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Monday, August 31, 2020

🌟 RELEASE BLITZ 🌟 The Anti-Boyfriend by Penelope Ward

The Anti-Boyfriend by Penelope Ward

Release Date: August 31st 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new standalone novel.

At first, my neighbor Deacon frustrated me.

Sure, he was great-looking and friendly.

But our walls were thin, and on occasion, he’d bring women to his place and keep me awake while he “entertained” them.

As a single mother to an infant, I didn’t appreciate it.

So, finally it was my turn.

When my daughter wouldn’t stop wailing one night, Mr. Manwhore came knocking on my door.

Miraculously, at the sound of his voice, Sunny stopped crying. And when he held her…she eventually fell asleep in his arms.

Deacon was rough on the exterior, but apparently on the inside? Mr. Single-and-Ready-to-Mingle was a baby whisperer.

After that night, we became friends.

He’d go for coffee runs. Come over to chat. Normal friend stuff.

But over time, our conversations ran deeper. We got closer.

Until one night we crossed the line.

Our friendship turned into a complicated mess.

I’d gone and fallen for a guy who’d sworn off commitment and kids.

I knew Deacon was starting to care for me too, even though Sunny and I didn’t fit into any plan he’d ever imagined for himself.

He was wrong for me—so wrong that I’d dubbed him the “anti-boyfriend.”

Then why did I wish more than anything that I could be the one woman to change him?


Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of contemporary romance.

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.

With over two million books sold, she is a 21-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over twenty novels. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world.


Just One Year

The Day He Came Back 

When August Ends

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Friday, August 28, 2020

🌟 BOOK BLITZ 🌟 The Blood King by Abigail Owen {EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!}

The Blood King by Abigail Owen

Release Date: August 25th 2020 by Entangled: Amara
Pages: 416
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Ruthless dragon king Ladon Ormarr must keep his throne at all costs. And now, with war on the horizon, he’ll need a miracle. Luckily, the fates have dropped Skylar Amon right into his lap.

Except he may have met his match.

The feisty Amon sister has no fear — of him or any other dragon shifter — is brash, doesn’t stick to protocols, and regularly offends his warriors and advisers.

Skylar also has no intention of sticking around. She doesn’t believe in the whole destined mates thing and believes all dragon kings to be dangerous. But if it means taking out the High King who murdered her parents, she’ll put up with Ladon… temporarily.

But the fates have other plans. And when Skylar disappears in the middle of a battle, Ladon will burn down the world to find her.


Skylar remained where she was on the floor, rubbing at her throat and glaring at the others with those bright, watercolor blue eyes. At least her skin had turned less sallow. Seconds ago, her pallor had him…concerned.

Ladon did his best to push adrenaline, along with the burning need to claim her immediately, down deep in his gut, though it tested the limits of his control. He gave the members of his guard—his closest friends—as well as the advisors who made up his Curia Regis, a sharp nod and waited in silence while they filed out.

Brand sat, too, saying nothing, probably sensing the dangerous edge on which Ladon’s emotions balanced.

“Damage my future mate like that again, and I’ll rip your arms out of their sockets.” The warning slid from Ladon. He couldn’t have held it back even if he wanted to. Not that he wanted to.

Still on the floor, Skylar’s back stiffened. “I’m not your future anything, asshole.”

“Not helping,” Kasia said pointedly, adding a glare at him for effect.

Shit. Where’d his control go? He’d just been telling himself to cool it with the claiming language. Ladon clamped down on more words.

Kasia held out her hands and pulled Skylar to her feet, allowing Ladon a view of Skylar’s face. His body tensed in reaction. Now that he had a chance to study her, he couldn’t deny her beauty. Darker and sharper than her sister, those glacial eyes a striking contrast to her midnight hair, her skin a darker shade than Kasia’s paleness, and those lips…

Kasia focused on her sister, her gaze settling. “I love you, but you got this totally wrong.”

Given her attitude so far, Ladon waited for an immediate rejection, but Skylar didn’t speak for a long beat, searching Kasia’s eyes. “My sources informed me that a rogue dragon kidnapped you and dragged you here to mate you to a king. Brand is the rightful King of the Gold Throne, right? He killed Uther, and apparently at least some gold dragons now bear Brand’s mark on their hands, which makes him king. A king you’re mated to. Am I wrong?”

Kasia sent a smiling glance at Brand. “You got it mostly right, but what you missed was that I didn’t mate the king I was intended to.”

