Tag Archives: HISTORICAL ROMANCE

The Keeper Shelf: Three of My Favourite Romance Novels by Louise Clark (romance author)

Heyer, GeorgetteEvery reader has favourite books and every writer began as a reader. In fact, one of the best ways to learn how to write is to read, read, read, and read some more.

These days I have favourite authors rather than favourite books, but before I became a writer I was a reader and my keeper shelf was filled with books—a lot of them by Georgette Heyer.

I came to writing from a history background, not an English one, so I’d consumed all of Heyer’s Georgian and Regency romances I moved on to other authors writing historical romances. From there I moved on to contemporary romance, mystery romance and fantasy. I read broadly then and still do now. What I look for is characters I love, an entertaining plot and writing that pulls me in as it pushes the story along.

Heyer has vivid characterization and plot in every book and her writing style is wonderful. I’ve read all of her books at least twice and some many more than that.

devils_cub_1967The top of my favourites list has to be Devil’s Cub, hands down. Dominic is the archetypical bad boy hero who can be tamed by only one woman. He is perfectly matched by Mary, so practical and down-to-earth on the outside, but as reckless and daring as Dominic and just as stubborn inside. The book is packed with wonderful secondary characters and a plot that races from one disaster to the next, forcing everyone to reach deep inside themselves and become more than they were before.

Devil’s Cub is the sequel to These Old Shades, another wonderful story with characters who linger in memory. Much as I loved Leonie and Avon, though, I think Dominic and Mary surpassed them.

The Convenient Marriage, published two years after Devil’s Cub, has the same kind of non-stop action plot, a really good bad guy threatening the safety of the heroine, and a wonderful hero and heroine. Secondary characters flesh out the story and add complications and humour throughout. Love it.

Devil’s Cub and The Convenient Marriage are both set in the late Georgian period, a time period I am fascinated by. When I wrote my first novel, Dangerous Desires, I set it in the early years of the French Revolution, at the end of the Georgian era.

The Corinthian, the last on my list of three, is a true Regency. With the change of time period, Heyer also changes the tone of the story. The characters are more restrained, the plot, with it’s murder mystery element, reflects the contemporary murder mysteries Heyer was writing in tandem with her historical romances. As with the other books, the story is full of wonderful secondary characters whose interaction with the hero and heroine help them discover that they are meant for each other.

Over the years I’ve written both contemporary and historical novels. My first published novel (Second Generation) was a contemporary romance, while Dangerous Desires came out a few years later. I think it’s inevitable that I’d eventually blend the two genres together in a time travel novel.

paperbackbookstanding_849x1126 (1)Fighting Fate is a contemporary novel set in Boston. It focuses on a very contemporary woman, Faith Hamilton, whose life is complicated by her time travelling ancestor from pre-Revolutionary Boston, Andrew Byrne. Andrew is very much the roguish Georgian gentleman and when he visits 21st century Faith he causes no end of trouble for her. Andrew is countered by Faith’s 21st century hero, Cody Simpson. Cody is a computer geek who shouldn’t be sexy, but is. Andrew and Cody couldn’t be more different, but they come together to help Faith when trouble knocks. As with my favourite Heyer novels, Fighting Fate incorporates humour, fun secondary characters, and a hero and heroine I loved writing.

What are your keepers? Specific books? A special author? I’d love to hear about what you love to read.

Thanks for dropping by.

Louise

You can get Fighting Fate at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon.

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Filed under ENGLAND, ENGLISH MANOR, GEORGIAN ROMANCE, HISTORICAL ROMANCE, Lachesis Publishing, REGENCY HISTORICAL, REGENCY HISTORICAL ROMANCE, ROMANCE AUTHOR, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION, ROMANCE NOVEL, ROMANCE NOVELS

Get your free copy of More Than Passion by JoMarie DeGioia (Regency romance, historical romance, free book)

more-than-passion-500x724Today’s sneak peek is from the Regency historical romance More Than Passion by JoMarie DeGioia. Book 1 in the Dashing Nobles series. AND IT’S FREE!!!

