Saving Arabella

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Sample Chapter

In late October 1870 Arabella Duncan is suddenly a widow, and her estranged husband has left her in dire financial straits. If she cannot sort out her inheritance and do it quickly, she may be reduced to walking the streets of San Francisco. Her late husband’s speculations in Comstock mining shares are failures, so she has no choice but to approach James Sterling, his personal secretary, and hope that he will be willing to help her recover her inheritance. James is strongly attracted to the voluptuous Arabella and agrees to help but only if she is willing to submit to the iron discipline needed. Arabella is drawn to James as he sustains her in her positive approach to resolving her finances and her attitudes about social expectations.

Arabella is a strong, independent woman and refuses to conform to the norms of San Francisco society. James supports her but Arabella’s tongue gets her in trouble and she has no course except to agree to James’ method of discipline – a good spanking. Arabella learns the working of the San Francisco Mining Exchange while James discovers the intricacies of mining and milling on the Comstock Lode in Nevada. Their attraction flowers and as 1871 opens, they find themselves in the middle of the battle to control the Crown Point mine. Can they use their wits and burgeoning love to save Arabella from ruin? Can Arabella accept the discipline needed to resolve her difficult financial situation?
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UXIRFZ2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00UXIRFZ2&linkCode=as2&tag=romantspanki-20&linkId=BEWUU7QHT7NBNLLU
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Sample Chapter

Chapter One

San Francisco, California. October3, 1970

It was a dank, dismal, dreary day as the funeral cortege slowly wound its way into Laurel Hill Cemetery. Following the hearse with its team of four black horses were several carriages, in the first of which Arabella Duncan sat all alone. Hubert Duncan was being buried this morning and San Francisco supplied weather that closely matched Arabella’s mood. The hearse stopped near an open grave and slowly the mourners gathered around it. James Sterling climbed down from his buggy seat and slowly walked to the carriage behind the hearse. He helped Arabella down and escorted her to her position at graveside. James was surprised at her attire, a stylish black outfit that did nothing to hide her statuesque figure. Her head was topped by a light sun bonnet in black and white with striped ribbons and black ostrich feathers. Very fetching, but not quite what he expected a grieving widow to wear. But then, she and her late husband had lived apart for the last several years and prior to their separation, he knew that they were constantly at odds with one another. Eventually, the service finished and Arabella and James were the only ones remaining alongside the grave.

Arabella was hesitant to speak but slowly turned toward James. “Mr. Sterling, you were my husband’s personal secretary were you not? Can I speak frankly with you?”

“Yes, I was, and of course, Mrs. Duncan, I will be pleased to help in any way I can.”

“I’m sure you know that Hubert and I didn’t get along and that lately he had a number of, shall we say, lady admirers. Yesterday I was surprised to find out that he never updated his will after we separated and that I am his sole heir. I have no idea what that means just yet, but I do know that he must have been having financial problems. He slashed my monthly allowance and several merchants have complained about late and partial payments. One has gone so far as to require that I pay cash.”

James knew that Hubert was a speculator in Comstock mining shares and also knew he kept much of his Comstock speculation to himself. The depression in Comstock shares over the last several years had depressed not only Comstocks themselves, but also general business conditions in California. Arabella Duncan could be in for some very bad news indeed. “I’m sorry to hear that, Mrs. Duncan, but I’m not sure just how I can help you. No doubt the lawyers handling your husband’s estate will be able to advise you on how to go about resolving these issues.”

“I’m not so sure that I agree with you about how helpful they would be. They have already intimated that everything must be quickly sold off and the little I know about business tells me that that I’ll get little return if I follow their advice. Please, would you walk with me back to my carriage?”

James had always admired how resilient Arabella had been when provoked by Hubert. Although James thought she was at least several years older than himself, her full figure certainly was most pleasing to his eye. So it was with only slightly hidden pleasure that he responded, “It will be my honor,” and he offered an arm for support. Arabella looped her arm though his, and they slowly walked along the gravel path towards the waiting carriages.

Arabella continued, “Again, I hope you will accept some rather frank talk. Hubert and I married and early on we took great pleasure in each other. Hubert confided in me and we discussed his businesses to the extent that I knew what was going on and what he planned to do. Hubert desperately wanted a son and when I failed to provide one, he slowly began to separate himself from me. We were still husband and wife, but it was never again the same as the early years. It is my fault of course, and I tried everything I could think of but children never came.”

