At the end of the third Matchmaker romance, Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress, Anglo-Indian man of business Joss and cosmetics heiress Augusta know their HEA will bring huge social changes to them both. But considering they’ve already stopped a blackmailer and overcome family betrayal with each other’s support, they’re ready for anything.
Joss and Augusta exchanged these Valentine letters in February 1818, about 11 months after the events of Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress and 10 months after their marriage. If you’ve read the book, you’ll see how his habit of calling Augusta “my dear fake widow” has finally undergone a change…and you might catch a few other story references as well. Enjoy!
Letter from Mr. Josiah Everett to wife
My dear genuine wife,
I miss you very much. Business keeps me in Brighton for a few more days—as you no doubt guessed from the fact you have received this letter instead of my person.
I would apologize for this extended stay, save for your admonition to “man-flirt” with the members of the Prince Regent’s court on holiday at the Royal Pavilion. You call it man-flirting; I call it making jokes and conversation about sporting events, which sets men of the ton at ease. Indeed, wit and fortune are almost enough to make Prinny’s circle forget about one’s dubious station in society. If the board of Meredith Beauty could be encouraged to place advertisements in the Brighton papers, I believe the company’s new soaps and aromatic oils will sell quite well.
During my extended stay in Brighton, our new acquaintance Dean Mahomet has kindly translated further pages of my grandmother’s ledger. He found her notes on healing and cleansing herbs useful. I’m enclosing a fair copy of the translation in case the board of Meredtih Beauty cares to peruse them.
Yes, we both know who truly rules the board. And my dear, that ruler is as shrewd, efficient, and wise as she is lovely.
The months of our marriage have brought us from Bath to Brighton to London, and seemingly everywhere else in England. For all the years of my youth in Sutcliffe Hall, I never felt I had a home. But traveling about with you, I have never doubted my home for a moment. Home is love; home is you.
I shall return within the week, my home, and shall think of you every day.
I have enclosed a bottle of sandalwood oil. Keep it safe; use it well. Much love to you and the little one.
Your affectionate husband,
Letter from Mrs. Josiah Everett, née Augusta Meredith, to husband
How can you imply that I have anything to do with the activities of Meredith Beauty’s board? Oh, perhaps I make a suggestion or two (or dozen), but I have no direct power. That being said, I have a strong feeling the board will be interested in placing advertisements such as you describe. Perhaps handbills for distribution outside the bath-houses, too.
Ah, all my cleverest notions—and most foolish—have ever been credited to others. (You will kindly not remind me of the Mrs. Flowers incident, which I thought very clever but which proved the opposite. Unless one considers that I gained a beloved husband in the end, which makes the whole masquerade a success after all.)
I am very glad that you had further opportunity to speak with Mahomet. I am also very glad that you shall return within the week. The little one has begun to kick her joy at the promise of your return. I do not kick my delight; instead, I wear your sandalwood oil at my wrists. When I breathe it in, I think of you.
I think of you when I pluck the pins from my hair. I think of you when I pass the White Hart and remember our meal there; I think of your lodging on Trim Street, and when I pass through the garden of Queen Square, I recall our walk. The whole city of Bath seems to miss you. If I am home for you, you are for me as well.
Do not swoon at such compliments—for when you return to me, you shall have more.
Your loving wife,