Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Borrowing a Baronet

As many of you know, my publisher, Love Inspired, is closing its historical line as of this month. I’ve known for about a year. So, while my agent has been shopping for a new publisher for me (this can be a loooong, drawn-out process!), I started writing my Fortune’s Brides series with the intent of bringing out the first three quickly.

As in monthly.

This is a first for me, and so far readers seem to be happy about it. Therefore, I give you the publication last week of the second book in the series, Never Borrow a Baronet!

After caring for a crotchety countess, Patience Ramsey wants a more purposeful position. So, when Miss Thorn of the Fortune Employment Agency offers her the post of assistant to amateur apothecary Augusta Orwell, Patience jumps at the chance. Then her new employer introduces her at an Easter house party as the bride-to-be of her nephew Sir Harold Orwell. Miss Thorn’s cat Fortune may approve of Sir Harry, but Patience has no interest in borrowing the handsome baronet. She’s had her heart trampled on by false promises before.

Sir Harry has enough on his hands trying to restore the family name while spying for the English against the French. But the pretty Patience could cover for him when he must ply his trade during the house party, so he convinces her to agree to the charade. As Harry’s work brings danger closer, he begins to realize Patience embodies everything he could want in a wife. Can he convince her to overlook the scandals surrounding him and exchange their false engagement for a true love?

If you have read Never Doubt a Duke, you may remember Patience as the friend of heroine Jane Kimball. I’m delighted to give the practical companion her own book, and with a particularly dashing hero. Here’s a little taste:

Patience gripped the coal shuttle. She couldn’t doubt the intruder’s words. Even in the dim light, she could make out the features of Sir Harold Orwell. His hair was even more mussed than in the portrait, and that square chin was more solid. He wore no cravat and seemed to be holding one arm slightly behind him. Still, to blunder in through the window? Surely even in this unusual household that should be considered odd.

Perhaps it was the lateness of the hour or the ruse she had agreed to perpetrate against her better judgment, but she had no trouble stating her opinion this time.

“Your aunt assigned me to this room,” she informed her visitor. “Had you consulted her first, you might have saved yourself the trouble of climbing in the window.”

“Ah, but I chose to climb through the window to prevent having that discussion with my aunt.” He had the audacity to wink at her. “A gentleman never kisses and tells, you know.”

So, that was it. He’d been out cavorting and didn’t want Gussie to learn the truth. Disappointment bit sharply.

“Be that as it may,” she told him, “I’m certain since you were raised in this house you could find another suitable bedchamber far sooner than I could. See yourself out, sir.”

“Happy to oblige, madam,” he said with a lopsided bow that likely spoke of the state of his sobriety. “Once I locate a change of clothes.”

He started for the wardrobe on the far wall, and Patience took a step closer, shuttle up against her shoulder.

“You’ll find no suitable clothes in here,” she informed him. “Mr. Cuddlestone moved your things elsewhere.”

He jerked to a stop, and she clutched the shuttle tighter. How was she to know whether he was the sort to accost the servants, or a lady he probably thought was one of his aunt’s guests? She had never met anyone who took liberties while inebriated, but her friend Jane had been discharged from her previous post because of a master who had lost his head.

But as he stopped and turned to face her, the arm he had tried so hard to hide came into view, wrapped in a cloth stained red.

With blood.

Patience gasped, and the shuttle slipped from her fingers to clang against the floor. “Your arm. You’ve been injured.”

He glanced down at the makeshift bandage as if surprised to find it affixed to him. “Yes, it appears so. Hence the need for a change of clothes.”

Patience shook her head. “That requires tending. It will turn septic if you don’t take a care.”

He eyed her a moment. “Who are you, exactly?”

She bobbed a curtsey, feeling her cheeks heat. “Patience Ramsey, your aunt’s new assistant.”

He reared back. “I will not allow Gussie’s preparations on my person.”

Patience raised her brows. “Are they so horrid?”

“You’ll have to ask the previous assistant. I believe she finally regained the use of her fingers, but I expect that rash will last for some time.”

Patience swallowed, then noticed the gleam in those blue eyes. “You’re making fun of me.”

“Never, madam,” he assured her. “But I can tend to my own wounds.”

“One-handed? Or have you a manservant you can enlist?”

That seemed to stop him. She could almost see the thoughts flying behind his eyes. If he didn’t want his aunt to know of his midnight prowl, perhaps he didn’t want the servants to know either. But, of course, someone would notice the ruined coat. Just like the master not to think of that.

“Very well,” he allowed, going to perch on the chair near the fire. “I would appreciate your assistance, Miss Ramsey. Thank you.”

So meek. She didn’t trust him for an instant.

You can find Never Borrow a Baronet as an ebook through fine retailers and in print from Amazon:



QNPoohBear said...

OOh that sounds fun! This new series is tops on my TBR list once summer vacation begins (very soon)! There really is a market for clean Regency romances. I hope a publisher figures that out soon for you!

Regina Scott said...

Me too, QNPoohBear! Enjoy your summer reading!