with a smile.  Then she asks directly, for obfuscation is not her style.  “Dr. Lively?  Are you acquainted with Corinne Carpenter—as more than the Woodbury Village doctor?”

Lady Anne holds her breath, as she awaits to hear if Dr. Lively has a tendre for Mrs. Carpenter.  They are both widowed, afterall.  But there is a very great age difference between them.

Dr. Lively:  Him wanting to clarify that his interest in Corinne is respectful, he reveals a bit of their family secret.  “I am. Corinne Carpenter is my niece—my sister’s daughter.  And I beg you to keep my and Corinne’s confidence on that matter.  She has chosen not to discuss her family circumstances and we must respect her wishes.”

Lady Anne: “You may count on my discretion, Dr. Lively.  Families can be difficult at times.”

Lady Anne muses thinking of her family trying to marry her off several times as her spinster status became more pronounced after she turned twenty five years fifteen years ago.  But Lady Anne held fast, and would not marry just anyone in order to be a wife and a mother.  If she could not have love, then she would not marry.  And happily, she has a generous competence from her paternal grandfather to allow her her freedom.

Dr. Lively: “They can. Though, I was blessed with a loving family growing up, and then created a loving  family of mine own with my late wife Julia.  So I have kept a watchful eye on Corinne over the years since her marriage, and then more so in her own widowhood.  Then when I resolved to retire to the country for a more slower paced life than one finds in London, my accepting Lord MacKittrick’s invitation to be the Woodbury Village doctor seemed to be the ideal opportunity.  And it was—it is.”

Dr. Lively smilingly places a gentle hand upon Lady Anne’s hand crooked in his arm.  They had eschewed gloves today due to the warm weather.  So their hands touch, skin to skin—engendering a pleasing warmth and tingle at their point of contact.  Lady Anne blushes, and she shyly looks up smiling at Dr. Lively.  And from Corinne Carpenter’s view from the piano forte, her Uncle and Lord MacKittrick’s Aunt look very pleasingly cozy with each other—and she now smiles.


Corinne Carpenter’s now more confident playing on the Woodbury Castle piano forte with her practice this day segues into a lilting folk tune to accompany Dr. Lively and Lady Anne’s hushed conversations.  But an interruption occurs as her young six year old son Noah and Lord MacKittrick enter the music room laden with all manner of dusty toys and games overflowing their arms.

Noah: “Mama!  We found Lord Mac’s games and toys!  And he says I may play them whenever I want!”  Noah grins from ear to ear.

Lord Mac:  Setting down his large bag of games and toys, Lord Mac apologizes.  “My apologies for the interruption, Mrs. Carpenter.  Your piano forte playing is delightful!  But young Noah here is eager to show you our finds—he was most dogged in his search of my attics.”  He smiles in bemusement.  Though he has dust and cobwebs upon his person from their endeavors, Lord Mac thinks not of his disarray—but rather he focuses upon young Noah’s joy.

Corinne: “Thankyou, Lord MacKittrick.  It was very kind of you to indulge my son’s wishes.” She smiles benignly at him, her slightly bemused at Lord Mac’s seeming transformation from taciturn Earl to this ease and friendliness.

Noah: “Oh!  And Mama, about dogs, Lord Mac does not have a dog either.  But he promises to get a dog and then  take me on a ride on his horsie.”  Then he turns to Lord Mac.  “Will the dog come before or after the garden party with games for Woodbury Village and your estate tenants’ kids to play?”  Noah hopes that the dog comes before the garden party.

Lady Anne: “A garden party, Pendleton?  That is a lovely idea!   I do hope you plan to host it whilst I am still visiting you.” She hints.

Lord Mac: And Lord Mac looks at her pleadingly.  “Why yes!  And I am hoping that you might guide me in that.  I have never hosted an event at Woodbury Castle.”  He shrugs sheepishly.

Dr. Lively: “A garden party is a capital idea!  I hope that there might also be some games for adults—such as archery.  I pride myself on my abilities and skill in archery.  But it has been several years since I shot a bow and arrow.”

Lord Mac: “That is an idea that we will take under advisement, Dr. Lively.  And what of you, Mrs. Carpenter?  What do you think about a garden party with children and family games hosted by Woodbury Castle?”  He grins shyly at her.

Corinne: “Lord MacKittrick, I think that it is most generous of you to devise such a plan for the whole village and your tenants.” She nods with a smile.  And Corinne wonders at this additional example of Lord MacKittrick’s further largesse. Yet, the lightness and joy that she sees in her son Noah’s eyes are the first she has seen since his father died six months ago. It is as if Lord Mac has brought her son back to his childhood joys.  And she is grateful to Lord Mac for it.

Noah: Young Noah plops down on the floor of the Music room.  “Let’s play draughts, Lord Mac, while Mama plays more pretty songs!” Young Noah had never heard his Mama play the piano before, since their home does not have a piano.  And he is delighted with her sharing music with them.

Lord Mac: “Well, I am commanded to play by my young guest here.  So please everyone, do as you wish.”  Then he plops down on the floor opposite Noah and they begin to play.

So Corinne continues to play the piano forte while her baby Nancy sleeps and Lady Anne and Dr. Lively continue chatting about themselves and about their wishes for their futures—such as the upcoming Woodbury Castle Garden Party.

To be continued with Chapter 06

References for  Ch. 05  of  “A Lonesome Lord”,  March  04, 2023  by Gratiana Lovelace
(Post #1513)

  1. My “A Lonesome Lord ” story logo is a composite of a portrait of British actor Richard Armitage from 2020 by An Le, and Harrington text on a teal background.
  2. Lady Anne (left) is represented by Samantha Bond  and Corinne Carpenter  (right)  by Kate Beckinsale, are from Emma (1996) and was found at

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for  Ch. 05 “A Lonesome Lord”,  March 04,  2023  (#1513):

Previous SAL blog Post # 1512  link  for  Ch. 04 “A Lonesome Lord”,  February 26,  2023:

Posted in "A Lonesome Lord" (2023) by Gratiana Lovelace, Creative Writing, Family, Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, Regency, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Lonesome Lord,”  Ch. 04:  A walk in the garden turns life threatening, February 26, 2023 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1512) 

(all rights reserved by Gratiana Lovelace; copyrighted 2023); [(1) Story Cover, below left] 

0aaaA-LonesomeLord-story-cover-wText_Jan21-2023byGratiL-szd256x402-HiRes-clr-brt-brdr-smlrIllustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors  or illustrations, including:  Richard Armitage as Lord Pendleton  MacKittrick (aka Lord Mac to the Carpenter family), Justine Waddell as the widowed Corinne Carpenter, Noah Carpenter illustration, Bill Peterson as Dr. Finneas Lively, Samantha Bond as Lady Anne Elizabeth Pendleton, and others as noted.

Author’s Notes:  This original Regency romance is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes, locations, historical, medical topics, or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author—visit the reference links to learn more about them.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love, marriage, and Regency society put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.


Ch. 04:  A walk in the garden turns life threatening

After having met the Widow Carpenter again unexpectedly on Monday, June 3rd, 1820–when his maiden Aunt Lady Anne Pendleton’s carriage stopped at Mrs. Carpenter’s stone cottage to rest due to the abysmal state of the roads, and she stayed overnight, due to the roads still being impassable for her to travel the rest of the way to her nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick’s Woodbury Castle estate—that noble gentleman barely had 24 hours in which to have his Woodbury Castle Estate home made ready for his Aunt Lady Anne Pendleton as his guest. 

His Woodbury Castle staff were completely understanding and accommodating to get ready for his family guest at a last minute notice—for servants at great country houses are accustomed to travelers, known or unknown just dropping in.  But Lord MacKittrick was understandably frazzled to now have to come up with entertainments for his Aunt during her several week stay.  Lord Mac’s parents and older brother Dart died when he was only eight years old.  So he never had the opportunity to observe his Woodbury Castle and Estate home with events or guests—family or otherwise.

Though in Lady Anne’s defense, she had sent a letter indicating that she would gladly accept her nephew’s kind invitation—of a few years ago—for her to visit him whenever she pleased.  And it would seem that she had not sent her communique via a messenger, but via the regular post–such that Lady Anne arrived before her missive.  So Lord MacKittrick appreciated that his Aunt Lady Anne was comfortably housed in Mrs. Carpenter’s snug little stone cottage for her first overnight in their area. 

Though not as grand as Woodbury Castle, the Widow Carpenter’s stone cottage was well furnished and very nicely decorated. And that, coupled with the seeming transformation of the Widowed Corinne Carpenter’s appearance by virtue of her lovely light blue taffeta day dress overlay, made Lord Mac think that her station in life might be more than of the peasant working class—and perhaps, more than merely of the gentry class.  Such that his Aunt Lady Anne Pendleton spent a very comfortable  night under Mrs. Carpenter’s roof, after the lovely tea and later dinner that the Carpenter’s hosted them to.


After being warmly welcomed to Woodbury Castle by her nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick the next day on Tuesday, June 4th, 1820, Lady Anne Pendleton is pleased with her nephew’s very kind guest chamber suite accommodations for her of a bedchamber, bathing room, dressing room, and parlor–and so she sleeps quite comfortably that evening, as well. 

The following morning of Wednesday, June 5th after Lady Anne dresses in a lovely ITV ARCHIVE bronze and gold patterned day gown [(2) right], does what anyone does when in a newish place—for she had visited a time or two when her nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick was a very young boy, just after his parents and brother died, and her brother Arthur Pendleton became his guardian–she attempts to locate the breakfast room at the early morning hour of eight o’clock. 

Well eight o’clock in the morning might be considered early even for those keeping country hours.  For you see, Lord Mac’s habits of working late into the night on estate matters, and then rising well past eight o’clock in the morning to break his fast, are the same at whichever of his estates he resides—whether it be in Town or in the country. So he is still fast asleep and not available to escort his Aunt to breakfast. 

Happily for Lady Anne, she soon finds a helpful young cheerful maid named Dorcas dusting one of the many Woodbury Castle parlors who guides her to the breakfast room, which is a sunny North facing room with windows that look out upon one of the back terraces that leads to a lovely flower garden area.  And Dorcas also helpfully brings Lady Anne some hot tea, while she awaits a quickly made breakfast plate for her of eggs, ham, and toast with marmalade.  And after enjoying this hearty morning meal—without her still presumably snoozing nephew Lord Mac—Lady Anne sends her compliments to the Cook via Dorcas. And after breakfast, Lady Anne takes a morning constitutional walk in the lovely in bloom Woodbury Castle flower gardens.


When Lord Pendleton MacKittrick finally rises at nine o’clock the same morning, he quickly does his morning ablutions—including trimming his beard, since he had already bathed last night before going to bed—and he dresses in his country riding attire of tan buckskins tucked into his leather boots and a lightweight blousy cotton shirt and vest, sans a coat for the warm weather they have been enjoying.  When at home in the country as he is now, Lord Mac attires himself for comfort and practicality.

Then Lord Mac jauntily strides to his Aunt Lady Anne’s bedchamber suite to escort her to breakfast.  But receiving no response from his many knocks upon her bedchamber suite door, and then more knocks—since he has missed her by over an hour and a half—he presumes she must be a heavy sleeper and he heads to the breakfast room, which is also empty.  But he notices that the usual selection of foods that he likes are lined up on the buffet with warmers under them, so he makes a heaping plate for himself and rings the bell for a fresh pot of tea.

Brooks the Butler:  “You rang, My Lord MacKittrick?”  He asks austerely.  For he has been up and about since  six o’clock—some three hours ago.

Lord MacKittrick:  “Yes Brooks. I would like a hot pot of tea.  And since my Aunt Lady Pendleton must still be sleeping, please let Cook know that she might need to send a breakfast tray to her room later.”

Brooks the Butler:  “That will not be necessary, My Lord.  Lady Pendleton has already breakfasted earlier at eight o’clock this morning and then she walked out to the gardens.  I do not believe that she has returned to the Castle yet.”

Lord MacKittrick;   “Thank you for the information.  The Butler nods and leaves the Breakfast Room.  “Hmm!”  Lord Mac intones to the empty room with some chagrin.  And he wonders why his Aunt Lady Anne is wandering around on her own.  But Lord Mac resolves to find his Aunt later—after he has breakfasted.

And not thirty minutes later by his pocket watch, Lord Mac leisurely sips the last of his hot tea, when he notices his Aunt Lady Anne rushing back to the terrace from the garden.   She strides through the breakfast room, not seeing her nephew there.

Lord Mac: “Aunt?  Is something wrong?”  He stands and asks in concern, clutching his linen napkin.

Aunt Lady Anne:  Making a shooing gesture, she discomfittedly states.  “Cannot talk.  Must hurry.” 

And she bolts from the room, into the hall, and up the central stairs toward her bedchamber suite.  She is trying not to touch any surface to prevent the spread of what she believes to be her contact with poison ivy during her walk in the garden.  So when she gets to her bed chamber suite door, she lifts up her skirt and uses  the underside of it to turn the knob.  Then she rushes into her bathing chamber, removes her outer clothes, and then she thoroughly washes her hands in the sink.  Only when she believes has succeeded in washing her hands of the poison ivy oils, does she wash her face, neck, and arms.

Naturally, Lord Mac dashes after his Aunt Lady Anne—wondering if she is ill, or something.  Seeing her open bed chamber suite door, he notices that the bathing chamber door is shut.  So he goes to it and knocks on the closed door.

Lord Mac:  “Aunt Lady Anne?  Are you alright?  Is something wrong.”  He speaks through the closed bathing room door.

Lady Anne: “I believe that I inadvertently came into contact with poison ivy as I was touching some lovely flowers nearby.  I am trying to wash thoroughly to remove any residual plant oils from my skin. And I will also need to wash the clothes that I was wearing.” She obliquely indicates that she is not wearing those outer clothes at the moment.

Lord Mac: “We can have the Castle laundress do that.”  He states congenially, him still not understanding the gravity of the situation.

Lady Anne: “No!  I would not risk anyone else getting exposed to the poison ivy oils.  I had a very bad allergic reaction to it as a child, and I almost died!”  She states fretfully.    Then she looks down and sees some rashes forming on her arms, she strains not to scratch them.

Lord Mac: “Shall I send for our local Dr. Lively?  He is lately of London, and very good.”

Lady Anne: “If you think he can help.  What I really need is access to some aloe vera plants. Their plant sap has soothing properties.”

Lord Mac: “I will include that in my note to him.  I’ll send it to the doctor via a footman.  Is there anything else we can do for you in the meantime?”

Lady Anne: “Nooo.  Just pray that my allergic reaction will not be as severe this time.”

So Lord Mac temporarily leaves his Aunt’s bed chamber room to write his note.  And his Aunt Lady Anne slips into her bed wearing only her long chemise, Lord Mac writes a quick note to Dr. Lively asking him to come to Woodbury Castle immediately to treat an allergic reaction patient, his aunt, and he sends the missive with a footman via horseback.

Over the next half hour, Lady Anne’s allergic reaction to the poison ivy worsens and she develops a fever, as well as a worsening rash on her hands, arms, neck, face, and upper chest.  Normally, it could take from 12  – 48 hours after exposure for poison ivy symptoms to manifest [(3)].  But with Lady Anne having an extreme allergic reaction sensitivity to poison ivy, her symptoms have erupted within two hours of her being exposed to it.   

Lady Anne lies upon her bed in her long cotton chemise for modesty, with pillow cases of crushed ice placed at her sides and around her head and shoulders to try to bring her fever down. The maid Dorcas who had guided Lady Anne to the breakfast room earlier this morning, stands at the ready to aid in whatever way she can—after her first retrieving the ice and then taking her clothing to the Castle laundress to be thoroughly washed.   

Lady Anne  drifts in and out of consciousness—a blessing for her not to feel the excruciating pain of her poison ivy rashes covering most of her upper torso. But the few times she is lucid and awake, she moans for some aloe vera plants, which have medicinal properties.  But Woodbury Castle has none.  Lord Mac hopes that Dr. Lively does have such a plant. 

Lady Anne is one of Lord Mac’s  favorite young maternal aunts from his childhood—especially because she would visit Pendleton with her brother Arthur during that first year of Lord Mac mourning his parents’ and brother’s deaths, her giving up her having her first London debutante season to try to be of comfort to him as a small boy.  He has never forgotten that gracious kindness on her part.

Then Lady Anne wakes up again and pleads with more fervor asking for relief from her pain and fever as she plaintively moans Corinne’s name several times. 

Lady Anne:  “Coriiinne, Coriiinne. …   aloe vera.”

Her worried nephew Lord Mac is sitting with her again and he tries to understand what his aunt is trying to tell him.

Lord Mac: “What are to saying about the aloe vera plant, Aunt?  Does Corrine Carpenter have such a plant?”

Lady Anne: “Yess!” She sighs.   Then she faints again.

Lord Mac: “Brooks!”  Lord Mac calls out in a loud whisper to his Butler who is hovering in the hallway, also to be of aid.  “Send Lady Anne’s footman Grimes to the Widow Carpenter’s Orchard Farms via my curricle or phaeton!  Ask him to explain to Mrs. Carpenter that Lady Anne is suffering from a severe allergic reaction to poison ivy–and that Grimes  needs to bring one or more of Mrs. Carpenter’s aloe vera plants to Lady Anne at Woodbury Castle!”  He states with great urgency.

Butler Brooks: “Very good, My Lord!”  Then the not young but surprisingly sprightly Butler Brooks dashes to the guest bedchamber hallway landing overlooking the foyer, asking one of the Woodbury Castle footmen to immediately find and bring Lady Anne’s footman Grimes to him to carry out a commission for Lady Anne.


Dr. Lively arrives at Woodbury Castle with his medical bag and some medicines some 30 minutes later—him having to finish up with some patients at his medical practice.  And though he does not have any aloe vera plants, he has some burdock leaves that are used to help with pain and healing for burns [(4)], that he has also used on poison ivy rashes.

Dr. Lively: “Please tell me about my patient, My Lord.”  He states seriously.

Lord Mac: “Lady Anne Pendleton is my 40 year old maiden aunt, my late Mother’s sister.  She was enjoying the Woodbury Castle gardens after breakfasting this morning and realized that she had come into contact with poison ivy.  So she dashed back to Castle Woodbury to wash the poison ivy oils off her skin and her clothes.  She told me that she had had an extreme allergic reaction to poison ivy when she was a child, and almost died.  Please save her, Dr. Lively.  She is one of my few remaining close family relatives still alive.”

Dr. Lively:  “I will do my very best.  She is too young and lovely to die.”  And the good doctor remembers his own wife’s death when she was a youngish fifty year old, some ten years ago.  “But I do not have any aloe vera plants which would be the most effective treatment for her—in addition to the ice you have packed around her to help bring her fever down.”

Lord Mac: “My Aunt woke up a few minutes ago and moaned that Mrs. Corinne Carpenter  has an aloe vera plant.  So I have asked for Lady Anne’s footman Grimes to go to Carpenter Orchard Farms to ask Mrs. Carpenter for the plant or plants.”

Dr. Lively: “Corinne? Carpenter, you say?” He covers his gaff in speaking his niece’s first name.  “That is good.  Let us hope that she does have some of the aloe vera plant.  In the meantime, I brought these burdock leaves with me that have healing and pain relieving properties. I need a bowl of fresh cold water to soak them in before I place them on the worst of her rashes.”

Lord Mac: “Anything that will give her relief is good.”  He nods at the maid Dorcas, who goes to fetch a bowl and iced water.

So the next fifteen minutes that it takes Dr. Lively to soak and then place the burdock leaves on Lady Anne’s exposed poison ivy rashes are tense


When Grimes arrives with two of Mrs. Carpenter’s three aloe vera plants, Lord Mac realizes that she and her children have accompanied them when she calls to him from the hallway, her having left her son Noah to read on Lord Mac’s library, with a footman keeping careful watch over him—and over Lord Woodbury’s books, since the boy is dressed as a peasant.

Corinne: “Lord Woodbury, we have brought two of our three aloe vera plants to use on Lady Anne.  I had to keep one back for our own needs.”

Lord Mac: “I thank you most kindly, Mrs. Carpenter.  But you did not need to disrupt your day and attend us here.”  He marvels at her compassion.

Corinne:  “I could not do otherwise, when her ladyship was so kind to me.” Corinne  thinks of when Lady Anne comforted her about her sorrow about her late husband and her calming her baby Nancy—who is sleeping in her sling about her Mama’s torso.

Lord Mac: “Thank you.  My Butler Brooks will show you to a room so that you may  attend to your baby.”  He states, while noticing the baby is become agitated and making sounds, him realizing that baby Nancy might want to be fed.

Corinne: “Thank you.”  And Butler Brooks takes Mrs. Carpenters baby bag and will show her to a room.  But first, she nods to her Uncle Dr. Lively in acknowledgement as the doctor looks up from his patient.

Dr. Lively:  “Thank you for your aloe vera plants Corinne.  Lady Anne will need them.”  He goes to retrieve them from the footman Grimes and smiles at his niece Corinne—him forgetting to be secretive about their family connection due to the medical crisis at hand.

So Dr. Lively removes the burdock leaves from Lady Anne and places them back into the cold water bowl, in case they are needed again later. Then he uses three of the aloe vera leaves of one plant to cut open and then squeeze out the aloe vera sap onto Lady Anne’s neck and face, him gently rubbing the sap to cover the rash areas, before moving on to Lady Anne’s shoulders, arms, and hands.  It is delicate and painstaking work.  And Dr. Lively wants to use just enough aloe vera sap to cover all of the affected skin areas, while still saving plenty of aloe vera stems to harvest for future applications.  He then switches out the  ice pillows with fresh ice to further aid in bringing down Lady Anne’s fever. 

It will be a very long day of tending to Lady Anne for everyone involved.  And though Dr. Lively has to leave around midday to tend to some other severely ill patients, he will return to Woodbury Castle in the later afternoon to see how Lady Anne is doing—him hoping that her fever will break by then.

And though Lord Mac vaguely noticed Dr. Lively’s familiar greeting for Mrs. Carpenter, he is too focused upon his Aunt’s welfare to interpret what it means. 

To be continued with Chapter 05


P.S.  Thank you for your patience in waiting for this next chapter of “A Lonesome Lord”.  After he spent two weeks in the hospital, I’m happy to say that my hubby has been discharged from the hospital and is now home recuperating from an operation and such.


References for  Ch. 04  of  “A Lonesome Lord”,  February 26, 2023  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1512)

  1. My “A Lonesome Lord ” story logo is a composite of a portrait of British actor Richard Armitage from 2020 by An Le, and Harrington text on a teal background.
  2. Image representing Lady Anne Elizabeth Pendleton in a garden is of Samantha Bond as Miss Taylor in Emma 1996 was found at
  3. Poison Ivy and treatments information was found at
  4.  The medicinal applications of burdock leaves was found at

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for  Ch. 04 “A Lonesome Lord”, February 26, 2023 (#1512):

Previous SAL blog Post # 1511 link  for  Ch. 03 “A Lonesome Lord”,  February 05, 2023:


Posted in "A Lonesome Lord" (2023) by Gratiana Lovelace, Creative Writing, Family, Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Illness, Love and Relationships, poignant, Richard Armitage, Romance, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Lonesome Lord,”  Ch. 03:  Mrs. Carpenter expands her acquaintanceship, February 05, 2023 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1511)

(all rights reserved by Gratiana Lovelace; copyrighted 2023); [(1) Story Cover, below left]

0aaaA-LonesomeLord-story-cover-wText_Jan21-2023byGratiL-szd256x402-HiRes-clr-brt-brdrIllustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors  or illustrations, including:  Richard Armitage as Lord Pendleton  MacKittrick (aka Sir Mac Pendleton to the Carpenter family), Justine Waddell as the widowed Corinne Carpenter, a Noah Carpenter illustration, Bill Peterson as Dr. Finneas Lively, Samantha Bond as Lady Anne Elizabeth Pendleton, and others as noted.

Author’s Notes:  This original Regency romance is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes, locations, or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love, marriage, and Regency society put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.

Ch. 03:  Corrine Carpenter expands her acquaintanceship

But two days later, Woodbury Village gains a new visitor.  And Corrine Carpenter will unknowingly  expand her acquaintanceship with the MacKittrick family.

When Lady Anne Elizabeth Pendleton, a well groomed mature but pleasant looking stylish and smiling spinster lady of 40 years, set out from her family home near Maidstone in Kent to visit her nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick at Woodbury Castle in Woodbury, England Southwest of Richmond, England, she could not have foreseen the difficulties of the nearer Woodbury Village road after an unexpected rainstorm that had recently fallen upon the Woodbury Village area.   The dirt roads are now muddy and uneven from previous carriages and wagons that have trod over them, leaving deep ruts in the road and making traveling hazardous for her carriage and horses.

So there is nothing for it but for Lady Anne’s coachman to stop this later afternoon CARPEN~2at the nearest modest for her but neat looking stone manor dwelling [(2) right]–with smoke billowing from the chimneys indicating that it is inhabited.

One of Lady Anne’s two footmen outriders, dismounts and uses the large brass handled knocker to rap twice upon the large wooden front door.  One knock might not have been heard, and three knocks would have been considered strident and discourteous.  He waits patiently for a reply.

Then unexpectedly a small boy wearing a sling on his left arm opens the door—since one might have supposed that even a small stone manor as this one would have some staff.

Footman Grimes:  “My Lady has been traveling long this day and seeks assistance to allow her to rest.”

Noah: Noah looks up and down the tall man.  “This ain’t the Woodbury Village Inn.  This is my home.”  Noah seems to be at that six year old stage when he feels that everything at his home estate belongs to him.

Footman Grimes: “But …”  The Footman is interrupted by a young woman wearing an apron over a neat but plain white  eyelet lace linen dress, and with much flour upon her hands—and in her hair.

Corrine Carpenter:  “Who is calling on us, Noah?  Oh!”  She exclaims in surprise at the tall and muscular looking man on her doorstep.  She is instantly on her guard, since this man is a stranger to them.

Noah: “I told im we ain’t the village inn, Mama.” Noah nods and points his thumb at their visitor.

Corrine Carpenter: “Thank you, Noah Dear.  But what brought the man to our doorstep?”

Noah:  “He said …”

Footman Grimes:  Now Grimes interrupts the young boy.  “Beg pardon, Madam.  But my Lady has traveled far this day and the muddy and rutted roads make it impossible to go further at this moment.  Might your Mistress allow My Lady to rest here a bit and partake of some tea?”  He asks politely of the cook.

Corrine Carpenter: “Of course.  And I am the Widow Carpenter, the Mistress of this home and our Carpenter Orchard Farm lands.”  She states for clarification, her knowing that her current flour covered appearance does not have her looking her best. But afterall, the man unexpectedly interrupted her apple tart baking preparations.

Footman Grimes: “I beg your pardon again, Mrs. Carpenter.”  He bows solicitously to her—acknowledging her obvious comfortable means by the looks of the small stone manor house and its [lovely] looking appointments–despite her seemingly being engaged in baking, rather than having a servant do that

Corrine Carpenter:  “Please invite your Lady into my home’s parlor here, whilst I briefly go to change.  Noah, please be kind to our [Lady] guest.”  Her knowing that her baby Nancy is sleeping soundly in the kitchen for the moment, she dashes to her main floor bed chamber and quick removes her apron and brushes out the flour from her hair and refastens it into a bun upon the crown of her head.  Then she dons a lovely light blue [taffeta] overlay gown to her white eyelet lace linen under gown—which quite transforms her into looking very lady like.

And Noah leads the Footman back to his carriage.

Walking out to the enclosed carriage, they find Lady Anne Pendleton looking LadyAnnePendleton--in-carriage-isSamanthaBond-inEmma1996_Feb03-2023viaIMDB-GratiEdit-brt-szd-cropquestioningly hopefully at them from under her bonnet [(3) right].  She is not dressed over warmly for this bright Spring day, but rather wears a linen and ruffly frilled [white and pale pink] frock befitting her status as the daughter of a peer.

Lady Anne: “Oh!”  She exclaims in startled surprise upon seeing a young boy wearing a sling accompanying her Footman.

Noah: “I’m Noah Carpenter.  My Mama says to invite you into our home’s parlor.”  He states clearly, if not graciously.  At six years old, Noah is all boy—without any masculine refinements at present.

Lady Anne: “Thank you.”  She replies graciously.  Then she looks quizzically at her Footman.

Footman Grimes: “His Mama, Mrs. Carpenter—a widow—is …changing to greet you formally.”  He states discreetly.

Noah:  “My Mama was baking apple tarts and has flour all over her.”  Noah nods, him not yet perceiving at six years old that not all facts need to be related to others.  “Follow me.”

Noah turns and invites her to follow him by gesturing with his good arm. So with a slightly amused smile, Lady Anne disembarks from her carriage and follows the young boy into the tidy looking small stone manor.


Meanwhile, now that Corinne Carpenter is dressed presentably to greet callers in her light blue [taffeta] gown overlay over her white eyelet lace fine linen under gown, she puts the water kettle on for tea.  Then she gently picks up her still sleeping baby Nancy from her kitchen cradle and brings her into the parlor and lays her in the lovely white satin cushioned cradle there by the settee.  Then Corinne turns to greet her guest.

Corinne:  Gracefully curtsying to her Lady guest, Corinne [(4) right] greets her guest COE2F7~1warmly with a shy smile.  “Welcome to our home, My Lady.  I am the Widow Corinne Carpenter. This is my son Noah and my baby daughter Nancy.  Please sit on my comfortable settee, if you please.  [The] heated water for our tea should be ready in a few moments.”

Lady Anne Pendleton: “Thank you, Mrs. Carpenter.  I’m Lady Anne Pendleton, come to visit my nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick at his Woodbury Castle Estate this day.  But the state of the roads after what seemingly was a hard rain is thwarting our further movement.  I hope that my stopping here to rest is not an inconvenience for you?” She asks genuinely concerned at her just dropping in on the Widow.

Corinne: “Not at all, My Lady.”  Corinne smiles graciously to her high born visitor.  “And whether it is our own wagonette overturn as happened to us two days ago, or your difficulties with the muddy roads today, it is helpful for each of us to be of aide to others in their distress. Our own savior who came upon us just after our accident and was helpful in taking us to the doctor and seeing to the repair of my wagonette was a Sir Mac Pendleton, as he told us his name was.  Do you think that he is a relation to you, My Lady?”  She asks curiously.

Lady Anne:  “Hmmm.”  Lady Anne thinks upon her hostess’ question.  Then before she can reply, the kettle whistles.

Corinne: “Ah!  There is the kettle. I will fetch our tea.  Would you like my son Noah to show your attendants to our stables to rest your horses and such?  Our Carpenter Orchard Farm hands can help with unhitching the horses and settling them into our open horse stalls.”  Lady Anne nods, so Corinne gestures for her son Noah to tend to that.

Noah:  To the tall man Footman Grimes, Noah commands. “Follow me!”  And Noah leads the tall man out the front door, with the Footman having the presence of mind to shut the front door after them.


Whilst Corrine prepares their tea tray and apple tarts treats plate in the kitchen—grateful that she had polished her silver tea serving set last week—baby Nancy starts to awaken in the parlor, with some yawning sounds and moves her little arms and hands.

Lady Anne looks over at the baby in her lovely white satin bassinette, wondering if she should call Mrs. Carpenter to tend to her baby.  Or if she should just do it.  Considering Mrs. Carpenter is preparing their tea—instead of a maid doing it—Lady Anne feels that the Widow has her hands full.  So Lady Anne stands up and gently picks up the baby, cradling her in her arms.

Lady Anne: “There now, little one. Nancy is it?  You are a delightful little bundle.  And I am certain that you will have a lovely childhood in so scenic an area.”  Yet, she thinks, despite the poor little one and her brother having sadly lost their father very young.

Then Noah returns.  And not uncharacteristically, he takes issue with Lady Anne holding his baby sister Nancy.

Noah: “Why are you holding my baby sister Nancy?  Did my Mama say you could do so?”

Lady Anne:  Non-plussed at the six year old’s confident demeanor, she dissembles sheepishly.  “Well, not exactly.”

Noah: “What does that mean?  Either My Mama said you could, or she did not.”  Noah stares at Lady Anne.

Lady Anne:  “Well, young man, you have me there.  But since your Mama is kindly preparing tea for us, I felt that I should also help out, by calming her baby until she returned.”

Noah:   “Hm!  I suppose that is alright then.  But next time, ask before you do something with someone else’s things or family.”

Lady Anne: “Duly noted.”  She nods solemnly, her trying not to let a smile break through.  For This little boy of six years will surely be an unstoppable force to be reckoned with when he is grown—not unlike her own nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick.

Noah: “Oh!  And the tall man said to tell you that he was going to ride his horse over to Woodbury Castle to tell your nephew where you are.”

Lady Anne: “Ah.  Thank you for the information.  Are my horses being settled into stalls?”  She asks in concern.

Noah: “Yes, and your other men are, too. I gave your horsies some carrots we had for horse snacks.  And our Orchard Hands Riley and Keller gave your men some apple cider to drink, made from our apple orchard.”  Noah states proudly as Lady Anne nods her thanks with a cordial smile.

Happily, Corrine returns with the silver tea tray with a fine china plate of freshly baked and frosted apple tarts—before Lady Anne runs out of discussion topics with young Noah.

Corinne: “Oh My Lady, thank you ever so much for soothing Nancy when she awakened.  You have the gift of kindness in you.”  Corinne smiles and nods her head.

Lady Anne: “You are welcome, My Dear.  Twas no trouble.  Your baby is very sweet.  And young Noah here kindly shared that both my horses and my men are being tended to.  Ha ha ha!”

They go on to enjoy a lovely tea presided over by Corinne—who steps out briefly now and again to either remove fresh baked apple tarts from the oven, or to put more in to bake that are ready to go. Naturally, a bit of flour dusts her hands again, which she inadvertently touches the apple of her cheek with, leaving a bit of dust on her face.

Then with Corinne’s last trip to the kitchen, Lady Anne’s curiosity gets the better of her, and she asks to join her, while still cradling baby Nancy.  Noah decides to stay in the parlor to drink his milk–and to eat a second apple tart.

Lady Anne: “Thank you for allowing me in your kitchen, Mrs. Carpenter.  I haven’t been in a kitchen since I was a child.  I am afraid, that I would not know how to work a stove and oven.”  She admits sheepishly.  For her servants do this work for her.

Corinne:  “Please address me as Corinne, My Lady.  And it was much the same for me before I married my late husband and we moved here seven years ago.  In the beginning, I burnt all the food I that tried to make.  Ha ha ha!  But my late husband’s late mother was a patient teacher, and I eventually came to understand how to cook and bake with this stove and oven.”

Lady Anne: “My sympathies on your losses, My Dear.  How long ago did your husband die?”  She asks caringly.

Corinne: “It has been six months.  It was an accident.  He had gone hunting in the woods with friends, and one of them tripped and dropped their gun and it shot my husband in his chest, and he died almost instantly.  It was a blessing that he did not linger long in pain—since our Village was without a doctor at that time.  But I miss him every day.”  She whimpers in her grief.

Corinne’s tears fall upon her flour dusted cheek and she sorrowfully wipes her tears away.  For not only has Corinne and her children lost her husband and their father, but she has lost her anchor to their new life in the countryside.  When Corinne Thackery and Franklin Carpenter married seven years ago, though her family did not condone the marriage, they were powerless to stop her receiving her generous dowry from her paternal grandfather Lord Edward Thackery.

So it was her dowry from her grandfather that allowed she and her husband to purchase their Orchard Farms lands and their lovely stone manor house and landscaped grounds.  And they saved the rest of her substantial dowry for their future needs, such as their children’s education and respectable  dowries for any daughters that they might have.  So at least Corinne has the blessing of not being destitute in her Widowhood.  But she does miss having a caring family to rely on for emotional support from time to time.

Lady Anne caringly wraps her free arm not holding baby Nancy around Corrine’s shoulders.

Lady Anne: “There there, My Dear.  You have had much sorrow to bear.  You have a good cry out.”  And Corinne does cry for several minutes, her tears falling onto Lady Anne’s ruffled gown collar.


