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A Sister’s Remorse

Lady Gwendolyn, Countess of Drayton entered her older brother’s townhouse and handed her parasol to Edmond’s butler. She should not be out this morning, not in her delicate condition, but she had to ensure her brother’s welfare.

“Is he home, Edgar?” she asked with familiarity. Her brother’s butler had been with the Worthington family for longer than Gwendolyn could even recall.

“He is, my lady, and in his study going over the accounts,” he replied. “If you would follow me…”

“No need, Edgar, but if you could have Mrs. McDaniel’s brew some tea I would be most grateful.”

She did not wait for a reply but made her way towards her brother’s study. She could not wait to gloat over the fact that for once she was not the subject of this morning’s gossip in that horrendous rag, the Teatime Tattler. She had not taken time to read the morning paper herself but instead had hurried across town instead. A smirk of satisfaction turned up the corners of her mouth before she opened the door.

One look at Edmond Worthington, 9th Duke of Hartford and her smile fell as she rushed across the room to his side. His head rose from his desk as she came near. Bloodshot eyes met hers and it was obvious her brother had been far into the half-filled brandy near at hand.

“I have lost her, Gwen,” he slurred before rubbing his hand across his eyes as though that alone would clear his vision. “How shall I get her back?”

All thoughts of teasing her brother left her when she placed her arm around his shoulder and leaned down to kiss his cheek. “By talking to her, of course.”

“She will not give me the time of day. Probably deserve it given what she saw,” he muttered before pointing to the paper upon his desk. “And those damn Danver sisters! Why they cannot find someone else to gossip about is beyond me. They continue to spread their tales hoping to be the center of attention.”

“Forget about them, Edmond. No one will believe whatever malicious gossip they are spreading this week. Who reads such nonsense anyway?”

His brow rose at the implication, his ducal stare just as unnerving as always despite being well into his cups at such an ungodly hour of the morn. “Everyone who is anyone, Gwen. You know that first hand,” he whispered, reaching for the decanter.

She pushed the crystal away and scooped up the paper but not before pursing the few lines open for her to read.

This reporter has learned from the “D” sisters that a certain Duke of H has been caught in a compromising situation by his fiancé at a recent house party. This would hardly be of much interest except the lady who was found sprawled in his lap was none other than his ex-mistress – or is she really an “ex”? Inquiring minds will eagerly await news of how the rest of this story unfolds…

Remorse filled her at her early thoughts to rub whatever news focused on Edmond today in his face. She threw the paper into the hearth and enjoyed a moment of satisfaction whilst she watched it burned. She then went and pulled the bell cord.

When a maid entered, she went towards her brother to help him rise. “Send for my brother’s valet and have food sent up to His Grace’s bedroom,” she ordered. It was time for her brother to pull himself together.

Coming this summer… One Moment in Time: A Family of Worth, Book Two

In the meantime, dive into Gwendolyn’s story in Nothing But Time: A Family of Worth, Book One, currently #FREE at online retailers.

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.

Excerpt:

Lady Gwendolyn Marie Worthington strode across the floor of her brother’s study, carelessly threw her bonnet onto a high backed leather chair, and crossed her arms. The missive she held in her hand had driven all thoughts of a trip to the milliner with her friend Lady Calliope out of her head. Her shoe tapped a rapid staccato on the wooden floorboards. Her brother remained indifferent to her demand for his attention whilst he continued writing. The insufferable lout did not even have the decency to acknowledge her presence in his pursuit to finish his correspondence. She cleared her throat, hoping to gain his notice.

He continued whatever business he was attending to without a pause, except to say, in a barely civil and flat monotone, “You did not knock.” His disinterest in her presence served as a reminder of his place within his household, as if she could ever forget she was subject to his directives.

Her brother had had the arrogance to send a servant to deliver his note to her bedroom. He should have come there himself to speak with her, given the news he wished to impart. She tossed the crumbled parchment onto his desk. He, in turn, swatted it aside like it was nothing but a pesky insect.