What It’s About:

Geoffrey Kane, Earl of Kanewood refuses to feel anything more than passion. Four years ago, his fiancée betrayed him and he has no desire to experience that again so when he meets the beautiful Rebecca Kingsley, it’s passion at first sight. And only passion.

Rebecca has led a very quiet life working for her father at a small country inn. When she meets Geoffrey she falls in love with him right away. But she’s only the daughter of a baronet and men like Geoffrey never marry country girls like her. Do they?

When Rebecca’s father tries to marry her off to a wealthy old man, Geoffrey intervenes and marries her himself. He wants her very much but he couldn’t possibly love her. Love is for fools. At least that’s what he tells himself. But a sinister enemy soon threatens to destroy all that Geoffrey holds dear, forcing him to face the truth.

His marriage depends on it . . .

And maybe even Rebecca’s very life.

EXCERPT:

The Raven’s Inn was surprisingly elegant. The brick structure was trimmed with dark green, its long windows sparkling in the late afternoon sun. Rebecca Kingsley was straightening the beautifully-appointed parlor of the inn. Her father, Thomas, insisted that all the rooms look fine. His father had been a baronet, but all that was left of the family fortune, as it were, was the inn. As a younger man, he’d traveled in the social circles of the ton and claimed to know what the gentry and lesser folk alike looked for in food and lodging. Many travelers stopped at the inn, and they expected service and accommodations as fine as any in London, or so Rebecca’s father insisted.

At just twenty years old, Rebecca had been working at the inn all of her life. Her mother died when Rebecca was just two, leaving no real memories. Thomas refused to speak of her and Rebecca had long since given up asking. The only thing he’d say was that she took after her mother in looks. This he always said in a gruffly, affectionate manner that never failed to surprise her. She supposed she inherited her fair skin from her mother, that and her thick raven-black hair. She could never see anything of herself in Thomas.

He never really gave her much notice. She worked as hard as the servants at the inn, keeping her own room as well as half of the rest abovestairs. Mary, the chambermaid, took care of the other rooms as well as seeing to the guests’ personal needs. Rebecca served the morning and evening meals in the dining room, as well, along with Emmy. Emmy was funny and kind and a shameless flirt. She never hesitated to share her experiences with Rebecca, who couldn’t help but blush. She listened, though. Closely.

Rebecca was usually free to go about her own business after finishing her chores abovestairs. But this afternoon, she polished the candlesticks and dusted the furniture in the parlor. As usual, she wore her hair plaited in one long braid coiled at the back of her head. Her simple muslin gown was a few seasons old and well-suited to her task. She paused to gaze longingly out the window toward the stables out back. Beyond them, she could see the gently rolling hills over which she so loved to ride. If she didn’t have to see to the parlor today, she’d surely be out riding her black filly.

From her vantage point, Rebecca could see two figures walking out of the stable’s wide doors. One man was slight of stature and fell in step behind the other. The man in the lead was tall with broad shoulders and dressed in a brown coat and tan breeches. He walked with a long, easy stride. Sun glinted off hair she fancied the color of honey. He had a strong profile, and Rebecca couldn’t tear her gaze away from him. What color were his eyes?

“Fool,” she chided herself. She turned back to her work, flicking her dusting cloth in frustration.

* * *

She moved with an easy grace through the dining room, her glossy black hair catching the light given off by the candles. Curls framed the perfect oval of her face and teased the back of her neck. Her simple gown hugged her lush figure, the skirt swaying over her hips as she walked. She carried a pitcher of ale, and Geoffrey couldn’t take his eyes off her as she moved from table to table.

A man’s voice broke through his reverie. “Fetchin’, ain’t she?”

“What …?” He hadn’t even noticed the gray-haired man who joined him at his table. “Yes.”

“Peter Jenkins is the name,” the slight man offered. “How do you do?”

