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“Lord Clevedon, my lady,” Digby announced before retiring and leaving the door open.

His lordship entered the room as if he was visiting a close relative and was assured of his welcome.
He approached and bowed low over her hand, and the rioting in her stomach grew worse. It was not caused by the handsome face smiling down at her, but at the audacity of her plan.

Her back stiffened and she stayed seated. Her eyes traveled up the length of him, and like a mouse eyeing the cheese in the trap, she sighed, the conversation to come was not a good idea.

“Lady Penelope Fisherton, thank you for receiving me. I realize we have not been formally introduced but you left the auction so quickly the other day, proper introductions were not completed.”

How like a man to ignore society’s rules and make it sound as if it was her fault.

“I must admit, my lord, I’m surprised at your visit. You won the painting so it cannot be about that.”
“May I?” he asked, indicating a chair.

“Of course, please sit. Digby, some tea for his lordship or perhaps you’d prefer a glass of brandy?” Brandy for the dandy her mother always used to say. Lord Clevedon did not look like a dandy. She shivered. He looked—it did not matter how he looked, and she pulled the summoning bell harder than necessary.

He sat in one smooth, gliding motion, like a sleek black panther prowling the undergrowth. His long legs, showcased in tight trousers and polished Hessians, made the chair look tiny. He touched his perfectly starched white cravat. Was he nervous? Her confidence surged.

“I’d prefer tea, thank you, lemon no sugar.”

Her mother had also told her never to show surprise. “Should I be flattered that you have tracked me down? I wonder what brings you to my door. Let me just say up front that I’m not looking for any kind of dalliance if you have found out about my scandalous past. I assure you it will never be repeated.”

He laughed and it sent a shiver over her skin. The sound brushed the fine hairs on her arms like a whisper. “Scandalous past? Hardly.” He looked her right in the eyes, holding her gaze. “I’m sure compared to my reputation the Pope would confuse you with a nun.”

Why did he have to be honest? In her experience most men bent on seduction did not broadcast their sordid reputations. A thought stuck. Lord Clevedon had not been in England eight years ago when she’d made the biggest mistake of her life; perhaps he had not heard of her scandalous past.

She paused drinking her tea sure he would note her shaking hands. Eyes that were framed with thick, dark lashes making the brown look almost black in color studied her intently. She wanted to shake her head to clear the vision of male beauty before her, but didn’t dare show any weakness.

Surely, he must have heard about her past because she had heard all about his from her one true friend, Lady Charlotte. If he had learned where she stayed while in London, he would also have been told her sorry, scandal-ridden tale.

Charlotte had shared the scandalous tales of Lord Clevedon’s life with her when they were making a list of men Penelope could approach. Charlotte also knew he was one of only a handful of men who had the skills and affront to help her.

She picked up her teacup, her mind locked steady. “Then perhaps you could share the reason for your visit.”

He gave her a smile that would melt snow, and probably most women’s hearts. “I’m here to gift you the painting.”

Excitement burst deep within her. This was her chance. “There are only two problems with your kind offer.” She put her teacup down again and tried to steady her shaking hands. “One, men bearing gifts to a woman such as me are looking for something in return, usually me in their beds, and that will never happen. Two”—and she sat back in her chair for this—“I don’t want the painting. I never did. Why would I need a painting of a sunrise when I see the most glorious sunrise from my bedchamber window every morning?”

The look of confusion that momentarily flashed across his handsome face was priceless. He sat up and uncrossed his long limbs. “Then why did you bid on it?”

She hesitated, her bravery vanishing like a fog as the sun rose. Finally, she gave herself a bit of a shake and uttered the words that would change everything. “Because I knew you wanted it.”

His mouth fell open before he quickly closed it. Eyes narrowing, he leaned forward, “And why was that important?”

She shrugged, trying to portray an air of nonchalance. “I needed something you wanted. Unfortunately, you seemed prepared to pay an exorbitant sum for the painting. I suspect you would have kept bidding regardless of the price. Why did you want the painting so badly?”

“It is beautiful, is it not? The way Wilson captured the sunrise.”

“I suppose, but it cannot compete with a real sunrise.”

“Can it not? Whoever owns the painting can view a spectacular sunrise every minute of the day. I can see it at night long after the real sunrise has died.”

How odd. “If one sees something on a continuous basis one often ends up taking it for granted. I love the idea that I have to take the time to admire the sunrise before it is gone.”

“Perhaps I’m greedy. I want to surround myself with beauty every minute of the day. Pulchritudo latet in omnibus.”

She had never learned Latin. “What does that mean?”

