Lady Amelia has only known the comfort of life in mid-eighteenth century English aristocracy. But when her father dies, she finds herself alone, grief stricken and not of age. Her appointed guardian, an American uncle, has ordered her to relocate to America where she must remain until she comes of age.
With the help of Grace and Sarah, Amelia gets her uncle to agree to give her four weeks to settle her affairs and unbeknownst to him…find an English lord to marry. Despite her mourning period she endeavors to trap one of London’s eligible bachelors in matrimony so she can remain in her beloved England.
The Duke of Goldstone is devilishly handsome, but a Scottish Duke is entirely unacceptable as a possible husband. After all Scotland is not her beloved England. He has a nasty habit of showing up at all the wrong moments and thwarting her carefully laid plans to ensnare a suitable husband. Sparks fly as the pair find themselves at odds with each other and drawn to each other at the same time. Can they find a way to stop arguing long enough to explore their growing passion?
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With a sigh, she positioned herself on the fountain’s edge. The first time she laid eyes on the work of art, she was a bright-eyed debutante embarking on her first season. It captured her imagination and made her dream of finding true love. She had vowed to herself in the fountain’s presence to marry for love, or die an old maid. Amelia leaned over a bit and peered at her reflection in the rippling water. That vow seemed like a million years ago. Love no longer mattered; it could not. She reached a hand into the water and glided her fingers across the surface, further distorting her image. Nothing other than staying in England mattered now. Everything she had was here. Her parents would always be here, and she could not abandon them. Who would tend their graves? Protect the things they had spent their lives building or maintaining?
“A shilling for your thoughts, Lady Amelia.”
She jerked her hand from the water and looked up into the duke’s sapphire eyes. Her pulse quickened as she replied, “You are up and about rather early given last night’s ball.” No way would she share her ponderings with him.
He grinned. “I always go for a morning ride. There is nothing more serene than watching the sunrise wash the landscape in color.” He swept his arm out in an arch indicating the scenery. “What brings you out at this hour?”
Standing up, she took a step away from him in an effort to calm her trifling body. “I had the impression everyone remained sleeping.” She gazed up through her lashes. “I needed something to occupy my time.” He stepped closer to her, so close that she could feel his breath and see the pulse that beat just beneath the skin of his neck. Her nerve endings tingled as she breathed his scent, relishing the musky aroma. “I stopped to admire the fountain. It’s a wonderful piece of art.”
“Indeed,” he said. His gaze fused with hers.
She tipped her chin up, aimed her lips at his, and rose onto her toes. When their lips touched, a tingling sensation ran through her. The warmth and softness of his mouth caused her body to cry out for something she did not understand. Amelia twined her fingers into his soft onyx locks. She wanted this moment to last forever. His tongue lightly wet her lips as he pulled her closer. She parted them on instinct, wanting what he offered. Never could she have imagined something so divine.
Suddenly, he broke the kiss, and stepped away from her. “I do not–”
She raised her chin defiantly. “Forgive me, Your Grace, I know not what I do.” She waved her hand and continued, “Something just came over me.”
His eyes glowed. Whether in pleasure or anger, she wasn’t sure.
“It seems to me you know exactly what you do. If that little show last night wasn’t enough proof, this display certainly is.” His tone cut through her.
Anger crept in and her body began to shake. “Last night is none of your concern. You can forget about our kiss as well. I assure you it will not happen again, Your Grace.”
“Please use my given name. Now that you have compromised me, Richard will do just fine.” He smirked roguishly. “As for your little game, Amelia, I intend to figure out exactly what you are up to.”
Bestselling, Amazon All Star author Amanda Mariel dreams of days gone by when life moved at a slower pace. She enjoys taking pen to paper and exploring historical time periods through her imagination and the written word. Her hobbies include reading, writing, crocheting, traveling, photography, and spending time with her family. Some of Amanda Mariel’s favorite places in the continental U.S. are Harper’s Ferry West Virginia and Sea Brook New Hampshire. She loves the history that surrounds them and visits every chance she gets.
Amanda Mariel lives along the Lake Huron shore line in northern Michigan with her husband and two kids. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts Degree with a concentration in literature and has a long standing love affair with sugary junk food.