Mellie Smithson is trapped in the country with no suitors and no prospects on the horizon except, perhaps, the exasperating—although admittedly handsome—guest of her father. She’s looking for any excuse to go to London to meet more eligible men.
Trevor has a problem
Trevor Anaedsley’s grandfather has cut off his funds until such time as he gets engaged. Trevor escapes to the country—ostensibly to visit his old tutor Mr. Smithson but actually to duck his creditors—where he meets Smithson’s lovely daughter Mellie. The obvious solution is suddenly before him—but the lady has ideas of her own, and Trevor’s going to have to measure up…
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“Hit him!” screamed the crowd. “Show ‘im what for!”
The sentiment was echoed all around until Mellie actively hated them all. Not just the crowd, but the two combatants. Trevor and Ronnie, fighting like boys in the school yard. Bloody and violent, to be sure, especially since they were grown men. But no one was likely to die. Which is when Trevor stepped in a hole.
He cried out in surprise and pain. Thank God he was wearing boots, otherwise his leg might have snapped in two. As it was, he tumbled down into the mud and Ronnie clearly meant to finish the fight. But he hadn’t reckoned on Melinda. She’d been an unwilling participant in this whole disgusting display. Well, if her cousin wanted a Cheltenham tragedy, she would bloody well give him one.
She surged forward. “Stop it! Ronnie, stop it now!” And when he didn’t hear her, she said the words she’d never thought she’d utter in her entire life. “My love!”
That got his attention. “Mellie!”
She flung herself forward, sliding in the mud to stop right beside Trevor’s head. Ronnie reached for her, but she pushed him away as she wrapped herself around the fallen lord. “My love, are you alive? Oh God, someone fetch a doctor!”
Trevor’s face was a battered mess, but not so unrecognizable that she didn’t see the gleam of appreciation in his eyes or the mischievous smile that pulled at his swollen lip.
“Are you an angel?” he asked. “Have I died?”
The man was lying in the mud, his ankle nearly snapped in half. His face oozed from a myriad of cuts, and yet he still had the wherewithall to give the crowd a good show. It was enough to make her contemplate dropping him in the mud.
Meanwhile, Ronnie just stood there poised, his fist still raised as he gaped. “I won. This was an affaire d’honor.”
“Congratulations,” she mocked. “You beat a man half your weight.”
“I’m not that small,” muttered Trevor.
“Shut up. I’m making a point.” Then she turned her attention to her cousin. “You were right, Ronnie. You have made everything clear. I could never love a brute like you. I love Trevor.”
Since never. She had a thorough disgust of them both. Especially as Trevor began to speak in a quavering voice.
“Oh, to finally hear those words, now in the moments before I expire. Kiss me, my love. Mayhap your love will keep me tethered to this mortal coil.”
“I will not,” she said between clenched teeth.
He pitched his voice to a plaintive wail. “Then I shall die for sure!”
Damnation on all bloody, arrogant, ridiculous men! One glance about her showed that the crowd was hanging on his every word. She didn’t really care until she looked at Ronnie’s face. He wasn’t stupid. He could see that Trevor wasn’t really hurt. It wouldn’t take him long to remember that she’d never spoken of Trevor with anything but disdain. And from there it was a small step to realizing that this entire display was a sham. So she had to do something quickly. Something that he’d never forget, even if he did suspect the lie.
She kissed Trevor.
She more than kissed him. She lifted him in her arms and gave him the kind of scorching kiss that every woman dreamed she’d receive from the grandson of a duke. And he-horrible roué that he was-wrapped his arm around her shoulders and kissed her right back.
And he kept kissing her, with tongue and teeth and a growl of hunger so wonderful that she hated him even more. Even as she lost all thought to propriety in this very public place.
>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<
AUTHOR BIO: A USA Today Bestseller, JADE LEE has been scripting love stories since she first picked up a set of paper dolls. Ball gowns and rakish lords caught her attention early (thank you Georgette Heyer), and her fascination with the Regency began. And as a Taurus, she lives to pit a headstrong woman against a tortured hero just to watch them butt heads on the way to true love. Flesh wounds are rare, but the healing and laughter are real.
Now an author of more than 30 romance novels, she finally gets to set these couples in the best girl-heaven of all: a Bridal Salon! This way she gets to live out all her wedding fantasies, one by one. (Let’s be honest, what girl has only one idea for her dream wedding?) For more on the Bridal Favors series, visit Jade’s social media links. And don’t forget Jade’s other name, KATHY LYONS. That’s Jade’s lighter, contemporary side. She writes for Harlequin Blaze merging hawt sex and funny relationships into really great reads.