Suffolk, England, November 1808Nothing ever happens here...Lucinda Melville sighed and put down her pen. The casement window of her bedroom was open, allowing crisp winter air to flood in. It brought with it the scent of cold sea mixed with the fragrance of pine, and carried the distant sound of breakers on the shore and the hoot of owls down in the forest. A full moon shone bright in the black sky. It was a night made for romance, but Mrs Melville had no time for that sort of thing.She picked up her pen again.Nothing ever happens here... But pray do not think that I am complaining, dear Rebecca. I am more than grateful to you for finding me this position with Mrs Saltire. Indeed, I think that when Eustacia marries, as she is set to do in the New Year (to the dull but worthy Mr Leytonstone, just as I predicted), I will seek another governess's post in this locality. Wood-bridge is a charming town. We take tea at the assembly rooms and visit the theatre, provided that the entertainment is not had happened she had no more to tell her childhood friend, Kestrel. Besides, Rebecca and her husband, Lucas, were to their party in a couple of months' time, for Christmas at Kestrel so she would save the rest of her news, such as it was, until then. Lucinda went across to the window and leaned her arms on the resting her chin on her hand as she stared out into the dark. When had first heard from Mrs Saltire that they were to spend autumn the Midwinter villages she had been quite concerned, for everyone that there had been the most scandalously diverting occur-at Midwinter a mere five years before, when the members of dangerous spy ring had been captured. It was not at all the type of that Lucinda thought appropriate for her young charge.Eustacia Saltire was a sweet girl, but she was deplorably in her inclinations, and Lucinda was very concerned that would become quite over-excited by her proximity to people Lucinda sighed again. It would soon be time for her to start applying for a new post, for Stacey was now betrothed to the worthy but dull Samuel Leytonstone, who had a solid fortune and a manner to match. Secretly Lucinda thought that Stacey could aim higher than a young man who behaved as though he were already in flannel vests, but she kept the unworthy thought to herself. Mr Leytonstone was steady and rich and reliable, and one had to count such matters above trifling things such as passion and gallantry. Lucinda knew all about the dangers of rash youthful passion, and if a tiny part of her still craved excitement she usually managed to ignore it.Lucinda knew all about Making Do too. In her youth her looks had been no more than tolerable--dark blonde hair and cool blue eyes had been unfashionable at the time--and her parents, an indigent vicar and his social climbing wife, had been delighted when she had become engaged straight from the schoolroom. But then the plan had gone awry.She had been betrothed for four years to her childhood sweet-heart--a man who, humiliatingly, appeared to have forgotten her existence as soon as she was out of his sight, a man with dash and brilliance and the prospect of a glittering naval career. Eventually the most appalling of news had filtered its way back to her, conveyed by the gossips and scandalmongers who made it their business to upset as many people as possible. Her betrothed was a criminal. He had abandoned his promising naval career and had taken up instead as--whisper it--a pirate.That was the moment Lucinda's heart had broken. So she had married the first man who asked, had been widowed two years later, and now here she was, at nine and twenty, earning her own living and putting youthful folly firmly where it belonged--in the past.Lucinda spotted a moth that was coming dangerously close to the candle flame. She trapped it gently in her cupped palms and released it out of the window, worrying as sCornick, Nicola is the author of 'Christmas Wedding Belles', published 2007 under ISBN 9780373294718 and ISBN 0373294719.