Geoffrey shook the man’s hand. “Kane. Geoffrey Kane,” he answered. “Very well, thank you.”

The older man gave a flick of his head in Rebecca’s direction. “She’s Kingsley’s daughter.”

Geoffrey raised an eyebrow at that. This beautiful creature was related to the florid-faced innkeeper? Impossible.

Just then, the girl approached the two men. Her mouth curved into a smile for the older man before she turned her attention to Geoffrey. Her rose-colored lips parted as she stared into his eyes for a long moment. “Blue.”

Geoffrey blinked. “What?”

She shook her head. “N-nothing.”

Geoffrey could only stare at the girl, dumbstruck. Her eyes were the color of emeralds, and sparkled as prettily. His gaze fell on her lips as she flicked her tongue over them. Desire shot through him, want like he’d never felt before. Once again, Peter’s voice broke in.

“Rebecca, this is Geoffrey Kane. Kane, meet Rebecca Kingsley.”

The girl, Rebecca, curtsied in greeting after a brief hesitation. She seemed as off-kilter as he felt, to his amazement. After a moment, Geoffrey stood and bowed slightly. “Miss Kingsley.”

“I’m pleased to meet you,” Rebecca said.

Her voice suited her. It was soft and a bit husky. And damn sensual.

“Likewise.”

“Will you be staying with us long?”

If I can help it. “A few days, actually,” he said, smiling.

She gasped softly, the sound no more than a whisper. “Well, do enjoy your stay,” she said, shyly returning his smile.

She stared up at him for a moment longer. Finally, she filled his tankard. With a nod of her dark head, she continued on through the dining room. Geoffrey sank back down into his seat, his gaze glued to her form.

“Rebecca.” He breathed. “Becca.”

Like what you’ve read? You can get More Than Passion by JoMarie DeGioia right here at Lachesis Publishing.

JoMarie DeGioia writes historical romances with a touch of mystery for Lachesis Publishing. And her books are always on the steamy side. Her Dashing Nobles series follows the romances of four male friends in Regency London.

You can get JoMarie DeGioia’s books right here at Lachesis Publishing, or on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Itunes.

Connect with JoMarie DeGioia online on her web site and on facebook and on twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.

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Five Reasons Why We Love Historical Romance Heroes by JoMarie DeGioia (Regency historical romance author)

just perfectNo matter the time period, there is just something about a hero from the past. Here is my take on some of the traits these guys possess and why they make them so darned irresistible.

  1. Historical romance heroes are usually quite skilled in the physical arts. I’m not just talking about horseback riding and fencing, either! A bit of experience under a hero’s waistcoat makes him the ideal lover and husband for the heroine. And sometimes we get a glimpse of his very delicious instructions to his previously-innocent lady love.
  1. Very often these heroes are rakes. Dashing and handsome gentlemen who, without effort, make women from a young coquette to an elderly matron fall under their spell. What woman doesn’t want the bad boy to flirt with? Now this is a romance hero, so we know he’s going to be reformed by the time he wins the heroine’s heart forever. And that’s even better!
  1. The social niceties play a big part in the courtship dance in historical romance. Gallantry is hot! Even if the hero is from “the other side of the blanket” he knows how he should behave in order to win the heroine’s heart. He could be a rough-and-tumble plantation owner or a disinherited younger son, but he will know the right way to treat a lady in and out of the boudoir.
  1. He breaks the rules. Rules are made to be broken, and no one breaks society’s confines like an historical romance hero! Holding the heroine just a little too close. Maybe for just a little too long. Meeting her on a secluded terrace when the mere hint of scandal could lead to ruin. Oh! These guys can convince their heroine to risk just about anything for them.
  1. He dresses the part. Lastly, there are the clothes. So many clothes! Tight breeches topped by a waistcoat, jacket, shirt and intricately-tied cravat? And what about a kilt? Unwrapping the hero can feel like Christmas arrived early, lol! Not to mention, how these guys love divesting their heroines of their petticoats and stays and stockings and layer upon layer of frothy lace. Ooh-la-la! It’s just pure deliciousness.

