GENRE: Regency Romance
Lady Susanna McCalister is young and beautiful, but her marriage prospects thus far have been rather lacking. Rather than living a life of spinsterhood, she decides a loveless marriage, to the dull and unromantic Lord Riverton, is better than none at all. One day while strolling through Hyde Park with her suitor, she is almost trampled to death by a rambunctious rider, Lord Westcott. Little does she know that this earl, who is as handsome as he is arrogant, would weasel his way into her heart. But the earl has demons of his own that threaten to complicate their secret romance, as he blames Lord Riverton for his sister's death. Can Susanna tame this tormented earl and help save herself and other women from a deadly fate?
She simply looked at him, her gaze taking in every inch of his face. After a long moment, she said, “You say you cannot offer me what I want, but how can you be certain of what I want? What if—for now—all I want is your friendship, and your companionship? What if all I want is you without promises of obligation?”
He shook his head. “That’s basically the opposite of what a lovely, young woman of marriageable age should want, Susanna.” She shrugged. “You’d be surprised to learn how progressive a marriageable-aged young woman I can be.” He chuckled. “What about Riverton?”
She shrugged again. “You said you wanted me as bait for something, which I assume is still current?”
He nodded, though it pained him to admit he needed her to continue her relationship with the viscount, even if it was just for show. “Then I shall continue on as before,” she concluded. “Though I have no intention of marrying him, even if your investigations turn up nothing.”
“Please don’t hold out for me, darling,” he said softly, brushing a wisp of hair from her face.
“You can’t put your life on hold me for me.” She shook her head. “Ian Carlisle, you absurd man, without you my life cannot go forward. I’m simply waiting for you to catch up.” There was no doubt; he was definitely in love with this woman.
Staring into her blue eyes, he could see the life he should have. A caring wife at his side, raising children in the country, fishing and horseback riding. Bringing up another Lord Westcott, doing it right this time, without all the mental baggage his father had dumped upon him. He himself sitting in Parliament, managing his family estates and living a life out of the shadows and schemes of the criminals of the world. Living life with the good and the wonderful away from the misery and the depravity.
It almost brought him to tears. For the first time since he ran away from home and joined the Army, he wanted more. He wanted more than his nomad existence, he wanted more than dipping into the immoral and illegalities, no more to bear witness to what the scums of humanity could do to one another.
“My darling, Susanna,” he said softly, trying to maintain his even tone, lest she see how broken he truly was—how her declaration had shaken him. “I do not deserve you.”
Erica Taylor is a mother of two and military wife married to her high school sweetheart. Raised in the mountains of Colorado, she holds a BA in History from the University of Colorado. Erica has been writing stories since she can remember. She picked up her first romance novel while on a beach vacation as a teenager, and fell in love with falling in love, sexy heroes, and the feisty women who challenge their lives. A self-confessed geek, Erica loves anything Harry Potter, Doctor Who or Star Wars, can spend hours in Target with a Starbucks, and truly believes a cat makes a home. Currently living in South Africa, Erica can often be found writing during soccer practice or piano lessons and is not afraid to let dinner burn if it means getting the story out of her head.
Erica Taylor will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.