Out in the Carpenter’s manor parlor, Noah hears a knock at the front door again and ALL--aaLordMacKittrick--isRichardArmitage-2020--viaRABrazil_January21-2023Grati-edits-szd-brt2-clrhe goes to answer it.  Upon opening his front door he finds a newly familiar person standing before him.  Sir Mac is similarly casually attired as he was two days ago, in a comfortable green jacket over an open shirt collar exposing his neck to the cooling breezes [(5) right], with his cravat folded in his jacket pocket.  For when Lord MacKittrick was informed by his Aunt’s footman Grimes that she was at the Carpenter’s home, he opted for comfort over formality.

Noah: “You again?”  Noah shakes his head and looks askance at Sir Mac standing before him, for the man was afraid to eat his Mama’s apple tarts at first.  But he invites Sir Mac in and closes their front door.

Lord MacKittrick:  “Me again.” Lord MacKittrick smiles at the young boy.  “How is your arm feeling, Noah?”

Noah: “Sore and painful.” He pouts.  “And it is hard having only one arm and hand to use.”

Lord MacKittrick:  “I can imagine it is.  I hope you feel better soon, Noah.”  He states sincerely.   “I was told that my Aunt Lady Anne Pendleton is resting here on her way to visit me.  May I see her?”

Lord MacKittrick looks around the parlor again that is not large, but nicely decorated. And he realizes that his impression of the Widowed Corinne Carpenter as her being below his station was probably incorrect.   And at the moment, Lord MacKittrick  fails to realize that with the introduction of his Aunt Lady Anne Pendleton to their society will likely reveal his secret of not being merely Sir Mac.

Noah: “Alright, follow me.”  Noah sighs beleagueredly for the third or fourth time today.  “Lady Anne is in the kitchen with my Mama and baby sister Nancy.”  Noah states, not knowing of his Mama’s tearful breakdown.

So Lord MacKittrick/Sir Mac follows young Noah through the nicely appointed Carpenter Manor parlor and then into the kitchen.  Whereupon he finds Corinne Carpenter being consoled by his Aunt Lady Anne, who is also holding Mrs. Carpenter’s baby Nancy.

Noah: “Sir Mac is here!”  Noah states loudly, causing the ladies to look up, and baby Nancy to be startled and begin crying since it is near her feeding time.

Baby Nancy: “Waa waa waa waa waa waa.”

Corinne looks sorrowfully over at Sir Mac, her being still awash in her grief for the death of her husband Franklin Carpenter.   Whereas Lord MacKittrick’s Aunt Lady Anne has a slightly different reaction to seeing her nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick announced as Sir Mac—and with his neck casually exposed [due to the] lack of ahis cravat.

Lady Anne:  “Sir Mac, is it?”  Her eyebrow rises bemusedly, and she wonders what her nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick is up to by him using a different name than his own—even as she [cuddles] and soothes baby Nancy and Nancy’s Mama Corinne in her arms.

Lord MacKittrick—aka Sir Mac—looks discomfittedly at his Aunt Lady Anne and the Widow Corinne Carpenter meeting each other, which will naturally end up revealing his true identity to the Widowed Corinne and her young son Noah.  The only question is, whom will catch on first.

Lord MacKittrick:  “Mrs. Carpenter?”  Seeing Corinne Carpenter attired in a lovely light blue [taffeta] day gown overlay over her white eyelet lace linen under gown, he is astounded at the implication that her form of dress brings regarding her [possibly elevated] station in society.  Then he remembers her mentioning that she has lovely handwriting, can do sums, embroider and sew, as well as play piano forte.  Mrs. Carpenter is definitely more than she at first seemed to be to him when they first met two days ago.

Corinne:  Feeling embarrassed in front of Sir Mac with her emotional display of tears, Corinne bids a hasty retreat.  “Excuse me, My Lady and Sir Mac, I must feed my baby Nancy.  Noah, please take our guests into the parlor for continuing their tea until my return.”  Then she gently scoops her baby out of Lady Anne’s arm and dashes to her nearby bedroom to remove her clothes before nursing her baby.

Noah:  Becoming weary with all of the comings and goings, Noah says once more. “Follow me!  And Sir Mac, take a teacup and saucer from the china hutch over there if you want to drink tea.”

Lord MacKittrick [bemusedly] does as Noah bids, and they return to the Carpenter’s manor parlor.  Then Lady Anne pours some newly warmed tea into her nephew Lord Pendleton’s tea cup for him.  And Noah begrudgingly and challengingly holds out the china plate of apple tarts treats to him.  Lord MacKittrick takes an apple tart and he immediately bites into it to stave off young Noah’s certain to follow admonishments about him not being brave enough to eat his Mama’s apple tarts the other day.

Lady Anne: “So Pendleton, how have you been?”  She asks innocuously for her, but not for Noah.

Noah: “Why don’t cha call him Sir Mac, or Mac, My Lady?”  Noah asks quizzically.

Lord MacKittrick:  “Aunt Lady Anne, I am fine.  And well Noah, Mac is a nickname that my school fellows gave me long ago.  But my family, such as my Aunt Lady Anne here, tend to address me as Pendleton.”  He hopes that explanation will suffice for Noah. But, of course, it does not.

Noah: “But nicknames are usually short for a longer name. What is your name Mac short for?”

Noah is a sharp witted six year old boy—too sharp in Lord MacKittrick’s mind.  And Lord MacKittrick pauses before he answers Noah.

Lady Anne: “I believe young Noah here is awaiting your response, Pendleton.”  She then sips her tea, her trying to hide her smile at her nephew being bested by a six year old.

Noah: “Yes, I am.”  Noah stares resolutely at the now squirming Lord MacKittrick.

Rejoining her guests in her parlor with her now happily sated baby Nancy snoozing in her arms, Corrine answers for Sir Mac.

Corinne:  “Well, Noah Dear, if Sir Mac arrived from the direction of Woodbury Castle—the family seat of Lord Pendleton MacKittrick, The Earl of Woodbury—perhaps he is also some relation to him.”

Corrine smiles knowingly at Lord MacKittrick, who seemingly has secrets of his own.  And Lord MacKittrick winces for having deceived her previously about who he was.

Lord MacKittrick:  “You have the right of it, Madam. I am he.”  He admits sheepishly.

Lady Anne: “Now that was not so difficult to admit, was it, Pendleton?”  She wryly asks him.

Noah: “Sir Mac is, who is he?” Noah asks in confusion.

In dire need of changing the subject from himself, Lord MacKittrick asks Corinne.

Lord MacKittrick: “Mrs. Carpenter, I remember you mentioned that you play the piano forte, but yet I do not see a piano here.  Do you miss playing?”

Corinne: “Yes, I do miss it.  My piano was too large and heavy to move here when my husband and I married seven years ago.”  She dissembles.  What she omits to say is that her parents would not let her take her piano with her, and barely allowed her to take her clothes and a few mementos with her when she wed.  And she has not had contact with her parents since then.

Lord MacKittrick: “I am sorry to hear that. You are welcome to come to Woodbury Castle and play on my piano forte any time you wish.   And we have music sheets in its seat bench if you do not have anything still memorized.”  He offers graciously.  Then he sees both ladies staring at him in stupefaction for his unusual largesse.

Corinne; “That is most kind of you, Lord MacKittrick.  But with my children not having a nurse or nanny, I cannot leave them alone at home here.”  And what she does not say is that propriety will not allow her to enter a bachelor’s home unchaperoned.

Lady Anne: “Well, My Dear.  I am happy to watch and entertain the children while you play the piano forte while I am visiting my nephew for a few weeks.”  She offers graciously—and her chaperonage for Corinne is also implied.

Noah: “And I have my book that Dr. Lively loaned me to read, since I must rest my arm and not play.” He states forlornly.

Lord MacKittrick: “Well, Noah, I do have a table top game of draughts [(6)] we could play.  Do you know that game?”

Noah:  Slowly, Noah replies in a subdued voice.  “I do.  My late Papa taught me to NoahCarpenter-young-peasant-boy-frowning-image-byWilhelmHasselbach_Aug23-2020viaMutualartcom-viaGrati-szd-cropplay it when I was little.  But I don’t play it anymore.”  Noah’s face mirrors his sadness at his Papa’s death [(7) right].

Lord MacKittrick:  “I understand your reticence, Noah.  I have not played draughts since my parents and older brother … died when I was only a little older than you are now.”  Lord MacKittrick states sadly.

Feeling a kindred sadness in Sir Mac, Noah stands up from the settee and walks over to him, then he pats Sir Mac’s left hand with his right hand.

Noah:  “Your Papa is dead, too?” Noah’s tears fall down his cheeks.  Then Noah sees Sir Mac’s tears also fall down his own cheeks. So Noah sits on Sir Mac’s knee, with placing his good right arm around Sir Mac’s neck and cuddles into him for comfort, as they both cry.  And Lord MacKittrick soothingly embraces the young lad.

Lady Anne and Corinne share sympathetic looks with each other and to the man and the young boy who are both haunted by their grief.  It is a deeply personal and emotional moment shared between new friends [and family].  After several minutes, Lord MacKittrick’s and Noah’s crying lessens.  And the patient and understanding Corinne extends an olive branch to Lord MacKittrick—and encouragement to her young son Noah.

Corinne:  “Noah Dear, I do not think your late Papa would mind you playing draughts again with Lord MacKittrick.  Your Papa would want you to continue to enjoy playing it, if that is what you wish.”  She soothingly rubs her son’s back facing her.

Noah: “Do you think so, Mama?”  Noah asks her hesitantly as he looks over his shoulder at her.

Corinne: “I do.  And I thank you for your kind invitations to both Noah and I, Lord MacKittrick.” Corinne gracefully nods her head to him.  And Lord MacKittrick nods to her in kind.

Then with their late afternoon tea party almost over, it is time for Corinne to put a chicken in the oven for their evening meal—to which she invites Lady Anne and Lord MacKittrick to stay for.  And given that Lady Anne’s carriage cannot carry her further this later afternoon due to the poor state of the roads after the rainstorm, Corinne also invites Lady Anne to spend the night in her lovely stone manor home’s guest room—with Lord MacKittrick and Lady Anne’s footmen bringing her bags and trunks in from the carriage.  Lady Anne gratefully accepts Corinne’s kind offer and goes to freshen up in the guest room.

Then Lady Anne’s coachman and footmen each take one of Lady Anne’s horses and ride over to stay at Lord MacKittrick’s Woodbury Castle stables’ servant guest quarters for the night.  They will bring fresh horses with them to the Carpenter Orchard Farms upon the morrow to pull Lady Anne’s carriage [to Woodbury Castle].  Then Lord MacKittrick, Lady Anne, Corinne, Noah, and baby Nancy have a pleasant evening meal together before farewelling Lord MacKittrick at the end of the evening as he rides back to Woodbury Castle for the night.

And Lord MacKittrick is now more certain than ever that the widowed Mrs. Corinne Carpenter has a genteel background.  It is just that without her revealing the particulars, he is left to wonder and puzzle it out.  And Corinne Carpenter’s loveliness today–and her kindness today to his Aunt Lady Anne—makes a very favorable impression upon Lord MacKittrick.

Lord MacKittrick does not wholly understand his developing affinity for Corinne Carpenter as perhaps a growing attachment to her and her little family of young Noah and baby Nancy.  But Corinne soothingly inhabits his sleeping dreams this night—chasing away his usual dreams about his own family’s deaths and him being orphaned as an eight year old child.  And what Lord Pendelton MacKittrick begins to feel–for the first time in over twenty years–is hope.

To be continued with Chapter 04

References for Ch. 03 of “A Lonesome Lord”,  February 05, 2023  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1511)

  1. My “A Lonesome Lord ” story logo is a composite of a portrait of British actor Richard Armitage from 2020 by An Le, and Harrington text on a teal background.
  2. The Carpenter Orchard Farm’s stone manor home is represented by The Abbey Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire; image was found at,_Sutton_Courtenay
  3. Lady Anne Elizabeth Pendleton in a carriage is represented by Samantha Bond as Mrs. Weston in Emma 1996_Feb03-2023via IMDB4. Corrine Carpenter wearing a light blue taffeta gown overlay over a white eyelet lace linen gown is Justine Waddell in Mansfield Park 1999_Feb03-2023viaFrockFlicks

    5. Lord MacKittrick is represented by Richard Armitage in a 2020 portrait by An Le viaRABrazil, January 21, 2023GratiL-edits-szd-brt-clr

    6. Information about the 5,000 year old game of draughts/checkers may be found at:

    7. Young Noah Carpenter is represented by a classic painting of a young-peasant boy frowning, by Wilhelm Hasselbach downloaded Aug23-2020 via Mutualartcom

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for  Ch. 03 “A Lonesome Lord”, February 05, 2023 (#1511):

Previous SAL blog Post # 1509 link  for Ch. 02 “A Lonesome Lord”, January 29, 2023:

Posted in "A Lonesome Lord" (2023) by Gratiana Lovelace, Creative Writing, Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Grief, Hope, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mysterious Richard Armitage in “Geneva” trailer still, February 02, 2023 Gratiana Lovelace (Post#1510)

Thanks to Maria Papa for sharing this production still (below) from the multi-talented British actor Richard Armitage‘s “Geneva” audiobook video trailer!

Smoulder, thy name is Richard!  And what is his character carrying in his right hand?  A laptop case? A leather dufflebag?  Or, something more sinister?  Hmmm?

And below is @RCARmitage’s share of his “Geneva” audiobook video trailer, for us to take a second look:

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, & peaceful day! Hugs, Love, & Cheers!   Grati ;->

Posted in "Geneva" by Richard Armitage via Audible 2022, Audible, audio books, Creative Writing, Creativity, Fiction, Film Noir, Gratiana Lovelace, intrigue, Mysterious, Mystery, Richard Armitage, smoulder, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling, Thriller, Thriller Thursday, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“A Lonesome Lord,”  Ch. 02:  Seeking medical attention, January 29, 2023 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1509)

 (all rights reserved by Gratiana Lovelace; copyrighted 2023); [(1) Story Cover, below left]

0aaaA-LonesomeLord-story-cover-wText_Jan21-2023byGratiL-szd256x402-HiRes-clr-brt-brdrIllustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors  or illustrations, including:  Richard Armitage as Lord Pendleton  MacKittrick (aka Sir Mac Pendleton to the Carpenter family), Justine Waddell as the widowed Corinne Carpenter, Noah Carpenter illustration, Bill Peterson as Dr. Finneas Lively, and others as noted.

Author’s Notes:  This original Regency romance is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes, locations, or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank  discussions about love, marriage, and Regency society put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.

Chapter 02:  Seeking medical attention

As country physicians go, they can be a diffident lot—with varying degrees of education and experience, and sometimes with no formal education.  That is why when Lord MacKittrick sought to install the next physician for the Woodbury Village area and for himself, he chose a long established but not elderly London Physician who wished to retire permanently to the countryside.

And with Lord MacKittrick providing/paying for  the Woodbury Village doctor’s DrLively-looking-professional-image-is-ofBillPaterson-in-Wives&Daughters_Aug23-2020viaPinterest-Grati-szd-crp medical offices, nursing and midwife assistants—as well as, a generous quarterly salary, a handsomely refurbished small two story stone manor house with four family bedrooms for the physician and his extended family when they visit, and sleeping rooms at the back of the kitchen for the household staff—he was able to entice the seasoned and well educated Dr. Finneas Lively [(2) right] to retire to the medical practice at Woodbury Village three months ago, after the previous doctor had died of extreme old age, four months prior to that.

The good and kind Dr. Lively [(3) right] is aptly named.  He is a robust man, walking DrLively-smiling-image-is-ofBillPaterson_Aug23-2020viaTheJaneAustenFilmClub-blogger-Grati-szd-crp everywhere in the small Woodbury Village and its lovely forested surroundings, despite his sixty years of age.  His somewhat reddish hair is distinguishedly tinged with not much white in it.  And his face’s ruddy complexion from being out of doors, has the wrinkles of his sixty years–made on a man who smiles and laughs a lot.

When Lord MacKittrick’s–Sir Mac Pendleton to the Carpenter family–carriage and entourage reach the outskirts of Woodbury Village, they pull directly into Dr. Lively’s small manor estate—with a separate one story stone out building across from the stables for the medical clinic facilities of a patient waiting room, Dr. Lively’s medical office, a large examining room that can be turned into a surgery when needed, a small currently empty patient ward of four beds, a bathroom, a small kitchen, a general storage room of non medical supplies, and two small bedchambers  for a live in nurse and live in midwife.  The remaining staff is a cleaning char woman who comes in from Woodbury village daily to clean the medical clinic in the late afternoons, so it is ready for the next day’s patients.

The Coachman drives Lord MacKittrick’s carriage straight to the medical clinic—with the advantage of being able to avoid Woodbury Village proper for the moment, to prevent Village busy bodies from gossiping about the young and lovely Widow Carpenter with their bachelor Earl.  Lord MacKittrick bounds out of his carriage first, not waiting to assist Mrs. Carpenter and her children down from it.  His footmen will see to that.

For her part, Corinne has not had cause to visit the new doctor since he came to their village three months ago.  To her mind, he did not come soon enough, because if the former old village doctor had not died one month before her husband’s hunting accident, then he might have been able to receive true medical care and perhaps survived.  But her husband Will Carpenter died quickly from his injuries six months ago—and she became the Widow Carpenter at the young age of twenty five years.

However, there is another aspect to Corinne Carpenter’s reticence about seeing Dr. Lively, but she keeps that private for now.  Though she and her children attend regular Sunday church services each week, they sit in the back and leave quickly.  Such that, she has not had the occasion to meet Dr. Lively in person in the village–though she has heard some of the neighboring villagers speak well of him and his care of their families.  So Corinne guesses that her secret is certain to come out at some point—with that likely occurring in the next few minutes.

Bounding into Dr. Lively’s patient waiting room, Lord MacKittrick happily sees that no one else is waiting at the moment.  So he addresses the clerk who serves to organize Dr. Lively’s medical appointments and records.

Clerk: He stands at attention, then bows his head and smiles cordially to their feudal lord.  “Good Day, Lord MacKittrick.  How may we be of service?”

Lord MacKittrick:  “Well for one, please do not address me as Lord MacKittrick, or anything.  I will explain later.  First, we have a young family who suffered a wagonette accident and they need tending to.”  He replies to the young Clerk’s quizzical expression.  “Ah!  Here they are!”

Corinne Carpenter carrying her baby Nancy in her sling and her son Noah walk into the small waiting room and look around.  She had only been here once before three years ago, when Noah was little and had a nasty cut from falling that had to be stitched.  Noah remembers that painful visit and frowns.  The old doctor was not very gentle with his patients—to put it mildly.

Such that when Dr. Lively came to replace the old doctor, the Woodbury Villagers soon discovered that their new doctor’s  disposition and caring medical treatments were a welcome relief—not to mention that the good Dr. Lively did not charge them more than they could pay, him often accepting payment in kind such as eggs or milk, or garden trimming, snow shoveling of walkways to and from his clinic, etc.

Lord MacKittrick: “This is Mrs. Carpenter.  She and her children had taken a tumble on the road when her small wagonette had overturned.  Fortunately, my men and I had happened upon her accident almost immediately and assisted her in returning to Woodbury Village.  She is especially concerned about her baby.  Is the good doctor in?”

Clerk: “Yes, but he is with another patient.  Though he might be available in the next quarter of an hour.  So in the meantime, I will let Dr. Lively know that another patient has arrived, then take Mrs. Carpenter’s family information from her.”

The Clerk pointedly says that, because although  Lord MacKittrick is well meaning, like the doctor, the clerk is bound by patient confidentiality. Then he goes to inform the doctor of a new patient family, but he does not give their name—him waiting until he has all the family particulars to relate to the good doctor.  The doctor nods to his Clerk through the ajar door and the Clerk returns to the reception room to take the new patient information.

Picking up a blank half sheet piece of paper from his desk, the doctor’s Clerk invites Mrs. Carpenter to come forward to his desk and sit on the adjacent chair to it.  So she stays her hand to her six year old son Noah, for him to remain seated on the one settee with Sir Mac.  After the Clerk neatly prints her family’s names, birthdates, and medical complaints of bruising and such, Mrs. Carpenter returns to the settee, sitting on the other side of Noah.  Then the Clerk brings them some tea—more so as a nod to Lord MacKittrick, rather than him providing tea being a standard patient refreshment offering, other than the jug of fresh water and cups sitting on a table off to the side of the reception room.

They wait only a few more minutes, then the Day Nurse enters the waiting room, the Clerk hands her the piece of paper with pertinent patient information on it, and she takes Mrs. Corinne Carpenter and her children back to Dr. Lively’s medical office for an initial consultation.  This allows, Dr. Lively’s other patient in the examining room to leave privately through a back door.  Patient confidentiality is uppermost in Dr. Lively’s mind—along with medical care, of course.  So the Woodbury Village Parson leaves by the back door to head to his home at the vicarage, not seeing Lord MacKittrick in the reception  room with the Carpenter family.

Whilst the Carpenter family is being seen to by the doctor, Lord MacKittrick politely sits in the waiting room sipping his tea—him wishing the drink were stronger, due to the vagaries of the day involving the Carpenter family’s wagonette accident, Lord MacKittrick having two of his footmen attend to the now derelict wagonette’s wagon wheel repair with a Richmond blacksmith, and him facilitating the Widow Carpenter and her children now receiving medical attention in Woodbury Village.

Walking into Dr. Lively’s office with the Carpenter family following behind her, the Day Nurse succinctly relates the information upon the card, before giving the card to Dr. Lively.

Nurse:  “Dr. Lively, this is the widowed Mrs. Corinne Carpenter, her 6 year old son Noah, and her 9 month old baby daughter Nancy.  Mrs. Carpenter is worried that her baby might have sustained injury when they fell out of her wagonette as it toppled onto its side. She would also like her son examined for bruising.”

Dr. Lively:  Smiling kindly at the young mother who looks at him tentatively, he sets her mind at ease.  “Mrs. Carpenter, is it?”  Corinne nods mutely—her knowing that he knows who she is.  And, of course, she knows who he is.  The doctor smiles encouragingly at her—she has grown and matured since he saw her last in London, just before she was a young debutante at seventeen years—the year before she met and married her late husband Franklin Carpenter.  And now she is a mother herself.  “Well, let me examine your baby first.”  Dr. Lively holds out his arms and Corinne hesitantly removes her sleeping baby Nancy from her baby sling in her arms, before depositing her into the doctor’s arms.  Then they walk through a connecting door into his medical examination room.

Corinne: “Nancy has been crying ever so much since the accident.  She is only sleepy now because I nursed her but a half hour ago.”

Noah: “My sister always naps after she feeds.”  Young Noah states while rolling his eyes, as one who know the intimate details of family life. Noah also wonders when his baby sister will become more interesting.  Of course, Noah does not remember his own babyhood years.  So for Noah, baby Nancy’s milestones at 9 months are mostly her pooping smells and her drool that his Mama has to constantly wipe up.  Noah does not even have an inkling that his baby sister is to begin teething soon and she will bet crying all the time in pain due to it.

Dr. Lively:  Knowing that young children are often fearful of doctors—and noting the suspicion in young Noah’s eyes, but not the cause of it—he speaks cordially to the boy.  “Is that so?  Good to know.”

Dr. Lively pats the top of the young boy’s head, then he lays the baby on a folded towel that his Nurse had kindly placed there for him upon his leather upholstery padded examination table—the examination table is an innovation that he brought with him from London.  The soft towel is for the baby’s comfort, less so to mop up any messes that the baby might make.  And the Day Nurse is in the room to assist him if needed for any procedures and such.

Corinne: “Nancy, that is my baby’s name, seems too quiet to me now.”  She worries.

Dr. Lively: “Oh?  Did she hit her head in the fall from the wagon?”  While he waits for her reply, he examines the baby’s head and shoulders for bruising, finding none.

Corinne:  “I do not think so.  But I fell on top of her since I was carrying her in my baby sling.”  Corinne quickly covers her mouth, but her weeping for possibly having injured her baby cannot be suppressed and she wails.  “Is Nancy hurt?  Did I hurt my baby?” Corinne losing her husband but 6 months ago was bad enough, but to have one of her children also be injured, perhaps grievously, is too much for her tender heart to bear.

Dr. Lively:  Dr. Lively pats the young mother’s shoulder with his free hand, the hand not securely holding onto the baby on the examination table. “There, there Mrs. Carpenter.  Babies are resilient.  At present, I see no sign of injury on her.  In fact your falling over your baby probably prevented her being hit by other items tumbling out of the wagonette, since your cheek has some bruising on it, My Dear.”  He gazes at her in a kindly fatherly way.

Corinne: “Oh no!  I am fine.”  She states dismissively about her own injuries as she touches her cheek—with her hand showing some scratches from her fall. “But please finish your examination of Nancy, and then check Noah.”

Dr. Lively proceeds to listen to baby Nancy’s heart and tummy with a listening tube.  Then he gently touches her arms, legs and tummy.  Though baby Nancy stirs awake a bit, she does not seem in any pain, nor are there any bruises forming, nor cuts to her skin. And he hands her back to her Mama Corinne.

Dr. Lively: “Baby Nancy seems just fine.”  He gently pats the back of the baby’s head as she is now cradled in her Mama’s arms.   “I find no injuries on her.  But her acting subdued might be in part from the upset of the wagonette accident.  My guess is that she will be right as rain on the morrow, after she has a good night’s sleep.  But do not hesitate to return to my offices tomorrow or in the coming days if she does not bounce back and behave as she normally does.”  Dr. Lively smiles again at Corinne, him thinking that she is so young herself to be widowed with two young children.  “Now!  To your son!”  He smiles broadly and turns to the boy, lifting him up upon the examination table.

Noah:  “What der yer mean by saying my baby sister is sub-dude?”  He asks cutely and he folds his arms in front of his chest, not allowing the doctor to examine him.

Corinne: “Now Noah, please let Dr. Lively check you over—to make sure the you are not injured?”  She caresses her son’s face and nods her head pleadingly.

Dr. Lively:  “That is a fine question, young Noah.  It betokens your curiosity.”  Then the good doctor realizes that he will have a second word to explain to the young boy—hopefully as a distraction during his examination of him.  First, Dr. Lively touches the top and sides of Noah’s head, feeling for bumps.  “The word subdued, means quiet.”

Noah: “Then why did’n you say so?”  Noah looks perturbed at the doctor.  Noah speaks plainly and clearly, and he wants others to as well.

Dr. Lively: “A fair point.”  Dr. Lively smiles at Noah and then shakes his head at Corinne, her being worried that Dr. Lively might take offense at her son’s forwardness.  Then the doctor holds out his hands, palm up. “Push down on my hands.”  The boy does so without problems.  Then Dr. Lively turns his palms facing downward and gives his next direction. “Now push my hands up.” Noah does that, but only part way.

Noah: “Ouch!”  Noah yelps in pain and brings his left arm close to his chest.  “Why’d you do that for? That hurt!”  Noah frowns.

Corinne: “Noah.”  His Mama pleads.

Dr. Lively:  “Ah!  My apologies, Noah.  But some injuries don’t make bruises, but can be felt if you turn a limb or your body a certain way.  Now let me feel your arm.”  Noah shakes his head no.  “Come now.  I’ll be slow and gentle.  But we must ascertain, figure out, if you have a broken arm, or merely a sprain.”

Corinne: “Go on, Noah.  He won’t hurt you. You saw how gentle he was with your sister.   He’s a good doctor.”  She smiles at her son encouragingly.

Noah: “Alright.”  Noah scowls.  “But don’t make me hurt again!”  Noah forcefully orders the doctor.

Dr. Lively: “Understood.”  The doctor nods, and Noah nods back to him.  After gingerly helping the boy Noah remove his child’s vest and shirt, the doctor notices some bruising on Noah’s lower left arm—which was likely the cause of his pain in pushing up on Dr. Lively’s hands.   “Now Noah, I’m going to start to feel your left arm at the top and work down your arm to your hand.  And you tell me if you feel anything—and what it feels like.  Is it a sharp pain, like from a needle?  Or is it a dull ache, like you have with a regular bruise?”  Noah nods.

Corinne leans in, biting her lower lip, her worrying about her son’s possible injury as Dr. Lively slowly and gently feels the boy Noah’s lower left arm.

Noah: “Ow!”  Noah whines.  “That hurts!”  Noah leans back from Dr. Lively.

Dr. Lively: “I’m sorry you felt pain, Noah.  Now what did the pain feel like?  A sharp pain, or a dull ache?

Noah: “I dunno.  Both.”  The good doctor tilts his head and looks at him quizzically.  “Well, it was  a sharp pain where you touched my arm, but it made all of my arm hurt, too.”  Noah pouts.

Dr. Lively: “Hmmm.”  He nods sagely as he slowly and gently continues his examination of Noah’s arm, not getting a further pain response..

Corinne: “Is that bad, doctor?”

Dr. Lively: “I believe that Noah might have a small fracture in his arm—a broken bone—or a very bad sprain.  So I will splint his arm to stabilize it—as well as give him a sling for him to wear.  And he must not use his left arm for 6 weeks, in order to allow it to heal.”

Corinne:  “But my son is an energetic little boy.  He will not like these limitations to his play and work time.”  She frets.

Dr. Lively:  “Noah?  Do you want your lower left arm to heal properly and quickly?”  He intones imperiously.

Noah:  “Can’t my arm just heal quickly on its own?”  He asks impertinently.

Dr. Lively: “Well, for your arm to heal quickly, you must keep the splint and sling on it and let it rest.  Otherwise, it will take twice as long or more to heal.  And you wouldn’t want that, now would you?”  The cagey older doctor is also a father and grandfather, well versed in cajoling his own little ones.

Noah: “I suppose.”  Noah hangs his head forlornly.

Corinne: “Thank you, doctor. We are so grateful.  Noah?  Please say thank you nicely to Dr. Lively.” She cajoles in a sweetly lilting voice.

Noah: “Thank you.” He pouts.

So Dr. Lively sets and splints Noah’s lower left arm, and ties a sling around his neck.

Dr. Lively: “I expect the first few days will be the worst of it—for as the swelling goes down each day as you’re healing, I will need to adjust the splint slightly tighter for it to still brace and support his arm.  So he will need to visit me daily for me to do that for him.”

Noah: “Blast!”

Corinne: “Noah!  Language, please.”

Noah:  “I’m sorry, Mama.  But I want to run and play and fish?”  His mother almost looks as if she will suffer an apoplexy.

Dr. Lively: “Now, now.  You may still have a good time, just being more quiet than usual.  In fact, with fishing requiring you to be seated, that might be fine for later on—a month from now.  But for now, I suggest that you read books.”  Then he thinks a moment?  “You’re rather young for a boy.  Do you read yet?”

Noah: “I read!”  He states proudly.

Corinne:  “I  have taught him his letters and numbers.  And he can read his bible at home and in church.” She states proudly.

Dr. Lively: “That sounds wonderful!  Well Noah, I shall loan you a book to read, that I Gullivers_travels-Story-book-cover_Jan18-2023Grati-szd-crp2 have just finished reading again myself.  It is an adventure book called “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift—which was published quite a while ago [(4), in 1726 ].  Then you and I can discuss its story when you come for your daily appointments over the next few days.”  Dr. Lively fetches the small bound book and hands it to Noah.

Noah:  “Thank you.”  Noah looks the book over.  Then balancing the book on his legs–while he is still sitting on the examination  table—Noah carefully turns the pages with his right hand.  “Alright, I think I can read this book.”

Dr. Lively: “Good lad!”  And he pats the top of Noah’s head.

Corinne: “That is very kind of you, Dr. Lively.  But are you certain that you want to loan your nicely bound book to a child?”  For she fears that the book might sustain some damage from her six year old son Noah.

Dr. Lively:  “Not to worry, Mrs. Carpenter.  Books are meant to be read and enjoyed.  So I hope that he will enjoy this book.”

Corinne:  “And what is your medical fee, Dr. Lively?”  She asks as she looks for some shillings & pences in her full reticule of market goods profits from this day that will see to her expenses for the coming months—with her also  wanting to maintain the ruse that she and the good doctor are not family as niece and uncle, her mother’s brother.

Dr. Lively: He rubs his chin. “Well, Mrs. Carpenter.  I have heard tell from other villagers that your apple tarts are quite tasty.  So perhaps you would gift me with one of them as Noah is healing.  Hmmm?”  He smiles cordially at her.

Corinne Carpenter nods her head in agreement, with a small knowing smile. She remembers that her uncle has quite the sweet tooth, from her childhood.  And she will bake a fresh batch of apple tarts and have Noah take it with him to tomorrow’s medical visit.


So the nurse escorts the Carpenter family back to the waiting room where the now heartily bored Lord MacKittrick (Sir Mac) is waiting lounging uncomfortably across the smallish settee.

Lord MacKittrick:  “Ah!  At last!”  Though the Carpenters had only been gone from his presence for about half an hour, Lord MacKittrick is unused to having to wait upon others time frames.

Corinne:  “My apologies, Sir Mac.  But my boy Noah has a broken arm that had to be splinted.”  She gestures to Noah.

Noah: “See?”  Noah points at his left arm splinted and in a sling, with his good right hand holding the book that Dr. Lively loaned him.

Lord MacKittrick:  “Oh!  Sorry to hear about your broken arm Noah.  What is that in your right hand?  A book?” He asks with incredulity, for common folk do not normally know how to read.

Noah: “Dr. Lively let me borrow it to read, since I won’t be allowed to run and play while I’m healing.  I can’t even fish yet.  Hhhh!”  He sighs heavily.

Corinne:  “Yes, Dr. Lively was very kind to loan Noah his book to read.

Lord MacKittrick:  “The boy reads?  Who taught you?”  Lord MacKittrick looks askance at the small boy and his Mama, as if they were ethereal creatures not of this world—or certainly not of their presumed lower station.

Noah: “My Mama taught me to read sose I can read my bible—and now this adventure book from Dr. Lively.”  He beadily stares down the condescending Sir Mac.

Lord MacKittrick: “Oh!  You read, Mrs. Carpenter?”

Corinne:  “Yes, Sir Mac.”  She bristles.  “I also write nicely for letters and invitations, do sums, embroider and sew garments, and play piano forte.”  Now she beadily stares down Sir Mac.  And her young son Noah nods vigorously in support of her statements of her lady like accomplishments.

Lord MacKittrick:  “My apologies, Mrs. Carpenter.” He bows his head to her, acknowledging that he has tacitly insulted her.  “I applaud your expertise, and for your teaching your son to read.  That skill alone will serve him well in the years to come.”

Lord MacKittrick states these apologetic phrases in a chastened manner.  For to him, the well spoken Mrs. Carpenter seems to have a background of some education and upbringing that belies her now orchard owner and baker stations.  He surmises that she might have even been a governess, who plighted her troth to her late husband, the former orchard owner.  And though governesses are respectable and often take meals with the families they serve—as well as chaperone their charges at society events–they are not of society  themselves, usually.

The widowed Corrine Carpenter  nods curtly in acceptance of Sir Mac’s apology.  So the Carpenters are returned home to their orchard farm by a now slightly impressed Lord MacKittrick and his carriage.  And in farewelling them, Lord MacKittrick wonders if they will cross paths again?  For he is now quite intrigued by the seeming puzzle that is the widowed Mrs. Corinne Carpenter.

To be continued with Chapter 3

References for the  Ch. 02 of “A Lonesome Lord”,   January 29, 2023  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1509)

  1. My “A Lonesome Lord ” story logo is a composite of a portrait of British actor Richard Armitage from 2020 by An Le, and Harrington text on a teal background.
  2. The image representing the eminent medical practioner Dr. Lively in his home office milieu is that of Bill Paterson in “Wives & Daughters” found at Pinterest at
  3. The image representing a smiling Dr. Lively is that of actor Bill Patterson, as found at The Jane Austen Film Club blogger at
  4. For more about the story “Gulliver’s Travels” book published in 1726 by Jonathan Swift, visit ;  and the image link is


Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for  Ch. 02“A Lonesome Lord”, January 29, 2023 (#1509):

Previous SAL blog Post # 1507 link  for “A Lonesome Lord”, January 22, 2023:

Posted in "A Lonesome Lord" (2023) by Gratiana Lovelace, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, Regency, Richard Armitage, Romance, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A lovely Sir Guy & Lady Marian heart wallpaper via Marian Gisborne, January 27, 2023 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1508) 


Lady Marian only has to look in Sir Guy’s direction and he is drawn to her once more–his love and lust for her burning like a rekindled fire.

heart shaped image with Lady Marian and Sir Guy gazing smoulderingly

They were an ill fated pairing from the beginning.  But oh how we wish they had found a way to be happily  together!  Thanks to Marian Gisborne for sharing!

