TITLE: Lady Grace's Rendezvous
The sky darkened and wind blew the carriage, rocking it. Hail joined the hard rain mixed with snow. Lady Grace Carpenter pounded on the roof of her carriage. “How close are we to the Crow and Hound?”
“Not far, my lady. I’m thinkin’ we should stop,” her coachman responded.
“Yes, indeed. Make it so.” She huddled deeper into her fur-lined cloak. When they’d started out this morning, the weather had been dry and sunny, with no indication a storm would come on. She was only an hour or so from Stanwood Hall, her home, but they’d not make it. Better to trust in, Mr. Brown, the Crow and Hound’s innkeeper’s, discretion than risk her servants to this weather. They turned off the road and her coachman shouted for an ostler. The coach door quickly opened and the steps let down. Thornton, her groom hustled her from the carriage through the open door of the inn.
Mr. Brown came forward to greet her. “My lady, we didn’t expect to see you this evenin’.”
“For good reason.” Grace took off her cloak and shook it. “I didn’t expect to be here. I was visiting an elderly cousin and the storm blew up.”
“It’s as they say, my lady. No good deed goes unpunished.”
Grace smiled thinly. “Well, it certainly seems like that at times. I’ll need rooms for my servants and a private parlor. I cannot abide eating in my chamber. It should go without saying, you have not seen me here.”