Vanessa Riley’s Vicar Samuel Wilson Interviews Barrington Norton of Unveiling Love: An Intimate Look At A Hero Fighting For Restoration
Barrington Norton marched into St. George’s. This was ridiculous. He was ridiculous to agree to this interview. Entertaining the vicar with his endless questions would not change things with Amora.
Yet, here he was, preparing to wring out his woeful soul to a stranger all because Barrington’s wife had asked him to do so.
With a shake of his head, he turned to leave but couldn’t lift his foot. The tiny bit of hope of restoring Amora’s trust still lived within his chest. It squeezed with the strength of a vise upon his innards, holding him in place.
He couldn’t give up.
He’d do anything for Amora.
Anything for her included making a bigger fool of himself with her dear friend the vicar.
Grunting impatient thoughts about casting the man into a lake of fire or off the highest cliff, Barrington pivoted, took a few steps down the solemn aisle of the great church, then dropped into a pew box.
As if he’d been watching this display of indecision, Vicar Wilson appeared from a side entrance, grinning as he paced the length of the carpet runner. With a hand clapping, thud, thud, against the backs of the pew, the vicar hummed with his lopsided grin. The man could have been one of Barrington’s childhood acquaintances, the naughty ones, who held juicy secrets close to the breast but made no efforts in concealment. Usually those secrets were the latest scandal involving Barrington’s drunken father. What did Vicar Wilson know, and what would he do with the gossip?
The vicar stopped and tugged on his waistcoat with its sleek cut revers before smoothing his dark jacket sleeves. “Awe, Mr. Norton, you came. Very good of you.”
Releasing a silent groan, Barrington caught the man’s gaze. “I’m here at my wife’s request. Mrs. Norton thinks you are a friend to the family and that this chat will be helpful.”
The vicar’s brow lifted as his smug smile grew. “I had my doubts you’d come.”
“What else can a husband do? I’m honoring Mrs. Norton’s request and meeting with her vicar. You think it will rid the foul air betwixt us? Perhaps we’ll have no more, no more—”
“Distrust? Is that the word you are searching for?”
Surely. There was plenty of distrust to be had. The man had supplanted Barrington as Amora’s confident. And where did he gain his extensive knowledge of the Dark Walk Abductor’s victims?
Shrugging, Barrington lifted off his top hat, settled it against the curve of his knee, and stared straight ahead at the painting of The Last Supper. The canvas was bathed in light at the front of the church. Amora, the painter, the lover of candles would enjoy it. “The Last Supper, do you suppose the Christ was out of options, forced to eat with friends and an enemy?”
“I’d like to think I am friend to the Nortons. Your wife must think so too to suggest we talk.”
Barrington nodded. The momentary peace he’d constructed with Amora would be ruined if he allowed his anger to get out of hand. Tossing his hat aside, Barrington leaned back and crossed his arms. “Let’s be about this. What’s your first question?”
W: “Let’s begin with a simple one. Where were you born?”
B: “Clanville, a village in Hampshire. The same as my wife.”
W: “Yes, you married the beautiful Miss Amora Tomàs.”
B: “Formerly Tomàs. It’s Norton now and forever.”
W: “But of course. So how did you feel when you saw the love of your life. I am assuming that Mrs. Norton is said person.”
B: Such a foolish question to ask. Who couldn’t see how much Barrington would do, or say, or even become just to make her smile again. Seizing a deep breath, he tried to let the cool air of the chapel slow the buildup of steam filling his lungs. “She’s my heart. That’s why I’m here at her request to try to come to better terms with you.”
Barrington lowered his gaze to the notches scratched into the pew in front of him. “The first time I saw her, she was painting. Her hair had loosened in the breeze. Her shawl and skirts fluttering like a hummingbird’s wings, but she stood there painting as if lost to this world. For the first time ever, I wanted to be apart of her world not the one I was building.”
W: “As a mulatto, I suppose you feel you have to build another one? Is that the one thing at which you’ve failed?”
B: “I failed to make Amora feel safe, that she could always count upon my favor and understanding. I’ve worked very hard at building a name that she and my grandfather could take pride in. My perfect court record is something I’d hoped would bring her joy. I was wrong on that. But Amora never looked at my mixed blood, any different than hers. She is half-Egyptian, half-Spanish. I am half black from my mother. Our mix, Amora’s and mine, is good.”
W: “Then what do you think is stopping you from making her feel safe and secure?”
