Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors!
Today’s is the last snippet from Only Marriage Will Do because it will release on Friday, July 31 and I’ll switch over for August to the final House of Pleasure novel, Only Pleasure Will Do. This Sunday I’m traveling to Memphis for a writing retreat, so I’ll catch everyone who comes by when it’s not my turn to drive. 🙂 Remember, Only Marriage Will Do is now up for pre-order on Amazon for only $1.99. It will release on July 31 and the price will rise to $4.99. Grab your copy by release day for the discount!
Check out my new blurb for Only Marriage Will Do:
Not all Happy-ever-afters begin at “I do.”
Two unexpected callers turn Lady Juliet Ferrers’s world upside down. The first claims to be married to her via a proxy marriage, a statement she can scarcely credit—except she was betrothed to him once upon a time. To deter him, Juliet acts boldly when a stranger appears, declaring he is her husband. But when she is finally alone with the handsome visitor, she finds herself hoping she can turn her falsehood about their marriage into truth.
Captain Amiable Dawson seems to have stepped into a fairy land when a beautiful young woman he’s never met introduces him as her husband. The more she explains her situation, the less he is inclined to believe her, yet Amiable is a pushover for a damsel in distress. Against his better judgment, he agrees to accompany her to her family’s estate far to the north. Along the way the passion between them sizzles until a happy-ever-after is all but assured. However, the question of Juliet’s true husband rears its head again, forcing Amiable to wonder if he is married to the lady or not.
When his rival abducts Juliet, Amiable is compelled to choose between the woman he loves or the law of the land that decrees she is not his wife. Desperate to rescue her at any cost, his last resort may be to kill the man who stands in the way of their happiness.
I began my snippets for Marriage well into the story just as I did for Scandal. Captain Amiable Dawson and Lady Juliet Ferrers married in July under rather strange circumstances: another man, a former suitor, has claimed he is already married to Juliet. She and Amiable spent the autumn months trying to verify that their marriage was indeed valid, but have not heard definitively from the courts. So on Christmas Eve, Amiable’s sisters have thrown them a reception to celebrate their marriage. Now, however, an unknown man has crashed the party, bringing one with him too well known to Juliet–the man claiming to be her true husband. Today we find out the court’s determination on their marriage.
“I have in my possession a sworn statement from Mr. Grimes, which I watched him sign myself yesterday afternoon,” Haimes raised a sheet of foolscap with writing on it and held it out to ward off any objection as Dalbury stepped forward, “which states he received the final testimony from a Mademoiselle Jeanette Valois three days ago. She writes, as the two witnesses did as well, that the marriage ceremony did take place, with her as the proxy, on February twenty-third, 1760, a week before Count Mallain received the revocation of the proxy.”
Silence shattered the room.
“What of the magistrate?” Amiable could scarcely force the words out of his parched throat. He clasped Juliet’s arm in a death grip. “What was his testimony?”
“The magistrate, Paul d’Eberhart, has died since the event took place, which explains one delay in acquiring the information. No one at court had been assigned to attend to letters addressed to him.” Haimes took a deep breath, his face expressionless.
And now to finish the scene :
“As he is unable to provide testimony, French law therefore affirms the marriage contracted between Philippe…”
“No.” Juliet moaned and twisted on the chaise.
“Viscount St. Cyr and Lady Juliet Ferrers…”
“Nooo,” Juliet screamed and covered her ears. Her body shook and her face paled.
Amiable clutched her, at a loss how else to comfort her. If only stopping the runner’s words could stop the inevitable.
“Is legal and binding.”
“In France, by God.” Amiable shouted and leaped up. “It is still valid only in France.” He moved in front of Juliet, daring anyone to come near.
“I’m afraid not, Mr. Morley.” Haimes shook his head and drew another piece of heavy, official paper from his coat pocket. “Lord St. Cyr’s attorney immediately took the affidavits to the magistrate.” He unfolded the stiff paper, and Amiable’s heart lurched at the sight of the official seal affixed to the bottom. “Today he has ruled, in light of these new circumstances and because the Hardwicke Act is mute on the subject, that the marriage is valid, although irregular.”
He offered it to Amiable, who snatched it and read the document. He read and re-read words he fought to make sense of with the no, no, no shrieking in his mind. Unfortunately, the document’s determination was clear. At last, he forced himself to look into Juliet’s stricken face. The news must come from his lips, cruel though it might be. “It’s true. The court has ruled the marriage valid.”
Remember! Only Marriage Will Do is available on Amazon for pre-order only until July 31 at the pre-order price of just $1.99. The book reverts to its regular price of $4.99 on the day after Release Day, Saturday, August 1. Grab yours while you can!
And don’t forget to check out the rest of the Warriors here. There’s some fantastic snippets to be read.