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Tell no one! A lady calling upon a gentleman in her nightrail?

I write to you today to tell you of a most outlandish tale I heard. That of the Whiskey King’s daughter. (I dare not say her name.) And that she visited the Duke of M—’s son in her nightrail!

Now I know that seems impossible, but one of her neighbors swears it was she who scampered out of her house toward the duke’s.

Who else could it be? That man has no other girl so bold.

Or I do believe it to be so. What say you of his second child?

***

THE RAVEN’S LAST BET in THE WEDDING WAGER

BUY LINK: 

https://books2read.com/u/3JZQLJ

 

Desperate Sara Fleming decides the only way to escape her father’s plan is to make her newest betrothed a bet he can’t refuse.

Never good at gambling, Harry Seymour bets he can find a better way to win her heart! 

But he better hurry!

 Harry Seymour is home from years of fighting abroad to clean up the mess his roguish brother left upon his untimely death. Worse, his father, the Duke of Meredith, demands Harry honor a deal he made with his best friend to marry the man’s eldest daughter…for money.

Harry, who’s loved Sara Fleming since she was four, has no problem marrying her. He never did, even when she was denied him because she was the Whiskey King’s daughter. But not for money. 

Sara cannot accept the bargain her father made with the duke. She’s already left two men at the altar because she didn’t love either one. And if she can’t wed Harry for love, she’ll marry no one. But she wagers she’ll walk away happy if Harry will do her the favor of ruining her. It’s a bet Harry can’t refuse.

Can he?

Excerpt, All rights reserved. Copyright Cerise DeLand 2022.

        “Listen to me, Sara. I have a plan. It won’t be one either of our fathers likes but it might work.”

She pulled away. Peering into his magnificent eyes clouded her judgement. His green-brown orbs reflected a sadness in the faint lights that matched her own. “Tell me.”

“We announce that we intend to marry others.”

“I’ve already left two men alone before the vicar. Now there’s this gossip in the Gazette—?”

“Forget those other two men. And hang them at the Gazette.”

She put a hand to her hip. “We’ll send them new stories. Marvelous. I dislike your thinking, Harry. Totally. Marry another? Ba! Precisely who did you have in mind?” 

He gave her a look that said he had the right answer. “A man who makes you tingle.”

“Of whom there is no one.” Which is a lie.

“For each woman, there is a man. A perfect match.”

“I’ve not found him in four years. Why now?”

“You will lure him.”

 By some folly, to be sure. “How?”

A wicked gleam lit those iridescent eyes. “With kisses.”

“You expect me to kiss men?”

He shrugged a shoulder. “How else will you discover the right fellow?”

“How else will I go down as a scarlet woman? I’ve climbed enough fences barring me because I am of the dreaded merchant class. Papa’s money might continue to buy me entry, but if I degrade myself further, no one will touch me!”

He tipped up his chin. “You will be discreet. I will help.”

“You’ll bar doors?”

“And divert traffic.”

She scowled at him. “You’ve been away much too long, sir. You think me so brave. I am different from that child who tagged along behind you and tucked frogs in your pants.”

He scoffed. “Remind me. Who came to me night before last in her nightrail?”

”Dressing gown.”

He waved that away. “Exactly my point.”

Exasperated, she huffed. “The fault, dear Harry, is not in our stars, but in myself.”

“I agree.”

Oh, he infuriated her! “I do not know how to kiss.”

“And so you will learn.”

Only one way. She could barely say it. “By doing.”

“Indeed.” He winked. “With me.”

That way lay disaster and hopeless ruin. She’d should return to this party, because this was hopeless. She’d given up wanting him so long ago. Or thought she had. She threw up her hands. “Absurd.”

“Is it?” He took a step toward her, so near she inhaled his scent, imbibed his familiar allure that she could not allow to thrill her. “You said my kiss left you with no…what is the word?”

“You know perfectly well the word.”

“Tickle?”

If only. “Tingle.”

