In a vulnerable moment, Alethea Forsythe allows herself to be seduced by a married peer. Now she is with child—and without recourse. Her reputation will soon be in tatters and she will be forced to wed a stranger—unless she takes matters into her own hands.
When Jack Fitzwilliam, the Earl of Manning, is summoned from the House of Pleasure on a matter of importance, he hardly expects to receive a marriage proposal. He’s long been aware of Alethea’s infatuation with him, but at twenty-three, taking on an expectant bride is not in his plans. Yet the desperation in the lady’s lovely eyes overrides his misgivings.
Alethea would not have believed it possible for a man to be too chivalrous. But though her new husband is perfectly amicable in public, he insists they maintain separate quarters. Desperate to possess his heart and prove herself a wife in every way, she boldly reaches out to Jack. And as their unexpected connection between silken sheets is tested by jealousy and misfortune, Jack must decide where honor ends…and true passion begins . .
“Lord Manning, I must apologize for this cryptic summons, but I importuned my cousin to send to you upon a matter of utmost importance.” Miss Forsythe twisted her fingers together brutally, until Jack felt tied in knots.
“Utmost importance to your cousin, Miss Forsythe?”
“To me, Lord Manning. Although it will likely touch on both my cousin and her husband as well.” The woman avoided his eyes by moving swiftly toward Braeton. She grasped his arm and leaned toward him, her lips at his ear.
Braeton kept his voice low, though his face acted as an open book. At her first words, he scowled like a vengeful god.
Jack waited for the thunderbolt.
Shaking his head vigorously, the earl drew his brows down almost to his nose. “You will not—”
“My lord, you promised me earlier.” Miss Forsythe’s face had drawn into determined lines. Her voice lowered, power in her indomitable tone. “Do not renege on this, I beg of you.”
Dark brows still lowered, Braeton threw up his hands, paused to collect himself, then turned to Jack. “Miss Forsythe wishes a word with you, Lord Manning.” He shot an angry glance at the lady. “Alone.”
All Jack’s instincts for self-preservation leaped into high alert. Something ill was afoot and he doubted it would be to his liking one whit when it finally came out.
Miss Forsythe stood, demure for possibly the first time in her life, her gaze lowered, her hands clasped primly in front of her. The picture of an obedient woman. And as false as a Newgate penny, he’d be bound.
“I am certain anything Miss Forsythe has to say to me could be spoken in your presence, Braeton.” He shot a look of desperation at the earl. Had the girl conceived some sort of trap to spring on him, compromise him into marrying her? Jack stiffened, then for the first time since he had arrived, he relaxed. Even though unannounced, he was already betrothed. Miss Carlton had now saved him, it seemed. Quid pro quo.
“I believe my cousin wishes to ask a boon of you, Manning.” Braeton’s mouth twisted as though he’d bitten into a lemon. “I am aware of the nature of the request and agree she would want privacy to ask it. I won’t be far if you should need me.” Braeton bowed curtly and left.
More confused than ever, Jack turned his attention back to Miss Forsythe, who swayed slightly from side to side, fidgeting with a lace handkerchief she’d produced from somewhere. Did she expect their conversation to lead to tears?
“Won’t you please have seat, Lord Manning?” Miss Forsythe indicated the chair nearest the fire. She seated herself opposite him. Perched seemed a better word, on the edge of the brown leather chair. “I do thank you so much for attending me at such an inconvenient time.”
“No inconvenience in the least, Miss Forsythe,” Jack said waving a hand of dismissal. He settled back into the chair. “How may I be of service to you?”
She gripped her lace-edged handkerchief in one hand, the other clenched on the chair’s arm. Raising her chin, her deep blue eyes boring into his, she swallowed hard. “Would you marry me, Lord Manning?”
Jenna Jaxon will be giving away one ebook copy of her previous House of Pleasure release--Only a Mistress Will Do to one person who comments that they want the book.
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical romance in all time periods because, she says, “passion is timeless.” She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She’s a theatre director when she’s not writing and lives in Gloucester, Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as an active member of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has three series currently available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France. This March Kensington Publishing will release the first book The Widows’ Club series, To Woo A Wicked Widow in both print and ebook.
She currently writes to support her chocolate habit.
Find Jenna Jaxon online:
Take from the rich and give to the poor. Protect the people from those who overthrow them at all costs. The ideals of Robin Hood make for a wonderful story. We believe in equality and fairness. We want the good to outweigh the bad. Mercury Rises is a modern retelling of Robin Hood and features a kick-butt heroine who sets out to bring justice.
A girl looking for a way out.
Being the daughter of New America’s leader, Mercury Masters has everything a girl could want. A glamorous life full of beautiful people, and the power to have anything she wants, except for one thing—to escape. Because Mercury’s perfect life comes with secrets to keep. Dangerous secrets that if made public would destroy her, her family, and her father’s reign. Then she meets Hawk.
