Here’s some more Excerpts of Adelle’s Time,
with a Bonus at the end.
(Adelle’s POV) “Miss Grayson?”
When I didn’t answer, he continued.
“Am I forgiven?”
I turned and looked at him. “Do you really want to associate with the American nobody?”
From his reaction, I knew he was shocked that I was aware of the offensive name circulated about me. I was also sure his father had told him, if he hadn’t already known.
My head jerked up to stare at him. “What?” If he didn’t want to associate with ‘the American nobody’, then why was he here?
He continued, “I want to be your friend. No, that’s not right. I want to be much more than friends.”
I blinked, stunned. “Your parents …”
“… have nothing to say about my choice of women.”
“Hmm. And your choice of wife?”
“Humph. Just as I thought.” I looked away again.
“Miss Grayson. My parents already like you.”
“Your parents are friends with my Uncle Sinjin and Aunt Alexis. If I were their daughter, I’d be a good choice for you. But, I’m not. I’m only a niece, and an American farmer’s daughter. Your father looked down his nose at me when he realized who I was, or, more to the point, who I wasn’t.”
“He was wrong.” Walter’s eyes harded in anger.
“But he holds the cards.”
“Well, we’ll see about that. Will I see you tomorrow?”
I wanted to ask, ‘Why?’ but I couldn’t. I liked him, a lot, and not only because he was a future duke. But, that was the point … he wasn’t a duke. He lived with his parents. I could end up forcing a showdown between father and son, and the son would lose, as would I.
“Lord Walter, it was a wonderful evening. I’ll remember it for a long time. Good night.” I looked away and fanned my face. It was warm in the coach, with the brazier glowing.
“Adelle.” Deanna was shocked.
“No, Lady Deanna, it’s all right.” He sighed, “I understand.” After he left the coach, I turned and watched as he trudged back to the house.
It was some time before Uncle Sinjin, Aunt Alexis, and Gloria returned to the coach. By then, most of the other coaches had left, but I didn’t care. I sat in the corner, silent. Deanna tried to get me to talk, but I wouldn’t respond.
Uncle Sinjin and Aunt Alexis plied me with questions during the trip home, but I ignored all of them. I’d liked Walter, until he admitted I was his assignment for the evening. Is anyone ever going to like me for me?
When I got up the next morning, the last thing I wanted to do was leave the sanctuary of my room, much less go to the stable.
(Adelle’s POV) Sometime later, there was a knock at the door. When Deanna opened it, Smythe announced, “Lord Walter Pearson has arrived to see you, Miss Adelle. He’s waiting in the library.” Deanna thanked him and closed the door.
The book fell from my hands, and slid to the floor. The color drained from my face.
“You never told him he couldn’t come, you know,” Deanna pointed out quietly.
I retrieved the book, intending to resume reading and ignore Lord Walter, but the words on the pages had changed to some unfathomable language. I closed the book.
“What’s wrong, Adelle? He likes you. He told you he wants to be ‘much more than friends’. Isn’t this what you want?”
“Yes, and no. Yes, he’s what I want, but no, he’s not.”
Deanna shook her head. “You’re not making sense.”
“Lord Hastings would have been perfect, if we’d liked each other. He’s already a duke and makes his own decisions. I accept the busybodies and their rumors, but, as a duke, no one would dare question his decision to marry the American nobody. On the other hand, Lord Walter is perfect and I like him, a lot, but he’s not a duke. His father will never let him marry me. The American nobody isn’t a suitable match for Lord Walter Pearson, future Duke of Buckston. Surely you saw the duke’s reaction to me when I was introduced to him.”
“I did, and it was quite rude of him, but have you been told by either Lord Walter or his father you’re unsuitable?”
“No, of course not. They wouldn’t dare with Uncle Sinjin here.”
“So, what’s the problem?”
“Argh.” I jumped up, strode to the window, and beat my fists on the frame, rattling the glass panes. Staring into the gardens below, I saw only Lord Walter’s visage.
“What,” I snapped, regretting it immediately. “Oh, Deanna, I’m sorry. It’s just so frustrating.”
“I understand.” She came to my side and touched my arm. “He’s waiting.”
“I can’t. It’s another version of Theo except Lord Walter isn’t a cad and doesn’t intend to hurt me. But his father won’t consider my feelings in his decision. Then, there’s the ‘assignment’. And, the laughing at me. It’s just not going to work, so why prolong it.”
