THE EARL NOT TAKEN
By A.S. Fenichel
Left standing on the side while their contemporaries
marry into society, four young ladies forge a bond to guard each other
from a similar fate . . .
Finishing school failed to make a proper lady of Penelope Arrington.
But as a Wallflower of West Lane, Poppy has a far more vital role—she
and her three best friends have made a pact to protect each other from
the clutches of dangerous, disreputable men. So when one of them is
about to be married off to a duke sight unseen, Poppy makes it her
mission to divine the prospective husband’s true character. If only she
didn’t require the aid of London’s most unsuitable rake.
Rhys Draper, Earl of Marsden, has known the headstrong Poppy since
she was a young girl, naïve to the ways of men. To her eternal
chagrin—and to his vague amusement—they have been at odds over the
memory of their embarrassing first encounter all these years. Now, with
his services in need, Rhys sees a chance to finally clear the air
between them. Instead, he is surprised by the heat of their feelings. If
the two do not tread carefully, they may end up in a most agreeably
compromising position . . .
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When Worlds Collide
Sometimes the real world and the world we create in books collide in a magical way. It doesn’t happen that often, but The Wallflowers of West Lane series has that kind of magic. It didn’t happen by design, but there you have it.
I set out to write a series about four friends who met as teens under difficult circumstances. Deemed incorrigible, they were each sent away to finishing school. I wanted those four women to find a special bond that would carry them through adulthood. It didn’t really occur to me that the things they would be dealing with in the early nineteenth century would hold true for women today.
Still, that’s exactly what happened. Women are still dealing with all the same issues as my Wallflowers. The Wallflowers of West Lane lived in a time when laws did not protect them. Once married, a woman became the possession of her husband. They had only their own cleverness to guide and protect them.
When Poppy, Mercy, Faith and Aurora return from being exiled to a boarding school in Lucerne, the first of them is married off. Aurora’s marriage is violent and teaches them all to mistrust men. When the villain is killed while cheating in a gaming hell, they are all much relieved to have that part of their lives over. These books are about four very clever and talented women who make a pact to protect each other from men who would harm them.
The Earl Not Taken begins after the funeral and we learn that while Aurora is now free, Faith is about to be similarly married to a man they know nothing about. Poppy takes on the task of discerning the prospective groom’s character, but she can’t do it alone. Aurora’s rakish brother, Rhys agrees to help in the investigation.
Poppy’s dislike for Rhys goes back to the very beginning. He will have a long climb up from the gutter to prove himself to our stubborn heroine. Can two people so far apart meet in the middle?
career in New York City to pursue her lifelong dream of being a
professional writer. She adores writing stories filled with love,
passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good
measure. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now
lives in Missouri with her real-life hero, her wonderful husband and two