Excerpt from Miss Farrow's Feathers
England, 1817

Miss Meg Farrow gave her heart to the wrong man
years ago. Her reputation barely survived, now the
last thing she needs is the outrageous, foul-mouthed
parrot she just inherited. She’ll be a public disgrace if
she can’t find someone to help tame bawdy
Bartholomew’s torrid tongue. But what if the man hired
to train him turns out NOT to be what she expected,
yet everything that she dreamed?

When Maxwell Shirley shows up at her front door he’s
stunned to be invited inside and given a room of his
own. It seems he's been mistaken  for a parrot trainer,
of all things! But their error is a perfect foil for his
scheme. Miss Farrow might seem prim on the outside,
but Max has reason to suspect she hides a sordid
secret inside. How long will it take him to charm his
way to the truth?
Miss Farrow's Feathers
Meg Farrow choked on a feather. Handy, since she needed one just now. She’d heard that
passing a feather through flame provided just the right odor to rouse an insensible swooner. Poor
insensible Mrs. Sedley-Stone certainly did need rousing just now. She’d swooned—but good—
and the smelling salts hadn’t worked.

It was just as well, though, considering that the very uproar that had sent the woman into
hysterics was still roaring along. Or soaring, rather. Papa lunged about the drawing room waving
a net while the large, yellow-headed parrot squawked loudly from atop the window cornice where
it had come to rest. Their usually unflappable housekeeper screeched from the far corner,
flapping her arms twice as much as the bird.

Meg’s head was beginning to throb. Two weeks of this had been more than any of them could
take.

“Bartholomew! Come down here right now,” Papa ordered, shaking his fist--his fist!--at the bright-
eyed parrot.

The bird cocked his head, ruffled his feathers, then let Papa know exactly what he thought of that
idea. Heavens, but this creature knew words Meg had never even heard before—and she spoke
three languages. On the settee, Mrs. Sedley-Stone had just begun to stir. Apparently she did
know some of these words, because they made her swoon all over again.

“Watch your ruddy language, you bone-headed devil,” Papa shouted at the bird.

“Papa, for heaven's sake,” Meg chided.

Gracious, now even Papa had been corrupted by the parrot's influence. What were they to do?
The whole village was talking about it. Innocent passers-by could not come within a hundred
yards of their house but they were accosted by the most egregious verbiage, uttered loud and
clear in a high-pitched raspy voice. It filtered through the doors, through the windows, out into the
street. Anyone who didn't know better would think this was not the parsonage, but a common
wharf-side alehouse.

Those who did know better would likely not have bothered coming so near to begin with. Sadly,
Bartholomew's saucy tongue was well known in the community. Even sadder, it used to be
contained to Glenwick Downs, a good two miles out of town. Now that their dear old friend, the
Earl of Glenwick, had passed from this life and gone to his reward, Bartholomew had passed into
the Farrow’s possession and into the confines of the parsonage.

With him came the language. And the squawking. And the random feathers strewn all about the
house. And other miscellaneous unfortunate things, the least of which was the swooning Mrs.
Sedley-Stone. Meg was doing what she could to remedy all of these.

The insistent pounding at their front door did not help matters. When it was clear their
housekeeper was far too preoccupied with being terrified of the parrot to tend to the arduous task
of answering the door, Meg took a deep breath and abandoned Mrs. Sedley-Stone. It wasn't as if
she would notice, after all, considering she was unconscious again.

Meg left the small drawing room and the chaos it contained. Of course the sound of Papa's
bellowing and the bird's corresponding profanity were little diminished by the distance between
her and the entry way. It would take far more than fifteen feet and one simple wall to stifle all that.
Most likely this was the very reason for all the pounding. She expected to find the local magistrate
at their door, here to fine them for causing such a disturbance. Or perhaps word of their new
house guest's unchristian-like behaviors had reached a higher authority and this pounding was to
bring word from the Archbishop, threats against Papa if he didn't reform the dreadful bird right
away. Most likely, though, it was one of their long-suffering neighbors with a hatchet and a
sudden craving for exotic poultry. At this point, she would half welcome that.

In any case, it would be of little benefit to keep the insistent pounder waiting on the other side of
that door. She patted her hair back into place, took a deep breath to calm her frayed nerves,
then opened the door. Wisely, she took care to step back just in case there truly should be a
hatchet involved.

There was not.

Nor was there a magistrate, Archbishop, or any close neighbor. There was, in fact, no person
she'd ever seen before. The gentleman she found at her door was quite clearly a stranger.
Not that he looked strange; quite the opposite, in fact. This particular gentleman looked perfectly
ordinary. He had all the requisite features, arranged in what most would consider a pleasing
manner, and he wore very adequate clothing. They suited his elegant form quite well, as a matter
of fact. His hat perched just right atop his head, which Meg couldn't help but notice was a good six
feet off the ground, and his eyes were very much an agreeable shade of blue. Indeed, nothing at
all strange about this man.

What was strange, however, was that he stood at her door appearing completely unruffled by all
the ruckus in the background--as well as by her unseemly staring. In fact, while the housekeeper
screeched and Papa sermonized behind her, this gentleman gave her a smile. Then he surprised
her by speaking her name.

"Miss Farrow, I presume?"