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#NewRelease “Finding Hope” by @LucieUlrich #Inspirational #Romance

Finding Hope
by Lucie Ulrich

Blurb:
Nearly sixteen years after relinquishing the rights to his unborn child, Noah Cooper is stunned to discover his daughter, Hope, wants to meet him. With the love and support of his family, Noah sets off from Elk Flats, Montana to Albany, New York, having no idea what changes are in store for him.
Cancer survivor and widow, Beth Peterson, is more than
a little nervous to meet her daughter’s birth father. Their initial meeting goes well, but things decline in a hurry when Noah invites Hope to spend time at the ranch without speaking to Beth about it first.
Determined to meet her new family, a battle of wills ensues between Hope and her mother. While Hope longs for a connection, Beth fears losing her daughter to virtual strangers—strangers who live two thousand miles away.
Struggles and misunderstandings abound between Noah and Beth, despite their growing attraction for one another. Noah is ready to commit, while Beth can’t let go of the memory of her husband and the imperfections cancer has forced her to live with.
Will hope, patience, and prayer be enough to pull this family together?

 About the author:
Lucie Ulrich is an award-winning author of inspirational fiction. Her books are filled with stories of faith, family and forgiveness. She was honored to receive a RONE Award for her second novel, “The Rose Ring.” 

A former performing arts director, Lucie now enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband, and taking long (or short) road trips. She continues to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.

 

Social Media:
https://www.facebook.com/inspywriter/
https://twitter.com/LucieUlrich
Follow me on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lucie-Ulrich/e/B00K6NC2H0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1491669701&sr=8-2-ent
Website: http://lucieulrich.com/

Buy links:
Amazon: http://amazon.com/dp/B071D8LFX6
BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-hope-lucie-ulrich/1126230185?ean=2940157307264

Short Excerpt: 
Noah Cooper brushed down his horse and left him in the corral. He strode across the expanse of property and entered the house through the mudroom. Removing his hat, he scrubbed a hand through his sandy-blond hair. It was time for a haircut. The aroma of beef stew wafted from the kitchen. “You in there, Annie?”

“I am, and I washed the floors this morning, so take your boots off.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Chuckling, Noah sat on a bench to do as ordered. In the five months since he’d discovered the woman he believed to be his aunt was actually his mother, Noah had experienced a new kind of love. They were still working out the kinks, but life was good. Noah stepped into the kitchen, kissed Annie on the cheek, and sat at the oak table that was older than he was. “I picked up the mail. Nothing but bills and junk.” He held up a square envelope. “Except for this.” Annie reached for it, but Noah pulled it back with a smile. “Sorry, it’s addressed to me.”

Annie wiped her hands on a dishtowel, her inquisitive gray eyes staring down at him. “Who’s it from?”

“I don’t know. There’s no return address.” He tore open the flap and pulled out a floral note card. A small photograph of a young girl, maybe thirteen or fourteen, spilled out. She had golden-brown hair that fell past her shoulders, large green eyes, and a slightly crooked smile that mimicked his own. He turned the photo over to find the name Hope and age fourteen written on the back.

“Who’s this?” Annie took the photo from him and studied it.

Tingles ran up Noah’s spine. “I’m not sure.” Could it possibly be? Before reading the note, he zeroed in on the signature at the bottom. The breath escaped his lungs in a whoosh.

“You okay?” Annie sat next to him and put a hand on his arm.

It took a moment before he could answer. He hadn’t heard from his first love in nearly sixteen years. Not since the day he’d signed the adoption papers relinquishing any rights to his unborn child. “It’s from Amanda.”

Annie let out a long, slow whistle while holding up the picture. “So this is…”

Noah took the picture from her. “My daughter.”

 

 

 

 

#SaleBlitz “Don’t Wake Me Up” by M.E. Rhines ~~ @merhines @StarAnge13 #dontwakemeupsale

  Title: Don’t Wake Me Up
By: M.E. Rhines
Publication Date: November 03, 2016
Genre: YA PNR
#dontwakemeupsale

When the chaos of school, her over-reactive mother, and her abusive boyfriend gets to be too much, sixteen-year-old Colleen turns to astral projection to escape it all. In the sanctuary of the astral plane, she mingles with the lost souls of the departed. They all need help to move on to the Summerland, and Colleen never turns down a spirit in need. Until she meets Daemon.

