Friday, 25 December 2020

A Bride for Lord Redfield - Arabella Sheen EXCERPT 2

 



A Bride for Lord Redfield

by

Arabella Sheen

A risqué regency romp enjoyed by both servants and masters as love and passion is discovered―above and below stairs―in his lordship’s household.


Chapter 1 – Emily
EXCERPT 2


Robert was handsome, tall, and shapely. And dressed in his uniform, he looked strikingly masculine. But until now, he had never really had the opportunity to approach her. Not like this. And she had purposefully kept him at a distance.
Of course, he had made advances. He had teased and flirted like all the footmen did, but he had never actually achieved anything except the occasional stolen kiss.
In the cellar or laundry room when no one was looking, he had cornered her and tried his luck, but she had always managed to fob him off and keep him at bay…until now. It appeared things were coming to a head, and she sensed he was beginning to want more than she was willing to give at present.
Girls in her position had to be careful. She couldn’t afford to lose her job. And any liaison―innocent or not―with another servant would be noticed and frowned upon.
“Are you going to let me take you to the traveling fair this weekend?” he asked. “Or are you going to watch the jesters and puppet shows with Cliff? I’ve seen the way he looks at you, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t already―”
“Don’t you dare, Robert Manson. Don’t you dare think something like that has happened between Cliff and me.”
Cliff was the stable hand who looked after Lord Redfield’s carriages and horses. Nothing had happened between her and Cliff, and even if something had, that was no concern of Robert’s. Was it?
“Then give me a kiss to prove there’s nothing between you and Cliff,” he said with a grin. “And I mean a real kiss. You’re pretty enough to have all of us running around after you. You might look prim and proper with your fair curls covered beneath your lace cap and your shapely figure concealed under your dress, but you aren’t really prim and proper, are you?”
Without Emily realizing what was happening, Robert had captured both her hands in his. He was forcing them, twisting them behind her back until he was able to grasp them tightly in one hand. They were face to face. Torso to torso. And beneath her clothes, she could feel the hardness of his awakening manhood pressing against her thigh.
An ache was beginning to grow between her legs, and warmth spread throughout her. Robert always had the ability to set her pulses racing, and that was the case now.
With his free hand, he took hold of her face. Then, with the demanding firmness of his mouth, he once again lunged, ravishing her lips with his.
“Stop it, Robert,” she gasped breathless.
“Stop what?” he said between kisses.
She laughed cheekily. “You know what I mean.”
His kisses were deepening, becoming urgent. His tongue traced the outline of her lips, and he slowly pried them open before penetrating her mouth.
Emily could feel him, smell him, and taste him. And although she wanted to give in to her desire, she had to resist.
Robert released her hands, and somehow, of their own accord, they were now around his neck, pulling him down toward her. She was kissing him back. She couldn’t resist…her desire was ignited, and it was equal to his.
Pushing aside the neckline of her dress, he reached for the drawstrings on her chemise. He began playing with them, pulling on the ties, and as he tugged them loose, a glimpse of her breasts was revealed to him.
“You want me, Emily. I know you do.”
“I can’t. We can’t. Not now, Robert. I have things to do. Rooms to prepare. Lord Redfield will have a house full of guests this weekend, and nothing is in readiness. It’s going to be chaos if I don’t prepare the bedchambers.”
“And it’s going to be chaos if you do, especially in Mrs. Greenwood’s bedchamber,” said Robert with a laugh.
“What do you mean? What do you know?” Emily asked, curious.
Did Robert know something she didn’t?
“If you make it worth my while, I might tell you,” he said with a bold smile and a wink.
Emily’s heart skipped a beat. Not because of Robert’s veiled promise of lovemaking, but because over Robert’s shoulder, she could see the door to the breakfast room was being opened. Someone was about to enter.
Quickly, she turned away to conceal her flushed face and exposed cleavage from view. Then surreptitiously, sliding to one side, she stood in front of the service lift, pretending to be busy.
“Is there a problem?” said a low voice.
“Mr. Henderson, sir. I was just helping Emily finish up here.” Robert was taking the brunt of Mr. Henderson’s censorious glare. “Her ladyship is in the morning room, and she asked me to collect her shawl.”
Walking over to the chair, Robert retrieved the forgotten silk wrap.
Luckily for Emily, Robert had given her just enough time to covertly straighten her garments before turning back into the room.
“I’m nearly done here, Mr. Henderson,” she said, and gave her ruffled lace cap one last jiggle before tucking a few stray hairs neatly back into place. “And if Mrs. Clements doesn’t need me for anything urgent, I’d best get on and get the bedchambers ready for his lordship’s guests.”
“Then see to it,” said Mr. Henderson. “And be smart about it. The guests will be arriving anytime now, and they will want to unpack and rest before this evening’s entertainment begins.”
Emily knew only too well that tonight was going to be busy―for everyone.
About a week ago, a meeting had been held in the staff dining room below stairs. Mr. Henderson had called everyone together and explained that while at the town house, Lord Redfield intended to give a ball for his friends. But it was only when Mr. Stephens, Lord Redfield’s secretary, provided housekeeping with a list of guests and the rooms her ladyship wished to have made ready, that everyone, including the gardener, knew something big was happening.
The names on the list pointed to only one thing, and that was that Lord Redfield was about to propose marriage to Miss Rosalinda Mills.
It was known throughout the servants’ hall that the master had recently packed an overnight portmanteau and had driven his phaeton and grays to Lippon. According to Bishop, the head groom, who had accompanied the master on the journey, they had stabled the team at The King’s Arms and his lordship, having obtained lodging at the inn for the night, had then gone on to call upon his aunt, Lady Whitaker.
That act alone, according to speculation in the servants’ hall, could mean only one thing. His lordship had gone to Lippon to seek the hand in marriage of Miss Rosalinda.
His lordship’s aunt, Lady Whitaker, was Miss Rosalinda’s godmother. And as Miss Rosalinda had lost her parents at an early age and was raised by Lady Whitaker in Sir Whitaker’s household, it was assumed Lord Redfield had approached his aunt for consent to marry her goddaughter.
Of course, all this was conjecture, but Emily, sure that all would be proven true this afternoon when the guests arrived, was full of excitement.
After Mr. Henderson and Robert left the breakfast room, and when everything had been brought to order, Emily made her way upstairs to prepare the bedchambers for the visitors.
* * * *

