Esmie Elstone’s Diary

20th May 1816 

Words!  They just get you into trouble.  Why do I write this journal, and have it stare back at me like a testimony of my incompetence? Today, my latest calamity is weighing heavily on my conscience. I have been tasked by a dying woman to destroy a letter. I should have tossed the missive in the fire yesterday, as I swore on my life to do so. But of course, I am stupid, and I still have it stuffed down my bodice, because …well, I find it hard to burn without reading the contents. And I promised not to read it or show it to anyone. When am I going to learn that I possess the most appalling judgment? Whatever my instincts tell me to do I should always do the opposite.

And if life wasn’t hideous enough, Rockford has returned. I nearly expired when he turned up at Lady Sothern’s ball. Why did he have to return from sea now?   And typically, I just had to be dressed in that revolting gown; another of my dreadful decisions. Bright yellow with a froth of lace. I surely must have looked like a coddled egg.  Although, his views on my attire should be the last thing that concerns me about Rockford’s return.  The annoying ass insisted on writing on my dance card, after charming my Aunt with a few flattering words. But beneath the polite façade, I knew he wanted revenge. The way he held me during the dance, and his few ominous words, confirmed a wall of ice still lurked between us. He hadn’t forgiven me for that incident four years ago, the one that I was persuaded into by Andrew.

Damn it! Hadn’t Rockford already had his revenge? I would have spent the last four years happily married to Andrew, if Rockford hadn’t forced him from these shores. Instead, each spring I have been foisted on my Aunt for the London season, and then back to Hampshire, and the prison like supervision of my chaperone, for the rest of the year. They all hope to find me a good match. But there is no hope. If the society dames got wind ofmy biggest secret, then surely, they would be littering the ballroom floors, clutching their smelling salts to their hands in horror.

Thank God, for the levity of the Sewing Club. But even that weekly diversion has become hazardous.  Little embroidery is undertaken, but it continues to be a good cover for our thriving betting enterprise. Rockford must never get wind of that little secret –  it is the only reason I keep sane through the tedious days. Although, it is true, one inappropriate wager has resulted in this cursed note scraping against my bosom.

But now dear diary, you can go back under the floorboard, away from prying eyes. And now …Yes! I have decided. I will fulfil my promise and burn the blessed note, whilst the fire still cackles in the hearth.

Here is an extract from Captain Rockford’s Reckoning

She handed him her card as if it was the executioner’s axe, and watched him enter his name

against the supper dance. “I will count the minutes,” he said softly, to reach only her ears, before he

returned the card and walked away.

She watched him head towards the sugar-coated Julia Grant. Well, she was welcome to him; in

fact, maybe he would become so infatuated with her beauty that he would completely forget the

terrifying appointment now documented and hanging on Esmie’s wrist. Unease stirred in her belly.

He had not forgotten or forgiven.

The rest can be found HERE

About the Author

Susan Lodge was brought up with five brothers in the West of England and spent her formative years climbing trees and watching westerns. Leaving home, she headed for London and embarked on a career in the Civils Service, gaining a science degree along the way.

Over the years she has worked in several historic cities, where the streets still resonate with the Georgian period, providing a wealth of inspiration for her stories. Her romantic novels are often set against the backdrop of Nelson’s navy, and she always manages to inject a fair dose of humour into the plot.

Susan’s always wanted to be an astronaut but would now settle for being a space tourist – given the chance. She loves tinkering on her piano, perfecting her swing dance routines and discovering new destinations for her characters.

Married, with two children Susan now lives in Hampshire.

You can find more about Susan’s books, by vising her WEBSITE, FACEBOOK page or follow her on TWITTER

Come and meet River Jackson, who swapped Galstonbury’s music scene to open up a Cocktail Bar with rules!

If you would like one of your book characters featured on Another Woman’s/Man’s Diary than please contact me on

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