Title: A Leap Into Love
Author: Alina K. Field
Genre: Regency Romance
Can a gentleman be too charming? The ladies of Upper Upton think so.
And it’s almost Leap Day, when a man who refuses a lady’s proposal of marriage must offer a forfeit.
When the single ladies of the village conspire to teach their charmer a lesson that might bankrupt him, the town’s loveliest young widow steps up to warn him.
His secrets and hers make them a perfect match—and she’s the lady he wants. But she won’t accept his proposal, not even to rescue him.
As Leap Day approaches, the clock is ticking. Can he convince her in time to say yes to his offer and take a leap into love?
They stepped out of the inn yard and onto the road. Arthur settled himself on his shoulder and snuffled his neck.
He should offer the lady his arm, but she’d put some distance between them, walking in the other wheel rut. “And so what is the verdict on the worsted?”
She bit her lip. “The worsted.” She sighed and squinted at Wills who was ranging far ahead. “We shall buy some of it. Depending upon your price, of course. Mrs. McClintock will be along tomorrow to examine it and talk to you. But in truth…” She stopped, bit down on her lip again and raised her eyes to him. “There is a plot, Mr. Grant. I feel honor-bound to tell you. You must…” Her gaze skittered along the bushes hedging the lane as if someone lurked there eavesdropping. “You must leave town on twenty-nine February. There is a plot.”
Twenty-nine February. “A plot.”
Twenty-nine February was Leap Day.
The fog lifted. He’d heard of the tradition but never seen it practiced: on Leap Day a lass could propose marriage to a lad. Miss Gurnwood wanted Mrs. Smith to propose to her brother. The stringy young vicar needed a wife. And what had that to do with a plot against himself?
“They mean to conspire, all the unmarried ladies in town. They mean to ask you to marry them.”
He swallowed a chuckle. He’d drawn ladies to his handsome self since he’d begun sprouting whiskers. It was good to know he still had the knack. “And why would they do that?”
Her chest rose with a quick breath. “Why? You’re a widower, they say, and in need of a mother for your children.”
“Is that all?”
She pressed her lips together. “A man who is…well-spoken, reasonably young, and well-established is rare in a village like this.”
“And braw and handsome.”
“Yes, and a…a…well, I must say it: a man friendly with all the ladies. They mean to take you to task. They mean to ask you to marry them, and when you say no, they mean to ask as a forfeit the silk and muslin cloth you purchased at auction today.”
Artie squirmed and looked to his mother, sensing her disquiet.
He patted the plump bottom, and the babe settled. “If I say no. And of course I’ll have to since I’m not some eastern potentate setting up a harem. It’s a diabolical plan. Not too far ahead, Wills,” he called.
“So you see, you must leave.”
“I’m not one to run from trouble, Mrs. Smith.”
Not any kind of trouble. As an officer of the 42nd Foot, he’d fought every skirmish he came across with nary a scratch. It had been an act of charity, taking food to a sick family in Lisbon, that had felled him with a dire case of the mumps and sent him home on half pay.
In the distance Will swung his lantern, well out of earshot.
And Wills was more proof that Alexander Grant didn’t run, not even if the problem was not his own.
He’d set his mind to what was right, so he might as well go ahead with it, and directly too. She’d not go away thinking he was anything but dead serious.
He touched her arm.
“Mrs. Smith, there is another way to thwart them.”
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USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California where she shares a midcentury home with her husband and her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier.
She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!
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