“You don’t know it won’t work. Don’t make that assumption. Talk with him. If, after you’ve talked, you still feel this way, fine. But, you can’t ignore his presence downstairs. At the very least, you have to properly send him away.”
I pondered her statement for a moment. “You’re right.” I took a deep breath to steady my nerves, then, sweeping past her, headed for the door.
(Adelle’s POV) “Hmm. Moria,” Walter said, “I can understand your frustration over medical schools refusing to admit women, but that’s beyond your control. But your fear that a man could derail your dreams? I’m quite certain not every man alive wants to do that. Most men are too busy with their own lives to wreak havoc on someone else’s.
“From your sister’s telling, Doctor Hensley respects and admires you at the professional level, and now we know he also admires you at the personal level. He doesn’t sound to me like someone who would want to hurt you in any way. He’s a doctor assigned to a field hospital, far from any way of doing you any sort of professional harm. No doubt he’s far too busy with far too many patients to spend much time thinking of ways to destroy you and, for the life of me, I don’t know why he’d want to. He followed you there because he loves you.”
“He loves me?” Moria looked bewildered. “What do you mean, he loves me.”
“Is it so hard to imagine?” Walter sat back and, smiling, did a much exaggerated study of her, from top to bottom. “Look at you. You’re a beautiful woman. You’re intelligent, dedicated, and driven. You’re a woman ahead of your time. He respects you, he admires you, … and he loves you.”
“He loves me?” I could see Moria was struggling to process this concept. I knew she understood familial love, but romantic love seemed to mystify her.
Walter smiled. “What did you think when he followed you to Turkey, to work in such horrible conditions. He wants to be near you, no matter what, because he loves you.”
“He loves me?” Moria echoed the phrase yet again.
I grabbed her by the shoulders and looked her in the eye. “Yes, you ninny, he loves you. I agree with Walter. Doctor Hensley is not a man to fear. He may well be the one to protect you from the kind of men you so fear, those who would destroy your dreams. He may well be the man for you, someone who is your equal, not your enemy.”
“When did you start to hate men?” Walter ventured.
Moria shot daggers with her eyes at Walter. “I don’t hate men.”
A look of total disbelief showed on Walter’s face. “Well, you could’ve fooled me.”
“I don’t hate you. I like you, very much.”
“Thank-you. I know you do, but I’m not a threat to you. Why do you think Doctor Hensley is a threat to you and your dreams?”
Her answer was automatic. “He’s a man.”
Walter, not believing what she’d said, threw his hands into the air, then stood, and walked to a window.
(Janelle’s POV) We stood close together, Richard with his arm around my waist, watching the younger generation across the room as they talked amongst themselves. When I looked at him, I saw the pride and love in his eyes.
I knew it could be some time before this group met again—many months, or maybe even years, and then, who knew what the circumstances would be. This time would never happen again, so I memorized the scene, knowing I’d visit it often. The children were going in different directions, taking on the world, each in their own way.
“Well, my love, we’ve reached yet another milestone. One of our babies is getting married. And, she’s starting a charity, too. What’s this world coming to?” Richard chuckled softly.
I smiled. “Of all of our children, she’s the last one I expected to be involved with a charity, but I’m thrilled she’s finally found her way. I wondered if she ever would.”
“Um. I agree. So, what do you think of Walter?”
“He’s wonderful and perfect for her.”
Richard winked. “I had him going there for a while at supper.”
I smiled, remembering. “Heh-heh. I’m not so sure. I think he was playing along. Oh, not at first … he was genuinely fearful that you’d say no, but, I saw a look pass between them, and his fear vanished. I think he and Adelle are communicating in a non-verbal way already.”
He laughed, then pouted. “So, all my posturing was for naught?”
“No, love, it was great fun.” I changed the subject. “You know, I’m glad the girls have come into their MacKendall skills. If they weren’t able to travel, I’d be going to a war zone in Turkey, Devonwood and London, one right after another. But, now, I don’t have to leave the circle of your arms, do I?”
“No, you don’t. And that’s right where I want you to stay.” Richard turned me around to face him. We gazed at each other as the buzz of conversation faded away. Slowly, he lowered his head and kissed me. The kiss gathered intensity and waking the familiar feelings. After a while, we silently retreated, leaving the young people in the hall.