“You have been given your instructions, Gwendolyn. We have nothing further to discuss.”

“Do not take that tone with me, Edmond. You may hold our father’s title, but that in no way gives you leave to treat me as if I must comply with demands such as these,” she fumed. Where had her carefree older brother of years past gone? Surely some measure of the young man she had adored in their youth lurked behind the expressionless mask of this unfeeling cad before her?

Edmond Gerard Worthington, 9th Duke of Hartford, set his quill down. The blue eyes he at last bothered to turn upon her were just as cold as his voice. Since he had inherited his rightful title of duke after their father’s passing, along with all the responsibilities such a position held, Gwendolyn hardly recognized her brother. She swallowed hard, knowing she could not easily sway this uncaring man. Still, she had to try.

“Mother will hear of this,” she warned. “She will not allow her only daughter to be wed to a man in order to fulfill some business deal made years ago.”

“Mother is fully aware of the obligations that must be met. I should not have to explain how things of this nature are done, sister. Arranged marriages happen every day within the ton. Yours will be no exception.”

“Brandon, then. Surely my younger brother cares what happens to his sister since you have made it painfully obvious you do not,” Gwendolyn retorted sharply.

“He is my brother, too, if you would care to remember.” Edmond sighed heavily. “Both mother and Brandon have been summoned to return to London immediately. The marriage contract was agreed years ago and bears the signatures of all parties, including your own. You would have already been wed, had it not been for father’s death.” Edmond leaned his elbows upon his desk, fingers forming a steeple as if contemplating his next counter to whatever argument she could muster.

She quickly thought of the first excuse that crossed her mind. “I am still in mourning,” Gwendolyn declared through clenched lips.

His eyes roamed down the length of her pink floral gown and his brows rose in unsuppressed amusement. “Your mourning period is long since over, as your garments surely attest. Resign yourself to wedding Lord Sandhurst.”

She stomped her foot in frustration. “Bernard Sandhurst is a lecherous old man and ancient enough to be my father.” She barely held back a cry of despair. “How can you condemn me to a life with that horrible person, however long the vermin will still remain on this earth?”

“I am doing the best I can to save this family from financial ruin. You should be grateful Sandhurst will still have you, given the limited amount I could spare for your dowry. I will not be swayed in my decision, Gwendolyn, and Sandhurst can no longer be put off. He has all but stated his time waiting for you is over. He has been as patient as one could ask of a man getting on in years. You are now twenty years of age and should have been wed with children of your own by now.”

Thoughts of being intimate with a man who repulsed Gwendolyn made her shudder. The few times she had had the displeasure of being alone in the same room with Lord Bernard Sandhurst, he had mauled her with his cool clammy hands. He reminded her of a fish, and an unappealing one at that.

“Edmond─”

Her brother cut her off with a wave of his hand. “Father made this decision and you must abide by it, along with the rest of us.” Edmond picked up his quill and examined the tip before dipping it into the inkwell.

“You are a duke, Edmond. Surely you can pay the man off so I can find a worthy man to love.” She silently pleaded with him, and, for the briefest instant, she held the smallest measure of hope he would accede to her wishes.

His piercing blue eyes leveled on her but briefly. “Love is for fools. Better to marry for wealth and a decent position in society than to lose your heart to such a frivolous emotion as love.” Edmond returned to his work, the quill scratching across the parchment. The sound echoed in her head as though the missive sealed her fate. “Resign yourself to your marriage Gwendolyn. Sandhurst has made arrangements for the wedding to take place two weeks hence.”

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Bio:

Sherry Ewing is proud to be one of the Bluestocking Belles. Sherry picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. 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 her on the tab above or visit her on one of these social media outlets.

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There is Always More to the Story

Dear Readers

They say women are the biggest gossips but the latest scandal doing the rounds, started in the London Clubs, Whites in particular.

Lord Glennvale was overheard telling all who would listen that my good friend, Lord C, one of London’s latest rash of handsome rakes, was known to prefer to watch—watch other couples in the throes of passion that is.

gossipIt was said Lord C had interrupted the Duke of Sandringham with his latest mistress and had stayed to watch. Lord C’s perversions seem to be tolerated by many of his peers, but most of society is aghast at his behavior.

