Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Launching the Last Everard: Samantha, Lady Everard

It’s here!  It’s today!  My March release from Love Inspired Historical, The Heiress’s Homecoming, should be available in stores near you. Some of you have told me that you pre-ordered, so those copies should be showing up in your mailboxes shortly.  I can hardly believe it’s finally Samantha’s turn for her own story, after flirting, finagling, and in one case fighting her three cousins to the altar. 
And did she go quietly to her own happily-ever-after?  Of course not!  First she insisted on a much more stylish wardrobe than I generally reserve for my heroines, including this little number:
Then she refused every suitor I paraded before her, including a dashing cavalry officer. 
And when she finally showed interest in a gentleman, he seemed determined to keep her out of his family.  Here's what happened shortly after Samantha met William Wentworth, Earl of Kendrick, for the first time after she'd visited his son, her old friend Jamie, who's all grown up at seventeen to her twenty-four years and has some matrimonial ideas of his own. 
“Lady Everard,” Will said, approaching her where she paced in the entry hall, waiting for her carriage. 
She pulled herself up in obvious surprise, skirts swirling about her ankles like a gentle tide. The smile that brightened her face stopped his movement, his thoughts and very nearly his breath.
“Lord Kendrick,” she said. “You didn’t have to abandon your other guests for me. Your staff is wondrously efficient. I expect my carriage any moment.”
He thought the footmen stood a little taller at her praise. He wanted to stand a little taller as she gazed up at him. This was ridiculous! He wasn’t an eighteen-year-old lad on his first year in Society. And he feared something far darker lay beneath that pleasing smile.
“I wished a word with you before you left,” he said, lowering his voice. “I must ask your intentions concerning my son.”
Her golden brows shot up. “My intentions? Isn’t it generally the lady’s father who asks that question, of a suitor?”
She was right of course, and she could not know he’d just asked Jamie the same question.
“Generally,” he acknowledged. “But these are unusual circumstances. The gentleman is usually the elder and therefore more experienced.”
Now her brows came down, and he felt as if a thundercloud was gathering. “Are you implying I am too experienced for your son, my lord?”
In some matters, he very much feared that for the truth. Oh, he had no doubt she was still a lady; her three guardians would have horsewhipped any man who had tried to change that. But she had seen things Jamie had yet to discover, things Will hoped he never would.
And thank You, Lord, for that!
“I merely meant,” he said, “that you have had more time in Society than Lord Wentworth, and you must know he isn’t ready for a serious courtship.”
She cocked her head, curls falling against her creamy neck, and he had to pull his gaze away. “So you’d prefer he merely dally with me,” she mused, though her voice held an edge, “perhaps increase his reputation with the ladies while sullying mine. Heaven forbid that he actually marry me.”
This was getting worse by the minute! Will tugged down his waistcoat and raised his chin, trying to look every inch the Earl of Kendrick even while using his best diplomat’s voice. “Suggesting my son dally with you would be most ungentlemanly,” he assured her. “But if it’s a husband you’re seeking, I should point out that as a baroness in your own right you could do far better than Lord Wentworth.”
He thought that would appease her. It was the truth, after all. Jamie might be the heir to an earldom, but only Will and his steward knew how tight the purse strings had become. Unless Will was very careful, his son would inherit nothing but an empty title.
But Lady Everard did not appear appeased. “Your son,” she said, each word precise with tension, “is a paragon—clever, loyal and kind. I assure you, I could do far worse.”
Was she intent on capturing Jamie, then? He ought to feel protective of his son, annoyed by her presumption, aghast that she would parade her intentions before him like a challenge. But the emotion striding to the front of his mind was nothing short of jealousy.
He drew himself up, shoved his feelings down deep. “I must ask you to leave my son alone. I will not countenance a marriage between you.”
She blinked, then a laugh bubbled up, soft and lilting. Another time, he was certain he would have been enchanted.
“How funny,” she said, steepling her fingers in front of her lips. “I would have thought a gentleman who had seen so much of the world would have acquired more sense along the way.”
Will was prepared to take offense, but she leaned closer, and the scent of roses seemed far too soft for the hard feelings he was trying to muster.
“Ask yourself this,” she murmured, gaze on his. “If I truly wished to marry into your family, why would I pursue the cub instead of the lion?”
Will recoiled. Her gaze danced with laughter; her smile could only be called smug. She knew she’d shocked him. Even with his years of experience as a diplomat, he had no idea how to respond.
The clatter of horses’ hooves outside announced her carriage. She straightened. “Thank you for a most diverting evening, my lord,” she said, and she turned and followed one of his footmen toward the door as the other servant threw it wide for her.
Will could only stare after her. He should speak to Jamie, confess his concerns, forbid the boy to see anything more of the beautiful Lady Everard. But as he moved to return to his other guests, he passed the gilt-framed mirror, and he wasn’t entirely surprised by the smile lining his face.
I hope a smile lines your face when you read the rest of the story.   You can find it at the following retailers: 
TheBook Depository (free shipping worldwide) 


Marissa Doyle said...

Regina, you've done it again! :) COngratulations on the conclusion of the Everards, and Happy Launch Day!!

Regina Scott said...

Thank you, my dear! I'm now completely jazzed to find that Heiress has been included in the "new historical releases" column at USA Today online. Whee!

J.Grace said...

Congrats and thank you for the excerpt.

My order of this book should arrive any day now.

Regina Scott said...

Thanks, J. Grace! I hope you enjoy the book!

Regency Romance Author, Donna Hatch said...

Wow, this sounds so fun!!! I can't wait to read it!

Regina Scott said...

Thanks, Donna! It's great to see the series ending, I hope on a high note!