“Well then, my darling.” With one hand he caught her wrist while he swept his other hand around her waist. “Let’s see if this fits the bill.”

“No, stop!” Wonderful. Now she sounded like the village crier. 

“There, there. Don’t be shy. An experiment, eh?” He lifted her hand toward his mouth. “Or shall we call it…” he murmured, as he put her index finger, fully gloved, against the neat cleft in his chin, “…a demonstration? Visible to the naked eye.”

He smiled. Or was that the show of teeth of a predator? A creature who…gloated? 

He caught the point of her glove between his long white incisors. The act of a male bent on taking a bite of her, he tugged. The fabric slid along her finger, silk on silk, a glissade of shivering delight. Her glove glided from her elbow in a silent skim of her nerves. She shivered.

He halted. Glanced up at her, those long dark lashes of his rising to reveal the facets of a Harry she’d never known. A ravenous devil appeared there, one who pulled at another fingertip, starving for more of her until her hand was bare. Nipping her third finger and the next, he sent tremors up her spine. Her mouth fell open as he took her smallest finger, fabric and all, and bathed the whole of it in his hot moist mouth. His tongue served as succor—and as torture. 

She panted as if she’d run a mile. Her gaze glued to his voracious teeth, she dare not look away or lose a second. What he gave, she took. If it was instruction, it was also a revelation. Though she knew not how to interpret his lips to her fingers as lips to lips, she reveled in whatever he’d choose next. 

With a yank of his teeth, he pulled and her glove slid slowly down her arm and fell to the floor. She was bare to the night air, chilled and burning, as he caught her fingers and pressed them to his open mouth. He cupped her elbow, and her wrist was once more his. Bare skin gave him no pause, but encouragement to lift her hand once more. 

He groaned and crushed her torso fully against him. His possession, from her breasts to her hips, left her pulsing. 

He put her palm to his lips and licked the hollow of her hand. She moaned at his luscious homage and her knees gave way. As he caught her up, he bit the heal of her hand. She yelped. He gave a grunt, nigh unto laughter or triumph, she knew not which, then wrapped her arm around his waist. As he sweetly backed her to the wall, his hair fell loose over his brow and he focused on her lips. 

Then he took them.

Cerise DeLand is the USA TODAY Bestselling author of more than 60 historical romances…and a few other bits, too! 

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Triumph—or humiliation—for Lady Pandora?

It has come to this author’s attention that the mysterious Miss E—, about whom the most scandalous rumours have been circulating since the beginning of the Season, will be among the guests at Godstone Abbey. What can Lady Westfield—who is usually most discerning when selecting guests for her Christmas houseparty—be about?

Far be it for this author to cast aspersions on a young lady’s eligibility, but Miss E—, despite displaying  a soupçon of breeding on occasion, is not averse to using a turn of phrase which would make even a Cyprian blush, with her extensive catalogue of anatomical terms. Miss E—’s guardian, Sir A—E—, himself notorious for being what can only be described as a committed bachelor, has been decidedly unforthcoming over the circumstances by which the previously-unheard-of young woman became his ward six months ago. Young ladies don’t just spring fully formed from the ground, neither do they fall from the heavens. And, as every accomplished tattler knows, Dear Reader—the less one is willing to disclose about one’s origins, the more there is to be divulged.

What has piqued this author’s interest in particular, is the anticipation of Lady Pandora Osborne’s presence at Godstone. As the year draws to a close, Lady Pandora’s quest to prove herself the premier matchmaker the Ton has ever seen, enters its final act. She has one more match to make, to secure her crown, Godstone Abbey is to provide the backdrop for her finale.

And what a finale it promises to be! For, the intended bridegroom must be none other than the Duke of S—. And, while this author concedes that His Grace is the most eligible bachelor in England, he’s renowned for a degree of discernment that has hitherto rendered him notoriously difficult to catch. Many desperate mamas have tried—and failed—to secure him for their daughters.

