Spotlight on Almost A Countess

I’m continuing my series of Spotlights on my Georgian series. For any of my readers who have read Only A Mistress Will Do, you may remember several young ladies who were secondary characters in the book. I liked these women quite a lot, so when they began whispering to me that they had stories too, I listened, and began the Captivating Countesses romance series. Therefore, today I’m spotlignting the second book of that series, Almost A Countess.

And I’m hoping the next book of the series will release sometime in summer of 2022. Keep checking the blog–or sign up for my newsletter–to get more info on this upcoming book!

 

BLURB:

A lone woman can be ready for almost anything…

Exiled to a lonely estate in north Yorkshire, Dora Harper finds life satisfying, if appallingly routine—until an escaped Scottish prisoner begs for her help. Despite her misgivings, Dora takes him in, feeds and clothes him, and is amazed at his transformation into a very handsome, virile gentleman, who claims he is an earl. No matter who he really is, his very presence in her house could ruin her reputation for good. Trouble is, Dora might not mind that at all.

Phineas “Finn” MacDonald, the Earl of Aberfoyle, is on the run from a troop of soldiers bent on charging him with treason. Dora’s miraculous appearance is a godsend for him, in more ways than one. The pretty young English woman is kind, compassionate, and willing to help him in his attempt to seek justice and evade the troop that is quickly closing in on him.

With their close proximity over several days, Finn’s desire to escape wanes, even as thoughts of Dora fill his mind. So when a unique opportunity presents itself, Finn claims to be Dora’s husband to save her reputation and throw the soldiers off his trail. Now all Finn needs to do is persuade Dora to make the ruse a reality—before the soldiers can find him and carry out the grim penalty for his alleged crime.

EXCERPT:

Coughing, Dora opened her eyes on four faces peering anxiously down at her. Violet held her vial of smelling salts. “What happened?”

“You swooned, dear.” Violet tucked the vial into her pocket. “Can you sit up?”

Nodding, Dora came upright as the others backed away.

“Are you all right, my dear?” Aunt Mimi peered keenly at her. “I am sorry to have caused you such a shock, although I didn’t believe the news would elicit quite that amount of consternation. You must have known your father would not let you linger here long, like a fallow field, before finding you the most advantageous match possible.”

“But he assured me I was ruined when I jilted Lord Trevor.” That had been her one saving grace, to know she was unmarriageable and therefore had escaped her father’s machinations.

“Apparently with the correct incentives, one is never too ruined.” Aunt Mimi sniffed. “I told him he would not find you easy to convince. When you thwarted your father by refusing to marry Trevor, you showed me you were made of sterner stuff than we’d anticipated.” Her aunt gave her a smug smile. “Your father saw it as a childish fit of pique, but I knew better. But he’s been obsessed recently with finding you a husband. Any husband, it seems. I visited with your parents often when they were in Town, and Melchior was constantly writing to one gentleman or another to see if he could entice them to marry you.” She sighed and sipped her tea. “Apparently, at last, he has done so.”

“Well, I won’t do it.” Dora glared defiantly around the room. “I won’t go home, and I certainly won’t marry whoever it is he wants to force me to wed.”

“Do you know who he’s trying to betroth Dora to, Duchess?” Tris had stepped up to her aunt, his voice low and strained.

“No one grand, I think. I didn’t know the name when he told me. Sir Harry Walters of Cambridgeshire.” Her aunt shook her head. “Do you know him, Lord Trevor? Lord Aberfoyle?”

Dora had avoided looking at Finn during this ordeal, but now she did meet his eyes. She fancied the pain in her eyes was reflected in his.

Why couldn’t they have had the chance to court properly, then for Finn to finally apply to her father? Even if he wished to ask for her now, it would not be too late, except Finn could not ask for her hand while he was an escaped prisoner. By the time his troubles were straightened out, her father would have her married off if he could have his way. Well, he would not succeed. According to the law, she had to consent to the marriage, and she simply would not do it.

“I dinna ken the name, Duchess.” Finn spoke calmly, though his body was strung tight as an archer’s bow.

“I know Sir Harry.” Tris crossed his arms over his chest, his face drawn. “He’s not a bad man. A middle-aged widower with two children. A steady, capable man. No vices other than smoking a pipe or two and enjoying a drink once in a while.” Tris shrugged. “I’m not sure what your father wants from him, other than for him to take Dora so he can wash his hands of her.”

“He can wash his hands of me without saddling me with such a husband.” Dora’s stomach roiled at the thought of marrying some stranger. “You can tell him, Aunt Mimi, or I will simply write and inform him that under no circumstances will I marry that man.”

“I told him you would refuse to cooperate, my dear.” Her aunt patted her hands. At least she seemed to be on her side and not Father’s. “He seemed to think the threat of being turned out into the hedgerows was enough to bring you in line.”

“Well, it isn’t.” Dora met Finn’s gaze, a thoughtful if peculiar look on his face. “I will not be bullied by that man again. It’s not as though I have nowhere to go.” She was certain she’d be welcome in Tris and Violet’s home until she reached her majority and inherited her fortune. Or until she married.

Mo ghràidh.” Finn reached across and took her hand, startling Dora greatly. That odd look was still on his face. “I think ’tis time we made yer aunt privy tae our little secret.”

Finn’s voice sent a shock through her. What on earth was he talking about?

Tris and Violet exchanged a knowing glance.

Did he wish to tell Aunt Mimi that he’d spent the night here without a chaperone? Or that he’d kissed her out at the folly? Her aunt’s reaction to that revelation might be better than Tris’s. At any rate, their indiscretion would make it impossible for her to wed Sir Harry. “Yes, I suppose it is best, Finn.”

Finn straightened in his chair but kept tight hold of her hand. “Duchess, when Lord Trevor introduced me as Lord Aberfoyle and his friend, he dinna give ye the most pertinent information about me.”

Terrified, Dora squeezed his hand hard enough to turn it to jelly. The fool was going to tell her he was an escaped prisoner, a fugitive from the law. How in God’s name did he think that was going to help her at all?

“He did not?” Aunt Mimi frowned at Finn then at Tris. “Well, what did he omit?”

Finn looked at Dora and smiled devilishly. “The fact that I am Dora’s husband. And as she is my wife, she canna marry anyone else.”

A bombshell that is news even to Dora! What is Finn playing at?

Almost A Countess is available in ebook and print formats from Amazon, and in ebook format also from B & NKobo, and Apple.

Captivating Countesses series

 

This entry was posted in Almost A Countess, Captivating Countesses, Georgian romance, Promotion and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Spotlight on Almost A Countess

  1. I bet the aunt is a hoot.

    Like

  2. Karen Hackett says:

    Boom! What is Finn playing at?

    Like

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