With just a glance, Daemon makes her forget all the turmoil back home. The calm is welcome and addictive, but Colleen knows the peace he offers will leave with him once he crosses over, forcing her to make a desperate decision: sever her ties to her physical body, or sabotage his salvation.

ONLY $0.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME

Amazon UK – https://goo.gl/AGHOZw
Amazon CA – https://goo.gl/O4zSmk

ME Rhines a southwest Florida native currently living in North Port with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child whom she affectionately calls husband.
She writes young adult paranormal romance to feed her belief that fairy tales are real and nonsense is necessary.

She also writes adult romances under her edgier alter-ego, Mary Bernsen

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Snippet Sunday – DEFYING RULES – 07/05/2017 #romance #love #SnippetSunday #amwriting

 

DEFYING RULES

For today’s snippet I moved a little forward to introduce Addison – the main female character. My apologies that the snippet is a bit longer today, but I wanted to have that last sentence included.

DEFYING RULES is set along the Australian Great Ocean Road and tells the story of Ethan Tomlin, single dad, and manager of a hotel chain.

This is still a WIP, so critique away.

Thanks … and enjoy 🙂

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Only a little while later, Addison sat on the small veranda at the back of her house with her parents having their lunch, everyone enjoying the view.
“I can see your mother coming for a visit more often than you might like.”
Addison let out a little laugh.
“Oh, Harry. Don’t be like that. I love the sea and you know that. But I know not to overdo it with my visits,” her mother replied.
“That’s okay, Mum. You’re more than welcome here. I suppose it’ll be nice to have you come around once in a while.”
“Have you met anybody, yet, darling?”
She nodded. “Yes. Can’t you remember I told you of the Christmas concert a few weeks back? The teachers were lovely and very welcoming. I was also introduced to my class.”
“Oh, how wonderful,” her mother cooed.
“The children seem very well behaved and very nice. I even had the chance to talk to some of the parents. A few of them even offered to help me move.” She smiled as she remembered the various offers. It was a bit like in one of those perfect movies of the perfect town — she always tried to find a catch to these generous offers, but people in Fermosa Bay seemed genuinely nice.
Leaning back as she took a bite of her sandwich, she remembered one of the parents in particular.
A boy’s father.
She wasn’t able to recall where the mother had been, but yes, she remembered the dad vividly. Of course, she remembered him. He reminded her of her favourite actor with his tousled short dark hair, the intense blue eyes, and a toned physique that she’d been able to see his muscles moving under his shirt. Or his long legs, which moved so effortlessly with leisurely grace.
Good Lord those legs.
But she wasn’t able to remember his name.
And with a sigh of disappointment, she remembered he hadn’t offered any help.
“Are you all right?” her father asked.
Her gaze went over to the sea, and she watched the subtle movement of the water. Yes, she was all right, and she knew this was going to be a great year.
“Dad, I’m not sure how to explain this, but I think I just had one of those moments of contentment. I have a feeling Fermosa Bay will be good for me.”
Her mother placed a hand on her arm, smiling with understanding.
Yet, her dad went to destroy her moment of happiness, however unintentionally it might have been. “Heard from Ryan?”
It only took Addison to hear his name to feel nauseous. And sad. But above all, it made her anxious. The sudden swirl of emotions overwhelming her.

Thanks for all your comments,
I do appreciate each single one of them!
And check out Snippet Sunday  Facebook site for other writers.

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4 starsThe Romance Review – NEW BEGINNINGS is a very emotional read, one that is heartwarming as well as heart wrenching. It gives you hope in the act of human kindness and that good things do happen to good people. I highly recommend this book.

“A Raging Madness by @JudeKnightBooks #interview #Regency #RegencyRomance #HistRom

A Raging Madness
by Jude Knight

Their marriage is a fiction. Their enemies are all too real.

Blurb
Ella survived an abusive and philandering husband, in-laws who hate her, and public scorn. But she’s not sure she will survive love. It is too late to guard her heart from the man forced to pretend he has married such a disreputable widow, but at least she will not burden him with feelings he can never return.

