Welcome to our Valentine’s Day Blog Hop. I’m so happy that you stopped by. Thank you, Ruth A. Casie, for sharing your book, Knight of Runes, and for offering a giveaway. Today I’m sharing a bit of flash fiction with my character Miss Miranda de Courtenay… but more about her story later in this post. Be sure to keep reading to find out what my giveaway is and don’t forget to comment here on my blog to go into the drawing for the Grand Prize of a gift card (US$75 value). So let’s get to that bit of flash fiction I promised you!
Miss Miranda de Courtenay entered the Assembly Rooms in Bath for a charity Valentine’s Day Ball. Her eyes surveyed the already crowded room while her brother-in-law took her pelisse.
“It’s quite the crush,” her sister Grace mentioned as she took Miranda’s elbow steering her towards the ballroom.
Miranda squeezed her sister’s arm, offering her a bright smile. “I’m just glad our brother at last forgave me for the part I played in his current state of wedded bliss and allowed me to attend.”
Grace laughed. “Adrian was just being stubborn, although I must admit you do tend to go a bit overboard in your quest for a title, Miranda.”
“Why should I be the only one in this family without a title?” she fumed before masking her face to not show how upset this particular conversation always made her. She had gone too far on one or two occasions, not that Gracie ever faulted her for her mishaps. “Besides, everyone could see how much Adrian and Celia were in love with one another. And before you say anything, Celia didn’t want the Marques. I thought to take advantage of the situation but it’s certainly not my fault he turned out to be a cad.”
Grace leaned forward to kiss Miranda’s cheek before whispering in her ear. “You were lucky to not have your heart involved with Wyndham, dearest sister. He was only a man with a title and obviously not husband material. Love will find you when the time is right. Perhaps try to not be so impatient and let Cupid find your mystery man when he’s ready to show you the way.”
“I could only be so lucky to stumble into someone like you did, Gracie,” Miranda said fondly knowing how happy her sister was with her second husband Nicholas.
Grace’s laughter burst forth. “I was lucky, wasn’t I?”
Before Miranda could respond, Nicholas came as if they conjured him up with a magic wand and swept Grace away to join the dancing. Miranda surveyed the room again trying to figure out her best options to pursue a possible relationship with one of the titled gentlemen who were present. There were plenty of men here that she had already been introduced to so that formality wouldn’t be a problem. She only needed to find someone who would be willing to forget her past mistakes since the two major ones she had made were public knowledge much to her regret.
She was thankful when she was asked to dance by a man she had met during the previous season. An Earl … but she couldn’t remember his name and she reminded herself she needed to be better at remembering people’s names. But he at least asked her to dance and it was better to be seen dancing than to be a wallflower sitting alone on a chair against the wall. She swore if she didn’t get a proposal soon, she’d be on the shelf for sure.
The dance continued and she briefly caught a glimpse of her brother talking with a man she had never seen the likes of. Good heavens, where had he come from and why on earth had she never been introduced to such a divinely handsome man? She continued to stare at him when the opportunity presented itself and she wondered what color his eyes were. It was hard to tell from this distance and from the hundreds of candles casting a soft glow upon the room.
She missed a step in the dance and mumbled an apology to her partner when she stepped on his shoe. She was hard pressed not to crane her neck to further inspect the man who had caught her attention. She generally didn’t care for men with blond hair but in his case she just might make an exception!
The dance ended and the Earl began talking about the weather of all things, and Miranda tried not to appear bored at such a mundane conversation. She looked up only to see Adrian was no longer standing next to her handsome stranger who was looking directly at her. He raised his champagne flute in a silent toast causing Miranda’s eyes to widen. Goodness but he was a bold one and clearly she should stay as far away from him as possible.
Unsure of herself for the first time in her life, she fled the dance floor, leaving the Earl without even a polite thank you for the dance. She headed to the buffet room hoping she could partake of something to calm her nerves. No man had ever had her this flustered and Grace’s words rambled inside her head making Miranda wonder if perhaps Cupid had shot his arrow in Miranda’s direction.
Captain Jasper Rousseau observed the beautiful woman as she left the dance floor. She intrigued him, not that he was used to dealing with a young lady who was probably only interested in finding a husband. But there was something about her that had him following her. It must be this damn ball meant for happy couples. If his mother had not requested he accompany her to this event, he would be at his manor getting ready for tomorrow’s business appointment.
He had a new ship to run and didn’t have time to dally with a woman, especially one so obviously young as he guessed her age to be around twenty-three give or take a couple of years. Yet he still found himself following her to see for himself what caused him to become so infatuated with a lady he hadn’t even spoke to as yet. Afterall… what could it hurt to have a short conversation with a beautiful woman?
Storm & Shelter
When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.
A collection of eight all-new novellas. One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming stories. Special preorder price of only $0.99! Learn more on the Bluestocking Belles’ website at https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/storm-shelter/
My contribution to the Storm & Shelter box set is Before I Found You: A de Courtenay Novella (Book three).
A quest for a title. An encounter with a stranger. Will she choose love?
Miss Miranda de Courtenay has only one goal in life: to find a rich husband who can change her status from Missto My Lady. But when a handsome stranger crosses her path at a Valentine’s Day ball, her obsession with titles dims. Might love be enough?
Captain Jasper Rousseau has no plans to become infatuated during a chance encounter at a ball. He has a new ship to run, passengers to book, and cargo to deliver. But one look into a young lady’s beautiful hazel eyes, and he becomes lost. Does love at first sight really exist?
Their paths continue to cross until they are both stranded in Fenwick on Sea. Their growing connection is hard to dismiss, despite Miranda’s childish quest for a title at all cost. But what if the cost includes love?
My Giveaway for our Valentine’s Day Hop!
I’ll be giving away an eCopy of A Kiss For Charity & The Earl Takes A Wife. They’re books 1 & 2 of my De Courtenay series. I’ll randomly choose a winner from all the comments right here on my blog! You’ll have plenty of time to read them before Miranda’s story releases in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set Storm & Shelter on April 13, 2021.
Go in the drawing to win a gift card
The contest is open for Valentine’s day—from sunrise on 14th February in New Zealand (noon on February 13 U.S. EST) until midnight on 14th February in Hawaii (or 5 AM February 15 U.S. EST). When the contest ends, we’ll collect all comments on all 15 blogs in the hop. We’ll draw one at random, and then announce the winner on our blogs and contact him or her with a gift card to the value of US$75. Good luck!
Did you miss Ruth A. Casie’s blog?
If you happened to miss Ruth’s blog and the giveaway she’s offering, you can find her blog at https://ruthacasie.blogspot.com/
Next up, Alina K. Field
Thank you again for joining me today. Your next stop is with the wonderful Alina K. Field. Although Alina is one of our guest authors who contributed a novella in the Storm & Shelter box set today she’s sharing some flash fiction from Fated Hearts. You can find Alina’s blog post at https://wp.me/p2YGUG-1Zj.
Happy reading and I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, my lovelies. Good luck in all the giveaways!