Skylar turned those ice-blue eyes on Ladon. As realization dawned, her lips quirked. “What happened, big boy? Couldn’t close the deal?”

Ladon held her glance with an unaffected stare, hiding his reaction. Why the hell was her insulting him so amusing?


Award-winning paranormal romance author, Abigail Owen, grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. She attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

No matter the genre, she loves to write witty, feisty heroines, sexy heroes who deserve them, and a cast of lovable characters to surround them (and maybe get their own stories). She currently resides in Austin, Texas, with her own personal hero, her husband, and their two children, who are growing up way too fast.


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Thursday, August 27, 2020

🌟 BOOK BLITZ 🌟 Dating Mr. Darcy by Kate O’Keeffe {EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!}

Dating Mr. Darcy by Kate O’Keeffe

Release Date: August 25th 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

Is it a truth universally acknowledged, that a girl must compete on reality TV to win a modern-day Mr. Darcy’s heart?

Clothing designer Emma Brady is having serious doubts about how far she’ll go to promote her new activewear line. Sure, being on a reality show would be great for business, but is putting up with Mr. Darcy-wannabe Sebastian Huntington-Ross really worth it?

Sebastian is straight out of an Austen novel. But it’s hard to focus on his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders and wickedly sexy accent when all Emma can see is his pride, arrogance, and smug demeanor.

But Sebastian has a secret reason for being on the show, and when Emma figures out what it is, her heart warms to him—without her permission.

Will Emma hold fast and keep the aristocratic Sebastian at arm’s length? Or will she put her reservations aside when the lines between reality and “reality show” start to blur?


“Emma,” Johnathan says, snapping my attention away from Kennedy. “We would love to hear your performance. Please, take to the stage.”

I wave my hand in the air. “Oh, I’m going to sit this one out, if it’s all the same to you. But thanks for asking.”

His eyes shift to a crew member and back to me. “All the contestants need to perform, I’m afraid.”

“As much as I may want to perform—and believe me I do so, so much—I’m afraid I’m no singer. I told Sebastian that already and he seemed cool with it. Believe me, I’m doing all of you a big favor here.”

“She doesn’t want to have to follow my performance. Do you, Emma?” Hayley says with the fakest sweet smile ever.

“I can well understand that,” Johnathan replies, “but the rules are the rules. Aren’t they, Mrs. Watson?” He’s looking for back-up now.

Mrs. Watson rises to her feet and glares at me. “You. Stage. Now.” Gone is the firm but polite language. It seems she’s going for straightforward orders now.

I chew on my lip as I look around the room. “Do I have to?” I ask, and yes, I know I sound like a whiny kid being made to eat her broccoli.

“You do,” Mrs. Watson replies.

I let out a defeated sigh. “Okay.” I make my way over to the stage like I’m walking the line. I don’t want to perform, and I haven’t practiced anything either.

I scramble around in my brain, searching desperately for a song in my range. Which is basically about four notes, all of them flat, if my car singing skills are anything to go by.

“Miss Emma? We’re waiting,” Mrs. Watson says tersely.

All eyes are on me. Johnathan is watching me warily, Sebastian is looking somewhere between concerned and amused, and there’s no way I’m going to look in Hayley’s or Camille’s direction right now.

I’ve got to think of something, stat!

When I don’t do anything, Mrs. Watson barks, “Sing!”

Out of pure shock, I open my mouth and begin to sing the first song that comes to mind. It was playing in the car as I was driven here what feels like a lifetime ago, even though I think it was only a matter of days. Days? Really?

Lil Nas X’s voice is in my head, and I sing along with it. I’m taking my horse down to an old road, and it takes all my willpower not to bob on the spot as though I’m on that horse myself. When I get to the Billy Ray Cyrus part, I notice a few of the contestants go from controlling their mirth to openly sniggering. It puts me off my game. Not that I had much of a game in the first place.

I fudge some of the words and replace others with the word “horse,” which seems appropriate, given that it’s a song about riding one. Or is it a metaphor? All I know is this is about a gazillion miles from being my finest hour, and I wish more than anything it was over.

When I finally get to the end of the song, I stop abruptly, clamp my mouth shut, and wait for the inevitable laughter to roll around the room. I’m not disappointed. Camille is doubled over, shaking with laughter, Hayley has tears rolling down her cheeks, and even Phoebe and Kennedy are snickering, although I can tell they’re working hard to hold it in.

