Lady Aimée de Bourbon the only child of Prince du Sang Geoffroy de Bourbon, Marquis of Agen had captured and nearly broke Richard’s heart four years earlier. He had loved her and planned to give up his bachelor ways, but her father intended her to marry a royal, not an English Earl’s second son. Now Lady Aimée is affianced to Señor Duarte de Cortázar, a lesser Portuguese royal.
While lost in his thoughts of his prior love, the carriage is robbed, Lady Aimée’s dowry stolen, and Lord Agen is injured. Colonel Fitzwilliam directs the driver to take them to Pemberley where Mr. Darcy and his wife Elizabeth take them in and offer refuge and a place to heal.
Ancient customs of Dom Duarte’s family forbids marriage without the dowry present at the wedding and now with the dowry stolen, Lady Aimée and her father fear the de Cortázar’s will call off the marriage. But Lady Aimée intends to have love and will let nothing stand in her way, even if it means hurting the man she once professed to love.
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Ayr Bray is from the Pacific Northwest, but travels as much as possible so she doesn't have to deal with the cold. Ayr loves to hear from readers.
Genre: historical fiction; regency
Publisher: Ayr Bray
Publication date: July 20, 2015
Number of pages: 83
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Snippets from the book...
Chapter 5: Jared Thatcher and Daniel Scott were Mr. Darcy’s most trusted and imposing footmen. Women admired their good looks and men were awed by their strength. They were tall with broad shoulders that seemed mitred at perfect ninety-degree angles. They were the best of the best for any task, be it serving dinner to a large party or discouraging footpads in the market square. There was nothing the two men could not accomplish together when they set their minds to it.
Chapter 6: The clacking of balls in the billiards room down the hall drew Aimée from her gloomy thoughts. She glided towards the sound, her steps muffled by the luxurious carpet.
When she neared the door, she paused and peered inside. There was Colonel Fitzwilliam, alone, playing billiards in his shirt-sleeves. She watched as he took a shot, the ball landing squarely in the cornerpocket. His satisfaction showed in the slightest curve at one corner of his mouth.
Aimée thought his expression adorable—in a manly way, of course. She remembered the week they had spent together in Aberdeen. She had enjoyed his flattering attentions, though she had known they could come to nothing. He was a second son of an English Earl and she the only daughter of a French Marquis. Their countries were at war and she, as a realist, had known their love could never be no matter how their hearts were touched.
Seeing him now, relaxed as he was, made her appreciate the time they had spent together, but it did not make her long for him. She had never been in love with him, though she had once thought otherwise. What she had felt for him had been no more than childish infatuation.
Chapter 10: “I shall give you my undivided attention, my dove, but before you speak there is something that I am forced to do.”
Señor de Cortázar tugged off of his gloves, walked up to Richard, and slapped him with such force Richard was sure even the stitches in the seams would be imprinted on his cheek. With a haughty sniff, Señor de Cortázar dropped his gloves at Richard’s feet.
“Stop! What are you doing?” Aimée cried as she pushed herself between the men and held them apart with her outstretched arms. The excitement in her expression revealed her abject pleasure in the sudden turn events had taken.
“Stop? But I thought this is what you wanted? Regardless, I cannot stop. The gauntlet has been thrown and I will have redress.”
“All right, how do you want to do it?” Richard asked. “Pistols? Foils? Fisticuffs?” Richard hoped the Dom would choose fisticuffs. He had done a lot of thinking since Aimée’s theatrics of the night before and had come to the conclusion that he would rather not die for her after all.
“I demand satisfaction to restore my honour and my dear Aimée’s. It would be rude to kill you while I am a guest in your cousin’s house, so I challenge you to fisticuffs. Right here, right now.”
“Oh, very well, then. I accept.” Richard hoped he didn’t sound too relieved.
“Aimée, my dear, you should step out of the way, I do not wish for you to be harmed.” Dom Duarte took her by the elbow and led her a few paces away. Aimée looked on with keen interest, clapping her hands in girlish glee.
A footman was waved over from the house to lead the horse away and the two gentlemen squared off. Señor de Cortázar made the first move, landing a blow to Richard’s jaw that bowled him over backwards. Richard leapt back to his feet just in time to catch another blow. The second punch was every bit as powerful as the first and Richard tottered backwards, but he kept himself upright by grabbing hold of Señor de Cortázar’s arm.
“Like that, is it?” Richard grunted as he swung a fist at Señor de Cortázar, catching him in the jaw.