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There's Always Tomorrow

There's Always Tomorrow

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Melanie wishes there were real gentlemen still in the world. Her dating life is a joke so when she hears about a week-long Regency immersion experience at Twickenham Manor in England she happily books a trip. After an almost perfect week, and wishing she could prolong her stay, Melanie is surprised to find herself transported back in time to Victorian England in the year 1851.

Sir Jack Hughes has had enough of the flirtatious young ladies and their meddling mothers. When he meets Melanie, another one of Aunt Nellie’s visitors from the Americas, he’s happy to make her acquaintance, yet cautious. He can’t lose his heart again to another visiting American.

As the two spend time together, they agree to pretend to go along with Aunt Nellie’s matchmaking schemes in order to avoid the other eligible guests at the manor. But when they come to enjoy each other’s company more than they expected, how can they ever find common ground if they aren’t even from the same century?

Intro into Chapter One

Melanie stood and stared down the man across the table from her. He raised his hands and waved them in a pacifying
gesture as if that would cancel out his insinuations.
“Come on, baby, don’t get all mad.”
“Don’t call me baby. You don’t even know me.” Melanie shouldered her purse and turned to walk away, but the guy grabbed her arm as she stood to keep her from leaving. Not wanting to cause a huge scene, she didn’t twist it and lock his elbow like she wanted to. Instead, she grabbed the full glass of water on the table and splashed it in his face. “Don’t touch me ever again. And lose my number. Got it?”
The guy sputtered but grabbed at her again. “Hey, that’s not nice.” His voice was deeper and more menacing than the earlier flirtations. Using her self-defense training her late father had insisted she take
throughout her high school years, she moved quickly and grabbed his wrist, pressing it back and forcing his elbow to bend backward to pin him in place.
“Touching a woman against her will isn’t very nice either. Don’t do it again.” She jerked up, causing him to squeak in pain.
“Got it,” he muttered, and she let go. She grabbed his phone that he’d left on the table, walked it over to a waitress holding a pitcher to refill water glasses, and dropped it in.
“I’m helping you lose my number,” she said over her shoulder. “Grow up and learn some manners.” She continued out the door without looking back again. He wasn’t worth another thought.
Melanie was tired of the same-old, same-old. She couldn’t stand the thought of dating another man that treated her like an object and expected to get whatever he wanted by putting in minimal effort. She wanted a real gentleman. Someone who knew how to treat a woman like a valuable person and not just a possession.
After flagging down a cab and climbing inside, she reached into her purse and pulled out the brochure she’d picked up at the library.

Twickenham Manor
Come experience Regency England in a full immersion environment. You’ll attend activities just like they did in the early 1800’s, including riding, hunting, dancing, dinners, and games.

Melanie continued reading through it, liking the idea more and more. Why not? she thought. It’s only for a week, and I deserve it. I’ve got enough money saved up. I could totally go on vacation myself. And her boss owed her a lot of time off since she’d covered for everyone else who’d gone on trips over Christmas.
By the time she reached her apartment, she’d already reserved her spot at Twickenham Manor, texted her boss letting him know she’d be taking her time off, and had booked a flight.

In less than a month she’d be in England.

