Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.
Fleeing an unwanted engagement, a young harpist follows her music passion to London. Becoming entangled with a handsome violinist who seems too aristocratic for a working-class musician may be more problematic than dodging her erstwhile fiancé, sleeping in the streets, or staying alive when a madman targets her for murder.
Excitement bubbled up inside Susanna at the possibilities that lay before her. “Oh, Martha, I do want to go to London to find work as a harpist. How would I get there?”
How would she get there? Susanna froze. She must travel alone, unprotected, and in the company of strangers. Still, remaining here seemed infinitely worse.
Martha frowned. “It doesn’t seem right, a gently bred lady like yourself traveling all alone.”
“Other people manage somehow,” Susanna said, trying to be brave.
The maid-turned-confident paused. “That’s true. I came here from London on the mail coach. It took three days. It is an uncomfortable way to travel because it only stops to change horses and drivers. That’s when we stretched our legs and bought food at the posting inns. I didn’t have to worry about paying for a bedchamber. But I’m used to being on my own.”
Susanna considered. “I know where the nearest posting inn is. But once I reach London, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I don’t know all the theatres, nor how to go about getting a position, nor even where I’d stay.” The unknowns all loomed before her like an endlessly high wall.
“I can’t help you with getting a position, but I know the theatres.” Martha started counting off on her fingers. “There’s the King’s Theatre, Covent Garden, Drury Lane, Lyceum….”
Susanna smiled at the sweet maid. What a dear she was for trying to help her! “I can see I should have spoken to you sooner.”
Martha added, “I still can’t like the idea of you traveling all the way to London alone, miss, but I admire your courage.”
Courage or desperation? Either way, the more Susanna thought of it, the more determined she was to flee. Fear and excitement and anticipation tugged at her from every side, creating nervous anticipation. She’d never felt so terrified. Or so alive.