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Never Too Late: A Bluestocking Belles Collection

Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday and More Anthology.

Special Pre-order Sale just $0.99 

We’re still working on the rest of the retailer links but just in case you want to take advantage of our special pre-order price, jump on over to Amazon and order your copy now. The release date for NEVER TOO LATE is November 4th. Remember, 25% of the sales from the Belles’ box sets benefit our mutual charity, The Malala Fund. You, too, can make a difference in the life of a young woman or child by contributing to this worthy cause!


The Piper’s Lady by Sherry Ewing

True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?
Coira does not regret traveling with her grandfather until she is too old to wed. But perhaps it is not too late? At Berwyck Castle, a dashing knight runs to her rescue. How can she resist?

Garrick can hold his own with the trained Knights of Berwyck, but they think of him as a piper, not a fighter. When his heart sings for the new resident of the castle, he dares to wish he is something he is not. Will failure to clear her misunderstanding doom their love before it begins?

Excerpt

“You saved me,” she whispered in a shaky tone. “You are truly a gallant knight to rescue me. Your liege lord must value you as one of his warriors.”

Warrior? Him? He opened his mouth to correct her assumption but could not find the words. He knew she would think less of him if she but knew he was only the clan’s piper.

“Are ye harmed?” he murmured, still holding the pleasing womanly curves of the lady who had not yet moved from atop him. Her brow rose, and Garrick inwardly cursed knowing there was no way to hide his Scottish accent.

“Nay, but only because of your ability to move so quickly. Thank you, Sir…” She left her sentence linger in the air between them.

“Garrick,” he answered, giving her his name, “of Clan MacLaren.”

“My thanks, Sir Garrick,” she replied with a kind smile.

They seemed to come to the realization the lists had become eerily silent with the exception of one person running in their direction.

“Get your hands off her!” a voice bellowed.

Before either of them could move, the woman was ripped from his arms, and Garrick saw her enveloped in the fierce embrace of Morgan. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and Garrick could not help the feeling of jealousy assaulting his emotions and tugging at his heartstrings.

“Coira! By St. Michael’s Wings you gave me such a fright, woman,” Morgan scolded in concern. Setting her down upon her feet, he proceeded to clasp both her cheeks afore placing kisses on each.

Her Wounded Heart by Nicole Zoltack

An injured knight trespassing on Mary Bennett’s land is a threat to the widow’s
already frail refuge. Even so, she cannot turn away a man in need and tells him he has her husband’s leave to stay until Christmas.

Doran Ward wishes only to survive for one more day. However, as he begins to
heal and to pay for his lodgings by fixing the rundown manor, the wounds to Mistress Bennett’s heart intrigue him.

Can two desperate souls find hope in time for Christmas?

Excerpt 

To her surprise, her guest had laid out a few vegetables, and she set about cutting them without saying a word to him.

At one point, he reached across her for another knife.

She stiffened and jerked back.

“My apologies,” he said. “I did not mean to startle you.”

“Do not touch me,” she said, fear melting into anger in her voice. “My husband is a very strong and angry man. He shall take exception to anyone who dares to touch me.”

“Will he be joining us for dinner?” he asked as if unfazed.

She did not like to lie to him. Lying, after all, was a sin. But she also must protect herself.

“No,” she said shortly. “He already ate and has retired for the evening.”

“So it shall be only the two of us?” He glanced over his shoulder at the chunks of meat he had cooking over the fierce fire.

“Aye. You can brine-cure the meat we do not eat.”

“Very well.” He never did grab the knife but returned to tending to the meat.

Soon enough, she added the vegetables to a pot, along with some of his meat. A short time later, the stew was finished.

The man brought over two bowls. She stared at the wooden spoons in her hands. Her husband had lost their silver in yet another game.

Another sign to alert him that all is not well here.

Head back, she took a deep breath. Matters such as they were, she had no other recourse. As cold as the house was despite fires, she could not imagine anyone surviving the night out of doors. Would her good intentions spell even more doom for herself?