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, & peaceful day!  Hugs, Love, & Cheers!    Grati  ;->

#RichardArmitage, #LucyGriffiths, #RobinHood

Image link:

Posted in Fangurling, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, RA Artwork, Richard Armitage, Romance, smoulder, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Lonesome Lord” (Regency Romance), Prologue through Ch. 01: , An interrupted sojourn home, January 22, 2023 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1507) 

(all rights reserved by Gratiana Lovelace; copyrighted 2023); [(1) Story Cover, below left]

Illustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors  or illustrations, including:  Richard Armitage as Lord Pendleton  MacKittrick, Justine Waddell as the widowed Corinne Carpenter, Noah Carpenter illustration, Bill Peterson as Dr. Finneas Lively, and others as noted.

Author’s Notes:  This original Regency romance is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes, locations, or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love, marriage, and Regency society put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer


In his childhood, Pendleton MacKittrick had been a bit of a wild child—his longish dark slightly curly hair forever falling into his bright and mischievous eyes—whilst he roamed the countryside on his faithful horsie Lightning, climbing trees, swimming in a pond near his family’s home, and such.  A younger son, Mac as his friends and family called him—well, except for his parents who always addressed him as Pendleton, which was his mother’s family name—he loved and admired his much older brother by 8 years Dartmouth MacKittrick, the heir.  They were great friends as brothers, with Dartmouth ever watchful when his much younger brother Mac decided to tag along on his estate hiking and tree climbing adventures.

The MacKittrick’s of Woodbury, England were a very close family of loving parents and children, unusual for their time and for their station in life.  And their little boy Mac knew that he would have a lifelong friend in his 8 years older brother Dart, as Mac nicknamed his brother when Mac was just learning to speak as a toddler.  Because, his brother’s given name of Dartmouth–from their paternal grandmother’s family name–was too much of a mouthful for the little 2 year old Mac to say.

Yet sadly later at the tender age of 8 years old, Lord Pendleton “Mac” MacKittrick found himself a brotherless and parentless orphan after his parents and brother were waylaid by highwaymen who stole their money, jewelry, and possessions, as his parents were returning their older son to Eton for his final year before university—and then they and their carriage driver were killed by the highwaymen.  Their loss was a devastating blow to the very young Mac.

And though the young Lord Mac had kind and loving Woodbury Castle and Estate caretakers, servants, tutors, and his mother’s brother in his Uncle Arthur Pendleton around him as he grew up into manhood, it was a lonely existence for him on the Woodbury Estate, more than an hour by carriage South of London, England. His grief made it difficult for him to form new relationships—his child mind wondering if he would lose them, too.  Though Lord Pendleton MacKittrick is now the Earl of Woodbury, it is a title and distinction which he wishes had not come to him—due to the loss of his beloved parents and older brother Dart.

So after having private tutors at Woodbury Castle while he grew up–and then he attended university for four years studying the classics and history–Lord Mac buries himself in his responsibilities as the Earl—regarding his estates and dependents, as well as, him taking his seat in the House of Lords–since he had long ago come into his majority 9 years ago.

Now an adult of 30 years, his life is a solitary one, and he is somewhat poignantly known as the Lonesome Lord by marriage minded noble Mamas who seek to suggest their daughters as helpmate wives for him.  And though Lord Mac has graciously met these charming and worthy daughters of the ton, he does not feel a connection to them. His own grief is so ever present, that he has yet to find someone who truly understands his loss.  And yet, Lord Mac will meet a lovely young lady who understands and shares his loss, if only he will open himself to the possibility of forming an attachment with her.

To be continued with Chapter 01

Chapter 01:  An interrupted sojourn home

Lord Pendleton MacKittrick, now the fifth Earl of Woodbury, leans back into the luxuriously softly cushioned black leather squabs of his large  shiny black enclosed carriage as he travels back home to his Woodbury Castle estates  that is about a one and a half hour  carriage ride into the near London countryside—about 7 miles in total, which is just an hour’s carriage drive  South to reach Richmond, England, then one heads further South for half an hour more  into the forested countryside village of Woodbury, England.

And Lord MacKittrick [(2) right] quite uncharacteristically for young men of the ton sports a neatly trimmed full beard with mustache as a youngish man of 30 years—since most young men are clean shaven, the better to display their handsome visages.  Yet for him, Lord MacKittrick  views his beard as his armour, almost a mask of protection from unknown others seeking to form an acquaintance with him.  And his eyes have a guardedness about them—despite his casual traveling attire, with his cravat stuffed into his jacket pocket for now.  Afterall, he is the Lonesome Lord, as he was euphemistically dubbed by some sympathetic noble mamas hoping to matchmake their daughters with him.

And Lord MacKittrick’s Earldom’s seat is the ancient Woodbury Castle [& Estate]  [(3ab) right], two miles West of the adjacent and small Woodbury village that he also owns.  And Woodbury Castle’s surrounding productive agricultural estate and Woodbury Village are a green and soothing oasis for Lord MacKittrick away from the frenzy and tussle of London—and the stress of politics and government now that Parliament is not in session for the Summer on this fine early morning of June the first, in the year of 1820.  And he cannot wait to return to his peaceful enclave of calm and quiet that is his Woodbury Castle Estate—with its castle’s ancient fortified stone walls, stained glass windows, and lush rolling landscapes  bordered by heavily [wooded] forests.

Then suddenly Lord MacKittrick’s musings of home are interrupted when he hears a dog’s snarling bark, and his carriage horses’ reactions of snorting and distressed whinnying before his carriage lurches to a halt along the side of a narrow lane on the outskirts of London.  Though he is tossed about a bit, he is more concerned for his horseflesh.

Lord MacKittrick: “Coachman!  What is detaining us?  Are the horses alright?”  For horses and dogs do not always mix [well].

His four footmen outriders close ranks and surround Lord MacKittrick’s carriage— each carrying their Woodbury castle issued ancient but still working 1720’s blunderbuss guns [(4) right]. Given that Lord MacKittrick’s parents and older brother were killed by highwaymen, they are always at the ready to protect him—especially if this roadside delay should this be an attempt to rob their lord.  Though only a single shot weapon, the blunderbuss is short and loaded with metal pellets that spray a wide area due to the flared end of the short barrel.  So the blunderbuss has injurious and often deadly consequences when employed—especially at close range.

Coachman:  “My Lord, our horses are fine.  The barking dog that first assailed them  has now run up ahead.  And  there is a small wagonette up yonder tilted [over] onto its side, with goods strewn about on the ground– what looks like a farmer going to or from market with their wares.”  What he does not say is that it looks to be a woman farmer with two small children, one still a babe at her breast and in a sling around her torso.

Opening his own carriage door, Lord MacKittrick athletically jumps down to the ground.  [For] as soon as he is out of London, he eschews the pomp normally attendant to his high rank as an Earl and he opens his own doors, dons his own shoes, and such.  The Earl is soon flanked by two of his footmen outriders who have dismounted—while the other two footmen outriders remain with the horses.

Coachman:  Lord MacKittrick’s longtime coachman winces.  “No need for your Lordship to be inconvenienced.  The lads will see if they can assist the woman farmer.”

At being apprised that the unfortunate person with the overturned wagonette is a woman, Lord MacKittrick whips his head around to view the dismaying scene of the wagonette accident.

Lord [MacKittrick]:  “Well, I am here now. So keep my horses calm and I will ascertain what is needed.”

So Lord MacKittrick strides the 10 yards over to the wagonette accident and sees that the single horse looks unharmed as one of his footman outrider’s releases it from its small [wagonette] harness.  The horse whinnies its appreciative thanks since it had been forced into an unnaturally twisted position when the wagon overturned.  And the dog of indeterminant breed origins  that had so growlingly barked at his horses to make Lord MacKittrick’s carriage stop, now happily jumps around his horse companion, wagging its long tail in relief.  So Lord MacKittrick hopes that they can swiftly have his footmen set the wagonette to rights and quickly send the woman on her way.

Then a little boy of maybe 5 or 6 years runs toward the overturned wagon’s now freed horse.

Noah:  “That there is my horsie, Mister!  Leave her be!” The footman outrider looks on amusedly at the small boy trying to order him about, and he holds the horse still while stroking its neck to continue to calm it. The boy undeterred seeks reinforcements as he angrily stomps over to his Mama.    “Mama!  He has a hold of my horsie!”

To Lord MacKittrick’s astonishment, the small boy hops up and down in agitation trying to get his young Mama’s attention while furiously pointing at the footman outrider.  But her focus is upon her baby daughter of only 9 months old that she carries in a sling about her shoulders and torso.  The babe was jostled about when the wagon lurched in the overturn,  and the baby does not like it one bit as she loudly wails her displeasure.

Baby Nancy:  “Waaa!  Waaa!  Waaa!”  Her crying continues unabated.

Corinne: “Shhh!  Nancy, Dear.  You are alright.”  The young mother coos and kisses her baby daughter—soothing her a bit.  But Corrine is uncertain if she is correct that her baby is alright.  She is not a doctor and Corinne is worried that her baby might have been hurt when they fell out of the wagon as it turned over onto its side.

Corrine herself is banged up with bruises forming upon her arms and cheek—not to mention her sore backside.  She thinks blessedly that at least her young son Noah seems unhurt.  For Noah’s usual response to him feeling unwell or in pain is to issue forth morosely quiet whimpering.  But young Noah is in Mother protecting mode at the moment, and sets aside his pain.

Lord McKittrick comes upon the young mother and her children.  Seeing that she is dressed in clean and tidy but plain fabrics of the common folk, he stills.  Though he believes in the rights of men and women of all levels of society—which is quite progressive for his day—he has never really had to put that concept into practical application, as he will now.

Lord McKittrick:  “Madam!  May we offer you assistance?”  Lord MacKittrick asks solicitously of the young woman.

He cursorily surveys her few market wares strewn upon the ground, him thinking rightly that she had sold most of her goods in the nearby town of Richmond–and she has only these few items  remaining.  That is, if Richmond could be called a town in 1820—it is more a place of royal palaces, from which it derives its name of Richmond, England [(5)].  Though he does not take the time to inventory what her market wares are.

Corinne: “Are you a doctor, Sir?”  She looks up into the eyes of the very tall, handsome, and very well dressed man before her.  She supposes that this man’s fine dark forest green velvet jacket is a welcome change from a conservative black suit attire that would betoken a vicar, or an undertaker—both of whom she has sadly had cause to engage recently when her young husband died just six months ago from a hunting accident.  But she hopes that the man before her is a doctor—despite his cravatless neck at the moment.

Lord McKittrick: “Uh, … no.  You are Mrs. …?”  He pauses, waiting for her to introduce herself.  Then he will decide if he will tell her who he is.  Though he finds the young woman [(6) right] to have a pleasing countenance–of a delicately oval face, lovely complexion, high cheekbones, and a small straight nose–despite her full and wavy brunette hair left untamed but for a barrette at the back of her head and falling over her slim shoulders and down her back—and over what looks to be a small buttoned up cape that covers her shoulders down to her waist.

Corinne: “Carpenter.  I am the Widow Carpenter.”  She states succinctly, and a bit sadly.  Then she asks him again.  “If you are not a doctor, do you know where I can find one near Richmond here?  You see, we live near Woodbury Village.  And with our, my children to care for, this trip was the first time that I had ventured back to London since my marriage to my late husband.”  She saddens and looks around the lonely stretch of road just past Richmond.  “My baby daughter Nancy is feeling poorly from the accident.  I hope she  has not been hurt.”

There is much for Lord MacKittrick to discern about this lady from her statement of her not having been in London since her marriage.  And her poised manner—despite her distress with her wagonette accident–and her lilting and cultured voice, intrigues him.  But for now, he focuses upon her immediate request for medical assistance for her babe.

Lord MacKittrick:  “Of course.”  She looks up at him with a hopeful smile.  “My apologies, I do not mean to relate that I know a physician within Richmond.”  He dissembles, because he does know of a physician in Richmond through his many travels.  But he surmises that the Richmond doctor is above her touch.  “I, myself, am also traveling further south to the Woodbury area.  And I believe that there is a doctor in residence there.”

Corinne Carpenter nods in agreement, for she knows the good doctor of Woodbury Village from her childhood in London.  But she will not reveal that affiliation to this stranger.

And Lord MacKittrick knows that there is a doctor in Woodbury Village, because he has had the good doctor on retainer for himself and available for the surrounding village area since he arrived to take up his practice three months ago.  But he wonders if the widow woman before him could even afford that doctor’s fee.  And he wonders if perhaps the local Woodbury Village midwife—whomever she might be—would suffice?  And the widow’s family name of Carpenter sounds out of sync with her being a farmer’s wife, or widow as she claims to be—for the Carpenter surname, if applied by peasants, usually refers to a woodworker or furniture maker [(7)].  Though possibly, he thinks that she might have invented a husband in order to appear respectable.

Corinne: “Oh, Thank you!  Might you and your friends help right my [wagonette] and such so that we may follow you there?”  She requests politely.  Her  mistaking his footmen for his friends amuses him, but only slightly—since his footmen are not wearing their Woodbury Castle livery so as not to announce that he is a nobleman to possible roadside thieves or villainous highwaymen [(8)].  And since he is not traveling in his finer traveling coach emblazoned with his family crest—again to avoid highwaymen—he supposes that she might think that they are a hunting party.  Though what animal one might hunt via the inside of an enclosed carriage is beyond him.

[The] Footman holding onto the wagonette horse:  “My …” He stops at Lord MacKittrick’s stern glare focused upon him.  And discretion is always his Lordship’s directive.  “Sir.  The horse has been lamed and cannot pull the [wagonette], though I think the horse will be alright tied behind our carriage for the two miles we have yet to travel.  But the wagonette has a broken wheel and will need to be fixed.”

Corinne: “Noooo!” Corinne  pitiably wails in distress—which sets her baby daughter off to her wailing again.

Nancy:  “Waaa!   Waaa!   Waaa!”  And her mother gently swings her daughter in her loving arms in her sling about her shoulder and torso to soothe her.

For apart from the Carpenter Orchard Farm’s two large wagons that are normally used for hauling apples to market from their apple orchards, this conveyance is the widow Carpenter’s only small wagonette that she uses for herself to get to town, to church, and such.  Her farm hands had already driven ahead of her with those now two large and empty wagons, since they sold most of their apple bushels at the London Market. They had not expected that danger would befall their Mistress on this last leg of her journey home.

And having to help a stranded traveler is so not how Lord MacKittrick hoped to spend is formerly peaceful sojourn home to Woodbury Castle from London—him coming upon the wagonette accident, with its young and comely widowed woman and her young children and no male protector.  Hhhhh!  But needs must.

Lord MacKittrick:  “Mrs. Carpenter, I am …”  If he gives her his name then he fears that she will know that he is her liege lord of Woodbury Castle—and that she might leech upon his kindness.  So he … fibs.  “I am … Mac Pendleton.”  Well his friends call him Mac—since he abhors his first name of Pendleton, thus placing it as his surname here.  And there is nothing for it but for him to be gracious—as he believes that he is a great deal of the time.  “Might I invite you and your children to join me in my carriage for the trip to Woodbury Village for medical attention for your baby?”

Corrine:  “Oh!  You are so kind!  Thank you.”  She smiles gratefully to him.  “Noah, please allow these gentleman to tie your horse Flossie to the back of Sir Mac’s carriage.  Sir Mac is going to help us reach the doctor for Nancy.”  She smiles brightly at her little boy—hopefully encouraging him to remember his manners.

Young Noah Carpenter [(9) right] eyes Sir Mac –as his Mama refers to him–with a child’s suspicion of most adults who are not their parents.  For at six years of age, he has been his Mama’s sole protector since his Papa died six months ago—with no other prosperous Woodbury Village folks initially helping them, but for their two orchard farm laborers.

And Lord MacKittrick gazes upon the boy with surprise for his seemingly suspicious nature—with the boy holding tightly to his wooden stick fishing pole in his left hand—making  Lord MacKittrick’s eyebrows arch high upon his forehead, wondering if the small boy plans to strike at him.  Then he nods to two of his footmen to take charge of the wagonette—with one of the men riding into town at Richmond, to request the wheelwright repair the damaged wagonette wheel, and one of the men standing guard over the otherwise in seemingly fair condition wagonette.

Noah: “Do we hafta, Mama?  What about my dog Lucy?”  He whines as he begrudgingly relents in accepting aid from this gentleman, whilst also worrying about his scruffy looking dog.

Corrine: “We do.  Now behave nicely to this kind gentleman, Noah Dear.”  She states primly, with no intent upon fawning over Sir Mac.  She merely wishes to express her gratefulness.    “Oh, and Sir Mac?  Might you also have room in the carriage for us to store our remaining market goods to take with us?”  She asks hopefully of Lord MacKittrick.

Lord MacKittrick: “Well … there is a storage area upon the carriage’s roof—and for the dog as well.”  Lord MacKittrick hopes to prevent the dog joining them inside the carriage.

Corrine: “Oh!  How clever!”  She smiles, her now noticing the metal rim upon the carriage roof—to which other boxes are lashed to.  And the dog [Lucy] is handed up to the Coachman who pats and then deposits the now friendly dog Lucy on the bench sitting next to himself as the carriage driver. And the dog now regally surveys [her] surroundings from this high perch of the enclosed carriage as if she were a queen and not a lowly animal.

Happily, Corrine had sold most of her orchard’s  harvested apples and her baked goods that she made from them at the London market.  But she still has some honey pots and apple tarts left over, and she does not want to abandon them upon the side of the road.  So the honey pots in a box and two baskets of apple tarts are stored up on top of the carriage.  But she brings one small basket of apple tarts with her into the carriage.

Once seated inside the carriage facing backwards, Corrine and her boy Noah, with her holding her baby daughter Nancy still in her sling, sit opposite Lord MacKittrick’s bench facing forward. It was, perhaps, a tad ungentlemanly of him not to offer Mrs. Carpenter and her son the forward facing bench.  But she seems not to mind.   So he taps twice upon the carriage roof with his cane and his carriage moves forward toward Woodbury Village.

Corrine: “Might I offer you an apple tart for your kindness, Sir Mac?”  She smiles at him, after also giving her son an apple tart to appease his hunger.  She has not heard of a Sir Mac—her acquaintance in town/London  having diminished when she married her husband and she permanently moved to the country seven years ago.

Lord MacKittrick bristles slightly at her so familiarly calling him by his sobriquet of Mac—and attaching the wrong rank title of Sir to him.  But without him correcting her–in his bid to maintain his privacy—her misapprehension will, undoubtedly, continue.  That is, at least until they reach Woodbury Village, where he is known as their feudal Lord.

Lord MacKittrick:  “Thank you, but no, Mrs. Carpenter.  I am not hungry at present.”  He states politely, but with a [slightly] clipped precision to his voice.  Though just then, his stomach noisily belies his assertion with a distinctly ungentlemanlike growl.

Noah:  “Your stomach just made a hungry noise.”  The boy points accusingly at Lord MacKittrick with his thumb.  “My Mama’s apple tarts are better than anyone’s!  Ain’t ya brave enough to try one?”  Six year old Noah states pridefully, then stares down their benefactor with his challenge.

Corrine:  “Noah, please mind your manners.  My apologies, Sir Mac.  My young one is all boy.  Hhhh!”  She sighs.  Then she carefully selects from the basket what looks to Lord MacKittrick to be a clean linen napkin to him and wraps it around an apple tart—that she then hands out to him.

Lord MacKittrick: “Thank you.”  He nods at her with politeness as he takes the proferred apple tart nestled in a linen napkin into his large hands.  The young boy, Noah, continues to stare him down.  So Lord MacKittrick takes a bite into a corner of his apple tart, getting a taste of its moist iced pastry covering the delicious apple tart center.  He smiles with a memory of his long ago childhood, fishing at one of his many vast Woodbury Castle Estate’s ponds or lakes, and eating something similar that their cook had made for him.  “This is quite delicious.”  He praises graciously to her with a nod of his head and a smile, and then he continues to eat his apple tart quite hungrily.

Corrine: “Thank you.”  She smiles prettily at him.  Then her baby Nancy fusses again.  So there is nothing for it.  And she rotates her lightweight cape from behind her shoulders to slightly in front of her—leaving the open gap now at her back.  “If you will excuse me.”  She alerts him politely.  Then she brings her baby underneath the cape again, fiddles around blindly with her dress’ front buttons until she is able to reveal her breast for her baby.  And little Nancy nurses happily at her breast.

Though Lord MacKittrick cannot see anything with the cape covering what the woman is doing, he still guesses what she is doing—nursing her child.  The Woodbury Villagers’ and farmer’s wives nursing their own babes is not an uncommon practice, known in general terms by Lord MacKittrick.  But it is the principle of the matter, that she is nursing her child in his presence.  He blushes crimson.

And prior to this baby nursing incident, Lord MacKittrick  had thought that he noticed some polite manners and vocal phrasing from the young widow—more so than what a peasant would use–that betokens some level of breeding and education upon her part, perhaps her origins are in the class of a merchant’s daughter.  Well that thought flies out of his mind with her latest action of nursing her baby before him—albeit discreetly hidden under her cape.  Men are rather squeamish with female and motherly necessities, such as nursing their babies.

All the while Corrine merely smiles sheepishly at the blushing Sir Mac before her—for her baby’s need for nourishment supercedes Corinne’s interest in unnecessary polite decorum, let alone her seeming refined.  Besides, there is next to no privacy within a carriage.  And she surmises that he has guessed what she is doing.  So Corrine blushes slightly, herself.

Noah: “Yer going ta eat the rest of  that tart, Mister Sir Mac?”  Young Noah asks Lord MacKittrick, who has the apple tart poised at his mouth for another bite, but he is held spellbound in him staring at the widow woman nursing her babe in front of him—well nursing her babe somewhere under her cape.

Without looking at the boy Noah, Lord MacKittrick absentmindedly takes another bite of his apple tart.  Then he proceeds to turn his head and look out the carriage’s open window frame—not really noticing the countryside passing before him–as he focuses upon eating his apple tart until it is finished.  Him all the while not able to unhear the suckling sounds of baby Nancy—now nursing contentedly at her mother’s other breast, under her Mama’s cape.

Corinne gently touches her son Noah’s shoulder and shakes her head no to him–as if to say, please leave Sir Mac alone.

And for the next almost half hour carriage ride to Woodbury Village, the interior of Lord MacKittrick’s carriage is blessedly quiet as the children nap—that is, once the baby is sated and asleep after she is returned to being outside of her Mama’s cape, and the widow has decorously rebuttoned the front of her blouse, before returning her cape to its regular position upon her person.

However, Lord MacKittrick’s mind is not so peacefully running riot with him ruminating over meeting and aiding the comely young widowed mother and her children this day.  He feels that their interactions have been quite outside of his sphere of previous experiences.  And he does not know if that bodes good or ill for him.

To be continued with Chapter 2

References for the Introduction /Prologue and Ch. 01 of “A Lonesome Lord”,  January 22, 2023  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1507)

  1. My “A Lonesome Lord ” story logo is a composite of a portrait of British actor Richard Armitage from 2020 by An Le, and Harrington text on a teal background.
  2. aLord MacKittrick is Richard Armitage-2020 viaRABrazil, January21, 2023GratiL-edits-szd-brt-clr

3ab. Woodbury Castle and estate grounds image representation   are that of Powderham Castle enhancer  was found at

  1. For more about blunderbuss guns, visit
  2. For the historical development of Richmond, England, please visit:,_London
  3. The image of Corinne Carpenter is that of Justine Waddell as Tess of the Durbervilles found at fan pix net at
  4. Historical information about the surname Carpenter was found at
  5. For historical information about highwaymen, visit
  6. Noah Carpenter is represented by a classic painting of a young-peasant boy frowning, by Wilhelm Hasselbach downloaded Aug23-2020 via Mutualartcom ; via


Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Introduction and Ch. 01 [of] “A Lonesome Lord”, January 22, 2023 (#1507):

Posted in "A Lonesome Lord" (2023) by Gratiana Lovelace, Creative Writing, Family, Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Richard Armitage shares a teaser/tempter snippet from his new audiobook “The Drift” by CJ Tudor, January 20, 2023 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1506)

Avid skier and multi-talented British actor/producer/writer Richard ArmitageRAPortrait--2015-RichardArmitage-6-recording-DavidCopperfield-audiobook_Feb0816audible   [right in 2016, via Audible]  shares a new audiobook narration snippet for a story set amidst a snowy backdrop in “The Drift”! Thanks RCA!


“The Drift” by CJ Tudor sounds like a heart pounding adventure thriller–with the ultimate goal being survival!

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, & peaceful day!  Hugs, Love, & Cheers!  Grati ;->

Posted in Love and Relationships | Leave a comment

“Winter Rental”, Ch. 11 (Epilogue):  New Beginnings,  by Gratiana Lovelace,  December 31, 2022 (Post #1505) 

[“Winter Rental” is an original contemporary romance story copyrighted
by Gratiana Lovelace,2022; All rights reserved.];
[(1) the “Winter Rental” story cover (below left)]

0-2022--aa-Winter-Rental-story-cover-256x402_Jan09-2022byGratianaLovelace [Author’s notes:  I cast my characters as I write my stories—to help myself and my readers visualize the main characters.  So my main characters for “Winter Rental” are:  Richard Armitage as Greg Halliday; Cameron Diaz as his younger sister Connie Halliday;  Anne Hathaway as Diana Langley; Liam Hemsworth as Eddie Hughes; Rege-Jean Page as Mike Porter, Octavia Spencer as Octavia Porter, Perry King as Phillip Townes,  Gal Gadot as Vanessa Townes, and others as noted.

This is also a gentle romance (with chapters being rated as PG-13 or so, unless otherwise noted), with some heartfelt romantic moments—and some mature romantic discussions put to humorous effect.  So if you cannot or will not attend a movie with my maturity ratings, then don’t read that chapter.  And though I set my story in the lovely city and area of Galena, IL—which I have enjoyed visiting many times—for the purposes of my storytelling here, I use dramatic license of the facts, individuals, locations, etc.  These are my disclaimers.]

“Winter Rental”, Ch. 11 (Epilogue):  New beginnings

If Greg Halliday thinks that his past two weeks of wooing and proposing to Diana Langley in January of 2022 have been the quickest and the easiest transition toward their lifetime of happiness as a married couple, he will soon find out that–like most worthwhile endeavors—loving someone every day requires love, consideration, tenderness, patience, fortitude, and a host of selfless acts for their love’s benefit, including admitting that one is wrong (or at least, not right) with alarming regularity.

And for Diana, meeting Greg again after all these years and being swept away in a loving romantic whirlwind  by him is a dream come true for her.  Yet in truth, Diana wonders if her own obliging nature—which includes acquiescing to her brother Gary’s requests/demands for help at their family’s sporting goods store, as well as, Diana allowing her home to be rented to the Hallidays at an astoundingly short 6 hours notice to help out her friend and Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort Manager Mike Porter—is also a factor in her rapid romance with Greg Halliday.  It is, tangentially—in the sense that Diana let herself be open to seeking and exploring a relationship with Greg, rather than her fading into the background as she had done in the past.

It is in Diana’s nature to ponder and reflect—and they are also good skills to have DI0078~1as the educator that she is.   And Diana really wants to make a happy life with Greg, and hopefully, their kids someday—despite the inevitable intrusions into their lives from family, friends,  and bosses.  So she is determined to take a stand for her right to have  the life and the future that she wants–and on her terms.  Diana [(2) right] is taking charge of her life, finally,  and she now enjoys the confidence and happiness that she could only dream of before Greg came back into her life.  So Greg has met his match in in the beautiful and empowered Diana—in more ways than one.

And now that Greg and Diana  are engaged to be married, they need to share their happy news with their respective families first.  Greg perceives that his sister Connie will be thrilled for him—as he is for her, in Connie reconnecting with her first love Eddie Hughes.  So later in the week, after checking in with Connie daily by phone as she tends to Eddie as he  recovers at home from his wolf attack injuries—Greg discerns  from his sister Connie’s comments over the phone that Eddie is likely improving, but he is still in the very early stages of healing.

So Greg and Diana make a brief visit to the small two bedroom Cottage on the Hughes estate where Connie is tending to Eddie’s recovery 24/7, with the help of a trained nurse during the daytime—to make sure that his healing wounds don’t get infected.  To prepare for Greg’s and Diana’s visiting them, Eddie requests that his orderly attendant bathe him, shave him, and put him in day time clothes—compared to his mostly briefs attire in bed—and that Connie and the nurse help him move from his bedroom to the spacious sitting and dining area of the cottage that is open to the kitchen.  Eddie opts for a Barcalounger chair with a remote control switch for changing the chair’s position—from sitting up to laying back for sleeping if he chooses.

All is in readiness as the nurse sits with Eddie whilst Connie takes the quickest shower and the fastest makeup application in her life. Then Connie moves a chair to sit next to Eddies chair lounger, gently clasps his hand, and smiles radiantly at him smiling bravely through his pain, as they await her brother Greg and his fiancé Diana.  They do not have to wait long, and there is a gentle knock on their cottage front door.  The nurse opens the door and ushers Greg and Diana into the cottage.  Connie nods and beckons to Greg and Diana to come closer to she and Eddie.

Connie: “Greg  and Diana!” Connie greets them in cheerful yet loud whispered voice—to maintain soothing calm for Eddie’s sake. “We’re so glad that you could stop by for a brief visit.”

Eddie: “We are.”  Eddie confirms economically, since he is still in a great deal of pain.

Greg and Connie and then Connie and Diana gently hug each other.  Greg and Diana do not attempt to hug or shake hands with Eddie—them knowing the pain that he is in. So they speak their greeting.

Greg: “Well Eddie, we’re so sorry for your injuries and hope that you’ll soon be on the mend.”  Diana nods her agreement.  And Greg and Eddie exchange manly gazes that convey much, without having to speak.  “But I must say that you are looking much better than the last time I saw you in the hospital, Eddie.  It must be your nurse attendants’ constant care.”  Greg smiles, for he well knows that his sister Connie has not left Eddie’s side—and she has the tenacity of an Irish wolfhound—wrapped up in a loving and caring lady.

Connie: “Thank you, for both of us.” Connie gently squeezes Eddie’s hand, and he gratefully gently squeezes her hand back.

Diana: “You’re more than welcome.  If there is anything we can do, please let us know.”  Then she turns to Connie. “Truly Connie, either Greg or I can sit with Eddie and keep him company, if you need to slip out at some point  to discuss wedding plans and such with Mrs. Hughes, so as not to tire out Eddie.

Connie and Eddie share a quick look of dread and frustration.

Connie: “That’s kind of you to offer, Diana and Greg.  But if it were just our choice, Eddie and I would keep it simple—have a quiet wedding here at the cottage with only immediate family and close friends while he’s still recovering, then submit to a wedding reception by Mrs. Hughes in three to four months when Eddie feels up to it.”

Greg:  Noticing Eddie’s grimace at their wish to disappoint his mother’s grand wedding plans, Greg weighs in.  “Hmmm.  Parents can be intrusive at times.”  He nods sagely.  “But they are such a blessing”.  Then something occurs to him.  “Eddie and Connie, might you enlist Eddie’s doctors to forbid a tiring wedding shindig or reception now—so as not to expose Eddie’s healing wounds to other people’s germs?”

Diana: “Greg!”  Diana squeals in a loud whisper as she leans into him and squeezes his arm.  “You are positively diabolical.”  And she kisses him for good measure.  Then Diana turns to Connie and Eddie.  “You just need an official looking doctor’s note on letterhead, prescribing that wedding ceremony/reception event limitation for Eddie.”

Connie and Eddie now share a hopeful look. So much can be conveyed with just a heartfelt gaze.  And Diana and Greg perceive hope in Connie’s and Eddie’s eyes.

Connie: “That might just work—so as not to tire out Eddie, nor expose him to germs, and also salve Mrs. Hughes feelings about not getting to plan a large society wedding.”


Announcing their engagement to Diana’s family, was  somewhat different.  Her brother Gary tried to be obstreperous as usual.  But his wife is working on keeping him in line and less of a bother to his younger sister Diana.  So Gary amazingly acquiesced and congratulated his sister Diana and Greg Halliday on their upcoming nuptials. Progress!

So, wedding planning was soon on the fast track—for both couples for late February, Greg & Diana wanting a low key ceremony and reception with only close family and friends– and Connie & Eddie wanting the same.  Well, Eddie’s parents wanted that, too, now—with a bit of cajoling from Eddie’s physician.

Phillip Townes, CEO of Resorts International tables his plans to acquire Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel properties, and instead creating a consortium of such properties and their owners at Greg Halliday’s astute suggestion—to allow each resort property to retain its ownership and its uniqueness, but also benefit from being part of a larger whole of a new ski resort and lifestyle consortium. So Greg gratefully relocates permanently to Galena, Illinois and serves as the Resorts International Liaison to the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel. And he and Mike Porter work quite closely together with Mr. Brent Hughes on strategic planning for the resort.

And a compromise about Halliday House is reached.  Instead of Greg buying it back from the ski resort at the same purchase price—which the contract for deed’s clause about the use of Halliday House for his and Connie’s lifetimes stipulates if the Hughes family does not strictly honor the no repurposing/renovating clause, which they did not—the current Mr. Brent Hughes deeds the house over to his son Eddie Hughes and Eddie’s  new bride Connie Halliday Hughes in February—with the subsequent relocation of eight of the ten small two bedroom cabins to elsewhere on the resort property–with Eddie and Connie keeping the two cabins as guest cottages for their home.  And Connie will put her fashion merchandising expertise to good use by opening a new family department store for stylish clothing and accessories at every price point in Galena, Illinois.

And Greg Halliday and Diana Langley Halliday?  They elect to add an addition to her, now their, family home, Lakeside Cottage, for the hoped for expansion of their new family in the coming years.

The future looks bright for all concerned.  For when equals meet, intertwining one’s life with another with love, consideration, and respect is a wonderfully life affirming and life enhancing result. And Greg’s unwavering love and support of his love Diana has helped her come out of her shell, gain confidence in her choices and her actions, and stand on her own two feet.

And with Diana’s unwavering love and support of her love Greg, he  is happier and he GR80AF~1now smiles and laughs more [(3) right]–since she has helped him find a balance between his professional career and his personal life, in that, he now has a personal life with his loving wife Diana.

The End

Dear Friends and Readers, Some stories have to percolate a while before I reach what I consider to be the right resolution and completion of my story.  And this story, “Winter Rental”, was one of those.  I hope that you enjoyed this story of personal fulfillment and empowerment for Diana and for Greg, as well as, focusing on love and commitment for them and for Connie and Eddie.  Wishing you all a wonderful New Year of 2023 filled with every happiness that you wish for yourselves.  Holiday Cheers!  Gratiana Lovelace

References for Ch. 11 Epilogue   of “Winter Rental”, by Gratiana Lovelace, (December 31, 2022  Post #1505)

  1. The story cover for my original contemporary romance “Winter Rental” is a composite of three images:
    a) a Wintery image of ski chalets previously shared by Sueli; Grati edit for color and size; with AR Berkley text;
    b) Greg Halliday–2022—is represented by Richard Armitage-in cream-sweater-pensive-photographed byKaitlynMikayla_Jan04-2022viaNobleman-Magazine;
    c) Diana Langley—is represented by Anne-Hathaway-2021—in butterscotch-sweater-flyaway-hair-no-makeup_Jan09-2022viaVariety—Grati-crop-szd; image found at
  2. DianaLangley–2018–on-phone-in-blk-furry-sweater–isAnneHathaway-inOceans8-fanvid-byMooCli_Jan14-2022Grati-cap-szd-clr; Claude and Daphne Oceans 8 kissing and flirting fan vid link is
  3. Greg Halliday is represented by Richard Armitage 2022 portraits in cream sweater by Kaitlyn Mikayla found in the Nobleman Mag interview at

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for Ch. 11 Epilogue “Winter Rental” (Post #1505):


Previous Something About Love  blog Post #1454  link for Ch. 10 End  of “Winter Rental”:

Posted in "Winter Rental" by Gratiana Lovelace, Creative Writing, Empowerment, Family, Gratiana Lovelace, happiness, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 09 End/Epilogue: Another wedding before a bright new year, by Gratiana Lovelace,  December 30, 2022  (Post #1504)  

(An original Contemporary Romance fan fic story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022;
All rights reserved)  [(1) story cover below left]

0-ACastleWedding-forChristmas2-storycover-2inch300res_Dec03-2022byGratianaLovelace [Illustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors and such, including the original cast of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021):  Cary Elwes as Myles the 12th Scottish Duke of Dunbar and Castle Dun Dunbar, Brooke Shields as the American Sophie McGuinty, Vanessa Grasse as her daughter Lexi Brown, Dalmeny House as Castle Dun Dunbar, Lee Ross as Thomas the Castle Dun Dunbar caretaker, Andi Osho as Maisie the Dunbar Village Innkeeper, Eilidh Loan as Rhona Fitzwalter the young pastry chef par excellence in Dunbar Village, Tina Gray as Helen Fitzwalter the elderly Dunbar Village knitters group leader, Kevin McKidd as Dr. Ewan Roxburgh, Lindsay Lohan as Isabel Fitzwalters Roxburgh, and others as noted.]

