About the Book
An entertaining Harlequin Historical debut
Will this disheveled runaway…
Become the diamond of the Season?
When the Marquess of Cheswick—Wick—takes in a mysterious woman, he’s shocked to discover she is Lady Louisa, an heiress who’s escaped her cruel aunt! Grieving the loss of two siblings, Wick avoids opening his heart to anyone else and stays away from the marriage mart. But when Louisa needs a husband in order to claim her inheritance, Wick’s determined to help—even if it means stepping back into his worst nightmare: the Season!
From Harlequin Historical: Your romantic escape to the past.
He had touched her!
Gloved… But still, he had touched her.
‘Never,’ she whispered.
He stepped back and bowed to her again.
Without thinking, Louisa curtsied in return.
Wick took her hand and pressed a soft kiss to the back of her glove. She could have happily died on the spot.
‘Perfect,’ he said. ‘All you needed was a little distraction to settle your nerves. Now you’ll be the most elegant lady at all the ton parties.’
Her chest swelled with pride. She had done it. The gawky girl without a proper governess had managed a curtsy worthy of a lady. If only Aunt Rockingham could see her now. But she would still probably find something about Louisa to criticise.
Glancing over her shoulder, she asked, ‘Should we join your sisters at cards?’
‘Oh, please, no. They are not currently arguing, and I would hate to interrupt a perfectly harmonious game.’
Louisa couldn’t help but giggle. She was relieved that he wanted to stay with her. She doubted that she would ever tire of his conversation or company.
Wick gestured with his hand to the sofa nearest the fire. ‘Shall we sit? We can talk…or I can fetch a couple of books.’
‘I should l-like to talk,’ she managed to say, before sitting down. She knew it was foolish, but she wanted to get to know him better.
He sat down beside her, not quite touching her leg, but close enough for her to enjoy his masculine scent again. Louisa’s breathing was irregular and her face felt hot again. She needed to focus on something else—anything else but him.
Leaning down, she pulled the needle out of the inside of her hem. ‘Would you mind if I finished embroidering these handkerchiefs while we converse?’
‘Not at all,’ he said, grinning at her. ‘Do you always keep a needle in the hem of your gown?’
Louisa threaded the needle and pulled the first stitch through. The steady tension of the thread helped calm her racing pulse, but her hands were still shaking from his nearness.
‘I was always mending at Greystone Hall…it seemed wise to have my favourite needle handy.’
‘To make a plain cloth beautiful or to mend something that is torn is truly a wonderful gift. Few people have the ability to repair what is wrong in the world.’
She kept her head lowered, unable to look him in the face. ‘You give my skill too much credit.’
‘Or perhaps you give yourself too little,’ he said, bumping his knee with hers.
It felt warm and hard. She wished he would rest his knee against hers.
‘Besides, we are all more than the measure of our talents. How we treat others… Who we are kind to… How we fulfil our responsibilities to those who depend upon us… My parents taught me that those are truly the things that must be measured.’
‘You are clearly not a seamstress,’ Louisa said, glancing up at him with a half-smile. ‘For everything must be measured precisely if a garment is to fit properly.’
Wick laughed. It was a deep but soft sound. It made her heartbeat quicken and the blood pump through her body. She wished again for the impossible…
Focusing on her sewing, Louisa pulled another stitch through. ‘But I believe you are right,’ she said. ‘What is truly important about a person’s soul cannot be measured… But I have never heard of a gentleman being introduced with a list of his accomplishments. Only ladies.’
Interlocking his fingers, he stretched out his arms. ‘It’s because our accomplishments aren’t quite as impressive or presentable as those of the fairer sex.’
Louisa toyed with her needle between two fingers. ‘Nonsense. I daresay that your talents could take up a whole page.’
‘At least my good intentions.’
Louisa chuckled, and he grinned back at her. His face was close enough that if she leaned forward a little her lips would brush his. Blushing, she realised that she wasn’t the only one looking at lips. Wick’s eyes were lowered and he was gazing at her mouth as if there was nothing else in the room.
How badly she wanted him to kiss her! It would be even more wonderful in reality than it was in her dreams. But he could hardly do so with his three little sisters and Mrs May in the room. Even though the girls were now yelling at each other on the other side. Their harmonious card game had not lasted long.
Shakily, she got to her feet, clutching her embroidery. ‘I think I shall retire to bed. It has been a long day and I know we make an early start in the morning.’
Wick stood up and bowed to her. ‘Of course. Sleep well.’
Louisa took only one step away from him, but it already felt too far. She bade goodnight to Mrs May and the Stringham sisters and made her way up the candlelit staircase to her room.
It reminded her that she wasn’t truly a part of their family. She was only a temporary guest.
About the Author
Samantha Hastings met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, having tea parties, and chasing her four kids. She has degrees from Brigham Young University, University of North Texas, and University of Reading (UK). She's the author of: The Last Word, The Invention of Sophie Carter, A Royal Christmas Quandary, The Girl with the Golden Eyes, Jane Austen Trivia, The Duchess Contract, Secret of the Sonnets, The Marquess and the Runaway Lady, and A Novel Disguise. She also writes cozy murder mysteries under Samantha Larsen.
Readers will enjoy this sweet Regency Romance with an underlying Cinderella theme. Author Samantha Hastings has created characters that readers will enjoy getting to know and come to adore. The story is about family relationships, new friendships, coming to know oneself, and romance. Readers will enjoy the main character, Louisa, as she strives to find ways to better her circumstances in life and isn’t afraid to work hard for it. And of course there is the Marquess of Cheswick and his sisters who are kind to Louisa and befriend her. A charming story that readers will consume in one sitting!
Genre: historical, Regency, romance
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Publication date: February 21, 23
Number of pages: 282
Disclosure statement: A complimentary review copy of this book was provided from tour groups, publishers, publicists, authors, and others, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, Or borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR borrowed from Deseret Bookshelf, OR pre-ordered/purchased for review, including Audible. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.
Answer the following question in the comments to be entered in the giveaway:
Have you read any of Samantha Hastings other novels? If so, which one and do you have a favorite? And if not, which one are you most interested in reading?
Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM MST on March 3 , 2023. Winner will be notified within 1 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. No shipping restrictions. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
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