- N. N. Light
Romancing Miss Quill by Sandra Sookoo is a KU Event pick #historicalromance #regency #ku #giveaway
Title: Romancing Miss Quill (Willful Winterbournes #1)
Author: Sandra Sookoo
Genre: romance, Regency romance, historical romance,
Lightning doesn’t strike twice… Arthur Charles Winterbourne, Earl of Ettesmere, at the age of forty-four is done indulging in fanciful matters such as love and romance. When his wife died, he was brokenhearted. During the midsummer season, he and his siblings join their mother at the Berkshire countryside for revelry and entertainment, but all his wants is to shut himself away and leave living to the ones who believe in happiness after loss.
Romance doesn’t hold a candle to science… Miss Juliana Quill has no time for courtship or attracting a man, which is why she’s on the shelf at seven and thirty. A self-taught astronomer, she looks after her aging father and wants nothing more than to chart the stars and perhaps discover a new heavenly body. That gives her more satisfaction than marriage or rearing children ever could. No sense in wishing for more, especially since she missed her chance.
Love appears when it’s least convenient… When a handful of mysterious notes throw Arthur and Juliana together at every turn, a slow attraction blooms from friendship. Despite their stubborn refusals, desire flares and grows into a romance neither of them ever expected. While Arthur battles with guilt and memories, she’s nearly petrified by their difference, but these two willful, love-shy people will need to open their hearts and minds to grasp a happy ending they’d never dreamed they could have.
“There is so much one can see through this lens that wasn’t visible before.”
“Oh, yes. Eventually, because the Earth and the skies are ever-changing, the North Star moved close enough to the pole to be seen without a lens, even though still at a distance of several degrees. Numerous names referring to this characteristic as polar star have been in use since the medieval period. In Old English, it was known as scip-steorra or the ship star.”
“Ah, and it has been used for navigation ever since.” He trained his focus through the telescope upon the moon. A gasp escaped as he discerned shadows on the surface. “There is truly another world out there, one I had no idea existed, for I just assumed it… was.”
“Now you know why the heavens fascinate me so.” There was obvious affection in her voice. “The Bard wrote about the North Star, too. Shakespeare’s sonnet 116 is an example of the symbolism of the North Star as a guiding principle. He says, ‘love is the star to every wandering bark, whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.’”
Slowly, Arthur lowered the telescope in order to look at his companion. “You’re right. These things are said, and we hear them while watching plays at the opera, but I fear we don’t really understand the words.” He let that percolate in his mind before speaking again, and when he did, his words came out in a rush, so great was his excitement and intent to impress. “In fact, just a few months ago, I saw a play about Julius Caesar. There was a refusal to grant a pardon by to which the actor said, ‘I am as constant as the Northern Star. Of whose true-fixed and resting quality. There is no fellow in the firmament. The skies are painted with unnumbered sparks. They are all fire and every one doth shine, but there is but one in all doth hold his place…’”
“Very good observation.” The obvious pleasure in her tones sent warmth sailing through his blood. “The North Star has been so constant that it’s only natural it makes an appearance in every aspect of our lives.”
“Why do people wish upon it?” Though the summer air was warm, the brass remained cool in his gloved hands.
“Quite possibly because it gives them hope, something positive to look forward to.” When she smiled, his gaze dropped once more to her lips. “Everyone needs hope, Arthur. There is nothing wrong with wishing… as long as we are aware that change will only occur if we put forth the effort.”
Was there a hidden meaning in her words? It was impossible to tell. “Perhaps.” No, there was certainly not a courtship between them or even the potential of that, but he felt something for her, as insane as it sounded. There was a certain freedom in this, and no pressure to set up a nursery or do his duty toward his title. That had already been accomplished in his life. Did that mean he could enjoy her companionship without restriction or commitment?
It was interesting to think about.
“Since the North Star is ever so bright tonight, we should both send up a wish. After all, that anonymous note suggested the same.”
Damn. He’d forgotten about the note as well as who might have sent it. Yet, panic welled within his chest. It was all too obvious there time together was coming to an end. “I would enjoy that.” And to his surprise, he truly was.
“I’m glad to hear it.” Once more, her hand drifted to his sleeve. When her fingers lightly rested upon it, he froze, suddenly breathless. “On the count of three, think of a wish but don’t speak it aloud. It won’t come true if you share it.”
“Right,” he finally said around a tight throat. “One…”
“Three…” He tipped his gaze to the bright, shining star, closed his eyes, and let go a wish into the heavens.
Send me a sign that I should move forward with my life, that it might be time to climb out of the shadows of grief and usher in the light again.
The slight pressure of her fingers on his arm recalled him back to the present. When he opened his eyes and regarded her, she smiled. “Did you make a wish?”
“Yes. Did you?”
“I did.” The stars reflected in her eyes, and he wished it was full daylight so he could read the emotions therein. “Julianna?”
“Forgive the trespass.”
“What?” Her expression crumpled into confusion. “I don’t understand what—”
Arthur leaned into her personal space, stopped the flow of her words by briefly pressing his lips to hers in a fleeting kiss. Never since he’d lost Ellen had he felt the need to do so, and he hadn’t. So why now and with this woman he barely knew? Then sanity returned. Hot mortification poured into his chest and went up the back of his neck. Quickly, as if he were a green boy at university in danger of being found out, he edged away from her on the fallen tree. “I beg your pardon.” Guilt slammed into him on the heels of embarrassment, followed by self-recrimination.
I shouldn’t have done that.
Remarkably, Julianna giggled, and the genuine sound went straight through his chest. She touched a gloved finger to her lips. “There is no need for an apology, Arthur.” Her eyes sparkled overly bright as she rested her hands in her lap. “It was rather pleasant.” Then she trained her gaze on her lap, hiding her face from view. “Also, it was my first kiss,” she admitted in a barely audible voice that had him leaning her way once more.
“What?” He gawked as if he hadn’t been bred with manners. “But you’re—”
She looked up with a darkly ached eyebrow. “Advanced in age?”
“I’m sorry. That wasn’t well done of me.” Damn, he must appear an idiot to her. “I’m merely shocked, for the men here must be blind.” When the heat on the back of his neck intensified, he rushed to fill the silence as he shot to his feet. “This evening was lovely. Thank you for that.”
“I thought it was too.” She accepted the telescope from him as well as assistance in rising. “Uh… if you want to learn more about the stars, I’m usually at Otis Hill in the evenings. I could even show you the comet I’ve discovered.”
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Sandra Sookoo is a USA Today bestselling author who firmly believes every person deserves acceptance and a happy ending. She’s written for publication since 2008. Most days you can find her creating scandal and mischief in the Regency-era, serendipity and happenstance in the Victorian era, or historical romantic suspense complete with mystery and intrigue. Reading is a lot like eating chocolates—you can’t just have one book. Good thing they don’t have calories!
When she’s not wearing out computer keyboards, Sandra spends time with her real-life Prince Charming in Central Indiana where she’s been known to bake cookies and make moments count because the key to life is laughter. A Disney fan since the age of ten, when her soul gets bogged down and her imagination flags, a trip to Walt Disney World is in order. Nothing fuels her dreams more than the land of eternal happy endings, hope and love stories.
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