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A Letter from a Friend

It is less than two weeks before Emily Collicott will find herself on a coach and headed for her first season in London. The prospect of balls, routs, afternoon teas, and well-timed promenades through St. James’s Park are enough to make her catch her breath, but even before she has begun to pack her trunks, the first gossip has already reached her fingertips, by way of a letter from her good friend, Josephine…

My dear Em,

I hope this letter finds you well – and hopefully arrives in your hands before you’ve departed from Cornwall, or else all of these splotches and crossed lines will be for naught! But what news these cramped fingers bring to you! I would wait until you arrive next month, but gossip is such an ephemeral thing I fear that by the time this letter is posted my words will already carry a tinge of staleness at their edges.

Now, to cut through the rest of the tedious salutations and wishes for your health and wellness, I will leap ahead and tell you that a certain Lord Marbley will be making his return to London society within the same week your coach should come trundling up to our doorstep.

Of course, you do not know who Lord Marbley is! Neither did I, until I was informed by no less than three giggling young ladies who swooned and simpered and fluttered their eyelashes over freshly-pinched cheeks as if Marbley himself were about to sweep through the door and propose marriage to one or all of them. Goodness, I thought I would have to administer smelling salts before they had finished their tale.

But should we encounter this Lord Marbley at any point during your sojourn in town, I am told we are supposed to find ourselves astonished by his handsome visage, that we shall nearly drown in the shadow cast upon us by his height and the breadth of his shoulders, and that should he dare to even smile or glance in our direction, we may not be capable of composing ourselves.

Well! I thought I must tell you all of this in order to prepare you for what you shall encounter while you are here! You must not believe half of what is told to you, and of the other half, you would do well to prune away most of it as pure exaggeration. Then, perhaps, you might find yourself with some small kernel of the truth.

Lord Marbley, I’m sure, will have something to recommend him. A fortune, perhaps, though no doubt nothing like the allusions to Croesus that have been bandied about every time his name comes up in conversation. And will he be handsome? That fact must depend on the fortune, for the greater his wealth, the more pleasing to the eye he will likely be. Heaven help him if he is a pauper, for not a single mother or daughter will deign to give him a second glance!

And I am sure we will discover every detail about his time in France, whether we wish to or not. Rumors have already begun to circulate that it was something scandalous that took him away from England in the first place, but again, I’ve no doubt that the truth is not nearly as fascinating or scurrilous as most everyone would wish it to be, and we shall be left yawning behind our fans, wondering why there was such a commotion surrounding his much-heralded return to our shores.

But here I am, already to the end of the page, so I will leave you with the briefest of farewells and wishes for your good health and safe travels that politeness will allow. Until next month!

Yours, etc.

Josephine

The Bride Price

To save her family from scandal, Emily Collicott must marry.

Ruined in her first season in London, she is given no choice but to wed her father’s pick for a husband, or be cast out from her home. Emily agrees to marry William Hazlitt, a man she hardly knows. But William remembers her. Growing up as a tenant on her father’s estate, he admired her from afar, their lives kept separate first by class, and then by loss.

Emily seeks to begin a new life with this quiet man to whom she finds herself wedded. But the scandal she escaped in London soon finds her again, the very man who destroyed her reputation threatening to tear down the happiness she’s found with her new husband. To keep from losing everything, she must either make a deal with a devil… or learn how to defeat one.

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Meet Quenby Olson

Quenby Olson lives in Central Pennsylvania where she writes, homeschools, glares at baskets of unfolded laundry, and chases the cat off the kitchen counters. After training to be a ballet dancer, she turned towards her love of fiction, penning everything from romance to fantasy, historical to mystery. She spends her days with her husband and children, who do nothing to dampen her love of the outdoors, immersing herself in historical minutiae, and staying up late to watch old episodes of Doctor Who.

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Sssh, you did not hear it from me, but…

London, England 1817

Word within the ton is that the Duchess of Roxborough, the Wicked Widow, has finally given up her wicked ways, smitten with the Earl of Cumberland. I’ve been told in confidence that she is ready to marry again. Silly woman, she should have done her homework. It’s such a pity because I have it on good authority that the Earl is not the marrying kind…A Love To Remember, August 29th release.

Rose Deverill the Duchess of Roxborough would like to scratch out the gossip-monger’s eyes. The fact the scandalous note bears the hallmark of truth certainly rubs salt in her wounds. Can’t a woman conduct a love affair without half the ton having an opinion?