[Author’s Note:  This original Contemporary Romance fanfic is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.  And I came up with this story idea hoping for the creators of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021)—loved it–to give us a sequel!  So if they see my fanfic story here, I hope that they consider this a suggestion for a possible continuing story for Duke Myles and Sophie and the Dunbar Village folks.]

                           Ch. 09 End:  Another wedding before a bright new year

Almost as soon as Lexi and Ewan settle on a New Year’s Eve wedding when they became engaged Tuesday, December 27th, Lexi has a change of heart.  Brides do that.  It’s not that she doesn’t want to marry Ewan, she very much does.  But unlike her mother Sophie and her new stepfather Duke Myles, Lexi doesn’t want her wedding anniversary tied to a major holiday.  Lexi wants her and Ewan’s wedding date to be just their own, now and into the future.  So they settle on Friday, December 30th for their new wedding date.

And that only gives them three days to plan [their] wedding and notify their wedding guests and attendants—such as her best girlfriend and Cambridge roommate Noreen Solange as her Maid of Honor, whom she discovers has left England for a tour of the Continent with her boyfriend.  So Lexi’s backup plan is having her Mom Duchess Sophie be her Matron of Honor. This works out great because Ewan asks his father Duke Myles to be his supporter and Best Man.

So while Duchess Sophie is on wedding ceremony and reception planning details, Lexi and Ewan make a quick visit to his still recovering grandmother Helen Fitzwalter at her home in the Village of Dunbar.  The heart attack may have slowed Helen down a bit, but she is keen to see her grandson Ewan again.

Helen: “Children come in.”  The elderly yet cheery Helen beckons warmly to Ewan and Lexi as she sits in her comfiest sitting room chair covered in blankets and wearing one of her knitted creations. Her granddaughter Rhona who has been taking care of her has briefly popped out to the grocer’s to pick up some supplies while Ewan and Lexi are visiting.

Ewan: “Grrran! Lexi and I arrre glad to see ye looking so well.  Arrre ye getting plenty of rest?”  The doctor in Ewan is always on high alert when someone is unwell, or recuperating.

Helen: “I’m just fine!  Now what brings you two to see me?”  Her eyes sparkle, because the village grapevine is almost as thorough and speedy as the internet.

Ewan: “Lexi.”  Ewan holds out his hand and Lexi steps forward into his arms.  “Gran, Lexi and I are getting marrried in thrrree days, on the afterrrnoon of Decemberrr 30th at the Castle Dun Dunbarr Chapel.  And we hope that ye can join us.” Ewan clasps Lexi’s left hand and holds it out for his Gran Helen to see Lexi’s heirloom engagement ring.

Helen: “Ohhh!”  She claps her hands in delight.  “I’m so glad, My Dearrrs!”

Lexi:  “We’re glad too, Mrs. Fitzwalter.”

Helen: “Ye must call me Grrran, too, Lexi Dearrrie.”

Lexi: “Thanks, Gran.”  Lexi smiles cheerfully.  Then she looks worried.

Helen:  “What’s wrong, Dearie?”

Lexi: “I have to find a dress—nothing elaborate, but beautiful.  Do you have any suggestions?”

Lexi hopefully asks the Dunbar Village Knitting Group Leader Knitter Helen, Gran. Because Helen had beautifully tailored an old Castle Dun Dunbar gown for her Mom Sophie last year, so Lexi hopes that she might know of an existing dress that will work.  Not that Lexi expects the still recovering Helen to tailor a gown for her.

Helen: With a twinkle in her eye, Helen smiles. “I dooo. Ewan?  Please go into the kitchen and have some coffee there with a box of Rhona’s tea cakes while I show a gown to Lexi.  In fact, stay in therrre until we call forrr ye.  It’s bad luck for the Grrroom to see the wedding gown befortte the wedding—that is, werrre  she to choose it.” Helen shoos him away.

Ewan: “Yes Gran.”

And Ewan goes smilingly to the kitchen—him planning to wear for his wedding the same DrEwanRoxburgh--in-tuxedo-kilt-wedding-attire-isKevinMcKidd-viaPopsugar_Dec29-2022Grati-cap-crop-szd tuxedo kilt attire [(2) right] that he wore for his Da’s Duke Myles wedding to Lexi’s Mom Sophie.

Helen:  “Lexi please fetch the gown box that I had Rrrhona place behind the sofa therrre forrr me this morrrning.”

Lexi: “This morning?  But Ewan only proposed to me after lunch today.  How could you know we were engaged already?”  Lexi smiles in perplexity at Helen as she walks around the sofa and retrieves the large but lightweight gown box, her setting it on the sofa before them.

Helen: “Well, Dearrrie. Ye and Ewan looked so grrrand and happy togetherrrr at yourrr parrrents’ wedding  on Chrrristmas Eve that I had a feeling about ye.”

Lexi carefully opens the deep gown box, her almost hearing a sigh as she lifts the lid off, since the contents within have were vacuum packed to preserve them and have not been out of storage for fifty years. There is a copious amount of white tissue paper that Lexi excitedly pulls back to uncover a beautiful and pristine white lace gown bodice with long sleeves overlay on top and its white satin sheath undergown beneath it.

Lexi: “Ohhh!  This wedding gown set is beautiful!”  Lexi holds up the satin sheath to her body.  “It looks like it might even fit me!”  Lexi squeals in hopefulness.  “Whose wedding gown was this, Gran?”

Helen: “It was my wedding gown when I marrried my Ferrrgus over fifty yearrrs ago.  I made the satin sheath underrr gown with wrrrist length sleeves, and my Mum made the lacy bodice and long sleeves overlay for it.”  Since Helen’s fortes are sewing and knitting, not tatting.  “Try it on Dearrrie.  You arrre petite like me, so I’m hopeful that it will fit ye.”

Lexi doesn’t wait to be asked twice, as she peels off her sweater and jeans and boots, LexiBrown-in-white-lace-wedding-dress-isVanessaGrasse-CLS_Dec29-2022viaBluRay-Grati-szd before donning the floor length full sleeved satin sheath gown and then its delicate lacy bodice and long sleeves overlay.  The wedding gown set fits Lexi [(3) right] as if they were made for her and she looks elegantly beautiful.

Lexi: “This gown is perfect, Gran. May I wear it as my wedding gown when Ewan and I are married on  Friday?”  Lexi asks hopefully.

Of course, Helen had been hopeful that Lexi would like to wear her wedding gown.  And Helen is so glad that Lexi does wish to wear it as her wedding gown.

Helen: “With all my love and blessings, Dearrrie.” Helen has happy tears in her eyes, as does Lexi. “And in time, perrrhaps, yourrr own futurrre daughterrr will want to wearrr it when she is marrrried.”  This lovely heirloom wedding gown set is another gift of family and legacy to Lexi and Ewan.

So after tenderly kissing her soon to be Gran Helen on her cheek, Lexi gently removes and carefully repacks her wedding gown set in their box.  She will carefully iron out some wrinkles on the satin sheath, then lay it and its lacy bodice and long sleeves overlay out on an unused bed at Castle Dun Dunbar to further unwrinkle as best as they can over the next few days.  Lexi will not risk damaging the delicate heirloom wedding gown set by trying to do more with them.


With Ewan permanently on leave from Doctors Without Borders—though he aids in recruiting and training new doctors for them–he now hopes to establish his medical career in one place so he can put down roots and start a family.  He has two choices:  the Cambridge Medical Center in England—from which he already possesses an offer letter to be an attending physician with a generous compensation package–or the Edinburgh Medical Center (EMC) in Scotland.  Both have appeal for him, but ultimately, the lure of Scotland with his newly found family wins out.

For Lexi, she also has to consider her career as a medical social worker in hospital settings—and the different licensures that are present in UK facilities, with her being an American transplant. So she will also seek employment at Edinburgh Medical Center in Scotland after they are wed.  Because Lexi is committed to her relationship to Dr. Lord Ewan Roxburgh Dunbar as her life partner—with equal sharing of duties and responsibilities for their home, and any children they might welcome to their family.

And that very evening after dinner with their parents at Castle Dun Dunbar—when they are private and lying in bed in each others’ arms in their Castle bedchamber suite–Ewan will reveal to Lexi what he confirmed [Christmas] morning with his stethoscope examination of her while she dozed, with regard to their starting their family in the new year.

Ewan: “How arrre ye feeling[,] Lexi Darrrling?”  He asks caringly as he tenderly kisses her

Lexi:  “Very good and happy!  I love you so, Ewan.”

Ewan: “And I love ye so, Lexi!”  They kiss passionately.  But Ewan doesn’t want them to get carried away with romance, just yet. So he redirects their loving discussion.  “Ye know that I gave ye a quick examination [Chrrristmas] morrrning afterrr ye felt nauseous and faint with the sausages cooking?”

Lexi: “Yes. But please don’t even mention those meat things to me.  Blech!”  She shudders.

Ewan: “Ha ha ha!  Of courrrse, My Love.  You’rrre hearrrt is just fine.  But you’ll probably want to make an appointment to see a lady’s doctor after we return to Edinburgh to live—to confirm my suspicions—and who might also suggest you augment your diet.”

Lexi: “Oh? Is anything wrong?”  She asks worriedly.

Ewan: “Not a bit.”  Ewan smiles, then he wonderingly and gently lays his large hand upon her abdomen.  “It is earrrly days yet, but I detected a hearrrtbeat in yourrr womb [Chrrristmas] morning.  Ye arrre prrregnant, Lexi.”

Lexi: “A baby?  Oh Ewan, I’m so happy!”

Ewan: “As am I, My Love.”

Lexi and Ewan kiss each other with heartfelt loving abandon.  God willing, they will welcome their first child later in the new year.  And soon, their Roxburgh, Dunbar, and Fitzwalter families will grow and expand.  You see that though Ewan and Lexi practiced safer sex their first two months together—in October and November, once they committed to making a life together in early December, they decided to go ahead and try for a family.  They will become parents, and their parents grandparents, and their Gran Helen a great grandparent.

So Ewan and Lexi doubly resolve to make their permanent move to Edinburgh, Scotland as a mutual professional and personal decision—as well as their planning to redecorate and remodel Ewan’s lovely Tudor style childhood home for themselves and their soon to be expanding family.  Naturally, Duke Myles and his now Duchess Sophie are overjoyed with Ewan and Lexi’s plans of moving to Edinburgh, Scotland permanently—as are Ewan’s Gran Helen and his cousin Rhona.

Once Ewan and Lexi also share their baby news with their family and friends, that makes their small wedding in the Castle Dun Dunbar Chapel  held on December 30th, the day before New Year’s Eve, all the more joyous as they share the beginning of their new lives as a family, with their family and friends.

To be continued with the Epilogue

Epilogue:  Love and Joy

The following mid August in the new year, Lady Lexi Brown Roxburgh Dunbar, the Marchioness of Roxburgh goes into labor a week ahead of her August 30th due date.  She has been on maternity leave since the beginning of May due to her large pregnancy weight gain on her small frame causing her to be [extremely] tired [all the time].

And when it is then discovered on Lexi’s 6th monthly OBGYN  appointment in June that Lexi is carrying twins, she is put on mostly bed rest at home–with the house keeper/caretaker Ewan had previously hired fussing over Lexi almost as much as her Mom Duchess Sophie does.

Dr. Ewan Roxburgh Dunbar, Marquess of Roxburgh, also slows down his Edinburgh Medical Center practice schedule–of seeing patients, surgeries, and his teaching of young doctors–so that he can be at home more with Lexi during this most trying period in her later pregnancy months.  He works only weekdays—with Wednesdays off so he can take Lexi to her doctor appts and treat her to pampering lunches and such–and he gets home by 6pm most nights.  And after the babies are born, Dr. Ewan plans to take paternity leave for two months to help Lexi with their twins.  He is grateful for the family friendly employee policies at the Edinburgh Medical Center that allow him this time with his wife as they await their children’s births and then paternity leave after they are born.


So it is on a rainy August 23rd Wednesday afternoon that Lexi lets her husband Ewan know that it is time.  Rubbing her sore back, Lexi sits up in their bed and calls to her husband sitting in his large man sized leather wing chair nearby and reading the Edinburgh newspaper.

Lexi:  “Ewan?”

Ewan: “Hmmm?  Lexi Darrrling?”  He replies, without looking up.

Lexi: “It’s time.”

Ewan: “Oh?” He looks up quizzically. “Time for what?”  He thinks that they just had lunch two hours ago and dinner isn’t for three more hours.

Lexi: “It’s time for our birthing plan to be executed.  I’m in labor, doctor man.”  She teases him.

Ewan: Hopping up from his chair and tossing his newspaper aside, Ewan looks frazzled. “What?”

Lexi: “My back has been sore all morning.  And the contractions have been getting closer together, so…”

Ewan: “Lexi!  Why did ye na tell me ye werrre in laborrr soonerrr?”  Ewan starts fussing around Lexi like a very large hummingbird.

Lexi: “Because labor goes on for a long time.  But I think I’m getting closer now.  So please help me to the bathroom and then let’s go to the hospital.”  She states tiredly.  “And when we get there, I want my epidural!”  She confirms most ardently.

Ewan: “Aye, Lass!”

So Ewan drives Lexi over to the Edinburgh Medical Center’s (EMC) family birthing wing—with Lexi calling her Mom during their brief drive over.  She knows her Mom and Myles live a bit more than an hour away near the Village of Dun bar, so it might be a while before she sees them.  But Lexi is forgetting something.

So Lexi is made comfortable in her birthing suite in a pretty and soft hospital gown in a pretty lilac shade with thistle images on it–that the EMC had upgraded due to their birthing mothers firm requests.  Happily, Lexi’s water had burst when she visited her ensuite bathroom–after she sat on the toilet.  So she did not have that messy feeling that most birthing mothers’ have.

But Lexi has two babies to be born this day.  Her OBGYN thinks that one baby is a boy and the other is a girl.  But ultrasound images can still be deceiving and they could end up with either two boys or two girls.

First time father Dr. Ewan is a wreck as he paces Lexi’s birthing suite.  Despite Ewan being a doctor, giving birth is a serious procedure for women and he doesn’t take Lexi’s struggle and pain lightly.  He insures that she has her epidural, after the nurses confirm that Lexi’s womb is dialated 8  centimeters.  Her babies could really come at any time.

Then 45 minutes after Lexi called her Mom about being in labor, Duchess Sophie and Duke Myles—along with Gran Helen and cousin Rhona arrive at the EMC Birthing Center wing and ask to be admitted to Lexi’s birthing suite.  They will have to go in by twos per the hospital staff.  So Lexi’s Mom Sophie and Gran Helen are admitted first.

Duchess Sophie: “Lexi!  Oh my God!  You’re in labor!”  Sophie tenderly embraces and kisses her only child Lexi.

Lexi: “Mom?  How did you get here so fast?”

Gran Helen:  Sitting comfortably on the birthing suite’s couch, Gran Helen explains.  “Myles flew us herrre in his helicopterrr contrrraption.”  She states quite perturbed. Although she had flown in the helicopter to the Edinburgh Medical Center when she had her heart attack, she was unconscious the whole time.  “Myles and Rrrhona arrre waiting in the visitorrr lounge.”

Ewan: “Thanks forrr coming, Gran and Sophie.” He states politely to his mother-in-law Duchess Sophie and his Gran Helen, but the tall and broad Ewan is pale as a ghost.

Lexi:  “Ewan?  When will Dr. Bishop get here?  I don’t want to have these babies without her.”  Lexi asks in concern.

Ewan:  Quickly going to his wife Lexi’s hospital bed, Ewan tenderly hugs her. “The nurses said that Dr. Bishop is in the Birthing Wing attending to another birth.  So they keep her apprised of your progress and hope that she will be here soon.”  He did not say that the other patient Dr. Bishop is with is having complications, since he doesn’t want to worry Lexi.

Then a nurse comes back in to check on Lexi again, taking her temperature, her pulse, and listening to her heart and abdomen.

Nurse Stella: “How arrre we doing, Lady Rrroxburrrgh?”  The staff always follow etiquette when addressing nobility.

Lexi:  “I’m hanging in there. But I’m just Lexi, please.  I’ll be Lady Roxburgh when I’m at a formal occasion.”

Nurse Stella:  “As you wish, My Lady.”  Well, ingrained politeness is difficult to change.  “Let me check yourrr womb below for yourrr prrrogress.”

Happily, the business end of the bed faces a wall and not the door nor the window.  So Lexi is afforded some privacy as the sheet and blanket are lifted to rest on her bent knees.  And only Ewan and the nurse stand at the business end.  Unfortunately Ewan being a first time father, gets a tad excited at what he sees.

Ewan: “Oh my!  I can see a baby’s head about to emerge.  Can ye feel that Lexi?”

Lexi:  “Not really.  That epidural must really be working well.”

Nurse Stella: “Yes, baby numberrr one’s head is crrrowning and its birrrth is imminent.” She pushes the emergency call button.  “Get an attending birrrthing physician in suite fourrr now!”  For multiple birthings are considered high risk pregnancies—for the mother and children.

Dr. Ewan: “I’m an attending physician.”  Ewan states plainly.

Nurse Stella: “Have you assisted at birrrths beforrre, Dr. Lord Rrroxburrrgh?”  She asks hopefully of the father to be.

Lexi: “My husband is an orthopedic surgeon specialist.”  Lexi states as she gazes at her stunned looking husband.

Dr. Ewan: “Aye.  And though I have assisted with a birrrth, it has been some yearrrs ago.”  He blanches.

Happily, Lexi’s OBGYN Dr. Bishop rushes into Lexi’s birthing suite.  And she quickly washes her hands and gloves up.

Dr. Bishop: “Sorrry I’m late. I was assisting with anotherrr birrrth.  Wherrre arrre we?”

Nurse Stella: “Baby numberrr one is crrrowning. Lady Lexi had herrr epidurrral 45 minutes ago.”  Nurse Stella compromises on the etiquette to follow regulations and to bend to Lexi’s wishes of informality.

Lexi: “So far, the pain is manageable.  And I can’t really tell that my baby is crowning.”

Dr. Bishop: “Drrr. Ewan, suit up, wash up, and glove up now!  Afterrr baby numberrr one is borrrn, Nurrrse Stella will clean its airrrways, swaddle it, and then hand it to you to hold brrriefly beforrre putting it in its bassinette.”  And another nurse wheels in two bassinettes that are put off to the side of the room.

Of course Duchess Sophie and Gran Helen are spellbound with the impending births of Ewan’s and Lexi’s babies unfolding before them.  And Sophie texts Myles to let him know what is going on and why they haven’t switched places yet.

Lexi: “I think something’s happening. I’m feeling some pain.” Lexi looks startled.

Dr. Bishop: “When you feel the next contrrraction, I want you to push as harrrd as you can.”

Ewan and Lexi gaze adoringly at each other.  In the next few moments, their family will grow from just them to four, god willing that all goes well.

Lexi: “Alright. Owww!”  Lexi convulses in some pain and baby number one pops out rather easily, without any vaginal tearing.  Twin babies are usually a bit smaller, and often easier to birth.

Dr. Bishop: “Well done, Lady Lexi.  It’s a boy.”  She hands the baby to Nurse Stella who clears its airways and gives the little fella a tap on its rump, which prompts a loud cry out of him.”

Then she swaddles the baby and hands him to his father Dr. Ewan, who gazes Baby-boy-smiling-image_Dec29-2022-viaLetsgohealthyblogspot wonderingly upon his smiling baby son [(4) right].  No one has the heart to tell Dr. Ewan that the baby probably just has gas.

Dr. Ewan:  “And Good Lorrrd!  He’s got some lungs on him.”  Ewan kisses his son’s forehead.

Lexi: “Oh, Ewan, let me see him!”  She asks eagerly.  And Ewan leans the baby down to Lexi so Lexi can also kiss her baby son.  Looking at his little fingers wonderingly, she says in awe. “He’s beautiful!”

Dr. Bishop: “Alrrright.  We still have baby number two to come out.

Helen: “Let Sophie take me out to the hall so I can switch places with Myles.  He should be in here.”  Especially since Myles was not granted the privilege of seeing his son Ewan be born thirty years ago.  The exchange of visitors happens quickly with their cousin Rhona quickly taking care of her Gran Helen in the visitor’s lounge.

Duke Myles: “I hearrr that my grrrandson was borrrn?”  He asks excitedly.

Dr. Ewan: “Da?  He’s in the bassinette over here.”  And the two men walk over and stand gazing at the little baby.

Duke Myles: “Ach!  He’s so tiny!”  He puts his finger forward and the little one latches on.  “And what a grrrip!”  Duke Myles smiles.

Dr. Ewan: “Aye.” Dr. Ewan is a besotted man and new father.

Lexi:  “Ewan, I need you.”  Lexi cries out in pain.  Her second baby’s birth is not happening as easily as her first baby.

Dr. Ewan:  Ewan rushes over to his wife’s bedside.  “What is happening Dr. Bishop?”

Dr. Bishop: “Baby numberrr two isn’t turrrned rrright, and could be a brrreech baby.”  Dr. Bishop grunts as she tries to turn the baby, but it won’t budge.

Lexi: “Is our baby okay?”  Lexi asks in a trembling voice.  It would be devastating to lose one of their twins, unthinkable.

Dr. Bishop: “The baby’s not in distrrress, but I don’t want it to get to that point.  So I’m going to perrrforrrm a Caesarrrean Section on you, Lexi.  Everyone but the father out!”

Sophie and Myles quickly rush into the hallway and sit on a nearby bench.  Sophie cries with her worry for her daughter Lexi and Lexi’s second baby as she leans in to Myles who is also tearing up.

Lexi: “Ewan!”  Lexi cries out in distress. And he goes to her side.

Dr. Ewan: “An operation is best for the baby, Lexi.  We must get it out now.”

Dr. Bishop:  “Did you feel that, Lexi?”  She asks after making the first incision.

Lexi: “Feel what?”

Dr. Bishop: “I’ve made the firrrst exterior incision.  Now to the uterrrus.”  She cuts quickly, but Lexi’s epidural seems to be wearing off.

Lexi: “Owwww!  Stop, please stop!”

Dr. Bishop:  “Nurse?  Give Lady Lexi some of the anesthesia [gas], then let Dr. Ewan take over tending to his wife while you assist me with the second baby’s birth.  Lexi is rendered [unconscious] almost immediately with the anesthesia and Dr. Bishop works fast. “Here comes the second baby, as the doctor lifts her out of her mother’s body.  “It’s a girl!”  Nurse [Stella] instantly suctions the baby’s airways and then taps the baby girl’s  rump.  But she doesn’t cry.

Dr. Ewan: “Oh God, No!”  He cannot bear to lose one of their babies now.”  Lexi is still unconscious with the anesthesia to allow Dr. Bishop to remove the after birth and then stitch her up as she also focuses on Nurse Stella trying to get the baby to respond.

Nurse Stella works diligently on trying to get the baby girl to breathe, holding her upside down and firmly patting her bottom.  But she still gets no response from the baby.

Then Dr. Ewan takes his lifeless baby daughter from the nurse and tries gentle mouth to mouth resuscitation on her, then he lays her on her stomach in his large hand and gives her rump another firm and slightly stinging pat. The baby girl expels a spit wad the size of a quarter that had been blocking her airway and she starts to move and make grizzling noises, as well as her color improves.

A happily stunned Dr. Bishop quickly places a small oxygen mask over the baby girl’s mouth and nose while she is still being held by her father.  And the baby girl yawns, moves her little hands around, burps, and then pees onto her father’s sterile gown  covered arm.

Dr. Ewan: “Ha ha ha ha ha!  I’ve been baptized.”  He states relievedly.  “Will me daughterrr be alrrright, Drrr. Bishop?”

Nurse Stella is tending to Lady Lexi, switching the anesthesia mask for an oxygen flow as Lexy slowly begins to wake up.

Dr. Bishop: “The baby’s movement and burrrping arrre verrry good signs.  But we’ll obserrrve herrr closely [overrrnight] to make surrre that herrr airrrways don’t have any otherrr blockages.”
Dr. Bishop takes the now sleeping baby girl [(5) right]  from Dr. Ewan and holds  her close.  And Dr. Ewan  removes his disposable sterile gown and washes his forearm that had a bit of baby girl pee leak onto it.  Then he is handed their baby girl back and he takes her to Lexi.

Lexi:  “Oooh?  Is that our second baby?  Is it a boy or a girl?”  She asks sleepily excitedly.

Dr. Ewan:  “She’s a wee baby gerrril.” He smiles lovingly at his wife Lexi, then kissing her lips.  The baby’s health might still be compromised, but for now, he places her on her mother’s breast.  And little baby girl latches on and nurses.  “Well!  Despite having a bit of a slow starrrt, she is cerrrtainly making up forrr it!”  He smiles at this tender scene.

Lexi: “What do you mean, slow start?”  Lexi was unconscious during their baby girl’s birth.

And Dr. Ewan realizes that he must be the one to tell Lexi what happened. So that she doesn’t hear about it from a medical staffer.

Dr. Ewan:  “Lexi, Love.  Our baby gerrril was born and couldn’t brrreathe at firrrst.  The Nurrrse trrried severrral suctions of herrr airrrways and taps on herrr rump while holding her upside down.  Then I took herrr and perrrforrrmed mouth to mouth rrresuscitation, placed herrr on herrr stomach on my hand and I gave herrr rrrump a stinging slap.  Somehow, that dislodged a larrrge spitwad blocking her airrrway, and she began to brrreathe, and move and make sounds.  Then she burrrped and peed on me.  Ha ha ha!”

Lexi:  “Oh Ewan!”  Lexi cries out, tears flowing down her cheeks as her baby feeds upon her breast.  “Will she be alright, Dr. Bishop?”  Lexi gently strokes her baby girl’s back as she nurses her.

Dr. Bishop: “Yourrr baby gerrril is looking verrra good rrright now, Lady Lexi.  But we will monitorrr herrr closely to make surrre that she doesn’t have any other airrrway or other issues.  Let me take herrr forrr a moment to do some tests while you nurrrse yourrr baby son.”

Dr. Ewan:  “Herrre we go.”

Dr. Ewan lifts his baby daughter from Lexi and into his arms, kisses his baby daughter’s cheeks then hands her over to Dr. Bishop.  He then goes and picks up their son in his bassinette and lays him down next to Lexi’s other breast to nurse on.  Their baby boy latches on and nurses quite hungrily.  After several minutes, Dr. Bishop returns their baby girl to her Papa Ewan’s arms.

Dr. Bishop: “Baby Gerrril Rrroxburrrgh is doing grrreat on her Apgarrr and otherrr tests.  Herrr eyes are trrracking well and she is rrresponding to sound.  Herrr hearrrt is also strrrong.  So you have a little fighterrr therrre.”

Lexi finishes nursing their baby son, and she burps him.

Dr. Ewan: “May we invite our parents to return to see the babies?”

Dr. Bishop: “That will be fine.  And be surrre to name the babies.”

Dr. Ewan: “We had alrrready picked out names forrr them.  Any changes Lexi, Love?”

Lexi: “No, let’s go with our first set of names that we chose.  Our baby girl will be named Elizabeth Rose Roxburgh Dunbar–after both of her grandmothers, with Elizabeth being an anglicized version of Isabel, Ewan’s late Mum’s name and Rose being my Mother’s middle name.”

Dr. Ewan:  “And ourrr baby son will be named afterrr his grrrandfatherrrs’ middle names,  William Alexanderrr Rrroxburrrgh Dunbarrr—to be nicknamed Liam.”

Dr. Bishop writes the babies names on their birth certificates along with the date, times, and babies sizes particulars.  The original birth certificate copies will go to the Hall of Records in Edinburgh, with carbon copies being given to the parents.  The babies are also given matching hospital wrist bands to their mother’s hospital wrist band—for safety and security.

Duke Myles and Duchess Sophie are delighted to meet their new grandchildren—and even being allowed to hold them.  Duke Myles is particularly overcome with this honor, since he did not have this privilege in knowing about, let alone holding, his son Ewan when he was born thirty years ago.  Then Gran Helen and cousin Rhona also get to see and hold the babies. Cell phone photos are taken of each of the family members with the babies.

Then Lexi and the babies are moved to a private room on the same floor to rest and be observed overnight, with a large couch that Ewan may comfortably doze upon as he stays all night with Lexi and the babies for their overnight stay at the hospital.  Then their newly expanded Roxburgh family will go home the following day, with Dr. Ewan home on paternity leave to assist Lexi with the babies—not the least of which is because Lexi will be recovering from her birthing surgery for the next six weeks and can not lift the babies—even with their each slight 6 pound weights now.

Happily, baby Elizabeth—nicknamed Lizzie—does not seem to have any ill effects due to her birthing trauma.  But she will still be evaluated at her monthly pediatric checkups in case she will need some specialized care to help her keep up with her slightly older brother baby Liam.

So what started as Duke Myles’ and Duchess Sophie’s Scottish romance now wonderfully encompasses their adult children Ewan and Lexi who have married each other—as well as, reuniting Ewan and his father Duke Myles.  The power of love and family is strong and unendingly enduring—despite difficulties along the way.  So what began as one Castle Wedding for Christmas, became two weddings—lovingly and happily so.

The End

Dear Friends and Readers,  Thank you for joining me in exploring the culmination of Duke Myles Dunbar’s and Duchess Sophie McGuinty Dunbar’s mature romantic journey—that  then happily extended to their adult children Dr Ewan Roxburgh and Lexi Brown.  I hope that you enjoyed this shorter fan fic story for the Holidays.  Wishing you and yours a joyous Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year of 2023!  Holiday Cheers!  Gratiana Lovelace
P.S.  And as today is my wedding anniversary, a very Happy Anniversary to my wonderful hubby!

References for  Ch. 09 End/Epilogue of “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”,  December 30, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1504)

  1. My “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2” story logo includes a cropped of Castle Dun Dunbar from “A Castle for Christmas” images of Castle Dun Dunbar filmed at Dalmeny House was found at
  2. Image representing Dr. Ewan Roxburgh Dunbar in his wedding kilt attire is of actor Kevin McKidd and was found at
  3. The image representing Lexi Brown trying on her lacy overlay wedding gown is of Vanessa Grasse and was found at.
  4. Image representing a newborn baby boy smiling was found at Letsgohealthy blogspot at
  5. Image representing a newborn baby girl sleeping is an MS Office Clip Art stock image.

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Ch. 09 End/Epilogue  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, December 30, 2022:

Previous SAL blog Post # 1502  link for  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 08, December 27, 2022:

Posted in "A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2" a fan fic by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022, Creative Writing, Drama, Family, Fan Fiction, Fathers, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, marriage, Mothers, Romance, short story by GL, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richard Armitage as Fr. Quart in The Man From Rome featured on Aussie dvd cover & trailer, December 29, 2022 Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1503) 

Now this is a great film poster/dvd cover art for The Man From Rome film released in 2022  and featuring Richard Armitage as Fr. Quart on the cover art for the Aussie dvd release!

RABulgaria’s caption:  “The Man from Rome DVD is out today in Australia. From Australian distributor Defiant Screen Entertainment IG, a new promo image of the movie. “

And I have to say that this The Man from Rome dvd cover art certainly uses Richard Armitage’s broad shoulders to excellent effect!  And using the back view of the character of Fr. Quart–portrayed by the multi-talented British actor Richard Armitage—on the dvd cover art maintains an air of mystery about him.  We only see Fr. Quart’s face in one quarter profile.  Yet Fr. Quart appears strong and commanding–him looking intently to the left, with his right hand fiercely gripping his gun.  And given that Richard Armitage’s hands and fingers are quite large and long, respectively, that has to be one quite large gun that he is holding there as Fr. Quart.

The character of Fr. Quart is obviously a commanding and fierce man, relentless in seeking the truth, no matter where it leads him.  And I find the frequent description of Fr. Quart as handsome in the book and such rather a classic red herring ploy to the suspects he encounters in his investigation—trying to “divert attention” away from Fr. Quart’s incisive mind and his willingness to employ violence when necessary.  Fr. Quart is one priest not to be crossed.

Thanks to Teresa Armitage for sharing RABulgaria’s  intel on this English language DVD for “The Man from Rome”!

And RABulgaria also shared an instagram link to a page with a specific link for a Fr. Quart/Richard Armitage The Man from Rome trailer—which rather reinforces the whole violent action hero Fr.Quart persona. Perhaps Fr. Quart could be compared to an ecclesiastical version of 007 James Bond, licensed to kill and to thrill:

TheManFromRome--2022--Trailer-withRichardArmitage-asFrQuart_Dec28-2022viaRABulgaria-Grati-szd-brt  (My Cap)

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, & peaceful day! Hugs & Love & Holiday Cheers!  Grati ;->

Posted in "The Man from Rome" film 2022, Drama, Fr. Quart, Gratiana Lovelace, intrigue, Religion, Richard Armitage, Sexy, smoulder, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Spy thriller, Thespian Thursday, Thriller, THUD Thursday, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 08: Ewan learns about his Dunbar family heritage and gift of legacy, by Gratiana Lovelace, December 27, 2022  (Post #1502) 

(An original Contemporary Romance fan fic story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022;
All rights reserved)  [(1) story cover below  left]

 [Illustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors and such, including the original cast of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021):  Cary Elwes as Myles the 12th Scottish Duke of Dunbar and Castle Dun Dunbar, Brooke Shields as the American Sophie McGuinty, Vanessa Grasse as her daughter Lexi Brown, Dalmeny House as Castle Dun Dunbar, Lee Ross as Thomas the Castle Dun Dunbar caretaker, Andi Osho as Maisie the Dunbar Village Innkeeper, Eilidh Loan as Rhona Fitzwalter the young pastry chef par excellence in Dunbar Village, Tina Gray as Helen Fitzwalter the elderly Dunbar Village knitters group leader, Kevin McKidd as Dr. Ewan Roxburgh, Lindsay Lohan as Isabel Fitzwalter Roxburgh, and others as noted.]

[Author’s Note:  This original Contemporary Romance fanfic is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.  And I came up with this story idea hoping for the creators of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021)—loved it–to give us a sequel!  So if they see my fanfic story here, I hope that they consider this a suggestion for a possible continuing story for Duke Myles and Sophie and the Dunbar Village folks.]

Ch. 08:  Ewan learns about his Dunbar family heritage and gift of legacy

On Christmas Day [(2) right], the day after the wedding of Duke Myles Dunbar to his now wife Duchess Sophie McGuinty Dunbar, the newlyweds are not expected anywhere but their ducal bedchamber suite. And by previous arrangement between Sophie and her daughter Lexi, Lexi makes the newlyweds their morning breakfast to be taken up to their suite by 9am and left on the hall table for them, to insure their privacy.

And though Lexi had helped her Mom making meals a time or two in the Castle Dun Dunbar kitchen over the past year, the large cast iron wood burning stove was not used.  So with an electric skillet and the microwave, Lexi cooks the bridal couple’s  breakfast of eggs and bacon—with scones made by Rhona the day before and left for this purpose.

