Genre: Regency, Historical Romance
Heat Level: Mild
Publisher: Carina Press
Publishing Date: June 24th 2013
Series, #: The Forsters, Book 2
Carina Press - http://bit.ly/18nEAjr
Amazon.com - http://amzn.to/18f6YFi
Book two of The Forsters.
Flick--more properly known as Lady Felicity Forster--was twelve when she decided she was going to marry her handsome neighbor Darius Grantley. Now, embarking on her second season, she's no nearer to that lofty ambition. She commits to making Darius fall in love with her, if only he'd take a break from pleading the case of the common criminal as a barrister at the Old Bailey.
Darius adores the lovely, high-spirited younger sister of the Marquess of Denby, but he's all too aware that Flick is far above him in social status, not to mention fortune. Winning the high-profile Cuthbert case will earn him a promised appointment to King's Counsel and just enough income to provide a home for his well-born lady.
But the cards are stacked against him. Not only do the newspapers trumpet his clients' guilt, but a powerful peer bribes the witnesses and threatens Flick unless Darius sabotages his own case...
Thanks for inviting me here to chat about Beguiling the Barrister, the second in my series charting the fortunes of the Forster siblings.
England 1814. Flick- more properly known as Lady Felicity Forster - was twelve when she decided she was going to marry her handsome neighbour, Darius Grantley. Now, embarking on her second season, she's no nearer to achieving that ambition. Drastic action is called for if she's to make Darius fall in love with her.
Darius adores the lovely, high-spirited sister of the Marquess of Denby, but he's aware that Flick is far above him socially and he can't afford to keep her in the style to which she's accustomed. Winning the high-profile Cuthbert case being heard at the Old Bailey will earn him a promised appointment to King's Counsel and just enough income to prove a home for his well-born lady.
But the cards are stacked against Darius. Not only do the newspapers trumpet his clients' guilt, but a powerful peer bribes the witnesses and threatens Flick unless Darius sabotages his own case...
When Flick visits Darius at his chambers, he knows the time has come to put an end to his obsession with her. This is what happens:-
Darius looked into the eyes of the woman he’d loved for years, determined to put an end to his obsession with her once and for all. He couldn’t have her, had always known that in his heart, and it was time to drive her away with some cold, hard facts of life. He would survive and get on with his life. The poets would have it that it was possible to die from a broken heart, but Darius didn’t know of anyone who’d actually suffered that fate. He would be miserable for a while but was fairly sure he wouldn’t become the first man to support the poets’ cause.
“There is no one I would rather have in my life than you, Flick. Surely you realize that much by now?”
She gasped. “Actually, I had no idea!”
“But it’s hopeless.”
She opened her eyes very wide, clearly not understanding what ought to be obvious to an eight-year-old. “You would live in this hovel with me when I’m in town?”
She smiled radiantly. “As shacks go, it’s very cosy.”
He shot her a bemused look. “Excuse me?”
“Oh, it’s just something Beth and I were talking about earlier.”
Tension radiated through Darius. Flick still hadn’t caught on and so he needed to be cruel to be kind. Cruel to himself as well as to her.
“You might think you prefer me to all the swells who seek your attention, simply because you’re at liberty to bestow your affections wherever you wish. But I assure you the reality wouldn’t live up to your expectations, and your regard for me wouldn’t stand the test of time.”
“Darius, you can’t possibly know what—”
“Yes, I can.” He settled a resigned expression on her face. “This is how I live, Flick.” He curled his upper lip. “This is how it must be for me if I’m to follow my conscience.”
“Darius, you’re being ridiculous!” An ecstatic smile illuminated her beautiful face. She had never looked lovelier, which only served to emphasise the disappointment that drained his soul, ripping through him like a sabre. All the time he’d avoided this conversation there had been a glimmer of hope. He’d fooled himself with increasingly ridiculous possibilities, but that was all they were. Ridiculous. And it couldn’t go on. He had to kill that hope now and bring an end to their suffering. “My dowry is more than enough for us to—”
“Out of the question!” Realizing he was shouting, he moderated his tone. “I will not live off a woman’s wealth.”
She frowned. “Why not? Men marry for financial expediency all the time without even feeling any affection for their partners.” She tilted her head and regarded him from beneath a fringe of thick lashes, still looking disconcertingly confident in her ability to talk him round. “Do you feel nothing for me, Darius? Have I imagined it all? I really don’t think I have, but if you can convince me otherwise, this conversation will be at an end and we’ll never refer to it again.”
How hard could it be to be untruthful? It would be better for her—for them both—if he put an end to the indefinable something that had existed between them for as long as he could remember. It would also help if they weren’t having this conversation on the threshold of his bedroom. He should have thought of that before he brought her up here but, as always when in Flick’s company, the rational, methodical part of his brain appeared to be asleep.
“What is it, Darius?” she asked when he couldn’t seem to get the words past the blockage in his throat. “Was there something you wished to say to me?”
Hell, why did she have to look at him with her heart reflected in her eyes? It was too much. He had spent days, months, years even, fighting the attraction he felt towards her. He was an expert at hiding his true feelings, but now, when he needed it the most, the ability to continue doing so abruptly deserted him.
With a strangled oath he pulled her into his arms. She came willing and her own arms slipped round his neck, her fingers burying themselves in his hair like she’d done it a thousand times before. At last the soft curves he’d spent so many sleepless nights imagining collided with the solid planes of his own body. She fit there perfectly, but then he’d always imagined she would.
His arms closed about her in a tight, protective embrace and he knew then that nothing on this earth would prevent him from kissing her. He would taste her sweet lips just once and then cast her from him forever. The brim of her bonnet got in the way, as though reminding him that this was total lunacy. Before he could use it as an excuse to come to his senses, she untied the ribbons and threw it carelessly aside.
Darius gave up the unequal struggle to be sensible. He’d been sensible his whole damned life and it had got him precisely nowhere. Flick was standing on her toes, smiling radiantly at him with her mouth, her eyes, her entire expression. Darius groaned, tightened his hold on her, dropped his head and claimed her lips in a deep, drugging kiss. His hands roamed the contours of her back as he forced her lips apart with the tip of his tongue. She leaned into him and a soft sigh somehow slipped past the lips he was busy kissing. Victory surged through him when she surrendered with such sweet innocence that it was obvious she’d never been kissed before. And nor would she be again.
At least not by him.
Thanks again for having me here.
One lucky, randomly drawn commenter will receive their choice of either Compromising the Marquess or Beguiling the Barrister. Digital and be sure to leave your email addy also please!
A little about the Author
Wendy Soliman was brought up on the Isle of Wight in Southern England but now divides her time between Andorra and West Florida. She lives with her husband Andre and a rescued dog of indeterminate pedigree named Jake Bentley.
The Isle of Wight is full of historic buildings, which is where she acquired her love of history, absorbing it like osmosis. She is the author of nine single-title Regency romances and is excited about her up-coming series charting the fortunes of the Forster dynasty.
When not writing she enjoys reading other people’s books, walking miles with her dog whilst plotting her next scene, and is on a one-woman mission to save the wine industry from the economic slump. Well, someone’s got to do it!
Connect with the Author
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog: Confessions of a writer http://wendysoliman.blogspot.com/