by Becky Michaels
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Paperback & eBook; 310 pages
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
August Summer thinks she is a nobody until a London solicitor barges into her employer’s drawing room, revealing not only is she the daughter of an earl but a wealthy heiress as well. Optimistic about a new life, she travels to her ancestral home of Linfield Hall, only for her brother to banish her to London to live with her aunt, a dowager duchess with a reputation.
When Lord Bolton asks him to fetch his illegitimate daughter, solicitor Samuel Brooks does not expect himself to become so invested in the young woman’s debut after wanting nothing to do with dinners and balls before. But as August navigates her way through this new world of the British aristocracy, Brooks is the one who is most dazzled by her unexpected charms.
Since society demands every young girl must marry, August decides she will accept nothing less than someone’s heart in exchange for possession of her newfound fortune. Forced to reexamine his negative views of love and marriage or lose August forever, Brooks soon realizes his heart is the only thing in danger of becoming possessed.
“I will turn her out before I let her cry off, Rutley,” Charles said to Rosamund’s fiancé sometime after she left the room. “I doubt she would rather be homeless than marry you.”
Rutley arched a single eyebrow. “A comforting thought,” he said sarcastically. “I will return later this week, once tempers have cooled.”
When August first saw Rutley at dinner the night before, she thought him very handsome. He was tall, with dark hair and eyes and a profile that resembled a Renaissance sculpture August once saw depicted in a book. Judging by looks alone, August wondered why Rosamund didn’t want to marry him, but now she was beginning to understand. Tempers did not just cool after what had happened in the study.
As Rutley left the room, Lady Bolton moved to do the same. “I will go check on her,” she said. “I’m sure I can think of a way—”
“No,” Brooks said, standing up from his chair. August carefully watched him, waiting for him to say more. She was still annoyed over his comments about her aunt debauching her. He seemed to think she was this delicate flower, in desperate need of his or someone’s protection. But how bad could her aunt’s reputation be? She was a dowager duchess, after all.
“August should go,” he said, looking down at her. August quickly turned toward Lady Bolton, who stood motionless in the doorway. “She is the only one of us with whom Rosamund isn’t angry.”
August supposed that made sense. But as far as she saw it, Rosamund’s family had treated her very poorly, whether her brother would admit to it or not. August wasn’t entirely sure what comfort the sister Rosamund had only known for one day would bring her, especially when August seemed to be the only one in the dark about what Rosamund meant when she said her brother had mortgaged her future.
After Lady Bolton reluctantly agreed with Brooks, August went upstairs like a nervous soldier marching into battle. Rosamund’s room was on the second floor in the opposite wing from her father’s. When she reached the landing, she tried not to think of his dead body down the hall. What would he say if he knew such a nasty argument had occurred between two of his children the day he died? He probably would have been so disappointed.
As for her, she was upset she didn’t get to know him more—if only to get more information about her mother out of him. The woman’s identity might become a mystery that her father took with him to the grave. When August reached Rosamund’s door, she slowly raised her fist, knocking on it.
“Go away!” her sister immediately shouted back. “I do not wish to speak to anyone!”
“It’s me,” she called back. “August.” When there was no response, she continued. “I have been asked to check in on you. They say I’m the only one with whom you aren’t angry. I can’t promise to be much comfort, seeing how we hardly know each other, but—”
The door swung open. Rosamund stood on the other side, her face blotchy and wet with tears. When she saw August, she let out a loud sob, then dashed back toward the bed, throwing herself upon it. August closed the door behind her, frowning. She sat down on the bed beside Rosamund, a crumpled heap beside her. Sighing, August wondered what to say. If she were in a similar position, what would comfort her? Perhaps she might not want to talk about it all. Maybe a distraction was in order.
“Your brother has ordered me to go and stay with Lady Ramsbury in London,” she said suddenly.
Rosamund sniffed, turning to look at her sister. “What?” she asked, her eyes swollen from crying.
August smiled sadly at her. “I am to leave Linfield and go live with our aunt. I suppose if Charles thinks she would take in someone like me, she might also take in someone like you, even if you decide to go through with calling off your engagement. Since your brother said he would toss you out of the house if you did, I thought I would mention it in case that’s what you wanted to do.”
Rosamund seemed to consider this for a moment before loudly sighing. “Oh, August, I am not sure what to do!”
About the Author
Becky Michaels is a historical romance author and self-proclaimed Anglophile. After graduating from Boston University with a degree in English, she reluctantly decided to get a day job but never stopped writing—or dreaming. THE LAND STEWARD’S DAUGHTER, a Regency romance set in 1815 England, is her debut novel. Despite the cold winters and high rent, she still lives in the Boston area with her boyfriend and cat.
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