Revisiting A NOBLE DILEMMA (PG excerpt)

A Regency Romance Family Favorite! New Price!


Author: Susanne Marie Knight

Genre: Regency

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Price: $2.99

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After Bethany's elderly aunt dies, she is left without a home. When a distant relation, the Earl of Ingraham, offers her a London Season, it would seem to be the answer to her dilemma.

But Bethany has no interest in attracting an eligible suitor. She has other plans for her future. Her dream is to support herself by writing a novel, following in the footsteps of her favorite author. However, literary ladies are frowned upon, not only by Society but by the Earl, who is smitten with Bethany's beauty and character. Fretting about her guilty secret, she agrees to further intrigue by acting as secretary to one of the royal dukes. Will Bethany give up her chance for true love to continue her writing career? Or, will the Earl find a way to solve this noble dilemma?

Scene Set-Up:
Bethany arrives at her benefactress’ house, the Countess of Ingraham, but meets the Earl of Ingraham instead.

The enameled door opened and in stepped the most handsome gentleman Bethany had ever laid eyes on. He was tall, so tall she had to lift her gaze to take in the length of him. His dark hair hung in tousled curls on his forehead while his long sideburns edged the line of his cheekbone. Dressed in a dashing woolen jacket, nankeen breeches and leather Hessian boots, he appeared as if he'd just entered the townhouse from an afternoon stroll.

And speaking of eyes, she couldn't discern the color of his. His eyes widened at the sight of her. Then he frowned.

She quickly stood and curtsied.

The young man hesitated for a second, and then bowed. "Good afternoon, Miss Branford. I trust you enjoyed a pleasant journey."

"Thank you, sir. I did."

After she spoke, silence hung in the air and he seemed loath to break it. The man flicked his gaze over her, adjusted the cuffs on his jacket and paced along the ornate side table, all at the same time. He certainly wasn't inclined toward conversation.

She tilted her head. Surely this young man could not be the earl. But whomever he was, his manner left a good deal to be desired.

"Excuse me, sir, but you have me at a disadvantage." She kept her voice level and cool. "I am quite unaware of your identity."

He stopped and lifted an eyebrow.

"Indeed?" He made another small bow. "My apologies. I am David Greyle. Lady Petunia is my sister."

As if that explained everything, he settled into a tub-shaped chair situated across from her and seemed intent on keeping his gaze upon her person, all the while drumming his fingers against the armrest.

Bethany struggled to recall, but no knowledge of a Lady Petunia nor David Greyle entered her brain. "Forgive me, sir, but I'm not acquainted with Lady Petunia. Perhaps I am in the wrong house. I was invited by the Countess of Ingraham to visit--"

"To be sure, there has been no mistake." He waved a negligent hand. "I am the Earl."

She blinked rapidly. She'd never met Lady Ingraham either, but if the woman had a married daughter as Elsie the maid had said, surely this man was too young to be the father. He could not be above thirty. Did that mean the Countess and the Earl's marriage was a January and May connection?

How romantic! She looked at Lord Ingraham with new awareness. Her heart beat faster. He was such a handsome young man with commanding eyes, determined chin and a fine masculine form.

A more tedious thought intruded. Then again, perhaps he only married for money in order to refurbish an impoverished estate.

How very prosaic. She looked down her nose at him. After all, he was rather ill-mannered.

Lord Ingraham jumped up, causing the tassels on his Hessian boots to swing with the violence of his act. "Tea. Would you care for some?" He didn't wait for her reply, but instead walked to the door. "I will have Stevens see to it."

Without a backward glance at her, he left her alone in the drawing room.

How extraordinary. What a very odd man. And what an inauspicious beginning to my visit.

She bit her lip. Oh, I hope Lady Ingraham is more hospitable.

Bethany tucked a stray lock back into her chignon, folded her hands in her lap, and waited for the edgy earl's return.

Hope you enjoy!

Susanne Marie Knight
Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!

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