I can assure you, upon my honor, that there is a good reason why Lord C acts in such a scandalous manner, however the secret is not mine to tell.

However, Lord C has recently been seen in the company of the Duke of Sandringham’s widowed sister, and the likes of Lord Glennvale and his cronies are at a loss as to why Sandringham has not forbidden such a match. Does Lady P know more than she is telling? Or is there some reason why she has sought the handsome rake out?

The mystery deepens, and I can reveal that the lady bid against Lord C at the latest Sotheby auction. It was quite the battle…why did they both want this particular painting? Even I’m at a loss…

Yours truly, Lord Helmstone.

GossipDrawn To The Marquess (Imperfect Lords #2)– August 2018 Pre-order

Destined to go blind, a rake sets his sights on the toast of society, lighting a fire of passion that scorches the night, in this captivating novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans.

Stephen Hornsby, the Marquess of Clevedon, has one goal: to see every exquisite thing he can before he goes blind. His greatest joy, watching a woman shuddering in the throes of passion, will be gone. But before the darkness descends, he is determined to seduce a magnificent widow, Lady Penelope Fisherton. Unfortunately, his rakish reputation has preceded him; Lady Penelope spurns his advances. Being a man who relishes a challenge, however, her reluctance adds only luster to his desire for the last beautiful sight he’ll ever see.

Considered the belle of London society, Lady Penelope was married to a scoundrel who cared for no one but himself. Now that she’s free, she wants nothing to do with love, passion, or desire—emotions that abandoned her with a cruel husband. So why does her body react when Stephen smiles? As much as she’d like to avoid the rogue, her brother-in-law wants her fortune, and he’ll kill to get it. Stephen is willing to help, but he’ll take only one thing in return: Her. In his bed.

 Excerpt:

 A bilious sensation churned in Penelope’s stomach. She’d learned his lordship wanted a painting coming up for sale in this auction. She had to buy the painting he wanted or else she would have nothing to barter with.

Unfortunately, Lord Clevedon was extremely wealthy. He was a man who would not need money, so why else would he help her? The painting was the key. 

She would win it.

She’d brought six-hundred pounds with her. More than enough for a painting valued at only one-hundred pounds. She hugged her reticule tightly. Being the Duke of Sandringham’s sister would help if she needed credit, but paying too much for a landscape from a relatively unknown painter, would arouse curiosity. As would buying a painting Lord Clevedon wanted. The last thing she needed right now was the gossips announcing to everyone that she was in town and engaging in a bidding war with the Marquess of Clevedon.

Just then Lady Charlotte retook her seat. Her friend was there for morale support. It was Charlotte who, because she always came to town for the season when Penelope didn’t, had ascertained the identity of Clevedon’s current mistress and allowed them to learn as much as possible about the rake. Luckily for them Lord Clevedon had recently ended his liaison with Lady Diana and she was so heartbroken that she simply wanted to talk about the man all day. That is how Penelope learned about his obsession with the Wilson landscape.

“I see Clevedon’s here. I perfectly understand how Lady Diana ended up in the man’s bed. I must admit I’m very tempted myself.” At Penelope’s alarmed look at her widowed friend, Charlotte added, “Of course not until he has helped you.”

“You may play with him all you like as soon as I’m finished with him.”

Penelope saw Charlotte take a second look. “I shall certainly look forward to that.” She giggled. “And not simply because with his help you’ll be safe. By the way, no woman is safe with that man. He’d tempt a nun.”

“Stop looking at him. I don’t want to be noticed.”

“When will you learn darling, that a little flirtation gets widowed women like us almost anything we want. You could have him twisted round your little finger with a smile.”
Penelope pinched the bridge of her nose and wished she were at home as a headache began to pound behind her eyes. 

“If this plan doesn’t work,” her friend continued, “then you could always offer yourself.”