A Year Without Christmas by Jessica Cale 

London, 1645

Edward Rothschild returns home from war defeated in more ways than one. His friends killed and his property seized, he is an earl in name only. His family and his servants have all deserted him– all except his housekeeper, Lillian Virtue.

Lillian feels like home in a way that nothing else does, but as his servant and a recent widow, it would be impossible for them to be together. Then again, Christmas has been banned and the social order fractured; can one more impossible thing happen this year?

Excerpt

Somerton’s smile was like a bolt of lightning, a sudden flash of terrifying intensity that surprised them both. One shot of light across the darkness of his face and it was gone.
Her knees failed her suddenly and Lillian caught herself on the edge of the table just as Somerton reached out to catch her arm. His hand closed around her elbow and sent a shock up her spine.

“Are you well?”

Lillian had always held her master in the highest regard, but some part of her had feared him, as well. It was not only that her position depended upon his good graces, but he had seemed more than human to her. His presence was overwhelming and perhaps otherworldly; he had a spark of the infinite that suggested a link to the Divine. She could have easily taken him for a priest or a saint.

She had known he was objectively handsome; what she had not realized was that she thought he was handsome.

She felt her blush deepen and took a steadying breath. “Quite well, my lord. Forgive me.”
He frowned as he examined her face. “You look peaked. Join me for coffee.”

Somerton wanted her—Lillian Page, no, Virtue—to sip coffee with him in his private bedchamber? It was inappropriate, to say the least, but when she opened her mouth to object, all that came out was, “I only brought one cup.”

The Night of the Feast by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

As a spy deep in the heart of Revolutionary France, Michael St. John hopes to make amends for a wasted life his by helping the citizens of the Vendée stage a counter-revolution.

Jacqueline Archambeau, tavern owner and cook, accepts that life and love have passed her by. She never dreamed she would fight her own countrymen for the right to keep her customs and traditions.

When they plot together to steal plans at a regimental dinner will they risk their lives—and their hearts?

Excerpt 

Bonjour.” The smile on Jacqueline’s face was unexpected, as was the greeting and he found himself returning it.

Until he felt the unmistakable press of a gun barrel at his lower back. It seemed that Madame Jacqueline was not alone.

“Your knife, monsieur.” Jacqueline held out her hand.

Michael obliged, handing the weapon over hilt first.

“So, Jacques is really Jacqueline?” he asked, feeling like the world’s greatest fool.

“And I’ll take any other weapons you might have on your person,” she continued.

He hesitated, and the barrel pressed at his back became silently insistent.

“Please?” she asked as pleasantly as if she had simply asked him to pass the butter.

Michael raised his arms, threaded his fingers, and placed them at the back of his head.

“You’ve completely disarmed me, madam, but you are welcome to check for yourself.”

Hazel eyes clouded with mistrust. Jacqueline glanced to the person behind him as though looking for instruction.

“Who sent you?”

The voice behind him was that of another woman.

Michael gritted his teeth. He would kill Colonel Jeffers when they next met. The man knew his contacts were women and thought it amusing not to tell him. To further his bona fides, Jeffers had even made him memorize the first stanza of a poem, Ode To Him Who Complains, no less, by scandalous poetess Mary Darby Robinson.

The Umbrella Chronicles: George & Dorothea’s Story

by Amy Quinton 

Lord George St. Vincent doesn’t realize it, but his days as a bachelor in good standing are numbered.

He has a fortnight, to be precise—the duration of the Marquess of Dansbury’s house party.

For I, Lady Harriett Ross, have committed to parting with several items of sentimental worth should I fail to orchestrate his downfall—er, betrothal—to Miss Dorothea Wythe, who is delightful, brilliant, and interested (or will be).

If I have anything to say about matters, and I always have something to say about matters, they’re both doomed.

Did I say doomed? I mean, destined—for a life filled with love.

Excerpt 

Without a doubt, he made her breath catch every single time he looked her way, even if only looking past her, which was pretty much all the time and kind of pitiful. But who cared? It was another secret that was all hers.