But first, Lexi and Ewan have to deliver the breakfast foods to the hallway outside the newlyweds’ ducal bedchamber suite up twenty steps of stairs to the second floor of Castle Dun Dunbar.  Ewan carries the heavier gleamingly polished silver serving tray with a silver coffee pot and its smaller silver creamer pitcher and a silver sugar bowl with silver spoons for scooping and stirring and two fine china cups and saucers with the Dunbar crest on them. Whilst Lexi carries a smaller and less heavy gleamingly polished silver serving tray with two Dunbar crested china plated breakfasts with coverings to keep their food warm, with cutlery—and a separate Dunbar crested china serving plate of Rhona’s delicious scones.

The hall table next to the ducal bedchamber suite had been cleared of mementos yesterday.  So Ewan gratefully places the heavy silver tray with the coffee services down, and then Lexi follows suit with the smaller silver tray with the plated and covered breakfast meals.  It is almost 9am on Christmas morning.  So by prior arrangement, Lexi knocks twice on the ducal bedchamber suite door  to let them know that their breakfasts have arrived.  Then she and Ewan skitter back down the bedchamber suites hallway and down the stairs to the kitchen to make their own breakfasts.

Back down in the kitchen, Lexi and Ewan giggle for their subterfuge—them both knowing that their parents Sophie and Myles—are enjoying breakfast a deux, and then some.  As Lexi cooks some sausage links in the electric skillet, instead of bacon for them–since she found out Ewan really liked sausage links  when her mother cooked them for him last week—Lexi has a strangely nauseous reaction to the smell of the cooking sausages. And she plops herself down on a nearby stool.

Lexi: “Oh my!”  She nearly swoons.

Ewan:  “Lexi!  Arrre ye alrrright, Love?”  He asks her anxiously, as he checks her forehead for fever but finding none, and her pulse—him noting her slightly rapid heart beat.  Well, he is a doctor, afterall.

Lexi: “I’ll be fine.”  She tries to shake it off.  But when she tries to stand up again, she feels very faint as the room begins to sway.

Ewan: “Ye are not fine!”  Ewan scoops her up in his arms.  “I’m taking you back to bed.”  A phrase that usually elicits loving thoughts in Lexi’s mind, except for now when she feels so queasy.

Lexi: “At least turn off the electric skillet so your sausages don’t burn up. Then just set me down in the nearby small sitting room—away from the sausages smell.  I’m hungry.  So we can eat in there.”

Ewan: “Lass!  Ha ha ha!  Ye nearrrly faint while cooking—not a good thing with hot metal appliances arrround.  And you’rrre still hungrrry?”

Lexi:  “Well?  Yes.  I won’t eat the sausages, just the eggs and scones–and some milk to drink.” Lexi adds the milk uncharacteristically for her. Although she supposes that her usual morning lattes are mostly milk anyway.

So Ewan gently places Lexi on the nearby small sitting room’s loveseat with a coffee table in front of it that they can use as their breakfast table.  Lexi smiles at Ewan as he goes to fetch their breakfast foods from the kitchen.  Then, Lexi lays back into the couch and dozes off.  When he returns with their breakfasts, Ewan smiles at his love Lexi’s serene countenance as she dozes.  Well, it was a late night with the Christmas Eve wedding and then the party for the Dunbar Villagers at Castle Dun Dunbar that lasted until 2am. And then he and Lexi finally went to sleep an hour later, he smiles to himself.

Ewan: “Lexi, Love.”  Ewan tenderly kisses her forehead to gently awaken her.  He has also grabbed his medical bag from the front hall closet and checks her heart with his stethoscope–and then he moves his stethoscope lower to her abdomen as she slowly awakens.  He smiles knowingly and puts his stethoscope away.

Lexi: “Thank you for taking such good care of me, Ewan.  I’m sorry to be such a bother this morning.  But it was a long and tiring day yesterday.”  Lexi [(3) right] sheepishly shrugs her shoulders.

Ewan:  “Of courrrse.  Now eat what ye can, to build up yourrr strrrength.”  Ewan smiles again.  “We can always rrreturrrn to bed afterrr we eat.  I’ve alrrready set the cooking pans to soak with waterrr in the sink.”

Lexi: “Hmmm.”  Lexi nods as she hungrily bites into one of Rhona’s delicious scones with pastry so fluffy and moist they could have been made this morning.  Then she notices that Ewan is only eating eggs too.  “You don’t have to miss out on your sausages for me, Ewan Dear.”

Ewan: “Oh I didn’t.  I ate them in the kitchen beforrre I came in herrre with our brrreakfasts.  And I was surrre to cleanse me mouth with some coffee so me brrreath would na affect ye.”  He smiles.

Lexi:  “Ohhh!  Thank you, Ewan!  I love you so!”  Lexi leans forward to test his mouth cleansing with a sweet kiss.  Ewan obliges her.

Ewan: “I love you so. How was that?”  Ewan [(4) right] asks huskily, him eager to get his love Lexi rested in their bed–in the hope of him lovingly not letting her rest a bit later on.

Lexi:  “Very nice.”  She smiles, with a wince.  “But maybe you should brush your teeth with the minty toothpaste—and floss–before you try to kiss me again.”

Ewan:  Feeling mirthful, Ewan rocks his head back in laughter.  “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!  As you wish, My Love.  As you wish.”

Lexi: Lexi smiles curiously at him.  “You know?  As you wish is my favorite line from The Princess Bride movie.”

Ewan: Ewan looks at her quizzically.  “Oh?  I do na think I’ve seen that one.”

Lexi: “Never mind.”  She smiles impishly at him.

They eat in companionable silence as they consume their breakfasts a deux.  Then as Lexi dozes off again in the small sitting room, Ewan takes their plates and mugs to the kitchen and washes up their dishes quite tidily–leaving them to air dry on the kitchen sink counter’s drying rack.

Then he returns to the small sitting room and gently lifts the still dozing Lexi into his arms again and carries her upstairs to their bedroom suite.  Lexi cutely curls up into a ball when he places her into their bed and covers her up with the soft and warm sheets and their satin down comforter.  Then he joins her in their bed, wrapping his loving arms about her as he also falls asleep, dreaming of their future together.

And Ewan privately vows, that when they have their first child together in the new year—be it a boy or a girl child—he or she will know both their mother’s and their father’s love.


And the day after Christmas, Lexi feels a bit more rested—though still with some morning faintness—her having not exerted herself at all after her making their and their parents’ Christmas Day breakfasts. Ewan let Lexi sleep as much as she wanted in their bed Christmas Day and the next day.   And he brought her food when she mentioned she was hungry again around lunch time.  Then they had loving afternoons in their bed before Ewan made sandwiches for them for dinner.

They do not see the Bridal couple of Myles and Sophie until around midday for luncheon the second day after Christmas, on Tuesday, December 27th.  Lexi and Ewan converge on the Castle Dun Dunbar kitchen only to find their parents already there.

Sophie: “There you are, you sleepy heads.”  Sophie sneaks a glance at her new husband Myles, he smiles back at her.

Lexi: “Well Mom, we could say the same for you and Myles.”  Lexi yawns, still feeling a bit tired.  But her hunger is winning out.  Ewan embraces her from behind as Lexi leans back into him.

Myles: “Ewan and Lexi.  Good Afterrrnoon.”  Duke Myles smiles warmly at their adult children, then he gazes lovingly at his new wife, Sophie.

Ewan: “And Good Afternoon to you, Yourrr Grrraces.” Ewan smiles teasingly.

Ewan’s joyful spirits this day cannot be contained.  It is just that before he and Lexi can tell their parents their wonderful news, Ewan needs to let Lexi know as well.

But first things first.  Ewan wants to propose to Lexi, but he does not have an engagement ring for her.

Lexi: “Myles?  I promised Ewan I would take him on a tour of the castle, may we borrow one of the guidebooks from the Castle Dun Dunbar gift shop to help with my memory of castle history?”

Myles: “Cerrrtainly!  I’ll fetch it forrr you.  Ewan, walk with me?”  Duke Myles gazes knowingly at his son and tips his head, beckoning for his son to follow him.

Ewan: “Of courrrse!”  Ewan hopes that he can ask his father if there are any heirloom rings in the Castle that he might use to propose to Lexi with.

Duke Myles quickly finds the guide book in the gift shop and hands it to Ewan.

Myles: “Herrre ye go, Ewan. Keep it.  Thomas wrrrote this guidebook, he even uncoverrred some Castle Dun Dunbarrr historrry that I did na know about.”  Then noticing Ewan’s expectant look on his face, he asks him.  “Did ye have a question, Laddie?”

Of course at thirty years old, Ewan is long past being a laddie.  But then, his father Duke Myles and he did not interact with each other when Ewan was a young laddie.  So Ewan thinks amusingly that his Da is trying to make up for lost time.

Ewan: “I did, I mean, I do, actually.”  Myles looks at his son patiently, before Ewan continues.  “I would like to prrropose to Lexi and suggest to herrr that we get marrried herrre at the Castle beforrre the new yearrr.”

Myles: “Ewan! Laddie! Congrrratulations!”  The two men, father and son, hug and clap each other’s backs in a manly way.

Ewan: “The thing is, everrrything has been so busy lately with our hospital worrrk, yourrr wedding, Gran Helen’s medical crrrisis, and Chrrristmas that I haven’t had a chance to visit a jewelerrrs to buy an engagement rrring forrr Lexi.”  Ewan gazes at his father meaningfully.

Myles; “Ah!  Well, ye know, Ewan, therrre are severrral Dunbarrr heirrrloom engagement and wedding rrring sets that ye may choose frrrom rrright herrre in the Castle.  Would ye like that?”

Ewan: “Aye, I would.”  Ewan sighs in relief.  He and has father are getting along well and he hopes that also bodes well for he and Lexi as they build their life and family together.


Lexi having visited her mother Sophie at Castle Dun Dunbar several times over the past year, gives her love Ewan the 10 shilling tour at Castle Dun Dunbar this very afternoon, the second day after Christmas. Lexi and Ewan both find the Castle Dun Dunbar guidebook that Duke Myles gave them from the gift shop most helpful in relating the Dunbar family history and legacy.

They end up their tour at the family portraits gallery—where more than just Ducal portraits are displayed.  And there they find Ewan’s late Mother Isabel’s smiling portrait [(5) right] as a newly married Marchioness alongside her Marquess husband Myles.  A younger looking Myles is sitting wearing his full Scottish kit regalia, with Isabel standing next to him, her wearing a flowing indigo blue gown that nicely complemented Isabel’s reddish hair.  And because she was so petite, them both standing would not be pleasing composition wise, due to the great gap between their relative heights.

Ewan: “My parrrents look happy, don’t they?” Ewan gazes curiously at the images of his parents, together, and seemingly happy.

Lexi: “They do.”  She has many questions for Ewan about his Mum, but she stays silent, letting him reveal what he wants to reveal.  “The date on the brass plate on the bottom frame indicates that this was painted in the first year of their marriage, two years before you were born.”

Ewan:  “And fifteen months beforrre she left me Da, Myles.”

Ewan realizes that when his late Mum Isabel asked his Da Duke Myles for a divorce, she might not have known yet that she was pregnant with him.  And though Ewan still does not understand why his Mum didn’t tell him about his father in the first 10 years of his life, with Lexi’s soothing presence and support he is gradually coming to terms with that and forgiving his Mum.

Ewan and his father Duke Myles pre-arranged that Ewan will allow Lexi to take him on a tour of Castle Dun Dunbar this afternoon, with the two of them ending up at the family portrait gallery.  Where Duke Myles and Duchess Sophie now happen to turn up—noticing that Ewan is transfixed with his late Mum’s portrait.

Duke Myles:  “That is a lovely picturrre of yourrr Motherrr, Ewan.”  Duke Myles states warmly, with his Duchess Sophie by his side squeezing his hand to encourage him.

Ewan: “It is.  I have neverrr seen herrr look so young and carrrefrrree.”  Ewan notes in wonder.  Because though his Mum was wonderful to him—her having found doctors who diagnosed her correctly and prescribed calming medicine for her as Ewan was growing up—Ewan still noticed that his Mum was sad from time to time, however much she tried to hide it from him.

Duchess Sophie: “And your Grandmother Helen should have some family photographs of your Mother’s childhood years to share with you as well.”  Sophie adds caringly.

Ewan: “Aye.  I had na thought about that.  I will ask Grrran when I next visit herrr.”

And Ewan’s Gran Helen Fitzwalter was Ewan’s mother Isabel’s mother—his grandmother. With the Fitzwalter Family also being descendants of the Stewarts of Scotland [(6)].  And Helen’s paternal Atholl ancestors mean that Ewan also has Duke ancestors on his mother’s family side.

Duke Myles: Then Myles offers delicately.  “And Ewan, Sophie and I werrre wonderrring if ye would like to brrring yourrr late Motherrr to rrrest in the family crrrypt herrre, next to the Castle Chapel.  She would be close by then, forrr rrremembrrrance and rrreflection.  Herrr fatherrr, yourrr grrrandfatherrr Ferrrgus Fitzwalterrr, is alrrready interrred therrre.”

Lexi: “Oh Ewan!”  She lovingly gazes at Ewan and then at Myles and her Mother Sophie for this warmly comforting gesture.  And she embraces her love. Ewan.  “Would you like that Ewan?  To bring your Mum’s ashes to the Castle?”

Ewan: Ewan’s eyes are also full of tears. Then he says softly, humbly.  “Aye.  I don’t know what to say.  But thank you, Da!”  The two men embrace warmly, Father and Son. Both Sophie and Lexi have tears in their eyes for the growing relationship between their two men, Father and son, Myles and Ewan.


Duke Myles:  “Well now, I also want to give you a peek at one of ourrr Castle Dun Dunbarrr trrreasurrres that is not mentioned in the guidebook–to avoid Castle Dun Dunbarrr frrrom being prrrey to burglarrrs and forrrtune hunterrrs.”

Ewan: “Aye, thank ye!”

Ewan smiles knowingly about their impending tour of the tower vault of Dunbar family jewels.  But Sophie and Lexi look perplexed.

Duchess Sophie: “I thought that I had seen every inch of Castle Dun Dunbar?”  She curiously asks her husband.

Lexi:  And Sophie’s daughter Lexi nods in agreement. “Same here.”

Duke Myles:  “Well!  Ye will have to allow me to sharrre with you this final Castle Dun Dunbarrr secrrret.”  He states mysteriously, wiggling his eyebrows quite comically—which causes the ladies to giggle and his son Ewan to smile because he is in on the secret.  “Follow me.”

And Duke Myles escorting his love Duchess Sophie, with Ewan escorting his love Lexi, take a somewhat winding path to the uppermost floor of Castle Dun Dunbar.

Duchess Sophie: “Brrr.  It’s freezing!  And I had thought the first bedroom you put me in to try to get me to leave the Castle was cold.”

Ewan: “What?”  Ewan is perplexed, since he has not heard the full story of his Da and Sophie’s courtship.

Lexi: “I’ll tell you later.” Lexi whispers confidingly to her love Ewan.  And he nods.

Duke Myles:  “Herrre, My Dearrr!  Let me put this warm shawl on your shoulders for ye.” [(7) right] Duchess  Sophie smiles with his care of her.

After one final narrow set of stone stairs, the four of them arrive at a small room sized foyer area with one very large wooden and iron door with multiple locks on it.

Ewan: “That doorrr looks forrrmidable!”  Ewan comments in astonishment.

Duke Myles: “Aye!  It is meant to be.”

Then Duke Myles produces an ancient looking iron key from his coat pocket and inserts it into the top lock—which serves as a super lock for the door, the other two locks serving as decoys. He turns the key to the left and the heavy wooden door’s lock tumblers click open.  Then Duke Myles opens the door, which almost sighs from not having been opened for several months—since Duke Myles had selected the engagement ring and wedding ring sets that he wanted to give to his love Sophie.

Duchess Sophie: “What’s inside?”  Duchess Sophie starts to walk in.  But Duke Myles stops her.

Duke Myles: “Nay!  Now each of you pay attention.  When this doorrr is shut, it automatically locks—and therrre is no way to unlock it frrrom the inside.  So we must prrrop the doorrr open with this wedge, as well as leave the key hanging on the hook herrre—just in case we need to be saved frrrom an accidental imprrrisonment.”  Lexi and her Mom Sophie look alarmed.  “Be at ease.  It has been many yearrrs since such a thing occurrred, but happily me fatherrr came looking forrr me 8 yearrrs old self since I had failed to show up forrr lunch.”  Duke Myles smiles now, but his several hours of imprisonment meant that he was quite alone—which was scary for him as a child.

Lexi:  “What could be so interesting in this room that would have us risk imprisonment?”  She asks logically.

Duke Myles: “Lexi and Ewan—come and see, the trrreasurrres within.”  Duke Myles flips the light switch and the tower vault room is bathed in blinding light—magnified by the glinting diamonds rubies, sapphires, opals, and emeralds jewelry on display in glass display cases around the perimeter of the room and in its middle.

Duchess Sophie:  “Eeeee!  My buying the Castle just became my best investment ever!”

Duke Myles: “Not quite, My Dearrr.  Your purrrchase prrrice bought the building and the land it sits on—not its contents.”  The astute Duke raises a wicked eyebrow.  “The contents and furrrnishings of Castle Dun Dunbarrr arrre entailed for the Dunbarrr heirrrs in perrrpetuity.”  Duchess Sophie pouts a bit, but Duke Myles kisses her out of it.

Ewan:  “Well!  This is quite imprrressive, Da!  May Lexi and I look arrround a bit?”

Duke Myles: “Of courrrse.  But let me drrirect you to the fine wedding jewelrrry sets of the Dukes and Duchesses along the farrr wall.  They go back 500 yearrrs.”

Lexi:  Whispering to her love Ewan, Lexi asks a bit obtusely. “But Ewan, why are we specifically looking at ancient wedding jewelry?”

Duchess Sophie: “Ohhhh!”  Lexi’s Mom sighs in understanding.  And Duke Myles embraces his wife Duchess Sophie, also smiling for this romantic moment unfolding before them.

Then Ewan turns to face Lexi, and he kneels before her.  Lexi’s eyes widen in astonishment.

Ewan: “Lexi, My Love, ye arrre my whole worrrld now and I want us to be a family togetherrr—living ourrr lives the way we want to, togetherrr.  I love ye so.  Please marrry me and be me wife beforrre the new yearrr is upon us?”

Lexi:  “Oh Ewan, I love you so!  But you’re a Marquess, and will one day be a Duke.  I don’t know if I’m cut out for that.”  Lexi reveals a tad insecurely.

Ewan: “If anyone is cut out to be a Duchess, it is you Lexi, My Love, with yourrr grrrace, poise, kindness, and compassion.  Lexi, I’m a doctorrr, and you’rrre a medical social worrrkerrr.  And that is all we have to be forrr now—aparrrt frrrom being a loving husband and wife, and loving futurrre parrrrents.  Say yes to us.  The rrrest will take carrre of itself, many decades frrrom now, god willing.”  Ewan looks over at his father Duke Myles.

Duke Myles: “And Lexi?  We Dunbarrrs arrre verrra long lived.  So I plan to live forrr at least anotherrr thirrrty yearrrs orrr so.  And I will make no claims upon ye and Ewan’s time orrr life choices.  Live yourrr lives, as you wish.  Though Sophie and I do hope to see you now and again.”

Duchess Sophie: “Oh, Yes!” Duchess Sophie nods her head up and down several times in agreement.

Lexi:  Sitting down on Ewan’s outstretched thigh, Lexi gives him her answer  as she places her small hands on his face. “Ewan, you are my whole world.  I love you so.  Yes, I will marry you.”  Then Lexi tenderly kisses Ewan, and he kisses her back.

Ewan: “Lexi!”  Ewan sighs in joy and in relief.  “We will have a wonderrrful life togetherrr.”

Lexi:  “Together!”  Lexi sighs in joy.

Ewan:  “Though Lass, this stone floorrr is killing me knee. I should have brrrought a pillow.”  Myles and Sophie smile in amusement at each other as Ewan and Lexi stand up.

Duke Myles: “So Ewan and Lexi, ye may pick out any heirrrloom wedding and engagement rrring sets on display herrre, for yourrr use durrring yourrr lifetimes.”

Ewan: “I did na want to pick forrr you, Lexi.  I thought we could pick out ourrr  rrrings togetherrr.  That is, unless ye would prrreferrr a moderrrn rrring setting?”

Lexi: “Well Ewan, I am rather fond of family heirlooms.  So let us see if there is something here to our tastes—by which I mean not overly large, nor ostentatious.”

Ewan: “A lovely and delicate rrring set to grrrace your lovely and delicate hand.”  Lexi nods in agreement as her love Ewan gallantly brings her hand to his lips for a decorous kiss.

So Ewan and Lexi closely look at several heirloom wedding ring sets over the next half hour—with Duke Myles bringing them out of their glass display cases to set upon a black velvet cloth on the display case glass tops.  It seems the ring sets of the last 100 years or so hold the most appeal for Lexi and Ewan—with them narrowing it down to one yellow gold set and one set of white gold.  In the end, the pale yellow gold Celtic crosses wedding rings set that complemented the engagement ring that Lexi liked with a half carat square princess cut white diamond on the ladies slim yellow gold band with Celtic crosses—and the man’s larger yellow gold band with Celtic crosses [(8abc) below]–win the day.

And happily, the engagement and wedding rings fit just right—since Lexi’s small delicate hands are similar in size to Duchess ladies’ hands of 100 years ago.

Duchess Sophie: “Your engagement and wedding rings are a lovely heirloom set.”  She smiles admiring her daughter’s engagement ring as Duke Myles places the wedding rings into a hinged velvet jewelry box to put into his bedroom safe for them until their wedding.

Duke Myles: “And Ewan, therrre is one more rrring that belongs to you—yourrr Marrrquess of Rrroxburrrgh signet rrring.”

Duke Myles brings out and sets down the austerely elegant Dunbar Marquess of Roxburgh signet ring [(9) right] in pale yellow gold, with side fleur de lis ornamentations, and with the Dunbar coat of arms deeply engraved on its flat head, that can be impressed into hot sealing wax for personal communications and formal documents.

Ewan tries to put the signet ring on the third finger on his right hand, but it does not go past his first large knuckle.  Ewan winces sheepishly.

Ewan: “It will na fit, Da.”

Taking the ring from his son’s hand with a smile, Duke Myles places the Marquess’ signet ring on Ewan’s right pinky finger, where it fits just right.

Duke Myles: “This rrring was given to me when I was a wee lad of fifteen yearrrrs—and still with skinny fingerrrs.  But I left it at home forrr safe keeping when I was in boarrrding school and at univerrrsity and beyond. So it neverrr became sized for my adult hand.   And then I became the Duke and put on this rrring.”  He holds up his right hand, showing Ewan his ducal signet ring—that has a rim around the top and is a bit larger than the Marquess ring.  “We can have yourrr Marrrquess signet rrring sized up for yourrr adult hand.”

Ewan:  “Aye.  Thank ye, Da.”

Ewan gazes in wonder at his warm and welcoming father Duke Myles–whom he never knew when he was growing up, but who now has such a prominent place in his life.  Ewan begins to take the signet ring off his pinky finger.   But his father stops him.

Duke Myles: “Nay, Ewan.  The rrring is yourrrs.  Wearrr it until we can get it sized largerrr forrr ye otherrr fingerrr.”

And so another happy wedding planning begins—this time, for Ewan’s and Lexi’s marriage in four days, on the eve of the New Year–when additional joyous news might also be shared.

To be continued with Chapter 09

References for  Ch. 08 of “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”,  December 27, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1502)

  1. My “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2” story logo includes a cropped of Castle Dun Dunbar from “A Castle for Christmas” images of Castle Dun Dunbar filmed at Dalmeny House was found at
  2. Castle Dun Dunbar lovely Christmas Wreath image was found at
  3. Lexi Brown image is Vanessa Grasse from A Castle for Christmas 2001; image found at
  4. Dr. Ewan Roxburgh smiling broadly is Scottish actor Kevin McKidd, found at
  5. Isabel Roxburgh-smiling-in-portrait-as-a young-woman image-is of Lindsay Lohan Dec27-2022viaMyScene6. Some real Scottish history about the Fitzwalters, Stewarts, and the Duke’s of Atholl was found at,_2nd_High_Steward_of_Scotland7. Duke Myles and Duchess Sophie in the Castle Dun Dunbar tower vault is an edit of Cary Elwes & BrookeShields in A Castle for Christmas 2021 and was found at The Playlist; with a medieval stone wall background added in from 123rf;

    8abc. Woman’s Celtic Engagement ring (pale yellow clr), a woman’s pale yellow gold Celtic crosses wedding ring, and a man’s pale yellow larger wedding ring were found at

    9. The Dunbar Marquess’ signet ring is represented by an image found at Etsy:

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Ch. 08  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, December 27, 2022:

Previous SAL blog Post # 1501  link for  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 07, December 24, 2022:


Posted in "A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2" a fan fic by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022, Christmas, Creative Writing, Fan Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, happiness, Hope, Love and Relationships, Romance, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 07: A Christmas Eve Castle Dun Dunbar Wedding and Village Party, by Gratiana Lovelace, December 24, 2022  (Post #1501)  

(An original Contemporary Romance fan fic story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022;
All rights reserved)  [(1) story cover top left]

0-ACastleWedding-forChristmas2-storycover-2inch300res_Dec03-2022byGratianaLovelace [Illustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors and such, including the original cast of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021):  Cary Elwes as Myles the 12th Scottish Duke of Dunbar and Castle Dun Dunbar, Brooke Shields as the American Sophie McGuinty, Vanessa Grasse as her daughter Lexi Brown, Dalmeny House as Castle Dun Dunbar, Lee Ross as Thomas the Castle Dun Dunbar caretaker, Andi Osho as Maisie the Dunbar Village Innkeeper, Eilidh Loan as Rhona Fitzwalter the young pastry chef par excellence in Dunbar Village, Tina Gray as Helen Fitzwalter the elderly Dunbar Village knitters group leader, Kevin McKidd as Dr. Ewan Roxburgh, and others as noted.]

[Author’s Note:  This original Contemporary Romance fanfic is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.  And I came up with this story idea hoping for the creators of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021)—loved it–to give us a sequel!  So if they see my fanfic story here, I hope that they consider this a suggestion for a possible continuing story for Duke Myles and Sophie and the Dunbar Village folks.]

               Ch. 07:  A Christmas Eve Castle Dun Dunbar Wedding and Village Party

Whilst Dr. Ewan Roxburgh spends three long days away from his love Lexi Brown—December 14 – 16–while he serves as a guest physician in residence at the Cambridge Medical Center, Lexi distracts herself from missing him by helping her Mom with bride wedding preparations.  As of December 13th, they have only 11 days until the December 24th Christmas Eve wedding and village party at Castle Dun Dunbar.  So time is of the essence.

Making time to look for Sophie’s wedding gown is the main concern, as they are still staying in Edinburgh while Helen is still recovering from her heart attack and subsequent surgery.   The concierge at the Edinburgh Arms Hotel where Sophie and Duke Myles are staying recommend to them the premiere bridal shop in this large city of Edinburgh called the “Classic Bridal Boutique”.  As long as Sophie doesn’t have to wear too much in the way of plaid/tartan sashes and such, she’ll be happy.

So once they enter the bridal shop, Lexi asks to see their evening gown section, since Sophie as a mature bride doesn’t want to look like a poofy marshmellow in a traditional poofy ballroom silhouette wedding gown.

Lexi: “Oh Mom!  These evening gowns are lovely!”  She gushes sincerely at the selection of ivory, white, and some boldly colored gowns with fine pearl and beading details.

Sophie: “They are.”  She agrees, but she notices that the gowns on display might not reach floor length on her tall frame. And she wrinkles up her nose.

Bridal Shop Clerk: “Madam, we have severrral gowns that can be alterrred to accommodate yourrr lovely height.  And it should only take thrrree months to have a custom fitted gown.”  She smiles proudly.  Then she notices the worried looks on her customer’s faces.

Sophie; “My wedding is in 11 days, on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.  Do you have any gowns on hand that might work—with perhaps a bit of lace added to the hem to give the dress more length—or even a tea length gown?”

Bridal Shop Clerk: Ever not wanting to miss a sale, and also wanting to make her mature bride happy, she makes a suggestion. “Actually, we have a custom made trrraditionally brrridal evening gown with a modern twist in a tea length hem made last yearrr for a brrride who decided to elope and do a beach wedding in a warrrm climate, so she chose a differrrent gown forrr herrr new wedding venue.”

Lexi: “Traditional?  It’s not too old fashioned a wedding gown is it?”  Lexi asks worriedly.

Sophie: “Ever my fashionista.”  She smiles at her daughter Lexi.

Bridal Shop Clerk: “Not at all.  Let’s have you trrry it on Madam, and you can see forrr yourrrselves.”

Sophie does try on the ivory satin gown and loves the ivory gown’s subtle fabric draping on the bodice and its flouncy skirting. But in the end, Sophie follows her wish not to appear traditionally bridal.  And the allure of the vibrantly hued evening gowns wins out.  So her wedding gown choice is complete.  Lexi pronounces her mother perfection in it.

Their bridal gown mission is fulfilled.  And Lexi also finds a lovely daughter of the bride evening gown for herself to wear to the wedding.


Meanwhile, Dr. Ewan Roxburgh is plowing through his two day on call rotation on Dec. 14th & 15th [at the Cambridge Medical Center in England] with professionalism and attention to detail.  He sees young Andy again upon his discharge from the hospital after his appendectomy—after Dr. Ewan having had a spirited game of tabletop checkers with him, and then gifting Andy with the checkers magnetic travel set.

Dr. Ewan also has two surgeries each day as well as doing rounds in the Cambridge Medical Center’s (CMC) orthopedic wards.  All the while, he does not realize that he is being watched quite closely.  So when the esteemed and distinguished looking Physician Director of the CMC invites him for a coffee, Dr. Ewan wonders what’s up.

Dr. Holcomb:  “Dr. [Roxburgh], we have been very pleased with your nearly three month guest physician placement with us.”

Dr. EwanR: “Thank ye!  I have enjoyed it as well.  I commend you on yourrr fine medical facilities and staff.  This is cerrrtainly the type of cutting edge and personalized medicine that I also give to my patients.”

Dr. Holcomb: “Good, good.  We are hoping that you also have enjoyed your experience with us.  And we would like to extend your stay—even to making it permanent.  Hmm?  Here is a formal offer letter for you to become an attending physician with us, with a detailed physician compensation package. Though we do have some flexibility on that compensation package should you wish to revisit some of the particulars.  And our family health insurance and pension benefits are unparalleled.”

Dr. EwanR: “I’m very flatterrred.  And I would love worrrking herrre!  But I have to considerrr my long terrrm plans, which involve anotherrr perrrson.”  He smiles, thinking of Lexi.  “It’s a big decision.  And tomorrra, I must returrrn to Scotland forrr a family wedding next weekend.  I will be therrre for the next two weeks, actually.  May I let you know my decision afterrr the new yearrr?”  For Dr. Ewan is technically done with his current guest physician stint after today’s rotation.

Dr. Holcomb: “Of course.  Have a lovely family wedding.”  He smiles as the young Dr. Ewan Roxburgh leaves his office, hoping to keep him on their medical staff.


For ease of being near at hand as Duke Myles and Sophie’s wedding day approaches, Lexi and Ewan graciously accept her Mom and the Duke’s invitation to stay at Castle Dun Dunbar leading up to and after the wedding.  This is Dr. Ewan Roxburgh’s first visit to his ancestral home, and its size and grandeur quite takes his breath away.  The permanence and artistry of the Castle’s exterior stone work alone make her a very grand lady of an ancestral home.

Though the Castle is still a family home—ever more so with his soon to be stepmother Sophie in residence. Sophie as a domestic goddess and a Duchess in waiting are just two of her many talents.   The following morning after Lexi and Ewan spend their first night under Castle Dun Dunbar’s roof in the same bed chamber—scandalous!–Ewan and Lexi, and Duke Myles and Sophie are awakened by Thomas’ attempts at Scottish bag pipes playing.  Thomas’ bag piping is mostly for the tourists on guest days at the Castle, but Sophie thought that Ewan might like this little tradition just for him today.

And having stayed at the Castle many times over the past year, Lexi feels right at home.  So she  gently coaxes Ewan to pad down stairs in their new pajamas and robes to eat breakfast informally in the family sitting room with the fireplace blazing courtesy of Sophie as the cook and Duke Myles as the fire place fire builder.

Lexi:  “Mom!  Breakfast smells heavenly!  Did you make the cinnamon rolls that I like?”  She grins impishly.

Sophie: “Of course! And Ewan, I hope that you’ll find something among the breakfast selections to tempt you. Or let me know what you prefer and I can whip it up—such as French toast. Just grab a plate and fill it up!”  Sophie smiles warmly at her fiancé Duke Myles’ son, and her daughter Lexi’s romantic partner.

Dr. EwanR:  “Thank ye, Sophie!  It all looks delicious—especially the sausages.”  He nearly smacks his lips as he used to do as a boy.  It has been many years that he has been on his own, without even his late Mum’s coddling.  So he welcomes Sophie’s coddling now.

Duke Myles: “And if ye like, this afterrrnoon, we can go into Dunbar Village to pick up supplies and such, while the ladies do whatever they do.”  Duke Myles offers mirthfully.

Dr. EwanR:  “Aye! That will be good.” Ewan nods with a cordial smile for his father.


So far, Ewan has seen his father in a few limited situations, as a medevac helicopter pilot, as a friend waiting to hear how Helen is doing, and now as the Duke, his father as they set out for Dunbar Village in his father’s jeep.  And this will be the first extended time that he will spend in his father’s company, as they get to know each other.

Duke Myles: “Ewan, let’s pop over to the General Store in the Village.  I have a list from Sophie of items to pick up to add to our food stores now that our castle numbers have doubled with you and Lexi staying with us for the next two weeks.  And I also have a thing or two that I wish to buy.”

Dr. EwanR: “Certainly.”  He nods.

So they drive up and park at the General Store and Duke Myles hands his list of items to one of the store clerks to fetch for him.  Then he strikes up a conversation with the proprietor, James McLaren.

Duke Myles:  “Ach!  Jaime!  Let me intrrroduce ye to me son, Dr. Ewan Rrroxburrrgh.  Ewan, this is James McLarrren, prrroprrrietorrr.”

JamesM:  “Ach!  Young Ewan, ye arrre the spitting image of yourrr Da when he was young.  Except for yourrr rrreddish hairrr, of courrrse.  Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Dr. EwanR: “Aye!  It’s nice to meet you.  And yes, about my hairrr.  My late Mum had rrred hairrr.  So I take afterrr herrr in that rrregarrrd.”  Ewan smiles, but it is still hard for him to think that his Mum is no longer among the living.  Even though his metier as a physician is life and death, as a doctor he tends to be more hopeful about his patients’ diagnoses.

JamesM: “Aye. I can see that.  Your Mum Isabel and I werrre in school togetherrr grrrowing up. She was a lovely lady, and full of fun. Duke Myles stole herrr away frrrom severrral of us when they marrried.   And my sympathies to you on herrr passing.”

Dr. EwanR: “Thank you.”  He nods solemnly.

Duke Myles:  “Jamie, can you put my grrrocerrries on my tab and have one of yourrr lads put the items in the back of my jeep when they’rrre rrready.  Although, the two biggerrr items you can just have them lashed to the rrroof of my jeep.  Ewan and I arrre going to pop overrr to the Village Inn.  It looks like therrre is a crrrowd therrre today.”  He furrows his brow in curiosity.  Theirs is a small village of only about 150 souls.  So anyone new coming to town is interesting.

JamesM: “Aye!” Jamie smiles and waves at them in farewell.

So Duke Myles and his son Dr. Ewan Roxburgh walk over and down the snow laden street to the Village Inn.  Their snow boots crunch in the snow as they make haste in the cold weather. They walk into the Inn and instantly notice a long line of individuals waiting patiently, for what they do not know.

Maisie: “Looking up, Maisie sees the Duke and his son.  “Ach Myles!  Ewan!  Saints preserve us!  Today is Clinic day (which occurs every two weeks), but the young doctorrr in trrraining that the Edinburrrgh Medical Centerrr sent us this time is verrra young and he seems to be strrruggling a bit with all the county’s citizens that have turrrned up today.  Would ye be willing to give him some guidance Drrr. Ewan?”  She pleads.  “We have the clinic examining rooms set up on opposite ends of our prrrivate banquet room.”  And she gestures to a nearby room.