What the vicious lady who penned her poison words doesn’t know, is that Philip Flagstaff, the Earl of Cumberland doesn’t have an aversion to her. They have been friends since childhood and lovers for over two years.

Unfortunately, for Rose, who was widowed seven years ago after an unhappy marriage, she became adamant that she would never marry again. She had her son, and her freedom, and so she set about cultivating an unsavory reputation to put off prospective husband hunters after her pedigree and money. She never dreamed Philip would ever become her lover, let alone that she would fall in love with him.

The gossips have painted her in a very unflattering, scandalous light and she is heartbroken to think she has ruined her reputation to the point Philip’s family would not condone a marriage.

Surely Philip does not hold her past against her? He needs to marry. What makes her stomach churn is the fact she’s been waiting two years and still he has not proposed.

Could the gossips be right? Her reputation has ruined her chance at being his wife? Or worse still, maybe he doesn’t love her at all? 

Here’s a snippet from A Love To Remember (book #7 in the Disgraced Lords series):

Wilson,” Philip said when the man entered the room, “please arrange for a bath to be drawn for me in here, and one for Her Grace in her dressing room.”

“Very good, my lord.” Wilson bowed and left.

Rose liked Wilson. The man had been Robert’s valet. After his master’s death he had asked to stay and valet for Philip. He was the soul of discretion and—no matter where he found her—he treated her with genuine respect. He certainly accepted her presence here in Philip’s room.

Philip moved round to her side of the large four-poster bed and held a robe out to her.

“Here, my sweet,” he said. “You’re right. We should be ready and waiting for our guests when they arrive. Cook has planned a light supper in the drawing room as I suspect they will be tired from the journey, and Drake will be eager to see you.”

He escorted her to the door linking his master suite to her rooms. Wherever they stayed, he always gave her rooms connecting with his. He never tried to hide her away, or make her feel ashamed that they were lovers.

He pressed a brief kiss on her lips and then gave her a gentle push into her room. “I’ll be in the study when you are ready. Collect me on the way to the drawing room and we’ll greet our guests together. I promise I’ll be out of my sulk by then. Rose”—he hesitated, then continued—“dearest Rose, I am truly grateful that you’ve come all the way to Scotland to be with me for these weeks. I have missed you.”

Then he stepped back, letting her close the door.

Rose inwardly smiled as she did so, and then called for her maid.

I have missed you.

This was why she stayed with him, even while hoping for more. Philip had always owned a piece of her heart. In moments like this he made her feel like the most special woman in the world.

I have missed you.

Not I love you. He’d never said he loved her. But then she’d never talked of love, either. It didn’t matter. He treated her better than many men treated their wives, or mistresses, and actions spoke louder than any words could.

When the bath was drawn and ready Rose slipped into the soothing heated water. How she wished she were not such a coward. She wished she could tell him what was in her heart, but her years of being the person who ended affairs and tried to ensure no one fell in love with her, had taught her the signs.

Philip didn’t want her love. He wanted her company, her intelligence, her beauty, and her presence in his bed. That was all.

The truth was that one day he would have to marry. He was, after all, an earl. For a moment, alone in her tub, she wanted to weep. But duchesses didn’t weep over hard truths. All she could hope was that, when Philip chose a wife, he chose her. If he didn’t, she hoped her heart was strong enough to become an impenetrable fortress, or her world would crumble to dust.

About A Love To Remember:

A fiercely independent duchess and a brooding, reclusive earl are tested by the demands of desire in this unforgettable romance from the USA Today bestselling author of A Kiss of Lies and A Night of Forever.

For Rose Deverill, one husband was enough. As the wealthy widow of the Duke of Roxborough, she has cultivated an unsavory reputation meant to discourage wife hunters. Thanks to a string of steamy affairs, Rose is perfectly content to be known by polite society as the “Wicked Widow”—until she’s reunited with the man she fell in love with at age fifteen. Their bedroom encounters are scorching, but it breaks Rose’s heart to wonder whether her reckless behavior ruined her for Philip Flagstaff.

The second son of the Earl of Cumberland, Philip never wanted the title. But after Philip’s older brother, Robert, follows him into the Battle of Waterloo, his worst fears come to pass. Now Robert lies in a soldier’s grave, and Philip is determined never to pass on the inheritance to children of his own. Then Rose appears, soothing the pain with her delightful curves and passionate kisses. The notorious Duchess seems to want nothing from him—and yet Philip has never ached to give a woman more.

Buy links: A Love To Remember

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Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author, Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Evans is a three-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand with her dogs Brandy and Duke.

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