Besides, she was undoubtedly not the only woman who struggled to breathe in his presence.

Dory clenched her hands into fists and reminded herself for the millionth time that she was more of the glasses and books type (of which there were far too few in the world) than the roguish smile and flirty type (of which far too many abounded). Hence, her easy slide into spinsterhood at the ripe age of thirty-one.

Yes. St. George was blond and slender and solidly built. And he was beautiful, somehow elegantly masculine, and gloriously tall. She wasn’t the only person that understood this. Everyone acknowledged these traits as if they were all a set of facts that could be found in any book on science. Or a math fact, a proven geometrical theorem.

Like the bluestocking she was, Dory imagined writing proofs over the theory of his gentlemanly beauty. Given George St. Vincent is taller than most men. Given St. Vincent has blue eyes the color of the sky and blonde hair the color of wheat. Given George St. Vincent has a blinding smile and broad shoulders. Prove George St. Vincent is the most swoonworthy man in all of England.

Dory chuckled to herself, though she felt on the verge of hysterics.

But all of that didn’t mean he was a worthy man for her affections.

A Malicious Rumor by Susana Ellis

Vauxhall gardener Alice Crocker has had to defend herself from encroaching males all her life, but the new violinist is a different sort. So when she discovers that he is the victim of a malicious rumor, she naturally wants to help.

Peter de Luca greatly admires the lady gardener, but this is his problem to resolve.

What will it take to prove to this pair that they would be stronger together as a harmonious duo than two lonely solos?

Excerpt

Alice found her feet tapping in time to the music of the orchestra rehearsal while she inspected the site for the new illumination, which would honor the new Duke of Wellington after his victory over Bonaparte at the Battle of Paris. If only the designer had included the measurements! It was difficult to decide how to arrange the plantings without some inkling of the space requirements. With luck, the fellow himself would arrive soon, since the spectacle was planned to open the next day.

Miss Stephens must be singing tonight, she thought as she found herself humming the tune of the popular Northumberland ballad about a brave lass who rowed out in a storm to save her shipwrecked sailor beau.

O! merry row, O! merry row the bonnie, bonnie bark,

Bring back my love to calm my woe,

Before the night grows dark.

She liked the idea of a woman rescuing her man instead of the other way around. It might seem romantic to be rescued by a handsome prince, but one could not always be a damsel in distress, could one? Alice knew from her mother’s marriage that there was no happiness or romance in a marriage where one partner held all the power. She herself had no intention of placing herself in the power of any man. She would be responsible to no one but herself—and perhaps her employer, as long as she was permitted to work for a living. She narrowed her eyes. She could work as well as any man, better than some, in fact. Why did so many men feel threatened by that?

Forged in Fire by Jude Knight

Burned in their youth, neither Tad nor Lottie expected to feel the fires of love. The years have soothed the pain, and each has built a comfortable, if not fully satisfying, life, on paths that intersect and then diverge again.

But then the inferno of a volcanic eruption sears away the lies of the past and frees them to forge a future together.

Excerpt

She was nothing to him. He was sorry for her, that was all. As he’d be sorry for anyone stuck in her predicament. She’d be better off staying in New Zealand, where Mrs. Bletherow’s malice couldn’t reach her. There was work in Auckland, in shops and factories. Not that a proper English lady would consider such a thing.

She could do it, though. She wasn’t as meek as she pretended. He’d seen the steel in her, the fire in those pretty hazel eyes.

The word ‘pretty’ put a check in his stride, but it was true. She had lovely eyes. Not a pretty face, precisely. Her cheeks were too thin, her jaw too square, her nose too straight for merely ‘pretty’. But in her own way, she was magnificent. She was not as comfortably curved or as young as the females he used to chase when he was a wild youth, the sort he always thought he preferred. Not as gaudy as them, with their bright dresses and their brighter face paint. But considerably less drab than he had thought at first sight. She was a little brown hen that showed to disadvantage beside the showier feathers of the parrot, but whose feathers were a subtle symphony of shades and patterns. Besides, parrots, in his experience, were selfish, demanding creatures.

