Publication date: June 27th, 2017
Synopsis: “Lucas, you must return home.”
Twenty two year old Lucas Bywood abandons his Grand Tour in response to those words from his father. Everything is not well at home and he finds himself in a bit of a fix. A little warning that his father had made tentative arrangements for his marriage would have been nice but Luke really wishes it had been anyone other than the young lady chosen. After all, Phoebe Ramsey had always been an annoyance and any time they had spent together had resulted in physical injuries for one of them.
Just when Luke thinks he’s escaped that particular future, he finds himself courting a young woman he doesn’t want, a furious best friend who wants a duel to satisfy honor, and the responsibility of finding who and why someone had caused an accident for his mother.
This was not his idea of what the summer was going to be like.
“Luke, you finally came!” Philippa said, squeezing tightly. Her wispy brown hair tickled my cheek. “I thought you must have been killed in France. It was too cruel of you to stay away for so long!”
“Hello, Philly.” After a few seconds, I disentangled myself from her. “That’s enough of that. It’s good to see you, brat.”
Philippa scowled at me. “I am eighteen now, Luke. You have no right to say I’m a brat.” She smacked my arm, causing me no pain at all but the action seemed to make her feel better. “What took you so long to get here? It’s been ages since I sent you the letter telling you Mama was ill.”
I raised an eyebrow. I had not been told this. “Father said you wrote the letter after Mama and Sprite fell.” She opened her mouth, no doubt to argue the point, but I kept talking. “I did not receive your letter, and this afternoon was the first I have heard of Mama’s accident and illness. Are you certain you sent the letter at all?”
“Certainly I sent it! You cannot blame me for the lack of reliable mail delivery in foreign lands if you’re the one who chooses to go there.”
Waving my hand, I decided to let the matter pass. “I’m here now,” I said. She wrinkled her nose, surveying my appearance. “Do I pass muster, or do you find me wanting?”
“You have not washed from your travels,” she said, her tone judgmental. Her eyes widened with horror. “Please tell me you did not go into Mama smelling like a stable!”
“Our mama is not about to object to the smell of animals, sister of mine. But if I am so offensive to your nose, I will go to my room now.”
Apparently forgiving me for any offense I had given her, Philippa looped her arm around mine and walked with me down the hallway. “I am so glad you are here, Luke,” she said magnanimously. “My first Season was such a success, and you will never guess what happened!”
Even if I had not been told, what she wished to reveal would not have been difficult to discern. “Let me guess. You wore a pretty dress of fine muslin and you gossiped to all hours of the night? Or was it that you danced until dawn every night?”
“I’m not a gossip! No, Luke. I had no less than four offers, and I accepted one of them. I am to be married!”
“I am glad you accepted only one of those offers,” I told her. “Imagine what would happen if word got around you had consented to marry all of them!”
Philly scoffed at my teasing. “You are ridiculous,” she said. “His name is Mr. Bartholomew Talbot, and he is quite the nicest gentleman I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I have high hopes of him joining the party, and then you will be able to meet him.”
“Party? What party is this?” I asked, reaching the door of my room. I paused, my hand on the doorknob as I glanced back at her.
“Phoebe told me all about it. Her parents are having a grand house party in a week. They have invited several of our friends from London. Phoebe is thrilled about it.”
I chuckled. Phoebe Ramsey was a year older than Philippa and was one of the silliest girls I had the misfortune of knowing. Growing up, she and I had done nothing but fight if we were left together for longer than a few minutes. As the older one, I had been scolded for not behaving better, an injustice I had never forgotten.
“Did you even tell her you were coming?”
Startled by the question, I frowned at Philippa. “No, why would I?”
“I was going to say you must not have. Heaven knows Phoebe cannot keep a secret,” Philippa said with a laugh. “She will be pleased when you visit, though she may not appreciate the surprise. It was badly done of you, Luke.”
Blinking, I tried to make sense of her words. “I doubt Phoebe Ramsey cares about my comings and goings, Philly,” I finally said, giving up on understanding her. “Run along.”
My sister frowned at me for a moment and then shrugged in an unladylike manner. “Brothers,” she said with a huff. She spun on her heel and called over her shoulder as she walked away, “You have no idea what a lady expects from you!”
Shaking my head at her incomprehensibleness, I put the matter from my mind and entered my room.
Publication date: August, 2016
Back Cover Blurb: Twenty year old Diana Forester, a country bred young woman fears that her inexperience and uncertainties has driven Mr. John Richfield away. On arriving back home from London, she learns that he is already there, ready to continue their acquaintance. If Diana thought that it was difficult in London, courting takes on a whole new aspect when Diana’s younger siblings become involved. She finds herself dealing with her own feelings, her sister, her younger brother, jealous members of a house party, a jilted suitor, and a highwayman as she falls in love with the charming Mr. Richfield.
“I thought you’d never get here!” Sarah said, ignoring my question completely as she spun to face me. I frowned at her as I put my outside garments away. She seemed highly agitated, a state which I had seldom seen her in. “Diana, I must speak with you!”
“About what?” I asked calmly.
Sarah took up pacing, and for a moment I believed she wasn’t going to continue with whatever she wanted to say. “You must listen to me for once in your life!” she finally said, as
though I had been disagreeable.
Sinking onto our bed, I tried to hide a smile. “Then come out and tell me what has you in such a state.”
