Written by: Tammy L. Bailey
Publication Date: May 28, 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance, Regency, Fiction
Source: Author's Pal
The Marquess of Wesley is out for blood. For a year, Lord Wesley has tried to undo the devastation his father left to Penndrake, their ancestral home, only to discover the man gambled it away right before his death. Now Wesley is being blackmailed by the new owner into marrying a woman he’s never met in order to get it back. But his intentions are less than honorable…
At one and twenty, Miss Kate Holden intends to become a governess, having sworn off all men years ago. However, her plans are halted when she receives a daunting letter from her cousin about a Lord Wesley. Ignorant of the name, and the devilish marquess that wears it all too well, she nearly ends up compromised. Refusing to fall prey to Wesley’s skillful seduction, Kate decides to turn things around on the rake. But the high-stakes game between them soon leads to her losing the last thing she expected…her heart.
“Who are you talking to?”
Kate snapped her head up to find a man on a glistening black horse, his stocky figure blocking most of the sun.
She lifted her hand to shield the glare and squinted at him.
“My hat, sir?”
He bobbed his head.
“Well, it doesn’t appear to be listening.”
His voice caressed her for a moment before she dropped her arm and turned to see her bonnet even farther away, tangled in a briar patch and struggling with all its might to get free.
“Oh, bother,” she grumbled, picking up her hem to tramp across the high grass in order to wrestle the darn thing from the razor-sharp thorns before evening.
She’d only wanted some peace and quiet from her aunt’s constant prattling and Claire’s endless requests of, “Kate, fetch me some tea. Kate, read me a story. Kate, tell Deidra to stop snorting.”
As Kate walked and muttered to herself, beads of sweat gathered around her temples and slid down between her breasts.
The hefty breeze was cool, so she didn’t know why her face or other intimate parts of her body felt a bit overheated.
Nevertheless, she puffed out frustrated breaths, stretching over the knee-length reeds until she reached the expanse of snarled brown vines.
She drove her hand deep inside where two long spikes punctured her pinky and middle finger. Surprised and angry, she wrenched her arm back to her side.
“You should be more careful.”
The familiar, penetrating voice caused Kate to whirl around and find the mysterious rider she’d encountered earlier.
He stood with booted feet upon the soft earth, not a few feet away.
Her breath caught as her searching gaze drank in his serious features and confident form.
Handsome didn’t even begin to describe him.
Then again, she didn’t know what word did: dashing, dangerous?
He was tall with black hair, the same color as his horse.
The mingling shade of his eyes reminded her of the earth where green mingled with brown and blue in a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of colors.
His nose was straight, his lips sensual and twisted into a humored grin.
Did he think her predicament amusing?
Adorned in unpretentious clothing: gray breeches, white shirt, white cravat, and a dark blue tailcoat, she believed him to be no more than a local gentleman out for a ride.
He stepped forward, halted, and then nodded toward her hands.
“You do realize you’re bleeding?”
She shook out of her trance and glanced down to find splotches of crimson dotting her drab day dress.
To her mother’s chagrin and her aunt’s delight, Kate adorned herself in the most unflattering colors to discourage men like the Mr. Rourkes or the Mr. Leisures of her small world from giving her a second glance.