 

Roses in Picardy by Caroline Warfield

 After two years at war, Harry is out of metaphors for death, synonyms for brown, and images for darkness. Color among the floating islands of Amiens and life in the form of a widow and her little son surprise him with hope.

Rosemarie Legrand’s husband died, leaving her a tiny son, no money, and a savaged reputation. She struggles to simply feed the boy and has little to offer a lonely soldier.

Excerpt

Are men in Hell happier for a glimpse of Heaven?”

The piercing eyes gentled. “Perhaps not,” the old man said, “but a store of memories might be medicinal in coming months. Will you come back?”

Will I? He turned around to face forward, and the priest poled the boat out of the shallows, seemingly content to allow him his silence.

“How did you arrange my leave?” Harry asked at last, giving voice to a sudden insight.

“Prayer,” the priest said. Several moments later he, added, “And Col. Sutherland in the logistics office has become a friend. I suggested he had a pressing need for someone who could translate requests from villagers.”

“Don’t meddle, old man. Even if they use me, I’ll end up back in the trenches. Visits to Rosemarie Legrand would be futile in any case. The war is no closer to an end than it was two years ago.”

“Despair can be deadly in a soldier, corporal. You must hold on to hope. We all need hope, but to you, it can be life or death,” the priest said.

Life or death. He thought of the feel of the toddler on his shoulder and the colors of les hortillonnages. Life indeed.

The sound of the pole propelling them forward filled several minutes.

“So will you come back?” the old man asked softly. He didn’t appear discomforted by the long silence that followed.

“If I have a chance to come, I won’t be able to stay away,” Harry murmured, keeping his back to the priest.

“Then I will pray you have a chance,” the old man said softly.

Amy Quinton: What the Marquess Sees

Thanks, Susana, for having me on your site today.

And hello, dear Readers. Thanks for helping me celebrate my latest release, What the Marquess Sees, and for tuning in to my silliness. I cannot believe the day has come! I never thought it would be quite so long between books 1 and 2. I don’t plan to allow quite so much time between books 2 and 3.

What the Marquess Sees is the second book in my Agents of Change series and tells the story of love and intrigue for two very different, yet very interesting characters, Lady Beatryce Beckett and Clifford Ross, 7th Marquess of Dansbury. Both characters appeared in the first book of the Agents of Change series, What the Duke Wants. In What the Duke Wants, Dansbury was quite the charmer and best friend to my main character, the Duke of Stonebridge. Lady Beatryce – was the duke’s betrothed and definitely not nice… and she tried everything in her power to see that she, and only she, would be marrying the Duke of Stonebridge.

Needless to say, her efforts did not play out as she’d hoped. However, I doubt now that she’s sorry she lost now…

Here’s a quick summary of what book 2, What the Marquess Sees, is about:

England 1814: He is a marquess with a woman to protect and an assassin to thwart. She is…not nice.

hrwhatthemarquesseesThe Marquess of Dansbury is a strong, charismatic man living a charmed life as an agent for the crown. His past isn’t without tragedy, but he is too amiable to allow misfortune to mar his positive outlook on life. Until now…when he finds himself tasked with protecting the one woman in the world he actively disdains, Lady Beatryce Beckett.

Lady Beatryce Beckett is mean. She ruins other women on purpose. She lies. She cheats. She even steals. And she takes particular pleasure in provoking a certain marquess. In short, she’ll do anything to get what she wants: freedom from her abusive father. But she is strong (she’s had to be), worthy (who’d have thought it), and in love… Wait, what?

It will take a special man to see the true woman beneath the surface…and a strong woman to allow him that glimpse. Is the Marquess of Dansbury up to the task?

Recently, I was able to catch up with Lady Beatryce and Dansbury and ask them some questions about their story and their life. Here’s what they had to say:

Amy Quinton, author: Lady Beatryce, Dansbury – it’s great to see you…. It’s been a while.

Lady Beatryce: Thank you.

