I've decided to re-release the book with a new cover in hopes of sharing this book with new readers.
If you haven't read it yet, I hope you'll give it a try. It's also available to read for free in Kindle Unlimited.
Blurb: When Miss Sarah McLean causes a scandal in Boston, her father takes her to London in search of a husband.
At her first party, Sarah insults Lord Amherst who takes her over his knee to spank some manners into her. When this spanking comes to light, Sarah's father offers him a choice: Marry Sarah or send her back to America where she has no prospects for a husband.
Intrigued by the spirited Yankee Girl, Lord Amherst proposes.
Despite the circumstances of their marriage, Sarah and Jeffrey form a bond and appear headed for a bright future.
That is, until Sarah pretends to be someone she's not.
In this excerpt we see how Sarah became engaged. Enjoy!
“Ah, Miss McLean, the music is starting. It is time for the dance you promised me.” Lord Amherst whisked me away before she could utter a syllable. We stood up together with the dancers.
“I did not promise you a dance,” I whispered through a forced smile.
“Based upon the expression in your eyes when your governess—”
“She is not my governess.” Honestly, could he be more infuriating?
“Given the childish way you sometimes behave, you can understand my confusion.”
“You are not confused. You simply hope to rankle me, something you have an uncanny ability to do.”
“And do you know why that is?” he asked before the dance parted us briefly.
“Because you are despicable,” I responded the next time he came within earshot.
“No." He grinned. “It is because you fancy me.”
I stopped in my tracks to glare up at him. The dance was forgotten while raw emotion coursed through my veins. “You! I fancy you?” I threw my head back and laughed. “Do you honestly believe I could ever fancy a man such as you, after you turned me over your knee and spanked me?”
Lord Amherst stared, his jaw hanging slack. An eerie silence fell over the dancers and even the musicians quieted. Horrified, my focus darted from shocked face to shocked face until my gaze met the stony glare of Mrs. White.
Father insisted no decisions be made in haste, so when Mrs. White reported my behavior to him—and though she was supposedly responsible for my comportment, she blamed the entire matter on me—he sent me to bed with instructions to get a good night’s sleep, with a promise we would discuss the situation in the morning.
How could he expect me to rest? My mind whirled. Another scandal. I had shamed my father and myself not to mention suffering the self-satisfied smirk on Mrs. White’s face.
I had no idea why she appeared so happy. If we returned to America, she would be out of a job. However, since she lingered in the library with Father after my departure, perhaps she had designs on accompanying us to America as my new stepmother.
A shudder tripped through my body while a bit of bile rose in my throat. I would do anything to get away from her, including give myself to Lord Amherst.
Yes, upon consideration of the options, binding myself to the vexatious Lord Jeffrey Amherst was far preferable to living in a household with that woman as my stepmother.
Of course, there was no reason to think my father would be so foolish.
The variety of thoughts crashing through my brain made sleep elusive.
Summoned to the library the next morning, I expected a stern lecture followed by orders to pack for a departure to America. Instead, Lord Amherst stood next to my father.
My breath caught in my throat, and I took a step back. I scanned the visitor's face for a hint as to his intentions. Of course, he must have been angry with me for embarrassing him, though my statement contained nothing but the truth. Regardless, it was scandalous for me to shout about it in the middle of a dance. My face heated with mortification.
Father indicated an upholstered chair next to the one where our imposing guest had settled himself, while he sat on the other side of the desk and studied the two of us.
“Sarah.” He rubbed his forehead. “I have spoken with Lord Amherst, who indicates what you said last night, though highly shocking, was actually true.”
I regarded the man next to me with surprise. Why did he not deny the whole thing? Call me a crazy Yankee? It was not as though there were any witnesses. Plus, the word of a man of his lineage and reputation would carry much more weight than that of an upstart American girl like me.
He spoke again. “Based upon his admission, I could demand satisfaction and force a marriage between the two of you.”
The maids—undoubtedly listening outside the closed door—could have heard my sudden inhalation of breath.
“Marriage? To him?” I turned and stared at Lord Amherst, who met my gaze seeming completely nonplussed.
“Is the thought of it so abhorrent to you?” he said, calm as you please.
“I-I had not considered it,” I lied.
“The other option,” Father interjected, “would be for us to return to America and allow his lordship to tell whatever version of events he cares to. I would not ordinarily offer a choice, but seeing that you both contributed to this mess, it seems the fair thing to do.”
I slumped in my seat. Allow this man, or anyone, to tell tales about me? No! Despite my lack of decorum, I still possessed some pride.
An opportunity for freedom from England, this exasperating man, as well as all the other pomp and circumstance presented itself. Why did I not take it?
“Of course, that would be Lord Amherst’s preference.” I stared at the floor, expecting his agreement.
“Not necessarily.” The gentleman turned to address my father. “Sir, would you mind allowing Miss McLean and me a moment to speak privately?”
My father sat up straighter in his seat. “That would be highly improper.”
“I believe we are past the point of what is proper or not, sir.”
To my knowledge, no one, man or woman, had ever stood up to my father, particularly in such a firm but polite manner. A tiny bit of admiration formed in my heart.
Without responding, Father rose and vacated the room, though he did not close the door completely when he left.
Bewildered, I scrutinized Lord Amherst. Did he plan to spank me again for getting him into such a bind? Instead, he turned in his seat, gazing at me full in the face.
“What will happen to you if you go back to America?” His warm voice floated over me and I almost wanted to crawl into his lap.
I considered lying, but the situation required honesty. I took a deep breath and confessed. “Father says he wishes to have a daughter married to an English lord. While it is his desire, the whole truth is I have rebuffed or offended all of the eligible suitors in America.” There. I said it. I grasped the arms of the chair, preparing myself for his ridicule.
Instead, he laughed heartily. “All of them? Surely you exaggerate.”
“Father took me to Boston so my aunt could introduce me to eligible gentlemen. That went fairly well until….” I braced for my admission. “One young man attempted to steal a kiss. I had no idea of his intention, so when he startled me, my reaction was instinctive.”
I peeped up at Lord Amherst, who wore a singularly delighted expression on his face. “Go on.”
“I blackened his eye. Shortly afterward, we left for England. So now you know.”
His look of enchantment persisted.
“It must please you to know I have shamed myself in two countries.” I tilted my chin in defiance.
“As a matter of fact it does, but not for the reason you might think.” He grinned at me. “It means I am your last, best hope for marriage, is that not correct?”
“Why should such a thing make you glad? Surely you have many prospects for a wife.” My voice barely above a whisper, I curled into myself, trying to disappear. “Better prospects than me.”
“Would not a wife who is grateful to be saved from a life of spinsterhood be a good choice? She would always be thankful to have a husband such as me.”
“What?” My malaise disappeared. “If you expect me to spend the rest of my life kowtowing after you in gratitude for the grand honor of being your wife, you are sorely mistaken.” I stood, intending to go to the door to call my father back into the room, but before I could get past Lord Amherst, he took hold of my hand and drew me down to sit on his lap.
“Your spunk is precisely the reason you will be an ideal wife for me. I am well past prime marriage age, but I have refused to bind myself to a woman who simpers after me in a ‘yes, my lord’ sort of way.”
I did not fully comprehend his meaning because the flecks of gold in his dark eyes mesmerized me—burnished speckles which were only apparent when one was in close proximity, such as sitting on the gentleman’s lap.
The next thing I knew, his mouth settled over mine in a gentle kiss that made my toes wiggle.
When the kiss ended, he whispered against my lips, “Stay here, Sarah. Be my wife.”
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