A Bride for Lord Redfield
Copyright © 2019, Arabella Sheen
ISBN: 9781949300277
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Electronic Publication: February 2019
Editor: Lynne Sully
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 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.

Social Media


A Bride for Lord Redfield



Book Blurb: A Bride for Lord Redfield

A risqué regency romp enjoyed by both servants and masters as love and passion is discovered―above and below stairs―in his lordship’s household.

At Redfield House, everyone is busy with preparations for a ball, and rumor is rife in the servants’ quarters that the master is about to propose.
Lord Thomas Redfield realizes the time has come for him to take a wife and that this duty can no longer be delayed. The only trouble is…he isn’t sure the desire he once felt for Catherine, the woman he was previously betrothed to, is over and a new life with Rosalinda can begin.
Can Lord Redfield take Miss Rosalinda Mills for his wife, and will she agree to an engagement knowing he could still be in love with Catherine?
As the weekend unfolds and the fun begins, a bevy of illicit encounters are enjoyed between maids, footmen, grooms, and guests, while his lordship inwardly struggles with the problem of finding a wife.

Content Warning: contains passionate, sensual love scenes

UNIVERSAL BUY LINKS:  https://books2read.com/u/bzvgwD
Arabella Sheen Website: http://www.arabellasheen.co.uk/
  


Friday, 18 December 2020

A Bride for Lord Redfield - Arabella Sheen EXCERPT 1

 

A Bride for lord Redfield


A Bride for Lord Redfield

by

Arabella Sheen

A risqué regency romp enjoyed by both servants and masters as love and passion is discovered―above and below stairs―in his lordship’s household.


