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A Disorderly Grand Tour (Book Three)

A Disorderly Grand Tour (Book Three)

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She’s sworn she’ll never marry. He’s sworn to change her mind in this enemies-to-lovers historical romance. This enemies-to-lovers novel is a "sweet" historical romance, which means there are swoony kisses and plenty of yearning, but no spicy scenes. This book can be enjoyed as a stand alone or as part of the Victorian Grand Tour series. Pick up a e-book for your reader or an exclusive signed paperback for your collection today!

Main Tropes

  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Doctor and Nurse
  • Best Friend's Brother

Book Info

  • Victorian Grand Tour Series
  • Book 3 of 6
  • 284 pages


Rachel Wickford has vowed to devote her life to nursing, like her heroine, Florence Nightingale. She’d rather avoid the heartache of love, but it’s hard to evade the man who’s already head over heels for her.


Colonel Curtis Loughton needs experienced nurses to help start Miss Nightingale’s training program in London, but he needs a wife even
more. He’s willing’s to wage war to win his true love’s hand in marriage, but he’s never encountered opposition like this before. It will take all his ingenuity and grit to prove his love is constant.


In a battle of wits, with a determined campaign on one side and underhanded insubordination on the other, can anyone claim victory, or will their hearts be the casualties?

Intro to Chapter One

Florence, Italy

Early November 1856


Rachel inhaled the aroma of leather, parchment, and paper. Rows of journals and stationery sets crammed the orderly shelves behind the store attendant. Brilliant swirls of color adorned the thick gilded sheets of paper. The distinctive Florentine motif: blue, red, and yellow flowers erupting from green stems, all intertwined with a delicate feathered pattern in the background.

            Perhaps a new diary was in order to record her class notes. She had filled nearly every page of the black leather logbook with sketches, diagrams, and details from lectures at the Mainz Deaconess Institute for training nurses. Perhaps she might get one of those to remember this visit to Italy for Lucy’s wedding.

            Her dear friend, Alice Loughton, examined a set of thick cream writing paper and envelopes with emerald-green flowers dancing along the edges. Gold stars intermingled with red, blue, and gold blossoms. The decorations matched the hazel green color of her eyes. She hugged them to her chest. “Oh, Curtis! I must have the entire store.”

            “Will that be sufficient?” Her brother’s rich voice carried through the store. Colonel Curtis Loughton lounged against a wall, a lazy grin on his face. “It may last you a week. Perhaps two.”

             Alice put the stationery on the counter and began searching the shelves for other patterns. “And they have sheets of wrapping paper in all sorts of marvelous designs! Christmas is only two months

            Colonel Loughton stepped away from the wall and crossed the room toward the two women. “I’m surprised our gifts are not wrapped already.”

            Rachel turned quickly back toward the store attendant. If she pretended to study the journals, Colonel Loughton might ignore her.

            “And which do you favor?” His deep voice sounded over her shoulder.

            She could pretend she didn’t hear him. Rachel tilted her head and pondered what size she required. Not too large, not too thick. She smiled at the store attendant and prepared to attempt her basic Italian.

            “May I?” Colonel Loughton joined her at the counter. He’d spent the last two months translating the German lectures at the nursing classes for her. Evidently, he assumed she did not speak Italian well enough to make a simple purchase.

            “Thank you,” Rachel said, with as little sincerity as possible. When will he learn that I do not want his attention? “I can manage without your translation services.”

            Colonel Loughton raised an eyebrow. “Here, or in Germany?”

            This was going better than she could have hoped. “Both. As much as I appreciate your kind services—” She knew her tone of voice did not entirely match her words— “Mr. Kempton can translate for us when we return.”

            She considered the row of journals and prepared to make her selection, but the colonel interrupted her again. He scoffed. “Kempton can’t do it alone. There’s far too much to be done.” He pointed to the hundreds of cards, envelopes, and leather-bound books. “As endless as this merchant’s selection.”

            “Kempton has managed for the last two weeks,” Rachel replied. “And again, I do thank you for making it possible for me to attend Lucy and Peter’s wedding. I’m sure your friend fared well enough while we were away.” She smiled politely. Insincerely. Surely, he would understand.

            Colonel Loughton studied her. She could not tear her eyes away without being vastly rude. She wanted to buy a journal and leave. The sooner, the better.

            A slow smile crept across the colonel’s face. “If we could copy a full set of notes for Miss Nightingale, it would help her begin a similar school in London next spring.”

            Rachel could not make out which color dominated his eyes today. The green? The brown? The gold? She needed to concentrate on the task at hand—dispatching the colonel as quickly as possible. She drew her mouth into a thin smile and her cheeks tightened. “I’m sure that would be helpful to her and the staff.”

            The colonel continued to maintain eye contact. “We’ll need to transcribe Kempton’s scribbles into a legible set for Miss Nightingale. We should have been doing this for the last three months.”