Dansbury: It’s a pleasure to see you again. How are you?

Amy Quinton, author: Still the charmer, I see. I’m fine Dansbury. Working with a couple of your friends on my next story, Book 3 of the Agents of Change series.

Dansbury: Excellent. Can you give us some hints?

Lady Beatryce: D… Let her ask her questions…

Amy Quinton, author: Thanks Lady Beatryce. So Lady Beatryce, Dansbury – tell us about the first time you met.

An uncomfortable silence ensues. Dansbury clears his throat, no longer quite at ease.

Lady Beatryce: It’s rather a sore topic of conversation.

Lady Beatryce looks over at D who is still ill at ease and then turns back to me. She folds her hands and lifts her chin. Confidence is her forte.

Lady Beatryce: It was a black moment in my life. He caught me at a low point. I had just ruined a girl, on purpose, you see… I don’t regret my actions; I had my reasons, but there it is…

Dansbury: I must admit, for a moment there, I questioned your decision to throw us together, Mrs. Quinton… though I’m glad you did, of course.

Lady Beatryce: He hated me.

Dansbury: Actually, that wasn’t my very first reaction, my urges where far more, er… base, but then when I overheard you and Lord Middlebury…

Dansbury’s hands turn white as he clenches them into fists. His voice takes on a rough edge.

… then, yes, I did hate – well, I’ll admit to strongly disliked – her.

Lady Beatryce just raises her brow in question…

…right, then. Yes, I hated her.

He looks at Beatryce…

…But you were exactly who I needed you to be…

Dansbury reaches over to Lady Beatryce and squeezes her hands. My God, he loves that woman.

Amy Quinton, author: Honestly, I didn’t like her either. Sorry, Lady Beatryce. But I began to learn (while working on the Stonebridge’s story (What the Duke Wants)) that she was more than the mask she presented to the world. And I realized that of everyone, you, Dansbury, were the one man capable of seeing the woman beneath the surface…. So it was inevitable. And truthfully, you were simply too charming to fail.

Dansbury: Aw, Mrs. Quinton, if you’re not careful you’ll make me blush.

Amy Quinton, author: *laughing* I won’t tell. I admit I was also surprised that your story turned out to be so much more… erotic… and used far more adult… um language, if you will, than my first book.

Dansbury: Now I am blushing. But we aren’t anything like Grace and Stonebridge, are we? We’re both very passionate people and we genuinely hated each other… but then you threw us together, on the run from a madman, no less – against our expressed wishes – so, things were bound to be explosive.

Lady Beatryce: La, that is certainly true.

Amy Quinton, author: Lady Beatryce, we learn early on in this story that you have quite a sense of humor lurking beneath the surface. And you’re awfully good at impersonations – you’re especially good at impersonating Dansbury here. Care to give us a demonstration?

Dansbury: Wait… when did this happen?

Amy Quinton, author: Chapter 1 – didn’t you read the book?

Silence…

Amy Quinton, author: I’ll take that as a no. But I’m surprised, Dansbury. It’s your story. Why wouldn’t you want to read it?

Dansbury: I lived it – I don’t need to read it. And perhaps I don’t honestly wish to relive those early days. I admit that I could have been a touch nicer to Bea.

He looks over at Beatryce and cracks a smile.

Amy Quinton, author: OK – now that’s sweet. That’s fine, we’ll skip the impersonations for now… hopefully our readers will enjoy reading them in the story.

Lady Beatryce, in the first book, you took your cousin’s journal, something very personal and important to her, and threw it in the fire. Right in front of her. I admit, that’s cold. Now, knowing everything you do, do you regret that?

Lady Beatryce: No

Amy Quinton, author: Wow, no hesitation there. And I see Dansbury is tensing up again…

Lady Beatryce: La, how could I possibly express regret – even now? Everything I’ve done – good or bad—has lead me to where I am now. It brought me to you, Dansbury. I would not rewrite a single moment of my past for fear that I would lose you in the process.

Amy Quinton, author: Wow that is saying something. Dansbury you are a fortunate man. She loves you very much.