Dr. EwanR: “Of course.  Happy to.  Though I don’t know what otherrr plans Myles might have forrr us this afterrrnoon.”  Ewan is still hesitant to call his father Da at times.

Duke Myles:  “By all means.  Tend to yourrr patients.  I’ll just wait at the barrr and call Sophie and Lexie with the reason for our delay.”  Though Duke Myles knows that they’re not actually his son’s patients, but they could be.

So Ewan meets the very young Dr. Brian McGregor and offers his aid.  It seems that there are usually two doctors sent for Clinic days at Dunbar Village, but only one came today.  So the young doctor is more overwhelmed with the patient load, rather than him not being able to diagnose [their ailments].  So Dr. Ewan suggests that they triage the patients into three groups—those needing immediate attention, those uncertain how to treat their ailment, and those coming in more to have a caring person to talk to, that they get with Maisie’s cheerful smile and kind eyes. This plan works exceedingly well and helps them clear up the back log in 2 hrs–with each doctor working on patients in one half of the banquet room, with a privacy screen in between the two areas.  And the very kind and friendly Innkeeper Maisie invites the third group just wanting some socialization to join her for some tea and scones in the Inn’s sitting room area adjacent to the Inn’s bar.


With all of the Castle Dun Dunbar afternoon wedding and evening village party prep needed for these two Christmas Eve Day and Evening festivities, the time goes by very quickly.  And early Christmas Eve afternoon finds the Groom Duke Myles fidgeting whilst getting dressed in his fine dress tuxedo jacket with a kilt below.

Duke Myles:   “Grrrrr!  I canna get my blasted bow tie tied rrright.” He looks for aid to his two supporters.

Ewan: “Do na look to me forrr aid, DaLexi tied my bow tie forrr me.”  He sheepishly shrugs his shoulders. Tuxedos—let alone formal kilts—were not frequent attire for Dr. Ewan when he worked for Doctors Without Borders.  And Ewan is glad that the formal Dunbar tartan kilt on him now had last been worn by a broad and tall Dunbar ancestor who was similar in build to Ewan.  So Ewan is happy that his knees and other parts are well covered.

Duke Myles:  “Well I can na do it!”  He blurts out in frustration as he yanks the somewhat drooping black satin off of his neck.

Thomas: “And ye neverrr will if ye trrreat it that way.  Come herrre, ya big baby.  And I’ll trrry me own hand at it.”

Of course, Thomas’ own bow tie with his formal kilt attire looks impeccable—him having the good sense to order a pre-tied bow tie that clips on with fasteners at the back of his neck, under his starched collar.  But Thomas still manages to do a credible bow tie for Duke Myles, a service he takes seriously as his Best Man—with Ewan serving as a Groomsman.  And Maisie is Sophie’s Maid of Honor, with her daughter Lexi serving as an extra Bridesmaid.

So the three couples will line up quite nicely as they walk back down the aisle after the wedding service—Bride and Groom, the best friends of the Bridal Couple, and finally the [adult] children of said Bride and Groom who also happen to be dating.  So if the planets had aligned, there might have been a trifecta of marriages this day.  But one must not rush romance, despite the two younger-ish couples being quite besotted with each other, as much as, the Bridal Couple is with themselves.

The Bride Sophie also feels nervous—but more in an excitedly happy way.  Sophie’s radiant smile as Maisie and Lexi put the finishing touches upon her long flowing locks cannot be contained—not the least of which are for the fine amethyst drop earrings in a gold setting she wears as a wedding gift from her love Myles.  For Amethyst is her birthstone. And for her part, Sophie had gifted Myles with a new pair of gold cuff links that she had custom made with the image of Castle Dun Dunbar etched upon them.

And happily the Castle Dun Dunbar Chapel serving as their wedding venue is within the castle, such that no one need step out into the snowy and freezing weather this festive Christmas Eve—least of all the kilt wearing Groom and his attendants.

When all their Dunbar Village and Scotland and England friends who traveled to DukeMyles-in-tuxedo-kilt-is-CaryElwes-inACastle-forChristmas2021_Dec23-2022viaNetflix-Grati-crop-szd join in  Duke Myles’ and Sophie’s wedding celebration are seated in the medieval chapel, the wedding ceremony commences.  First, the mid thirties village priest Fr. Hugo walks from the front’s side sacristy to the middle front facing the wedding guests sitting in the pews. Then he beckons to the Groom Duke Myles [(2) right] and his attendants to join them, with a dignified Duke Myles leading the three men in from the side sacristy.

Then the organist begins to play Pachobel’s Canon in D as the Bride’s two attendants walk up the aisle toward the front—with both Thomas and Ewan smiling broadly at their ladies Maisie and Lexi.  Up until now, Bride Sophie has stayed out of sight in the back nave foyer area—even as Duke Myles leans forward longing to see his Bride, since by wedding tradition they have spent the last two days apart from each other. Duke Myles had half worried that Sophie might bolt.  Or was he worried that he might bolt?  It is the second wedding for each of them, a leap of faith that their love will endure.

And then Bride Sophie walks to the back of the center aisle and looks up and lovingly SO7398~1 [(3) right]  smiles at her Groom Duke Myles standing handsomely at attention at the front of the church.  The organist switches to Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke, and Bride Sophie begins to slowly and gracefully walk up the chapel’s center aisle toward her Groom Duke Myles.  He is entranced with Sophie’s beautiful image in a purple velvet off the shoulder gown and her hair flowing in soft waves over her bare shoulders, with the amethyst earrings he gave her twinkling delicately upon her earlobes.  She could have worn any number of Dunbar Duchesses tiara’s for her wedding, but Sophie preferred the understated but quite lovely earrings for their wedding finery.

When Sophie reaches Duke Myles and the priest, she smiles lovingly at her love Myles.

Duke Myles: “Ye look so beautiful, My Love.”  His eyes are brimming with tears for this lovely lady who came into his life, and gave him a second chance at love.

Sophie: “And you look very handsome, Myles.”

The priest leans in to the Bridal Couple.

Fr. Hugo: “Shall we begin?”  The Bride and Groom nod sweetly sheepishly.  “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of this man Myles Roxburgh Dunbar to this woman Sophie [Rose]  McGuinty.  If anyone knows if there is any impediment to this marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace.”

The priest allows for a several seconds pause and looks about the wedding attendees sitting in the pews. No one objects. And the priest continues with the usual and blessedly short homily about marriage being a blessing through good times and bad—a married state the priest has yet to enter into himself, but he has married and counseled enough engaged couples over the ten years of his being a vicar for him to be well versed in the complexities of marriage.

Then there are a few bible verse readings, most notably 1st Corinthians chapter 13: verses 4 – 7.

Fr. Hugo:  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”  This admonition to cherish love is the most wonderful and heartfelt moment in any wedding service.

[Far. Hugo:]Then [Fr. Hugo] invites the Bridal Couple to face each other and hold hands.  “Recite after me.” And they do.

Duke Myles and Sophie, saying their vows together:  “I Myles/Sophie do take you Sophie/Myles to be my lawfully wedding wife/husband.  To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. So help me God.”

And then there is a rings exchange, that goes slightly awry when after Duke Myles  gallantly slides his Bride Sophie’s heirloom wedding ring onto her  delicate finger, she has quite a bit of trouble getting Myles heirloom wedding ring over his last knuckle.  But with much pushing and grunting—and a little bit of holy oil that the priest has on hand—Myles wedding ring is secured.

Duke Myles: “This ring will never leave my finger, until my breath stills.” Myles lovingly and tenderly promises to his Love Sophie.

Sophie: “Nor will my [wedding and engagement] rings leave my finger, until my breath stills.”  She smiles at Myles, then whispers to him.  “Or at least except when they are being cleaned and such.”  She winks at him which causes him to joyously laugh.

Duke Myles:  “Ha ha ha ha ha!”  The wedding attendees titter with the Duke’s levity, their being glad for his and Sophie’s happiness.

Fr. Hugo:  “I now pronounce you husband and wife.  What God has joined together let no one put asunder.”  [Fr. Hugo] in intones somberly.  Then his eyes twinkle at the Bridal Couple. “You may now kiss your Duchess Bride, Your Grace.”

Duke Myles: “With pleasure!  Sophie, My Love!”  He tenderly pulls her into his arms and lovingly kisses her.  She kisses him back with her arms circling his shoulders.

Naturally, their kiss at the end of their wedding service is sweet and tender. Their passionate loving expressions will come later, when they are alone.  So they come up for air from their kisses, smile besottedly at each other, and turn to their wedding guests who applaud them most heartily.  Then Duke Myles and his now Duchess Sophie walk back down the aisle to [the sound of] the bag pipers—also in kilts—exuberantly playing their rendition of Trumpet Voluntary.

And though Sophie and Myles might have wanted a respite between their wedding and the Castle Dun Dunbar Christmas Eve Dunbar Village party, their family, friends, and other well wishers and their wedding photographer commandeered all of their time.  But Duke Myles having reunited with his son Ewan who is romancing Sophie’s daughter Lexi, is a blessing that feeds his soul [–as the now enhanced family wedding photographs illustrate].  So Duke Myles has much to be thankful for this day.

So Sophie and Myles will have to wait to privately celebrate their newly married state after the festive Castle Dun Dunbar Village and wedding guests Christmas Eve Party this night. And as with anything good thing like love, the benefits are multiplied—especially for Ewan and Lexi—not to mention Thomas and Maisie.

And now that Duke Myles and Duchess Sophie are happily ensconced in marriage to each other with their lives settled in Scotland at Castle Dun Dunbar, his son Ewan and her daughter Lexi must also consider their own long terms plans as a romantic couple.

To be continued with Chapter 08

References for  Ch. 07 of “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”,  December 24, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1501)

  1. My “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2” story logo includes a cropped of Castle Dun Dunbar from “A Castle for Christmas” images of Castle Dun Dunbar filmed at Dalmeny House was found at
  2. DukeMyles-in-tuxedo-kilt-is-CaryElwes-inACastle-forChristmas2021_Dec23-2022viaNetflix-Grati-cap-crop-szd
  3. Sophie on her wedding-day–isBrookeShields-long-locks-purple-gown-tate-_Dec23-2022viaFacebook-Grati-szd-blur-crp

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Ch. 07  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, December 24, 2022:

Previous SAL blog Post # 1500  link for  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 06, December 22, 2022:

Posted in "A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2" a fan fic by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022, Christmas, Creative Writing, Fan Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, marriage, Richard Armitage, Romance, snow, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 06: Helen recovers and another family secret is revealed, by Gratiana Lovelace, December 22, 2022  (Post #1500)  

“A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 06: Helen recovers and another family secret is revealed, by Gratiana Lovelace, December 22, 2022  (Post #1500)  

(An original Contemporary Romance fan fic story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022;
All rights reserved)  [(1) story cover top left]

 [Illustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors and such, including the original cast of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021):  Cary Elwes as Myles the 12th Scottish Duke of Dunbar and Castle Dun Dunbar, Brooke Shields as the American Sophie McGuinty, Vanessa Grasse as her daughter Lexi Brown, Dalmeny House as Castle Dun Dunbar, Lee Ross as Thomas the Castle Dun Dunbar caretaker, Andi Osho as Maisie the Dunbar Village Innkeeper, Eilidh Loan as Rhona Fitzwalter the young pastry chef par excellence in Dunbar Village, Tina Gray as Helen Fitzwalter the elderly Dunbar Village knitters group leader, Kevin McKidd as Dr. Ewan Roxburgh, and others as noted.]

[Author’s Note:  This original Contemporary Romance fanfic is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.  And I came up with this story idea hoping for the creators of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021)—loved it–to give us a sequel!  So if they see my fanfic story here, I hope that they consider this a suggestion for a possible continuing story for Duke Myles and Sophie and the Dunbar Village folks.]


Ch. 06:  Helen recovers and another family secret is revealed

Over the next two days, Helen’s recovery is going well from her heart attack and subsequent surgery to place two stents in her arteries. And after she wakes up and smiles on Monday, December 12th, Helen is moved to a more comfortable private room in the cardio wing of the Edinburgh Medical Center (EMC)—with a couch and chair for visitors.  Though Helen’s doctors—including Dr. Ewan Roxburgh–insist that only one person be visiting Helen at a time, so they don’t tire her out.

So the Dunbar villagers and friends consisting of Maisie, Rhona, Sophie & Angus take two hour shifts in sitting with Helen—with her granddaughter Rhona insisting that she take the overnight shifts and she sleeps on the couch.  So Ewan and Lexi opt to stay in Edinburgh at his late mother’s and his home—with a guest room also opened up for Rhona to rest and refresh herself.  Whilst Duke Myles & Sophie, and Thomas & Maisie take two hotel rooms on different floors at the very comfortable Edinburgh Arms Hotel—courtesy of Duke Myles’ credit card.

Whether it is out of being separated from their usual fiancé conjugal bliss during Helen’s health crisis—or due to their own loving natures—Myles and Sophie immediately retire to their hotel suite on Day 2 of their stay in Edinburgh.  And after showering and returning to bed, they not so unnaturally fall asleep in each others’ loving arms—due to their lack of sleep and the strain keeping vigil over Helen’s health progress at the Edinburgh Medical Center.

Though when Duke Myles and Sophie each awaken quite refreshed on Tuesday, December13th and in very loving moods, they will delight in each other in their private hotel suite bedroom.  When the Duke awakens, he finds himself spooning with his Love Sophie in naught but her camisole top and their both wearing socks.  He tends to have very cold feet that Sophie has remarked upon a time or two. And Sophie moisturizes her feet before donning her socks at bedtime. And they had put the rest of their clothes in their suite’s small clothes washing machine to be cleaned overnight, since they had not had time to put together overnight bags before they helicoptered Helen to the Edinburgh Medical Center last Sunday.  Helpfully, their hotel the Edinburgh Arms has some clothing items that they bought for sleeping and a new warm sweater for each of them.

Myles finds that their relative lack of constrictive clothing this morning to be a plus as he awakens his Love Sophie with a tender kiss upon her bare shoulder.  Sophie sighs, at his touch and her eyelids slowly flutter open.

Duke Myles: “Good morning, My Love!”  Myles nearly growls with his need for her.

Sophie: “Good Morning, Myles.  I guess we fell asleep last night after we checked in.”

Sophie smiles sheepishly.  Their romantic passions for each other are very present in each other others’ arms—except when they are bone tired, as they were last night.

Duke Myles: “Aye!”  Duke Myles guides her to lay flat and they kiss and embrace each other adoringly.  I am not so sleepy now.” The twinkle in his eyes are reserved only for her.

Sophie:    “Aye.”  Sophie replies impishly as she and Duke Myles entangle their tongues and arms and legs, and their bodies in a lovely early morning romantic tryst [(2) right].

Sometime later after showering and getting dressed in their now clean and dry clothes and new sweaters, they pop down to the hotel restaurant for a bite of breakfast with Thomas and Maisie.  Though finding Thomas and Maisie nowhere in sight—nor are they answering their phones—Duke Myles and Sophie smile knowingly, eat their breakfasts a deux and then dash over to the Edinburgh Medical Center to see how Helen is doing.


After showing Lexi around his very comfortable childhood home in Edinburgh yesterday–where he and his Mum lived and that now belongs to him–Ewan looks anew at his family home’s amenities through Lexi’s eyes.  His home is a modest but lovely two story Tudor style exterior home with a drive under two car garage and a walkout basement to the back yard, a main floor living area with an eat in kitchen and formal dining area adjacent to a spacious but cozy sitting room with a fireplace and a large bay window looking upon the expanse of backyard with a ground level patio area for outdoor dining and lots of grass and surrounding trees for kids to play in.  And the third floor contains three family bedrooms and a private sitting/play room area with shelves filled with all manner of reading for Ewan as he grew up.

Lexi: “Oh Ewan!  Your childhood home is charming!  It must have been wonderful to grow up here!”

Lexi likes what she sees. When they had come for his Mum’s funeral three weeks ago, they had put up at a local inn, because Ewan wasn’t sure what state the house would be in.  Yet, since then, he has employed a service for lawn and garden tending and a live in housekeeper/caretaker. So he is pleased to see that the conversion of the master bedroom to a hospital like setting that occurred for the last month of his Mum’s illness—for her to be in her own home as she wished for her final days—has given way to the lovely though now dated furnishings he remembers from his childhood. He had also had the carpets professionally steam cleaned, and all of the home’s mechanicals serviced as needed.

Ewan: “Aye!  It was a wonderrrful home.”  Except for the part about him not having a father to share it with when Ewan was growing up.  But now he does have a father in Duke Myles, and that is what he must concentrate on.  “I gatherrr frrrom my Mum’s solicitorrr that she had long ago put this house and all of herrr and my possessions into a family trrrust for she and I.  So it all belongs to me now.  I’m just na cerrrtain what to do with it.”

Lexi:  “Of course the decorations and furnishings will need updating—but still keeping some cherished and timeless mementos.  But I hope that you will keep your home, Ewan.  As a pied a terre near to your father Duke Myles and my mother Sophie at Castle Dun Dunbar, it is just far enough away to grant us our privacy when we visit the area.”

Pulling Lexi into his arms, Ewan kisses her with loving abandon.  So much so, that Lexi feels all tingly.

Ewan:  “Mum and I shared a bathroom between our two bedrooms.  So shall we see how the guest room and bath are situated?”  The housekeeper is out of the house for a few days.  So their privacy is assured.

Ewan nibbles upon the delicate shell of Lexi’s ear as he gently moves her curtain of silky brunette hair to the side. And their finding his home’s guest room and bath neat and tidy, they dump their clothes they have on and a few toiletry items in bags they picked up on the way here in the rental car, shower together quite passionately, and then they somewhat dry off before they tumble into the large king sized bed for their lovely second romantic tryst of the morning.

Lexi’s love and support of Ewan means the world to him.  It is through their finding and loving each other that Ewan was reunited with his father Duke Myles.  And this afternoon as Dr. Ewan examines Helen again before he must fly back to the Cambridge Medical Center for a two day weekend rotation just before the holidays, Lexi’s unwavering support and encouragement will be a godsend to him.


Being hospitalized for a heart attack and then having two stents surgically implanted to prevent further arterial blockages, usually gives patients like Helen a reprieve from looking their best.  But the 75 year old Helen is always neatly groomed and involves her granddaughter Rhona and Sophie to do Helen’s [(3) right]  hair and to help her put on her eye makeup and lipstick that she had in her purse.  Helen feels that if she looks good, she will feel good.

And Helen’s first of the morning medical rotation doctor visitor today Tuesday, December 13th–two days out from her surgery –will be her savior, Dr. Ewan Roxburgh.  So as not to shock Helen–and cause her to have another heart attack–Duke Myles privately told Helen that her grandson Dr. Ewan Roxburgh will be seeing her this morning.  So Helen is all smiles in her make up and wearing a knitted shawl over her drab hospital gown as she awaits her Dr. Ewan.

And though Duke Myles has not had time to reveal to Ewan that Helen is his maternal grandmother—nor that Rhona is his younger cousin.  And Rhona is also in the dark about it.

When Duke Myles sees his son Dr. Ewan and Sophie’s daughter Lexi walking toward him as Duke Myles leans against the hospital corridor next to Helen’s private hospital room, he waves them over.

Duke Myles: “Good [morning]!  Sophie and Rrrhona are just making Helen feel frrresh and feminine.”

Dr. EwanR: “Aye!”  He nods his head. This doctor visit today is not required, but he wants to wish Helen well in her recovery before he catches a flight back to Cambridge to work the next two days before returning to Castle Dun Dunbar a few days before his father’s and Sophie’s wedding on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.

Lexi: “Sure, Myles!”  She chirps.  “We ladies always want to look good.  But Myles’ flight back to Cambridge Medical Center for his two day rotation this week, is in three hours.  So we need to retrieve his flight ticket and his overnight stuff from our Dunbar Village Inn bedroom suite before that.”  Lexi bites her lower lip.

Duke Myles: “Right!  Well we got herrre in me helicopterrr and we can get back to Dunbarrr Village in me helicopterrr–twenty minutes tops.  Then we’ll turrrn around and I’ll bring ye back here to Edinburrrgh Airrrrporrt for yourrr flight to Cambrrridge.”

Dr. EwanR: “Thanks, …Da.”  Ewan is still getting used to that familial label for his father Duke Myles. “I will appreciate it.”

Then Sophie ducks her head into the hallway and motions for them to come into Helen’s private hospital room and they all stand around Helen’s bed.  It is a bit crowded, but it can’t be helped.

Dr. EwanR: “Mrs. Fitzwalterrr!  I’m delighted to see you looking so well this morning.I am Drrr. Ewan Rrroxburrrgh, Lexi’s parrrtnerrr. And I happened to be on hand when ye took ill at the Inn on Sunday.”  Dr. Ewan [(4) right] gently takes her hand and gently squeezes it.  Then he smoothly slides his fingers to take her pulse at her wrist.

Helen: “Ohh!  You’rrre so handsome as a grrrown man, Drrr. Ewan.”  She smiles brightly. “I just knew that you would be.”  For over the years, Myles had shared some pictures of Ewan that he had downloaded from the internet with Helen, Ewan’s grandmother Helen.

Dr. EwanR: “Oh?”  Dr. Ewan smiles mirthfully as he moves his stethoscope to listen to her heart.  “Just brrreathe easy.” The room is silent to let him hear her heart.  And he is standing so close to Helen Fitzwalter that she reaches up and pats his face.

Helen: “You’ve made me verrra happy, Ewan Dearrr.”  She slips and addresses him familiarly, rather than with his medical title of doctor.  Then she looks over to Duke Myles.  “Will you intrrroduce us, Myles?”  She asks hopefully as she gently clasps Ewan’s hand in hers and smiles up at him.

And Dr. Ewan gazes kindly down at Helen Fitzwalter.  He has had many an elderly patient over the years.  But she seems very sweet and he smiles back at her.

Duke Myles:  “Of courrrse, My Dearrr.  Ewan, When ye saved Helen on Sunday, ye also saved yourrr own grrrandmotherrr.  For Helen Fitzwalter herrre was the motherrr of your late Mum “Isabel Fitzwalter Rrroxburrrgh.”

The room is silent for this revelation—everyone wondering how Ewan will take it.  That is, silent but for the other family member in the room who is also just now finding out, Helen’s granddaughter Rhona.

Rhona:  “Eeeee!  Then you’rrre me cousin, Ewan.  My Da and yourrr Mum werrre brotherrr and sisterrr.” Rhona rushes him and gives Ewan a hearty hug from behind him.

Helen: “Now don’t overrrwhelm the lad, Rrrhona Dearrrie. Ewan Dearrr, your cousin Rrrhona is a might excitable now and again.  But she is a sweet dearrrr gerrril and she makes wonderful pastrrries at ourrr local Dunbarrr Village Bakerrry.”  Helen grins from ear to ear.

Myles watches his son carefully.  Ewan has still not spoken as of yet as Helen continues to gently hold his hand and Rhona hugs him from behind.  So Lexi walks up to Ewan, smiles at Rrrhona who detaches herself from Ewan.  And Lexi embraces Ewan—and he embraces her.

Lexi: “Well!  This is certainly an interesting development, Ewan.  You come to Scotland thinking to meet only your Father Duke Myles and now you also have a grandmother in Helen and a cousin in Rhona.”  Rhona waves her fingers at him as she grins broadly.

Helen: “Ewan, laddie.  I know it’s a lot to take in.  And we won’t prrress you now.  But we hope in time that ye will be amenable to getting to know us—and allowing us to get to know you.”  Helen’s voice is as soothing as any grandmother’s voice can be.

Dr. EwanR: “Thank you, …Grrran.”  He tries out that form of address for her.  “Unforrrtunately, I have to leave in a few minutes to head back to Cambrrridge Medical Center forrr two days to do a medical rotation.  But I will be back this weekend—so we’ll have a few days beforrre me… Da’s and Sophie’s wedding on Chrrristmas Eve afterrrnoon.  Then I’ll be able to stay for a few days into the following week.  So I look forrrwarrrd to speaking with you morrre then.”

Helen looks at Ewan so tenderly, so lovingly, that it almost undoes him.  He is uncertain what to do.  He’s never had a grandmother before.  So Lexi whispers into his ear so only he can hear her.

Lexi: “You could kiss your grandmother’s cheek in parting, if you want to.”  Dr. Ewan nods his head.

Dr. EwanR: “So I’ll say farrrewell forrr now and say that I’ll see you again in a few days, beforrre the wedding.”  Ewan leans down and kisses Helen’s check, and she kisses his cheek back.

Helen joyfully tearily farewells Dr. Ewan, Lexi, Sophie, & Myles.  In truth, everyone in the room has watery eyes.


Duke Myles: “Alrrright then, Ewan.  Let’s get you helicopterrred to Dunbar Village to collect yourrr airrr ticket and clothing at the Inn, beforrre I brrring ye back to Edinburrrgh Airrrporrrt for you to fly to England’s Cambrrridge Medical Centerrr.  Sophie & Lexi, you’rrre coming, too.  Then we’ll all wish Ewan farrrewell as he rrreturrrns to England for a few days rrrotation at the CMC,  during which Sophie and Lexi will go wedding drrress hunting in Edinburrrgh.”  And that is what they do.

Dr. Ewan Roxburgh has been stunned with this additional family connections news—of a living grandmother in Helen and a cousin in Rhona, and maybe an uncle in Rhona’s father—his late mother’s brother Edwin Fiztwalter.  But Ewan seems to be taking these new developments better than when he and his father Duke Myles had initially heatedly discussed their estrangement.  But Ewan and his father Duke Myles are on a path to healing their relationship.

To be continued with Chapter 07

References for the Ch. 06 of “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”,  December 22, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1500)

  1. My “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2” story logo includes a cropped of Castle Dun Dunbar from “A Castle for Christmas” images of Castle Dun Dunbar filmed at Dalmeny House was found at
  2. lovers-feet-poking-out-fr-bedsheet-oct1012instforenergyresearchorg_May1614-Grati-crp-szd
  3. Helen–looking-up-at-DrEwan-from her hospital bed-isTinaGray_Dec11-2022viaTwitter
  4. Dr. Ewan Roxburgh image in white hospital coat is of Scottish actor Kevin McKidd when he starred on Grey’s Anatomy; image was found at

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Ch. 06  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, December 22, 2022:

Previous SAL blog Post # 1498 link for  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 05, December 18, 2022:

Posted in "A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2" a fan fic by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022, Family, Fan Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Holidays 2022 from Richard Armitage’s Tik Tok Video, December 19, 2022 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1499)  


I loved seeing this 2022 Happy Holidays video from Richard Armitage via his Twitter link!   And I hope that you do, too!

And here is RCA’s tweet with his tik tok video link in it! 


He gave a brief overview of his professional highlights this past year and then he made a request for donations to help others.  Richard Armitage especially highlighted his Just Giving page for the Shelter charity (see his tweet link below), but suggested folks could donate to charities in their own towns and that would be just as nice.

Thanks also to TeresaA  for sharing RCA’s tik tok link! 

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, & peaceful Holiday Season! Hugs & Love with Holiday Cheers!  Grati ;->

P.S.  I will also try to place RCA’s tik tok video in my top right sidebar for the rest of the Holiday Season!

Posted in Charities, Christmas, Community, Compassion, Donations, Fangurling, Giving, Global Team Armitage, Goodwill, Gratiana Lovelace, Holiday, Just Giving, Kindness, Positivity, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 05: Duke Myles and son Ewan seek to heal their breach, by Gratiana Lovelace, December 18, 2022  (Post #1498) 

(An original Contemporary Romance fan fic story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022;
All rights reserved)  [(1) story cover top left] 

0-ACastleWedding-forChristmas2-storycover-2inch300res-Sidebar180x281_Dec10-2022byGratianaLovelace [Illustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors and such, including the original cast of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021):  Cary Elwes as Myles the 12th Scottish Duke of Dunbar and Castle Dun Dunbar, Brooke Shields as the American Sophie McGuinty, Vanessa Grasse as her daughter Lexi Brown, Dalmeny House as Castle Dun Dunbar, Lee Ross as Thomas the Castle Dun Dunbar caretaker, Andi Osho as Maisie the Dunbar Village Innkeeper, Eilidh Loan as Rhona Fitzwalter the young pastry chef par excellence in Dunbar Village, Tina Gray as Helen Fitzwalter the elderly Dunbar Village knitters group leader, Kevin McKidd as Dr. Ewan Roxburgh, and others as noted.]

[Author’s Note:  This original Contemporary Romance fanfic is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.  And I came up with this story idea hoping for the creators of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021)—loved it–to give us a sequel!  So if they see my fanfic story here, I hope that they consider this a suggestion for a possible continuing story for Duke Myles and Sophie and the Dunbar Village folks.]


Ch. 05:  Duke Myles and son Ewan seek to heal their breach

After Duke Myles lands his medevac helicopter on the rooftop helipad of the Edinburgh Medical Center (EMC) Building A, the still unconscious Dunbar Village knitter leader and heart attack and fall patient Helen Fitzwalter is swiftly transported down to the ICU for further examination and treatment. And Dr. Ewan Roxburgh and Lexi Brown join Helen and the EMC medical staff in the large freight elevator ride down to the ICU to provide background regarding Helen’s condition.

And then Duke Myles flies his medevac helicopter with he and Love Sophie in it to Edinburgh’s airport for refueling and such.  Thomas meets them there, after dropping off his car load of Dunbar Villagers/knitters at EMC—Maisie, Rhona, & Angus.  Then Thomas stays with the helicopter for refueling while Duke Myles and Sophie take the jeep to the hospital to see how Helen is faring.  Thomas will join them later via a taxi.


As it so happens, Edinburgh Medical Center (EMC) in Scotland and Cambridge Medical Center (CMC) in England are part of a large consortium of UK Medical Centers that collaborate for ease of patient access to specialized treatments and highly expert medical clinicians. So although Dr. Ewan Roxburgh does not have automatic doctor privileges at the Edinburgh Medical Center, that institution is quickly able to verify his physician privileges status at the CMC and then grants him the same medical and surgical privileges at EMC.  This is most fortunate since it allows Dr. Roxburgh to continue his care of his patient Helen during her initial stay at Edinburgh Medical Center—as well as consult on a few medical matters at EMC due to his vast medical experience in the field with Doctors Without Borders.

With medical tests grimly confirming that Helen has a 75% blockage in two of her arteries to her heart, she is quickly moved to surgery to have two stents inserted to open up those veins—with Dr. Ewan Roxburgh assisting in the surgery.  Happily, the elderly Helen had not eaten breakfast that morning, nor drunk much fluids—which might have contributed to her body’s distress—so they were able to rush her into surgery and general anesthesia. 

And though Helen’s 75 years makes her health delicate, she weathers the procedure well and is back in the ICU by early evening. And though she had broken no bones when she fell out of her chair during the heart attack, she does have some severe bruising that will be painful but should clear up in a week. Everyone is bone tired from the mental and physical ordeal today.

Maisie, Rhona, Sophie, Angus, & Sophie’s daughter Lexi sit with the still asleep Helen in her private but small ICU room, talking soothingly to her still unconscious form, in case she can hear them. And the knitters group knits to soothe their own stress from the day’s events.  Helen’s long wed husband Fergus Fitzwalter died last Summer.  So all Helen has are her granddaughter Rhona and their knitters group friends, they are her family now. But of course, as the mother of Duke Myles first wife Isabel Fitwalter Roxburg, Helen also has another grandchild whom she has yet to meet—Dr. Ewan Roxburgh.


Rhona:  Rhona speaks softly to the sleeping Helen.  “Grrranny, It’s yourrr Rrrrhona.  Ye have had quite the busy day, but the doctorrrs say that yourrr heart surgerrry went verrra well.  So they expect that ye’ll be back home in time for Chrrristmas and the wedding of Sophie & Duke Myles.”  Rhona softly weeps grateful tears as she gently squeezes her Granny’s hand not hooked up to an iv. Maisie and Sophie soothingly rub Rhona’s back and shoulders to comfort her.

And though Duke Myles is not technically Rhona’s uncle by marriage–since Rhona at 28 years old was born after Duke Myles divorce to her father’s sister Isabel, her aunt—that uncle and niece connection might become a reality.  Because as of yet, Rhona is unaware that she has a Castle Dun Dunbar cousin in Dr. Ewan Roxburgh—who saved her Granny’s life today.  Not even Maisie [had been] aware of Helen’s late daughter Isabel being Duke Myles first wife and the mother of Dr. Ewan Roxburgh [untill Thomas told her earlier today when she  had first met Dr. Ewan].

And though Helen was delighted that her then young twenty-one  year old daughter Isabel had found love with the then younger Lord Myles, Marquess of Roxburgh, Helen had hoped that her daughter’s difficulties were behind her.  For though her late daughter Isabel had been a beautiful, bright, and charming young lady—her happy moods could often switch to frustration or weeping in a flash, with seemingly no reason or explanation.

And Helen wasn’t certain why her daughter had such mood swings—nor could the many doctors they took Isabel to, enlighten them about Isabel’s emotional health.  So Helen never blamed the now Duke Myles for he and her daughter Isabel divorcing.  It was neither of their faults.  And Helen had also been estranged from her daughter Isabel, who moved to Edinburgh after the divorce.  So Helen did not know until Myles found out twenty years ago, that he had a ten year old son in Ewan and that she had a grandson. So Helen does not know that it was her own grandson Dr. Ewan Roxburgh who saved her life today.



Thomas, Duke Myles, and Dr. Ewan wait down the hallway–after Helen’s surgery and near Helen’s ICU room–in a small visitors lounge with two couches, a tv, and food vending machines with a microwave. 

The very tall Ewan stands and stretches to try to work out some cramping he’s having due to the tension with his father Duke Myles and the medical emergency and surgery of Helen he assisted with.   He is wearing a black tshirt over jeans after removing his green surgical garb after Helen’s surgery and him showering in the EMC cardiothoracic doctors surgical ready room.  Today’s medical crises coming on the heels of his mother’s passing last month, Ewan has shouldered much emotional turmoil the last two months—only made bearable by the constant presence of his love Lexi Brown–Sophie’s daughter, and his father Duke Myles soon to be stepdaughter.

Duke Myles: “I’m glad ye came to Dunbarrr today, Ewan.  Ye saved Helen’s life.  Thank you!” And Myles truly marvels that this man before him, his son the doctor, saved Helen—whom he has yet to tell Ewan is his maternal grandmother.  That will be another delicate conversation for when Helen is awake—so she can meet her grandson.

Dr. EwanR: “You’rrre welcome.”  Then he adds cryptically, and tiredly.  “Not everyone can be saved, but today was a good day.” Ewan is thinking about his late Mum Isabel Roxburgh, whose illness was too far advanced to cure. He sits again.

Thomas:  “Aye!”  Thomas nods sagely.

Then a brief silence ensues, as often does with men of taciturn natures.  Yet, for men silence is not a void to be filled—so none of them rush to fill it.  Finally Ewan asks a pertinent question.

Dr. EwanR: “I did not know frrrom Lexi that ye werrre a medevac helicopter pilot, DR714B~1uh Your Grace. How long have ye been doing that?”  The somber faced Ewan [(2) right] hopes that his is a seemingly innocuous  question, and that it will help open a dialog between the two men, father and son.

Duke Mykes: “Fifteen years. And call me Myles, if you wish.  Your Grace is too formal—considering how closely  we are … related.”  For Myles knows that he has to earn the right to be Ewan’s father, his Da.   But the inclusion of Sophie’s daughter Lexi in Ewan’s information gathering about his father Myles perturbs Duke Myles.  “How long have you and Lexi been dating?  And how does she fit into you returning to Dunbar?”

Dr. EwanR: “Lexi and I met two months ago, when I joined the Cambridge University’s Medical Center in England as an extended guest physician, surgeon, and lecturer due [to] my Doctors Without Borders experiences—and our needing to recruit and train new doctors for such field experiences.  I met Lexi formally at a gourrrmet dinnerrr the night of my initial keynote public addrrress and she enrrrapturrred me frrrom the beginning. Then the following day when she was mirrraculously assigned to be my Cambrrridge Univerrrsity and Cambrrridge Medical Centerrr Liaison, fate seemed to have looked kindly upon us.  And despite my initial shyness, Lexi and I fell in love.  We’ve been togetherrr everrr since.”  Ewan leans his head back against the wall as he tries to get comfortable in the smaller chair than his tall sized frame could sit on.  Ewan doesn’t usually share much about himself to others, but he realizes that it is warranted in this circumstance.