Alex understands his supposed wife never wishes to remarry. And if she had chosen to wed, it would not have been to him. He should have wooed her when he was whole, when he could have had her love, not her pity. But it is too late now. She looks at him and sees a broken man. Perhaps she will learn to bear him.

In their masquerade of a marriage, Ella and Alex soon discover they are more well-matched than they expected. But then the couple’s blossoming trust is ripped apart by a malicious enemy. Two lost souls must together face the demons of their past to save their lives and give their love a future.

 


Interview with hero Alexander Redepenning, third son of Brigadier General Lord Henry Redepenning, and grandson of the 6th Earl of Chirbury.
Formerly a career officer in a dragoon regiment, Alex has been discharged following injury to both legs.

  1. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

That’s hard. I don’t feel I’ve achieved very much, to be honest. I was a competent officer; I obeyed orders, and I looked after my men and they trusted me. That’s really it. Now? After my injuries? That life is gone.
I’ve been carrying out some inspections for my cousin Rede. He inherited the Chirbury title from our cousin George, and the estates were in a mess. I’ve done a fair enough job of cleaning things up, but any trustworthy person with an ounce of common sense could have done the same.
If I dropped off the face of the planet, my family would miss me, but the rest of the world is unlikely to notice, and I’ll leave the place little different to where I found it.
It would matter to Jonno, I suppose. Jonno’s my manservant, and it is marginally possible that he needs me as much as I need him. He was going to spend his life working for his brother on the family farm and instead he is well on the way to being a gentleman’s gentleman. Still a servant, but arguably one with more opportunities, and certainly more cash. Is that my greatest achievement? I suppose it is.

    1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I know it’s unfashionable, but what I really yearn after is household bliss. When I was young, I assumed I’d one day have what my father had: a happy marriage, a house full of children. It can happen. My brother Rick found his Mary, and my cousin Rede his Anne. If I had a chance, that chance is gone. Who would want to marry a broken down ex-cavalry officer, horrendously scarred, unable to ride, nightmare-ridden and without an occupation?

      1. What is your current state of mind?

Mustn’t grumble. Things could be a lot worse. I’ll be fine.

      1. What is your favourite occupation?

Riding used to be what I loved best in the world. Of one kind or another. (Alex winks and flashes a quick grin.) I’ve not ridden since my horse and I were shot up. I’m trying to get strength back into my thighs, but if you put me on a horse at the moment, you’d have to tie me on. As to the other kind of riding, the little gentleman doesn’t rise to the occasion any more. The injury has gelded me as well as crippled me, it seems. The doctors say it isn’t permanent, but what woman would want me now?

      1. What is your most treasured possession?

A miniature portrait of my mother. I used to carry it with me in my breast pocket, but it got lost somewhere on the trip back to England when I was injured. When I told my father, he had another painted from the portrait he has.

      1. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My career, I guess. I can’t remember a time I didn’t dream of being a cavalry officer, and I joined up as soon as my parents allowed.

      1. What is your favorite journey?

Beyond a doubt, the journey home to Longford Court, where I grew up. In the last few miles, as we pass landmark after landmark from my childhood, I feel a peace settle over my soul. I stayed away after my mother died. All of us did. My father moved to London, and none of us could bear to see how the place she once graced with her love had been neglected by my uncle and later cousin George. But my cousin Rede and his wife live there now, when they’re in the country, and Anne has made it a home again.

      1. What is your most marked characteristic?

Loyalty, I think, probably. I don’t trust easily, but those I do trust have my devoted loyalty.

      1. When and where were you the happiest?

It’s a toss up between my childhood, when the whole herd of us roamed the countryside under the generalship of my brother Harry, and the army, when I knew my job and did it to the best of my ability. Not now, that’s certain.

      1. What is it that you most dislike?

Bullying. A man who hurts those in his power—soldiers, servants, women, children, animals—doesn’t deserve to be called a man. He is scum. He’s worm-eating vermin.

      1. What is your greatest fear?

I fear letting people down; people who depend on me.

      1. What is your greatest extravagance?

It used to be horses. I’ve been known to empty my purse and promise my next six months’ expectations for a good horse. Since I was injured, I’ve been given more money than I can spend, but I have no will to spend it. Not at the moment, in any case.