Her head jerked up and her jaw tightened. “No. I will have to find another way. I will never allow a man power over me again.”

“Oh, darling,” Charlotte turned to stare at Lord Clevedon once more. “I suspect you’ll actually enjoy his bed. But if you’re that certain then there is always your brother.

He would help surely?”

She shook her head until her bonnet almost dislodged. She had her reasons for wanting Lord Clevedon. To pacify her friend she uttered, “If my brother gets involved…Sandringham would think he could control me too. I want to live my life, my way. No men commanding me.”

Charlotte sighed. “Then you best hope this man can save you, painting or no painting. With his reluctance for anything more permanent than a couple of nights of pleasure from his lovers, even if he does request you in his bed, it won’t likely be for long.”

That did not make the idea of intimacies with the Marquess of Clevedon any more appealing.

 Pre-order links: Drawn to the Marquess

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Kobo              http://bit.ly/2I3QDNG
Google Play   http://bit.ly/2JGtb6r

About the Author

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.

You can keep up with Bronwen’s news by visiting her website

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Heard From Behind a Potted Fern

Eavesdropping“But Maud, all men have their bit of muslin on the side. My sister told me she knows from experience.”

The woman attempted to sound worldly, but in Harold Wagner’s opinion, her breathless tone sounded more naively thrilled. He leaned one shoulder against the wall behind the potted fern, tilted his head toward the conversation, and pulled out a notebook. Sam Clemens paid well for tittle-tattle and this might yield some sellable gems. The fourth son of a miserly earl needed funds in any way he could get them. If it shocked one over-ripe daughter of the haut-ton, it would probably sell.

“Oh, who cares what a captain gets up to in his bedroom in some heathenish country, Eunice,” the other woman retorted.

EavesdroppingHarold Wagner might, if what the man got up to was exotic enough. Unfortunately, this Maud creature hadn’t much imagination.

“What I heard is worse,” the one named Maud continued.

Worse? Now he found it interesting. He poised a pencil over his notebook.

“There were children!”

Harold’s pencil dropped. Good grief! Of course, there were children.

“Isn’t that always the way? My sister explained—”

“I can guess what sort of nonsense your sister Hortensia told you, Eunice, but listen to me. The mistress was—” She dropped her voice for dramatic effect. “—black.”

Eunice must have looked puzzled because Maud sounded disgusted when she didn’t get the reaction she expected. “You know. Native. Bengali.”

“I don’t see—”

“Think about it, Eunice. The children…”

It took several moments, but Eunice caught Maud’s meaning. “Oh! You mean they are native, or half.”

Another one back from India, leaving his cast-offs behind, Harold thought. He shrugged and recorded it. Sam still might buy it if he had a name to go with it.

“The worst of it is, I heard he flaunts them,” Maud went on, warming to the story. “He sailed to Suez on The Pharaoh before taking the Overland Route My friend Miriam said Captain Wheatly gave them the run of the ship. She called them cunning and encroaching little girls. The older one had her nose in everything.”

Wheatly rung a bell. Harold searched his memory for the family.

“What about the mistress, Maud?” Eunice asked. She managed to make “mistress” sound like something disgusting found on the bottom of her dancing slipper.

“You mean the native one? Miriam says he left her or she died. Must have died because he only brought the girls. No, Fred Wheatly traveled with some other woman, as white as you and I. Miriam says the way she fawned over the girls, he must pay her well.”

Harold scribbled it down, “traveled with a woman…”

Maud barely stopped for breath. “He established them in his cousin’s house, as bold as you please. I don’t care if his cousin is a duke, if he tries to bring them near decent people in London, I for one will give him the cut direct.”

Duke? That was it, of course. Wheatly is the family name of the Duke of Murnane. Harold placed him now. Fred Wheatly was always in trouble. He vaguely remembered him running off to India after some scrape. Related to the Earl of Chadbourn too, if Harold remembered right. Sam Clemens would pay for this little on-dit.