(Theo’s POV) Yes, I’m guilty. I admit it.Theodore Hunter Lowell, heir-apparent to my father’s holdings and ducal title, took advantage of the naiveté of a charming young woman. And now, I’m paying the price … dearly.
The ball was in late August at the Mayfair estate of the Duke of Devonwood. The Duke and his family hadn’t been to London for decades, so the younger peers, myself included, knew nothing about them.
It never occurred to me to consider the extravagance of the ball as a hint to the power of the host. Had I so noted, I might have thought twice about dallying with the Duke’s niece.
Adelle House, the name of the estate, had been the dowry to the Duke’s grandfather many years ago. The old duke had spent a small fortune fixing the run-down home to resemble a North African villa on the inside, but then, as busy as he and his family were in developing a new breed of horse, the home sat unused much of the time.
I was delighted to meet the Duke of Devonwood’s twin nieces. One, Moria, was petite and beautiful, with amazing green eyes. But, she wasn’t the one for me. She was far too observant. It seemed to me she could see right through me.
Adelle was quite different, and ripe for the plucking. She was clearly interested in me, so, since she wasn’t the Duke’s daughter, only a niece, and an American at that, I saw her as a nice diversion until my Lady Marina Holcott returned from her annual visit with her grandmother, the Marchesa Sabastiana Bertolini, in San Mango d’Aquino, Italy.
Don’t get me wrong. Escorting Adelle around London was by no means a chore. She was delightful company and we had a great time. Having grown up in this often-jaded social environment, it was refreshing to see London life through her eyes.
When, Lady Marina returned to London, I promptly forgot about Adelle. Lady Marina was, in the vernacular, a ‘catch’. That she would even look my way was a miracle. While our fathers are both dukes of the realm, there is a great chasm between them. My father, the gentleman farmer, cannot hold a candle to hers, the international diplomat. I was very much looking forward to insinuating myself into the ranks of the political aristocrats as farming holds little appeal for me.
Now, it seems, if politics is truly my goal, I’ll have to earn my place amongst the anointed for myself, an impossible task at this point.
(Theo’s POV) When I reached the deck, I stretched and flexed my muscles to work out the cramps of my confinement while I searched the horizon. Nothing but water, as far as the eye could see in every direction. Nothing moved but the swells of the sea. Swimming was out of the question.
With my face covered during my arrival, I had no idea how big the vessel was. There were several decks below me. The armament, as the Captain had noted, had to be formidable based on the number of cannonballs stored on the deck. Even so, she was still vulnerable to the attacks of other ships in close quarters. Fire, even when not in battle, had to be a concern. Wood is wood, and I knew enough that ships could burn to the waterline and beyond, whether out at sea, or even when docked. I had to leave this ship before it reached Sevastopol.
November changed to December, winter changed to spring. More ships joined the forming fleet, and supply ships arrived from time to time. Still, through all this time, and to my dismay, crews could not send or receive mail or messages, due to the nature of the campaign.
The crews ran drills, both on their own ships and in conjunction with other ships. These drills sometimes included firing the guns, which I found intensely unnerving. The noise, the smell, and the smoke, not to mention the danger from casks of gunpowder, was ominous. I came to realize the ship was a floating powder keg, which heightened my determination to leave this vessel at the earliest possible moment.
Once, a supply ship towed a derelict vessel to within range, which the fleet crews used as a target until it sank. It occurred to me that an enemy ship would not simply sit there and let the English fleet pound it to kindling as this unmanned derelict had done; they’d fight back and maybe one or more of the English fleet would sink instead. I tried to imagine what being on a battle-ravaged sinking ship must be like, with survivors inadvertently run over by other vessels in the battle. I shuddered at the thought.
Through this time, I learned to be a seaman. I’d always been slim, but never particularly strong. I didn’t need to be. The most lifting I ever did was glasses of drink and plates of food. My activities included strolls in the garden or a park, lawn croquet, or an occasional hunt.
By the time the fleet received orders to proceed to Istanbul, my body was no longer that of a coddled aristocrat, but of a seaman, strong and muscular.
(Theo’s POV) It wasn’t long before I discovered something about the aristocracy I’d never noticed previously. They were seldom alone. Someone was always nearby to anticipate their needs. In the barn, the head groom shadowed the duke, while the butler, head housekeeper, or even a high-ranking maid saw to the needs of the duke and duchess inside the house.