Surely Lady Pandora cannot have elevated her ambitions so high as to consider a pairing between Miss E— and His Grace? While this author applauds her ladyship’s ambition, this final hurdle may prove unsurmountable, even for a thoroughbred of Lady Pandora’s tenacity.

If Miss E— is the intended bride, then Lady Pandora’s fate now lies on a knife’s edge. Either glittering triumph, or calamitous downfall awaits her.

A Christmas Wager

After surviving destitution, the orphaned Eleanor Hawkins re-enters society with a new identity, courtesy of her guardian, Sir Arthur Evans. With a penchant for pickpocketing, learned on London’s streets, Eleanor’s out for revenge on a society that abandoned her—especially Montague Lockhart, the man who broke her heart and brought about her downfall.

Lady Pandora Osborne is determined show her matchmaking prowess by securing a match between committed bachelor Montague Lockhart, Duke of Sedgewick, and Sir Arthur Evans’s new ward—an utterly unladylike young woman, whose origins are shrouded in mystery. Where better to achieve her aim than a Christmas houseparty, where mulled wine, mistletoe, and the season of goodwill is enough to tempt even the most miserly lord into love?

A Christmas Wager is part of The Wedding Wager anthology:

The Wedding Wager

Rival matchmakers…unlikely suitors…a Herculean wager!

Lady Pandora Osborne claims she’s the finest matchmaker the Ton has ever seen. When her cousin challenges her to make good on her claim, or lose a precious family heirloom, the terms of the wager are set! Lady Pandora must produce one match each month between the notoriously unmarriageable—spinsters, bluestockings, rakes and fortune-hunters.

This unique collection of tales of unlikely matches and steamy shenanigans in Regency England is released on September 27th, but can be pre-ordered at a discount here:

https://books2read.com/u/mdDpyX

Extract from A Christmas Wager

Still gazing at the chandelier, she walked forward, then collided with a solid wall of muscle.

“Pardon me,” a deep voice said, in a tone which made the apology sound like an insult.

Eleanor froze.

The arrogance in his tone was matched by the contempt in his eyes—clear blue eyes in a savagely handsome face, surrounded by a mane of thick black hair.

No…

He must be a figment of her imagination, made manifest by years of despair.

She closed her eyes, but though it brought about blessed darkness, the familiar scent invaded her nostrils—the scent which she’d once found so comforting, but now associated with betrayal.

When she opened her eyes, he was still there—tall, broad-shouldered, domineering.

And, most certainly—him.

“Oh!” Lady Westfield cried, breaking the spell. “Miss Evans, may I introduce Montague Lockhart—Duke of Sedgewick.” She turned to him. “Your Grace—this is Miss Evans.”

His attention, which had been focused on Lady Westfield, now turned to Eleanor, and she caught her breath, as her heart stuttered in her chest.

But he showed no sign of recognition. Instead, he clicked his heels together and gave the slightest of inclinations with his head.

“A pleasure, I’m sure.”

Then he turned his back, and walked away.

Bio & Socials

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Emily Royal is a mathematics geek who grew up in Sussex, England and has always had a passion for romance and bad boy heroes in need of redemption. She now lives in rural Scotland with her husband, two daughters and a menagerie of pets including Twinkle, an attention-seeking boa constrictor.

Website: http://www.emroyal.com/

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She should be banned from Bath Society!

A Mad Dog in a Coffee House

The editor will be appalled, and rightly so, by the stories currently in circulation concerning a certain Miss I—-s. 

Far be it from me to promote tittle-tattle, but I have it on the Very Best Authority that the young lady in question has been spotted attired in Men’s Garb. If this new denizen of Bath is as unstable as the infamous Caroline Lamb, might I suggest that her Mama not only obliges her to drink our Famous Spa waters but immerses her in them as well.

The young lady in question also appears to have a remarkable ability to recover from the most serious of illnesses—even without recourse to said Healing Waters. A visit by an undertaker after news of Miss I—–’s demise was followed rapidly thereafter by her being seen at a coffee house, squired by none other than the gallant Captain H.