“Me too, Maud. Cut direct. I’ll lift my skirt if I see them on the street,” Eunice responded. “You don’t think he’d be seen in the city with his mistress do you?” she asked. “Wouldn’t that be delicious?”

One thought troubled Harold. Sam never published gossip about children. It was one of the bast—, er, the rogue’s few scruples. He brushed the concern aside. Oh yes. Sam would like this one, at least the mistress part. It won’t even take much embellishing.

~An excerpt from The Reluctant Wife~

Eavesdropping

Fred hated the fear in her eyes. My little warrior should never feel fear. He smoothed a hand over her head. “You managed quite well—too well to suit me—in Calcutta. The village is tiny, and Emma and Mary will be with you.”

“Everyone is different here. I don’t look like them. What if they stare at me?”

Ah. One thing he couldn’t prevent. She managed the horrid headmistress in Calcutta, didn’t she? Fred swallowed hard. He wanted to scream, “Chase them away. Shout at them,” but he kept that to himself. He could think of nothing constructive to tell her.

Mary answered when he failed to. “Easy. We know how to outstare anyone, don’t we, Emma?”

Meghal, intrigued, turned toward her cousin, and Mary babbled on. “First we pretend we don’t see them. Then we raise our chin, thus.” She demonstrated a perfect aristocratic pose, causing Meghal to giggle.

“Then—and this is the good part—we stare at them as if we can see right through them and they aren’t even there. Emma taught me. They don’t exist until we want them to, right, Emma?”

Emma’s lips twitched. “That is precisely how it is done. However, you must remember that this weapon is powerful. It must only be used when someone is very, very rude, but never—well perhaps rarely, I can think of exceptions—on a married lady or an older person.”

Fred watched the girls with growing amusement. His nieces would turn his daughters into formidable young women. They don’t need me.

About the Book

When all else fails, love succeeds…

Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.

All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband, and with a great lout of a captain who can’t figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.

Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he let down so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?

It is available in Kindle format free with Kindle Unlimited or for purchase as ebook or in print:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
BooksAMillion

The Reluctant Wife is Book 2 in Caroline Warfield’s Children of Empire Series.

8

Three cousins, who grew up together in the English countryside, have been driven apart by deceit and lies. (You may guess a woman was involved!) Though they all escape to the outposts of The British Empire, they all make their way home to England, facing their demons and finding love and the support of women of character and backbone. They are

  • Randolph Baldwin Wheatly who has become a recluse, and lives in isolation in frontier Canada intent on becoming a timber baron, until a desperate woman invades his peace. (The Renegade Wife)
  • Captain Frederick Arthur Wheatly, an officer in the Bengal army, who enjoys his comfortable life on the fringes until his mistress dies, and he’s forced to choose between honor and the army. (The Reluctant Wife)
  • Charles, Duke of Murnane, tied to a miserable marriage, throws himself into government work to escape bad memories. He accepts a commission from the Queen that takes him to Canton and Macau, only to face his past there. (The Unexpected Wife)

Who are their ladies?

  • Meggy Campeau, the daughter of a French trapper and Ojibwe mother who has made mistakes, but is fierce in protecting her children. (The Renegade Wife)
  • Clare Armbruster, fiercely independent woman of means, who is determined to make her own way in life, but can’t resist helping a foolish captain sort out his responsibilities. (The Reluctant Wife)
  • Zambak Hayden, the eldest child of the Duke of Sudbury, knows she’d make a better heir than her feckless younger brother, but can’t help but try to protect the boy to the point of following him to China. She may just try to sort out the Empire’s entangled tea trade–and its ugly underpinning, opium, while she’s there. (The Unexpected Wife)

Book 3, The Unexpected Wife, will be released on July 25.

Here’s a short video about it:
https://www.facebook.com/carolinewarfield7/videos/924791187669849/

For more about the series and all of Caroline’s books, look here:
https://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/

Caroline Warfield

About the Author

Caroline Warfield grew up in a peripatetic army family and had a varied career (largely around libraries and technology) before retiring to the urban wilds of Eastern Pennsylvania, where divides her time between writing Regency and Victorian Romance, and seeking adventures with her grandson and the prince among men she married.