In writing this post I realize there are plenty more reasons why we just love these guys. Now, how about you? What makes you melt for the Historical Romance hero?

JoMarie DeGioia writes historical romances with a touch of mystery for Lachesis Publishing. And her books are always on the steamy side. Her Dashing Nobles series follows the love lives of four male friends in Regency London.

You can get JoMarie DeGioia’s books right here at Lachesis Publishing, or on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Itunes.

Connect with JoMarie DeGioia online on her web site and on facebook and on twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.

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Filed under HISTORICAL ROMANCE, Lachesis Publishing, REGENCY HISTORICAL, REGENCY HISTORICAL ROMANCE, ROMANCE AUTHOR

What a Duke Dares by Anna Campbell (historical romance)

what a duke dares smallTuesday’s Revolving Book is the historical romance What a Duke Dares by Anna Campbell (Book 3 in the Sons of Sin series)

GET IT AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/What-Duke-Dares-Anna-Campbell/dp/1455557900/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1387328558&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=what+a+duke+dares

BOOK DEPOSITORY: http://www.bookdepository.com/What-Duke-Dares-Anna-Campbell/9781455557905

BARNES AND NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-a-duke-dares-anna-campbell/1117543455?ean=9781455557905

BOOKTOPIA: http://www.booktopia.com.au/what-a-duke-dares-anna-campbell/prod9780732295141.html

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

A reputation at risk
What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children – and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.
 
Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.
 
The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed – until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins…
 
ABOUT ANNA CAMPBELL:

I’ve always been a voracious reader! I write Regency historical romance for Grand Central Publishing and Avon.My latest release is A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS from Grand Central, book 2 of the “Sons of Sin” series. My next “Sons of Sin” book is WHAT A DUKE DARES, out late August 2014.And don’t miss my short story “His Christmas Cinderella” in the Christmas anthology, A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS, which includes stories by me, Shana Galen, Kate Noble and Vanessa Kelly.

You can find excerpts, news and contests on my website at www.annacampbell.info

You can usually catch me hanging around with my bandita buddies on the Romance Bandits blog – www.romancebandits.com Pop by and say hello!

I’d love you to join my fan page on Facebook where I like to chat and run contests. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anna-Ca…

I’m also on Twitter at @AnnaCampbellOz

I love to hear from readers and you can contact me on anna@annacampbell.info

 
CONNECT WITH ANNA CAMPBELL ONLINE:

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Filed under ENGLAND, ENGLISH MANOR, HISTORICAL FICTION, HISTORICAL ROMANCE, LOVE STORY

Sometimes a lie can lead to love – Unconqerable Callie by DeAnn Smallwood (western historical romance)

UnconquerableCallie_850 (1)(8)Tuesday’s REVOLVING BOOK is the historical romance UNCONQUERABLE CALLIE by DeANN SMALLWOOD.

Sometimes a lie can lead to love.

Publisher: SoulMate Publishing Offered through Kindle Direct Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Unconquerable-Callie-ebook/dp/B00BLWBDF2/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1362083762&sr=8-10&keywords=deann+smallwood

SYNOPSIS:
Callie Collins, a proud woman in the late 1800’s, is a liar and a darned good one, a master of the dubious art. She is also a dreamer. Her greatest hope is to reach a new life in South Pass City, Wyoming, where she can open a bakery and live an independent life. To be successful, she will need her greatest deception to date, a mythical fiancé who waits at the end of the line. As a woman alone, she has to prove to Seth McCallister, the wagon master, that she has the wherewithal and the stamina to survive months of drought, dust, hardships, and even the risk of death.

Seth McCallister is mystified by the audacity and determination of Callie Collins. His initial distrust and concern for Callie, a woman traveling alone, begins first as admiration, then friendship, then love, a love that he is forced to hold at bay. What he doesn’t realize is that there is no fiancé. To make matters worse, Callie develops feelings for Seth McCallister, too. Yet she feels certain that once he realizes her deception, he’ll turn away, ashamed of his love and trust in her.