I glance at Sebastian. His face is alight with amusement, but his eyes are surprisingly soft. “Nice work,” he mouths, and I shoot him my most withering look, which is a little hard to muster when you’re up to your neck in a lake of humiliation, your cheeks hot enough to scramble eggs.


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Kate O'Keeffe is a bestselling author of fun, feel-good romantic comedies. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke's Bay, New Zealand with her family, two scruffy dogs, and a cat who thinks he's a scruffy dog too. He's not: he's a cat. When she's not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), traveling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.

Visit to sign up to her newsletter to keep up to date on new releases, great deals on books, and more.


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🌟 BOOK BLITZ 🌟 #Surviving40 by Karen Anne {EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!}

#Surviving40 by Karen Anne 

Release Date: August 25th 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

Piper Quinn was more than ready to turn forty. So ready she began planning her Parisian celebration at thirty-five. That is until her life fell apart at thirty-nine. Left staring at divorce papers, Piper instantly regrets signing that pre-nup. How was she to know her husband would turn her in for a younger model?

After “accidentally” setting her Manhattan apartment on fire, Piper finds herself not only newly divorced, but newly homeless. Forced to move back home with her parents and take a job she doesn’t want, she soon discovers the gossip train in town moves faster than the subway system in New York—and she’s the hottest topic to leave the station. If matters weren’t bad enough, life in rural Connecticut seems downright claustrophobic when her sixteen year old daughter stops talking to her.

A blast from her past is the spark Piper needs to reignite her life. Owen Clarke, an old high school flame has the ability to turn back time making Piper feel sixteen again. The instant chemistry between them gives Piper hope of redeeming her second act. There’s only one teeny, tiny three foot problem: Owen’s daughter is in Piper’s Kindergarten class. With temptation lurking in every corner, Piper needs to put her emotions—and hormones— in check.

No one said getting older was easy, but turning forty just became a game of survival.


#SurvivalTip: If you have to bang you head, 

might as well be off of a headboard. 

Owen ran a hand up the length of my thigh, nuzzling his nose against mine, stealing kisses and causing me to fall deeper into the bliss he had created. My leg was hooked around his waist, our bodies tangled together, slick with sweat under a cloud of euphoria.

“Happy?” he asked as he brushed the hair away from my face.

“Very,” I admitted. The last hour had been perfection and now… my eyes caught a glimpse of the clock hanging on the wall, the moonlight from the window conveniently illuminating the numbers. “Crap!”

“What’s wrong?” Owen placed his hand on my waist, gave me a squeeze, and pressed himself against me. A guttural groan rumbled in his throat. Clearly, he was ready for round two. There was no time for that now.

“It’s almost one. I can’t have Sage get home and I’m not there.” I grabbed the sheets and wrapped them around me while I slid out of bed, got on all fours, and searched for my missing underwear.

My gown was abandoned, crumpled in a small heap underneath a chair he had in the corner. How did it get there? Did it grow legs and walk away? I snatched it up, along with my panties, which were under his bed, and darted toward the bathroom. I tripped over one of my abandoned heels in the process and slammed head first into the wall. “Ow!” I whimpered and tried to hold onto my dignity along with my clothes, and the sheet, while instinctually reaching for my head. There wasn’t any blood. Thank God for small victories.

“Hey.” Owen leaned over and put on the light, then sprang out of the bed and over to me. He gently lifted my hand away so he could see if there was any damage. “It’s already swollen. You’re going to have a nasty bruise in a few hours.”

“Great, I’m a big fan of having concrete evidence of my more humiliating moments.”

Owen had a drowsy look in his eyes, like everything I said was covered in sugar and he could just eat me up. He kissed my boo-boo like I was a child, then pinned me against the wall. It occurred to me then that he was still very, very naked. Damn, he didn’t lack in the confidence department one bit.

“Owen, I can’t do this right now.” I tried to wriggle free, but he had me locked in place. “I need to snap back into mom mode and set an example and all that jazz.”

He swept his hand between my thighs with a butterfly touch, taunting me. I shuddered. His eyes sparkled. Clearly, this was some sort of weird, single mom foreplay for him.

“Relax, I’ll get you back before your coach turns into a pumpkin.” His mouth found mine, and instantly, all that had transpired between us over the past few hours came rushing back. I wasn’t sure if it was the power of his kiss, or the blow to my head, but I was getting lightheaded. I plucked my mouth away, coming up for air before Owen pulled me back under his spell.