 

 

 

Duke Buys Widow

This morning the Teatime Tattler received reports that the Duke of Ravensmere—in an unusual gesture—outbid a salacious rogue for the lunch basket of Lady Samantha Winston, a merry widow, who has captured his interest and his pocketbook for the outrageous sum of one thousand pounds. One gathers it was all for a good cause, but one has to wonder what other plans the noble duke has for this lady? Follow this column for more information tomorrow. Tonight they attend the fancy dress ball where under our reporter will reveal all that transpires under his curious eyes. Is it possible the duke is smitten with the beautiful green-eyed copper-haired lady?

A Later Update:

DukeYour reporter fears that Lady Samantha Winston gazed over the Duke of Ravensmere’s shoulder and caught sight of said reporter leaning against a tree scribbling on my small pad of parchment. She was heard to whisper to a friend,  “Who was he and was he a friend or enemy? If a foe, what evil intent did he have? And who was the victim?”  Forced to move away, I gave up. What indeed happened at the so-called charitable auction? And what will be the outcome?

An excerpt from ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE

Her attention returned to the Reverend Carlson who stepped to the podium and announced the auction of ladies lunch baskets would begin for the Winston School Foundation’s charitable event. The Reverend read the individual menus and managed to make each sound like a gastronomical feast. One hundred pounds would not be an uncommon sum to be offered and accepted. When it came to Lady Samantha’s turn, she twirled a curl around her finger perhaps to calm her uneasiness.

The Reverend pounded his gavel again and asked for the first bid. Sir Roger Dudley, a well-known libertine, offered one hundred pounds. A silence thundered through the crowd. To the Raven, the Duke of Ravensmere, it appeared a moment of uncertainty crossed Samantha’s sweet face. Their conversation about rakes and disreputable men came to his mind. Her worst fears were now at her doorstep. He gazed upon hands that clutched the handle of her basket with whitened knuckles. Raven took note of this and perceived Samantha as vulnerable. An impossible urge to protect her came over him. She’d placed herself in this position. Damnation.

Anyone who looked as she did in that dress should expect men to offer for her and the picnic lunch. Beautiful and seductive, mere words would be insufficient to compliment her….

Samantha’s wide eyes seemingly implored Raven to help. How could he not come to her rescue?

He raised his walking stick and caught the attention of the minister. He spoke out with deep clarity, “And five pounds, Reverend.”

Lord Dudley peered at the bidder, nodded, and raised his sum to two hundred pounds.

Raven lifted his walking stick. “And five pounds, Reverend.”

Lord Dudley appeared amused and raised the bid to three hundred pounds.

Raven raised his walking stick. “And five pounds, Reverend.” The guests stopped their conversations to watch how the challenge would end.

Lord Dudley raised the bid to five hundred pounds.

The audience gasped at the extravagant sum.

Raven nodded. He stole a glance at Samantha, enjoying the experience. He raised his hand, and silence befell the group.

The Reverend asked, “And five pounds, Your Grace?” with a chuckle.

“No, good Reverend,” answered Raven. He engaged Samantha’s eyes. Her expression was one of blatant terror as her hand lay at her throat. He bestowed a knowing smile to calm her.

The auction appeared over and dreaded silence followed. The Reverend set about to announce the winner until Raven spoke in a resonant tone with the utmost alacrity, “I bid one thousand pounds.”

The hushed assembly looked almost in unison to Lord Dudley, who laughed. “Enough of this

amusement. No damn lunch is worth that kind of money,” he grumbled and walked toward the duke. “I capitulate, Your Grace. Good sport, don’t you think?”

Raven rose from the chair, handed the appropriate bank voucher to the Reverend, and stepped lively to Samantha and her picnic basket. “Shall we?” He extended his arm. Samantha clung to his left arm, and he became cognizant of her quaking. He took her expensive picnic basket in his right hand. “Stay calm. I’m here and you are under my protection. No harm will befall you.” Raven escorted her to a secluded table, which he had prearranged, and his name appeared on a place marker. It adhered to propriety while offering privacy.

