GENRE: Historical Romance
Emmanuel, Chevalier de Cantière, youngest son of a baron, is happiest raising horses far from his complicated family. When news comes his mother is deathly ill, he races to her side only to find she has apparently recovered and moved on, leaving behind her companion, Catherine.
Catherine de Fouet blends into the background, saving up so she’ll never have to wait on waspish, scheming old ladies like the baronesse again. She has no interest in a resentful gentleman, estranged from his mother, no matter how broad his shoulders or intriguing the wounded soul behind his handsome face. She just needs someone to escort her back to Versailles.
But Catherine is suspected of poisoning the baronesse. She rebuffs a pushy courtier who tries to use blackmail to make her his mistress, and her reputation hangs by a thread.
The chevalier wants more than anything to protect this woman whose prickly exterior hides sweetness and passion. They need his family to help him through court intrigues—almost as much as they need each other.
She shook her head slightly.
He walked to her, but she turned her face from him. “Catherine?” he said, his voice softer. His heart clenched. “Are you ill?”
She shook her head and lifted her handkerchief to her face with a trembling hand.
He knelt beside her and took her free hand. She froze. He pressed her hand between his, wanting to kiss it, but not sure she would allow it. “Was it d’Oronte?”
She sniffed. “Yes. No.”
“What did he do?” Manu released her hand. “I will call him out.”
“No!” She finally looked at him, her eyes red-rimmed and her face pale but her usual glare in place.
She sniffed and looked down at her hands.
“What can I do?”
Frustrated, he stood and threw his hands up. “I will kill him.”
“You will not.”
“What did he do?”
“You are not my father. Or my brother. Or even my cousin.”
“I’m not your husband or lover, either, but I won’t let that idiot do anything to you.”
She stared at him for several tense seconds, her surprise overwhelming her other emotions. Her expression crumpled, and she covered her eyes with her handkerchief.
He went back down on one knee and took her hand again.
Philippa Lodge has a hundred stories in her head and a social media addiction. She writes historical romance set in Louis XIV’s France (sometimes with the king himself!); New Adult romantic women’s fiction-type stories set in small-town, small-college, modern America; and contemporary romance with nerdy beta heroes and cranky heroines whose pasts can be healed with the love of a good man. She lives with one husband, two cats, and three kids in the inland valley of California.
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Philippa will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.