My Book of the Month for June is the soon to be released
Heart of Desire,
the second book to my Regency series A Handful of Hearts.
Follow your heart to find your desire
Miss Katherine Locke is irked to start her 3rd season dancing with the disagreeable Lord Haversham, her brother’s friend and her own arch enemy. After three years out, however, she’s finally interested in the dashing Lord Finley—only to find out her cousin has set her cap for him too. To make the man jealous, Kate feigns interest in Lord Haversham, only to be shocked to find herself falling for the handsome lord against her will.
Marcus, Lord Haversham, is in a tight pinch. His estates are failing and worse, he’s just lost 5,000 pounds to his best friend, Lord Ainsley. Ainsley’s solution: have Marcus marry his shrewish sister and he’ll cancel his gambling debt plus give him 10, 000 more for her dowry. With nowhere to turn, Marcus agrees, praying he can keep word of the wager from Kate until he can woo her and charm her into marrying him.
London, May 5, 1820
Packed to the gills, Lady Hamilton’s ballroom glittered with candlelight, fine silks and satins, and type of precious jewel known to the world. The music had a lively air, the first dance being a waltz, and Miss Katherine Locke would have thought herself fortunate to be out again in Society after a long, cold, dull winter in Somerset save that her partner, Lord Haversham, was the rudest man in London. Well, his lordship was about to discover that Kate Locke was not one to suffer fools lightly.
“So you refuse to allow your sister to waltz, yet you are quite willing to stand up with me and dance this, according to you, most scandalous of dances, my lord.” Kate smiled into the odious wretch’s face. “I should say that smacks of hypocrisy.”
“Indeed.” Lord Haversham turned them skillfully at the end of the floor. “I would say it shows a want of character in your brother for allowing you to dance it with me. The waltz should be danced by married couples and no one else.” He pulled her close against him, so their bodies almost touched.
She gasped at her close proximity to the rogue. How dare he make a spectacle of them on this crowded dance floor?
“You see?” he whispered, peering into her face, his gaze intent upon her mouth.
All she could see were his crystal blue eyes, as the crisp scent of his sandalwood cologne filled her nose.
“Ainsley should be horsewhipped for allowing it.”
“I’ll see to it he horsewhips you if you don’t let me go.” Kate gave a hopping step and smashed her foot down on top of his.
Lord Haversham lurched forward, actually falling onto her.
For the briefest moment they stood pressed together in a warm embrace that made Kate tingle all over. Then outrage swept through her and she pushed him away. “How dare you,” she hissed, trying to pull away from him.
“That was your fault and you know it. And if you make a scene that results in me having to marry you, I swear I will lock you in the tower at my grandfather’s castle and throw away the key.” Lord Haversham righted himself and smiled at her with clenched teeth.
“Of all the students at Oxford, my brother had to befriend you?”
“He had you for a sister, his luck was due for a change.”
“Well, I wish mine would change, Haversham. If I have to endure you for five more minutes I will fall down in a dead faint just to get away from you.” Kate wanted to scream in frustration at her brother’s best friend, but the man was right. Any scandalous behavior could end with her compromised and married to Haversham before the month was out. The Season had just begun. She refused to let it end in a single night with the man who had been the bane of her life for years.