Pleasantly Pursued (Bradwell Brothers #2) Read Online Kasey Stockton

Categories Genre: Fantasy/Sci-fi, Paranormal, Romance Tags Authors: Series: Bradwell Brothers Series by Kasey Stockton

Total pages in book: 109
Estimated words: 99413 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 497(@200wpm)___ 398(@250wpm)___ 331(@300wpm)

Thea Northcott cannot abide Benedict Bradwell, and the feeling is mutual. Or, is it?

I would do nearly anything to avoid the lecherous advances of an eager earl, including running away from my finishing school and finding employment under a false name. The work turned out to be harder than I expected, however, and the prospect of returning to a life of comfort and a significant reduction of welts on my hands and shadows beneath my eyes just might be a temptation I’m too weary to refuse. The problem: the invitation comes from Benedict, the ultimate tormentor of my youth and brief object of my infatuation—the latter of which he can never find out.

When I found Thea working in the belly of a grand house and did my best to convince her to return home with me where my mother awaited her, I did not expect her to agree. Our years of quarreling had solidified the woman as my enemy, and traveling alone together was a prospect that both terrified and intrigued me. Thea had only been my friend for a brief time years ago, and I do not know why she turned us against one another. But now that we’re forced together again, I cannot help but renew my determination to find out. Because a woman who would hate me with such fire was bound to love with the same fervor.


Chapter 1


I had always believed myself rather adept at hiding, but this time, I wondered if I’d gone too far in my disguise. Flour dusted my nose, hiding my faint freckles and pale skin beneath a coating of white powder and effectively disguising what dark hair was peeking from beneath my maid’s cap. I surely looked as though I’d lost a round of bullet pudding, and while that game was enjoyable during Christmastide, it was November now, and Cook was not going to be pleased to discover the mess I’d made.

Baking appeared so much easier when someone else was doing it. But when I was asked to knead the dough, the particulars of the act evaded me. It could not be so complicated, though. Roll the lump, punch the lump, roll it some more . . .

“Gracious heavens, child,” Cook said, bustling back into the workroom. Her brown hair was hidden beneath a cap, an apron tied about her ample waist. “What are you trying to do to that poor loaf?”

“Knead it?”

“Beat it to death, more like,” Cook muttered under her breath. She scooted me aside with her hip, and I leaned back against the counter and wiped the back of my wrist over my forehead. I had only been working as a kitchen maid in the Fuller household for a fortnight, but even now I could not properly prepare the dough for rising.

“Get working on those peas,” Cook said, pointing to an empty bucket in the far corner.

“Yes, ma’am.” I picked up the bucket and let myself outside.

“Gather some beets while you’re out there,” Cook called through the closed door. “And wipe your face, child. You look a mess.”

I opened the door to acknowledge that I’d heard her.

After spending the last few years in Mrs. Moulton’s finishing school for young ladies, I felt extremely out of place in the belly of a grand house, helping prepare dinner and clean up after Cook. Mother would be aghast, were she alive to see me now, and I spun my ring on my finger at the thought. Discomfort aside, the anonymity of my current position lent me a degree of security. It would not matter who the Fuller family had to dine, for I would never find myself face to face with any guest of theirs.

After doing my utmost to establish a career as a governess—the children were too young and disobedient—and then a modiste’s assistant—she had appreciated my fine manners, but my stitches were abysmally wide—I’d stumbled onto this kitchen maid opportunity at a market in Brumley. I found it a sign of good fortune after a streak of ill luck. It was the ultimate hiding place. I would never be discovered in this capacity, and Cook was determined to teach me what I needed to know. Though it did seem I tried her patience more often than not.

But more than anything, I valued my current position because I had only myself to depend on. My safety and success were reliant upon no one but me, and it was not as though I could break my own trust. It was a comfortable position to be in, welts on my hands and cracked knuckles notwithstanding.

My knees grew damp on the hard, cold ground while the late autumn sun warmed my bent neck. I leaned forward and picked peas, snapping them at the base of the vine and dropping them into the bucket. Residual powder from my kneading mishap tickled my nose, and I lifted the bottom of my apron to wipe the flour from my face.