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A Love Made to Measure by Eliza Emmett

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  • Cora Larsen is a Victorian tailoress on Regent Street, where she creates dresses that are “the toast of the Season.” She is a gifted maker of men’s suits too, not that many are willing to have a woman take their measurements.

     Lord Galavyin believes in marrying for love, not convenience. He feels bad enough about the privilege of being a baron and refuses to consider an arranged marriage. One day, he walks through Cora’s door to collect a dress and is smitten with her forward-thinking social ideals. But, despite their growing friendship, he cannot persuade Cora to ignore the difference in their status and address him by his first name—Grant.

     When Cora loses the lease on her shop, she thinks it is simply a coincidence that the building belongs to Grant’s family. She doesn’t yet know she is in love with a man whose mother is the worst enemy one can imagine.

     Grant will do anything to keep Cora safe and employed, even if it takes helping her without her knowledge. What follows is a game of cat and mouse that will test Cora’s resolve and Grant’s love to their limits.

    Rating:  Sweet
    Page Count: 188
    Word Count: 47654
    978-1-5092-2116-5 Paperback
    978-1-5092-2115-8 Digital

    Excerpt

    “Do you choose to walk often, Lord Galavyin? Even in such weather?”

    “I do. I enjoy the exercise. I find the cold invigorating, and brisk walking the secret to health.”

    “I see. How is your mother? I expect she is well?”

    “Very well, thank you. I hope your father is well too?”

    “He is. He is indeed.”

    Cora could tell that despite her wishing otherwise, they were still uncomfortable strangers, dancing an uncomfortable dance of social expectations and superficial pleasantries. Why couldn’t they talk about something more substantial, like books? The weather was the worst of all subjects ever considered acceptable for conversation. It was discussed by people who had nothing in common and who didn’t want to ruffle any feathers by bringing up anything that actually mattered. Like politics.

    As if he had read her thoughts, he changed topics quite abruptly. What came before was just the necessary skirting around the real question.

    “Miss Larsen, I was wondering if you intend to attend many events this Season.”

    Cora stopped as if a glass panel stood in front of her. “Lord Galavyin, you forget I am a working person, with little time for myself. And despite my flawless manners and superior taste”—that she said with mock affectation while straightening her lapel—“I am neither a debutante nor a society lady. I am a common woman, Lord Galavyin, simply too thinking for my own good and for my station in life. Imagine, Lord Galavyin, like every woman I’m still in line to be one day allowed to vote! Now that puts things in perspective, does it not?”

    “Are you a suffragist, Miss Larsen?” He raised an eyebrow in visible amusement and excitement rather than judgment. “You surprise me with every passing minute.”

    “Well, I suppose I am. It won’t be long now. But until then, I am just a woman with a shop to run, and a brain that insists on having ideas. Too educated for my own good, my father claims. Impossible to find a h—” She swallowed her words quickly. She didn’t know she was looking for one. Bad memories surfaced. She stopped them before they could sprout into a new panic by breathing slowly and trying to restore her previous demeanor. In time, she succeeded, and that particularly dark cloud of worry blew away in the wind but not without first leaving her shaken.

    “I beg to differ, Miss Larsen. An educated woman is never too educated in the eyes of a progressive man, nor should she be in her own eyes. May I ask what books you are interested in, Miss Larsen?”

    Cora could not hide that she was excited about the possibility of speaking of books, finally. “I read anything that is put before me. I will choose Jane Austen over all else, but I have to confess these days I am intrigued by the writings of Dostoyevsky.”

    “Indeed?” Grant Galavyin smiled broadly. “One of my favorites. Then you probably know that just these last few years, he published again. I am told by a traveler friend that his new work is of great interest and has had much success in Russia. Now all we can do is wait for the English translation. I mean, if like me you cannot read Russian.”

    Cora chuckled. “No, I don’t read Russian. I’m sorry I cannot surprise you with that.”

    “It is refreshing to be able to talk about such books with someone. When I broached the subject with my friends, they looked at me blankly, as if they couldn’t imagine why I would care. But I should care, don’t you think, Miss Larsen? The working conditions of many people in London are deplorable. And how many are exploited and live in appalling dwellings? Every English man and woman should care. I’m glad writers bring these issues to our attention.”

    Cora was impressed. “I too am surprised you think of such concerns. They are often on my mind. To have the good fortune of not going hungry when many are. I didn’t know you distressed yourself with these matters.” He was indeed a strange man, in the best way possible.

    “Why shouldn’t I, Miss Larsen? Contrary to what some of my acquaintances would like to believe, the only reason I live in luxury and not in misery is the hand of fate. I often struggle with that knowledge. It was simply luck and not my own doing that put me in a fancy house and a rich family. I feel quite guilty. Not that guilt alone can do any good. If it does not move us to action, then it is a wasted emotion, and I have to confess I am at a loss for what kind of action I should take.”

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A Love Made to Measure

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