Two classic tales of passion and adventure by a "New York Times"-bestselling author are available once again in these specially priced editions. Reissue.
Joan Johnston is the bestselling, award-winning author of fourteen historical romances and twenty contemporary romance novels. She received a Master of Arts degree in Theater from the University of Illinois and was graduated with honors from the University of Texas School of Law at Austin. She is currently a full-time writer who lives in South Florida.
"Matchmaking is a dangerous business."
"I know that, Livy. But sometimes drastic measures are necessary." Charlotte, Countess of Denbigh, sat crosswise in a wing chair in the drawing room of Somersville Manor, swinging her patent-leather-clad feet back and forth. Although married to an earl for nearly a year, and a venerable eighteen years of age, Charlotte refused to be bound by the traditional way of doing things, even sitting in a chair. Life was so much more interesting, she thought, when things did not turn out as one expected.
Charlotte watched fascinated as her best friend and sister-in-law, Olivia, Duchess of Braddock, held her firstborn son to her breast. William, titled Earl of Comarty at birth, suckled noisily beneath a lace-edged cloth that veiled his gusty enjoyment of breakfast.
"Does it hurt?" Charlotte asked, drawn for a moment from the subject at hand by her curiosity about nursing a child.
"It did a little at first. Not anymore," Olivia said, smiling tenderly at her two-month-old son and brushing aside a lock of his golden hair.
"Have you let Reeve watch?"
"Charlotte," A pink flush began at Olivia's throat and headed for her cheeks. She kept her eyes downcast. "Whether I let my husband watch while I—"
"Have you?" Charlotte insisted, her gaze steady upon her friend, demanding an answer. She had a reason for asking. She might need to make such a decision herself sometime soon.
Olivia nodded, then looked up so Charlotte could see the inner glow of joy that lit her eyes. "Reeve loves to watch. He says...The silly man thinks I'm beautiful," she confessed breathlessly.
"You are," Charlotte said quietly. "Motherhood agrees with you."
Olivia gave her a questioning look. Charlotte ignored Livy's silent request for information, turning her head to stare into a crackling fire that took the edge from an unusually chilly May morning. She was not yet ready to divulge the truth.
In fact, Charlotte was in an "interesting condition," although she had so far kept the joyful secret to herself. The instant her husband discovered she was with child, Lion would insist—all in the name of protecting her and the babe—that they return home to Denbigh Castle from their visit with the Duke and Duchess of Braddock.
Charlotte had something important she wanted to accomplish first.
The house party that would shortly be forming at Somersville Manor in Sussex included a number of eligible bachelors Charlotte had asked Olivia to invite for a particular young lady's perusal. Charlotte greatly feared it was going to be as difficult to direct Miss Elizabeth Sheringham toward one of the many marital prospects available, as it would be to convince the prospects what a precious find Eliza would be.
"You met Eliza during the Christmas holiday," Charlotte said, turning her attention back to matchmaking. "What did you think of her?"
"Miss Sheringham is a lovely girl who—"
"Stubble it," Charlotte interrupted. "I want yourhonestopinion."
Olivia sighed at being put on the spot, but conceded, "She did seem a bit...sharp-tongued."
"The result of an agile wit," Charlotte said.
"I can understand why Miss Sheringham is ready to trade a barb for a jest," Olivia said. "It could not have been easy growing up under such a cloud of scandal. To this day no one knows the real reason why the Earl of Sheringham disinherited Eliza's father, only that it was something so awful the earl refused ever to receive his only son—or his son's wife and daughter—at Ravenwood again. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder the girl has no regard for—"
'The rigid rules of Society?"
Excerpted from After the Kiss by Joan Johnston All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.