“You did want me to offer, didn’t you?” Raven shook his head and grinned since he now admitted he had every intention of offering for her costly basket. He much wanted to be with the enchantress. Samantha enriched his life in ways he dared not imagine. He couldn’t remember a day he enjoyed more and looked forward to the evening.

Samantha flushed and said in a cool utterance,

“Thank you, Your Grace. You’ve saved me from a horrible fate and I am grateful.”

She lifted the lid of the basket, but he grasped her gloved hand with superb gentleness.

“Allow me. I can’t remember when I have enjoyed the outlay of so much money before. Of a

certain, there are no dull moments when you’re around. I do believe you are a sorceress. I couldn’t allow Lord Dudley to attempt to compromise you in any way.” To protect her at all costs became a necessity to him.

“As you have stated, it’s for a cherished cause, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Your Grace. Congratulations. However, I would remind you, I cannot be purchased with such ease.”

“Perish the thought. I’m well aware of the fact. I bid for a few hours of your time. Don’t read anything into my actions and let it discomfit you. If lunch with me is so distasteful, I am prepared to leave you alone.” He realized he was a bit curt, but it appeared with her, the conversation always held a challenge. Raven rose from the chair…

The gentle hand that restrained him relieved Raven. Samantha removed her gloves and placed them in her reticule. “I fear you might have misunderstood me,” she said with a sly smile. “I’m happy to be with such a handsome man at this event. Because of you, its success has exceeded any expectations. There will be sufficient funds for the school. I owe you a debt of gratitude.”

He made sure to use a soft tone of voice. “For a few hours, can we cease the verbal barbs and enjoy this repast?”

“Is it your intent to call a truce, Raven? We will be the talk of the ton. Harbinger tongues will wag and link our names together. I hope that doesn’t distress you.” She paused and gifted him a smile. “I want to enjoy this special moment with you and gaze into your amazing dark gray eyes. Yes, I would like a truce.” Her reached out to his.

About the Book: ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE

dukeWhen a spirited woman disrupts the world of a duke who follows the rules, sparks fly, passions ignite and planets collide.

   Reclusive, cold as ice, the politically powerful Raven, Duke of Ravensmere, denies love after the tragic deaths of his duchess and baby. He is bound by his vow never to allow love to enter his heart again. Samantha Winston permits him to seek refuge in her carriage in a time of need, and what started as a kiss in the name of safety, becomes something more pleasurable and not so safe after all. In spite of every caution, his interest escalates into unexpected desire.

   Samantha, a young widow with a secret, irreverent and high-spirited, has constructed impenetrable walls against all men. When she and Raven meet again, strong wills clash. Political intrigues and a dreaded nemesis place his life at risk, and Samantha finds herself in a dire predicament. All the while, passion soars.

   Can Samantha’s barriers fall with more kisses?

   Can Raven be released from his deathbed vow?

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Wild Rose Press  and order direct any of the five books.

About the Author, SANDRA MASTERS

From a humble beginning in Newark, NJ, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ, to the boardrooms of NYC, and a fantastic career for a broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, I have always traveled with pen and notebook. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. I’ve traded boardrooms for ballrooms, left my corporate world behind and never looked back. It was nothing I expected, but everything I dreamed. My current occupation is Living The Dream.

I am a storyteller. Gather round me, sip some chocolate cocoa, and allow me to transport you to where you never been. I have more yesterdays than tomorrows. I am a woman who has known many things content to look through a lens of make-believe to bring you romance.

WEBSITE

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

 

Does her husband know?

Edmond Worthington, 9th Duke of Hartford, set down the morning paper with a scowl. He had read the same paragraph more than a half dozen times. Unfortunately, the print did not change. He had sent for his sister Gwendolyn to join him. How like her to keep him waiting. They had not been on friendly terms since he had told her he must honor their father’s dictate that she wed.

He heard his butler opening the front door admitting his sister. “Good morning, my lady,” he said. “His Grace is waiting for you in the blue dining room.”