One side of his mouth quirks up in a very charming way, the result a shy but charismatic grin.

Dansbury: I know it.

Of course, he isn’t looking at me when he speaks – he only has eyes for Lady Beatryce. But I’m not pulling my punches either.

Amy Quinton, author: Dansbury. Why did you ask Miss Grace Radclyffe to marry you?

And Lady Beatryce looks like she’s going to kill me now, but I’m just going to ignore her for the moment.

Dansbury: Mrs. Quinton you like to live dangerously. Let me see. I respected her, Grace, that is. And it was the only thing I could think to do at the time to protect her from the fallout of Stonebridge’s idiotic behavior. I do know, now, it would have been a dreadful mistake. Fortunately, Grace is smarter than I and refused me.

Amy Quinton, author: Thanks, Dansbury. That reminds me, you know your actions nearly had you stealing the show in book 1… I had reader after reader tell me how much they liked you… it was very naughty of you.

Dansbury: *laughing* Stonebridge expects no less from me.

Amy Quinton, author: I’m sure. I need to start wrapping this up, so let’s get a few more quick questions in… Lady Beatryce have you come to terms with your past? Have you forgiven yourself?

Lady Beatryce: I lapse from time to time, still. Old habits are difficult to break, but I try my best.

Amy Quinton, author: I turn to look at Dansbury… Plans for the future? What about the investigation?

Beatryce: We cannot discuss it at this time.

Amy Quinton, author: Lady Beatryce, I’m surprised by your response –really, by the fact that you responded. Are you going to take a more active role moving forward?

Lady Beatryce: Possibly… we will simply have to wait and see, shall we?

Amy Quinton, author: Interesting… Lady Beatryce, in the blurb, it mentions that you lie, you cheat, you even steal… Is this an accurate description of your character?

Lady Beatryce: Perhaps…

Amy Quinton, author: And Steal? I don’t recall you stealing anything in the book, per se… So can you tell us more? What have you stolen? Inquiring minds want to know…

Lady Beatryce: Hmmm all of them – er… all of the things I’ve stolen?

Amy Quinton, author: So it’s happened more than once? I see. Um, no just give us a “for instance”.

Lady Beatryce: La, let me think… I’ve stolen the odd bobble and ribbon from one of my sisters, of course, but that hardly signifies. We were siblings.

Look. Let’s just say I have stolen some valuable things from other people in the aristocracy. The reasons are many and various. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to divulge the details, but I can say that no one has unreasonably suffered due to my thieving. And I refuse to say more.

Amy Quinton, author: All right, fair enough. Now, Beatryce, in the story, we learn that you are a runner. And while exercise as it pertains to engaging in a physical activity dates back to the 17th century, it’s not very common for woman during your time. What or who turned you on to running and working your muscles for relieving stress?

Lady Beatryce: No one really. I just ran a lot as a child and realized that I always felt better afterwards… so I simply never stopped. And it came in very useful when I became a woman… I needed it… the release. I never realized just how much it would help me later in life; I’m thankful I never stopped.

Amy Quinton, author: So any plans for the future you’d like to share?

Lady Beatryce: For the moment, the investigation is our only priority.

Amy Quinton, author: Dansbury, are you going to allow her to continue working on the case?

Dansbury: Do you think I’d even try to stop her? You should know my wife better than that… so, no, not a chance.

Amy Quinton, author: Good. How about we give the readers an excerpt from the story now?

Lady Beatryce, Dansbury: Sure.

Amy Quinton, author: How about the Goat Scene?

Dansbury: Absolutely not.

Amy Quinton, author: What are you worried about – it’s hysterical and they’re going to read it eventually.

Dansbury: Yes, but not while I’m present for the reading.

Amy Quinton, author: All right. I’ve got one. It’s personal and deep – and Dansbury, you’re not being too much of a dummy.

Dansbury: Thanks?

Ah, the beast awakens.

