Chapter 1 - May 1854, Boston, MA
Piper sat on the couch in Senator Asher Grey’s drawing room and surveyed the crowd of men who sat around her. She could have yawned with boredom because it was like every other party she attended recently. Every eligible man was at her feet. After a while, a girl wants a challenge.
Her mother told her if she didn’t want their attention, she should stop making a spectacle of herself. She supposed her mother had a point, but desperate times called for desperate measures. And so, Piper would let the beautiful trill of her laugh wash over the room. She would flutter her lashes and fan her cheeks. She would let her gaze linger on a man a moment too long, and he would fall into her trap.
Therein lied the problem. Once a suitor was properly snared, Piper became thoroughly bored. It was all too easy. She really should just pick one of them and marry him. It would solve a great many problems, but she couldn’t seem to make herself do it.
Perhaps it was a family curse. Her cousin, Sybil, also needed to marry but had yet to choose a suitor. A sigh escaped her lips to think of her cousin. Beautiful and titled, she supposed most women would be jealous of Sybil, but Piper knew the truth. After the death of her parents, Sybil seemed weighed down with responsibility. She was having difficulty running the estate. Piper’s brow furrowed with worry. She wasn’t sure how to help this beautiful woman who had been so like a sister.
One of the more astute men, Peter Long, picked up on the sigh. “Dear Miss Baker. What could be so wrong that you would look so?”
The exaggerated manner of his speaking grated her senses. Piper resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Instead, she smiled angelically. “It’s silly, but I find myself missing my cousin, Sybil.”
The men shifted around her, and Piper perceived a slight change in their attention. Another suitor responded quietly, “I don’t know why Lady Fairfield had to go to New York. She could have easily found a suitor for herself here.”
A few other men nodded and Piper sat forward in her chair. Her eyebrows arched. This was actually getting interesting. “I will be sure to share that with her if New York is not a success.”
Piper stood, eager to slip out while her suitors were distracted by talk of her cousin. She couldn’t fault them for their fickle interest; her titled cousin was the better catch by far. Though Piper was in a desperate situation of her own, she would happily hand over one of her own suitors if it meant her cousin’s happiness.
“If you will excuse me gentlemen, the hour grows late.” She gave them a parting nod but the men seemed to realize they had allowed their focus to wander, and they now wanted to shift it back to the woman in front of them.
“Oh, it isn’t late. Stay. Don’t leave yet,” they seemed to all say of one voice.
“Forgive me gentlemen, but I too am travelling to New York tomorrow, and a lady must prepare. I will return before you know it. I beg you, wait for me till then.”
She gave the smallest of waves with just the tips of her fingers and signaled to her mother she was ready to leave. Exhaustion swept over her as she headed for the doors. She wished she had made some sort of connection with one of these men.
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Jessie Walsh is desperate…
A bad marriage has left her in ruins and running for her life. She answers an ad for a Texas cook and nanny. Donning a disguise to hide her identity, Jessie can only pray that she has run far enough.
Jake Tate doesn’t need another problem…
He has his hands full with a daughter, a ranch, cowboys, Indians and cattle. But the longer Jessie stays, the more intrigued he becomes. What is this tough woman hiding underneath her large coat and square spectacles?
As passion ignites between them, the real question becomes, how long do they have until Jessie’s past threatens to destroy their future?
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Stealing a Lady’s Heart by Tammy Andresen
Locksmith by trade, Graham Fairfield needs a miracle to save his father’s barony. Instead disaster comes calling in the form of Lady Charlotte Beaumont, cousin to the king’s regent. Fleeing the dastardly attentions of a Scottish lord, Charlotte finds a safe haven with the tradesmen in the crumbling old manor and she breathes new life into their lives. It is almost as though fate has brought her to their door. When danger catches up with her and steals her away, it will be up to Graham and his clever brothers to rescue her. Will he be too late to save the lady and the love blossoming between them?
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Lily Carter has one chance to save her family from destitution. She must marry.
The real question now is who? Lily longs for one man, but her attempts to attract Eric Sampson are foiled at every turn. Eric can’t see a future when he’s still tangled in his past, and Lily is forced to consider other suitors despite loving another.
When one suitor comes forward who could threaten Lily’s well-being, Eric must set his doubts about marriage aside to protect her. But events have been set in motion neither of them can stop. Will his past destroy them both?