Happy Release Day for Heart of Delight, my Regency Cinderella story that is Book 3 of the Handful of Hearts series.
To celebrate today, I’ll be giving away copies of Heart of Delight, swag bags, and an Amazon gift card! Simply leave a comment telling me what you like best about historical romance. I’ll pick winners at random and announce them on the blog at the end of the week, when the new cover for A Kiss Beneath the Mistletoe is revealed.
He’ll do anything to be her heart’s delight—except tell the truth.
Gabriella d’Adventure is on a mission. She has come to England as a lady’s maid in pursuit of the Duke of Rother. When she meets Horace Carpenter, valet to a marquess, she is delighted to enlist his aid in gaining her heart’s desire: a meeting with the duke. But will her growing feelings for the handsome valet interfere with her plans for the duke?
The eccentric Marquess of Halford, Hal to his friends, is tired of the demands of Society, especially his father’s decree that he marry this Season. When a breathtaking young woman intrudes on his solitude, he is captivated and introduces himself as his valet in hopes of learning more about her. Despite his fear about the true motive behind Gabriella’s quest to meet the Duke of Rother, Hal agrees to help her gain an audience with him, all the while praying his deception won’t ruin his chances of winning her love.
Excerpt: (This excerpt is the scene that the cover depicts!)
“What are you doing here?” She wiped her fingers on the hem of her petticoat and got to her feet.
“I told you I’d meet you here.” He grinned, showing very white teeth in the dark, as he stalked toward her like a lynx. “I am a man of my word.”
“I see you are.” She could not hold back a smile. Why was she so pleased to see him? Much as she wanted to believe it was merely for the introduction she hoped he’d arranged, the rush of her heart said differently. That didn’t bear thinking about. She needed no distractions to deter her from her quest. And Monsieur Carpenter might prove a dangerous one.
“You look beautiful this evening. Très belle.”
“You cannot even see me in the darkness.” She tossed her head, though his words sent an alarming thrill through her.
“I can see enough.”
“You are very bold for a valet who has stolen away from his master.” She certainly didn’t want him to be dismissed on her account. “Shouldn’t you be cleaning the marquess’s boots?”
He laughed and motioned her back toward the bench. “They are already taken care of. My master doesn’t mind if I step out once my duties are finished. But it’s sweet of you to be concerned about me.”
“I would hate to think I caused you to get the sack.” She clutched the slats of the bench to keep from fidgeting. Lord, he made her want to fly to pieces.
“Thank you, but I will be fine.” He relaxed against the back of the bench, his presence hulking, and dangerous, and exciting. “Are you well?”
“Oui. As well as one may be with madame calling for me every moment she is not eating, sleeping, or paying calls. Tant pis. It is my lot.” As soon as she met the duke, however, all of that would change, Dieu merci.
“You must be very skilled that she relies so heavily on you.” He never took his gaze off her, which should have made her uncomfortable, but did not. Not even when it seemed to linger on her mouth.
“She is overly concerned with how the people of the ton think of her. Possibly in the past they have been unkind, and she is now determined to be above reproach in her appearance.” She shrugged. “Lady Chalgrove annoys me at times, but she has served her purpose in getting me to England.” Now it was up to her, and perhaps Monsieur Carpenter, to meet the duke.
“So, have you managed to see the Duke of Rother yet?” He shifted, and the faint moonlight blazed in his eyes.
“Non. Yesterday, madame went for a drive with the duke, and I thought it might be my chance, but I caught a glimpse of him only.” She fisted her hands in her lap. Mon Dieu, why was a simple introduction so difficult? “I suppose you have not been able to arrange a meeting either, Monsieur Carpenter?”
He freed her hand from the folds of her gown, his grin broadening. “As a matter of fact, mademoiselle, I have.”
“What?” She squeezed his hand, shock making her grip him tighter than she should have. Her quest was at an end. Her dream would come true at last. “Why did you not tell me immédiatement? This is wonderful.” She threw her arms around him, unable to contain the joy within her. “Oh, merci. Merci beaucoup.”
Her lips met his, and suddenly nothing else mattered. The world disappeared as she clung to him, her anchor in a turbulent sea. When, at last, loud laughter from the house brought her back to herself, she thought she might die of shame. She twisted away, her face hot as though she’d stood too close to a fire. Indeed, she had scorched herself in his flames. “Mille pardons, Monsieur Carpenter. I should not have done that.”
“I didn’t mind, Gabriella.” He smiled, rubbing his finger over his lips. “And having done it, I insist you call me Horace.”
Her whole body like a lit match, realizing too that he had called her Gabriella, she jumped up and stumbled away from the bench.
Heart of Delight, Book 3 of Handful of Hearts, is available on Amazon!
Heart of Desire, Book 2 of Handful of Hearts, is available on Amazon today for .99.
A Kiss Beneath the Mistletoe, Book 1 of Handful of Hearts is also available on Amazon.
Please enjoy Heart of Delight!