On the Road with SCP- Lady Beachamp’s Proposal- Amy Rose Bennett

 

 

 
Blurb
A runaway countess finds love when she least
expects it…but she can’t hide from her past forever.
Elizabeth,
Lady Beauchamp, fears for her life. When she discovers her dissolute and long-estranged
husband has syphilis—and he wants to beget an heir no matter the cost—she flees
to a remote part of Scotland to begin a new life as the widowed governess, Mrs.
Beth Eliott at Eilean Tor Castle.
When
Mrs. Eliott unexpectedly arrives on his doorstep, the reclusive and recently
widowed Marquess of Rothsburgh is both irritated and intrigued. No longer in
need of a governess—his young daughter now resides with his sister’s family in
Edinburgh—he proposes the beautiful widow fill a position of a different kind…
Torn
between staying true to her marriage vows and her wanton attraction to the
devilishly handsome marquess, Elizabeth struggles against the temptation to
become his mistress. But living a lie is not easy when you have fallen in love.
And secrets always have a way of coming out…
Excerpt #1
Prologue
Harcourt House, London, September 1815
Elizabeth sat before her cherrywood dressing table, determinedly brushing her hair with slow methodical strokes, trying in vain to relax. The simple routine always used to be soothing, a balm to her taut nerves.
But not anymore.
Especially not tonight.
The grandfather clock in the hall outside suddenly heralded the hour. Midnight.
With a shaky sigh, she placed the brush upon the silver tray and glanced at her candle-lit reflection. A grave young woman stared back at her; shadows as dark as bruises marred the usually pale skin beneath her grey eyes. She was so
tired. And so anxious, she felt as brittle as a dried-out birch twig that was going to snap at any moment.
But she couldn’t break now. All going well, in six hours she would be gone from here in a hired cab that was scheduled to arrive in the mews behind the servants’ entrance where her travelling trunk had been carefully stowed.
Despite her fatigue, she doubted that she would be able to sleep at all between now and then.
There was too much at stake.
The unexpected sound of her bedroom door opening made her start. In the dark shadows behind her, the reflection of her husband’s tall, lean frame appeared. He paused on the threshold and by the way he leaned against the door frame it
was obvious that he was drunk—not an unusual circumstance for this time of night. Elizabeth knew that he’d probably spent the best part of the evening at his club or some gaming hell. But what was unusual, what caused her heart to hammer against her breast, was the fact that he had come to her room at all.
Hugh hadn’t entered her bedchamber for more than a year.
She tried to read his expression, judge his mood. Desperately tried to fathom what could have prompted this unexpected nocturnal visitation. But Hugh’s blue eyes, indeed the sculpted planes of his entire face, were hidden in shadow.
“Elizabeth.”
Pushing away from the door, he prowled toward her bed, then sank onto the pale blue silk counterpane with a heavy sigh. The lingering odor of port and stale cigar smoke assailed her, but she forced herself to remain still, as she watched—and waited, her stomach cramping with fear. It made no sense at all that he had come to her, instead of seeking out the more titillating company of his latest mistress or at the very least a prostitute—his usual custom at this late hour.
Unless…Does he know what I have planned?
Despite her rising panic, Elizabeth was suddenly struck by the realization that her husband was uncharacteristically maudlin. Turning to face him, she was acutely conscious of the fact that she only wore a thin, white cotton nightrail.
Although it buttoned all the way to her throat and had long sleeves, she felt vulnerable. Exposed. It bothered her that her feet were bare.
But she couldn’t afford to show any weakness.
“Are you all right, my lord?” she asked carefully, forcing the words past her tight, dry throat. It seemed safer than asking—what do you want?—or—are you here to stop me leaving you? She hoped to God he hadn’t uncovered her secret. She must tread carefully. Her life depended upon it.
Excerpt #2
At last, she heard the unmistakable sound of bolts being pulled back, and then the door was thrown wide. A bright lantern was thrust toward her face, blinding her. She raised a hand to her eyes in a futile attempt to shield them and squinted upwards. An extremely tall man was holding the lantern aloft; she could discern little else about him as the intense light in her eyes obscured her vision.
“What do you want, woman?” The man’s voice was a low growl.
Elizabeth drew a deep breath and summoned her most imperious voice. She had come so far and she would not be cowed by an obnoxious servant. “I seek an audience with Lord Rothsburgh. Is your master at home?”
“What the deuce for?”
She immediately bristled at the insolence in the man’s tone. “I’d have a care to mind your tongue, sir. And lower that lantern. You’re hurting my eyes.”
The light was immediately lowered, and Elizabeth was able to see a little more of the man who seemed to be filling up the whole doorway. He must have been at least six foot four, with black hair that fell across one eye. She also noted that he was informally dressed in a loose, white cambric shirt that was open at the neck, black breeches and boots. The marquess obviously had low standards when it came to fitting out his staff in proper livery.
“Well, aren’t you going to invite me in?” she demanded.
The man—she assumed he was some sort of sloppy butler or footman—let out a snort of laughter. “What on earth for?”
She scowled and drew herself up, raising her chin. She would not be laughed at by the hired help. “I understand there is a vacancy for a governess. I’ve come to offer my services to Lord Rothsburgh.”
“Have you indeed?” There was still an annoying undercurrent of laughter in the man’s voice. Nevertheless, he stepped aside and made a grand sweeping gesture with his free hand. “Then by all means, come in.”
Elizabeth picked up her skirts and started to step forward when the toe of her boot caught on an unevenly laid flagstone on the threshold. With an unlady-like squeal she pitched forward toward the floor—until she was deftly caught about
the waist by the vulgar butler. With a gasp of half-shock, half-embarrassment she found her midriff was bent across his muscular forearm, whilst her side was crushed roughly against his wide chest. One of her hands had involuntarily
fisted into the linen sleeve of his shirt where underneath she could detect the bulk of a sizeable, iron-hard bicep.
The scent of the man flooded her senses; warm male, whisky and the tantalizing scent of exotically rich soap; it reminded her of sandalwood, leather and a spicy note she couldn’t quite place—perhaps it was cloves. She took all of this
in within the instant that she was suspended above the floor before the man righted her. She took a step away, her cheeks flaming. “I’m so sorry, sir. How clumsy of me. And I’ve made you all wet…Mr.…”
The man’s arm lingered across her waist. Perhaps he thought she would fall again.
She noticed he had dark eyes; his gaze travelled over her face, studying her.
She must look a sight.
“James,” he said, his eyes holding hers. In the dim light she couldn’t work out if they
were dark brown or black.
Author
Bio
Amy Rose Bennett has always
wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a
particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories
in her favorite genre.  She has a passion
for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in the
Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish
heroes always find their happily ever after.
As an unpublished author,
Amy has been a finalist in contests in both Romance Writers of Australia and
Romance Writers of America.  In 2013 and
2014, she achieved second place in the top three of Romance Writers of
Australia’s Emerald Award, and her debut Regency romance novel—‘Lady
Beauchamp’s Proposal’—was the winning entry in the historical section of two
Romance Writers of America Chapter Contests in 2013—the Chicago North Fire and
Ice Contest and the San Francisco Heart to Heart Contest.
Amy is happily married to
her own Alpha male hero, has two beautiful daughters, a rather loopy Rhodesian
Ridgeback and a Devonshire Rex cat with attitude. She is a Speech Pathologist,
but is currently devoting her time to her one other true calling—writing
romance.
You can find Amy on her
website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.
Buy
links:
Amazon US store:
Amazon UK
Store: 

 

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