Whilst I have great respect for the Military, I cannot approve of so worthy a Gentleman allowing himself to be seen in public with such a rackety, harum-scarum young female. Furthermore, if his week-long vigil outside her door was a polite form of House Arrest, I am most put out that he did not inform those of us who dwell nearby what menace the I—-s family represents to its neighbors. It was most thoroughly remiss of him. 

Any further explanation of these events would be most welcome so that we Bathonians may be reassured that we do not harbor a disturber-of-the-peace among us and may continue to rest easy in our beds.

A Game of HazardA Game of Hazard

Her fate depends on a roll of the dice.

There’s a price on her head…

Miss Alexandra Isaacs learned many things at finishing school but how to run a vast smuggling empire wasn’t one of them. She’s desperate to protect this perilous inheritance because so many lives depend on it. However, there’s a traitor in their midst, and Alex must risk exposure to unmask him. There’s external danger, too, in the shape of a clever—not to mention compelling—excise officer. It would be utter folly to allow the captain any closer, but that’s precisely what a blackmailing matchmaker forces Alex to do.

…and he means to claim it.

The reward for capturing the smugglers’ ringleader is hugely tempting to Captain Giles Harewood. His sisters are in dire need of dowries and the Bath Season is in full swing—the perfect opportunity to find husbands for them. But the implacable Lady Pandora Osbourne has other plans for this confirmed bachelor—plans that could destroy all his hopes.

Who will win and who will lose in this deadly game of Hazard?

The above story is part of THE WEDDING WAGER anthology.

The Wedding Wager

The Boast—pride goeth before the fall…

After facilitating the match of the season, Lady Pandora “Pansy” Osbourne, has boasted that she is the best matchmaker The Ton has ever seen. Always willing to bring her cousin down a peg or two, her cousin, Lady Octavia Sewell insists that was no feat of matchmaking at all, as the couple involved were clearly destined for one another despite Pansy’s meddling. A bitter argument ensues and a dreadful challenge is issued. Pansy must do more than say it… she must prove it.

The terms of the wager are set!

Pansy must produce no less than one match per month between people who have been notoriously unmarriageable—spinsters, bluestockings, rakes and fortune hunters, oh my! But there’s more riding on this than simply her pride! If Pansy loses, she will have to give up her most prized possession—a tiara that belonged to their grandmother will be forfeited into Octavia’s grasping hands.

The Ends Justify the Means… or do they?

Desperate to make these matches, prove her claims of matchmaking prowess to be true and make Octavia eat crow in a very public fashion, Pansy resorts to the greatest weapon in any matchmaker’s arsenal—the house party. Not just one, but a series of them. For two weeks out of every month, she will open her home to an assortment of victims…er, guests. At the end of each party, one couple will emerge either betrothed or wed, by fair means or foul.

Find your Buy Links here to take advantage of the pre-order discount-

https://books2read.com/weddingwager

The anthology will be published on September 27th.

What Happens at The Soho Club? Should Stay there!

That most scandalous of establishments, The Soho Club, is more popular than ever in Regency Society – and this time, there are festivities afoot.

You may recall that this unique and exclusive club maintains both a male and female membership. All appetites are welcome at The Soho Club, a haven for those who wish a moment’s indulgence away from prying eyes and scurrilous gossips. Only the premiere scandal sheet in the capital is even aware of this place where one’s most daring appetites are expected, encouraged, and even shared.

The Soho Club has only one rule: Discretion above all things. It’s the ‘all things’ that the members enjoy, because sharing secrets at Christmas time so often leads to love.

Eight steamy Regency romance novellas to ring in the season!

Heidi Wessman Kneale, The Freedom of a Widow
Master Bisou gives kissing lessons at The Soho Club, but what to do with a young widow, who wants to learn so much more?

