The Renegade Wife by @CaroWarfield is a Canada/America event pick #romance #4thofjuly #giveaway
Title: The Renegade Wife
Author: Caroline Warfield
Genre: Historical Romance
The Renegade Wife kicks off the new Children of Empire series, companion stories to award-winning author Caroline Warfield's Dangerous series. Raised with all the privilege of the English aristocracy, forged on the edges of the British Empire, men and woman of the early Victorian age seek their own destiny and make their mark on history. The Renegade Wife is the story of healing and a journey home, of choices and the freedom to make them, set in 1832 in Upper Canada and in England. Two hearts betrayed by love… Desperate and afraid, Meggy Blair will do whatever it takes to protect her children. She’d hoped to find sanctuary from her abusive husband with her Ojibwa grandmother, but can’t locate her. When her children fall ill, she finds shelter in an isolated cabin in Upper Canada. But when the owner unexpectedly returns, he’s furious to find squatters disrupting his self-imposed solitude. Reclusive businessman Rand Wheatly had good reason to put an ocean between himself and the family that deceived him. He just wants the intrusive woman gone, but it isn’t long before Meggy and the children start breaking down the defensive walls he’s built. But their fragile interlude is shattered when Meggy’s husband appears to claim his children, threatening to have Rand jailed. The only way for Meggy to protect Rand is to leave him. But when her husband takes her and the children to England, Meggy discovers he’s far more than an abuser; what he’s involved in endangers all their lives. To rescue the woman who has stolen his heart, Rand must follow her and do what he swore he’d never do: reconcile with his aristocratic family and finally uncover the truth behind all the lies. But time is running out for them all.
“Thank you, oh, thank you.” Clare gulped to swallow moisture gathering in her throat. Her head was nestled under Fred’s chin, her arms gripping his waist as if her life depended on it.
Get control of yourself, Clare, a small part of her brain urged, dimly aware that exhaustion and relief made her foolish. She didn’t care. His arms around her back and his shoulder firm beneath her cheek felt solid. Safe. Dependable.
“Easy, easy. It’s only a tent,” he soothed, one hand making gentle circles on her back.
“You thought about us. No one ever—” He had cared for her, she realized, from the moment he found her at the inn in Calcutta comforting his children. No man ever considered my comfort before.
She took a shuddering breath. Dependable? This is Fred Wheatly holding you, the man who— She couldn’t remember what made him undependable just then. She cared only for his kiss on her head, then her ear.
She raised her head. Bending his head down to meet hers, his gentle kiss made no demands, forced no response, and asked only trust. No man had ever kissed her like that. She couldn’t resist him. When he withdrew to search her face, she closed the distance and kissed him back, the taste and scent of sweat, sand, and the essence of male sending her reeling.
“Papa? Are we there?”
He broke off the kiss and tipped his forehead to hers, silent laughter rocking him. “We have come to a place. That much is certain,” he responded. Clare didn’t think he referred to the way station.
It was a matter of some minutes to pitch the tent and create a nest for the girls to sleep. Clare stood with her back to the entrance, watching them drift off to sleep. The shelter had enough space to accommodate Clare and Fred as well, if they slept close together. Her heart began to pound.
Fred reached from behind her to take one hand and tug her out of the shelter, taking care to secure the opening. “They’ll be fine for a bit,” he said. “Come with me.”
“I—” Clare hesitated, unsure what to say or even what she wanted.
A crooked smile preceded his pull on her hand. “I won’t bite. I just want you to enjoy this.” He led her several feet away, out from under the scraggly trees of the way station.
Her gaze followed his free hand upward. The moon had sunk lower in the west. To the east, a riotous panorama of stars covered the sky from north to south. She had thought they were abundant in Dehrapur, but nothing in her life had prepared her for the overwhelming vastness of the universe. Her petty fears and concerns shrank to insignificance.
“Come, sit,” he urged. Only when he spread it out did she see the blanket he carried. He pulled her down next to him, and the two stared upward.
“Lie down, you’ll get a stiff neck,” he told her, and she knew it was only logical.
