On Tour with Prism Book Tours
Grace-by-the-Sea: Where romance and adventure come home.
Polished Jesslyn Chance has one of the most enviable positions in the little Regency coastal village of Grace-by-the-Sea. She is the hostess of the spa, arranging introductions and entertainments and playing matchmaker to the ladies and gentlemen who come to take the waters, promenade through the shops, and dance at the assembly. But when a rogue returns from her past, Jess finds herself suddenly at sea.
Always an adventurer, Larkin Denby left Grace-by-the-Sea to right the wrongful death of his father. Now he’s back on a mission: to identify the mysterious Lord of the Smugglers who allegedly sails from Grace Cove and takes England’s secrets to France. But Grace-by-the-Sea is the perfect little spa town, run by the still oh-so-perfect Jesslyn Chance. When the village’s future is threatened, Jess must work with Lark to solve the mystery and protect the town’s own. In doing so, the matchmaker of Grace-by-the-Sea may just find that the best match for her is the rogue who stole her heart years ago.
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The spa at Grace-by-the-Sea was peace itself. Pastoral scenes decorated the arched ceiling; white wicker chairs waited with open arms along the blue walls. With the creamy stone fountain in one corner, waters sparkling in the sun shining through the nearby windows, and the white-lacquered harpsichord in another, the place resembled nothing so much as a conservatory in a great house.
The people crowding the space seemed just as benign. A few looked ill, their faces pinched, their shoulders stooped, their steps slow. More were intent on conversation and company rather than a cure. They laughed, they exchanged pleasantries, they took the waters. It was entirely too civilized. He wanted to shout at them, splash them with water from the fountain, throw the precisely folded pamphlets into the air, anything to wake them up to the impending danger.
“Is there something you need, Mr. Denby?”
It appeared he’d circumnavigated the room again. His booted feet had stopped of their own accord before the tall desk, the Welcome Book, and Jesslyn Chance. Her aunt, Mrs. Tully, had gone to pour some water for two elderly women who were obviously sisters. He had seen their names in the Welcome Book. He’d hoped the book would give him some clue as to a possible suspect, but the long list of names had only proven that the spa was as popular as his superior had intimated.
Jess might have been able to point him in the right direction. A shame he could not confide in her this time, but the fewer who knew his purpose, the better. While many decried the lawlessness of smuggling, a good percentage welcomed the lower-cost commodities the Free Traders brought in. Those who worked for the Excise Office were not always appreciated, or safe.
But would Jess confide in him? She still looked as sweet as he remembered. Her thick blond hair was pulled back in a high bun, but curls danced about her cheeks. Her lips were as warm a pink as those little shells his sisters used to collect from the shore. Her curves showed to advantage in a high-waisted cotton gown printed in blocks of pink and white and topped with a modest white collar.
Yet it was her eyes that drew him. Large, wide-spaced, and a delicate blue, they made her look as if she were perpetually amazed by the world around her.
He and Jess had been close when he’d visited eight years ago, the only two people that young at the spa then. They’d spent every day together, talking, walking, dancing at the assembly, attending church. Nothing had come of it. Nothing could come of it. They were too different—her content with life, him determined to see and do more. Still, perhaps she would indulge in a little gossip now.
“Mr. Denby?” she persisted in that soft, lilting voice. “Might I be of assistance?”
About the Author
Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t sell her first novel until she learned a bit more about writing. Since her first book was published, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She now has more than forty-five published works of warm, witty romance.
She loves everything about England, so it was only a matter of time before she started her own village. Where more perfect than the gorgeous Dorset Coast? She can imagine herself sailing along the chalk cliffs, racing her horse across the Downs, dancing at the assembly, and even drinking the spa waters. She drank the waters in Bath, after all!
Regina Scott and her husband of 30 years reside in the Puget Sound area of Washington State on the way to Mt. Rainier. She has dressed as a Regency dandy, learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research, of course. Learn more about her at her website.
One winner will receive print copies of all six books in Fortune’s Brides series (Never Doubt a Duke, Never Borrow a Baronet, Never Envy an Earl, Never Vow for a Viscount, Never Kneel to a Knight, and Never Marry a Marquess)
Ends January 29, 2020