Chapter 1 – Emily

EXCERPT 1


The hog was on the spit roasting, and Emily, who wished she was anywhere except standing at the kitchen fire basting a pig, was doing as ordered. She spooned the dripping juices and the spitting fat collecting in the tray back over the pig’s carcass. Her new cotton work dress with short leg-of-mutton sleeves, although protected by her apron, was becoming visibly splattered by grease marks.
The heat made her sweat, and knowing she had to stay clean for her work above stairs, she longed to be away from the kitchen with all its dirt and grime.
Emily had too much to do to be standing idly saturating meat. She wasn’t a kitchen maid by trade; she was a housemaid. But Mrs. Jameson, the cook at Redfield House, was shorthanded this weekend, and without the housekeeper knowing, she had commandeered Emily to help below stairs.
“How you doing, Emily?” Mrs. Jameson asked over her shoulder. The cook was vigorously stirring a mixture for one of her specialties—a rich Madera cake. “You mind you cover that hog proper. We wouldn’t want the master to say the meat is dry, would we?”
Emily let out a deep sigh of frustration. “I’m trying my best, Mrs. Jameson. But I ought to be getting on with my own work. Molly won’t be able to cope upstairs without me. Mrs. Clements is short of staff today, and as Molly has been lent to us, temporarily like, she’s not familiar with how we do things here at Redfield House. She usually works on his lordship’s estate in Dorset, but she’s come to Tunbridge Wells to help with the ball.”
“Has she indeed?” said Mrs. Jameson.
“Molly’s only been with us a week, and she still can’t find her way around the house, let alone do all the cleaning she’s supposed to. I expect the wood has to be laid in the hearth and the furniture dusted in the morning room.”
Emily was thinking about the jobs she had yet to finish above stairs. The bedrooms had to be made ready for the weekend guests and the brass on the stairwell was to be polished until it gleamed. The carpet in the hall had also to be taken outside and beaten, and all was to be done before his lordship’s guests arrived that afternoon.
She would be lucky if Mrs. Jameson let her get away from the kitchen before noon. And if Mrs. Clements, the housekeeper, were to find out she had been skivvying for Mrs. Jameson below stairs, there would be hell to pay!
Mrs. Jameson and Mrs. Clements were always at loggerheads with one another, and any excuse to have an argument was looked for.
Emily had heard rumors that it was because of a falling out over Mr. Henderson, the butler. But she could be wrong. Old Mr. Henderson didn’t look the type to stir jealousy in anyone’s bosom, let alone the bosoms of two crotchety, bad-tempered women such as the cook and the housekeeper. Why, they must be nearly thirty, and Mr. Henderson at least forty, if not older.
One of the servants’ bells above the door rang. It was the bell for the breakfast room, which meant the mistress and master had finished breakfasting and were signaling for the table to be cleared.
“You’d best answer that, Emily,” said Mrs. Jameson while dusting the flour from her hands on her apron. “I can manage now. And Ruby will be here soon. She will help. And once she’s finished peeling the potatoes, I’ll set her to work on the dishes.”
Ruby was Mrs. Jameson’s niece and worked at Redfield House as a scullery maid washing pots and pans whenever Lady Redfield had guests for dinner or had planned a big event―like this weekend.
The kitchen, which was usually spick and span with gleaming brass pots dangling neatly on hooks or hanging from the rafters, was in a mess, and Emily knew Ruby would have her work cut out for her as she returned things to an orderly fashion.
Emily bobbed a curtsy. “Right then, Mrs. Jameson. I’ll get back to what I was doing if that’s all right with you. Thank goodness it isn’t every day that his lordship is about to pop the question. Everyone knows Lord Redfield needs a bride, but we’d never survive if he made a habit of having parties. Although, if truth be told, I’ve heard that he does make a habit of popping the question.”
“And how would a chit of a thing like you know that?” Mrs. Jameson asked with a frown.
“Well, a while back, I was in the laundry room collecting some clean bedsheets when I overheard Mr. Henderson say to Mrs. Clements that Lord Redfield was once engaged to Mrs. Greenwood. Mrs. Greenwood jilted his lordship and married his lordship’s best friend. That would be the gentleman Lord Redfield hunts with. And Mr. Henderson knows everything about his lordship because Mr. Henderson has been here forever. I heard there was a right ruckus. An elopement to Gretna Green, and duels, and—”