“For the sake of your life, I am going to pretend you didn’t just ask me that question.” His eyes narrowed. “But I’m thinking you’re doing it on purpose?” He looked deep and peeked into her soul. He was the only one who might be capable. The only one who’d ever tried.

“Are you, Beatryce? Are you intentionally being disgusting and low simply to infuriate me?”

“Oh, Dansbury,” she laughed in an attempt to distract him from looking too close, “you do think highly of yourself, don’t you? Besides, I can’t imagine why I would want to do a silly thing like that.”

If anything, he leaned closer. “Can’t you, Lady Beatryce?” He placed one hand at the base of her neck and slid up until he cupped her chin in the palm of his hand. “Truly, Bea? Perhaps…Hmmm…” He closed his eyes and inhaled a long, drawn-out breath, and when he opened his eyes, she nearly drowned in their brown and gold-flecked depths. She unconsciously leaned into him. “Perhaps it’s you who is scared.” His voice was a whisper now. “Perhaps you yearn…to trust…me…”

He was far too close to the truth, damn his perceptive eyes. She shook off whatever magic spell he wove over her analytical mind. It wasn’t easy.

“Dansbury, I couldn’t even trust my own father. My. Own. Father! The one person in the world I should have been able to trust. Everyone else was…dead. So, no. I will never be able to trust you, or anyone else for that matter. Because when it comes down to it, we’re all just looking out for ourselves.”

His eyes softened, a response she could not have predicted.

“Can you not see that your past is coloring your perceptions of everything and everyone around you?”

“Of course it does, I am my past. I cannot divorce myself from it.”

“Sure, sure, but you can choose to not let it define your future. You can choose to look for the good in others.”

“That’s easy for you to say.”

“This isn’t about me. Somehow, someway you are going to have to learn to put your past behind you if you ever want to have a future with any remote chance of happiness.”

“But I don’t know how to be any other way! My father abused me. Abused. Me.” She slammed her fist into her chest to drive home the point. “His own daughter. And he allowed others to do so as well. How in the hell could I possibly trust anyone besides myself?”

“Oh, Bea…”

“No! Don’t ‘Oh, Bea’ me. Don’t pity me. And you sure as hell better not trust me.”

“Oh, I definitely don’t pity you. But I am frustrated to see the pain reflected in your eyes. To see the hint of doubt in yourself.”

“I will never doubt myself.”

He didn’t swallow the lie. “You say you are strong. You act like you are strong.

Now, you must believe it too! What is this if not doubt in yourself?”

“I never doubted myself before I met you!”

“Never?”

Slap.

Amy Quinton, author: Well, I suppose you deserved that one, Dansbury.

Dansbury: Indeed.

Amy Quinton, author: Well, thank you Lady Beatryce, Dansbury, for giving our dear readers a chance to hear you guys speak about your story, and for being so honest with some of my more probing questions.

Dansbury: The pleasure is all ours.

Lady Beatryce: It was good to see you again, Mrs. Quinton. Let us not wait so long between visits, yes?

Amy Quinton, author: Definitely. I’m sure we’ll talk from time to time while I work through Alaistair MacLeod’s story.

Lady Beatryce: Indeed.

*˜*

Dear Readers, thank you so much for considering reading What the Marquess Sees. I have additional excerpts and buy links on my website at www.amyquinton.net if you are interested.

I hope you enjoy reading What the Marquess Sees, and I look forward to hearing what you thought about the Lady Beatryce and Dansbury’s story.

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About the Author

AuthorPhoto_WhatTheDukeWants copyAmy Quinton is an author and full time mom living in Summerville, SC. She enjoys writing (and reading!) sexy, historical romances. She lives with her English husband, two boys, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to go camping, hiking, and canoeing/kayaking… And did she mention reading? When she’s not reading, cleaning, or traveling, she likes to make jewelry, sew, knit, and crochet (Yay for Ravelry!).

Amy has lived in or around the Charleston, SC area her entire life. When she’s not home, at the beach (weather permitting), or camping in and around the Great Smoky Mountains (Check out Mile High Campground and Devils Fork State Park!), she loves to visit the United Kingdom. She loves the history, the culture, and the people—hence her love for Scottish and Regency Romances. She especially loves to visit the Isle of Skye—in the Highlands of Scotland—where the scenery is both rugged and breathtaking.