Renée Dahlia, The Widow’s Modiste
Lady Merryam, widowed and bored, only attends the Soho Club’s latest ball to help raise funds for her son’s orphanage. The last thing she expects is a one night stand with the mysterious woman wearing ‘that’ dress. Could spending more time with her be the answer to her ennui?

Charlotte Anne, Violet Evergreen Seduces a Rogue
Wallflower Violet knows there’s more to the world than parties and fine gowns, and she’s determined to experience it all. With a little light bribery she convinces the great nonpareil of London’s gambling dens, Morgan Turner, to gift her some ‘experience’ at The Soho Club for Christmas.

Clyve Rose, The Case of the Black Diamond (Part II)

Much has changed since the events of Part I. Ada Ryan is caught up in her sister’s intrigues and her sister’s colleague Mr Felix is too attractive for a mere valet, but is that all there is to this man? Mr Felix is working to solve a maid’s murder and uncover a conspiracy. The last thing he needs is a distraction from one of the loveliest and most talented women in London – but he’s under orders to see to Ada Ryan’s safety. He’d best keep her close.

This novella includes links to a free bonus download featuring more espionage, adventure and passion. The bonus book is a bonus gift to all who purchase this collection – Merry Christmas!

Linda Rae Sande, The Holiday of a Marquess
A widowed countess who knows her numbers and a marquess in need of an accountant. When a will reveals her late husband’s secret, Elaine succumbs to Edward’s advances and discovers a second chance a love is possible at The Soho Club.

Ebony Oaten, Scandalous Charlotte

Charlotte, Lady Durham, has a terrible secret that weighs more heavily upon her by the day. If Charlotte thought she could have a quiet Christmastide as a widow, she did not count on Brabham, the ever-so-helpful footman whose well-meaning goodwill threatens to expose everything she holds dear.

Fiona M Marsden, Thursday’s Child

Newlyweds Will and Bella are struggling after their disastrous honeymoon and a family Christmas looming before them. They agree to rebuild their marriage kiss by kiss, touch by touch, in the scandalous private reading room of The Soho Club. 

This collection includes 2 BONUS NOVELLAS:

Pamela Hart, A Generous Heart
Accessing her substantial inheritance from conservative trustees is proving impossible for Adeline Edmonds. Her heart is set on creating a charitable school for the poor of London. Viscount Marryam has his heart set on Adeline Edmonds, but the company she keeps could derail his ambitions.

Ebony Oaten, There’s Something About Miss Mary
Miss Mary Callingsbrooke knows there’s something terribly wrong with her. Her body reacts in such an unnatural way when she’s close to a handsome gentleman. Mary meets the mysterious Mr Smith at the Soho Club, who shows Mary that her ‘faults’ are in fact incredibly attractive features. He’s more than happy to marry Mary, but why the haste?

About the Book: Christmas Secrets of the Soho Club

Eight Regency novellas for less than $1 (plus your BONUS CHRISTMAS GIFTS).

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER:

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Secrets-Soho-Club-Season-ebook/dp/B09THYGPX4/

Release Date: 15 September 2022

Multiple Authors:

Heidi Wessman Kneale

Renée Dahlia

Pamela Hart

Charlotte Anne

Clyve Rose

Linda Rae Sande

Fiona M Marsden

Ebony Oaten

Excerpt from The Case of the Black Diamond (Part II), by Clyve Rose:

Felix moved towards her. “May I assist you?”

“You’ve done nothing but assist me since I made your acquaintance.” Ada’s bluntness surprised them both, if Felix’s raised brows were any indication. Is this what working without a script feels like? The parlour door swung slightly ajar, a crack of light between the wood and the jamb. Did propriety matter when a woman had already kissed the gentleman in question? In such cases as these, it matters more. Ada’s inner pragmatist made little sense today. She stared accusingly at the nearly-closed door.