“That’s enough, young lady,” Mrs. Jameson said crossly. “I suspect you’re telling fibs. Why in the world would Mr. Henderson be in the laundry with Mrs. Clements? And besides, it’s not for you to be gossiping about your betters. Be thankful Lord Redfield wasn’t killed and that he survived the shooting. If he hadn’t, you would be out of a job.”
“So it is true,” said Emily, astonished. “There is a secret about―”
“Be off with you!” Mrs. Jameson said, wagging a finger in warning. “Up those stairs and get on with your work. Not another word about this. Do you hear me?”
“Yes, Mrs. Jameson.” And making a speedy retreat, Emily left the kitchen.
She was eager to discover more about Lord Redfield and an elopement, but it seemed Mrs. Jameson had no inclination or time to gossip with a lowly housemaid.
Emily made her way to the breakfast room, and when she got there, she discovered the room was empty.
It was a light, bright room at the front of the house, and although the sun streamed in through tall, sash windows and was reflected in the wide, gilt mirrors, it was too early in the day for the room to have lost its morning nip. A small fire was lit in the hearth in an effort to make the room warm, but all Emily could think of was that once the logs had burnt down and the embers had cooled off, the grate would have to be cleaned and fresh firewood laid in readiness for tomorrow.
Emily guessed Lord Redfield and his mother had gone through into the morning room. Lord Redfield, to read his morning papers, and Lady Redfield, to write her letters.
She had no idea where Molly was, and only hoped the morning room had been left in a tidy state before Lord and Lady Redfield had entered. All the housework and cleaning was supposed to be done early before the master and mistress were from their bedchambers. And if Mrs. Clements discovered Molly was still busy dusting when his lordship wanted to use the room, the housekeeper would be furious.
Clearing the breakfast dishes and salvers from the table, Emily loaded them into a service hatch in the wall. The hatches worked on a pulley system, hoisting and lowering food as it was needed back and forth to the kitchen. It saved carrying things up the servants’ stairs at the rear of the house and it also prevented the food from getting cold.
Still busy loading the lift, and on the point of pressing a button to send the lift and its contents downstairs, Emily heard the door to the breakfast room open and close.
Damnation!
Thinking it was Mrs. Clements come to check on her, Emily turned and was about to explain why she was late in clearing the room, when she saw it was not Mrs. Clements, but Robert, the footman.
“You scared me, Robert,” she said, putting her hand to her breast as if to slow its rapid beating. “I thought you were Mrs. Clements, or worse, Lady Redfield returning for her shawl.” Emily pointed to a fringed, silk shawl that was draped over the back of a chair. Lady Redfield had forgotten to take the shawl with her to the morning room.
“No, it’s only me, I’m afraid.” Robert smiled. It was a sassy smile that bordered on the flirtatious and playful. “I’ve missed seeing you about the place this morning and wondered where you’ve been hiding.”
Robert, although only a footman, was well liked by Lord Redfield. And it was whispered that Robert might be asked to leave Tunbridge Wells and work at Lord Redfield’s country seat in Dorset.
Redfield House was an excellently sized town house for a grand gentleman such as Lord Redfield, but it was nothing when compared to Redfield Manor and all its acreage. At the Manor, a footman would have plenty of opportunity to rise in rank, unlike the prospects offered when working at Redfield House. Competition for promotion was always fierce between servants, especially amongst the men. And the chance of Mr. Henderson retiring in the near future was remote. It would be a shame if Robert were to leave; she would miss him greatly. But she could understand that he would wish to do so as the promotion and the extra earnings would be most welcome.
“I haven’t been hiding,” Emily protested. She didn’t want it said that she was work shy. “Mrs. Jameson grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. I was only saved from turning that smelly hog on the spit when the bell rang to say breakfast was over.”
“So…Mrs. Jameson grabbed you, did she?” Robert shortened the distance between them and reached out. “Was it like this, or was it like this?”
Before Emily knew what had happened, Robert had caught her around the waist and pulled her close, planting kiss after brutal kiss upon her lips.
She struggled, but it was to no avail. He was strong. And as he pushed her back against the wall, she felt one of his legs slip between the folds of her dress, pressing against her thighs. He was spreading her legs apart.
“Let me go, Robert,” she whispered in a hushed tone when she could free her mouth from his. “Don’t. We mustn’t. Someone might come in.”
She twisted in his grasp, but he held her tight.


