Rivals of Fortune / The Impetuous Heiress
by Jane Ashford
Paperback, 480 pages
Expected publication: May 3rd 2016 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Two classic Regency romances from beloved bestselling author Jane Ashford
When London society debarks to their country estates, the courtships are no less heated...
RIVALS OF FORTUNE - Joanna Rowntree thought she would die of a broken heart when her one true love married another-until not one but two fascinating newcomers appear on neighboring estates. As the roughhewn Jonathan Erland and the polished Sir Rollin Denby engage in a heated competition for her hand, Joanna realizes her heart is alive and well-but to whom will she give it?
THE IMPETUOUS HEIRESS - When spoiled Lady Alicia Alston, privileged daughter of a duke, is accidentally tossed into a ravine after a wild gallop with Ian MacClain, Earl of Cairnyllan, she expects a proposal as soon as is convenient. The stubborn Scot has other ideas. It takes a headlong journey to prevent an elopement to give Alicia and Ian a chance to clear up misunderstandings and figure out what they find so damnably passion-inducing about one another...
An Excerpt from RIVALS OF FORTUNE :
“Of course we can’t stop now,” agreed Frederick, full of contempt for the faint hearts. “We are nearly done.”
“Nonetheless,” said Erland, “I say that we put off finishing until tomorrow.”
As he spoke, everyone was suddenly reminded that this was, after all, his property. Something in his tone and bearing informed them, very politely, that they were being asked to leave.
Sir Rollin Denby smiled. “A guinea on the lord of the manor,” he murmured to himself.
Mr. Rowntree was frowning at their host. “But see here, Erland, what can it matter to you? You needn’t do anything.”
The other man smiled gently. “If you’ll pardon me, sir, I think that unlikely. I shall have to find the necessary materials for rigging a pulley, and Gerald and I have done most of the heavy work so far.” Joanna’s father started to speak, but he held up a hand. “And I am very ready to go on. Tomorrow.”
“A flush hit,” murmured Sir Rollin.
“No!” cried Frederick. “I won’t give up now. We cannot leave it all open this way for any…”
“Frederick,” interrupted Erland, “I should like to speak to you.” He beckoned commandingly. Frederick frowned, looked at him, then went.
Joanna joined her father but couldn’t decide if she would have preferred to go on with the work tonight. She was dirty, tired, and hungry, but now that the stone was really being raised, the excitement about what might lie beneath it offset these things. However, clearly, they could not argue with Erland on his own land, so she said, “Mother will be wondering where we have got to today.”
Mr. Rowntree appeared to struggle with himself for a moment, then, reluctantly, gave in. Joanna looked, without much hope, to Frederick and found him transfigured. Whatever Mr. Erland had said to him had dissolved all his objections in a moment.
They all walked back to the house together, Templeton and Carstairs taking their leave, Sir Rollin following them. While the Rowntrees were waiting for their carriage to be brought around, Joanna went to speak to their host.
“What did you say to Frederick?” she asked. “I was sure he would make a great fuss over leaving.”
Erland smiled down at her. “We have an agreement, he and I.”
“But what is it?”
“Oh no, I may not tell.”
“Just as you may not tell me what he was doing all day in your house?”
“But how would I know that?”
“You know. Frederick told me you did. I must say I think it is horrid of you, both of you, to plot without me. I was in this from the beginning, and now you won’t tell me what is happening. Frederick was clearing out his secret passageway today, wasn’t he? Did he find anything?”
Erland shrugged and smiled.
Joanna’s eyes flashed. “It’s too bad of you to treat me this way!”
Seeing that she was really angry, the man said, “Miss Joanna, this could be a dangerous hunt, you know, now that we seem close to whatever my uncle left. I don’t think you should be involved.”
Joanna tossed her head. “But my young brother should? A mere boy?”
Erland smiled again, then suppressed it. “I will watch over Frederick. Believe me, I shall take care.”
She glared at him. “If it is safe for Frederick, it is for me as well.”
Erland looked uncomfortable. “Well, we also thought it best to keep our progress as close as possible. All through this affair, too many people have known…”
“You think I will tell tales then?” exploded Joanna, now thoroughly enraged. “You think I can’t keep a secret?” She nearly walked away from him then, but somehow she could not. She wanted to show him just how mistaken he was.
The man reddened. “I did not mean…”
“Have I done so before?” she continued quickly. “Am I branded as a tattlebox then?”
Erland’s brows came together. “I never said that. But…”
“Well, I believe you have mentioned several things to Sir Rollin Denby that we would have preferred…” He trailed off in embarrassment.
Joanna opened her mouth to confound him, and realized that he was right. In her foolish infatuation, she had told Sir Rollin nearly everything. She crimsoned. It could not matter what Denby knew, but it mattered very much indeed that Mr. Erland knew she had told him and what he thought about that fact. “I…I didn’t,” she stammered. “I didn’t mean…”
“Of course, you meant no harm,” said Erland quickly.
“No, and I…” Joanna struggled with pride and her intense desire to have this man respect her. “I didn’t understand,” she managed. “I was mistaken in him.”
“Mistaken? In Sir Rollin, you mean?”
She nodded. “I thought he was so splendid, but he is not!”
“Not?” Erland looked down at her, some emotion growing in his eyes, and in that moment, Joanna realized that she wanted more than respect from this unusual man. She wanted love. He was nothing like the figure she had set up as her ideal short months ago, but she saw now that he was everything one could desire in a partner—intelligent, brave, kind, and principled. How stupid she had been not to see this before, how silly and young and stupid. “Oh, I wish I could do something to help you,” she cried.
Erland held her eyes for a moment, then took her hand. “You help me simply by existing,” he answered, and he brought her hand up and kissed it.
About the Author:
Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.
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Anything by Sabrina Jeffries. Love her stories!ReplyDelete
too many to choose...i really love all the ones i readReplyDelete
I love The Impossible Bachelors series by Kieran Kramer.ReplyDelete