      1. Which living person do you most despise?

Baroness Carrington, who is still alive somewhere, though she disappeared after what people are now calling the Battle of Abbey Farm. Not just for the way she treated me, but for her part in the capture of innocent women. She’s a woman herself. How could she do that?

      1. What is your greatest regret?

I have a few, as you might imagine. But the one that floats to the top is little Ella. I could have courted her. Her father would have had me, no question. But she was so young, and I thought I had time, and after what the baroness did I was– bruised. Yes, bruised. But suddenly it was too late. She was married to that bounder Melville, and I had to watch him crush the joy from her life. If only I’d spoken up!

      1. Which talent would you most like to have?

You won’t laugh? I’d like to write poetry. I’ve tried, and I’m dreadful. I follow all the rules, but it lacks spark. I think it would be very soothing to create something beautiful out of ugly angry feelings.

      1. Where would you like to live?

To settle, you mean? I’ve always thought I’d retire one day to a country estate. I’d like to have a townhouse in London or maybe one of the other big cities, but just for visits. To live, I’d like the country. I used to imagine my children exploring the country-side as my brothers, sister, and cousins did when we were children. Even without a wife and family though, my heart is most at peace in the country.

      1. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Letting down a member of my family. When they are disappointed in me, it breaks my heart.

Author Bio:
Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.
She writes historical novels, novellas, and short stories, mostly set in the early 19th Century. She writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.

** Website and blog ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Pinterest **
** Smashwords ** Goodreads ** Amazon author page **

#MFRWHooks for **NEW BEGINNINGS** 03/05/2017 #bookpromo #amreading #mustread


I hope you get hooked by this Snippet **** AND CHECK OUT THE NEW COVER !

Today’s hook

Considering his words, she let her gaze move out the window, watching the gentle breeze through the trees. It’d been something she knew many people had difficulty to understand, but she tried anyway. “I know. But it makes me feel better. We’ve owed too many people too much of everything. This is a new start. No more relying on others.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed he lowered his head in agreement. “I think I understand.” As he walked past them, he touched Mia’s nose with his finger and winked at her. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
A few seconds later, the sound of the front door told them that he’d left. Relieved and disappointed, Sophie pulled her sister even closer to herself, trying hard not to burst into tears. Over the last few days she’d imagined their new place in all variations, from small to run down. From a dump to all being a bad mistake. But this wasn’t at all what she’d expected. Not even close. This was like a dream come true, and she’d do everything in her power to take advantage of this new opportunity to give her sister the best life she could possibly offer.
“I love it, Mia.”
Her sister turned to look at her. “Is it really ours?”
Sophie nodded. “That’s what Mark says.”
“Our own little castle,” Mia whispered.

BLURB:
The chance to start life all over with the help of a stranger.
Twenty-two-year-old Sophie Levesque has been guardian to her eight-year-old sister Mia since their mother’s death a few years ago, and it hasn’t been easy. Luck comes their way when they inherit a small house in Hobart. Problem is, though, they don’t know and have never heard of Clara Bellinger, the testator. Settling into their new life, Sophie is still afraid it’s all a mistake.
Mark O’Connor, attorney in Hobart and the bearer of the good news for Sophie and Mia, curses himself for the lack of information about the testator. However, researching the questions gives him an opportunity to see Sophie again, and the more time he spends with the two, the more he realises that his life is missing something. And it’s not his casual lover Linda.
But then there’s Zach, Sophie’s sexy neighbour from across the road… and a very good friend of Clara’s.
Will unravelling the mystery unravel Sophie and Mark’s promise of a future?

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2a1BSJ7
AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/29FTb4B
AMAZON AU: http://amzn.to/2a9yKgW


4 starsThe Romance Review – NEW BEGINNINGS is a very emotional read, one that is heartwarming as well as heart wrenching. It gives you hope in the act of human kindness and that good things do happen to good people. I highly recommend this book.

5star Review:
“I’ve always enjoyed Ms. Blobel’s novels, but I adored New Beginnings. This is a feel good story centered on love and hope, Sophie’s dedication to her younger sister, Mia, is incredible. The child is the center of her universe and there’s nothing she won’t do for her. Concerned the recent inheritance is all a mistake, Sophie wants to know more about the woman who gave them a home. Helping her is a drop-dead gorgeous attorney and the handsome, hunky neighbor. Sophie’s journey of discovery is a beautiful one, and when she gets her answers, she finds the last thing she ever thought she would–love. Looking forward to the next book in this excellent series.”

