Bride in Hiding (MF)
[BookStrand Regency Romance]
She thought hiding in plain sight would be the perfect plan—but alas! Susannah Kirk hopes to escape an unwanted marriage by posing as a lady’s companion in the bridegroom’s ancestral home. Surely it’s the last place anyone would look for her—but as Susannah’s luck would have it, a surprise visitor from London isn’t just anyone. He’s Trevor Dalton, one of her reclusive lady’s grandsons—and he may or may not be the very rogue she’s trying to flee.
After learning his wastrel cousin plans to satisfy gambling debts by taking a bride he’s never met, Trevor races to Derbyshire to avert scandal. But his efforts are hampered at every turn by his grandmother’s strong-willed, mysterious companion. Suspicious as well as charmed, he’s determined to uncover Susannah’s secrets—even if he has to seduce them out of her...and risk losing his heart.
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
4 CUPS: "Susannah Kirk is a beautiful young woman with a lot of common sense and a despicable mother and stepfather. She is resourceful and a survivor. Trevor Dalton is the wealthy heir to his cousin, Ambrose, Viscount Ellington, who is childless after two marriages. He is determined to find out more about Cousin Ambrose's putative bride and visit his grandmother at the same time. Susannah's stepfather and mother are determined she marry Viscount Ellington. His two previous wives died very young, and she will not marry someone she has never met to satisfy the man who changed her name and hid her away. She runs away to the last place anyone would think to find her—the home of her erstwhile fiance. Unfortunately, the viscount's cousin has come for a visit and is very suspicious of Susannah and her qualifications as Lady Ellington's companion. This is an engaging and fun Regency tale. Sir Niles' reasons for trying to marry Susannah off to Lord Ellington are murky at best, and his threats to her are pretty creepy, but aside from that, he is a very satisfactory villain. Trevor's relatives are a shady bunch who add color to the story. Trevor and Susannah's story is a lot of fun to read and fans of Regency romance will especially enjoy this tale." -- Maura, Coffee Time Romance Reviews
“Hiding from someone?” he queried. “Or could you be eavesdropping?”
Susannah’s first instinct was to flee, and not out the window. But the damask draperies were suddenly as heavy as boulders, and no matter which way she clawed at them, she couldn’t find the opening she sought.
To her increasing horror, he threw one long leg tightly encased half in buckskin and half in black leather over the sill. “I say again—hiding or eavesdropping?”
“Neither,” she blurted.
Over the sill came his other, equally magnificent leg. “Then what, pray tell, are you doing?”
“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m trying to untangle myself from these wretched drapes!” As Susannah glared up into his face, her racing heart nearly stumbled to a halt.
In her panic, she hadn’t really taken a good look at him till now. The moment she’d turned back to the window, her first thought had been that he was Sir Niles. But that had lasted for only a heartbeat, as she realized he appeared to be only half Sir Niles’s age, much taller and infinitely more handsome. Yet she couldn’t shake off the ominous feeling that this man, though she’d never seen him before, could only spell trouble for her.
What sort of trouble that was, she couldn’t say. She couldn’t even think. How could any woman think while standing so close to a man like this? A man with thick hair of light tawny brown, and an exquisitely chiseled face with a square, dimpled chin. His mouth barely curved in the merest ghost of a smile as he pressed his lips firmly together, and stared back at her with eyes the blue of gleaming turquoise.
“What is going on out here?” demanded Mrs. Mainwaring from the other side of the draperies.
With one swift jerk of his arm, the man did what Susannah had been struggling to do for the past minute. Just like that, he parted the draperies with the ease of Moses raising his staff over the Red Sea, and he and Susannah stood face-to-face with the glowering Mrs. Mainwaring.
“My lord,” Mrs. Mainwaring whispered, as her gaze fell on the man. Was she addressing him or the Almighty? Susannah had good reason to hope it was the latter. “It’s been years, but—my lord, do you not remember me?”
Oh dash it, so she wasn’t invoking the Almighty. Susannah silently called up to Him instead, not that she expected a great deal from Him at this point.
“Cousin Portia?” the man said.
So they were cousins. And Mrs. Mainwaring addressed him as my lord.
That could only mean one thing. No, two things.
This man was Viscount Ellington.
Which made him Susannah’s prospective—and dreaded—bridegroom.