“I could take you right here.” Owen groaned, his breathing quickly becoming a pant, daring me to concede. Would it be so awful to be out all night? Adulting was so hard. So was Owen.

The need to be selfish bubbled up inside me. I wanted to stay, to live in this moment of reckless abandon. Owen pressed against me, causing me to moan. He responded by kissing my neck, which basically turned my libido into a ticking time bomb. How was I ever going to find the strength to say no when every cell in my body was screaming yes? No one knew self-sacrifice like a mother. One of us had to be reasonable, and I supposed it was the one who most likely had a concussion. “I think I need ice for my head.”

That seemed to sober him up. “On it.” He walked away, giving me a great shot of his ass before he reached down and swiped his pants, pulled them on, and headed down the hall to the kitchen.

I sort of loved the idea of him strutting around his place commando. Knowing I only had a few moments of freedom, I ducked into the bathroom and shimmied my way back into my gown. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My eyeliner was smeared, and my perfect curls now had a distinct post-coital look. There was no hiding what we’d done. 


Karen Anne was writing before she could read. As a toddler, she sat with a book in her hands and made up the stories, eager for the day when she'd find out if it all truly ended in happily ever after. Karen still determines the destiny of other people's lives, but this time, the characters are her own.

She is a Contemporary Romance author who lives in New York.
Coffee drinker by day, wine enthusiast by night, she loves cats and deeply misses 90's grunge.


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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

🌟 BOOK BLITZ 🌟 Her Summer Prince by Freda Ann {EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!}

Her Summer Prince by Freda Ann

Release Date: August 31st 2020 by Freda Ann
Pages: 158
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

This sweet/clean Hallmark style love story will make you laugh, cry, and give you goosebumps all the way to a happy ending! *

Prince of Shorewick and next in line to the throne, Harry has more than enough on his plate, between his royal duties and overbearing Queen mother. During one fateful summer in Bliss Cay, his life changes forever when he meets the girl of his dreams.

Celebrating her graduation on the island, Charlotte Warren is swept off her feet by her knight in shining armor, falling hard and fast for this dashing stranger.

When a horrible tragedy comes calling, Harry is forced to pack up and leave Bliss without a moment’s notice for the Kingdom of Shorewick. In the mad dash to get home, Harry realizes too late that he left without saying goodbye.

Ten years pass of lost contact, and only now has Charlotte’s heart begun to mend after the heartache Harry inflicted. Now a successful businesswoman and mother to her beautiful son Noah and furry companion Chloe, Charlotte finally takes the jump and decides to return to Bliss Cay for the first time since that fateful summer.

Returning to the island is a step towards conquering her past, but instead she finds herself face to face with the man who shattered her heart into a million pieces.

The last decade has changed them both. Harry has the responsibility of the monarchy looming over him, yet all he wants is to live his life with the woman he loves…a commoner in the eyes of the monarchy.


Stupefied, my jaw drops as I watch her strut to the end of the dock holding her son’s hand. Her son. I stand frozen, wishing this was a bad dream.

After collecting myself, I make my way off the dock and turn left. Anxiety fuels me. Bare feet and all I take off running down the beach leaving Dawson in the wind. I realize that my worst fear has come true.

Charlotte will never be mine again. I’m too late. Our dream of being together forever has gone up in smoke.

On the verge of hyperventilating, I drop to my knees trying to catch my breath. Looking up, I stare at the waves lapping on the shore. Our happily ever after is never going to happen.

Dawson catches up and stops behind me, panting just as hard. When he’s able to speak, he utters, “Sir, are you trying to kill us both?” He forces the words out.

Sighing at the thought, I wonder if death would be any less painful. It feels as if someone has reached inside my chest, ripped my heart out, thrown it on the ground and stomped on it.

Gazing at the water feeling numb, I remain on my hands and knees for who knows how long. As the sun sets, Dawson asks, “Harry, maybe we should retire to the villa?”

I force myself up to my feet. Raking my hands over my face, I turn and slowly walk home. Passing two couples giggling and holding hands only strengthens the numbness I feel.


Freda was born in southern New Jersey but grew up in Florida. She has loved writing her entire life. After retiring from a career in law enforcement, she knew it was time to fulfill her lifelong dream of being a published author.

She's the author of The Hawaii Series, proudly named from her love of the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. It's a three-book series with all of them written as standalone books.

Freda loves her large family, horses, dogs, cat, and close friends. She hosts monthly family dinners at her home in the country, which she shares with her husband.

