Earl of SunderlandPublished by Draft2Digital
by Aubrey Wynne
Publication Date January 30, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: England Regency Era – UK – 1795 – 1837
Written for: Adults
Christopher Roker, the Earl of Sunderland, has been surrounded by title-hunting chits all of his life. It is a point of pride to be the oldest member of the Wicked Earls’ Club. But if he has to beget an heir, perhaps he could find a simple country chit to keep tucked away…
Grace Beaumont has seen what love can do to a woman. Her mother died, producing a coveted son late in life. A devastated father and newborn brother forces Grace to take on the role of Lady Beaumont and all of its responsibilities. But Grace finds she enjoys the freedom and power of her new status—minus the husband.
Kit travels to northern England with a friend, who has inherited some property. When the neighboring beauty arrives with her tales of murder and hauntings, he’s intrigued. As they search the castle for its secrets, the earl realizes Grace is much more captivating than the legend.
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Preview of Earl of Sunderland
“Aye, it’s a fine wedding. It gives me ideas for other weddings yet to come.” Her father nudged her gently with his elbow, his mouth set in a firm line. “It’s time we started thinking about your future. I’ve been deficient in my duties. Your mother would be mortified to know I’ve kept you hidden in the country, and you almost twenty.”
“I have not been hidden. It was my choice to skip the Season.” Grace had become adept at sidestepping this issue.
“Two seasons, Gracie.”
“My home is far more important than socializing with those shallow, silly girls.” The thought of standing against a wall, hoping a man would fill her card and not step on her feet during a cotillion, seemed more like a punishment. Making inane conversation while remembering dance steps, and drinking punch fetched by a bored or overeager suitor, was also not a rite of passage that appealed to her. “I’m quite content with my station, Papa. There’s no reason to upset our lives over marriage or romance.”
Lord Boldon rolled his light brown eyes. “We’ll see, daughter. There may come a time you’ll eat those fine words.” Then he smiled over her head at someone. “Isn’t it a grand day for a wedding? Is that music I hear?”
“Indeed, Lord Boldon. I’ve come to ask Lady Grace for the honor of a dance.” A deep baritone sent a warm flush through her belly. “With your permission?”
Her father stood, grasped her hand, and pulled Grace to her feet as she opened her mouth to decline. “My daughter would love to dance.”
She looked at her fingers now placed in the man’s palm. The heat in her belly began to pirouette and leap toward her throat. When her eyes moved to his face, the dark gaze pinned her to the spot. The air pushed from her lungs, and she found herself unable to speak. A chuckle from her father spurred her to action. With a slight curtsey, she acknowledged her partner, and they joined the others already gathering to the first notes of a country dance.
Grace focused on the gold epaulettes adorning his broad shoulders, as she placed a gloved hand on his wrist. The material did little to diminish the intensity of his touch as they followed the other couples in a circle.
“I understand you are a cousin to the bride. Are you pleased with the match?” His tone was conversational, but she sensed there was purpose to his question. The group of four came together and separated.
“They make a lovely couple and both families are pleased. Does our opinion matter, my lord?” She risked a peek at her very masculine dance partner as he moved around her. On close inspection, she realized the brothers were not identical as they first appeared. True, their features were the same but their countenances were utterly different. No light-hearted, fanciful expression would ever grace this man’s face. She doubted such a proud military officer would overindulge in anything, let alone lose his temper. Control emanated from him.
“No, I suppose not. Forgive my lame attempt at conversation with the second loveliest woman here.”
It took a moment for his words to reach her brain as they turned and joined a new set of dancers. They separated again, and when she returned to him, he smiled. Her breath quickened as he spun her around. “You tease me, sir. It is not gallant of you.”
“I do not tease, Lady Grace. It is not in my nature.”
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