As darkness deepened, more appeared, and then the sky began to fall. She sat up with a gasp.
Fred let out a long sigh at the same time. “We’re privileged. Shooting stars come in showers at times. Only good luck puts us where they can be seen so clearly.”
She lay back down, content to nestle her head on his shoulder. The falling stars continued, one after another in rapid succession—two, three, four at once. All thought ceased, but after a time, her overwrought senses shifted focus from the delights in the sky above to the feel of the man next to her. When he leaned over and began to kiss her in earnest, her mouth opened under his.
Clare’s sense of time and place fled when his hands roamed her body, seeking the places her clothing hung loose enough to allow entry and finding some. He molded, caressed, and drew her into sensation that put a period to any thought at all.
She slipped a hand under his shirt, reveling in the corded muscles of his back, and kissed his neck. His mouth slid up to pay homage to her eyes and forehead. When he dropped his lips to her chin and proceeded downward, she clawed at the opening of her dress, frantic to give him entry. He paused, and she could feel him smile against her skin.
Memories of Dennis intruded, but she pushed them away. Nothing she knew with him compared to the white heat Fred ignited. His mouth found her breast, and she ran her hand over the fall of his trousers, searching for the buttons, her hands clumsy in the flood of sensation.
Just as she reached her goal, the man beside her went rigid, and one hand clamped down on her wrist.
“We can’t do this,” he growled, moving away. She lay panting beside him, confused and lost, cold air assaulting her where his body had been.
He had fallen onto his back, one arm over his eyes. “We should sleep. We have another long travel day tomorrow. They’ll want to leave early.”
Clare shivered beside him, unsatisfied longing and remorse nibbling at her. When she rolled away and curled into a fetal position, he immediately pulled her back.
“Don’t. Don’t do that, and please don’t regret what just happened—or didn’t.” He rose to his knees and pulled her up, keeping distance between them. “I’m leaving. Have you forgotten that? I can’t just have you and desert you.”
Her face burned, and she swallowed growing anger. “You offered me marriage twice.”
“And you wisely refused. I didn’t expect to care for you. How can I do that and leave?”
Her hand stung from the slap that snapped his head back.
“You don’t care for anyone but yourself. You proposed to get a nanny for your children, not a wife,” she growled, rising to her feet and shaking her skirts out.
How can you be so stupid, Clare? So weak? Falling for another worthless lout in a uniform! She gulped down the shame of it. Falling for him? Oh God! I’m falling in love with Fred Wheatly.
“Stay away from me, Mister Wheatly. Stay far away,” she hissed, turning back toward the tent. And keep your damned kindness to yourself. I can’t bear it.
He didn’t follow. She hated him for that too.
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This is a tale of a ne’er do well who comes to face the importance—and the demands—of love in all its forms during one epic journey by land and sea back to the home he left years before.
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Runs July 1 – July 7, 2022.
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Caroline Warfield has at various times been an army brat, a librarian, a poet, a raiser of children, a nun, a bird watcher, an Internet and Web services manager, a conference speaker, an indexer, a tech writer, a genealogist, and, of course, a romantic. She has sailed through the English channel while it was still mined from WWII, stood on the walls of Troy, searched Scotland for the location of an entirely fictional castle (and found it), climbed the steps to the Parthenon, floated down the Thames from the Tower to Greenwich, shopped in the Ginza, lost herself in the Louvre, gone on a night safari at the Singapore zoo, walked in the Black Forest, and explored the underground cistern of Istanbul. By far the biggest adventure has been life-long marriage to a prince among men.
She sits in front of a keyboard at a desk surrounded by windows, looks out at the trees and imagines. Her greatest joy is when one of those imaginings comes to life on the page and in the imagination of her readers.
What Caroline likes best about being a Bluestocking Belle is the generosity and support of her fellow Belles. Together they are a formidable force!
Social Media Links:
Website – https://www.carolinewarfield.com/
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Twitter – https://twitter.com/CaroWarfield
Newsletter – https://www.carolinewarfield.com/newsletter/