Taken aback by the nature of her words, James interrupted, “Mrs. Duncan, I’m not sure that I understand why you say that. Are you sure?”

“Please hear me out. If this is hard for you, imagine how hard it is for me. But if you don’t know the full story, you won’t be able to truly sort out the, well, mess, I am in.”

“I apologize, Mrs. Duncan, please continue.”

“Eventually, Hubert was rarely home and to be quite honest, I was glad of it. He moved out, took a suite at the Lick House I believe. I received a regular payment into my bank account and Hubert arranged for my accounts to be paid monthly. I am not a spendthrift, Mr. Sterling, so I managed to save a small sum each month. At the beginning of the year, Hubert came calling, completely unexpectedly, and told me that he was cutting my allowance and that I had to cut back, very considerably, my shopping. I asked how he expected me to do that and maintain my lifestyle and he said that was my problem, not his, and that it simply had to be done.”

“Mrs. Duncan, did he tell you, give you any indication at all, why this was so sudden, so important?”

“No, nothing at all. I’ve heard rumors of course, many women are quite ready to gossip both to you and about you. Several intimated that Hubert was speculating in Comstocks and that he had suffered a number of reverses. I know nothing of Comstocks but I can’t see any reasons, at least based on our earlier life together, why his older businesses should be in trouble.”

As the couple reached the waiting carriages, James spoke. “Mrs. Duncan, I’m still not sure just what I can do to help you.”

“Mr. Sterling, I would like to meet with you tomorrow in your office. I’d like you to tell me as much as you can about Hubert’s business dealing and speculations. I need to know as much as I can as fast as I can if I’m to salvage any sort of life from this. Please.”

“I’m at your service. Shall we say ten o’clock? You know my office is in the Montgomery Block?”

“Yes, on Montgomery Street. I’ll see you then. And thank you for listening to a poor, distraught woman.”

At that moment, a break in the clouds allowed the sun to shine in a small patch around them and Arabella thought, perhaps my luck is changing. James escorted her to her carriage and saw her safely seated. He gave, “Right away,” to the coachman and slowly the carriage moved down the drive. As the carriage left the cemetery grounds, Arabella gave a sigh of relief and told herself out loud, “That went better than I could possibly have expected.”

James stood a moment, pondering just what Arabella wanted. He was fascinated by her story, and her beauty and bearing were most intriguing. James picked up the anchor weight and set it on the floorboard of his buggy. He thought to himself, perhaps we can both come out of this better off than when we entered. A shake of the reins and he moved off down the drive as well. James had intended to spend the remainder of the day swimming in the bay with William Ralston, but decided instead to return to his office and try to learn just what he could about Hubert’s mysterious Comstock shares. During the drive to his office, he thought again about how attractive Arabella appeared and to his surprise his groin promptly responded.

Upon his arrival at the company offices, James decided to search through any papers in Hubert’s office. While Hubert entrusted him with a detailed knowledge of virtually all of his San Francisco businesses, Hubert had kept his Comstock speculations to himself. There had to be papers that would at the very least confirm what Comstocks Hubert currently held and perhaps enough to piece together just how badly his speculations had fared. They couldn’t have done well or he wouldn’t have forced Arabella to cut back her spending. Depending on what he found, it might be possible to work out a process to recover from the losses Hubert likely had suffered.

James stopped outside his office and told George, his clerk, that he was not to be disturbed. He entered his office and locked the door behind him. Extracting a key from a desk drawer, he crossed the room, and began to unlock the door into Hubert’s private office. Hesitating, he thought to himself, ‘If I do this, I’m crossing an ethical, if not legal, line.’ Then, thinking of Arabella, he turned the key, opened the door, and entered.

10 reviews for Saving Arabella

  1. SL

    4 stars.
    This was a story of a widow, Arabella, that needs help with finances. Her husband
    dies and leaves her with a mess of mining stock that she has no understanding of.
    James Sterling was her husband’s private assistant. He assists Arabella in understanding the mining business and investing her remaining money. He also
    has an interest in her personally.

    The story had a lot of detail about the mining business back in the 1870’s. It was
    interesting to hear the details of how things were mined. There were also interesting
    facts about future trading back in 1870.

    Arabella was more of a progressive woman that didn’t really fit back then. She
    was eager to experience sexual relations before marriage that could be considered
    scandalous back then. Especially since she was newly widowed.
    There were spankings, but with hand only. The spankings were mild and more romantic spankings than actual discipline. There was a happy ending.

