Friday, 23 April 2021

A Gentleman in Love - Arabella Sheen - Excerpt 3

 


A Gentleman in Love

by

Arabella Sheen


A Christmas wedding and a growing passion. Will a political scandal destroy their love?

Desperate to exonerate her family name of any wrongdoing, Shelby Chesterfield gate-crashes the Foreign Office Christmas party to ask her father’s accuser for help. When Ambassador Samuel Hardwick refuses to cooperate, Shelby is determined to ruin his diplomatic career any way she can, and a chance to do so arrives sooner than she expected.

Caught in a passionate embrace, Shelby puts Sam on the spot and tells journalists they’re engaged. But her plan backfires when Sam turns the tables on her.

Sam wants no commitment to anything or anyone except his career. But when his best friends are killed in a violent terrorist attack, leaving their daughter orphaned and in his care, he has the daunting task of finding a wife and substitute mother, or he will risk losing his newly acquired ward into the foster care system. With time running out, when Shelby asks for help to clear her father’s name in a political scandal, Sam offers support in exchange for a Christmas wedding.

The trouble is…Shelby knows about his ongoing affair with Lady Donna Ruston.

Can Shelby and Sam work together to achieve their goals, or is their winter romance fated to fail before it’s begun?

Content Warning: contains sensual love scenes



A Gentleman in Love - Chapter One - Excerpt 3

The discarded security ID Shelby was holding had been left at the back of a drawer in her father’s office. She had found it a few weeks ago and had put it to one side, thinking it might come in useful. It had. And so had the invitation card. Even though both the items had expired, they had got her through the security checks.

With her own photo superimposed over that of her father’s, the ID looked real. In fact, it looked so real that when she had reached the arched gateway at the front of the Foreign Office, no one had checked closely enough to spot the switch. Dressed in her finery, and looking the part of a guest, she was able to drive through the Foreign Office gates into an enclosed inner courtyard where guests could park vehicles without a hitch.

“Well, you’re obviously here under false pretenses,” Sam said. “What makes you think I won’t call the guards over and have you escorted to the door?”

Her lips had a fixed smile on them. “Because I know you’ll want to hear what I have to say.”

“What could you possibly say to me that I haven’t already heard when we went to court?” he asked.

For months, Shelby had fueled her hatred. She’d been thinking of the things she would do and say to Sam if she ever got the chance. But now that she was standing next to him, the words were stuck in her throat. They couldn’t be voiced, and to her annoyance, her frustration and anger were mounting.

“I think I’ve discovered the information leak came from America and not from my father’s department as you originally supposed.”

The double door opened at the far end of the room, and people began filtering into the vast banquet hall.

“It seems the master of ceremonies is about to announce dinner,” Shelby said. “We are being summoned to the table. Shall we go in?”

Shelby was going to make it impossible for Sam to refuse her request, and she intended to stick to him like glue until she got what she came for. Too much was at stake for her to simply walk away, and she was determined not to leave the Foreign Office until Sam had agreed to put her plan into action.

Hoping Sam would follow her, she was just about to make a move toward the banquet hall when Lady Donna approached. Shelby was compelled to stop. Sam had placed an arm around her waist and was forcefully holding her against his side.

But Lady Donna wasn’t alone. She had brought a man with her, and to Shelby’s surprise, Sam introduced Lady Donna and her husband, Lord James Ruston, with apparent unconcern for any awkwardness there might be between them. Perhaps the tabloids had it wrong, and Sam and Lady Donna were not having an affair. Or perhaps they were ending it.

Lady Donna smiled at Shelby. “I hadn’t realized Sam had a dinner date this evening. But it’s good to know the two of you have reconciled any differences there might have been. The court case involving your father was awful. Absolutely dreadful. But if you and Sam are now on speaking terms, I suppose that must mean everything is fine.”

Shelby didn’t know what was going on between Sam, Lady Donna, and Lord Ruston, and she didn’t really care. But there was certainly an electric tension buzzing between the three of them, and Shelby thought it to be of Lady Donna’s making. Lady Donna was jumpy, and emotions were strained and running high.

