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A Companion for Life

Copyright 2008 Cari Hislop

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A Companion for Life

End of Sept 1816 (London)

An oval of light hung over the intimate dining table turning the serving footmen into shadows. Seated between Mr Philips, her inebriated brother-in-law on her left and William Bowen, her niece’s fiancé on her right, Miss Lily Leigh hunched in her seat, hoping no one would notice that her bottom protruded a number of inches over either side of her chair. She herself wouldn’t have noticed if Mr Penryth Bowen hadn’t been seated at the other end of the table next to her sister. Lily’s eyes wove through candlesticks and glinting table ornaments to snatch another glance at the Welshman across the table to her right, and then returned directly to her plate. To see the man so close was to sip the elixir of life. How could anyone want to die when the sight of him made one’s heart feel caught between the determined fingers of heaven and hell?

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