Felix’s gaze followed hers before returning to fix on her face – and there it was, the blush she’d managed to keep at bay since she’d met this man. Kissed him. Been kissed by him… Something real, warm, and wonderfully powerful rushed through her, like winter sunlight after frost. She shivered, opening her mouth to speak and banish this strangeness but no words came out. For the first time since she’d stood before an audience, Ada Ryan closed her lips without uttering a sound. Her gaze found Felix’s. He studied her face as though enchanted. His strong jaw relaxed, lips parted in the beginnings of a smile, his dimple half-visible, half-lost.

“Are you thinking of our kiss?” She asked, her cheeks heating further.

“Five weeks ago,” he replied, still smiling. Heavens, that dimple.

Five weeks, three days, and twenty-two hours. Ada nearly pouted at her memory’s stubborn persistence. She reached towards him as though she’d lost control of her limbs. Felix was across the room in an instant. His palm cupped her cheek, his eyes staring searchingly into her face.

“Ada, are you certain?”

Ada placed one palm over his, the other reaching up to stroke his hair. Tugging gently, she settled his mouth over hers, tasting citrus and scotch, intoxicating, enthralling, and gently questing. Ada sighed, nestling closer as his mouth teased hers, nipping at her lips while his palms cradled her face in the gentlest caress. His fingers moved delicately against her cheeks, as though she were precious, important, and valuable simply as Ada. So she kissed him as Ada; gently, wonderingly, with a hesitancy she’d not felt before…a kiss that was not ‘business’, or theatrics, or demanded. A kiss that was quiet and deliciously sweet, balancing desire with depth.

She drew back, swallowing the taste of him deeply, holding this honeyed moment still. When she nerved herself to meet his gaze, Ada saw warmth and gentle acceptance. She saw hunger too – fierce and potent. A trilling laugh bubbled up from her throat. She bit it back, forcing it away from this sensation that didn’t belong to staged scenes. It belonged to Ada and Felix. Laying her eyeglasses on the desk she stared at this man, awake to the shock of being real.

I liked kissing you she wanted to say, but confidence was one thing; brazenness was quite another. There were rumours all over London about the ‘new duchess’ at Drury Lane. Perhaps Mr Felix believed them. She swallowed. “I like kissing you.” She whispered, trembling in every nerve.

“Then I am the luckiest man in London.”

Author Bio:

Clyve Rose is an award-winning, Amazon-bestselling author of historical fiction in Australia and the US. She has been writing historical romance for the best part of two decades. Clyve believes that love is the highest and strongest force known in the world, and that it only manifests when we are our best and truest selves. 

Her debut novel Always a Princess was a finalist in 2020’s ARRA Awards. The Soho Club collections were also finalists in these awards, as was the sweet romance novella Love’s Sweet Arrow. She is also the recipient of a Passionate Ink award for The One Below.

Website & blog: www.clyverose.com

Follow Clyve on social media:

Twitter: @clyverose

IG: #clyverose

Facebook: Clyve Rose (@clyveroseauthor)

 

A Lady who Pursues a Diplomat Could Ruin Affairs!

“There is something strange afoot, Mrs. Ardmore.” Helen, Dowager Countess Ettesmere, frowned as the housekeeper came into the morning room.

“How do you mean, my lady?”

“Just this.” She folded her hands atop her secretary, much to quell their shaking as much as to project a calm appearance. “Lady Sophia has got it into her mind to romantically pursue Ambassador Mattingly.”

There. She said it aloud. Perhaps now it would make her feel better.

The housekeeper’s graying brown eyebrows rose, but that was the only evidence of her surprise. “Your daughter is in love with the ambassador?”

Oh, if only! Helen giggled and feared it sounded more hysterical than anything else. “I would have no idea, but she has the look.”

“I beg your pardon, my lady, but what look?”

A huff of frustration escaped her. “That look which says a woman is more than interested in a man, and since Ambassador Mattingly only just came to our door the day before, I am a bit concerned of my daughter’s mental state.”

“Due to the ongoing troubles with her heart?”

