279. The Earl Escapes

279. The Earl Escapes

Written by Barbara Cartland

Beautiful young Valencia Hadley lives a quietly contented life as the daughter of the Chaplin to the estate of Dolphin Priory.
And she loves the Big House as much as the pretty little house by the Chapel where she and her father have lived since she was a little girl.
Since Hue, the Earl of Dolphinston, spends all his time with the Beau Monde in London, Valencia enjoys the run of the big house, so when the Earl finally arrives with a retinue of Society types, she is a little dismayed.
She is even more dismayed when she overhears the glamorous beauty Lady Hester Stansfield and her brother Edward Ward in the Chapel plotting to drug the Earl and to dupe her father into marrying him to Hester so that they can get their greedy hands on The Priory and the family riches.
Enlisting the help of Ben, a strong estate worker, Valencia spirits away the drugged and unconscious Earl and hides him in an ancient Priest’s Hole behind the Altar of the Chapel.
Next a desperate Edward tries to force the Earl to marry Hester at gunpoint – and again he is foiled by Valencia’s brave intervention.
There is only one way now for the Earl to rid himself of Lady Hester for good is to marry Valencia!
By now Valencia has realised that she is passionately in love with him.
But how can she possibly marry him if he does not love her too?

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