She loves baking (she owned and operated a cupcake business for years), cooking, yoga, crocheting, nature and traveling with the love of her life.

What helps her write? Music makes her happy! If music doesn't give her the right motivation, she puts on a romantic movie, usually from the Hallmark Channel, which she can't get enough of!

Freda speaks her mind and pushes perfection to its limit. She strives to be her best, most positive self she can be in life. With time, determination, and practice, she believes anything is possible.


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🌷 Freebie Tuesday (Edition #333) 🌷

✨ Welcome back! Hope you guys check out the books! ✨

I will be tweeting random freebies that I can find on any given day so if you're looking for more free books make sure to follow me on twitter @JackieBookWorld. :) 

***Note that there will be some books that will be free for limited time only, so make sure to download them as soon as you can. Also if there is any specific genre that you guys would like me feature, let me know!  

The Fearless Highlander
by Amy Jarecki
Release Date: July 9th 2020
Series: Highland Defender #1
Pages: 376
Genres: Historical, Romance
Author's Links: Goodreads, Website, Twitter, Facebook

Heir to the most notorious clan in the Highlands, Hugh MacIain hides his identity while imprisoned in the bowels of Fort William’s hell. Aye, this braw warrior has endured horrors that should have seen him dead, though now it appears it’s the bloody flux that will send him to Satan’s fire.

Optimistic, competent, and captivating, Charlotte Hill takes pity on a fevered prisoner sprawled atop a cot in the fort’s surgery. When finally the Highlander opens his eyes, he seizes her heart with a pained stare. Truly, this is no commoner—but in 1692, a warrior loyal to the Jacobite cause and the daughter of a government colonel may as well be worlds apart.

After his escape, Hugh snatches a chance to woo the lass, until disaster strikes. While war and lust for vengeance force Charlotte further from Hugh’s arms, the couple’s romance seems aimlessly adrift on the open sea. Before they sail too far apart, can the tender love of an English lady coax a determined Highlander from his path of revenge?
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

Dirty Rogue
by Amelia Wilde
Release Date: August 8, 2016
Series: New York Billionaires #3
Pages: 274
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Author's Links: Goodreads, Website, Twitter, Facebook

All the money in the world won't erase the demons of my past.

I have all the money a person could dream of. That doesn’t make me any less of a monster. A liar. A criminal.

And the secret that made me this way? It can never see the light of day.

That means I can never let anyone get close to me. Ever.

I’ll go to parties. I’ll spend my fortune. But I’ll never let anybody in.

The first time I see Quinn Campbell, she’s soaked to the skin and cursing the world. She’s so gorgeous I don’t feel the rain.

I can’t let it be the last time.

But she shouldn’t let me get anywhere close.

I’ll destroy her.

And I’ll love it.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)


A Really Bad Idea
by Jeannine Colette
Release Date: May 14th 2019
Pages: 327
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Author's Links: Goodreads, Website, Twitter, Facebook

Everyone has a best friend. Mine just happens to be Dr. Christian Gallagher— the gorgeous, green-eyed heart surgeon who wants to have a baby with me.

Yes, you read that correctly.

When my mother approached me on my thirty-third birthday with a brochure for egg freezing, it was a glaring reminder that my biological clock is ticking toward its expiration date. I’ve always dreamed of being a mom and had a plan — one that was destroyed when I caught my professional hockey player husband in bed with another woman.

Despite my broken heart I still believe in love. I want the happily ever after, but I also want a child desperately and won't settle in order to make it happen.

That’s why when I decided to take my mother’s advice, Christian came up with his own plan: Let’s have a baby together.

It’s a bad idea. A really, really bad idea. And yet...I can’t stop thinking about how great it could be.

There’s just one condition. Before we have sex (oh, yes, we’re doing this the old fashioned way!) Christian is adamant we go on three dates.

Sounds easy, but it's not.I thought sex would be the hard part, but the dates are only making me fall for the man I’ve known almost my entire life.

Whoever said sex doesn't change things never went to bed with their best friend.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)


Happy Reading! 📚

Monday, August 24, 2020

🌟 BOOK BLITZ 🌟 Scandal’s Promise by Pamela Gibson {EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!}

Scandal’s Promise by Pamela Gibson

Release Date: August 19th 2020 by Soul Mate Publishing
Pages: 259
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance

Haunted by questions and her own insecurities, Lady Emily Sinclair longs to discover why her betrothed abandoned her and married another. Seven years have passed, but the pain of his betrayal still lingers, buried beneath layers of humiliation and mistrust. When he returns after the Napoleonic Wars, she vows to avoid him. If only her foolish heart felt the same.

