I'm thrilled to share the cover for Regency Treats - ten romance short stories in a boxed set.
A smorgasbord of sweet and spicy Regency short stories...
Regency Treats comprises ten Regency romance short stories to warm your heart, from: Regency Rescues, Gentleman Wanted, Forbidden Valentines, and Wanton Widows.
Regency Rescues - Three gentlemen save the women they love from perils of Regency life.
Gentleman Wanted - Is what a widow needs, really what she wants?
ForbiddenValentines - Three spicy, heart-warming Regency stories of forbidden love that breaks the rules.
Wanton Widows - Three Regency-era widows seek new partners in unconventional ways.
To celebrate the cover reveal, I am giving away two ebook copies to two lucky winners! To enter, scroll down below.
14 February 1814
On 14 February 1814, Caroline Medworth decided to commit social suicide.
For miles, she had idly looked out the window of the carriage, twisting a strand of auburn hair around her index finger, wishing she was anywhere else but listening to her snobby cousin Rachel recite the advantages of Caroline’s forthcoming marriage to Baron Strathmorie. Every so often, her father would add his voice in support of Rachel’s.
They were travelling to the baron’s estate in Scotland for the wedding.
It wasn’t the baron’s first marriage or his second or even his third. And evil rumour had whispered in her ear that he’d had scores of mistresses in his seventy years.
And now he wanted her as his fourth wife!
Her father was a wealthy, social-climbing merchant with his own country estate, growing richer by the year. It was her job to catch a title so his grandchildren would be members of the aristocracy.
That was fine, except the only titled person willing to offer for her was … hideous. Her father and everyone else in her family were delighted.
She was not.
Her skin crawled at the thought.
Then, out the window, Caroline saw something she had never expected, no matter how much she had wished otherwise.
Cousin Rachel’s excited voice prattled on. “When you are Lady Strathmorie you will—”
“Stop the carriage!” Caroline screeched.
Her companions looked at her in confusion.
“Whatever for, cousin?”
Her heart pounding as though she was dancing the Roger de Coverley, Caroline’s mind raced to find a believable reason. “I don’t feel well.” She clutched a hand to her midriff. “My stomach.” . . . .
As soon as Caroline could extract herself from her cousin’s zealous, fluttering concern, she left the private dining room of the Bull and Pig Inn on the pretext of visiting the ladies’ withdrawing room.
Instead of making her way there, she walked right out the rear door into a courtyard where lines of washed sheets hung, then hurried along the alleyway beside the inn until she reached the main street of the town, busy with market day.
Swiftly, she ducked down a side street to avoid the crowd and kept walking. She knew exactly where she wanted to be. She looked over her shoulder repeatedly in case she was being followed. Her heart raced, pounding in her chest, its beat loud in her ears.
At the edge of the town on the London road stood a modest whitewashed house set back from the roadway. To one side stood a large low-set building, open at the front. Inside, the fire of a forge burnt brightly. Under a spreading tree nearby stood a grey draught horse awaiting its shoeing.
At the forge inside, a boy worked the bellows. A tall young smithy, dressed in workman’s garb with rolled up sleeves and a leather apron, tempered a horse shoe. With each blow of his hammer the muscles of his arms rippled. His curling brown hair and chiselled features made him look like an Adonis. Even after all this time.
Caroline swallowed against the lump in her throat. She hadn’t imagined what she’d seen from the carriage window. It was him.
Mesmerised, Caroline took a step across the road towards Gideon—towards her past and her longed-for future.
When she looked again at the blacksmith’s shop she saw the commotion had interrupted Gideon’s work. The horseshoe was now forgotten and cooling on the anvil.
Gideon, with a hammer in his hand, stood immobile in the doorway.
A look of astonishment, open-mouthed and wide-eyed, froze on his face. He took a step forward then stopped.
Caroline watched him in fascination, blood beating in her ears. He was bigger, stronger, more riveting than before.
With deep breaths to calm her racing pulse, Caroline searched for an opening in the traffic on the busy road from London, then ran across its cobbled pavement.
On the other side of the roadway, soft green grass beneath her half-boots rushed by as a blur as she hastened towards the blacksmith’s shed.
A sob escaped her throat. Her eyes misted with tears.
Gideon took another step and halted. The hammer dropped from his grip.
Caroline covered the last few yards towards him. She yearned to throw herself into his muscle-corded arms, to feel the love and comfort she had felt five years before.
Before they were wrenched from each other.
When Gideon made no further move to meet her, didn’t raise his arms to envelope her, didn’t smile to greet her, her confidence and momentum faltered.
She stood frozen, just three feet from his tall, muscular form. From his gentle touch. From his loving embrace.