A Bride for Lord Redfield
Copyright © 2019, Arabella Sheen
ISBN: 9781949300277
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Electronic Publication: February 2019
Editor: Lynne Sully
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 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.

Social Media



A Bride for Lord Redfield


Book Blurb: A Bride for Lord Redfield

A risqué regency romp enjoyed by both servants and masters as love and passion is discovered―above and below stairs―in his lordship’s household.

At Redfield House, everyone is busy with preparations for a ball, and rumor is rife in the servants’ quarters that the master is about to propose.
Lord Thomas Redfield realizes the time has come for him to take a wife and that this duty can no longer be delayed. The only trouble is…he isn’t sure the desire he once felt for Catherine, the woman he was previously betrothed to, is over and a new life with Rosalinda can begin.
Can Lord Redfield take Miss Rosalinda Mills for his wife, and will she agree to an engagement knowing he could still be in love with Catherine?
As the weekend unfolds and the fun begins, a bevy of illicit encounters are enjoyed between maids, footmen, grooms, and guests, while his lordship inwardly struggles with the problem of finding a wife.

Content Warning: contains passionate, sensual love scenes

UNIVERSAL BUY LINKS:  https://books2read.com/u/bzvgwD
Arabella Sheen Website: http://www.arabellasheen.co.uk/


Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Welcome to Romance Author - Beth D. Carter

I’m delighted to welcome romance author, Beth D. Carter, to my blog.

 

Beth D. Carter - Author

Hello Beth – I‘m so pleased you were able to join me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat this week as I know how busy you must be writing and editing your sexy, hot romance novels. But before we discover more about your latest release - The Holiday Grouch – here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers and insight into some of the things that matter to you.

 

Arabella: You’ve got an idea for a story but it has yet to take shape. Where do you start? Do you concentrate on the location in the story, or developing the characters personalities and conflicts, or are there other key points you might consider?

Beth:  With me, I have to have an end in mind. A good idea is one thing, but I have to know where the story is headed. Location and conflicts come out as I develop the characters, and I usually go back and alter things as I write. I do a very broad outline as I start and figure it out as I go along.

 


Arabella: In your latest release The Holiday Grouch what is the overall theme or premise, and what made you choose this topic?

Beth:  This story is based, obviously, on The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. And there are A LOT of Easter Eggs in it. I wanted to write this as a Hallmark Story so merging those two genres was an interesting challenge. How do you make The Grinch sexy and relatable? Yes, he evolves by the end, but you can’t write him so horrible he’s not redeemable to the reader.

 

Arabella: Roses, Lilies, or another flower of choice?

Beth:  I love roses.



Arabella: You’ve arranged to meet with friends and family for an afternoon of fun. In the present socially restricted climate, where do you go and what do you do?

Beth:  I haven’t seen one of my best friends, CR Moss, for a year now, even though she lives about 15 minutes away. Instead, we text and we’ve chatted on the phone. We’ll get together when this time passes and it’s safe to be together once more.


Arabella: All authors love and need to read. When choosing a book, do you:

a) pick off the shelf?

b) search online?

c) go with friends recommendations?

d) other…

Beth:   I usually choose from my favorite authors first and then after that, I go with blurb and cover.


Arabella: The moment we are published, a career path is usually envisaged. Do you have any aspirations or ambitions for yourself and any future novels you might write?

Beth:  I would love to be able to support myself full time with writing, but sadly that’s not the case.  For now, I work as a pharmacy tech and supplement that with my writing. My goal is five releases a year, and I’m usually about 2-3 books ahead. It’s a daunting schedule but it keeps me focused and on track. The stories I love to tell are the stories I love to read, so I write for me, and keep my fingers crossed readers can relate to them.


Thank you for joining me on the blog, Beth. Your hero, Mr. Grouch – a.k.a. Reece Greene –  sounds ruthless and hot! Wishing you all the best for your latest release, The Holiday Grouch…

Arabella

www.arabellasheen.co.uk

 

About   Beth D. Carter

Beth D. Carter - Author

I began reading my mom’s Harlequin Presents in the fifth grade, and from the first story I knew I wanted to write romance novels. I like writing about the very ordinary girl thrust into extraordinary circumstances, so my heroines will probably never be lawyers, doctors or corporate highrollers.  I try to write characters who aren't cookie cutters and push myself to write complicated situations that I have no idea how to resolve, forcing me to think outside the box.  I love writing characters who are real, complex and full of flaws, heroes and heroines who find redemption through love.

 

Social Media:

http://bethdcarter.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/BethDCarter
https://www.facebook.com/bethdcarterauthor

https://www.instagram.com/bethdcarter/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/beth-d-carter

Amazon author page:  http://www.amazon.com/BethD.Carter/e/B00EOTD1T0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1385417145&sr=8-1

 

Book Blurb:  The Holiday Grouch



Reece Greene has only one thing on his mind: to buy the bed and breakfast that stands in his way. He has plans of developing condos on the ski slopes of Mistletoe Canyon, and although he has the hots for one Calliope Whobrey, he won’t let a pretty face get in the way.