Duke Myles: “So when did you find out that Lexi is to be my stepdaughterrr when I wed herrr motherrr Sophie on Chrrristmas Eve Day?”  He asks cagily.

Dr. EwanR: “Only just last week when Lexi’s motherrr rrreached herrr by phone.”  He discreetly refrains from stating that Sophie’s early morning phone call to her daughter Lexi woke them both up. “Then later when Lexi told me that herrr motherrr lived with herrr fiancé in a castle nearrr Edinburgh, Scotland, and then she told me who herrr motherrr was marrrying—you–I rrrealized that I was soon to meet you again, afterrr almost twenty years, when Sophie had earlier invited us to the wedding and Chrrristmas when neitherrr of us knew of the connection that I had to you.” 

And Myles notices that his son Ewan also does not refer to them having a relationship, but merely a connection.

Duke Myles: “Aye.”  He replies resignedly.  Then Duke Myles [(3) right] pauses slightly, DUFB5B~1in hesitation and in sadness, but he continues. “I was sorrry to hear of yourrr Motherrr’s passing last month.  Herrr solicitorrr notified me two weeks ago. You have my deepest condolences.”

Dr. EwanR: “Thank you.  But why should you carrre that my motherrr is dead?”  Ewan asks angrily.  “And if you knew she died, why did you not contact me then?”  The hurts of Ewan’s feelings of childhood abandonment run deep.

Duke Myles: “Both arrre fairrr questions.  I carrre because I once loved yourrr motherrr.  We werrre happy in the beginning of our marrriage.  At least I thought we werrre happy.  But she later told me that she was not happy, and she left me.  Isabel  neverrr told me about you. Orrr I would have been in yourrr life frrrom day one—whetherrr she liked it orrr not.  But when I found out ten years laterrr that I had a son when you werrre hospitalized forrr an appendectomy, I was at once thunderrrstrrruck and overrrjoyed to know that you existed. But my drrream of having a fatherrr and son rrrelationship with you neverrr happened.”  Myles states forlornly.

Dr. EwanR: “Ye cannot blame it all on me Mum.  You must have done something to drrrive herrr away.”  He accuses.

Duke Myles: “I do na rrrightly know why Isabel’s and my marrriage failed.  We seemed fine and happy one day, then the next day she was telling me that she did na like ourrr life and wanted out. I was a jobberrr envirrronmental engineerrr living in England at the time.  So my worrrk schedule was not prrredictable—which might have been parrrt of the prrroblem.  But she told me that she had met someone and wanted to marrry him.”  Duke Myles becomes more quiet in realization.  “Though in rrretrrrospect, she may have just been giving me a rrreason to let herrr go.  And I did let herrr go. Hhhh!”  Duke Myles sighs at his lost choices and lost chances to know his son when Ewan was growing up.

Dr. EwanR:  “My Mum had neverrr dated any one, as farrr as I know.”

Duke Myles: “Hmmm.  Yes, well. It took me many yearrrs to get over herrr when she left me.  Then I rrreturrrned to Castle Dun Dunbarrr afterrr my fatherrr died and took up the management of the estate and village.  And then ten years laterrr, I found that I had a son, you.  Though for severrral years I trrried to visit ye to get to know ye, I could na find a way for you to let me be a parrrt of yourrr life—and to have you be a parrrt of my life.” He cries out in anguish.

Dr. EwanR:  “So you gave up on me.”  Ewan says sadly.

Duke Myles:  “Nay!  Nay!  I neverrr gave up on you!  Though you did not invite me, I would come and watch your soccer matches and choir concerts at school, and your graduations—always keeping myself in the background.   I could not risk ye knowing that I was therrre, orrr I fearrred that  you and yourrr motherrr might have me banned frrrom yourrr life legally.  And I could not have handled that.”

Dr. EwanR: “But how did you know about my school soccerrr games and choirrr concerrrts if Mum didn’t tell you?”

Duke Myles: “Well I, …” Myles stops, because he wonders if this further secret of Myles’ intrusion on Ewan’s life will bring them closer, or pull them further apart?

Thomas: Silent up until now, but no longer, Thomas weighs in.  “Laddie, did ye not wonderrr how yourrr Mum could afforrrd yourrr nice home and private school fees, computerrrs, bicycles, yourrr athletic and musical equipment, etc., not to mention yourrr vacations and the like on herrr meagerrr salary as a local bookstorrre clerrrk?”

Duke Myles: “Thomas, don’t …”  Myles shakes his head nervously.

Dr. EwanR: A dawning realization hits Ewan.  “You paid for my life and watched me grrrow up.  But ye neverrr again trrried to rrreach out to me?”  Duke Myles, nods his head resignedly.  “After the shock of my finding out that I had a living father wore off, do you know how much I would have wanted you in my life?  I was the only kid without a fatherrr—without someone to show me how to be a man.  I’ve hated you forrr so long forrr putting me thrrrough that—yourrr abandonment of me.”  He lashes out about his hurt feelings, more than with anger.

Duke Myles:  Duke Myles is hearrrtbrrroken all overrr again to hearrr his son Ewan’s despairrring words.  And he begins to weep.  “Oh Ewan!  I’m so sorrry!  I’ve botched everrrything.  If I could rrredo it all, I swearrr that I would have been the husband that Isabel wanted, and I would have known that she carrried ourrr child—you—my being yourrr fatherrr and showing my love forrr you everrry day of yourrr life, Laddie!” 

The two men face each other—old adversaries who desperately need to reach a peace between them.  The sixty year old Myles as father and the thirty year old son in his prime Ewan.  Tears are streaming down Myles’ face—as they are falling down Ewan’s face.  Even Thomas feels teary eyed at this cathartic moment in Duke Myles and his son Ewan’s father and son relationship. And Lexi, who had come to give them an update on Helen, is crying as well—her having overheard the last few exchanges between her love Ewan and his father Myles.

Lexi: “Then start now, the both of you—as father and son.  Do not let another twenty years of loneliness and regret keep you from each other.”  She pleads, even as she goes to embrace Ewan.  Then she places her small hands caressingly on the sides of his face.  “Ewan, you save lives every day as a doctor.  Now, it’s time that you saved your own life.”  Then she turns and gazes at Duke Myles.  “You too, Myles.  Stop being stuck in the past.   No excuses of your worrying about rejection from Ewan.  Today you both start fresh as father and son—give each other that chance.  Take that chance at happiness.”

Lexi fiercely embraces Ewan and he embraces her—them both crying for the emotional family crisis they find themselves in.  Then Lexi holds out her arm to Duke Myles, beckoning him to join them.

Duke Myles: “Oh Lexi!”  For all the hopefulness that Duke Myles wants to feel with Lexi’s father and son relationship suggestion, relationships are never that simple. 

Duke Myles holds back and he looks longingly at his son Ewan.  Then Ewan also opens his arm and holds it out, beckoning to Duke Myles to join them.

Dr. EwanR:  “Da?”  Ewan says the one word he has never been able to say to anyone, until now. And it is the one word that Duke Myles has longed to hear from his son Ewan.

And Duke Myles joins Ewan and they fiercely embrace each other for several minutes–as the long lost loving father and son that they are.  Lexi puts her arms around both of them in this groundbreaking family moment.

There will be many more discussions between Duke Myles and his son Ewan in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  But this is a new beginning for each of them—for them to begin to have a true father and son relationship with each other, something each of them has needed and wanted for a very long time.

And other family relationships yet to be revealed will hopefully help to strengthen Dr. Ewan’s feelings of belonging to his father Duke Myles, his growing family, his love Lexi, and to Castle Dun Dunbar as his ancestral home.

To be continued with Chapter 6

References for the Ch. 05 of “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”,  December 18, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1498)

  1. My “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2” story logo includes a cropped of Castle Dun Dunbar from “A Castle for Christmas” images of Castle Dun Dunbar filmed at Dalmeny House was found at
  2. Dr. Ewan Roxburgh image is of actor Kevin McKidd from Grey’s Anatomy, of him looking somber was found at a Pinterest site–kevin-mckidd-ginger-men.jpg
  3. Duke Myles looking upset is Cary Elwes in A Castle for Christmas scene. Image was found at; and

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Ch. 05  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, December 18, 2022:

Previous SAL blog Post # 1496 link for  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 04, December 13, 2022:

Posted in "A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2" a fan fic by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022, Compassion, Creative Writing, Family, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seasons Greetings with some Richard Armitage Art by Ann Boudreau, December 16, 2022 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1497)


I greatly admire the RA fan artworks of Ann Boudreau (check AnnB’s photos out on Facebook)!  So I have selected some of my favorite of her holiday/season Richard Armitage artworks to share. Enjoy!


Do you have some favorite Richard Armitage or December Holidays Ann Boudreau artworks?  Please share them in a comment below.

And Ann also has many other wonderful artworks devoted to other fan crushes–Tom Hiddleston, Henry Cavil, etc.

Wishing you all a joyous Holiday Season!  Hugs & Love with Holiday Cheers!  Grati  ;-> 


Posted in Ann Boudreau FannArt, Christmas, Creativity, Fangurling, Gratiana Lovelace, Hanukkah, Holiday, Richard Armitage, snow, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, wallpaper, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 04: Navigating a father and son reunion, part 2:  Weathering a crisis together, by Gratiana Lovelace, December 13, 2022 (Post #1496)


(An original Contemporary Romance fan fic story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022;
All rights reserved)  [(1) story cover top left]

0-ACastleWedding-forChristmas2-storycover-2inch300res-Sidebar180x281_Dec10-2022byGratianaLovelace [Illustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors and such, including the original cast of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021):  Cary Elwes as Myles the 12th Scottish Duke of Dunbar and Castle Dun Dunbar, Brooke Shields as the American Sophie McGuinty, Vanessa Grasse as her daughter Lexi Brown, Dalmeny House as Castle Dun Dunbar, Lee Ross as Thomas the Castle Dun Dunbar caretaker, Andi Osho as Maisie the Dunbar Village Innkeeper, Eilidh Loan as Rhona the young pastry chef par excellence in Dunbar Village, Tina Gray as Helen the elderly Dunbar Village knitters group leader, Kevin McKidd as Dr. Ewan/Scott Roxburgh, and others as noted.]

[Author’s Note:  This original Contemporary Romance fanfic is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.  And I came up with this story idea hoping for the creators of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021)—loved it–to give us a sequel!  So if they see my fanfic story here, I hope that they consider this a suggestion for a possible continuing story for Duke Myles and Sophie and the Dunbar Village folks.]




Ch. 04: Navigating a father and son reunion, part 2:  Weathering a crisis together

Though Sophie would have preferred to have her daughter Lexi and Lexi’s beau stay with she and Duke Myles at Castle Dun Dunbar for the Wedding and Christmas Holidays, Sophie understands Lexi’s wish for privacy.  And Sophie reasons that she will see her daughter every day, no matter where Lexi and her man friend sleep. 

Then precisely at 1pm on Sunday, December 11th, Sophie breezes into the Dunbar Village Inn’s sitting room area adjacent to the bar and takes a chair with the knitters and opens her knitting bag.  She is making a warm winter scarf for her love Myles.  Duke Myles follows her in, him smiling at her as he heads straight for his friend and Castle Dun Dunbar Caretaker/Docent Thomas standing at the bar, four feet away from the knitters.

Sophie:  Looking up, and noticing someone missing, Sophie asks the knitters.  “Where is Maisie today?”

Rhona:  “I’m not surrre.  She went to check in some new inn guests 15 minutes ago and we haven’t seen herrr since.” 

Sophie nods sanguinely, because if the new guests had been her daughter Lexi and Lexi’s man friend, surely Maisie would have let her know right away.

Helen: “Such perrrsonalized attention by Maisie is surrre to incrrrease business.” HE317B~1
The well groomed mid seventies knitting leader lady Helen [(2) right] nods knowingly.

Rhona:  “Would you like a lemon cake, Sophie?  I baked them frrresh this morrrning.”  Rhona holds out the plate of delectable treats to Sophie. 

Sophie gazes thoughtfully at the cake offerings, with her hand hovering over them before making her selection.  However, Myles is not so circumspect.

Myles: “Might I also be delighted to parrtake of one of your delicious cakes, Rhona?”  His hand moves to the plate as Rhona offers it to him.  He decisively makes his selection.  “Thank ye!”  He smiles and returns to the bar with his lemon cake.

Thomas: “Myles?  Arrre ye going to eat that cake with the beerrr taste testing selections that I have barrrman Scotty herrre lining up for us?”

Myles: “Perrrhaps with some coffee, beforrre hand—to wash the cakes down and clear my palate.  Then I’ll try the beers.”  Myles suggests wisely.

Then Maisie comes rushing into the sitting room and bar room to fetch Sophie.

Maisie: “Ah!  Therrre you arrre Sophie.  Lexi has arrrived and wishes to speak with you.”

Sophie excitedly stuffs her knitting into her bag and jumps up from her chair.

Sophie: “Where is she!”  She looks around.

Maisie: “Oh!  She’s up in herrr bedrrroom suite, settling in.  I’ll take you to herrr.”
Then Myles [(3) right] also stands again—still holding his coffee mug and wearing his sage colored warm vest coat over a white collared shirt–him ready to accompany Sophie to see Lexi.

Maisie: “Not you, Myles.  Lexi asked to speak to her Mum, prrrivately!”  Then to stave off Myles pout at being excluded turning into a discussion/argument about why he should accompany Sophie, Thomas interjects.

Thomas: “Nay Myles.  It’s obviously a womanly discussion.  They could be at it for hourrrs.  Let us enjoy our beerrr tasting selections while we wait.” 

And that seems to do the trick for Duke Myles—labeling the mother and daughter discussion about womanly topics.  For Myles relents and sits back down to finish his lemon cake and large man sized mug of coffee.  Crisis averted, for now.


So Maisie guides Sophie upstairs in the Inn to Lexi and her man friend’s bedroom suite that comes with a sitting room and an adjoining bedroom and bathroom.  Lexi is waiting for her Mom in the sitting room, whilst Ewan is taking a shower and making himself more presentable. Maisie knocks on the bedroom suite door and Lexi opens it.  Then Maisie returns to the Inn’s pub area.

Sophie: “Lexi, Sweetheart! I’ve missed you!”  Sophie lunges at her daughter Lexi.  And they lovingly embrace each other for several moments.

Lexi: “Hi Mom!  I’ve missed you, too!”  She hugs her beloved Mom lovingly.

Sophie:  “Where is your man friend, Lexi?”  Sophie looks expectantly around the sitting room area.

Lexi: “Oh!  He’s in the shower.  Air travel is not his favorite mode of transportation–for the lack of sterile cleanliness of airplane seats and such.  It’s the surgeon in him.”  Lexi explains while raising her brow knowingly.

Then not realizing they have company already, Ewan walks into the sitting room area of his and Lexi’s bedroom suite–with naught but a towel around his abdomen and thighs after his shower, with  rivulets of water still falling down his handsomely muscular chest, arms, and legs.

Dr.EwanR: “Lexi Love, did you pack my …”  He doesn’t finish his sentence when he sees her with a mature lovely woman who must be Lexi’s mother.  “Ach!  I beg yourrr parrrdon.”  Ewan blushes crimson.  Then he quickly turns around and heads back into his and Lexi’s adjoining bedroom and bathroom.

Sophie: “My! He’s a handsome man!”  Sophie gazes at her daughter who is now blushing.

Lexi: “And a good man, Mom.  Let me go see what he was asking me about.” 

Lexi quickly walks into their suite’s bedroom to find Ewan emptying the remaining contents of his carry on bag onto their bed—whilst still wearing the towel and naught else.  Ewan looks up a seeing Lexi enter their bedroom.

Ewan: “Ach!  Was that you’re Mum?  I’m so sorrry, Lexi.  I did na rrrealize that we had guests alrrready.”  He pouts forlornly.

Lexi: “She’ll get over it.”  Lexi waves her hand flippantly.  “By the way, she approves of you, if her curling smile is any indication.  What are you looking for?”

Ewan: “My shaving gear and a toothbrush.”  He flings his arms wide in frustration and embarrassment.

Lexi: “I had already unpacked and put our bathroom things in the bathroom cabinet drawers.  Your stuff is in the top drawer, oh tall one.”  She jests impishly.  “Get dressed, with shoes and socks…”  Lexi clarifies.  “Then I’ll formally introduce you to my mother.

Ewan:  “Alrrright.” He nods sheepishly embarrassed.  For who wants the first impression they make to a potential mother-in-law to be them almost naked in front of her?

So Lexi returns to her Mom Sophie in the sitting room.

Lexi: “He’ll be just a few minutes.”  Sophie tilts her head questioningly.  “He couldn’t find his shaving and tooth brushing stuff, since I had already put them away in the bathroom cabinet drawers for us.”

Sophie: “Uh huh.  Well Lexi, you seem quite domestically congenial with each other.”

Lexi: “We are.”  Lexi smiles happily at her Mom.

Sophie: “And?”  Sophie bobbles her head as if to finagle some more detailed information out of her daughter Lexi.

Lexi:  “We’re very happy, Mom. And we’re just taking one day at a time.  So no pressure, please.”

Sophie: “Me?  Pressure you?  Of course not!”  Sophie mock huffs with incredulity.  However she is a mother, and she is Lexi’s mother.  “But please give me a few details.  How long have you known each other, and such?” And it’s usually the and such that delicately implies relationship details are also requested.

Lexi: “Two months—to both of your questions.”  Lexi smiles wryly.  “What can I say?  It was love at first sight between us.”

Sophie: “Oh!  My baby’s in love.”

Just then, Lexi’s Love Ewan walks back into the sitting room area—fully clothed, shaved, and shod. He addresses Lexi’s Mom Sophie.
Dr. EwanR: “Ms. McGuinty, my apologies for my earlier appearance deficits.  But I am  delighted to meet you now.” Ewan [(4) right] feels much better prepared to meet his love Lexi’s mother, now that he is properly attired.

Sophie: “As I am to meet you.  But call me Sophie, everyone does.”

Lexi: “And Mom, this is my partner Dr. Ewan Roxburgh.”

Dr. EwanR: “I’m just Ewan to family and friends.” He avers.

Sophie leans in and gives Ewan a gentle hug.  Her being 6 foot tall to his 6 foot 2 inches tall self, her hug reach was an easy one—compared to the much shorter Thomas’s hug given to him earlier today.

Sophie: “Ewan.”  She nods as she steps back.  Then she tilts her head quizzically.  “Roxburgh?”  The name sounds familiar to her, since she has been steeping herself in Castle Dun Dunbar history for her latest book.  He nods at her—him wondering if she knows who he is.

Lexi:  “And Mom, there is something you should know about Ewan.”  Ewan tenses up.  “He is …”  Lexi hesitates.

Sophie:  “… a Dunbar.”  Sophie’s eyes widen in understanding.  “Your resemblance to your [Great G]randfather Duke Giles Roxburgh Dunbar is uncanny.  His portrait hangs in the ballroom.” 

For Sophie has guessed the connection almost immediately now that Ewan is dressed, him wearing a dark suit coat over a light blue dress shirt and jeans.  He could only be his father’ Duke Myles’ son, for his crisply groomed appearance.

Lexi:  “Yes Mom.  Ewan is Duke Myles’ son, from his first marriage.”

Dr. EwanR:  “Aye.  But we do no know each otherrr.”  He states stiffly.

Sophie: “How long have you known about Ewan, Lexi?”  She asks pertinently.

Lexi: “It was only last week when you called to invite us to the wedding that Ewan and I both realized his connection to Castle Dun Dunbar and Duke Myles.  Ewan and Myles have not seen each other for almost twenty years.”

Looking quite ill, almost green, Ewan clarifies his coming here—with an out clause.

Dr. EwanR:  “And though I have cleared my patient schedule for the coming week to join you early for the Christmas Holiday’s and your wedding planning, I might have to return briefly to Cambridge Thurrrsday to help cover some shifts at the Medical Center due to lower holiday staffing levels with their regular staff taking some time off to be with their families.”

Sophie: “Of course.  But I hope that for your first visit to Dunbar Village and the Castle, that we’ll have time to start to get to know you over the next few days.”  Ewan nods his head in agreement.

Lexi: “Mom?  How do you think Myles will react to Ewan?  Thomas seems to think that Myles has been following Ewan’s career via the internet.  So that sounds favorable.”  She hopes.

Sophie: “I don’t know, Lexi–and Ewan.  Myles was very hurt when his first wife, your mother, left him for another man—as she told him at the time.  And then for Myles not to be told about your existence until you were ten years old—by happenstance due to a thorough hospital record keeper tracking him down when you were brought in for an appendectomy surgery.  And then you pushed Myles away when he tried to get to know you over the next three years, Ewan.  It broke his heart all over again.  So I don’t want you to hurt Myles again.  If you can not be open to getting to know Myles as your father who loves you—and you only want to seek revenge for your own hurts about the situation—then please don’t give him false hope of you both reconciling.”  This is tough love, Sophie style.

Lexi:  “Mom!”  Lexi almost chastises her Mom for her stridency on Myles behalf.  And it is a delicate balance that Lexi must achieve—supporting her love Ewan, whilst also understanding the perspective her of her soon to be step father Duke Myles.

So Lexi begins to defend Ewan’s feelings about his absent father Duke Myles, but she doesn’t get the chance when Maisie bursts in to their bedroom  sitting room area.

Maisie:  “We need Ewan!  Helen is having a heart attack!”

Sophie: “Oh god!  No!” 

Sophie wails as she races down the stairs with Maisie, and trailed by Lexi and Ewan who grabs his medical bag that he always has with him. 

The scene in the Inn’s bar and sitting area is pandemonium when they reach it.  Everyone is hovering over a writhing unconscious Helen lying on the Inn pub’s floor.  Ewan takes command.

Dr. EwanR: “I’m Dr. Roxburg.  Please step aside from my patient so that I may tend to her.”  The knitters and the Inn’s bar patrons part and let Dr. Ewan in.  “Tell me what happened.”  In the meantime, Ewan is checking Helen’s pulse, heart rate, and breathing

All eyes turn to Duke Myles, who stands riveted with shock and gazing at his son Ewan.  Then Thomas gives Myles a nudge.

Duke Myles: “Helen is 75 yearrrs old and she has a hearrrt condition that she takes digitalis forrr.  Today she was fine forrr the starrrt of the knitterrrs knitting session.  Then a few moments laterrr she seemed to be in pain of some kind and she starrrted to curl her body forward.  And her breathing became labored. Then she lost consciousness and fell out of her chair.”

Dr. EwanR: “Ach!  Then she might have broken bones as well, from her fall.  Is there a local clinic which might have a back board and a neck collar, iv solution, and some standard emergency injectables?  And we need to get her to the nearest hospital as fast as we can!”  He states earnestly. Then Ewan looks up to see who had given him Helen’s medical history, him paling when he sees that it is his father Duke Myles. But he regroups for the sake of his patient, Helen.

Maisie: “No clinic, but my office here at the Inn has some of the emergency medical supplies like that and an AED in case of emergencies.  And Myles here can helicopter you and Helen to Edinburgh Medical Center.”  Maisie and the towering knitter Angus dash to her office to get those much needed medical supplies for Dr. Roxburgh.

Duke Myles: Moving into medical emergency helicopter pilot first responder mode, Duke Myles asks.  “Thomas?  Does the helicopter have a full gas tank?”  Duke Myles knows that he can get to Edinburgh Medical Center on a half tank of gas, but he never wants to take a chance on having less gas.

Thomas: “Aye!  I filled it up just the other day.  And your helicopter recently had its annual mechanical inspection last month, as well as your pilot’s license renewed.  So you should be good to go.”

Maisie and Angus return with the back board, neck brace, iv supplies, and an AED.  And Dr. Roxburgh puts the first three items in use for Helen. And holds on to the AED device in case it is needed mid flight.

Duke Myles turns to Ewan. And not wanting to reveal his connection with the doctor to the general populace in the inn, Duke Myles addresses him formally. 

Duke Myles: “Uh, Dr. Roxburgh.  My small MedEvac helicopter can airlift myself and a navigator up front, with two people and a patient in the back to Edinburgh Medical Center.  I can be ready to take you in 10 minutes.  Sophie, you’rrre with me as navigator.”  He tosses his jeep keys to Thomas.  “Thomas, please drive my jeep to Edinburgh Medical Center so that our group has a way home, without having to helicopter back.”  Thomas nods.  Then Duke Myles heads out to his helicopter parked in its designated open park area for it at the edge of the village.

Rhona: “And here is Helen’s purse.  She always carries her medical conditions information, as well as, a list of the pills she takes.   Please make me Granny well again.”  She pleads.  Because Rhona is the daughter of Helen’s son. 

And with the chaotic circumstances of Helen’s heart attack and fall, Duke Myles has not thought to let Dr. Ewan know that Helen was also his Mum’s mother.  So he and Rhona are blood cousins. And Helen is also Dr. Roxburgh’s grandmother.  So Dr. Ewan will find even more family connections in Dunbar than he could have imagined.

Dr. EwanR: “That’s verrra helpful. Thank you.”  He peruses the meds and health conditions lists for a moment.  “Good!  She’s not already on a blood thinner or low dose aspirin—which might have worsened any internal bleeding due to her fall.  So I’m going to give her a quick injection to try to help stabilize her heart rhythm.” 

Dr. Ewan gives Helen an injection, as well as he starts an iv drip for Helen.  It is fortunate that Maisie keeps a small supply of these medical supplies for just such emergency needs—since the Dunbar Village Inn is so centrally located in Dunbar County.

Dr. Ewan nods to Lexi sitting quietly in the corner. Lexi has been writing down everything that is being done to help Helen, for the official medical record.  And Lexi has recently taken advanced first aid and emergency medical training for her to be able to help out in a support capacity in medical crises situations like this one.

Lexi: “Ewan?  I’ll guide you to the helicopter then ride with Thomas to Edinburgh.”  Flying in planes is one thing for Lexi, but flying in a helicopter is so not her thing. However, Dr. Ewan has long been used to helicopter medical transportation in his line of work—especially with Doctors Without Borders.

Dr. EwanR: “Nay, Lexi.  I need you in the back of the helicopter with me and our patient Helen!”  He gazes at Lexi determinedly. And she nods in agreement.  Lexi’s caring presence will be as much for Helen’s medical support, as it is for Dr. Ewan’s, as Helen’s emergency first responder doctor.

So everyone converges on Duke Myles helicopter—with the still unconscious Helen lying strapped to the back board and ferried by Thomas driving Myles jeep with a deep back end for transport.  And she is loaded onto the helicopter.

Duke Myles: As part of his pre-flight check, Duke Myles alerts the Edinburgh Medical Center (EMC) of their imminent arrival via the helicopter’s coms system. “Edinburgh MC, this is Myles Dunbar of Dunbar Village—in MedEvac helicopter registered as H19-6977ME.  We have a 75 year old heart attack patient named Helen Fitzwalter whom I am helicoptering to you within the next 20 minutes.  Her symptoms began at 1:15pm this afternoon, it is now 1:30pm.  We have Dr. Ewan Roxburgh of the Cambridge Medical Center on board who has stabilized the patient.  The patient also fell out of her chair when she became unconcious.  So there might also be some broken bones and such to deal with as well. Over.”

Edinburg MC:  “Rogerrr that Duke Myles, this is EMC life flight controller Brian McTierney.”  Though blessedly, medical emergencies are few and far between in the small villages in Dunbar County, Duke Myles does make several medical emergency helicopter flights each year to the Edinburgh Medical Center. So he is a known person in the regional emergency medical first responders sphere.  “We will alerrrt xrrray, the ICU, and surgerrry in case they arrre needed for yourrr patient—as well as our on call surgeon Dr. James Tristan to take over for Dr. Roxburgh once you land.  And you should have a clearrr landing on the helipad at EMC Building A. Over.”

Duke Myles: “Rrrogerr that, we will land at EMC Building A.  Aye!  I have landed therrre beforrre.  See you in 20 minutes. Over and out.” Next to Duke Myles, Sophie takes notes as to their planned EMC Building A landing site, travel time, whom Myles spoke with at EMC, and such for the official records.

And even as Duke Myles, Sophie, Lexi, Dr. Ewan & patient Helen take off in Myles’ emergency helicopter for Edinburgh Medical Center, Thomas, Maisie, Rhona, and Angus pile into Duke Myles spacious jeep for the one hour road trip to Edinburgh Medical Center in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The Dunbar Village Inn bar man stays behind to tend to any Inn guest needs and such.

All of the Dunbar Village friends en route to Edinburgh focus on their dear friend Helen, who is now also Dr. Roxburgh’s patient Helen.  The next few hours and days will determine whether Helen can rally from her heart attack and fall, or if she succumbs.  Medicine is life and death.  And the stakes do not get any higher than when a loved one is involved.

And though Duke Myles and Dr. Ewan did meet again under this medical crisis circumstance, they set aside the tension between them and each behaved as trained emergency responders and medical professionals.  But it still remains to be seen if once the medical crisis is lifted, whether they can begin to heal their fractured father and son connection, in the hope of creating a lasting bond and solid relationship for the future.

To be continued with Chapter 5

References for the Ch. 04 of “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”,  December 13, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1496)

  1. My “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2” story logo includes a cropped of Castle Dun Dunbar from “A Castle for Christmas” images of Castle Dun Dunbar filmed at Dalmeny House was found at
  2. Helen—the smiling elderly Dunbar Villlage Knitter leader—is Tina Gray-from-ACastle-for-Christmas2021-Netflix image viaIMDB_Dec13-2022GratiL-szd-crop-blur
  3. Duke Myles–with-coffee-mug-is-CaryElwes-in-ACastle-forChristmas2021-Netflix, viaIMDB Dec13-2022GratiL-szd-crop-blur
  4. Dr Ewan Roxburgh–is Kevin McKidd circa Greys Anatomy era in a suit coat & blue dress shirt image viaGreysWiki_Dec13-2022Grati-cap-crop-szd-blur2-brt

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Ch. 04  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, December 13, 2022:

Previous SAL blog Post # 1495 link for  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 03, December 11, 2022:

Posted in "A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2" a fan fic by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022, Creative Writing, Family, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 03: Navigating a father and son reunion, part 1:  Stay the course, by Gratiana Lovelace,  December 11, 2022 (Post #1495)

(An original Contemporary Romance fan fic story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022;
All rights reserved)  [(1) story cover top left] 

 [Illustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors and such, including the original cast of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021):  Cary Elwes as Myles the 12th Scottish Duke of Dunbar and Castle Dun Dunbar, Brooke Shields as the American Sophie McGuinty, Vanessa Grasse as her daughter Lexi Brown, Dalmeny House as Castle Dun Dunbar, Lee Ross as Thomas the Castle Dun Dunbar caretaker, Andi Osho as Maisie the Dunbar Village Innkeeper, Eilidh Loan as Rhona the young pastry chef par excellence in Dunbar Village, Tina Gray as Helen the Dunbar Village knitters group leader, Kevin McKidd as Dr. Ewan/Scott Roxburgh, and others as noted.]

[Author’s Note:  This original Contemporary Romance fanfic is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.  And I came up with this story idea hoping for the creators of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021)—loved it–to give us a sequel!  So if they see my fanfic story here, I hope that they consider this a suggestion for a possible continuing story for Duke Myles and Sophie and the Dunbar Village folks.]

Ch. 03:  Navigating a father and son reunion, part 1:  Stay the course

After Lexi found out on their Cotswold’s romantic getaway week that her romantic partner of two months Dr. Ewan/Scott Roxburgh is the son of her Mom Sophie’s fiancé Duke Myles, Lexi immediately wonders if they should warn/alert—or not–her Mom and Duke Myles about Myles’ son Dr. Ewan/Scott Roxburgh coming with her to Castle Dun Dunbar for Christmas, and their wedding?  

So after Dr. Ewan contacts the Cambridge Medical Center that same day of Wednesday, December 7th, he rearranges his schedule of medical consultations for next week to this week.  Which means that he and Lexi have to head straight back to Cambridge so that Ewan can be working Thursday, Friday, & Saturday—with a December 11th Sunday morning flight from Cambridge to Edinburgh, Scotland.  Happily, he did not have any surgeries planned for the upcoming week of Dec. 11th – 19th.

But with the [Decenber] 25th Christmas and the Dec. 18th Hanukkah and other holidays approaching, he might need to return to Cambridge to work at the Medical Center on Dec. 17th –before returning to Castle Dun Dunbar for the [Christmas Eve] wedding and Christmas.  That is, if he is still invited to them.  So Lexi and Ewan will have to return to the Cotswolds another time to finish their idyllic week of alone time with each other.

And secondly for Lexi, should she and Ewan ask to sleep together in the same Castle Dun Dunbar bed chamber? They have not spent a night apart since they met and fell in love—unless one of Ewan’s on call rotations notified him to go in to the Cambridge Medical Center for an emergency consult or surgery.  And they do not want to be parted from sleeping with each other now.  Or she thinks that maybe they should book a room with Maisie at the Dunbar Village Inn, for privacy?

Eventually, Lexi and Ewan/Scott do decide to book a bedroom suite with a sitting room at the Dunbar Village Inn, and then to discuss with Maisie and Thomas whether to warn Duke Myles and her Mom Sophie of Ewan’s presence, before they turn up at Castle Dun Dunbar to help with wedding planning.  It is, perhaps, taking a chance on Lexi’s and Ewan’s part to bring Maisie and Thomas into their confidence, but they need to have someone on their side.  And they know that Maisie and Thomas are good friends with her Mom and his Dad, respectively.  So after they arrive at the Dunbar Village Inn, Lexi and Ewan will take a chance, and ask them if they will help re-introduce her romantic partner Dr. Ewan Roxburgh to his father Duke Myles.

After being dropped off  at the Dunbar Village Inn on Sunday, December 11th by their Edinburgh airport shuttle taxi, Lexi and Dr. Ewan walk into  Inn to check-in to their bedroom suite, with Ewan being very nervous and agitated about being so close in proximity to his father again after nearly twenty years.

Dr. EwanR: “Lexi Lass, I do na know what I am doing here in Dunbarrr.  Meeting Duke Myles again afterrr nearrrly twenty yearrrs will na likely go well, cause upset forrr your motherrr’s and his wedding, and be a colossal waste of time.  I should leave and you can stay.”  If it were not Winter time, the poor man would be sweating due to his nervousness.  Actually, he is sweating since Maisie keeps the Village Inn warm and cozy in the Winter.

Lexi:  Rubbing his arm soothingly, Lexi whispers to Ewan to avoid being overheard by the Inn’s other patrons [at] the pub in the next room.  “Now Ewan, you don’t know that Myles will be upset to see you.  He might be overjoyed to see you.”  She puts a positive spin on the situation.

Dr. EwanR: “I grrreatly doubt that.”  Ewan scrunches up his face as if he just sucked on a lemon.  “And I am not the prrrodigal son rrreturrrning to a once loved home.  I have neverrr even been herrre beforrre!”  His vocal volume raises, mostly out of his understandable agitation—and his fear of being rejected by his father, again.

Lexi puts a stop to Ewan’s upset by ringing the counter bell for service.  And the warm and welcoming Dunbar Village Inn proprietor Maisie moves from the Inn’s small pub area to the Inn’s Registration Desk in the adjoining Village Inn foyer room.  And Ewan stands still as a post, wondering if he can fade into the background of the busily decorated Village Inn.

Maisie:  “Lexi!”  Maisie [(2) right] squeals happily in greeting, and she and Lexi embrace each other as family friends.  “We werrren’t sure when you would get in today.  Yourrr Mum Sophie has been calling me everrry half hourrr to see if you’ve arrrived yet.”   

Lexi:  “Ah.  About that, Maisie.  May we go into your office and speak privately?” Lexi asks almost pleadingly.

Maisie:  “Cerrrtainly.” Maisie looks appraisingly at the tall reddish blond muscular looking Viking of a man standing next to Lexi, and Maisie smiles cordially at him.   She approves of Lexi’s choice in boyfriends—or man friend to be more accurate.  Maisie motions for them to follow her into her office.