When the Duke and Duchess of Devonwood arrived at Adelle House, the activity level increased, both inside and out in yard. The coach went out more often. I knew, because I cleaned it after each use. And, there were a number of additional employees.
One Saturday afternoon, I saw Adelle in an upstairs window, looking out. The duke joined her there while the staff readied the coach for their use. They were having a serious discussion and, at one juncture, the duke walked around her to look directly at her. When he did that, I had a clear shot at the man’s back, but didn’t have my gun. I slipped away to get it, but when I returned, Adelle was alone in the window. The duke had come out and was talking to one of the grooms. He returned to the upstairs window, but moments later, he and Adelle disappeared.
That night, I found an old bridle in the tack room and spent some time fashioning a rigging so I could wear the gun under my clothes. Not only would this give me immediate access should an opportunity present itself, but it couldn’t be stolen from my belongings. I practiced extracting the gun from the rigging until I could retrieve it almost instantly.
The next day, much to my surprise, Adelle came to start riding lessons. She and the duke spent quite a bit of time there, during which I heard her call him ‘Uncle Sinjin.’
In time, I learned Devonwood was a large estate in the English midlands, outside Melton Mowbray. This was important because, if I were unable to exact my revenge on the family before summer when most of the aristocracy fled the heat and disease of London, I’d have to go to Devonwood.
(Adelle’s POV) We found Uncle Sinjin in the office. When he looked up from his paperwork, I said, “Um. Do you remember when we came back from New Hampshire, and we all went to Grandfather’s grave?” He nodded.
“Did you hear someone talking but couldn’t understand the words?”
He nodded again.
“I heard it, too, and looked around. I saw Walter was hearing and understanding that voice. It was Grandfather and he talked at length directly to him. Much of it pertained to his pride in the family, but he also told him of a danger to the family.”
Uncle Sinjin was instantly alert. “Danger? Explain.”
“I wish I could,” Walter said. “I was so surprised to be hearing this voice so clearly, and to have him talking to me as if we knew each other well. But, the last thing he said to me was, ‘Someone will appear who is not as he says he is.’ Then, he added, ‘The family is in danger, and someone may die.’ I didn’t know what to make of it.”
After a moment, Uncle Sinjin said, “Well, I believe Mister Bunker is not who he says he is, that much is certain. But who is he, what’s his intent, and why? And, who’s in danger?”
We then related to him about our encounter in the barn. “You’re right about Mister Bunker. He’s a strange one, indeed.
“When he spoke, I felt an immediate sense of panic. It’s an odd reaction, but I’ve heard that voice before.”
“I didn’t panic, but I’ve heard his voice, too,” Uncle Sinjin admitted. “I just couldn’t place it.”
He leaned back in his chair, pressing his fingertips together. “Walter, please summon the Captain of the Guard.”
Walter left the room. “My dear,” Uncle Sinjin began, speaking gently. “Why didn’t you tell me about this when it happened?”
“One of the other things Grandfather said was for Walter to tell no one. It took a bit to get him to tell even me.”
“Yes, that sounds like Father. But, to shoulder Walter, and, by extension, you, with the responsibility of the family in this way hardly seems fair. Had I known this when I talked with Mister Bunker earlier, I might well have sent him on his way.”
“Grandfather chose Walter because he’s not family, at least not yet, and might be more clear-headed if some catastrophe were to occur. We tried to talk to Mister Bunker in the barn. He refused to talk to us. He acted as though he had the right to dismiss us. I’m frightened. The idea that someone might die ….”
“I understand, my dear.”
(Theo’s POV) A few days later, I was again cleaning stalls when I heard the duke and his brother approaching, talking animatedly. I ducked into the stall I was cleaning and waited. They came into the barn and proceeded along the far side of the center aisle, looking into each stall and talking about the horse there.
On my knees, I peered out and watched as they got closer, stall-by-stall. I silently pulled the gun from the rigging and, holding it close to my body, cocked it. Again, I peered out. They’d moved ahead by one stall. Three more stalls, and they’d be where I couldn’t miss.
I licked my lips and ran my fingers through my hair, as I watched their progress. My heart pounded in my chest and I took several deep breaths. The time was fast approaching.
