Release Date: November 1, 2016
Heat Rating: 2
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
A misunderstanding that wounds the bonds of friendship leads a lady to find the love of her life.
Lady Natalie's betrothal is ended and frees her to pursue the man of her dreams. During a holiday party she discovers the lord she desires in attendance. So hatches a plan to snare him.
Lord Christian St. Vella the Marquis of Knightly has no desire to marry. The more Lady Natalie chases the more irritated he becomes. As the party progresses he cannot help but see past her shallow exterior and recognizes a lady he could fall for.
Will they come together to share a unforgettable Christmastide?
Glancing from behind the fern, her stomach dropped. “Bradford,”—She came out into the open—“What are you doing here?”
“Knightly asked me to come in first.”
She released a breath she hadn’t known she had been holding. Christian was here. “You cannot stay.”
“I must. It would be highly improper to leave you unchaperoned with a man we are not related to.” Bradford smirked, shoving his hands in his pockets.
Natalie stepped up to him, placed her hands on his shoulders, and began pushing him toward the door. “Nothing untoward will happen as long as you leave now.”
Oh, why had she failed to think of a chaperone? Now Bradford had his nose squarely in the center of her scheme and he’d surely ruin everything.
A mischievous twinkle lit his eyes and he chuckled. “Nothing untoward will occur at any rate. Knightly has no wish to ruin you.”
Natalie’s face warmed and she gave another shove. “Mind your own affairs.”
“Perhaps I should tell Mother what you are about.”
“You would not dare! You cannot. Imagine what she would do, Bradford.” Natalie dropped her hands from his shoulders and gave him her best pouty look. “What do you think I am about? You act as though I am some sully maid,” She peered at him, her blood heated with angry indignation. How dare he think she was going about, carrying on trysting with men? No matter it was exactly her intended purpose…he should not assume such from her.
“Do calm yourself. Getting your skirts in a knot will change nothing.” Bradford shook his head. “We both know what you are doing here.”
She closed her eyes for a heartbeat. He was correct, she could no more lie to him than she could herself. “I beg of you, do not say a word to anyone.”
“You are quite entertaining.” He chuckled while he walked toward the door. “I will be directly outside should Knightly require my assistance.”
“You may well be the one in need.” Natalie reached for a nearby pot and flung it toward him. The projectile missed him, crashing into the floor. “You are not entertaining in the least.”
“You had better clean that mess up or Mother is certain to discover what you’ve been getting up to without my having to tell her.” His deep chuckle only increased in volume as he disappeared from the greenhouse.
She ought to have known he was teasing her. He no more wished for their parents to know his friend was secretly meeting her than she did. In retrospect, bringing Bradford along was a good plan on Christian’s part. As much as it pained her to admit it, he would ensure no one caught them alone together. Natalie released a sigh, then smoothed her skirts before Christian entered. Her heart pounded—this was her chance.
She stood still with one hip cocked to the left as he stepped into the greenhouse and approached her. “Lord Knightly, I am pleased you came.”
“You should be equally pleased that your brother was the only one to notice your note. Are you trying to get ruined?”
She swallowed at the harshness of his tone. “On the contrary, that is why I told you not to show it to anyone. Though I must confess, I am pleased Bradford came along. He will make an excellent look out.” She did her best to offer a charming smile despite her sudden nerves.
“And why would we need someone to watch out for us?” Christian leveled his penetrating stare on her.
She reached out a trembling hand and trailed the tips of her fingers across his strong jaw. Even through her gloves she felt his warmth seeping into her—imprinting on her soul. “I want a kiss. One more passionate than the one you bestowed on Lady Pippa.”
Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RKDC3CI
Bestselling, Amazon All Star author Amanda Mariel dreams of days gone by when life moved at a slower pace. She enjoys taking pen to paper and exploring historical time periods through her imagination and the written word. When she is not writing she can be found reading, crocheting, traveling, practicing her photography skills, or spending time with her family.