I can’t believe its just one week till Reason to Wed comes out! Where has the time gone and why haven’t I said more about it so far? Well life got a bit hectic. There was a little emergency finger amputation for my husband, and my plans fell apart. He didn’t mean to crush his finger, but worrying about him couldn’t have come at a worse time! (He’s healing well btw)
So, now to Reason to Wed, book 7 in the Distinguished Rogues series.
When Esme met Richard it was not love at first sight. In fact, I’d go as far as to claim the opposite for Lady Heathcote and Lord Windermere. Esme has long thought Richard Hill arrogant so getting involved with him was the last thing on her mind. As for Richard, well, he was busy enjoying himself to the full as most distinguished rogues are prone to do. Richard and Esme were amazingly fun characters to write. They were older and knew what they liked when it came to intimacy. Esme would never cop to her exact age but Richard was early forties and getting worried about the succession. They hardly ever agree but what does that matter when the circumstances are right?
Here’s a sneak peek into the story–a first conversation between my hero and heroine:
“Looking for me?” Windermere asked as he came to stand near. His gaze raked her from head to toe in the most gauche way.
Arrogant and presumptuous. “Hardly. You should pay more attention to your guests and the health of your servants.”
Instead of taking the hint that she wasn’t in the mood to talk, he caught her hand and raised it to his lips. His blue eyes danced with amusement. “I do love when you’re friendly. How have you been, Esme?”
She scowled at him and withdrew her hand to her side. “I’ve not given you leave to use my first name and I am not of a mood to spar with you. Go back to your other guests for amusement and send your butler to his bed. Anyone can see he’s on the verge of collapse tonight.”
“I already banished Oswin to rest.” He laughed suddenly. “Young Pip has assumed his duties until Collins comes up.”
“Just as well,” she replied, thankful for such sensible decisions at last.
“Only you would ever dare tell me what to do in my own home. I wanted to thank you for coming,” Windermere murmured. “But to convince everyone we’re not at odds, you will have to talk to me occasionally with a little less acid in your tone.”
“We’ve spoken as much as needed to quell any gossip.” She smiled at him. “Or was it your wish to have me chivvy you out of your mopes too.”
“I will say again you were right.” Windermere sighed and raked a hand through his dark, wavy hair. “You’re enjoying rubbing my nose in that business with Lady Bartlett, aren’t you?”
“Perhaps.” She smothered a laugh. He hadn’t wanted to believe he was being used until it was almost too late to extract himself from the connection. “You were so indignant that day, and after venting your pique at me, you charged down the street—on foot of all things, my man and your horse trailing after. I laughed for at least a whole day afterward. But I am sorry you were let down.”
He inhaled sharply, his jaw clenching before he relaxed and shook his head. “No, you’re not. You’re positively gloating that you were proved right about her.”
She allowed herself the briefest smirk. “You should learn to listen to good advice when you hear it, even if it comes from a direction you don’t care for. I did try at first every subtle method I could imagine to make you really look at her figure and behavior. She wanted to trap you and almost did. An adventuress of her poor standard is not suitable to be your countess.”
“I believe you wholeheartedly.” He leaned closer, bracing one hand on the doorframe beside her head so she was partially trapped by his body. “In fact, I’m considering leaving the matter of who should be in that position in your capable hands.”
She stared at him in shock. “You’d let me choose your wife for you?”
“Well, perhaps not a wife.” He grinned and his attention dropped to her bust. “But I’m open to hearing your suggestion for my next lover. I seem to have the worst luck in that area and you seem to have developed an interest in those I take to my bed.”
Esme laughed at his absurd suggestion and ignored the overwhelming urge to unbutton her gown for him. She did not lead a man on while involved with another, even if that other was leading her on a merry chase tonight. “You hardly need advice on that. Any pair of breasts will do. But next time, if the lady claims she’s carrying your child, at least find out for sure she’s speaking truthfully before you request a special license.”
“Breasts come attached to the lady.” He sighed again and drew back. “Given my near miss, I’m no longer confident I’ve the patience for marriage.”
Last year, Esme had formed a suspicion about Lord Windermere, what set him to sigh so often when someone married or was heard to have fathered a son or daughter. He implied he lacked patience, but that probably wasn’t true. There were countless other gentlemen of their acquaintance with both legitimate and illegitimate children attached to their names. Lord Windermere had not lived the life of a saint, but he had no children of his own that Esme had ever learned of.
She could sympathize with his situation, though she’d never let on or embarrass him by speaking of it. At his age, nearing three and forty years, he must have begun to worry for the succession, since his brother appeared even less ready to settle down than he was. After that, the estate and title fell to a cousin who hadn’t the bearing of an earl, in her opinion, although he did possess a sweet wife and two sons already.
She didn’t know what to say to make him feel better anyway because nothing really could. She’d long since accepted her own barren state as a certainty. “Things might be different with the right woman,” she suggested gently. At least that is what well-meaning family had always advised her.
He shook his head then assumed the warm expression so common for him that lit up his eyes so brightly she wanted to draw closer. “So, are you going to tell me what you were looking for?”
She glanced away, glad he’d changed the subject and that the uncomfortable personal conversation between them was over. She wouldn’t confide in him about her exasperation with her lover, but Windermere had invited Meriwether knowing they were intimately involved. It should have been clear to him whom she’d be looking for. “I’ll let you get back to tending your guests and charming your next dance partner.”
He sighed dramatically. “You’re a cruel woman but you are correct. I have obligations. Until we meet again.”
Esme turned on her heel and left the library and Lord Windermere behind. If not for the lingering feeling of shared sadness, she didn’t plan to think of him again tonight.
I’m happy to answer any questions you have about this and my plans for 2016.
About Reason to Wed:
Richard Hill, the Earl of Windermere, might desperately require a wife and heir, but thoughts of duty fly from his mind when he rescues Esme, Lady Heathcote, from the embarrassment of a failed affair. They usually never agree about anything. He’s never even kissed the vexing widow. But when the opportunity arises to whisk her away for a no-strings-attached rendezvous, Richard can’t imagine a better way to spend a moonlit evening.
Esme has never lacked for admirers, but having Lord Windermere’s company goes a long way to ease the pain of losing her suddenly betrothed lover. And when Windermere suggests an affair, Esme is intrigued by the blazing-hot connection even while knowing their relationship has no future beyond his house party.
But as with any temptation, it’s a bargain they’ll soon regret.