At the stall across from me, the duke opened the door and they both went inside, keeping up the chatter about the horses.
Holding the gun against the stall frame, I took careful aim. At this distance, it was a clear shot. And, I had surprise on my side.
The two men came to the door of the stall but, still talking, didn’t come out. I waited.
Finally, the duke came through the door and stood with his back to me while his brother exited the stall.
My finger squeezed the trigger.
A shout close by startled me. The gun fired.
Several nearby horses neighed loudly and kicked the insides of their stalls at the loud sound. In the chaos, the duke and his brother dropped to the floor and lay still.
For a fleeting instant, I thought I’d shot both men with one bullet, but then the door to the stall slammed on my gun. The door reopened and several guards stood in front of me. Through their legs, I saw the duke and his brother rise and run from the barn, with two guards close behind them. I’d missed them both.
My anger flared. From my squatting position, I sprang forward, bowling over the guards in my way, striking at least one of them with the barrel of the gun. Landing on my feet, I sprinted for the door, determined to finish the job.
I heard the guards chasing me. Apparently, none of them were armed—they weren’t firing. I skidded to a stop and pivoted around, firing several rounds as I did. Two of the guards twisted around and fell, one of them knocking over a third man in the process. Confused now, the remaining guards hesitated long enough for me to get a good lead on them. As I ran, I reloaded the gun, wanting a full load.
(Theo’s POV) This deadly game of cat-and-mouse (in the maze) went on for hours. Rustling to the right, rustling to the left. A word whispered. I made sure I was in a short, dead-end area; I didn’t need them sneaking up behind me.
I saw some tan in between the branches in front of me. What had the duke and his brother been wearing? I couldn’t remember. It didn’t matter.
A flash of tan in front of me. I pulled the trigger. The blast from the gun echoed off the walls of the main house. I heard the soft thud of a body hitting the ground that told me I’d hit someone. I moved forward cautiously and looked. A man lay on the ground in front of me, facing away from me. With my heart pounding in my ears, I reached down and pulled him onto his back.
Blue eyes stared at the sky. The man was dead, but it wasn’t the duke or his brother. Angry, I kicked the man, hard, in the ribcage. Blood squirted from his mouth.
Turning, I threw up in the bushes.
Falling to my knees, a question echoed in my head. “What have I done?”
I’m not a murderer. I’m not. Then came the realization: I was indeed a murderer. A man lay dead at my feet and I killed him. I closed my eyes and took a painful breath. Was he married? Did he have a family?
Frantic now, I knew I had to get out of this maze, collect my belongings, and get away from here as fast as I could.
I started running through the maze, twisting, and turning, and, seemingly, going in circles. I had to stop; breathless, realizing no matter how many exits there were, certainly, guards would be waiting for me at all of them. Maybe they’d surrounded the maze, cutting off all chances of escape. There was no question those outside heard the gunshot. Surely, they’d investigate, and could be closing in on me right now.
The knife. Father’s old hunting knife I’d spent hours cleaning and sharpening was my last hope of getting out alive. Removing it from the leather pouch I’d created in my boot, I tested the sharpness and hefted it’s weight.
Looking up, over the top of the vegetation as dusk fell, I saw the top floor and roof of the main house. Keeping that behind me, I went as far as I could in the opposite direction. With no idea if I was on the outside of the maze, I cut my way through the vegetation.
(Adelle’s POV) I heard Walter calling for me. “Angel?”
“In the office, love.”
In a moment, he appeared in the doorway, smiling. “We have guests, but if you’re too busy ….”
I glanced around the room. Piles of papers cluttered my desk. Similar piles covered a table against the wall while Deanna sorted more from a larger pile on the floor. We were sorting invoices from last year, then trying to figure out what and how much to order for the coming summer at the residence.
Time marches on, and I’m racing against the clock.
“Who is it?” I heaved a weary breath, wondering how long they’d stay.
He stepped aside. Moria and Simon stood in the hall behind him.
Paperwork forgotten, I jumped up and raced into Moria’s arms as she flew into the room. We hugged and cried in a noisy, happy greeting, while Walter, Simon, and Deanna laughed.
In that moment, I was definitely not the Baroness of Wynbridge. I was an excited child, seeing my beloved sister for the first time in months.
Moria then greeted Deanna with a hug. Turning back to me, she put her hands on my belly, moving her fingers lightly.