Broken and addicted to his medication, widower Andrew Quimby, Lord Cardmore, rattles around his ancient manor, oblivious to his deteriorating health and state of mind. When he learns the woman he was forced to abandon remains unmarried, he vows to try to win her back, even if it means returning to a society he despises.

But Andrew soon discovers he has a secret enemy. Threatening notes appear and sinister accidents put those in his inner circle in danger. Can he overcome his demons in time to keep them safe or will everyone and everything he loves disappear forever.


A tiny birdlike woman with sharp features stared at him from across the room. Her bonnet and outwear lay neatly on a chair. Next to it was the heavy woolen coat and hat of the young boy with frightened eyes who clutched her hand.

Andrew’s breath hitched as he looked at the child. Blue eyes, glistening with unshed tears, peeked up at him from a narrow face with a defiant chin. His guinea-gold tousled hair was cut short and his clothes were fashionable, albeit wrinkled.

The woman raised her head and glared at him. “I beg your pardon, my lord. I realize the hour is late. My name is Bricker. I was told to deliver Master George to you and then be on my way. I’ve taken a room in the village coaching house for the night, and I will return to London in the morning.”

Andrew forced himself to meet her gaze and speak in a calm voice while turmoil swirled in his gut.

“You can’t leave him here.”

“I can and I will.”

“Why now?”

“My employer’s wife has passed on, and he has no interest in the child. Madame was the one who insisted on providing the boy with a home. Master George was the only link she had with her daughter.”

“And you?”

“I’ve been his nurse since his birth at his grandparents’ London home.”

“If you are leaving, who will care for him?”

“With all due respect, that’s your problem, my lord.”

She turned to the child who began to sob. He buried his face in her skirts and fisted his small hands in the folds, his back shaking.

Her body vibrated with hatred. “See what you’ve done. You’ve upset him. He’s only six years old and not accustomed to cold toffs like you.”

Andrew stiffened, repressing the urge to curse. Instead he modulated his tone. “He cannot stay. I have no staff, no nursery. There’s nothing here for him to wear or play with. You must leave and take him back to where you came from.”

“His valise is outside in the hall. It has his belongings. He hasn’t much. As you would know if you’d deigned to take an interest in him.”

He supposed the verbal blow was deserved, despite the circumstances now confronting him, but his patience was at an end.

What the bloody hell am I to do with a child?

“You’re right. I know nothing about children. You can see he’s distressed. Can you not stay? I can pay you.” Panic gripped his throat, threatening to strangle him.

“I have another post. And now I must take my leave. ’Tis cold and wet, and I long for my bed.”

“Don’t go,” implored Andrew. “He’s crying. What does he need?”

“Give him a bit of soup and a bed. He’ll be right as rain in the morning.”

She disengaged the boy’s hands and bent down to face him. “You mustn’t cry, Master George. This is your home now. I’m sure his lordship must have a horse or two in his stables. You’ll see what a fine house this is when morning comes.”

The woman led the boy to a spindly chair and seated him. The child hid his face in his hands and wailed like his heart was broken. With a final pat, she put on her coat and hat and strode toward the door. “My hired conveyance is waiting. I’ll see myself out.” Footsteps echoed in the hall, fading as the woman reached the outer door.

Ralston stood with his hands behind his back, his eyes wide. The child’s wailing increased, and Andrew cringed. How was he to stop the noise? His valet hovered near the doorway. “Lester. Bring the new housemaid. I believe her name is Matilda. She should be in Mrs. Evans’s quarters or nearby.”

“Very good, milord.”

Ralston, who’d been silent during the drama seemed to recover from his stupor and frowned. “Do you even know who this is?”

“Sadly, I do.”

“Do you mind enlightening me? I admit, this is more entertainment than I’ve had in a decade.”

“His name is George.”

“I believe I got that.”

“He is—he is my son.”

Ralston fell into a nearby chair. “I’m astonished. I’d heard Caroline died in childbirth, but I thought the child was stillborn.”

“He’s very much alive, as you can see. And hear.”


Author of eight books on California history and fifteen romance novels, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who lives in the Nevada desert. Having spent the last three years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of Ralph, the Rescue Cat. If you want to learn more about her activities go to and sign up for her quarterly newsletter and occasional blog. Or follow her in these places:


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