Lady Constance Whittles made her way across the crowded ballroom after finishing a lively dance with none other than the dashing Lord Digby Osgood. She had taken delight with the free time allotted her since she no longer worked at the bookshop. She was more than please with any opportunity to get to know the gentleman further. She might as well take advantage of every moment she could spend in his company before she began her new position at Miss Clemens’s Oxford Street Book Palace & Tea Rooms.

Digby led her over to a chair near a window where a slight breeze blew in through the open balcony doors. “Wine or punch?” he asked once she was seated.

“Punch would be divine,” she said with a parched throat.

“I will be right back. Do you mind if I have a brief conversation with Frederick before I return? I see he just arrived with Margaret?”

“By all means, go right ahead. I shall be fine here watching the dancing until your return.”

He gave a brief bow and disappeared through the crowded room while Constance snapped open her fan to bring relief to her flushed face. She was not sitting alone long before she heard the quiet whisperings of two women behind her in the darkened entryway. She did not mean to overhear their conversations but they made no attempt to quiet their voices. Most likely they thought the music would dim their gossiping from traveling any further than between them.

“How could you not have heard such distressing news, Abigail?”

A loud sigh was heard. “Good heavens, Prudence. You have the latest news on any given hour of the day. How am I supposed to keep up with you on whatever bit of gossip that is none of my business in the first place?”

With a discreet glance behind her, Constance held back the urge to roll her eyes. The Danver sisters… She had met them on several occasions in the bookshop. They were relatively harmless creatures, yet the elder of the two had a penchant for wanting to share whatever tidbit was been bandied about without much thought. Thankfully her younger sibling kept her in check.

“This is not gossip but fact and is regarding the son of our hosts,” Prudence continued.

“Lord Drayton?”

“His brother is too far young to be of much interest… yet. Of course this is about none other than Neville Quinn.” The sound of a small slap was heard. “What was that for? You hurt my arm.”

“You are over exaggerating, I barely touched you. Besides, beware you are not overheard addressing him so informally lest you wish to be the next one people are talking about,” Abigale scolded.

“Pish, posh! I think not. Besides, I would not dare let my reputation be ruined because I was having an affair.”

“Whatever are you talking about, Prudence?

“Honestly, Abigail, do you know nothing of what is going on around you?”

“Apparently not, but I have the distinct feeling you shall fill me in.”

“Lord Drayton is having an affair with a married woman.”

Laughter came from the younger sister. “Is that all? Look inside, sister. Half the men in that room are probably having an affair or have taken a mistress.”

“But Abigail, do you not wish to hear with whom he─”

“No, not really,” Abigail stated. “Let us return to the ball. I am sure we can find something more interesting to converse about.”

“No husband of mine would ever dare have an affair on me,” Prudence muttered.

“If my husband attempted such, I would see him gelded. He would not be much use to anyone after such a fate,” Abigail added with a laugh.

The two women moved on leaving Constance to ponder their words, not that she would be one to spread their tale further. She noticed when Lord Drayton entered the room with two other gentlemen Constance was unfamiliar with. He looked on edge as though he took no pleasure at being in attendance at his parent’s event. He gave a meager smile towards his mother before moving from Constance’s view.

Lord Digby returned with her punch and after a few sips, they moved onto the dance floor. The Danver sister’s conversation still lingered in her mind causing Constance to wonder the fate of the poor woman who must have stolen Lord Drayton’s heart.

This is an original piece by Sherry Ewing for her upcoming release. Nothing But Time: A Family of Worth, Book One is available for pre-order for $2.99. Release date: May 16, 2017. You can learn more about Sherry on her page here with the Bluestocking Belles or on her website at: www.SherryEwing.com.

Blurb:

They will risk everything for their forbidden love…

When Lady Gwendolyn Marie Worthington is forced to marry a man old enough to be her father, she concludes love will never enter her life. Her husband is a cruel man who blames her for his own failings. Then she meets her brother’s attractive business associate, and all those longings she had thought gone forever suddenly reappear.

A long-term romance holds no appeal for Neville Quinn, Earl of Drayton until an unexpected encounter with the sister of the Duke of Hartford. Still, he resists giving his heart to another woman, especially one who belongs to another man.

Chance encounters lead to intimate dinners, until Neville and Gwendolyn flee to Berwyck Castle at Scotland’s border hoping beyond reason their fragile love will survive the vindictive reach of Gwendolyn’s possessive husband. Before their journey is over, Gwendolyn will risk losing the only love she has ever known.

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Bio:

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical & time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Beau Monde & the Bluestocking Belles. Sherry is currently working on her next novel and when not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. You can learn more about Sherry online here:

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