“Is there this much activity normally?” The babe was kicking up a storm.
“No. This is a bit unusual, but so is a visit by the babe’s aunt and uncle.” We laughed.
“I’ll do a more complete exam later, when things are quieter and we’re alone. I doubt there are any problems, though. You look the picture of health, and,” she looked at the semi-organized clutter on the desk and Deanna’s table, “it appears, you’re not slowing down, even a little.”
With a gesture of frustration, I exclaimed, “Oh, Mori. I have so much to do and so little time to do it. I have our needs to analyze, and orders to place. Then, there are reservations. This is our third year. Word has gotten around so we’ve many more requests from orphanages than last year, which I must take into account when I order the supplies. All this in two months.”
“When are you due?”
“Mid-March, I think.”
“I can’t guarantee anything but I want to be here for the birth. I’ll see what I can do.”
“Oh Mori, that would be wonderful. There are times when this birthing thing scares me out of my mind.” I’d heard wives tales about it that were truly frightening. What was true and what wasn’t? I quickly changed the subject. “When did you arrive in London?”
“Two weeks ago. We had to find a house to rent. We both had work starting this past Sunday, so we couldn’t come right away, as much as I wanted to. This is our first day off together.”
(Adelle’s POV) I scowled, saying emphatically, “It’s not a ‘him’. I’ve known for months it’s a girl.”
Moria gave me a perfunctory smile, but said nothing.
“I know, I know. You’ve told me there’s no way to know the sex of a baby, that it’s just wishful thinking on the part of the mother. If she wants a girl, and it’s a girl, well, she knew it all along. If it’s a boy, she’ll shrug and say, ‘Well, the next one will be a girl.’ But, I know it’s a girl.”
“Have you chosen a name,” Moria asked, sort of changing the subject.
“Months ago. Early on, I bantered about several, mostly Grayson and LeDuc family names, then, I realized Walter’s family is so small that there are few true ‘family’ names on his side, which I feel is unfair to him. My children and I will be the new Pearson family. I realized …” I stopped as a searing pain hit me. This one lasted longer, leaving me gasping for breath.
“Listen to me,” Mori said firmly, getting my attention. “Make sure you breathe when the contractions hit. Don’t hold your breath. Can you do that?”
I nodded, and started purposeful breathing.
“Good girl.” Mori smiled. “You were saying?”
“Oh.” I had to think for a minute. “Right. I realized that using family names wasn’t fair to Walter, so I decided to use unique names. I mentioned several to Walter some time ago, and he likes my favorite. My daughter will be Willow Arianne.”
“It’s beautiful. Where did ‘Willow’ come from?”
I smiled. “You’ve seen the stream that comes from the spring in the woods behind the residence, right?”
“It used to spread out in the left field making it kind of boggy and wet but, when we put in the new road, we dug a course for the stream. Now, it goes under the road in a dug channel. From there, it finds its way toward a larger stream that runs the length of the valley, almost at the woods on the opposite side of the road. Where the stream from our spring meets the larger one, there’s a big willow tree. It’s my favorite hiding place when I need a little time to myself.”
Moria sat back some, her eyebrows lifted in surprise.
“What surprises you? That the tree exists, that I found it, that I go there for some peace and quiet, or that I need the peace and quiet on occasion?”
She tilted her head. “Hmm. I think all of the above.”
~ What Readers are Saying ~
A great read! – Ginny W., Detroit
Bad girl, gone good, for a change – Patricia R., Vermont
I’ve got a thing for bad boys, and Theo sure is one! – Tenesia G.
I couldn’t put it down, and neither could my daughter – Wanda K., Missouri
I need a willow tree … and a Walter – Brittany S., New York City
I recommend this book if you want something outside the box – Lorinda MacD,
Will we see more of Theo? He’s so-o-o bad … – Elaine V., Altoona, PA
(Note from Dayna – Yes, you will! He’s in ‘Clarissa’s Time’)
Wonderful. Real-life characters. Inspiring story – Margaret C., San Diego
Recommend to Victorian Romance lovers – Lori-Anne, Biloxi
Único en su especie, bien escrito, una historia que se pierden en
– Rosa M., Madera, México
Translation: One of a kind, well written, a story to get lost in – Rosa M., Medera, Mexico
My heartfelt thanks to all these readers! DLC