9:35 AM |
Golden Wings Award WINNER--Best Overall Historical Romance Read
Here's a little known bit of trivia: the model for A CONTINENTAL MARRIAGE's lovely cover is none other than my very own lovely daughter!
A CONTINENTAL MARRIAGE
Author: Susanne Marie Knight
Price: $3.99 electronically and $12.95 print
Available electronically at:
Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0037UY484 and Wings Press http://www.books-by-wings-epress.com/a-continental-marriage
Available In print at:
AN AMERICAN ROSE
American Nicolette Turner has a bone to pick with the British. Not only is her country’s maritime rights being violated, but her English grandfather, Lord Eldredge, demands that she travel across the Atlantic to visit him. What she doesn’t know is that he intends for her to marry, thereby staying in England and having lots of babies.
The most eligible suitor is neighbor Victor Kincaid. Victor has severe money problems. Lord Eldredge offers to take care of the debts... if Victor marries Nicolette. At first Victor believes she’s a fortune-hunter, but soon becomes captivated by her. Can he convince her he wants more than a marriage of convenience?
The financial arraignments have been made. Victor decides it’s now time to propose to Nicolette.
Damn. Asking for this woman’s hand was going to be deuced awkward, to say the least.
Inhaling deeply, Victor walked into the drawing room and scanned its yellow interior. A cheerful fire crackled in the fireplace which stood between two immense paintings. Just beyond the hearthrug in the middle of the drawing room, a table displayed the nuncheon meal. Cold meats, cheeses, pickles, jellies, breads, and fruits--everything a man could want to assuage his hunger. But more important than food, a crystal decanter of sherry beckoned to him.
It would have to wait. Where the devil was Nicolette?
The two settees around the table were empty and not a sound other than the snapping and popping of flames disturbed the tranquil air.
He released his breath. Was he supposed to seek her out? “Damn,” he repeated, this time out loud.
A movement by the large wing-backed chair near the fireplace caught his attention. It was Nicolette, so curled within the chair’s comfortable borders that, from his vantage, he had not seen her.
“Is something wrong, Lord Cushing? Is the food not to your liking?”
She looked an odd mixture of mischievousness and grandeur. Her delicately arched eyebrows were lifted in an indifferent manner, however, the twinkle in her grey eyes revealed amusement at having caught him in an unguarded moment.
“Er, no, not at all.” He cleared his throat, then gestured toward the table. “Shall we?”
Nodding, she left the chair to pick up a dish. She must not have been very hungry for she chose only a few cubes of cheese, a biscuit, apple slices, and strips of pineapple. “I find our host’s hospitality most agreeable. I never expected to feast on pineapple, quite a costly fruit in these parts Margaret tells me.” Nicolette chose one of the settees and sat.
He made a move to pour her a glass of sherry, but she declined the wine.
Pity. It would have made his ordeal easier if she were a trifle elevated.
He sat opposite her on the other settee and balanced a full plate on his lap. How should he begin? “Lady Nicolette--”
“Perhaps it’s time we called each other by our Christian names.”
He smiled. She was going to make this easy for him. “Yes. Yes, certainly, Nicolette. I realize we have not known each other long, however, our families have been neighbors and friends for close to two hundred years.”
“My father’s family,” she corrected.
“Yes, of course.” Why would she even mention her mother’s connections? He ran his hand over his hair, then took a drink of sherry. “I would have preferred for us to get better acquainted before...”
He glanced into her earnest eyes. So, she was not going to make it easy. “Nicolette, as you are aware, shopping is not the sole purpose of being in London today. It is your grandfather’s wish to bring us... together.”
She met his gaze unflinchingly. “And he uses his wealth to achieve his ends.”
Victor’s sentiments exactly, but why protest when he had already agreed to the arrangement? “As I am in need of funds, as are you, I see no reason to quibble about the circumstances that unite us in marriage.”
Her nostrils flaring, she straightened her back. In truth she looked as formidable as an avenging fury. “Marriage? I must have missed something important. When did you propose?”
“Damn.” He did not mean to swear; the word just slipped out--again.
Uncertainty assailed him. Perhaps she was not as amenable as Lord Eldredge believed. And yet marriage to Nicolette was a tolerable solution to his dilemma. His sister Leticia had not registered dissent when Victor had broached the subject, which was quite a relief, considering her sensibilities. Her departed Stanley had been close to the poor house, and news of the dwindling Kincaid finances must have been a topic of great concern to her. With the earl’s backing, Leticia need never worry about monetary matters again.
Which was a moot point unless he could win over this termagant. So how should he handle Nicolette?
Hoping to gain insight from the sherry’s potent, fortified fumes, he refilled his glass, then took another sip. As the wine warmed his insides, he thought of her father, and how Ian would on occasion turn mulish when forced to act contrary to his inclinations. Victor’s job then, was to convince her that this marriage was in her own best interests.
“My dear Nicolette, if I may.” Victor set aside his glass and his plate, then sat next to her. “You are right. I did not propose--properly or otherwise.” He held her hand, and was amused to note a pink blush covering her cheeks. “It is my fervent hope that my offer of marriage will have a favorable reception. I confess it quite impossible to conceal the anxiety with which I await your reply.”
She pulled her hand away. “I-I find that difficult to believe.”
He reclaimed it, not only to exert control over her, but to be truthful, he enjoyed the softness of her skin. “My sentiments are bona fide, Nicolette. It seems my future lies in these delicate hands. As you pointed out at last Saturday’s dinner party, I have been neglecting my duty to unite with a gently bred lady in matrimony.”
Her comment was most unexpected. “Piffle,” she said as she turned away.
Hope you enjoy!
Susanne Marie Knight
Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!