“Beauty lies in all things.”

She wanted to argue but understood it would be pointless. She suspected a young chimney sweep did not view the soot clinging to his clothes, hair, and skin as beauty. “Still, your pursuit of the painting means I have nothing I can use. I have nothing you want.”

He flopped back in his chair, the rakish smile back on his face. He gave a deep chuckle. “My lady, you most definitely have something I want.” His eyes indecently traveled over her as she sat in her chair pretending his presence did not fire up her body in ways she’d hoped would never be fired up again.

BUY LINKS or see below

Destined to go blind, a rake sets his sights on the toast of society, lighting a fire of passion that scorches the night, in this captivating novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans.

Stephen Hornsby, the Marquess of Clevedon, has one goal: to see every exquisite thing he can before he goes blind. His greatest joy, watching a woman shuddering in the throes of passion, will be gone. But before the darkness descends, he is determined to seduce a magnificent widow, Lady Penelope Fisherton. Unfortunately, his rakish reputation has preceded him; Lady Penelope spurns his advances. Being a man who relishes a challenge, however, her reluctance adds only luster to his desire for the last beautiful sight he’ll ever see.

Considered the belle of London society, Lady Penelope was married to a scoundrel who cared for no one but himself. Now that she’s free, she wants nothing to do with love, passion, or desire—emotions that abandoned her with a cruel husband. So why does her body react when Stephen smiles? As much as she’d like to avoid the rogue, her brother-in-law wants her fortune, and he’ll kill to get it. Stephen is willing to help, but he’ll take only one thing in return: Her. In his bed.

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Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you.

I’ve teamed up with 50+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Regency & Victorian romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!

Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering

You can win my novel A LOVE TO REMEMBER, plus books from authors like DARCY BURKE and ANNA HARRINGTON

Enter the giveaway by clicking here:

A LOVE TO REMEMBER

A fiercely independent duchess and a brooding, reclusive earl are tested by the demands of desire in this unforgettable romance from the USA Today bestselling author of A Kiss of Lies and A Night of Forever.

For Rose Deverill, one husband was enough. As the wealthy widow of the Duke of Roxborough, she has cultivated an unsavory reputation meant to discourage wife hunters. Thanks to a string of steamy affairs, Rose is perfectly content to be known by polite society as the “Wicked Widow”—until she’s reunited with the man she fell in love with at age fifteen. Their bedroom encounters are scorching, but it breaks Rose’s heart to wonder whether her reckless behavior ruined her for Philip Flagstaff.

The second son of the Earl of Cumberland, Philip never wanted the title. But after Philip’s older brother, Robert, follows him into the Battle of Waterloo, his worst fears come to pass. Now Robert lies in a soldier’s grave, and Philip is determined never to pass on the inheritance to children of his own. Then Rose appears, soothing the pain with her delightful curves and passionate kisses. The notorious Duchess seems to want nothing from him—and yet Philip has never ached to give a woman more.

PLUS – don’t forget the Christmas in Kilts giveaway contest.

Good luck, and enjoy!

 

 

Why is it we are so interested in where we came from? Is it just curiosity, or is it a driving need to see if there are skeletons in our closet?

I must admit I was interested. I even sent away for my genealogy results. I don’t know why, as there were no surprises at all…Both my mother and father’s family’s came to NZ from Great Britain

British & Irish 76.1%

French & German 7.8%

Scandinavian 0.5%

Broadly Northwestern European 13.7%

Southern European 2.7% (with <0.1% Japanese)

What I’d be more interested in, is why my ancestors left England all those years ago, and how my family ended up in New Zealand. Why pick NZ? 

On my father’s side, I’m about sixth generation New Zealander. My father’s family came from Wales in the mid 1800’s one of the first settlers. What must their lives have been like to make them risk a dangerous and arduous trip on a ship to a country they knew nothing about? Mid 1800’s they were still carving out farms from the bush and the Maori wars were still ongoing.

My mother’s side is much newer to NZ. Both of her parents arrived in NZ as 5 year-olds around 1910. Their parents probably had a much better idea of what was awaiting them here in NZ. My grandfather was from England and my grandmother was from Scotland. 

I wish I knew the history of why they immigrated. But finding that information has not been easy. My sister, Lisa, is tracing the family tree. From seeing what was going on in their lives around the time they left the United Kingdom we might be able to surmise why. I guess I’ll just have to be patient.

I envy this generation. We will be able to keep online records, including photo’s, video etc of our lives for future generations to view.  

If you were making a video for the future, what messages would you give and what would you want to show about today’s world?