A boy looking to be a hero.
Hawk, a handsome prep school dropout turned vigilante, has his own family secrets. Deadly secrets that have haunted him since he was fifteen. But instead of fighting the ghosts of his past, Hawk has assembled a group of misfit hackers and thieves to save the future from the corrupt government of New America and the mysterious virus that is killing off its citizens. But trying to do the right thing is tough when the person you really want to save is your enemy’s daughter.
A love that could kill them both.
Powerful forces keep them apart, but coming together could be the key to saving New America from destruction—even though it may cost both their lives.
I reached into my apron and pulled out the week’s rent. “Thank you for all you’ve done for me, Bill. I really appreciate you taking me in.”
“No sweat. You work hard, and the regulars seem to like a pretty, young face around here. Stay as long as you’d like.” He took the wad of bills and slid them in his pocket. “Now get out of here. I’ll finish up. You look exhausted.”
Walking past, I squeezed his hand and continued on. As I glanced back over my shoulder, he smiled, and for a minute I thought I saw him blush. Bill was the nicest person I had met since I left. I’d miss him.
I ran up the stairs to my room. Time to move on. If there was still a chance of running into my past, I was still too close to the city. Too bad. Part of my heart hurt thinking about how I was going to let Bill down. I stopped at the door and rested my forehead against the rough wood. Maybe if I stayed the night, I could stick around and say goodbye in the morning. Better not. Fewer questions if I left now. Safer for him the less he knew, anyway.
A tight feeling spread across my lungs and up my throat as I slid the gold key in the lock for the last time, but I’d get over it. I had to. I sighed and clicked the door closed. My hand hesitated on the doorknob, the unexpected weight of a stare bearing down on the back of my head. I wasn’t alone.
Standing motionless, I scanned the darkness over my shoulder. A voice cut through the black.
“Mercury, I’ve been waiting for you.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Scarlett Kol grew up in Northern Manitoba reading books and writing stories about creatures that make you want to sleep with the lights on. As an adult, she's still a little afraid of the dark. Scarlett now lives just outside Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with her husband and two boys, but if you need to find her she's likely freezing at the hockey rink.
Scarlett would love for you to interact with her online:
I loved reading about Finn Murphy, the rising star of Country Music and his college friend, Lara Faulkner in CAN'T BUY ME LOVE. Their story was cute and endearing as the two started out as adversaries, then good friends. Could they have been more? It was hard to tell... certainly the sparks were there.
Now author- Grea Warner, continues their story in COUNTRY ROADS, the first in a series about Finn and Lara's relationship. I'm so excited to share the cover and blurb with you! But just be ready to one-click... this is a seriously amazing story!
A young woman content with her solitary life.
A rising country music star.
They were friends once …until their lives took them down separate roads.
Now, years later, when a child volunteers his uncle to sing for a fundraiser, LARA FAULKNER realizes it is none other than her college pal, FINN MURPHY. As the two get a chance to reconnect, Lara reveals to a compassionate Finn details of her shocking past and the traumatic decision she had to make.
Through trust and love, the bond between Finn and Lara deepens as the country singer manages to get an emotionally scarred Lara to let down her self-proclaimed walls. But will secrets, lies, and tragedy cause a bumpy detour on their road to complete happiness?
Emotional, dramatic, heartwarming… fall in love with COUNTRY ROADS – the first in a continuing series by author Grea Warner.
If you missed out on Finn and Lara's back story, you can read it now on Amazon in the box set--Can't Buy Me Love.
Seven romantic tales of love where royalty, celebrities, and passion meet. A case of mistaken identity, protecting the one you love, or proving you aren’t all about the money...these tales will entice and thrill.
All My Memories by Grea Warner
The possibility of reconnecting with an unrequited love leads country music star Finn Murphy on a journey of memories in this special prequel to the Country Roads series.
“Ugh—the light. Why is it so bright?” I squinted my eyes and threw my forearm across them.
I felt like I was in a vacuum. There was a low buzzing sound in my ears. No, it was more like my head.
When I finally adjusted to my surroundings, I realized I was in my bed. The sheets were tousled and thrown. The pillows laid haphazardly on the floor. I could hear some of my fraternity brothers talking in the nearby lounge. I could tell it was probably closer to mid-day than morning by the slightest ray of light that beamed a little too brightly through the crack in the window’s drapes. My stomach swished a little. And then I remembered. I remembered the night before.
“Oh, geez. Oh, God. Lara,” I mumbled to myself.
What had I been thinking?
A Royal Pain by Abigail Drake
Getting shot in the bottom saving a visiting royal turns out to be the best thing to happen to, impoverished socialite, Chloe Burkhart in a long time, especially when the prince’s very handsome, very sexy bodyguard, Nicolai, comes to her aid.