Callie runs the bed and breakfast with her grandmother, and she wouldn’t trade it for any other life. When the grumpy Mr. Greene shows up she tries hard to ignore her attraction, but he’s not going away without a fight.

The battle of wills is on. While Callie does whatever she can to irritate him, Reece has plans to steal the cheer right out of Christmas. What must she go through to make his heart grow a size or two?

BUY LINKS:

EVERNIGHT PUBLISHING

AMAZON

SMASHWORDS


Friday, 11 December 2020

A Gentleman in Love - Arabella Sheen - EXCERPT 2

  


 

A Gentleman in Love

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

 

Chapter 1

 

EXCERPT 2...


Sam was the man who had ruined her life. In ruining her father’s career and shaming her family, he had ultimately destroyed her very existence. Her engagement to Edgar Parker had been canceled, and any chance of happiness she thought she might have had for the future had been spoilt by Sam’s callous, cold-hearted actions.

She wanted revenge. Not just for herself, but mostly for her family.

Time was of the essence. Sam was due to fly back to America, and once there, Shelby knew he would be out of reach. As an ambassador to the British Embassy, he would be off-limits to members of the public, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to get to him. Red tape and office staff would make it impossible for them to speak, so tonight was her only chance for a showdown.

Deciding now was the time to act, Shelby glanced stealthily over her shoulder to see if the coast was clear, and with no one to stop her, she set about putting her plan into action. Taking strong, confident strides, she crossed the great expanse of the room, determined to reach Sam’s side unhindered. And she did.

An immense sense of achievement came over her, and then daringly, and with more nerve than she could have imagined, she slipped her arm possessively through his. She was behaving as if it was the most natural thing in the world for her to cling to him. But it wasn’t. She would rather be anywhere but where she was at that moment.

Trying to ignore Lady Donna, Shelby smiled coolly up into Sam’s dark gray eyes, and said, “I’m so pleased I caught you before you went into dinner. I thought I might have missed you.”

Shelby felt Sam stiffen. There was an instant glint of recognition shining in his eyes, and it was a relief to know he wasn’t going to create a scene. And then, with lightning speed, she saw him recover from her unexpected appearance, and a mask of indifferent coolness came down, covering his face as his guard went up.

Sam smiled, but it wasn’t exactly a smile of welcome. It was more a smile of polite caution. She waited, expecting a verbal backlash to come, or the disdainful flick of a finger to signal security to carry her off, but they didn’t.

Sam was obviously practiced in the art of maintaining a poker face, and Shelby supposed he had to be. Attending diplomatic events, he had to know what to do in dangerous situations when a stranger approached. As an ambassador, Sam always had to be on the alert, and Shelby knew he could handle himself without any problem, but she was surprised he hadn’t called for help.

She wasn’t supposed to be at the party, yet Sam was acting as if it was the most natural thing for her to be standing at his side.

“Oh…there could be no chance of us ever missing one another. And I’m sure that at some point during the evening our paths would have crossed.”

Shelby’s heart skipped another beat. The deep resonance in his voice stirred her, yet she knew she had to stay calm. She had to remain composed, and she couldn’t allow herself to succumb to his charm…that would be her undoing.

It was illogical, and even though she was still lamenting the loss of what might have been with Edgar, she couldn’t help her physical reaction to Sam. She was sexually drawn to him and always had been.

When she had first met Sam, she’d been an innocent teenager with a secret crush. She’d felt an instant attraction toward him and had admired him from afar. But any urges of desire she now felt were anything but innocent, and she had to banish them from her thoughts. She couldn’t allow her emotions and impulses to get out of control…especially tonight.

Sam Hardwick, at the age of thirty-two, was one of the most handsome specimens of manhood she had ever known. And this evening, dressed in a full tuxedo that showed his superb muscular physique to perfection, he could once again set her pulse rate soaring.

He radiated power and energy. The chiseled lines of his strong jaw, and the way his dark gray, piercing eyes looked directly into her very soul, commanded immediate attention and respect.