REVIEWS: (AMAZON KINDLE)

Extremely well written. I found myself in the west, riding along on the wagon train with Callie struggling right along with her. Experiencing her every emotion, forging friendships,and falling in love I recommend this book to anyone with an adventurous spirit.

UNCONQUERABLE CALLIE is an enjoyable and entertaining love story. DeAnn Smallwood exhibits her talent for words with her tale of love, hardship, relationships, and determination. She does an excellent job of crafting a romance with the historical backdrop of a wagon train. Her depiction of the adventurous spirit of settlers, as well as the dangers and hardships they endured on their journey for a better life, was fascinating and excellent.

The heroine, Callie, a courageous woman determined to forge a life for herself, embarks on a treacherous excursion through Indian country, despite the obstacles or the dangers she must face. Along the way, her courage and giving nature wins the hearts of her fellow travelers, including the wagon master.

UNCONQUERABLE CALLIE is a sweet romance that will draw you in from the beginning to the end. It is resplendent with history, well-drawn characters, and vivid descriptions. The plot flows unfettered and solid with an engaging story line. This novel is for anyone who loves romance and history without sexual complications. A must read.

AUTHOR BIO:
DeAnn Smallwood lives in Colorado with her husband, Marvin and two Yorkies, Eli and Stormy. She is a native of Colorado, but has lived in Montana and Wyoming. Historical romances are one of her favorite genres to write. Recently, she branched out into the suspense/thriller genre and wrote the first novel in her death series: Death Crosses The Finish line. This is written under her pen name of D. M. Woods. Her second book in this series: Death Is A Habit has just been completed. You can find her contemporary romance: Tears In The Wind, and two additional historical romances, Sapphire Blue and Montana Star at Amazon.com and SoulMate Publishing. Another historical romance: Wyoming Heather will be out in May. Her greatest pleasure next to writing is having her books read and enjoyed. Many more stories are just waiting to be written and shared.

CONNECT WITH DeANN online:

facebook
http://www.facebook.com/pages/DeAnn-Smallwood-also-writing-as-DM-Woods/366637150050917

website link
http://www.deannsmallwood.com/

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Filed under American Historical Romance, HISTORICAL, HISTORICAL FICTION, HISTORICAL ROMANCE, HISTORICAL WESTERN ROMANCE, WESTER ROMANCE, WESTERN HISTORICAL ROMANCE, WESTERN ROMANCE

How to Charm a Prince and Get Your Happily Ever After

TO-CHARM-A-PRINCEYou absolutely have to read PATRICIA GRASSO’S TO CHARM A PRINCE. It’s a sweetly, sensual tale set in Regency England, TO CHARM A PRINCE, will completely charm you with its magic.

WHERE YOU CAN BUY IT:

amazon kindle: Priced at .90 cents http://www.amazon.com/Charm-Prince-Book-Douglas-ebook/dp/B00E49OGBM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409242501&sr=8-1&keywords=To+Charm+a+Prince

barnes and noble: Priced at .99 cents http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-charm-a-prince-patricia-grasso/1005645041?ean=9781927555187

kobo: priced at 1.00 http://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/books/To-Charm-a-Prince/Q6bIM2-t2EeSmRRCaTAVHA?MixID=Q6bIM2-t2EeSmRRCaTAVHA&PageNumber=1

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Life taught her to fend for herself.

The second daughter of an impoverished, alcoholic earl, Samantha Douglas was forced to cope with a physical impairment caused by a childhood accident. Certain that her heart’s desire—a husband and children of her own—is forever out of reach, Samantha keeps bitterness at bay and manages to retain her optimism.

Life taught him to be bitter.

Prince Rudolf Kazanov has fled his homeland to protect his English mother and young daughter. Accustomed to society’s shallow beauties, Samantha’s spirit and courage draw the prince to her side from the moment they meet. Prince Rudolf recognizes Samantha’s rare beauty that emanates from the heart.