  2. SL

    4 stars.
    This was a story of a widow, Arabella, that needs help with finances. Her husband
    dies and leaves her with a mess of mining stock that she has no understanding of.
    James Sterling was her husband??s private assistant. He assists Arabella in understanding the mining business and investing her remaining money. He also
    has an interest in her personally.

    The story had a lot of detail about the mining business back in the 1870??s. It was
    interesting to hear the details of how things were mined. There were also interesting
    facts about future trading back in 1870.

    Arabella was more of a progressive woman that didn??t really fit back then. She
    was eager to experience sexual relations before marriage that could be considered
    scandalous back then. Especially since she was newly widowed.
    There were spankings, but with hand only. The spankings were mild and more romantic spankings than actual discipline. There was a happy ending.

  3. Redrabbitt

    This is a story that has a plethora of historical facts, information on the Comstock mining, the stock exchange along with an unconventional romance. Arabella Duncan finds herself widowed in October 1870 by her estranged husband and in serious financial trouble. She employees her late husband\’s personal secretary, James Sterling, and together, under his advisement, turn her misfortune around. They create new companies and partnerships, purchase and hold stocks in mining and make a small fortune from what had been a near bankruptcy. James threatens and then carries out multiple spankings, which always come across as playful rather than punishment. Their relationship escalades with Arabella being very open and bold. The character interaction and dialogue is entertaining. The description of mining and extraction of the ore is enlightening.

  4. Redrabbitt

    This is a story that has a plethora of historical facts, information on the Comstock mining, the stock exchange along with an unconventional romance. Arabella Duncan finds herself widowed in October 1870 by her estranged husband and in serious financial trouble. She employees her late husband’s personal secretary, James Sterling, and together, under his advisement, turn her misfortune around. They create new companies and partnerships, purchase and hold stocks in mining and make a small fortune from what had been a near bankruptcy. James threatens and then carries out multiple spankings, which always come across as playful rather than punishment. Their relationship escalades with Arabella being very open and bold. The character interaction and dialogue is entertaining. The description of mining and extraction of the ore is enlightening.

  5. Marybeth

    This is an interesting story. There is a lot of history in this story and there is a lot written about stock prices and how they were sold and bought. There was also a lot about mining. Not exactly my cup of tea, but it was well written. I did enjoy reading about the developing relationship between Arabella and James, but I do wish there were more spankings in the story. I give this 4 stars.

  6. Marybeth

    This is an interesting story. There is a lot of history in this story and there is a lot written about stock prices and how they were sold and bought. There was also a lot about mining. Not exactly my cup of tea, but it was well written. I did enjoy reading about the developing relationship between Arabella and James, but I do wish there were more spankings in the story. I give this 4 stars.

  7. Brittany Barnes

    Arabella becomes a widow and finds herself in trouble financially. She calls upon James who worked with her late husband, to help her with things. I really like that this book contained mining facts of the late 1800\’s, as I always enjoy educational aspects of books. I look forward to more work from Ms. Oliver in the future.

  8. Brittany Barnes

    Arabella becomes a widow and finds herself in trouble financially. She calls upon James who worked with her late husband, to help her with things. I really like that this book contained mining facts of the late 1800’s, as I always enjoy educational aspects of books. I look forward to more work from Ms. Oliver in the future.

  9. Juliette

    Arabella is widowed and has to seek the help of her husband’s assistant for financial support. James has always admired Arabella and Arabella, who had a loveless marriage, is soon attracted to James on more than an intellectual level. The author either has a thorough knowledge of the mining history of San Francisco or undertook a staggering amount of research. I found myself losing interest in the incredibly detailed and frequent discussions about Comstock mining shares, share trading and mining in general. There was a little bit of romance and a little bit of sex, some wonderful descriptions of San Francisco at that time and very little spanking. Kudos to the author for her research and knowledge but I found it rather heavy going.

  10. Juliette

    Arabella is widowed and has to seek the help of her husband??s assistant for financial support. James has always admired Arabella and Arabella, who had a loveless marriage, is soon attracted to James on more than an intellectual level. The author either has a thorough knowledge of the mining history of San Francisco or undertook a staggering amount of research. I found myself losing interest in the incredibly detailed and frequent discussions about Comstock mining shares, share trading and mining in general. There was a little bit of romance and a little bit of sex, some wonderful descriptions of San Francisco at that time and very little spanking. Kudos to the author for her research and knowledge but I found it rather heavy going.

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