Melanie stepped out of the hired car she’d taken from the airport and stared at the sight in front of her.
The manicured front lawn with trimmed bushes and gorgeous flower pots filled with incredible colors produced the perfect setting for the house. The manor house was beautiful. Even bigger than she’d imagined as she looked over the brochure and perused the website. The Google maps she’d looked at didn’t do it justice either.
This was perfect. It didn’t matter how much she’d had to pay to get here, Melanie knew it would be worth it. She could almost feel it in her soul. A man in old-time livery ushered her in and led to the front parlor where he offered tea and biscuits.
Melanie happily enjoyed the refreshments. As she polished off the third cookie, a cute blonde with an adorable pixie cut entered as well. “Hi there,” the other girl said with a cute Southern accent. “I’m Danielle McIntyre.”
“Melanie Crenshaw,” she replied.
“What brought you here?” the girl asked, talking slow and smooth as she moved over to the chair across from her and reached for the cookies.
“Uh…” Melanie said, not sure how to explain her reasons.
“Oh, lemme guess. You’re tired of all the fools out there and wanted a chance to meet a real man, even if it was just all make believe.”
Melanie blinked and before she could answer, Danielle giggled. “Me too, honey. Me too. I’m so tired of it all that I just wanted to get away for a little bit before I have to go back to the real world and work for my
Melanie smiled. “You know, Danielle, I think I’m gonna like you.”
Danielle blinked quickly and sighed. “Oh, good. I usually just go off at the mouth and cause everyone to roll their eyes at me. But even as a baby, my momma said I was a chatter box that just wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
“Well, I’m not one to talk a lot, but I have no problem saying what I think. Like minds, maybe. Are you here for the full week?”
Danielle nodded since she was chewing on a cookie.
Melanie took a sip of her tea, enjoying the light mint aftertaste.
“How many people do you think they have attend these?” Danielle asked.
“No clue, but from the size of this place, I’d guess there are a lot. I suppose we’ll have to see.”
Melanie and Danielle continued visiting, and the more she learned of Danielle, the more her early thought of liking the girl increased. She was hilarious and entertaining, perfect to hang out with during the immersion week. She knew the men here would be hired actors that would give her a feel of the past. She really didn’t care. She just wanted a chance to feel like true gentlemen existed so she could get over her anger at all
the flops she’d dated before. Pretending for a week was a better alternative than all the dating apps she’d tried.
At least here, she knew how it would all end.
“Hello, my dears,” a voice said from the doorway. “I see you’ve had a chance to get acquainted. I’m Nellie Milton, the guardian of Twickenham Manor, and I’m so glad you’ve come for a visit. Please call me Aunt Nellie.
Everyone does. You must be Danielle and Melanie?”
Melanie nodded. Danielle moved forward and hugged Nellie. “I’m glad to finally meet you, Aunt Nellie.
My Aunt Shari told me all about you. She came a few years ago and said you were the most amazing woman she’d ever met.”
“Ah, I believe I remember Shari. Didn’t she meet someone here and end up marrying the lucky man?”
“She did,” Danielle giggled. “Uncle Hugo. He’s quite the character.”
Nellie smiled as if remembering something funny.
“Yes, he was. How are Shari and Hugo? Are they happy and healthy?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Danielle said. “Been together twenty years now.”
“So you must have been just a baby when they were married.” Aunt Nellie looked at Danielle, and the girl smiled.
“I was almost two. Don’t remember it at all, though I have pictures of me as their flower girl.”
“I’ll bet you were just adorable.” Aunt Nellie took a step to the side of Danielle and turned to face Melanie.
“I am happy you’ve come as well, Melanie. Tell me, how did you hear of Twickenham?”
“I saw a brochure stuck inside a book I checked out at the library.”
Nellie smiled. “Let me guess, a Regency romance? Jane Austen, perhaps.”
Melanie smiled. “Pride and Prejudice.”
“Ah, gotta love Mr. Darcy,” Aunt Nellie said. “Many think there are no men who can compare to him, but I have a little secret. I’ve met hundreds of them. And they are all just as good as or better than our Mr. Darcy.
Maybe, you’ll be lucky enough to meet one of your own.”
“Oh, I didn’t come here to find a man,” Melanie insisted.
“Of course not, dear,” Aunt Nellie said, nodding along. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Do me a favor, hmmm? Go into this week with your heart and mind open. Just live it. Enjoy every moment. When it’s all over, you’ll be free to return home to your normal life and live it as you see fit, or you might discover something
wonderful waiting out there for you.”
“Ooh,” Danielle said. “I just got a cold chill. I hope I meet my prince charming.”
Aunt Nellie turned to Danielle. “Well, there isn’t usually a prince that attends our balls, but we have a few genuine Lords, Dukes, Marquis, Barons, and the like from time to time.”
“Really?” Danielle asked just before Melanie could. She wasn’t interested in anyone with a fancy title, but the thought that they might actually meet one for real was kinda fun to think about. England was full of nobility, but Melanie doubted there would be many who would come to a place like Twickenham Manor. A Regency immersion week would definitely not be in their approved activities.
“You’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” Aunt Nellie said. “Come now, let’s get you to your rooms. I think I’ll put you right next to each other.”
Danielle squealed with joy and Melanie smiled at her enthusiasm. As she walked through the manor house, she
studied the decor and admired the different paintings. Some had only one subject it in, while others were couples or groups. Some were large enough to be life-size while others were no bigger than the palm of her hand.
“You have a lot of portraits here,” Melanie said as they continued on through the hallways.
“Oh, yes. It’s a hobby of mine,” Aunt Nellie said.
“You painted all these?” Melanie asked. “They are so lifelike. Almost like a photograph.”
“Well, thank you,” Aunt Nellie said. “I have been doing it for years, so I have gotten better over time. Quicker too, which helps things.” She waved her hand to hurry Melanie up and smiled cheerfully as Melanie
returned to her side. “I’ve got them all through the house. Most of them are of those who come to visit me. Perhaps
I’ll be able to paint a portrait of you.”
“Hmmm,” Melanie said. “We’ll have to see.”
Nellie nodded. “Yes, we’ll definitely have to see.”

