The Forgotten Heiress by @alannalucas27 is a Super Sale pick #regency #free #freebie #giveaway
The Forgotten Heiress
Historical Romance- Regency
Forced to Marry the Man She Danced with Only Once!
Miss Arabella Gledhill’s lonely upbringing has left her timid and ill-prepared to shine during her first season. But at four and twenty, her scheming aunt and uncle want her off their hands, pressing her to accept the first marriage proposal proffered.
It’s not the way Arabella dreamed it—what chance has she of finding a good, kind man who’ll offer her heart’s desire?
Liam, Lord Kenwreck, has grown weary of his life of licentiousness, although he’s in no rush to wear the parson’s noose, despite the efforts of his mother and sister to find him a suitable match. So how is that, by the end of the season’s first ball, he’s kissed Miss Gledhill in front of the ton and now they’re to wed?
This hasty union is not what Liam imagined, especially when he vowed never to bring dishonour on his family like his cruel blackguard of a father. But married he must be, to this beautiful bride Town gossips have branded the Forgotten Heiress. Who has no experience of the world, let alone a man of the world such as he…
The moment Liam entered the study, a shiver ran down his body. The cold and stoic room mirrored its owner’s personality. At least Lord Staveley knew how to handle his finances, unlike Dorville, who was always looking for a quick and easy solution. Liam had learned years ago that nothing was ever quick or easy.
After lighting several candles, Dorville went straight to a large, elegant cabinet and pulled open its glass doors before beginning to gather various bottles.
“Is your uncle making demands again?” Liam inquired as he stared at the portrait of Lord Staveley that hung over the fireplace. It was quite astonishing how similar Staveley and Dorville were in appearance. Both possessed a thin, straight nose, high cheekbones, wide forehead, dark foreboding eyes, and a thick neck. Apart from the age difference, one would think they were brothers.
Dorville replied over his shoulder while mixing some combination of liquor into a decanter. “Yes… my uncle.” There was a slight pause before he continued. “He is still set on seeing me married and has kindly extended the deadline to Michelmas.”
“Kind indeed.” At least he had no deadline looming over him. Liam was in no rush to marry, and besides, these things took time. He wanted to thoroughly get to know the woman he was to wed, for them to share similar interests, and for there to be attraction.
“We suffer the same fate, my friend. I have my uncle breathing down my neck, threatening to halt any aid, and you have—”
Quite possibly have found a woman different from all the rest. He looked forward to calling on his mystery lady in the near future and knowing her better.
Dorville strolled over to where Liam was standing. He raised one of the two glasses he carried and said, “One toast with a friend.”
Liam took the offered glass, which he truly had no intention of drinking, and sniffed the dark liquid, but couldn’t distinguish any one particular spirit. “What is it?”
“A concoction I’ve been perfecting.” Dorville took a small sip, then inhaled deeply as if the weight of the world was slowly dissipating from his body.
Liam started to hand the glass back to his friend.
“Come on, a drink or two won’t hurt. It’s taken much more than this to bring the mighty Lord Kenwreck to his knees,” Dorville jested.
“You know I detest that nickname from our old school days.”
“I do, and that’s why I still use it,” Dorville said with a chuckle, then took another sip.
Perhaps he could enjoy a drink from time to time amongst friends. It wasn’t as if he was doing anything wrong. He wasn’t reverting to his old way of life—imbibing too much, gambling a little, then searching for a woman to warm his bed. It was just a drink. What harm could it cause?
“Perhaps I shall indulge in a solitary toast.” Liam lifted the glass. “Here’s to friendship.” He took one long sip. His body instantly warmed, then settled into a relaxed state.
“What do you think?”
“Of your concoction?” Liam downed the remaining contents of the glass. “Bitter.” And quite strong.
Dorville went to the sideboard and pulled out another glass. “My uncle’s finest brandy.” He brought it over.
Liam inhaled the rich aromatic scent before taking a sip. The familiar spicy warmth lingered on his tongue before gliding down his throat. “Better, much better.”
His surroundings softened. It had been too long since he last imbibed, Liam thought, as he glanced about the room, the tension leaving his body completely. It had been years since he was this affected by just a couple of drinks.
He handed Dorville his empty glass. “No more for me.” The room swayed slightly. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, fighting the effect of the libations. A moment or two and he would be just fine.
“We’d better make our presence known in the ballroom before my uncle comes searching for me.” Liam watched as Dorville downed another glass before strolling toward the door. He used to be able to hold his own when drinking. Clearly those days had passed.
As they departed the study, the sound of music and laughter rose, echoing in Liam’s ears. Thoughts of a red-headed beauty tempted his mind. He desperately hoped he could find…
He grabbed Dorville’s shoulder to halt his progress, or was it to steady his balance? “Did you see the woman I was dancing with earlier?”
“The one…” there was a moment’s hesitation, or did Liam just imagine it? “With light red hair?”
“She’s quite fetching, and her plump lips…” Dorville continued to talk about the lady’s fine physical attributes as Liam desperately tried to focus on his footsteps.
Several seconds, or perhaps minutes later, they entered the main hall. Excessive chatter mingled with the Allemande, colliding in his head. Two drinks and this was what happened? Perhaps it was time to give up drinking entirely.
“There she is.”
Liam followed the direction in which Dorville was pointing, his gaze coming to rest on the lovely lady who’d occupied his thoughts all evening. Want and need coursed through his body. Her lips were plump and quite kissable, in fact.
Without further thought, he walked straight toward her and…
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The Forgotten Heiress is a must read because it’s about finding one’s voice, letting go of the past, and accepting love.
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Alanna Lucas grew up in Southern California, but always dreamed of distant lands and bygone eras. From an early age she took interest in art, history, and travel, and enjoys incorporating those diversions into her writing. Alanna makes her home in California where she spends her time writing historical romances, dreaming of her next travel destination, and spending time with family.
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