“Yes, some.” Knots of worry went through Helen’s stomach. Her only daughter, though long a woman grown, and over the age of forty, had received the worst diagnosis a person could—she would die soon of a weak heart. “I suppose if it were me who was facing imminent death, I might wish for one last tryst before crossing over.” Though, that still didn’t excuse the incoming scandal she suspected her daughter was planning.

The housekeeper shifted her weight from foot to foot. “Does the ambassador return her interest?”

“I would have no idea, but he regards her with an attitude that smacks of infatuation.” Helen put her hands in her lap. Oh, this was a terrible mess, and it hadn’t even happened yet. “I’ve seen the way Lady Sophia looks at the man. Why, she practically goggled him up at tea yesterday with her eyes. It would have been the height of scandal had anyone else beyond the family been in attendance.”

“I see.” One corner of Mrs. Ardmore’s lips twitched, but full-blown amusement never materialized. She was too well-trained for that. “Well, if he does return her interest, perhaps it isn’t a bad thing. Given the circumstances.”

Helen groaned. She rubbed her fingers over her eyes. “All my life, I have trained my children to be proper members of society. I orchestrated their first marriages and assumed those matches would have lasted.”

“Nothing is permanent in this life, my lady.”

“No, I suppose it’s not. Even my own husband succumbed to death.” She met the housekeeper’s eyes. “I wanted something lovely for each of my children, but Sophia doesn’t seem interested in anything proper now. Not with death looming. It’s simply too scandalous to let her conduct an affair under the nose of her impressionable daughter. My granddaughter!”

“I rather doubt Lady Sophia will have an affair. That isn’t who she is,” the housekeeper was quick to soothe. “Perhaps you should give it some time and see what comes—if anything—between your daughter and the ambassador. Perhaps it will be a love match.”

Helen couldn’t help but utter an unladylike snort. “Love? In an instant over tea yesterday? Pish posh, Mrs. Ardmore. You and I both know life doesn’t work that way.”

“But there is always room for an anomaly, and if what is between them results in love, who is to say it’s wrong?” One of the housekeeper’s eyebrows went up in inquiry. “Perhaps you should see how the relationship develops over the next few days before crying an alarm.”

“Perhaps.” Helen nodded with a sigh. “My heart goes out to my daughter. She is facing a set of horrible circumstances and is thinking about her daughter’s future, but still. I don’t want her to make a mistake in the time she has remaining.”

“Lady Sophia is clever and intelligent, my lady. Things will come out right in the end.”

“I sincerely hope so, Mrs. Ardmore.” But oh, this situation was fraught with worries.

I hope Sophia won’t be hurt merely to stave off loneliness.

Blurb for Pursuing Mr. Mattingly (Willful Winterbournes #1)

Fragile and fleeting, love is an addiction… Lady Sophia Winterbourne-Stratford-Forrester is a widow twice over. She suffers from a weak heart and has been advised to live a life without excitement or surprise. Wishing for one more romance before she leaves this mortal coil, and not wanting to leave her daughter an orphan, she begins looking, and her pulse leaps when she meets the American ambassador to England. Who gives a fig if she’s older than him?

When life is short and precious, one shouldn’t wait… Mr. Oliver Mattingly is visiting England on holiday. Vastly different from America, he’s anxious to see and experience everything, for adventure is in his blood. But when he immediately falls tip over tail for an enchanting, outspoken widow, the inexperienced bachelor knows where his next journey lies. After discovering her personal history, he asks for her hand. At least he can love her to the best of his ability before the inevitable happens.

Fate, though fickle, usually presents the perfect, if complicated, path… As the pair wed in haste and repent at leisure, they grow closer as desire only intensifies. A picnic by a rain-swollen creek turns into danger, and when Sophia doesn’t suffer ill-effects from the heart-pounding stimulation, they’re both shocked for different reasons. Could the doctor have been wrong? Love doesn’t care about misunderstandings or the foibles of life, it just is. Only they can decide if they truly want it… forever.

You can find the book here: https://amzn.to/3J2PV0j

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