- Expected Apr 20, 2020
Grace-by-the-Sea: Where romance and adventure come home.
The magistrate over a little Regency coastal village, James Howland, takes pride in protecting Grace-by-the-Sea from ne’er-do-wells, including his distant cousin, the Earl of Howland. So, when he discovers a young lady hiding in the family’s castle, his heart cannot decide which comes first—her rescue or his duty.
Outspoken Eva Faraday has been exiled to the castle for refusing to marry the man the earl picked for her. Her late father appointed the earl trustee over her considerable inheritance, which she cannot access until she turns twenty-five or marries. And if she marries, her husband controls the money. She’s not about to trust any Howland, but James seems ripe for rebellion. To thwart the earl’s power, the two agree to a marriage of convenience, only to discover there are others intent on using the earl’s castle for nefarious purposes. Eva and James must work together to solve the mystery and stop the earl once and for all so they can make a marriage that is far more than convenient.
This sweet, clean Regency romance is the sequel to The Matchmaker’s Rogue.
Here’s a taste:
He crossed his arms over his impressive chest. “Nevertheless, I must insist that you leave.”
Was every Howland this pig-headed? If only she could wash her hands of the lot of them! But the earl was trustee over her funds, and he would give her nothing unless she bent to his will. This man might find it acceptable to live like that. She didn’t.
“And I must insist that we stay,” she said. “I promise to disturb as little as possible. I’ll need a bedchamber, a withdrawing room, the dining room and kitchen, and quarters for the staff. From what I can tell, that’s less than a quarter of the space in this pile.”
She thought she caught a sigh. “The castle hasn’t been used as a long-term habitation in years. You’ll need coal, candles, food. How do you intend to pay for them?”
She smiled. “I intend to put them on the earl’s credit. He sent me here. He can pay for the privilege.”
“No,” he said, tone as solid as his chin. “The budget here doesn’t allow for such expenses.”
She waved a hand. “Then send the bill directly to the earl.”
He caught her hand mid-air and held it, gaze fastened on hers. “Have a care, Miss Faraday. I’m only trying to protect you. This castle is more dangerous than you can know. It isn’t safe for you here.”
If he was trying to frighten her off, he was doing a good job. She could almost believe the concern in his voice.
But the earl could sound concerned too, even as he tried to steal her future.
She yanked her hand from his grip. “Then make it safe. Tell me what dangers to avoid. This is apparently to be my home until I earn my inheritance in ten months. Help me survive my imprisonment.”
He eyed her a moment, and she steeled herself to keep fighting. Truly, what else was she to do? If her father had guessed the depths to which the Earl of Howland would sink to get his hands on her inheritance, he would never have made the man trustee and expected him to care for her. In the last six months since her father had died, she had learned to fight for what was best for her and her servants. James Howland would simply have to accustom himself to the fact.
“Very well, Miss Faraday,” he said. “I’ll help you. You may stay in the castle until I hear from the earl.”
Best not to let him see her relief. “How very sensible of you.”
He inclined his head. “But you must allow me to do my duty as well. I am responsible for safeguarding the earl’s interests in Dorset.”
And she would try not to despise him for it. “Of course. Shall I send you a report each week of what furniture I’ve moved? Which dishes we used?”
That smile could have frozen the waves on the Channel. “No need. I’ll be able to verify all that on my own. I’ll be moving into the castle with you, Miss Faraday.”