Sara Portman joins me this week to showcase her award-winning, debut novel. It was chosen a Top Pick by RT Book Reviews. They said, “Portman’s debut is smart, sharp and insightful, ushering readers into a detailed historical setting, and right into the middle of an emotional and utterly rewarding romance. Her heroine’s unwavering strength and refreshing self-confidence make her a perfect match for her wounded but headstrong hero…a must-read.”
An inconvenient engagement turns a marriage of convenience into so much more in this sparkling new series from award-winning author Sara Portman . . .
Lady Emmaline Shaw’s reputation was irreparably damaged when her fiancé, John Brantwood, disappeared immediately after their engagement four years ago. Since then, she’s grown from a shy, uncertain girl to a woman who knows her own mind. And what she knows is that London society holds nothing for her.
Rumor has it that John ran off to war and died in battle. Now, as the new Duke of Worley, his shocking resurrection throws the ton into a tizzy and makes him one of England’s most sought after bachelors—except that he’s already engaged.
John needs a wife capable of smoothing his beloved sister’s introduction into society. But though Emma happily grants him his freedom, her fiery beauty and resilient spirit hold him captive. In fact, John has no intention of letting her go. Her fate is now in his hands, but will her heart be safe there?
“Although…” John shifted closer and gently brushed his hand down her forearm. “It seems a shame not to marry when we’ve only just discovered what a compatible pair we will be.”
Emma looked up, her amber eyes bright with alarm. “The vicar is across the hall.”
He smiled wickedly. “I believe I may want to add a condition.”
He watched her flush deepen as possible conditions tumbled through her mind.
“But you already have a condition.” Her words were hasty and flustered. “You…you want me to help Charlotte.”
He shrugged. “Another condition, then.” He pressed even closer, using up the remaining inches between them.
When she lifted her amber eyes to his, he took her gaze and held it locked with his own, transmitting all the intensity he’d felt since she’d entered his home, and watched her flush from top to bottom. She’d been feeling the same attraction as he throughout their conversation, and, with his stare, he challenged her to admit it.
Her eyes widened, apprehension growing, until she did admit it. She didn’t say it, but for a brief, nearly imperceptible moment her gaze dipped to his mouth, betraying her thoughts.
He broke the moment with a triumphant smile.
“I’d like you to ask me.”
Her shoulders fell with an exasperated exhale of air. She glared. “You want me to ask you to marry me?”
He nodded. “Sweetly. With a kiss.”
“But the vicar is across the hall.”
“You’ve already said that.”
“It bears repeating.”
He laughed at the reprimand in her tone. She needed kissing—an excessive amount—and he rather looked forward to providing it.
“That is my condition.” He made the declaration firmly, but he softened it with a coaxing smile. “Come now, Emma. A chaste kiss shared by an affianced couple won’t scandalize the Betancourts or anyone else.” In truth, if the vicar understood what John would really like to do with his daughter’s dear friend, he should have charged across the hall with a pair of dueling pistols.
Emma swallowed. “Oh, very well.” She exhaled and clasped her hands in front of her before looking up at him. “Will you marry me, please?” She darted quickly forward to place a brief kiss in the air near the general location of his cheek.
He shook his head slowly back and forth as she looked defiantly up at him. “That was, frankly, weak in every respect. Surely you’re braver than that.”
Her eyes narrowed. “My Lord Duke,” she began with venom, “would you do me the very great honor of allowing me to become your wife?”
He waited but she failed to follow her words with action. He leaned in. “Now the kiss, dear.”
Additional Books in the Brides of Beadwell Series:
available October 24, 2017
available November 21, 2017
Sara Portman is an award-winning author of historical romance. Her debut novel, THE REUNION, was named the 2015 winner in the Historical Category of the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest.
A daughter of the Midwest, Sara was born in Illinois, grew up in Michigan, and currently lives in Ohio. In addition to her writing endeavors, Sara is a wife and mother in a large, blended family.
When not reading or dreaming up romantic fiction, Sara works in corporate finance by day and holds a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Toledo. As part of her academic experience, Sara spent a semester in London, UK through a study abroad program at Richmond College. Her anglophile tendencies continue today.
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