Lexi: “Thanks, Maisie!  Come along, Dear.”  Lexi tugs on Ewan’s elbow and he reluctantly follows her, with him rolling both of their suitcases behind him.

Maisie: “May I offerrr ye some tea, coffee, or something a bit strrrongerrr?” She asks as she waves a plate of Dunbar Village youngest knitter Rhona’s freshly baked iced lemon cakes in their faces.  They each take a small cake and sit down.

Lexi: “Coffee will be fine. Thank you, Maisie.  Oh and Ewan, this is one of my Mom’s best friends, Maisie, who owns and runs this Dunbar Village Inn.  Maisie, this is my partner Dr. Ewan Roxburgh.”  Ewan and Maisie nod at each other in greeting.  And Lexi looks but does not find any recognition in Maisie’s eyes when she says his name.

Maisie: “Ooh!  A doctorrr!  Welcome, Dr. Rrroxburrrgh.”

Maisie smiles broadly at the handsome Dr. Ewan Roxburgh—not the least of which is that the county could use a new medical doctor, since the old one retired to London, and even the nearest veterinarian  for less serious human scrapes and sprains is an hour away by car. 

And it is due to Duke Myles sponsorship that the county has a few [doctors] in training from Edinburgh University’s Medical Center come in to see Dunbar Village and county patients [twice a month]—mostly for vaccinations, wellness checks, and to tend to chronic [health]  conditions.  But the county’s citizen’s still have to drive over to Edinburgh’s Medical Center Pharmacy to get their prescriptions refilled [right away].  Or they call their prescriptions in and they are delivered [weekly] to Dunbar Village by an Edinburgh airport shuttle driver.

Dr. EwanR: “Thank you, Maisie.  It is good to meet you.  But your addressing me as Ewan will suffice, unless you need my medical serrrvices.”  He smiles, but still looks rather pale.  So Maisie pours him some coffee, adds two lumps of sugar at Ewan’s request, and he gulps it down gratefully—all the while noshing on his lemon cake.

Lexi:  “Maisie?  Is Thomas about?” 

This is not an idle question, because since last Christmas Eve’s party for the Dunbar Village held at Castle Dun Dunbar, Thomas and Maisie reconnected as a former romantic ouple.  So Thomas tends to find himself at the Village Inn to see Maisie quite often, on work breaks from the Castle, or buying supplies.  And he spends the night  with Maisie at the Village Inn now and then, too.

Maisie: “Aye.  Thomas is just in the next rrroom in the Inn’s pub.”  She looks puzzled at Lexi.

Lexi: “Would you ask him to join us, please?”  Maisie nods and goes to fetch him.

DrEwanR: “Who is this [Thomas] perrrson?” Ewan [whispers while leaning] in close to Lexi, taking in her floral scent that always soothes him. 

Lexi: “He’s Duke Myles best friend and the Caretaker/Docent at Castle Dun Dunbar for the last twenty-five years.

Dr. EwanR: “Do you think he knows about me?”

Lexi: “If anyone in Dun Dunbar does know about you, it would be Thomas.”

Maisie: “Here we are.”  Lexi and Ewan stand and turn to greet Thomas.  “And Thomas, this is …”  But she is interrupted by the average height Thomas.

Thomas:  Stunned beyond belief at the man he sees before him, Thomas [(3) right] blurts out—even as he gives the much taller than he Ewan a man hug with much clapping on Ewan’s back. “Ewan!  Laddie!  Ach!  You’rrre a sight for sorrre eyes.  And, I must say, you’rrre looking verra much taller in person than I would have guessed.  But then, you’rrre Da is tall.”

Ewan looks rather uncertainly at Thomas for his emotional display.  Ewan is more circumspect about his interactions with those whom he first meets.  So perhaps Ewan’s apple did not fall too far from his father Duke Myles’ tree—as the old saying goes.

Lexi: Lexi is astonished—as is Ewan.  “Wait!  Thomas?  You know who Ewan is?”  She asks incredulously.

Thomas: “I do.” He nods once.  Then he gazes [ritically] at Ewan more closely—which makes Ewan feel even more nervous to be under such scrutiny.

Lexi: “But how?  Ewan has never been here before.”

Thomas: “Trrrue.  But we live in the moderrrn age of the interrrnet. And Drrr. Ewan Rrroxburrrgh herrre is quite well known in medical spherrres.”

And in Great Britain’s noble lineage bachelor spheres lists for noble Mama’s with marriage minded daughters.  [Little do these Mamas know that Dr. Ewan Roxburgh is already taken.]

Maisie: “But Thomas, who is Ewan to you?”  Maisie asks quizzically, for Thomas has not told her about Duke Myles’ son, out of respect for his friendship with the Duke.

Thomas: “Oh!  We arrre not acquainted.”  Ewan agrees with him, by shaking his head no.  “But a cerrrtain perrrson whom I am frrriendly with follows your carrreerrr quite keenly, Ewan—and prrroudly, I might add.”  Thomas’ eyebrow rises knowingly.

Lexi:  “Oh gosh!  Ewan, if he follows your career, then he might be favorable to meeting with you!”  She smiles hopefully.

Dr EwanR: “I think not.  Afterrrall, he hasn’t trrried to contact me in almost twenty yearrrs.”

Thomas: “Well, Laddie.  You made it plain the last time he spoke with you, that you wanted nothing to do with him.  And he’s a prrroud man and would not beg you to see him.  So he stepped back—[frrrom] contacting you that is—though you arrre neverrr farrr frrrom his thoughts.”

Maisie:  “I’m confused.  Whom are we speaking of Thomas?”

Thomas looks at Lexi and Ewan to gauge their willingness to divulge Ewan’s secret to Maisie—and each of them shrugs and nods yes.  They have come this far.  So they might as well see what will happen.

Thomas: “Well Maisie, My Dearrr.  Drrr. Ewan here is Duke Myles’ heirrr–his long lost son frrrom his firrrst marrriage.”

Maisie: “Oh my god!”  She plops down onto a comfy chair, astonished with this revelation.  “Do Sophie and Myles know that Ewan is herrre?  And that he is Lexi’s romantic parrrtnerrr?”

Lexi: “Noooo.” Lexi winces with her own childish vocal tone.

Dr. EwanR: “No, and no” Ewan blanches stiffly.

Maisie: “Well you two had betterrr think fast.  Because Sophie is due herrre  at the Inn in a few minutes at 1pm forrr ourrr knitterrrs gathering.  And Myles typically follows herrr in and sits in the bar and has a wee drink or two while she knits.  He’s besotted with herrr—and she with him. I tell you that sometimes the glances going back and forrrth between the two of them, almost make me suggest that they get a rrroom. Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Lexi:  “Yes, well they are in love and do plan to be married, Maisie.”  Lexi blushes for Maisie making plain that her mother and Ewan’s father are a romantic couple. 

Maisie:  [“] And Myles also makes unsolicited comments about ourrr knitting crrreations and what they might be rrreprrresenting—much like childrrren who see cows and other shapes in the clouds.”  Maisie hints humorously at Myles latest past time—as a knitting voyeur.

Dr. EwanR: Ewan bristles.  “I do na want to meet the Duke again in frrront of everrryone.”  Ewan cannot call the man who gave him life his father.  That appellation is saved for the person who earns that title.

Maisie: “Alrrright.  Let’s get you both settled up in your bedrrroom suite via the back servant stairs.  Then I can send Sophie up to yourrr suite for Lexi to explain it all to herrr, while Thomas and I keep Myles engaged down herrre for the moment.”

Thomas:  “And just how am I to keep Myles engaged?  He knows that the knitterrrs knit. And you, and Sophie, and Lexi acting strrrangely will be suspicious to him.”

Maisie: “Ach, Thomas Love!  We’ll set up you and Myles at the barrr with a beerrr taste testing contest to keep you busy.”

Thomas: “Well, that’s alrrright then.” He smiles and nods in agreement.

Maise:  “Just don’t get you and Myles too snockerrred, Thomas.  We wouldn’t want poorrr Ewan herrre to think that his Da is a souse.” She waves for Lexi and Myles to follow her, as Thomas heads back to the bar.

Lexi:  “ Alright, let’s go up to our bedroom suite, Ewan, and wait for my Mom to join us.”  And Ewan carries their suitcases and follows Lexi and Maisie to their bedroom suite at the Dunbar Village Inn.

And though Maisie is rightly concerned that Thomas will get Duke Myles snockered—in the time it might take to convince Dr. Ewan to meet Duke Myles—she hopes that all will be well.  And Ewan thinks that at this point, he wouldn’t mind getting snockered himself.

To be continued with Chapter 4

References for the Ch. 03 of “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”,  December 11, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1495)

  1. My “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2” story logo includes a cropped of Castle Dun Dunbar from “A Castle for Christmas” images of Castle Dun Dunbar filmed at Dalmeny House was found at
  2. Maisie–smiling-excitedly is Andi-Osho-from-ACastle-for-Christmas2021_Dec10-2022viaNetflix&Tudum-Grati-szd-crop; image was found at
  3. Thomas–isLee-Ross-from-ACastle-for-Christmas2021-smiling_Dec10-2022viaVagueVisages-Grati-crop-szd; image was found at

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Ch. 03 “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, December 11, 2022:

Previous SAL blog Post # 1493 link for  “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 02, December 07, 2022:

Posted in "A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2" a fan fic by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022, Creative Writing, Fan Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Humor, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Soothing Sunday, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy 10th Anniversary to Richard Armitage and his THAUJ castmates! December 09, 2022 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1494)

Happy 10th Anniversary of THAUJ, to #RichardArmitage and his cast mates!
Thanks to Fabo Laktuko for finding this gem of a Cast & Creatives ensemble portrait from the THAUJ 2012 NYC premiere!
Time for a #TheHobbitTrilogy of films binge watch each weekend leading up to #Christmas!

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, & peaceful day/weekend!  Hugs & Love!  Grati  ;-> 

Posted in Fangurling, film, Goodwill, Gratiana Lovelace, Middle Earth, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, The Hobbit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 02: Sophie telling Lexi her wedding news, by Gratiana Lovelace, December 07, 2022 (Post #1493)

(An original Contemporary Romance fan fic story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022;
All rights reserved)  [(1) story cover top left]

0-ACastleWedding-forChristmas2-storycover-2inch300res_Dec03-2022byGratianaLovelace [Illustrations:  I cast my stories as I write them.  So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors and such, including the original cast of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021):  Cary Elwes as Myles the 12th Scottish Duke of Dunbar and Castle Dun Dunbar, Brooke Shields as the American Sophie McGuinty, Vanessa Grasse as her daughter Lexi Brown, Dalmeny House as Castle Dun Dunbar, Lee Ross as Thomas the Castle Dun Dunbar e caretaker, Andi Osho as Maisie the Dunbar Village Innkeeper, Eilidh Loan as Rhona the young pastry chef par excellence in Dunbar Village, Tina Gray as Helen the Dunbar Village knitters group leader, Kevin McKidd as Dr. Scott Roxburgh, and others as noted.]

[Author’s Note:  This original Contemporary Romance fanfic is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author.  And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect.  This is my disclaimer.  And I came up with this story idea hoping for the creators of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021)—loved it–to give us a sequel!  So if they see my fanfic story here, I hope that they consider this a suggestion for a possible continuing story for Duke Myles and Sophie.]


Ch. 2:  Sophie telling Lexi her wedding news

Although Mama Bear Sophie wanted to tell her daughter Lexi her wedding news right away–the day that Duke Myles had proposed on December 4th, Sophie could not reach Lexi by phone, text, or email for several days.  And that was unusual – for Sophie  and her daughter barely go one day without some form of communication.  Nor is Lexi known to be so detached from her social media and the internet—with Lexi obviously not even checking her texts and emails, or she would have replied to her mother.  And Sophie worries a bit, as any mother would, hoping her child is safe.

Sophie’s love and future husband Duke Myles is being considerate and consoling toward her about her inability to reach her daughter Lexi.  He even privately checks with hospitals and such to make sure that Sophie’s daughter Lexi hasn’t been injured in an accident. With no hint of Lexi Brown in police or hospitals emergency lists, Duke Myles sanguinely hopes that Lexi is just spreading her wings, by not being so attached to her mother Sophie for a bit. 

But with Duke Myles being estranged for thirty years from his now thirty year old son Ewan, it is a different level of heartache and worry than the level Sophie has for the extremely close bond that she shares with her beloved twenty four year old daughter Lexi—especially after Sophie’s divorce from Lexi’s father for his adultery.  

Lexi was all Team Sophie during the divorce and its aftermath three years ago.  And Sophie realizes sadly that Lexi seemed to become more skittish about seeking a romantic relationship because of her seeing her parents’ marriage disintegrate.  Sophie doesn’t blame herself for the divorce from her rotten bounder of an ex-husband, it was necessary.  But Sophie does wish that she could have given her daughter Lexi more support to see the positive side in taking charge of one’s life and not allowing someone to trample upon her dreams of love and romance. 

So thinking positively, Sophie feels that her ill fated first marriage gave her the greatest gift to her life, her wonderful, kind, smart, loving, supportive and fiercely loyal daughter Lexi.  And now with Sophie’s new romantic relationship and future marriage to Duke Myles on Christmas Eve this year, Sophie feels that her world axis is back to spinning happily ever after dreams again. And Sophie would like to see her daughter Lexi happy, loved, and fulfilled—however Lexi defines that to be for herself.  Well afterall, Sophie is a romance writer. 

And then by Wednesday, December 7th a kernel of an idea takes hold in Sophie’s mind to explain away her daughter Lexi’s lack of contact with her the past week.  Either her daughter Lexi is attending some simplify your life by cutting off all contact with the outside world and technology retreat in the English countryside—or more likely, that Lexi has already met someone and Lexi is caught up in the early throes of love and passion.  Sophie dearly hopes it is the latter, and that some tall, handsome, kind, and loving man has swept her daughter off of her feet—and is as good, kind, loving, supportive, and considerate of Lexi as Duke Myles is for Sophie.


Lexi Brown snuggles further under the covers of the rented for this early week in December in a Cotswold’s farmhouse that she and her newish love Scott—a tall handsome reddish haired general practice surgeon and dentist for the NHS and Doctors Without Borders—whom she met after he gave a talk at Cambridge about his work two months ago.  And then he stayed on to lead masters classes for young doctors hoping to take up this much needed medical expertise and intervention in England and other countries for Doctors Without Borders.

Lexi is not a doctor, but her field of improving  and enhancing social work assistance to individuals and families during medical crises in the U.S., led her to take a study abroad year at Cambridge University to learn from their integrated approach with universal medical care for all.  And as luck would have it, her Cambridge University Study Abroad Professor Myra Lindhoff invited her to join the [guest speaker] dinner two months ago in October after their esteemed medical doctor guest practitioner’s public address.  So she met the man and broke bread with him, as the saying goes.

However Lexi soon found out that their handsome and charmingly Gaelic accented guest medical doctor British Doctor Scott Roxburgh was surprisingly more reserved and taciturn when he wasn’t in front of a microphone and medical powerpoint slides or in an operating theatre.  Lexi only received five words from him at the three hour gourmet dinner of a group of them that evening at a fancy restaurant.

Dr. Scott R:  “Miss.” Upon meeting Lexi and him politely nodding his head in greeting.  “Thank you.” Upon Lexi subtley picking up her soup spoon placed above the top of her charger plate, when she noticed that he was wondering what to do with all the cutlery and glassware at his place setting. And finally, “My pleasurrre.”  When he shook her hand in goodbye at the end of their evening, and then brought her ungloved hand to his lips for a deferential kiss—and then he lingeringly held on to her small hand before reluctantly releasing it and her.

Their eyes meet and hold.  And Lexi feels as if she could drown in the endless misty gray depths of his soulful DRF724~1 eyes [(2) right].  If they were not amongst company, Lexi might have [thrown caution to the wind] for the first time in her life and jumped him—literally and figuratively.  But then Lexi felt that she would have been branded an impulsively gauche American by her British colleagues. Besides, her British flat mate and good friend Noreen Shange had her boyfriend over for the week, and there would be little privacy for Lexi and the good Dr. Scott Roxburgh.

So fortuitously—or by fated design as Lexi’s mother’s romance book heroines believe—Lexi was assigned to be Dr. Scott Roxburgh’s personal guide to Cambridge University, the Medical Center, and Cambridge, England while he was in situ these two months.  So Lexi felt then that her professionalism demanded that she treat Dr. Scott with polite civility.  It’s just that their romantic natures had other ideas.

No sooner had Lexi greeted Dr. Scott Roxburgh the following morning at his hotel suite to take him to breakfast and then on a quick campus tour before returning to the Medical Center, then she followed her first instincts from yesterday and they fell into each other’s arms and they kissed with loving abandon.

Between kisses and caresses while they were both still fully clothed—but backing into his suite’s bedroom–Lexi thought it important to clarify some particulars about each other.

Lexi: Kiss.  “Please tell me …”  Kiss.  “That you’re not …”  Kiss. Nibble.  “Married or engaged, etc.?”

Dr. ScottR:  “I am not.” Kiss, caress, kiss.  “And you?”

Lexi: “Me neither!”  Kiss, embrace, etc. “Do you have protection?” Kiss.

Dr. ScottR: “Loads of it.” Then he thinks better of that phrasing and explains.  “I’m a doctorrr who also prrromotes sexual health, it’s not that I sleep arrround.”

Lexi: “Same here—about my not sleeping around.”

That was all each of them needed to know as Lexi and Scott continued their loving discussions in his hotel suite’s bedroom, and then some.

Two hours later, after they each had showered again, dressed again, and emerged from his hotel suite’s bedroom, they remained tactile and cuddly throughout breakfast in his hotel suite—sneaking glances at each other in between noshing on scones, sipping their morning coffees, and kissing each other. 

Dr. ScottR:  “When can I see you again?  Dinnerrr tonight?  Then Brrreakfast tomorrra?” Lexi--isVanessaGrasse-in-wht-bls_Dec07-2022viaIMDB-szd

He blushes shyly, in asking her to sleep over with him.  Dr. Scott is besotted with the beautiful, kind, and loving graduate student Lexi [(3) right].

Lexi:  “You know Scott?  You’re refreshing in your eagerness to see me again. American guys play it cool, and close to the vest about whether or not they like a girl—keeping us wondering what they’re up to.”

Dr. ScottR: “Well, with what I’ve seen thrrrough my worrrk for Doctorrrs Without Borrrderrrs, you shouldna wait to go afterrr what you want.”  He smiles shyly and kisses her forehead.

Lexi: “I don’t think either of us can be accused of waiting.”  She smiles wryly at him.


Lexi and  Scott decide to delay the Cambridge University campus tour for another day and they head straight to the Medical Center for him to shadow one of the older male attending physicians Dr. Hillary Winchester on the pediatrics floor starting at 11am.  And Lexi tags along—as both guest medical practitioner Dr. Scott Roxburgh’s Cambridge University guide, as well as in her capacity for observing facilitating individuals and families interactions with medical staff and NHS during medical crises.

While mostly ignoring Lexi’s presence on rounds, Dr. Winchester warmly bestows his wisdom upon the much younger than he Dr. Roxburgh as he greets a young 12 year old patient.

Dr. Winchester:  “Good morning, Andy.  This is Dr. Roxburgh who is visiting us.”  And Dr. Roxburgh nods with a smile.  “How are we doing today after your appendix removal operation yesterday?  Hmmm?”  Dr. Winchester peruses Andy’s medical chart in the laptop record queued up for him at his patient’s bedside.

Andy:  “It hurts!  Why can’t they give me something for the pain?”  Andy asks stridently.  He does not cry, but he has never been in such pain like this.

Dr. Winchester:  “Ah!  Your nerve block from the surgery must have worn off.  I’ll prescribe that the nursing staff administer a dose of pain meds every hour through your iv line. That way you don’t have to worry about another needle stick.  Then as you feel better this evening and tomorrow, we’ll spread out your pain meds to every two hours until you’re feeling merely sore.  We want to be sure that you can rest and get a good night’s sleep.  [“]Will that work for you, Andy?”  He holds Andy’s hand while the nurse administers the pain medicine through Andy’s iv line.  “Count back from five now, Andy.  Focus on the numbers.”

Andy: Andy groans, at the start—with him still in pain.  “Five! Four! Three. Two hhh!  One hhhh!”  Andy looks more relaxed and smiles up at Dr. Winchester. Thanks doc! I don’t hurt anymore.”

Dr. Winchester:  “Good Lad.”  He smiles at the young boy and gives him a thumbs up.  “Now we want you to slowly add food today, small soft meals like soup, eggs, and pudding that are easy to digest, then tomorrow we’ll try you on more solid foods like fish and chips.”  Dr. Winchester knows how eagerly his own son gobble[s] up fish and chips on family outings to their local pub.  And it seems that Andy also favors it.

Dr. Scott Roxburgh and Lexi had remained riveted to Dr. Winchester’s interaction with his child patient Andy.  Dr. Scott nods in agreement with Dr. Winchester’s care and bedside manner with the child, especially since there is no family member currently in the room who could calm and lend support to the child.  But Lexi looks quizzically at Dr. Winchester.

Dr. ScottR: “Dr. Winchester, I think Miss Brown has a question.”  He relays sotto voce as they walk into the hallway since young Andy has finally been able to fall asleep due to his pain being alleviated.

Dr. Winchester: “Oh?”  He turns to Lexi, him assuming she is the Miss Brown whom Dr. Roxburgh indicated.  “What is your , My Dear?” 

Though Dr. Winchester’s care of Andy was exemplary, the slight condescension in his voice in addressing Lexi is noted by she and Dr. Scott.  However, Lexi ignores that condescension.

Lexi: “Well, first let me say that I’m glad that Andy is feeling much better due to your wonderful care of him.  But I’m intrigued as to how NHS and the medical center can afford to have him stay more than one day after this type of surgery, when in the U.S., regular operations such as appendix and gallbladder removals are same day and out operations?  Not that I think booting someone out of a hospital bed so soon after surgery is wise.  I just marvel at the NHS system being able to pay for such extended patient care!” 

Of course Lexi knows that the first rule of asking an expert any question is to know or to anticipate their answer.  Hence the couching of her question in favorable terms regarding the NHS and the medical center.

Dr. Winchester:  “Well with all British medical care being centralized, costs are kept down by not allowing for high charges to one patient and low charges to another.  Medical staff salaries are also kept competitive, but not exorbitant—with increased employee benefit packages such as ample paid sick and personal time leave, childcare, etc., to allow for doctors to have a life.”

Lexi: “Thank you, Dr. Winchester.”  She nods and smiles.

Dr. Winchester: “My pleasure.  Any questions or comments before you shadow another doctor [this afternoon,] Dr. Roxburgh?”

Dr. ScottR: “Not at the moment.  Yourrr excellent carrre of young Andy is what I would have done as well.” 

Then after Dr. Winchester leaves, Scott looks for Lexi and finds that she has gone back into Andy’s room at his beckoning.

Lexi: “Hello Andy.  I’m Lexi.  And I’m observing patient care to see how we might improve your experience, beyond the medical treatment you receive.  Is there anything we can get or do for you?”  She hands him her business card with her [name and] email on it, so he sees that she is official [Cambridge Medical Center] staff through her university affiliation.

Andy: “No, I’m good.  Say!  You’re not from here, are you?”

Lexi:  Keeping her voice soft and well modulated, Lexi is in caretake mode.  “Good ears!  I’m from the States, New York City, actually.  But I’ve been staying in England  on a [post] graduate internship since last January. And my Mom/Mum moved to Scotland last year.  So I get to see her, too.”  Lexi smiles at the young boy.  And she notices that he seems a little sad.  “Do you have someone in your family or friends who will be visiting you today?  Or shall we see if we can line up some table top games partners for you for later today when you’re feeling a bit better?” 

Andy: “No, nobody has visited me.  What’s a table top game?”  He asks quizzically.  Usually if he wants to play a game, he turns on his cell phone.  But they wouldn’t let him bring it with him to the hospital.

Dr. ScottR: “Ha ha ha ha ha!  Well, Miss Brown and I arrre of an age that as kids we played cards and dominoes and chess with pieces you hold in yourrr hand and move arrround a boarrrd.” 

Lexi: “Yes, quite true.  But I think the medical center has some dedicated tablets they loan out to patients for gaming, book [reading], and general web surfing during your stay that I can line you up with.  Would you like that?”

Andy: “Wouldn’t I just.  They wouldn’t let me bring my cell phone with me.  Say mate.”  He addresses [the young and friendly looking]  Dr. Scott Roxburgh.  “You wouldn’t know what the football scores are for Manchester United?”  He asks hopefully.

Dr. ScottR:  “I think they’ve securrred theirrr spot in the playoffs.” He nods knowingly.  Obviously, the kid is sports mad—just like he was as a lad.

Andy: “Brilliant!”  He says a bit tiredly.

Lexi:  “Andy?  Why don’t you try and sleep a bit.  And when you wake up, I’ll ask the staff to loan you one of the tablets.”  She smiles and squeezes his hand.

Andy: “Thanks, Miss!  I didn’t know lookers like you could be nice to people like me.”  He states with mild astonishment. Andy’s family can’t afford to send him to boarding school on his father’s plumber’s salary.  But Andy hopes that his [high] math and science scores will help him get a scholarship spot for next year at one of the posh institutions.

Lexi: “I will take that as a compliment, Andy.  Thank you!”  Lexi smiles and pats Andy’s shoulder. 

Then she and Dr. Scott Roxburgh say their goodbyes and enter the hallway and walk down it to the elevator.

Dr. ScottR: “You were great with Andy in there.  I think you’ve missed your calling.”

Lexi: “Oh really?  As what?”  She asks humorously.

Dr. ScottR:  “As a medical carrre giverrr—beyond the serrrvices that social worrrkerrrs perrrforrrm.  I sense that you’rrre like me and you see ourrr patients as people. And maybe we identify with them a bit.”

Lexi:  “Perhaps you’re right.  How do you identify with Andy?” She asks a pertinent questions.

Dr. ScottR: “Oh! Well … I…”  He stammers.  Lexi just waits patiently.  “Well, I had my appendix taken out when I was ten years old.  And it was trrraumatic in that up until that time, I hadn’t met my father and always assumed he was dead—cause it was just Mum and me.  But the hospital staff had on file my birrrth cerrrtificate and notified my fatherrr of my operrration, and he came to see me.”  He states rather non-plussed.

Lexi: Soothingly rubbing his upper arms, she consoles him. “Oh, that does sound traumatic.  How did it turn out?”

Dr. ScottR: “Not well.  I was mad at both of my biological parrrents.  My fatherrr for neverrr being therrre forrr me beforrre–and my Mum for lying to me and her saying that he was dead.  It was harrrd for me to underrrstand why she kept him frrrom me.  Let alone, how could my fatherrr not know that he had a child? Me?”

Lexi: “Are you and your father on better terms now?”  She asks gently.

Dr. ScottR: “No.  That was [almost] twenty years ago.  And though he visited me occasionally forrr a few yearrrs, I wasn’t verrra nice to him.  And I rrresented him intrrruding on my Mum and I. Eventually, he stopped trrrying to contact me.  I guess he gave up on me.”  He shrugs forlornly.  Though what Dr. Scott doesn’t know is that his father continued to pay for his posh schooling and his outside of school activities, clothing, computers, etc.

Lexi: “Fathers are hard relationships.  And I don’t know how I know, but I would guess that your father would be very proud of the man you’ve become—with you helping others through your medical expertise.”  Lexi nods knowingly, her bitterly thinking of her own father who had cheated on her mother Sophie before their divorce. 

Dr. ScottR: “Wel!l  We’ve just had our firrrst deep converrrsation.  And we’rrre not even 24 hours into knowing each otherrr.  Have I chased you away yet, Lexi?”  He asks with some trepidation.

Lexi: “Not in the least, Scott.”  She smiles lovingly up at him and caresses his face.  “We all have things in our past that can haunt us.  And though we can’t change the past, we can decide for ourselves what we want in our present and our future that will make us and make others happy.  Like me choosing my medical social worker internship in England so I can be closer to my Mother in Scotland.”

Dr. ScottR: “And like me stepping back from Doctorrrs Without Borderrrs so that I can focus on my family.  You see, my Mum’s been ill lately.  She’s still having tests done, but it doesn’t look good.”

Lexi: “Oh Scott!  I’m so sorry to hear that you’re Mum is ill.  I hope that she’ll be on the mend soon.”

Dr. ScottR: “She’s all that I’ve got family wise. I can’t lose herrr.”  Lexi embraces him and kisses his cheek as she comforts him.  Scott doesn’t cry, but he is very despairing just now.  And the hurts of childhood are deep and long lasting.

Lexi: “It’s rough when our loved ones become so ill.  We have to hope that your Mum will receive excellent care and feel better.  And with you being a doctor, I’m certain that you can help her navigate her health care.  And if the unthinkable happens–as it will for all of us one day—then we will give her our love and support.”

Dr. ScottR: “We?”  He looks at her hopefully.

Lexi: “Scott, you have me now, too.  And you might also have your father in your life, if and when you decide to reach out to him.”  Scott shakes his head no.  “You don’t need to make any decisions now.  Just keep your options open.”

Dr. ScottR: “Lexi, I hope I don’t sound needy. I’m not the obsessive type.  But I’m so glad that we’ve met and fallen in love.”

Lexi: “Me, too about meeting and falling in love with you.  [I haven’t been open to a relationship since my parents’ divorce three years ago.  But] sometimes people come into our lives as a great blessing, when we least expect it.  We don’t have to understand our new relationship, but just accept that blessing.”

Dr. ScottR: “You know, you arrre verrra wise for a young-er person. By the by, I’m thirrrty.  How old arrre you?”

Lexi: “I’m twenty four.  And our lives are all ahead of us, Scott.  Let us see where they lead us.”

Dr. ScottR:  “Verra well.”

Then they tenderly kiss each other in the elevator since they are alone.  The following weeks see the growth and trials of their relationship—especially with Scott’s Mum’s serious illness, and sadly, her passing.  But Lexi and Scott are steadfast with each other, loving, considerate, supportive, comforting, and loyal.  And Lexi hopes that if all goes well, that maybe Scott will want to stay with her family in Scotland for Christmas this year.


Though Sophie has had some limited virtual contact with her daughter Lexi the last two months, she is relieved to finally reach her [on the phone] on Wednesday, December 7th, at Lexi’s and Scott’s rented Cotswold love nest farmhouse.

Sophie: “Lexi!  I finally got through to you.  Are you alright kiddo?  Where have you been?”  She asks sweetly.

Lexi:  “Mom?  Mom. Do you know what time it is?”  Lexi [whines and] looks at her phone’s time and sinks back into bed.  “Oh god, Mom.  It’s not even 7am.  And now that you woke me, I need to visit the bathroom.”

Beside Lexi in their bed, Scott pulls Lexi’s bare backside close to his warm bare front side, then he kisses her bare shoulder.

Scott: “Who is calling at this hourrr?”

Lexi:  Lexi covers her phone’s microphone. “It’s my Mom.  So shush!”  She smiles over her shoulder at him.

Sophie: “Lexi?  Are you still there?  Is someone there with you?”  She asks with astonishment, since her daughter Lexi has not told her that she was dating anyone.

Lexi:  “Mom, given the time of day that you’re calling me, that is a very personal question.”  She replies dryly.  Her Mom has Myles, so she should understand about morning cuddles.

Sophie: “Hallelujah!  I’m glad that you’ve finally got a personal life.  But before I forget the reason for my call, I want you to know that Myles has asked me to marry him again.  And this time, I said yes! EEEEE!”  Sophie squeals.

Lexi: “EEEE!” Lexi squeals.

Scott: “What’s the matterrr, Lexi?”

[Lexi: She smiles at Scott over her shoulder again, then whispers.  “Nothing, Scott.  Just my Mom being happy.”]

Sophie: “I like your man friend’s deep voice.  Is he tall?  Does he treat you right?  Does he love you?”

Lexi: “[Yes] Mom, Scott is all those things[,] and more.”

Sophie: “What could be better than you having someone who loves you?”

Lexi: “Well, He’s also a doctor.”  Lexi purposely holds her cell phone away from her ear.

Sophie: “EEEEE!  Myles and I can’t wait to meet him.  Bring him to Castle Dun Dunbar for our wedding and Christmas!  But come early, like next week so you can enjoy the holiday right.”

Lexi: “And help with wedding planning, I would guess? Ha ha ha!”

Sophie: “Well you are a modern fashionista.  So I welcome your input on my wedding gown.  Maybe you and I can even pop over to [Edinburgh] and check out the bridal shops.”

Lexi: “Ok Mom, Congratulations to you and the Duke.  I’ll talk Christmas  over with Scott and see when he can get away from patients and surgeries.”

Sophie:  “EEEEE!  A surgeon?”

Lexi:  “Yes, Mom, Scott does all the doctorly stuff.”

Scott:  Whispering as he his kisses Lexi’s bare shoulder.  “I do na think that doctorrrly is a word.”

Lexi:  Lexi blushes with Scott’s loving attentions.  “Gotta go Mom!  I’ll call you in a few days about our travel plans.”  She hangs up.

Scott: “I gatherrr that yourrr motherrr apprrroves of you being in a rrrelationship, by herrr squealing?”

Lexi:  “And she wants us to join she and her fiancé for Christmas [at the castle]—as soon as we can get away.  Next weekend, if possible.”

Scott:  “Where do they live?”

Lexi: “In Scotland, near [Edinburgh].  Don’t worry, they have direct flights from Cambridge to Edinburgh.  And then there is a shuttle taxi that can pick us up at the Edinburgh airport to take us to the castle.”  Lexi notices that Scott has become quiet.  “Scott,  don’t you think you can get away for Christmas?”

Scott: “No, It’s na that.  But my fatherrr lives in Scotland.”  He says with some trepidation.

Lexi:  “Really?  Well maybe you and he can arrange to meet while we’re there?”  She smiles blithely.

Scott: “Somehow, I do na think that my arranging to meet my fatherrr will be a prrroblem.”

Lexi:  “Why do you say that?”

Scott:  “You said yourrr Motherrr lives near Edinburrrgh, Scotland?”  Lexi nods.  “Who is your Mother marrying, Lexi?”

Lexi: “Duke Myles, the …”  But Scott interrupts her.

Scott: “the twelfth Duke of Dun Dunbarrr Castle.  Uhhhh!”  Scott nods and sighs resignedly.

Lexi:  “You know Myles?”

Scott: “Barrrely. You see, Duke Myles is my fatherrr.”

Lexi: “Craaap!”  She winces.  “Sorry for the bad language.  But I mean, I like Myles, and I think you will like him, too.  But how do you feel about all this?” She asks him worriedly.

Then Scott removes the pillow from under his head, places it over his face, and screams into the pillow, muffling the sound.

Scott: “Arrrghhh!”

Lexi: “Well this is an unusual situation.  But think of it this way Scott, the only way your relationship can go with your father, is up.” 

Scott: “If you say so.  Howeverrr, I am not so cerrrtain.  And [since we’re revealing information,] by the way, my name Scott is a school nickname—since I’m Scottish.”

Lexi: “Oh?  And you’re just telling me now?  What is your real name, then?”

Scott: “[Lord] Ewan Corrrwyn Rrroxburrrgh Dunbarrr.  And I am technically, the 10th Marrrquess of Roxburrrgh.” 

Lexi: “Oh my god!”  Lexi is astonished at this turn of events. Then she gracefully holds out her hand. “May I borrow your pillow, Scott?  I mean, Ewan?”  Lexi smiles with attempted sangfroid, before also screaming into her pillow?  “Ughhh!”

The upcoming weeks leading up to Christmas should be very interesting.  Two romantic relationships, a wedding, and one estranged father & son relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

To be continued with Chapter 3


References for Ch. 02 of “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”,  December 07, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1493)

  1. My “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2” story logo includes a cropped of Castle Dun Dunbar from “A Castle for Christmas” images of Castle Dun Dunbar filmed at Dalmeny House was found at
  2. Dr. Scott Roxburgh image is of Scottish actor Kevin McKidd when he starred on Grey’s Anatomy; image was found at
  3. Lexi Brown is actress Vanessa Grasse; image found at

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Ch. 02 “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, December 07, 2022:

Previous SAL blog Post # 1492 link for “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Introduction and Ch. 01, December 04, 2022:

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