Never in her life had Melanie had as much fun as she did the week at Twickenham. Danielle proved to be just what she needed in a confidant. The other staff and guests were fun to interact with, especially Annette Price, a local girl that gave them all the tips and tricks to remember how to act to fit into the time. And the men? Sigh. Aunt Nellie hired amazing guys to play the parts of the gentlemen in their Regency immersion experience.
All their manners and behaviors were just perfect.
Melanie knew she was in no danger of falling for any of them. There was no spark, but she had fun flirting and
dancing and playing the games in the evenings with them. She even started to get comfortable with carrying on a conversation as if she really were in Regency England.

As the week drew to a close and they prepared for the final ball on the night of the full moon, Melanie felt unsettled. She wasn’t ready to go home to her same old life. She wished there was some way she could stay for another week and do it all again.
The clothes weren’t nearly as uncomfortable and restrictive as they had felt that first day, and she vowed to wear dresses a little more often. Not the empire waisted ones common in Regency England, but something a little more flowy and feminine.
Though when she’d first been fitted for the clothes, she had seen some of the fuller skirts and bodices common in the Victorian era. Danielle convinced Melanie to try some on with her, and she wished she would have picked the Victorian immersion experience. Maybe she could do it next year. It would be something worth saving up for.
For tonight, with the full moon just beginning to rise above the hillside, she wore a white empire-waist dress with a midnight blue overdress that made her feel lovely. Her light hair was twisted in intricate braids and little ringlets around her temple. She wore satin gloves that reached her elbows.
When she met Danielle outside the door of her room, Danielle chattered, “Oh wow, Melanie, you are stunning. I think if you really were a lady of Jane Austen’s time, you could definitely wrangle out an offer of marriage by the end of the night.”
Melanie laughed. “No, there will be no engagements happening tonight. Or anytime soon for that matter. But thank you. You look beautiful yourself.”
“Thanks. That Olivette is amazing. I wish I could hire her to be my own personal assistant. She’s got some talent with hair and makeup for sure. I feel like I’m not even wearing any makeup, but I think it looks just right. Don’t you think?”
“Perfect.” Melanie tucked her arm into Danielle’s. “Shall we go?”
As they walked toward the grand staircase, goosebumps covered Melanie’s arms and radiated to her spine. As if she’d had a cold drink poured down her back, she gasped in surprise only to find it turn to the most delicious warmth she’d ever experienced.
“What was that?” Danielle asked.
“Just got a massive cold chill that turned warm. Did you feel that?”
“A little,” Danielle nodded. “It felt like it came from that way. Do you think there’s an open window?”
Melanie couldn’t think clearly. All she wanted to do was feel that sensation again. She moved toward the doorway that led to the upper floors.
“I don’t think we’re supposed to go up there,” Danielle said.
Melanie only barely registered the words. She kept moving forward as if pulled by some unseen string. She followed the curving stairs, happy they were lit by small lights that simulated gas lamps.
She pushed the door open and searched for a light switch with the help of the dim light from the staircase.
Inside the room she found dozens of portraits. Some were hung, but others looked like they had been just placed against the wall until they were able to find their right spot.
She vaguely registered that Danielle had followed her into the room but had walked down the other side studying the pictures, too. A light pink glow radiated from one of the paintings. Melanie stepped closer to study it better. When she stood in front of it, her eyes scanned the image as her brain tried to understand what she saw.
It was her, standing in front of a man whose face she couldn’t clearly see. As if the painting hadn’t quite been finished when it was placed there, but she was clear as day.
“Danielle,” Melanie said, half turning to get her friend’s attention. “You’ve got to see this.”
“Just a minute. There’s something here I’m trying to wrap my head around.”
“Is it a painting of you?” Melanie asked.
Danielle stood straight and turned around. “How did you know?”
“There’s one of me right here.”
“No way,” Danielle said.
“Are you alone, or with someone?” Melanie asked.
“Alone. What about yours?”
“There’s a man, but I can’t see his face.”
“What does this mean?” Danielle asked.
“I don’t know.”
Before Melanie could say anything more, swirling eddies of color and tiny pinpricks of light emanated from