Caught by Him by Tammy Mannersly
Blockbuster movie actor, Brody Nash doesn’t quite know what to make of the gorgeous woman precariously perched on his neighbor’s gate, but as they start to get to know each other better, he begins to wonder if she might just be the one for him.
Romancing the Princess by Bridie Hall
A commoner, Sebastian, and Princess Alixandra are set to get married until he begins to wonder if fitting in with royalty is worth sacrificing his principles. Love rules all. Or does it?
Me and Tillie by Lisa Hahn
1950s musical film star Oren Cooper returns to Broadway to find new inspiration. Unexpectedly, that inspiration comes in the form of Tillie Parker—his childhood friend’s little sister and an up-and-coming ingénue.
Defending Demma by Melissa Kay Clarke
When faced with an unsavory past, can Demma St. John, rising new starlet, trust ex-Marine Ryker "Digger" McMillan with her secrets and her heart?
His Royal Typeface by Stephanie Keyes
When all is lost, love can be found. Will Prince Asher Tarrington's unique font design be enough to salvage a royal family and set the tone for true love?
About the Author:
There really wasn’t any other path. Grea Warner knew from a young age that she wanted to write. She was born to write. First it was in diaries with little metal keys and in written tales that she slipped to friends in study hall. School newspapers, a college television drama, and internships in the soap opera world were next. After producing and writing a local show, she decided to delve into the world of the novelist. When her fingers aren’t tapping out her latest book filled with angst and romance, Grea can be found hiking the trails or jamming to her favorite country artists on the radio.
Who was your first love? Mine was someone I knew all my life. He was my best friend growing up and ended up being someone I hung out with through high school, when he moved away. In Tammy Mannersly's latest release, Lucy has walked away from her first love but when he comes back into her life....will she take a second chance?
You can’t hide from destiny….
Callum Hawthorne is one of those lucky guys who seem to have it all. He’s a wealthy property tycoon, the CEO of his family’s company. He’s handsome, intelligent and charming and has a gorgeous new woman on his arm every week. But there’s one thing still missing – the love of his life, Lucy Spencer.
Fourteen long years ago, Lucy left for college and cut off all contact with Cal, leaving their mutual friend Madison as his only connection. That was until in his effort to save his deceased father’s beloved Gold Coast property, The Calypso, Cal contacts Insight Marketing, the best advertising firm in Melbourne, and discovers his Lucy among the team.
Successful marketing executive, Lucy Spencer had managed to avoid her ex-best friend for nearly half their lives. Fearful of trusting him, loving him and having her heart broken all over again, Lucy tries to keep her distance from him, but discovers that there is a fine line between love and hate, and maybe – just maybe – Cal could be her inescapable destiny.
Cal was flabbergasted. What had happened? What had he missed?
Then, distracted by her outburst, he made another mistake and his grip on Lucy’s wrist loosened slightly. As if sensing his lapse in control, she used the whole weight of her small frame to jerk herself free of his hold and with a triumphant sigh she began to back away.
“So, you orchestrated this together, did you? What, did you seduce Maddy too? Why can’t you just leave me alone?”
Cal’s gaze narrowed with concern. “What are you talking about, Luce?”
Worried that she’d run before he had a chance to explain, Cal reached out and took a step toward her. But, Lucy immediately backed farther away, taking two steps for his single stride.
“What did you give her to make her finally tell you where I was?”
Her fiery glare was enough to make his fingers ache to touch her, to soothe her. He hated seeing her in so much distress.
“Nothing.” His voice was calm, pacifying. “She didn’t tell me.”
Lucy frowned and her gaze dropped from his, confusion clearly clouding her expression.
“But I—” She shook her head with irritation and glanced back up at him. “But how did you know that I’d be here?”
Cal smiled as he remembered the moment of pure serendipity, the second he’d seen her gorgeous face on the team’s profile page on the Insight Marketing website. Executive Manager Lucy S., it had read. Cal had tried searching the internet for her before, but to no avail. There had always been too many Lucy Spencers and he’d been convinced that she must have altered her name. Yet, this time he’d found her, so simply found her, as though the universe had finally pointed her out to him.
“Fate,” he said confidently.
About the Author:
Tammy Mannersly is an Australian author based in Brisbane, Queensland. She loves writing romance, has a fondness for animals, is crazy about movies and enjoys a great Happily Ever After. Her passion for writing started at a very young age and led her to complete a Bachelor Degree in Creative Industries majoring in Creative Writing at Queensland University of Technology.
You can find out more information about Tammy and her work on her website: www.tammymannersly.com or by visiting:
WICKED TIMES TWO
Musings from Michigan