“Thank you, Giles,” Gwendolyn replied making her way into the room. She looked lovely this morning in a light pink frock printed with a tiny rosebud pattern. Taking off her bonnet, she placed it upon the table to look upon him. “Will this take long?” she asked with a raised brow. “I have an appointment will my dressmaker.”

He slid the paper in her direction. “Take a look… fifth page. You cannot miss it.”

“Really, Hartford… what is all the fuss about?”

He only nodded to the paper and peered at her over the rim of his teacup. Gwendolyn opened the paper to scan the contents. Her eyes widened in shock as she read.

This just in Gentle Readers…

The Teatime Tattler has found out from a most reliable source (aka the “D” sisters) that a certain married woman (Lady S) has been seen in the company of a man who is not her husband (Lord D). They may have started out walking side by side in Hyde Park, but the sisters insisted they saw Lord D kissing Lady S. This juicy tidbit for this correspondent could not go unpublished. Such an affair only makes us wonder if the lady’s husband is in the know…

“Good heavens!” she exclaimed, all but falling into a nearby chair.

Edmond stood before heading to the sideboard to pour his sister a cup of tea. “You really need to be more careful, Gwen, when you plan such a liaison. What if Sandhurst finds out?”

The cup rattled upon the saucer when she took a sip. “I did not plan this, Hartford. And how did Prudence and Abigail Danvers see us?”

“They are Society’s busybodies and have been known to let that rag, the Teatime Tattler, in on our family’s business. Anything they say should not come as a surprise.”

“What am I to do? Sandhurst will not be pleased…” she whispered.

“I am unsure if I should berate you for your foolishness or help see you out of this situation. I hope our brother Brandon was not involved with any of this.” Her downcast eyes told him all he needed to know. He cursed.

“Do not take this out on Brandon. He was only trying to help,” she pleaded.

“I suggest you cancel your appointment and head straight home. If you are lucky, Sandhurst will not see this scandal sheet… that is, if you can destroy the paper before he gets to it.”

Gwendolyn retrieved her bonnet, practically running towards the door. He called for his butler. “Send a message up to my brother’s room and inform him I wish to see him,” Edmond demanded.

Brandon had a fair amount of explaining to do. Edmond took another sip of his tea wondering what he would need to do next in order to keep their family reputation intact.


You can learn more about Gwendolyn’s story by reading Nothing But Time: A Family Worth, Book One. But Gwendolyn’s story is only the beginning. Look for Edmond’s journey to finding love in One Moment In Time: A Family of Worth, Book Two coming soon!

Nothing But Time: A Family of Worth,
Book One

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.

Excerpt:

Gwendolyn peeked through lowered lashes at the man who had held her attention. She had not meant to be caught staring at him but she could in no way pull her gaze from his. With a single glance, her heart fell, silently crying at the injustice of it all. No man should be so handsome, nor should she experience a connection with a complete stranger clear on the other side of the room. She gazed into the depths of her tea wondering if perhaps it was laced with something that caused her infatuation with a stranger.

 She had watched his companion leave their table and Gwendolyn needed to stifle a satisfied smile the moment he was left alone. His clothes suggested he was wealthy, for they were immaculate. His hair was a deep rich auburn and she could see where the light of the dining room reflected the hints of red within the depths of his locks. His eye color could not be determined from this distance but that did not matter in the least. He was the first man who had ever made her heart flip end over end. Such an emotion certainly never happened with her husband and she knew it ever would.

Buy Links:

Amazon US   |Amazon AU  |  Amazon BR  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon DE  |  Amazon ES  |  Amazon FR  |  Amazon IN  |  Amazon IT  |  Amazon JP  |  Amazon MX  |  Amazon NL  |  Amazon UK

NOTE:  Nothing But Time is currently enrolled in Kindle Unlimited but will soon be wide to all eRetailers.

Bio:

Sherry Ewing is proud to be a member of the Bluestocking Belles. She 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 and her published work on these social media outlets:

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