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New Release | The Lady’s Marquess: Conrad Legacy Book 1 by C.K. Mackenzie #regency #romance #bookish
Title The Lady’s Marquess: Conrad Legacy Book 1
Author C.K. Mackenzie
Genre Regency Romance
Publisher Emelia Publishers, LLC
The year is 1806, the ship is The Britannia, he's a titled gentleman and she's his best friend's sister. They have 35 days between Portsmouth and Kingston, Canada. What could possibly happen?
Esme Conrad expected only one thing on her journey from England to Canada--to discover the vandal destroying her shipping company's cargo. Maybe she expected a tediously long trip as the prim and proper maiden she planned to show the other passengers, but she could handle that. What she didn't expect was her brother’s best friend to sail with her, threatening the role she played, or a murderer. Perhaps she needed a better plan.
Major Landon Carhart, the Marquess of Strachan hadn't any expectation from this transatlantic voyage. A spy sailed to French Canada, attempting to stir up support for Napoleon and stopping the man was his duty. Sure, he joined HIs Majesty's Army to mitigate the scandal surrounding his family, but duty was duty. Until he spotted Esme Conrad on deck. Duty suddenly took a back seat.
She might be his best friend’s sister, but in the middle of the Atlantic, there’s no one stopping them. Their first kiss surprises her and she craves more. Can they overcome the secrets they carry and the lies they’ve told each other, to trust and allow love a chance? Or will their duties keep them apart?
He held out his arm. “Would you care to walk the deck?”
Without looking at Hannah (Esme imagined her smug smile and decided ignoring it was her best recourse), she accepted. “I hadn’t expected the voyage to be quite so windy,” she admitted. “Perhaps we shall make Upper Canada far sooner than predicted.”
Just then, as if mocking her, the gust completely took her hat. Esme made a grab for it, but Landon caught it easily. How embarrassing. So much for respectability and modesty. Walking about the deck of a ship sans hat definitely did not express modesty.
“Thank you.” Esme slipped her hand through his elbow and resisted grabbing the blasted hat. Her one piece of propriety, and it refused to stay on her head no matter how many pins she used.
“Have you never sailed the Atlantic?” He looked at her, but she merely shook her head. “Nor have I. I’m looking forward to seeing new lands.”
“As, yes business. What business brings Lord Strachan aboard a Conrad Shipping vessel?” She peered up at him, eyes narrowed in the bright sunlight. The ship rocked against the waves, and Esme quickly assessed her stomach.
All was well. She’d never suffered from the seasickness that afflicted her mother, but there was a first time for everything. Especially on a voyage as long as this one.
“Checking on investments.” He gave a distracted wave and looked ahead to the open waters, as if he could see those investments. “Nothing spectacular, I’m afraid. You? What’s so fascinating about Upper Canada that you and the countess must visit?”
“Aunt Hannah has never been, and it sounds fascinating.” Esme didn’t have to lie about that. Indeed, the country sounded amazing, and she had desperately wished to explore. Perhaps not with so tenuous a treaty between warring countries and open warfare on the seas, but they needed to discover their vandal.
“I’ve heard it’s vast, with nothing but forests and rivers as far as the eye can see.” She closed her eyes and tried to picture it, but she knew her imagination wasn’t nearly as magnificent as the land promised. “It sounds amazing.”
“I never thought of it that way,” he admitted. “Always too involved with the politics.”
Clamping her jaw tight, Esme waited longer than was no doubt polite. However, embroiling herself in a political debate on her first day aboard would not ingratiate herself amongst the passengers and allow her to discover what was happening with their cargo. She needed to remember that. Swallowing her words, she tried again.
“We must always take time for the beauty of our surroundings, don’t you agree, Lord Strachan?”
He looked down at her quizzically, a strange smile tugging his lips. At her use of his title? Or her words? “Indeed. Is that how you plan to pass the time on board? Indulging in the beauty of our surroundings?”
“Oh, yes, I believe the voyage will offer wonderful opportunities for drawing.” It was one of the ways she’d planned to remain innocuous. Using her sketchpad as a ruse had sounded like the perfect method of blending in. She could remain hidden in the background and eavesdrop.
After all, who was going to suspect an effervescent young woman of stopping deliberate cargo damage?
With Landon here, her plan to look harmless seemed in jeopardy.
“Let’s walk to the bow,” she insisted. “Watch what’s coming our way.”
It wasn’t much. The land had fully faded from view, and the ocean spread before them for miles and miles. They had a good wind, and, despite its insistence on wreaking havoc on her hair, its crispness felt amazing against her skin. Fresh and open and simply wonderful.
Esme closed her eyes and soaked up the glorious day. Over a month of this, and she thought she might never grow tired of it. Tilting her head to better see Landon, she forgot what she planned to say. He watched her with such intensity, Esme struggled to breathe. Those beautiful green eyes had darkened, or was that merely the shadow from the way he’d tilted his head?
The way her name fell from his lips sent shivers over her skin. Far different than those times he’d used it when he and Grayson played together over their school holidays. And so very different from the “Miss Conrad” of earlier. This was a low sound, just shy of a growl. One that made her nerve endings tingle.
Panicked, though Esme rarely panicked, she grasped for the first words she could find. “How are your mother and sisters?”
Oh, that wasn’t at all what she wanted to ask. For a long breath, even the wind remained silent. Landon continued to stare down at her, his hand covering hers—and when had that happened? The warmth of his touch seeped through her gloves despite the cold day and spread like wildfire through her veins.
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I'm so glad you found my little corner of the blogging world. I'm a Georgian/Regency Romance author with a little Fantasy Romance thrown in. I love my dog, other people's pets, and videos of people's pets!
C.K. Mackenzie’s collection of historical romance novels continues to grow and expand with new characters and exciting plot twists. Mackenzie crafts her stories to include mystery and suspense – while also incorporating fascinating historical context that very often immerses the reader in other cultures. For those who want more than just another happy ending, Mackenzie’s books are second-to-none. Mackenzie is set to debut a brand-new series of 5 novels in 2023!
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