“Wow…what a tangled web we weave! Sophie has got it coming in all directions with the mystery of the testator. These are the type of stories that I love…since it has a bit of everything in it. Not only do we get a bit of a love triangle but add some mystery and thriller to it. Now, that makes a perfect book by Ms. Blobel! But let me remind you that this is nothing new since I find myself always wrapped up in this author’s writing since she writes with emotion and feelings. Whether it be anger, happiness, sadness – you name it…Ms. Blobel gives us the whole package in her stories!”

Best of #British and #Irish #Stories – #Promo #Authors #Mustread @lauramg_tdir

“… We may be a small country, but we’re a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot. David Beckham’s left foot, come to that….”
(Love Actually)

Check out these wonderful books by British or Irish Authors, or books set in Britain or Ireland. I’m sure you’ll find something just right for you ☺

Snippet Sunday – DEFYING RULES – 30/04/2017 #romance #love #SnippetSunday #amwriting

 

DEFYING RULES

This is the second book in the Fermosa Bay series, which, I’m trying to get onto the market as soon as possible.

DEFYING RULES is set along the Australian Great Ocean Road and tells the story of Ethan Tomlin, single dad, and manager of a hotel chain.

This is still a WIP, so critique away.

Thanks … and enjoy 🙂

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Ethan walked over to Emily, placed his arm around her shoulder, and placed a kiss on her forehead. She moved around to look at him, and he choked back a sigh at the sight of her. Her grief obvious in her eyes with her face red, blotchy, and slightly swollen, which he assumed was from all the crying. Connor hadn’t exaggerated when he’d said she took it the hardest.
“How are you, pumpkin?” he asked just above a whisper.
She shook her head.
“Is he really dead?” Nick asked against her chest in-between sobs.
Emily hugged him even tighter as more tears flowed down her cheeks. “Yes, honey. I’m afraid he is.”
Connor joined them. “How about we head inside,” he asked quietly.
Without any warning, Nick moved out of Emily’s embrace and looked at Connor. “I’m sorry about your dad,” he said, still sobbing. It tore Ethan apart, the ache to see his son in so much pain, but still remembering his manners.
Connor knelt in front of him, his struggle with emotions evident. “Thanks buddy. Jack made me promise to tell you how much he loved you. He wants you not to be sad for too long, because he thinks life is too short to be sad. And even though you can’t see him, he’ll always be around.”

Thanks for all your comments,
I do appreciate each single one of them!
And check out Snippet Sunday  Facebook site for other writers.

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4 starsThe Romance Review – NEW BEGINNINGS is a very emotional read, one that is heartwarming as well as heart wrenching. It gives you hope in the act of human kindness and that good things do happen to good people. I highly recommend this book.

#NewRelease “The Reluctant Wife” by Caroline Warfield – @CaroWarfield

Launch Day!

Caroline Warfield is over the moon to finally be able to release The Reluctant Wife into the wild.

This sweeping story carries readers from the edge of Bengal to Calcutta to the Suez and across the desert, to rural England while two people stumble into love in spite of themselves. The hero, a clueless male with more honor than sense, never stops trying to do the right thing. Imagine his shock when he realizes people actually depend on him! The heroine is a courageous wounded duck with more love bottled up than she finds comfortable. Along the way it features a meteor shower, a tragic asassination, colonial officials, steamboats, narrow minded officers’ wives, herbal remedies, a desert bivouac, a court martial, interfering relatives, a horrific fire, and camels. The self important villain, rotten to the core, makes the hero miserable in both India and England, until the hero brings him down—with a little help from family—in the end. And last but not least, it features two charming children, one a precocius little girl who pushes the hero to do what is right even when he is confused about what that is.

The author dedicts this one to her father, the constant soldier, who understood duty and loyalty as few people do.

Thank you for joining the celebration.  Tell us about your favorite story elements. Caroline will give a kindle copy of The Renegade Wife, Book 1 in the series, to one person who comments.

