Friday, July 13, 2018

Don’t be Envious: Never Envy an Earl

Surprise! The third book in the Fortune’s Brides series, which was to be an August release, is out now. Because I could. There’s definitely something to be said for self-publishing. 😊

The saucy Yvette de Maupassant is used to danger. She’s spent the last 10 years spying for England in Napoleon’s court. Now that her work has been discovered, she must hide, and what better place than the remote wooded estate of the Earl of Carrolton? Her friend Miss Thorn and that delightful cat Fortune place her in a position where she can pretend to be companion to the earl’s sickly mother. Yet one look at the earl has Yvette rethinking why she wants to stay.

Gregory, Earl of Carrolton, is used to power. So why does one moment in the company of his mother and spinster sister leave him feeling powerless? And why does the look in a certain Frenchwoman’s eyes leave him weak at the knees? As danger draws closer, Gregory and Yvette must work together to protect her, his family, and the future of England, as they discover the greatest danger and delight is falling in love.

Here’s a little taste:

Gregory ventured into the chamber. He’d worked with his interior designer to make each of the one hundred rooms in Carrolton Park unique. This one had been inspired by spring, with sunny yellow walls, bed hangings patterned in jonquils and tulips, with matching fabric on the curved back chairs. The cornice of the bed and above each doorway was crowned with a gilded sun, its rays beaming out.

Against all that cheer, his mother, dressed in one of the black, lace-encrusted gowns she favored, looked a bit like a raven. Beside her tall, elegant frame, Yvette de Maupassant resembled a china doll.

And that hair! Cut as short as that of the infamous Caro Lamb, it curled about her piquant face in wild abandon. He could imagine running his fingers through the locks, silk springing beneath his touch.

He shook away the thought. Harry’s note, which had accompanied Lord Hastings’, indicated Gregory’s friend had rescued her from a prison house after her espionage had been discovered. For all Gregory knew, her captors had cut her hair to shame her. He should not find the look so appealing.

“Gregory!” His mother smiled at him, wrinkles crinkling around her pale eyes as she raised her ebony-headed cane. “You came to see me!”

She made it sound a rarity for all he tried to check on her at least once a day besides dinner when he was in residence.

“Mother,” he said, going to kiss her cheek. “You look busy.”

“Very,” she assured him, waving away the cream-colored linens a maid offered. “The blue, I said. I was very specific. Why do you all fail to listen?”

“They are doing splendidly,” Yvette corrected her. “See how nicely the blue complements the gold? And cream lace on the pillow cases—so inspired!”

The maid bobbed a curtsey, blushing at the praise.

He left his mother directing another servant in the making of the bed and drew Yvette aside.

“I must apologize,” he murmured, feeling like a hulking brute beside her. “I didn’t know Mother had subjected her previous companion to sleeping on a cot.”

She waved her hand. “It was easily remedied.”

The bustling about him did not look easy. And he could not like the way the room’s layout was being changed before his eyes. That black walnut trunk with the battered sides threw off the entire scheme. He looked to Marbury, who immediately came to him.

“My lord?” he asked.

“There’s a maple wardrobe in the north wing,” Gregory told him. “Have two of the footmen bring it here and remove that walnut monstrosity.”

He inclined his head. “At once, my lord.”

Yvette chuckled, the sound tickling him. “Monstrosity, he says. I am fortunate to even possess that.”

Gregory kept his chin up. “And while you are here I am determined that you will be surrounded by beauty, Miss…French.”

She laughed again. “You must practice, my lord. I am a poor companion, the lowly Miss French.” She fluttered her lashes in his direction.

“Perhaps you should practice,” he said with a smile. “You look and act nothing like a lowly companion.”

She made a moue. “But I am doing my best.”


At his mother’s demand, Yvette hurried away from him. The sunny room seemed to dim. Once more he shook himself. What, had he been flirting? He was surprised he even knew how. She made every thought, every act, seem natural.

His mother may have taken the lead in redecorating, but he was fairly sure there was only one leader in the room, and that was clearly Yvette. Somehow, he thought Carrolton Park would never be the same.

The e-book is available at fine online retailers and the print book through Amazon:


Because only a matchmaking cat can hunt true love.

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