“I think Mr. Richfield is the highwayman!”
My smile faded instantly as I stared at her. How had she come up with this ridiculous idea? “You what?” I asked in astonishment.
“There, I’ve said it!” Sarah collapsed into the chair at the dressing table. “I’ve considered the matter carefully, Diana, and as your sister, I could not let you become attached to such a black-hearted criminal!”
I couldn’t help but laugh in response to that absurd notion. “Blackhearted criminal? You cannot be serious, Sarah. I have never heard anything so outlandish. Have you been reading my novels?”
“Diana, I am being completely serious! Stop laughing!”
“How can I take you seriously when everything you say is utter nonsense? Why would you possibly think Mr. Richfield, a true gentleman if I’ve ever met one, is a common criminal?”
Sarah leaned forward, her eyes wide. “Don’t you remember what Aunt Forester said at dinner yesterday?” she asked, lowering her voice for some reason. She acted like she was about to disclose some deep secret to me, and I found myself leaning closer. “About the highwayman being around the Bath area?”
Thinking back, I did in fact remember the conversation and our aunt’s comment. “Yes, of course I remember. What about it?”
“Mr. Richfield was there!”
I failed to follow her line of reasoning. “I’m sure a great many people were in Bath at the same time, Sarah. Aunt and Uncle Forester, for example, were there for two months, I believe.”
Shaking her head, Sarah groaned. “Don’t be obtuse, Diana! You have to see the connection here. Mr. Richfield was in Bath when a highwayman terrorized innocent people. And now, he’s here, where a highwayman has mysteriously appeared to threaten our peaceful home!”
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Publication date: June, 2012
Back Cover Blurb: Eighteen year old Emily Lawrence believes life to be simple and that the only challenge she faces is convincing her cousin and companion, Rosalind, to have more courage. This belief changes when Mr. Adrian Williams moves into the neighboring estate. Emily’s father forbids her from having anything to do with the man, but when an unexpected illness throws her into Mr. Williams company, Emily finds that obeying her father is more difficult than she imagined.
Emily struggles to understand why her father is so insistent on the matter. What happened eight years ago, when the Williams left the estate? Is it coincidence that Emily’s mother died at the exact same time?
The man chuckled, his blue eyes sparkling with amusement. “Yes, I am. I am Adrian Williams. I inherited Waverly Place from my father.”
“I am Emily Lawrence, and this is my cousin, Miss Rosalind Emerson,” Emily said, remembering her manners. “We will be your closest neighbors, I believe.”
“I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Lawrence, Miss Emerson.”
“It has been eight years since anyone has been at Waverly Place,” the young woman said, looking past him to where the workers were in the field. “Why is it that your family left Ambershire?”
Rosalind visibly flinched. “I am afraid I don’t have the answer to that particular question, Miss Lawrence,” Williams said, eyeing her quizzically. “Why do I get the feeling that I am on the verge of being interrogated?”
“Oh, you most certainly are not, and I apologize if it seems as though you are,” Emily said hastily. “I ask every new acquaintance many questions. After all, it is the only way I will learn anything about you.”
“My cousin has a habit of asking far too many questions, Mr. Williams,” Rosalind said, taking charge as the oldest of the two. “You must forgive her. We don’t get many new faces in Ambershire.”
The gentleman smiled. “I am prepared to forgive such charming young ladies anything,” he said gallantly. “I look forward to getting to know my new neighbors. I have a lot to adjust to as London has been my home these past few years.”
“Oh?” Emily said in interest. “I go to London in a couple of weeks for the end of the Season. I have never been before.”
“I believe London will be at your feet, Miss Lawrence. That is, if you are not quizzing everyone you meet. Though that might serve to make you a success. I’m certain no one has tried that route yet.”
Emily flushed in embarrassment. “I have no wish of being a well known success, Mr. Williams,” she said primly, raising her chin in the air. “I simply desire to enjoy myself on my first journey from home.”
“London is the place for enjoyment,” he said. He sent a glance over his shoulder “I’m afraid I must be going. There is a great deal to do. Waverly Place has been sadly left to go to ruin.”
“You must come to Lawrence Manor. I am sure my father would be pleased to meet you. And Mrs. Williams must visit as well.”
“I regret to inform you that Mrs. Williams remained in London. My mother does not travel. Good day, Miss Lawrence. Miss Emerson.” After offering one last bow, Williams returned to the fence and climbed over.
Turning, Emily began walking back the way she and Rosalind had come. “Well, he was nice,” she said decisively. She glanced over her shoulder. Williams had mounted and was riding away.
“He was pleasant,” Rosalind said. Her tone became teasing as she added, “If I didn’t know better, I would say you were a bit enamored with him, Emily.”
“It will be enjoyable to have someone new to speak to at Aunt Lawrence’s dinner parties,” Emily said defensively. “I will have to add his name to the guest list and send invitations immediately. What a lovely twist this is to our tale!”
“Perhaps he will be the villain of the story,” Rosalind said with a smile, “and the true hero of our sad tale hasn’t appeared yet.”
“This isn’t one of Mrs. Radcliffe’s novels, Rosalind! Don’t be ridiculous.”
“You began the analogy first, Emily! I merely continued it.
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Emilys-Choice-Bethany-Swafford-ebook/dp/B00M77WQSI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1488304440&sr=8-3