            We? What was he suggesting? Best to let him state it directly. Perhaps he would not dare ask, if she did not offer.

            She shifted her weight and darted a glance to the store attendant, who was helping Alice. She wouldn’t get any help from either of them.

            The colonel turned his attention to the rows of journals. “How are your notes divided?”

            Rachel sighed with relief at the break in eye contact. The colonel’s gaze was like a hungry tiger, waiting to pounce. “I don’t recall at the present.” She’d not
volunteer to spend any more time with him. 

            Colonel Loughton turned back to her. “We should make a complete set to give to the new nursing school. Yes. Kempton will have three weeks of notes when we return. What about the notes from August, September, and the first half of October? And the diagrams and sketches? Your notes are more complete than my sister’s, I’m sure. Can you not remember anything?”

            Rachel was caught. The way the colonel’s golden-green eyes sparkled, as if he knew she were lying, and the look of challenge on his face. He’d been sitting behind her during lectures for nearly three months. He probably knew her note-taking method as well as she did.

            The colonel moved closer, as if expecting an answer. Rachel took a deep breath, and the scent of shaving soap filled her senses. This was exactly why she needed to answer quickly, buy her journal, and leave. She traced a line on the countertop as she waited for the attendant. “I separate the notes from class by subject. Remedies, poultices, tinctures, and the like are categorized in another section. Diagrams and illustrations in a third. Cases I’ve attended are kept in a separate diary.”

            The colonel nodded and waved his sister over. “Alice, shall we put our purchases together? Don’t worry about your pin money. I shall pay. You as well, Miss Wickford.” He turned to the attendant.

            Rachel rushed to interrupt. “I can speak enough Italian to order my own journals.”

            “Yes, but it’s for the school,” Colonel Loughton said. “I will purchase these.” He nodded to the store attendant, pointed to the shelves with journals, and began speaking in rapid Italian.

            Rachel huffed and let out a long breath. She hated condescension and pity. She rummaged in her reticule for coins. She and Mama had grown poorer and poorer since Papa’s death, but she was still a gentlewoman, they still owned their estate in Essex, and she had more than enough money to buy her diaries.

            She watched him complete the transaction. He had purchased five journals for each of them, identical in size, but with different covers. Plain, orangish-brown leather for Miss Nightingale’s new nursing school, and the elaborate, paper-covered Florentine journals for her.

            He should have asked her before making the purchases. What presumption, to imagine he knew best and could simply purchase journals for her. She had not stated any preference, but he had purchased precisely what she wanted.

            Rachel rolled the heavy coins back and forth in her hand. No one had ever paid such close attention to her before, and it felt distinctly uncomfortable. Had he been observing her while she shopped? Watching to see which she favored?

            “Five diaries each? Was it necessary to buy so many?” She took her few coins, which now seemed ridiculous, and pressed them into Colonel Loughton’s hand.

            Instantly, she knew she’d made a mistake. A large grin split his face. He pressed the cool coins back into her palm, closed her hand, and covered her fingers with his own. “We shall not return to Italy for some time, and I must ensure you are well provided for.”

            Why did she wear such thin, silk gloves in the Italian heat? She wished it were a pair of nice, thick woolen gloves for midwinter. His touch warmed her as if there were nothing between them.

            Rachel quickly pulled her hand away and slid the coins back into her reticule. “Thank you, Colonel. How kind.” She tried to make it sound sincere this time instead of breathless. She’d made a point of learning to speak in steady tones, so no one could ascertain her emotions. She was utterly failing at the moment.

            Colonel Loughton’s smile grew even wider, if possible. “You’re right, Miss Wickford. My translation services are no longer required. I’m sure Kempton will do fine, now that there’s only two of you.” He gestured toward the exit, his arms laden with packages for herself, his sister, and the nursing school.

            Rachel turned toward the door of the paper shop and inhaled the smell of ink and paper one last time. Success. Colonel Loughton would stop attending classes. Instead of sitting behind her to translate the German into English, so that she and his sister could understand the nursing lectures, he would stay home.

            He’d copy the notes at night, and she’d hardly encounter him. They would no longer spend all day together and eat leisurely, long meals. Now he’d need the time to record and transcribe detailed medical diagrams. She’d be free of his distracting presence and able to concentrate on the one thing that mattered: learning how to help her sick mother.

            Colonel Loughton considered her. “I’ll occupy the chair that Lucy left vacant and copy the diagrams during class instead. I’ll be able to copy your notes when there are no diagrams, and we’ll still have plenty of time in the evenings after the lectures.”

            No. This was worse. Instead of sitting behind her, where his deep, rich voice rolled over her, he wanted the seat beside her? And then he wanted to spend the evening side by side at an intimate writing desk, comparing notes?

            He raised an eyebrow at her, daring her to refuse. It was for Miss Nightingale.

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