Even though Shelby had come to resent Sam, against her will, she had to admire him for who he was, and for what he had become. He had worked long and hard to get where he was, and she was in awe of the diplomatic accomplishments he’d achieved in such a short but eventful career.

Her father often spoke of Sam, saying that as a young student, he had studied relentlessly, and worked even harder to get where he was. She’d been told his education had been funded by scholarships and grants, and that although he’d had a tough start in life, he’d made it through the system with honors. Sam’s integrity and honesty had allowed him to reach heights in the diplomatic world that others could only dream of.

And now, after having climbed the social ladder, he was also accepted by society’s elite with open arms. The upper classes welcomed him into their homes, and into their lives. Some women even welcomed him into their hearts, and into their beds. And at the moment, a rumor was rife in the tabloids that it was Lady Donna Ruston who was his current mistress and held his interest.

With money and connections, it was possible to achieve anything and go anywhere, and Sam Hardwick had done those things in abundance, and Shelby hated him for it.

Excusing himself, Sam stepped away from Lady Donna and pulled Shelby to one side, and away from his group of friends.

“What are you doing here?” he whispered.

Sam had leaned down toward her. He was so close that she could smell the soft tang of his aftershave as his cheek brushed inadvertently against hers.

“I’m gate-crashing the party of course.” She forced a bright smile. “How else am I supposed to find an opportunity to talk with you? These days you’re an impossible man to reach. I’ve tried contacting you at your office, but your secretary keeps fobbing me off with some excuse. And I won’t allow you to walk away from the situation you’ve created. Not after the devastation you’ve caused.”

Several people were looking curiously in their direction, but they weren’t close enough to hear what she had whispered through clenched teeth. Shelby merely smiled and tried to look serene as she ignored the inquisitive stares.

Tonight, Shelby intended to demand the help she thought she deserved. Somehow, she had to get Sam to clear her father’s name and right an injustice that had been done before he left London and returned to the States.

The tight, steely grip of Sam’s fingers on her arm caught her unaware, and as he pulled her with dogged determination to one side of the crowded room, she wanted to protest but didn’t. His rough touch burned her arm. Branding her. But she didn’t care. At least she had managed to gain his full attention. She’d become a thorn in his flesh, and that was good, because now she couldn’t be ignored.

Sam was all of six-foot-two inches, and he towered above her. He was staring down with controlled anger etched on his face, and Shelby was aware that a feeling of unease was beginning to grow deep inside her. Perhaps she’d bitten off more than she could chew.

With her heart thumping hard against her ribcage, she was having second thoughts, wondering if this was the right time or place to confront him. It was a social event, a Christmas party, and not the best place to present her plan to him, but Shelby realized she had to at least make an attempt. She knew it was her only course of action if she were to save her father.

There was an inflexible, fiery glint of steel burning in Sam’s eyes, and his temper was showing.

“Is this some sort of joke?” Sam practically spat the words at her. “What’s this about? And why are you here…at the Foreign Office?”

Shelby could see the throb of his pulse beating along his jaw. He was fuming.

“We need to talk,” she said.

“About what?”

“About my father.”

“No, we don’t,” he replied. “That business was dealt with in the courts and judgement was passed. We sat in the courtroom and heard the verdict. Remember? The problem is over and done with.”

But for Shelby, it wasn’t over.

A few months ago, her father had worked as a senior official for the government, and his department, which he’d been head of, had been accused of leaking secret documents. Sam had led the internal investigation, and when the allegations were made official, and charges brought, the public humiliation her father had endured had taken its toll.

Henry Chesterfield had become a broken man.

Unable to cope with the dishonor and shame, her father had crumpled, and he’d become a shell of the man he’d once been. Over time he’d lost the will to challenge his accusers and fight for his name. But Shelby hadn’t lost hope. She was determined to clear her family’s name of the shame and scandal that had been wrongly inflicted upon them.

In Shelby’s eyes, Sam Hardwick—a man she had once greatly admired—was the villain. He was the arch-enemy. And if Sam wouldn’t help her, she was going to destroy him any way she could. If he refused to help, she was going to cause such a scandal that not only would it ruin Sam socially, it would also obliterate his diplomatic career—forever. 


A Gentleman in Love
Copyright © 2020, Arabella Sheen
ISBN: 9781949300642
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.



BUY LINKS:  https://books2read.com/u/31qyk6 


About Arabella Sheen


Arabella Sheen

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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