Thursday, December 2, 2021

Read an #Excerpt from Someone Perfect by Mary Balogh

About the Book

Someone Perfect 
(Westcott #9) 
by Mary Balogh

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published November 30th 2021 by Berkley
Sometimes, just one person can pull a whole family apart. And sometimes, it just takes one person to pull it back together. For fans of Bridgerton, New York Times bestselling Regency Romance author Mary Balogh shows how love truly conquers all in this new Friends of the Westcotts novel.

As a young man, Justin Wiley was banished by his father for mysterious reasons, but now, his father is dead, and Justin has been Earl of Brandon for six years. A dark, dour man, he, nonetheless, takes it as his responsibility to care for his half-sister, Maria, when her mother dies. He travels to her home to fetch her back to the family seat at Everleigh Park.

Although she adored him, once, Maria now loathes Justin, and her friend, Lady Estelle Lamarr, can see, immediately, how his very name upsets her. When Justin arrives and invites Estelle and her brother to accompany Maria to Everleigh Park to help with her distress, she begrudgingly agrees, for Maria's sake.
As family secrets unravel in Maria's homecoming, Justin, too, uncovers his desire for a countess. And, while he may believe he's found an obvious candidate in the beautiful 25-year-old Lady Estelle, she is most certain that they could never make a match...


Temptation was not to be resisted, Estelle decided at last, perhaps because she did not put up any great fight against it. She pulled off her shoes and set them neatly beside her, peeled off her stockings and pressed them into the shoes so they would not go wafting away in the breeze, folded the lower half of her skirt neatly over her knees so that some remnant of modesty would be preserved, and lowered her feet gingerly into the river. She gasped at the coldness of the water, but she lowered her legs farther, wiggling her toes as she did so, and found that they quickly adapted. And oh goodness, it felt delicious. 
This was pure bliss. 
Until, that was, she became aware of someone panting— someone who was not her. And then she heard low, menacing growls. And then angry barking. Her eyes flew open and she whipped her head about to see a huge monster of a dog dashing toward her across the grass, all bared teeth and ferocity and flying spittle and giant paws. If Estelle had not been half paralyzed with terror, she might well have jumped screaming right into the river. Instead she sat up sharply, spread her hands before her face, palms out, finger's spread, and cried out. Something idiotic like, “Good doggie,” she thought afterward. By then she hoped fervently she had not actually said doggie. 
“Heel, Captain!” The voice that snapped out the command came from somewhere behind Estelle. It was a harsh masculine voice—and instantly effective. The dog stopped in its tracks, a mere six feet from Estelle and towering over her. It growled menacingly once, tipped its head to one side, one brown ear flopping against its head, the other swinging free, black jowls quivering, black nose twitching, black eyes glaring death and destruction—and turned to trot to where the voice had come from. 
Estelle sucked in a deep breath of air, perhaps the first since she had heard the panting. She turned more fully, drawing her feet from the water at the same time, curling her legs under her, and pulling her skirt down over them. All a bit too late for modesty. 
People never came this way. Well. Almost never. 
He was astride a massive horse, an equally massive man, or so he appeared to Estelle from her vantage point close to the ground. Oh dear God, her hair was all about her in a half-tangled, untidy mass. Her dress was soggy and clinging to her bare legs. He, on the other hand, was immaculately clad for riding, a man with wide shoulders and a broad chest and powerful-looking thighs. He was dark and dour of countenance, though the fact that his tall hat was pulled low over his brow and cast his face in shadow might account for at least part of that impression. His black-faced brown bloodhound panted up at him as though awaiting the order to attack and kill. 
He was some distance away from Estelle, holding his horse quite still while he regarded her in silence. He made no apology. He asked for no assurance that she was unharmed. He uttered no greeting of any sort. Except that even as she noted this he touched his whip to the brim of his hat and inclined his head perhaps an inch and a half in her direction. Then he rode down the track, across the bridge, in among the trees that lay beyond the bank on the other side, and disappeared. 
After that one slight acknowledgment of her existence he had not once looked her way. 
Estelle gaped after him. She was trembling, she realized.

From SOMEONE PERFECT published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Mary Balogh.

A Westcott Novel Series

About the Author

Mary Jenkins was born in 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Mary Balogh started writing in the evenings as a hobby. Her first book, a Regency love story, was published in 1985 as A Masked Deception under her married name. In 1988, she retired from teaching after 20 years to pursue her dream to write full-time. She has written more than seventy novels and almost thirty novellas since then, including the New York Times bestselling 'Slightly' sextet and 'Simply' quartet. She has won numerous awards, including Bestselling Historical of the Year from the Borders Group, and her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She has won seven Waldenbooks Awards and two B. Dalton Awards for her bestselling novels, as well as a Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.

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