Fate throws them together, and passion brings them closer. Will these lovers heal each other’s pain? Or will the prince’s enemies keep them from fulfilling a love neither thought possible?

 

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Filed under Bestselling Authors, HISTORICAL, HISTORICAL FICTION, HISTORICAL ROMANCE, Lachesis Publishing, REGENCY HISTORICAL, REGENCY HISTORICAL ROMANCE, ROMANCE AUTHOR, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION, ROMANCE NOVEL, ROMANCE NOVELS

ONE SHINGLE TO HANG by DeANN SMALLWOOD (western historical romance)

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 1.01.12 AMTUESDAY’S REVOLVING BOOK is the western historical romance ONE SHINGLE TO HANG by DeANN SMALLWOOD.
(2.99 at Amazon) http://www.amazon.com/One-Shingle-Hang-DeAnn-Smallwood-ebook/dp/B00LU6NGV8/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1405543680&sr=1-8&keywords=deann+smallwood

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: (SCROLL DOWN TO READ AN EXCERPT)
A woman with too much knowledge was at risk for insanity. Their fragile mind couldn’t handle it. That’s what Lil had been told when she went against convention and became an attorney. The 1800’s had fewer women lawyers than women doctors. Her pride knew no bounds when she hung her shingle—L.M. Wentfield, Attorney At Law.


Drew was a struggling cattle rancher, building a fledging Hereford empire. He was working toward that goal when he was accused of rustling and faced possible hanging. He needed a lawyer—a good one—a man. Chesterfield had one lawyer—a new one—L.M. Wentfield. He wasn’t prepared for a beautiful blonde with a sharp tongue and fiercely won independence.


Lil had no homemaking abilities. Her love was the law. And if the thoughts of the gray-eyed cowboy, who had the audacity to refuse her legal help stayed in her mind, she’d push them aside. She had nothing to offer a rancher . Even her wealth wouldn’t be considered an asset to a prideful man. And Drew Jackson was proud. So proud, he knew he couldn’t ask a woman of Lil’s stature to share his life—but he wanted to—from the moment he’d stolen that first kiss.

DeANN SMALLWOOD AUTHOR BIO:
I live in Colorado with my husband and my two Yorkie kid dogs: Stormy, four pounds, and Eli, six pounds. I’m a native of Colorado, but I’ve lived several years in Wyoming and Montana. I draw from these beautiful states for most of my books. My Western Historical Romances are: Montana Star, Sapphire Blue, Unconquerable Callie, One Shingle To Hang, and Wyoming Heather and One Shingle To Hang. Tears In The Wind is a contemporary romance. Then I changed genres from my beloved romances and wrote, under the pen name of D. M. Woods, my first suspense/thriller: Death Crosses The Finish Line. The second book in this ‘death’ series, Death Is A Habit, came out January 8, 2014. I am currently working on the third book in the ‘death’ series, Death Walks C Dock. I am also working on another Western Historical Romance, Montana Man. It features the characters readers came to know and love in Montana Star. Truly, I mean it when I say my greatest pleasure next to writing is having my books read and enjoyed. There are many more stories just waiting to be written

CONNECT WITH DEANN SMALLWOOD ONLINE:
facebook
http://www.facebook.com/pages/DeAnn-Smallwood-also-writing-as-DM-Woods/366637150050917

website link
http://www.deannsmallwood.com/

EXCERPT:
Everyone knew Lil Wentfield would never marry. What man would want her? She was too old, too set in her ways, and too damned opinionated. Granted, she was a real beauty, if you could get past all the other flaws. Long blonde hair, equally long legs, sparkling blue eyes, flawless skin, with just a hint of a European ancestor in the coloring. And lips, well to call them kissable would be doing them an injustice.