B: “Other than well meaning individuals buzzing in her ear, getting entangled within our disagreements, I can’t fathom the problem.”
W: “I know Miss Miller, the forward sister of your late friend seems devoted to interloping.”
B: “She’s not the only one, vicar.”
Wilson smiled, then began again with his questions.
W: What was it that drew you to Mrs. Norton?”
B: “She was so determined to get her art right, dabbing and blotting until the faintest line was perfect. I’d never seen such dedication absent my grandfather.” That and Amora being the most beautiful creature Barrington had ever beheld, with delicate features, gorgeous raven hair and violet eyes. Things to worship forever. If only she could trust his love again. If only. “Yes. Her determination. That had to be it.”
W: “So is loving her a gift or a curse. Or a leash?”
B: Barrington’s impatient thoughts about Amora’s insistence upon knowing his every whereabouts, her need of an evening curfew, and fears of sleeping without candles came into remembrance. He felt shamed and exposed. For a moment, Barrington dropped his head and shuffled his boots along the floor. “I’ve been a fool. I’d love to think that if I’d know her secret I would’ve been a better man, a better husband to her. But always living in what if or what could’ve been is a place for fools. I know this now, and I’m doing everything within my power to restore her, even meeting with you. To have her love is a gift.”
W: “I think I know the answer to this, but I’ll ask anyway. What is your greatest regret?”
B: Though the victor’s countenance had lost it’s stupid grin, it still seemed as if the man were gloating. Barrington picked up his hat and tapped his fingers along the brim before swallowing the rest of his ever-present guilt. “Since you are so eager for me to say it, I will. I allowed my heart’s jealousy and shock of her 5-year omission of this dark secret to treat her as a defendant at the Old Bailey. I put our love on trial, and I lost.”
W: “Well, you are a barrister. I suppose you are made to search for truth. Her omission or lying to you before you wed must’ve been a terrible discovery. Don’t hold yourself in bondage for things of the past. Let your faith make you a new man everyday.”
B: “I am becoming a new man for her. I once thought that time should spin backwards to save my best friend, the man whose life was shortened during the Peninsula War by stepping in the path of a bullet meant for me. But time can’t be stopped, and time is running out for Mrs. Norton’s abductor. I shall solve the mystery of it, and I shall catch the cretin who has caused so much pain and death. Surely, that will return my wife’s peace. Her serenity must absolve my soul.”
W: “You do know she will have struggles with her sanity for the rest of her life. Can you help her? Or will you feel it another type of leash?”
B: Barrington had prayed and stewed on this for the past few months. Maladies of the mind like the ailments of the late king could be ever present, always in the background like a predator waiting for a slip of the guard, for a momentary weakness to strike. He stood donned his hat and glanced at the still sitting Wilson. “It takes great strength to love someone whose ill. One has to be stronger when she does not remember your love and patience. Maybe even saintly, when she turns away to strangers. I’m a very, very strong man. I’ll do what it takes to make her whole again.”
Find out more of Amora and Barrington’s journey in Unveiling Love. (http://bit.ly/1WECKaI ) Winning in the courts, vanquishing England’s foes on the battlefield, Barrington Norton has used these winner-take-all rules to script his life, but is London’s most distinguished mulatto barrister prepared to win the ultimate fight, restoring his wife’s love?
Amora Norton is running out of time. The shadows in her Egyptian mind, which threaten her sanity and alienate Barrington’s love, have returned. How many others will die if she can’t piece together her shattered memories? Can she trust that Barrington’s new found care is about saving their marriage rather than winning the trial of the century?
This is a 4 book serialized Regency Romance. Get it for free today.
Here are the buy/download links for Unveiling Love:
Episode I: http://amzn.to/1ogzm5Y This is free this week.
Episode II: http://amzn.to/1LU3r6R
Episode III: http://amzn.to/1pFAMrM
Episode IV: http://amzn.to/1WSGP6Z Available for Pre-Order
Vanessa Riley worked as an engineer before allowing her passion for historical romance to shine. A Regency era (early 1800s) and Jane Austen enthusiast, she brings the flavor of diverse peoples to her stories. Since she was seventeen, Vanessa has won awards for her writing and is currently working on two series. She lives in Atlanta with her military man hubby and precocious child. You can catch her writing from the comfort of her southern porch with a cup of Earl Grey tea. You can find her at: www.VanessaRiley.com or www.facebook.com/ChristianRegency . Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/VanessaRiley