Thanks for stopping by from The Romance Reviews 4th Anniversary Party. Scroll down to read about A Debt Paid in Marriage, my March Harlequin Historical and to find the answer to my trivia question. Good luck!
"Lee takes readers on an uncomplicated, but sexy romp...as Laura takes drastic measures to save her business." - RT Book Reviews A Debt Paid in Marriage
Laura Townsend's plan to reclaim her family's merchandise backfires when she creeps into moneylender Philip Rathbone's house and threatens him with a pistol, only to find him reclining naked in his bath!
The last thing she expects is to see this guarded widower on her doorstep a couple of days later armed with a very surprising proposal. A marriage of convenience may be Laura's chance to reclaim her future, but she won't settle for anything less than true passion.
Can she hope to find it in Philip's arms?
Excerpt from A Debt Paid in Marriage
‘Miss Marston, please meet my intended, Miss Townsend,’ Mr Rathbone intervened, the stiff mask of business descending over Philip’s face and covering the faint hint of emotion Laura had caught. ‘Miss Marston is Thomas’s nurse.’
‘Oh, Miss Townsend, it’s a pleasure to meet you.’ Mrs Marston’s smile was more surprised than relieved. Laura suspected she’d encounter many similar reactions in the days to come. ‘Mr Rathbone, Thomas awoke crying and nothing I do will calm him. You always have such a way with him. I thought you might come to the nursery for a moment.’
‘Yes, I will.’ He started for the door, then paused. ‘Miss Townsend, come and meet the gentleman who is part of our arrangement.’
His command given, he didn’t wait for her. Mrs Marston wasn’t at all surprised by the abruptness and followed her employer out of the room.
Laura walked behind them, the cries of a very young child growing louder as they stepped into the hallway. Mr Rathbone and Mrs Marston made steady strides for the door at the far end, but Laura’s progress was slower. When she at last reached the room, the sight inside amazed her. Mr Rathbone stood with the small child in his arms, a little face pressed against his coat, the tears soaking into the wool. One chubby hand clutched his lapel, wrinkling the perfectly pressed crease.
‘What’s wrong, Thomas? Did you have a bad dream?’ Mr Rathbone’s steady voice filled the quiet as he shifted back and forth on the toes of his boots. ‘You have nothing to worry about. I’m here.’
His deep voice conjured up memories of her father holding her and wiping away her tears after a nightmare. It seemed like such a long time since she’d felt so safe and loved. His words curled around her insides, soothing her as they did the boy until she wanted to lay her head on Mr Rathbone’s shoulder and cry away all her frustrations and fears from the past year.
‘He has such a way with the boy,’ Mrs Marston murmured from beside her.
‘Yes, he does.’Whatever reasons she’d had for wanting to wait a month for the wedding disappeared. Too many things might happen in four weeks. He could change his mind and Laura didn’t want to go back to the stinking Seven Dials and the cold, lonely desperation which crept like the damp through those wretched rooms. Even if she never knew the same affection he showed his son, just being in the presence of such love eased the hopelessness and despair she’d suffered for far too long. She didn’t want to lose that.