But spinster she was, with her hair coiled into a tight knot at the nape of her neck, as tight as the expression habitually worn on her lovely face. Wire rimmed glasses perched on her small nose, obscured flashes of emotion in those beautiful eyes. Except when it came to outrage. Then her eyes snapped, her spine stiffened, her chin raised, and she peered disdainfully at the offender.


Lil was like a badger when it came to proving her point and winning an argument. Her mother liked to say Lil was born arguing. What her father liked to say was more colorful and filled with disappointment. His only child compounded being born female, by having a mind of her own. Once Lil made a decision, she planted her feet firmly on the chosen path, and didn’t step off until her goal was accomplished.


Men found her unnerving. Lil Wentfield wouldn’t be any man’s ‘little woman’, her place in the home, serving her husband, and mothering children. She was unsettling; not material necessary for being the calming homemaker and acquiescent wife needed to soothe and support a man as he went about his business.

***

A loud knock broke into her thoughts. “Come in,” she called out.

Nothing happened, then another knock. “Please, come in,” she called again.

Getting no response, Lil came around her desk and, with some irritation at the interruption, jerked open the door, nearly toppling the tall man who held the doorknob on the other side. He muttered something under his breath, and tried to regain his balance only to bump into Lil, throwing her off stride. She stumbled backwards and would have fallen if not for the man’s quick reaction. He grabbed Lil and, wrapping both arms around, pulled her to him. Then, in a parody of the two-step, he danced her to safety.

Lil felt herself falling, then rescued by two strong arms. Not only was she pulled up short, but she was wrapped tightly against a rock hard chest, her nose buried in the man’s damp shirt. A very pleasant smell greeted her nose. The scent of summer rain and witch hazel. She found the masculine odor intoxicating.
Neither moved. Then Lil raised her head and looked into a pair of dancing gray eyes. His arms never relaxed their grip; in fact, they seemed to tighten around her as his mouth twitched, then broke into a smile.

“Didn’t expect to end up with a beautiful woman in my arms. For a moment there, I expected to land on the rug, Ma’am. With you alongside me,” he added with a chuckle.

He loosened his grip and gently pushed her away from the warmth and safety of his chest. Lil stepped back, feeling as though she’d just had something precious taken from her. She realized her hands still gripped his arms. Like a hot potato, she dropped them and turned away from the man’s disturbing presence. Like a fox heading for her den, Lil scurried behind her desk and gratefully lowered her trembling body onto the waiting chair.

With the desk between them, she was once again in charge. “May I help you?” she asked coolly, hoping the tremble in her voice went unnoticed. “I called come in not once but twice.”

“Sorry, Ma’am. Guess I didn’t hear you. I was just fixing to open the door when you did just that. Are you okay?”

“Yes.” Lil answered with no desire to elaborate. “I—I appreciate you catching me. Now,” she hurried away from that topic, “to repeat myself, how may I help you?”

He smiled, as if knowing her thoughts. Walking over to the desk, he removed his hat and stood with it in his hands. “I apologize for dripping on your floor, but it’s raining like hel—, uh, like heck out there.”
Lil tried not to look at how the ends of his eyes crinkled when he smiled. She focused instead on his hair, black and shiny with rain drops glistening on the wavy strands not covered by his hat. She didn’t realize she was staring at him until he shifted from foot to foot.
“Ma’am?”
“Yes,” Lil answered, pulling herself back to reality.
“What I’m here for is to see L.M. Wentfield, Attorney At Law.” He pointed at the window, in the direction of the sign.
Lil nodded. “Yes,” she said again. At this rate, he’d think she only had a one word vocabulary.
The man tilted his head to one side. “Could you direct me to L. M. Wentfield, Ma’am?”
“Of course I can. How may I help you?”
Two small furrows appeared between the man’s eyes. He peered closer at her. Perhaps he needed to try another approach.
“Ma’am, could I speak with your husband?”
“There is no husband,” Lil said with a hint of asperity.

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Filed under American Historical Romance, HISTORICAL ROMANCE, WESTERN HISTORICAL ROMANCE, WESTERN ROMANCE