Amy graduated from the College of Charleston, a liberal arts college located in beautiful, historic Charleston, SC. She worked 10 years in the computer industry as a software designer before becoming a full time mom and now, a full time novelist.

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Amy Quinton: What the Duke Wants

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Amy Quinton will be awarding a heart shaped enamel, kiln fired copper charm on a leather corded necklace (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour. Prize is designed and made by Keri Sereika at Pink Lemonade (http://www.pinklemonade.typepad.com/) Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

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About What the Duke Wants

Upstanding duke desperately seeks accident-prone wife from trade…

England 1814: Miss Grace (ha!) Radclyffe is an oftentimes hilariously clumsy, 20-year-old orphan biding her time living with her uncle until she is old enough to come into her small inheritance. Much to her aunt’s chagrin, she isn’t: reserved (not with her shocking! tendency to befriend the servants), sophisticated (highly overrated), or graceful (she once flung her dinner into a duke’s face). But she is: practical and in love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…

The Duke of Stonebridge is an agent for the Crown with a tragic past. His father died mysteriously when he was 12 years old amid speculation that the old duke was ‘involved’ with another man. He must restore his family name, but on the eve of his engagement to the perfect debutante, he meets his betrothed’s cousin, and his world is turned inside out… No matter, he is always: logical (men who follow their hearts are foolish) and reserved (his private life is nobody’s business but his own). And he isn’t: impulsive or in love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…

Can he have what he wants and restore his name? Can she trust him to be the man she needs?

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Excerpt

A knowledgeable lady understands that, typically, the best way to make a good first impression is not to fall bottom first into a puddle of mud. Alas, Grace Radclyffe, with her inclination towards unfortunate mishaps, found this knowledge to be generally useless in the reality of her everyday life.

Therefore, despite the uncomfortable feeling of wetness seeping through her gown and the faint-though-nearby sound of dripping mud, she did what any sensible lady of good upbringing would do in less than ideal circumstances. She cursed. With conviction.

BookCover_WhatTheDukeWants copy“Bloody hell. Not again.”

So maybe she didn’t say that. But it was something she occasionally thought in her mind, though only in her mind.

In actuality, she chuckled lightheartedly (because it’s always best to set yourself and any potential rescuers at ease in awkward situations) and graciously procured the proffered handkerchief dangling over her left shoulder. Then, after clearing the mud from her face so she could actually see and with cheeks tinged only slightly from embarrassment (because, really, that kerchief hadn’t been dangling over her shoulder on its own), she peered up to thank her would-be rescuer and

Gasped. Out loud.

For staring down at her with one eyebrow lifted in question, were a pair of eyes—emerald green eyes to be more precise. The most deeply penetrating emerald green eyes she had ever seen in all of her near twenty-one years.

About the Author

AuthorPhoto_WhatTheDukeWants copyAmy Quinton is an author and full time mom living in Summerville, SC. She enjoys writing (and reading!) sexy, historical romances. She lives with her English husband, two boys, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to go camping, hiking, and canoeing/kayaking… And did she mention reading? When she’s not reading, cleaning, or traveling, she likes to make jewelry, sew, knit, and crochet (Yay for Ravelry!).

Amy has lived in or around the Charleston, SC area her entire life. When she’s not home, at the beach (weather permitting), or camping in and around the Great Smoky Mountains (Check out Mile High Campground and Devils Fork State Park!), she loves to visit the United Kingdom. She loves the history, the culture, and the people—hence her love for Scottish and Regency Romances. She especially loves to visit the Isle of Skye—in the Highlands of Scotland—where the scenery is both rugged and breathtaking.

Amy graduated from the College of Charleston, a liberal arts college located in beautiful, historic Charleston, SC. She worked 10 years in the computer industry as a software designer before becoming a full time mom and now, a full time novelist.

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