By Maggi Andersen
Dutiful daughter Faith Baxendale just wants to please. Faith isn’t as adventurous as her younger sister, Hope, gadding about the Continent with their aunt, nor as rebellious as her elder sister, Honor, who planned to become a card sharp. And Faith couldn’t lose herself in her art like sixteen-year-old, Charity. Even Mercy, at fourteen, shows more backbone!
After Faith’s first Season ends, her father urges her to marry the man of his choice. But when Lord Vaughn Winborne, a neighbor Faith had a crush on while still in the schoolroom, arrives home for the Brandreth’s hunt ball, surprising even to herself, Faith is drawn again towards a man her father would never consider.
The youngest Brandreth male, Vaughn, is the black sheep of the family. His elder brother, Chaloner, Marquess of Brandreth, still looks upon him as a reckless youth, and Vaughn is determined to prove him wrong.
A chance comes in the form of a scandal not of Vaughn’s making, and he must learn to trust Faith, who, when all’s said and done, has always known her own mind.
Enjoy an Excerpt. A fire breaks out at a house party.
Faith heard a crash somewhere below. She foggily rose to the surface from a deep sleep, wondering if she’d had a nightmare.
“Heavens!” She smelt smoke as she leapt out of bed and raced to fling open the door.
Without pausing for her dressing gown, she darted out into the dimly lit corridor, where candles gutted in their sconces, and ran straight into a hard body.
“Faith!” Vaughn’s hands reached out and touched her, alighting on a breast, then dropped away.
“Is there a fire? Mama, Father, I must go to them.”
“Your father has taken your mother outside, and Edward and Honor have gone too. I’ve been entrusted to escort you.” He grabbed her hand and began to run with her toward the stairs. Smoke rose up the grand staircase from the hall below.
“We’ll try the servants’ stairs.”
She hesitated. “I must go back for my dressing gown.”
“Not a good idea.” Vaughn stripped off his banyan and held it out to her. “Here.”
While she slipped it on, she eyed him in his trousers and shirt, which was open at the neck displaying a vee of dark hair on his chest. She took a deep breath as her stomach coiled into knots. Were they about the die together? She reefed the material up in her hands. “It’s much too long.”
“Come on. I’ll carry you.”
“No.” Faith reddened, aware she wore no undergarments. She gathered up the banyan and attempted to run. The silken folds slipped through her fingers, and she caught her foot in the material and stumbled.
“You’d prefer to burn to death than have me carry you without your corset?” Vaughn said with a lift of his eyebrows.
She firmed her lips. “Yes.”
“You must endure, Lady Faith.” With a laugh, he swung her up into his arms.
She gasped. “Put me down!”
“When we get out of this dashed house.”
They covered the long corridor in no time, and Vaughn leapt down the steps as if she weighed no more than a new-born chick.
“Put me down at the bottom of the stairs,” she said, aware of a big hand warming her rib cage alarmingly close to her breast.
Vaughn reached the deserted kitchen and carried her out into the cold. His hands slid over her derrière as he placed her on her feet. “I’m sorry to have to put you down,” he said. “You’re a cuddly armful.”
“And you are a disgrace.” Faith looked at him suspiciously then turned her head away to hide her smile.
I’m thrilled to reveal my new cover for LADY HOPE AND THE DUKE OF DARKNESS, Book #3 by the talented Erin Dameron-Hill. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s gorgeous!