This week I’m honored to have best-selling romantic suspense author Jacki Delecki visit. She has a new release coming out next week on April 25th ~ book five in The Code Breakers Series. Not only can you pre-order now, but there’s a giveaway…
Title: A Wedding Code
Heat Level: Medium
Genre: Regency Romance Suspense
As a renowned arbiter of fashion and design, Miss Amelia Bonnington’s upcoming nuptials to Lord Derrick Brinsley have become the most anticipated event of English society. Her plans to create the perfect wedding must be cast aside, however, when her best friend’s brother, a member of England’s top code breaking family, disappears.
When his fiancée meddles in dangerous spy activity, Derrick, an undercover agent for His Majesty, must intervene. Now, it’s up to Amelia and Derrick to safely locate the missing brother, prevent another abduction, and thwart an assassination. Can they outwit the French spies and still have Amelia’s fairy tale wedding?
Miss Amelia Bonnington dropped the tangle of wedding ribbons and rushed into the morning room to assist Lady Henrietta Rathbourne. Amelia winced in sympathy at Hen’s valiant but unsuccessful attempts to adjust her very large and very pregnant abdomen into a comfortable position on the settee.
Grabbing a pillow from a chair, Amelia tucked the cushion under Hen’s swollen feet. “Darling, does this help?”
Not wanting to burden her best friend’s sensitive feelings, Amelia tried hard not to stare at the massive round hump straining against Hen’s morning gown. Amelia wasn’t sure she wanted her body to ever grow and distort in such an uncomfortable manner. “Would another pillow behind your back help?”
“Nothing helps. I’m the size of a whale. It’s not surprising that I’m having a big baby, since Cord is such a large man.” Hen could barely wrap her arms around her middle.
Amelia didn’t want to think about the imposing size of her fiancé, Lord Brinsley, and how large Derrick’s babies would be. Although Amelia was inches taller than Henrietta, Derrick was a giant, the tallest and broadest man of her acquaintance.
Hen fanned her flushed face. “The entire family and staff are tiptoeing around me as if I might explode at any moment, like a Guy Fawkes firecracker.”
It was true. The usually calm and composed Hen would tear up at the most unpredictable moments, leaving everyone around her baffled as to how to respond.
Amelia squeezed her friend’s hand. “Everyone is concerned. And it’s obvious that you’re uncomfortable now that your time is near.”
Henrietta stroked her abdomen in a protective, soothing circular motion. “Cord is constantly monitoring my growth. Every time he looks at me, I see him estimating the size of the baby. My enormous expansion has cracked his impenetrable confidence. He doesn’t say anything, but I can see he is worried that the baby is too big for my small frame. And when my husband, the bravest and most fearless leader of our country, appears fearful, I feel a need to shelter him from what comes next.”
Amelia shook her head. “But my dearest, you know Cord likes to be in control of everything and everyone. I’m sure he is struggling with this birthing business.”
“My husband is used to bending all of England, even the king, to his will. His inability to control nature is driving him mad.” Hen shifted on the settee, looking miserable.
Amelia jumped back up from her chair and repositioned the pillow under Hen’s feet. “Does that help?”
Hen winced when Amelia moved her feet. “And Michael,” she continued. “You know my brother can’t hide a blasted feeling. It’s all there on his face—fear and worry.”
“It’s normal for the men to worry. Besides, what other part can they play in the pregnancy?”
Hen rolled her bright green eyes toward the ceiling. “Well, we know what part Cord played in the onset of my condition”
The childhood friends laughed together. And Amelia was relieved to see Hen able to muster some semblance of her usual wit.
“I still have days before the birth, according to Dr. Oglethorpe, which means I’ll be able to attend your wedding.”
Amelia didn’t want to think about her best friend missing her wedding, which was but two days away. Hen refused to follow convention, and planned to attend despite her pregnant state, and Amelia supported her decision. She and Hen always planned to play a part in each other’s weddings. They had shared their fantasies of romance, their future husbands, and dream weddings since they were eight years old.
“I’m so very weary of discussing the size of my abdomen and ankles. How are all the wedding details coming?”
“You don’t have to pretend interest. I know you couldn’t care less about colors, fabrics, or flowers.”
“True. I was prodigiously grateful when you did everything for my wedding. How is Derrick faring with your need for perfection?”
Amelia had orchestrated Hen’s, then Gwyneth’s, and, most recently, Gabby’s weddings. The brides were all dramatically in love and could scarcely be bothered with the kind of details that could turn a simple wedding into a glorious affair.
Their weddings were the talk of all London because of Amelia’s eye for design. After Beau Brummel, Amelia was considered the highest arbiter of women’s fashion. Although she hated the image of herself as another boring society woman whose only interest was fashion. She was an artist who saw color and shapes in everything around her.
Amelia grumbled. “I really don’t need to have everything perfect.”
Hen shifted on the settee and raised both eyebrows, accenting her round emerald eyes. “You changed the ribbon on my wedding dress at least five times to get the exact color of green moss. And the color of the hydrangeas and the candles… Should I go on?”
Amelia resisted pointing out that Hen looked magnificent on her wedding day because of Amelia’s meticulous attention to every aspect of the event.
Hen fingered the sleeve of her gown. “And your protégé is worse. He couldn’t be more persnickety.”
“Pierpont is a wonderful help. He knows a great deal about fabrics, flowers, and proper etiquette.” Amelia wanted to bite her tongue. She sounded like the snobbish society ladies she detested.
“I can’t like him. There is something very cagey about him,” Hen added.
“You’ve been listening to Derrick, haven’t you?”
Hen shook her head. “Derrick hasn’t said a word to me.”
Amelia raised her eyebrows. “Are you sure?”
“Derrick barely speaks to me. I think he’s intimidated by my size and my waddle.”
Amelia snickered. “You might be right. It is rather startling to think that the two bravest men in England are afraid of one pregnant woman.”
Jacki Delecki is a Best-Selling, Romantic Suspense writer. Delecki’s Grayce Walters Series, which chronicles the adventures of a Seattle animal acupuncturist, was an editor’s selection by USA Today. Delecki’s Romantic Regency The Code Breaker Series hit number one on Amazon. Both acclaimed series are available for purchase at JackiDelecki.com.
And now for the giveaway…
Bouquets are a wedding tradition that have been around for a long time, including in Regency weddings. What is your favorite type of wedding flower?
Drop your answer in the comments below to be entered for a chance to win an ebook copy of A Wedding Code and a $10 Amazon gift card!
And don’t forget to always #ReadARegency!