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?
This sweet, clean Regency romance is the sequel to Never Doubt a Duke. Fortune’s Brides: Only a matchmaking cat can hunt true love.
Here’s a taste:
“What happened?” Patience asked, plucking the fabric away from the cut on Harry’s arm.
“Caught myself on a briar on the way home,” he said, watching her.
“I would commend you on your ability to lie,” Patience said, “but it’s not a convincing lie. No briar, sir, cuts through a sturdy wool coat and muslin shirt. I cannot tend to the wound unless I can see all of it. Remove your shirt, please.”
It was likely the urgency that made her speak so boldly. It was likely his injury that made him obey. She went to fetch the washbasin and cloth that had been left for her. Turning toward him, she tried not to stare at the bands of muscle, the sprinkling of dark hair. Clearly, he did something other than gamble and drink the days away.
“If you must know,” he said, “I was shot at. One of the pitfalls of chasing a married lady.”
Oh, but he was wicked. “You are fortunate the husband was such a poor shot.” She wet the washcloth with the rosewater and dabbed at the wound. The blood was congealing now, oozing slowly from the gash.
“I only wish I’d run faster,” he replied. “Ouch!”
Patience glanced up with her sweetest smile. “Forgive me. It will be tender for some time. Unlike your feelings for the lady, I suspect.” She busied herself opening the jar and dipping up a fingerful of the ointment.
He flinched back. “You’re certain it’s safe?”
Patience raised her brow. “I’m hardly going to poison you, Sir Harold.”
“Why not? Gussie tries on a regular basis.”
“And why would your own aunt want to poison a gentleman of your standing?”
That grin popped into view, bringing out the dimple again. “As you can see, she has countless reasons. Very well, do your worst. I’ll endeavor to bear it like a man.”
Patience bit back a response but spread the ointment over the wound. “And when I’m finished, you must retire to another room.”
He inspected her handiwork, then refolded the cravat to tie it over the wound. “But you’ve made me so comfortable here.”
Patience handed him his shirt. “I’ve done all I can. If you refuse to leave, I’ll simply have to ask your aunt for other accommodations. Even if Miss Thorn, Miss Villers, and her brother are in residence, there must be somewhere I can sleep undisturbed.”
In the act of pulling on the shirt, he stiffened. “You can’t ask Gussie. Not in front of the Villers.”
Why did he look even paler than a moment ago? Well, she was about to make it worse yet again. He could not rise in the morning innocent to his aunt’s machinations.
“I must,” Patience told him. She drew herself up. “And you may as well know all. Your aunt asked me to pose as your betrothed. If you don’t leave this room immediately, you may have no other choice than to follow through and marry me.”