the painting behind Danielle. “Look out!” she yelled, but it was too late. Danielle had been surrounded by the light and looked as if she was going to fall back against the wall. Melanie tried to rush to her, but instead found herself immobilized as the same light and color twisted and pulsed around her until she turned toward the painting. She could have sworn bright hazel eyes framed by dark lashes met hers as she fell forward. Yet instead of hitting the painting, or wall, or even the ground, she found herself standing in the dark with only a hint of a
light from the door she and Danielle had just entered moments before.
Her head pounded. Her stomach felt queasy. Melanie carefully felt her way to the door, putting her hands out in front of her and testing the floor for any furniture that might trip her. When she reached the door, she felt around for the light switch, but couldn’t find it.
“Danielle, are you here?”
Only silence met her question. Melanie needed to find Aunt Nellie. She had to tell her that Danielle was gone. How could she explain what she’d seen?
Melanie worked her way to the stairs and studied the lights. They seemed different than before. On further inspection, Melanie realized they were actual flames instead of light bulbs.
“What on earth?” she asked. “What is going on? Danielle!” Her voice rose in volume as concern filled her.
“Hello?” a deep voice from below spoke. “Is anyone there?”
Melanie froze. Was it one of Aunt Nellie’s servants or someone who had been invited to the ball that night?
She tried to turn and hurry up the stairs where she had come from, but her foot got tangled in the long dress and she felt herself go down. She managed to catch most of her body but her knee hit hard, forcing a pained cry from her lips.
The footsteps below quickened. Before she could even stand up and prepare for the stranger below, she found herself staring into the same eyes she swore she’d seen moments ago.
“Are you all right, miss?”
“Uh,” was the only thing she could think to say as she stared at him. He was perfection. Dark hair, tall and
robust without looking overly large and obsessed with his physical appearance. He must be one of the guests only
invited for the final ball. Too bad he hadn’t been there the whole week.
“Have you injured yourself?” he asked again.
“I, uh. No. I’m okay.” She tried to stand but her stupid slipper was still trapped beneath the folds of her dress. She only managed to get part way up.
The handsome stranger reached for her to help steady her before she hit the ground. The moment his hands touched hers, she prepared to defend herself from unwanted contact. Instead, when he was sure she was steady, he removed his hands and gave her a little space.
“I’m Jack Hughes Von Maughanhoe.”
“Melanie,” she said as she looked up at the top of the stairs to see Aunt Nellie looking down at her with
“Oh, there you are, dear.” She met Melanie’s eyes and wiggled her fingers at her as if to say hello, but Melanie felt a little calmer. She no longer wanted to ask what was going on.
“Jack, be a dear and go find Andrews for me. I’ll help Miss Melanie up the stairs. I’m afraid she isn’t feeling well after her travels here. Arriving so late and not feeling up to mingling is just too bad. We’ll let her rest and I can make the proper introductions tomorrow.”
Jack bowed and took a step backward down the staircase. He met Melanie’s eyes once more. He bowed in acknowledgment before turning to do what Aunt Nellie had asked.
She watched him leave and then turned to find Nellie had silently descended the stairs until she was right next to her.
“I suppose you have a few questions.” Aunt Nellie placed her hand on Melanie’s and patted it.
“Unfortunately, with the ball happening downstairs, I don’t have time, which is ironic since I have all the time in the world at my disposal.” She giggled. “Sorry, dear. I don’t have time to explain what happened, but I’m going to give you a cup of tea and some dinner in your room if you’re hungry. I’ll come back soon to answer your
questions, but I’ll let Agnes explain some of it first. Now, for the rest of the night, I’m going to have to ask you not
to leave your room.” Aunt Nellie patted Melanie’s arm again, and Melanie felt herself agreeing with Nellie’s request.
When she got to the room, she eagerly accepted the cup of tea and took a sip. Feeling instantly better, she tipped her head back and drained the rest of it.
“Ah, good,” the woman who’d given it to her said. “Now, let me first off start by saying, welcome to the year
of our Lord, eighteen hundred fifty-one

Melanie wishes there were real gentlemen still in the world. Her dating life is a joke so when she hears about a week-long Regency immersion experience at Twickenham Manor in England she happily books a trip. After an almost perfect week, and wishing she could prolong her stay, Melanie is surprised to find herself transported back in time to Victorian England in the year 1851.

Main Tropes

  • Time Travel
  • Cinderella
  • Friend's to Lovers
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