Shelby tried to distance herself from Sam, but he wasn’t letting go of her.

“Oh, I wouldn’t say Sam and I are together exactly. And Sam’s not really my dinner date. If you must know, I’m holding him hostage while we talk business. I want his full attention.” Shelby almost laughed at the irony of the situation, and glancing sideways at Sam, she said, “We have something that needs to be taken care of before Sam travels back to the States, and tonight might be the only chance we have to discuss it. Isn’t that right?”

Lady Donna smiled. “Ah…I know the feeling. James and I never have time to do anything together. Do we, darling?”

James gave a non-committal shrug and remained silent.

“My advice to you both would be to forget business tonight,” Lady Donna said. “Simply enjoy the evening. After all, this is supposed to be a Christmas party.”

“That sounds like a good idea,” Sam said.

Lady Donna rested her hand on Sam’s arm. “We must get together in the New Year. Just like old times. I’m trying to persuade James to travel to the States. He’s reluctant to go, but I love it there. Sam, perhaps we can meet up like we used to do, and we can—”

“Donna, come along. We have to go into dinner,” James said.

James took hold of his wife’s arm, and as the couple drifted off toward the banquet hall, Sam and Shelby were left alone, but not for long. The master of ceremonies approached, and noticing that they hadn’t made a move to join the other guests, he diplomatically said, “Dinner is about to be served, sir. If you and the lady would care to join the others…”

Sam gave a nod. “We’ll be right with you.” Then, looking pointedly at Shelby, he said, “Our talk will have to be postponed for a more convenient moment. And as everyone thinks you’re my guest for the evening, shall we go into dinner?”

Shelby had successfully backed Sam into a corner. She had left him with little choice but to offer his arm and lead her in to dinner, as any gentleman would. But she didn’t care about the niceties of etiquette. This was war, and she meant to win her battle.

She forced a smile. “As far as you’re concerned, it seems there never is a convenient moment to talk. However, I’m prepared to wait, but I’m warning you, Sam Hardwick, I’ll not wait for eternity.”

“Now, that’s strange, Miss Chesterfield, because given the right incentive, I might be persuaded to wait for you…forever.”


A Gentleman in Love
Copyright © 2020, Arabella Sheen
ISBN: 781949300642
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Electronic Publication: September 2020
Editor: Pamela Tyner
Cover: Fantasia Frog Designs

eBooks are not transferable. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.



About Arabella Sheen


Arabella Sheen - Author


Arabella Sheen is a British author of contemporary romance and likes nothing more than the challenge of starting a new novel with fresh ideas and inspiring characters.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read. And when she’s not researching or writing about romance, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons or she is curled on the sofa with a book, while pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking cat.
Having lived and worked in the Netherlands as a theatre nurse for nearly twenty years, she now lives in the south-west of England with her family.
Arabella hopes her readers have as much pleasure from her romance stories as she has in writing them.

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BOOK BLURB                 A Gentleman in Love





A Christmas wedding and a growing passion. Will a political scandal destroy their love?

Desperate to exonerate her family name of any wrongdoing, Shelby Chesterfield gate-crashes the Foreign Office Christmas party to ask her father’s accuser for help. When Ambassador Samuel Hardwick refuses to cooperate, Shelby is determined to ruin his diplomatic career any way she can, and a chance to do so arrives sooner than she expected.

Caught in a passionate embrace, Shelby puts Sam on the spot and tells journalists they’re engaged. But her plan backfires when Sam turns the tables on her.

Sam wants no commitment to anything or anyone except his career. But when his best friends are killed in a violent terrorist attack, leaving their daughter orphaned and in his care, he has the daunting task of finding a wife and substitute mother, or he will risk losing his newly acquired ward into the foster care system. With time running out, when Shelby asks for help to clear her father’s name in a political scandal, Sam offers support in exchange for a Christmas wedding.

The trouble is…Shelby knows about his ongoing affair with Lady Donna Ruston.

Can Shelby and Sam work together to achieve their goals, or is their winter romance fated to fail before it’s begun?

Content Warning: contains sensual love scenes



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