She is also sponsoring a grand prize in celebration of her release. You can enter it here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/2017blogtourpackage/   The prequel to this series, A Dangerous Nativity, is always **FREE**. You can get a copy here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/a-dangerous-nativity-1815/

The Reluctant Wife

Children of Empire, Book 2

Genre: Pre Victorian, Historical Romance  
Heat rating: 3 of 5 (two brief -mild- sexual encounters)
ISBN:  978-1-61935-349-9
ASIN:  B06Y4BGMX1
Page count: 275 pages
Pub date: April 26, 2017

Children of Empire

Three cousins, torn apart by lies and deceit and driven to the far reaches of the empire, struggle to find their way home.

Book 2

When all else fails, love succeeds…

Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.

All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband. She certainly doesn’t need a great lout of a captain who can’t figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.

Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he let down so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?

Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XYRRR1R/

About Caroline Warfield

Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all she is a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows while she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Caroline is a RONE award winner with five star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, Night Owl Reviews, and InD’Tale and an Amazon best-seller. She is also a member of the writers’ co-operative, the Bluestocking Belles. With partners she manages and regularly writes for both The Teatime Tattler and History Imagined.

Website http://www.carolinewarfield.com/
Amazon Author http://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Warfield/e/B00N9PZZZS/
Good Reads http://bit.ly/1C5blTm
Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/carolinewarfield7
Twitter @CaroWarfield
Email warfieldcaro@gmail.com

Excerpt

The ballroom at Government House, Calcutta, 1835

Clare had stopped listening. A prickle of awareness drew her gaze to the entrance where another man entered. He stood well above average height, he radiated coiled strength, and her eyes found his auburn hair unerringly. Captain Wheatly had come. The rapid acceleration of her heart took her off guard. Why should I care that he’s here?

“Clare? The lieutenant asked you a question.”

Lieutenant? Clare blinked to clear her head, only to see Mrs. Davis’s icy glare turned on Captain Wheatly. “Is that your strange captain from the black neighborhood?” she demanded in a faux whisper.

The lieutenant’s avid curiosity added to Clare’s discomfort. “Is that Wheatly in a captain’s uniform? I thought they might demote him after the business with Cornell,” he volunteered.

Clare forced herself to turn to the lieutenant. “Cornell?” she asked to deflect Mrs. Davis’s questions.

“Collector at Dehrapur. Wheatly assaulted the man. Unprovoked, I heard,” the lieutenant answered.

She looked back, unable to stop herself. Merciful angels, he’s seen me. She watched the captain start toward them. At least Gleason could make introductions.

The lieutenant went on as though he had her full attention. “He was in line for promotion, the one that went to your brother instead. Philip posted over there right after it happened.”

Clare found it impossible to look away. The captain gave an ironic smile when he saw her watching. Mrs. Davis gave a sharp intake of breath when she realized Wheatly’s intent. “He’s coming here? Clare, I think I should warn you that a man who has been passed over as this one was—”

Before she could finish, Colonel Davis, who had been coming from the other direction, met the captain and greeted him with a smile. Clare couldn’t hear the words, but Captain Wheatly’s self-deprecating grin seemed to indicate at least a modicum of respect. The two men approached together.

“Captain Frederick Wheatly, may I present my wife, Mrs. Davis.” The captain bowed properly, and the colonel went on, “And our house guest, Miss Armbruster.”

This time the captain’s eyes held a distinct twinkle. “Miss Armbruster and I are acquainted. I met her when she visited her brother in Dehrapur.”

“Of course, of course! I should have remembered,” the colonel said jovially. He leaned toward Clare and winked. “He’s a catch, this one. Doesn’t like to boast of his connections, but earls and dukes lurk in his pedigree. His cousin stepped down from Under-Secretary for War and the Colonies just last year!”

Captain Wheatly looked discomfited by that revelation.

Gleason looked skeptical. “The Duke of Murnane?” he gasped.

Before anyone could answer, the small orchestra hired for the occasion began to play, and the captain cocked an eyebrow as if to ask a question.

“I think the captain wants a dance, Miss Armbruster. It’s your patriotic duty to see to the morale of the troops,” the colonel said coyly.

Captain Wheatly put out a gloved hand, and she put her equally gloved hand in his. Walking away from Gleason and the Davises, she admitted two things to herself. She was glad he came, and she planned to enjoy the dance.