Friday, August 26, 2022

Pump Up Your Book's Tour of Arabella Sheraton's The Reluctant Bridegroom

Hello. While Carpinello's Writing Pages usually posts only about childrens's/MG/YA books, Arabella Sheraton is a good friend, and her regency romances are clean entertaining reads. With the mature readers of my page, I'm going to post about interesting reads that I believe will be enjoyed by them. Please welcome Arabella Sheraton to Carpinello's Writing Pages!
 

 

 


When the feisty Miranda Lavenham is introduced to the charming and handsome Earl of Wenham, neither wishes to get married, and certainly not to each other…


By Arabella Sheraton


Title: The Reluctant Bridegroom
Author: Arabella Sheraton
Publisher: Bublish
Pages: 208
Genre: Regency Historical Romance

 

A traditional Regency romance about the vagaries of the heart in a delightful romantic comedy! The handsome Earl of Wenham has no intention of marrying any time soon. His sister Almeria points out to Hugo that he owes it to the title and the estates to marry and produce an heir. Failure to do so means the entire lot devolves upon his second cousin, the Honourable Felix Barstowe. She also reminds him that their father had promised an old friend, Lord Lavenham, that his son should marry Lord Lavenham’s daughter, Miranda. Out of respect for his father’s dying promise (which he had never taken seriously), the earl sets off for Lavenham House. He is stranded by snow a few miles away from his destination and takes refuge in a local inn. He meets up with a heavily veiled, mysterious young woman, who, by her confidences to him, he realises is the elusive Miranda. To his shocking surprise, the feisty Miranda declares she will not have anything to do with someone whom she declares, “is possibly so fat and gouty, that he needs to have a wife found for him.” In fact, she would rather run away with a childhood friend. Intrigued, the earl makes it his business to get to know Miranda better by inviting her to stay in London with his sister. Unfortunately, this strategy annoys his dandyish cousin Felix Barstowe who is determined that the young and healthy earl should not marry and cheat him out of his birthright. Will Felix succeed in a dastardly plan to murder his cousin? A must-read for fans of Regency romance!

 

“Arabella Sheraton gifts her readers with a beautiful traditional Regency romance when she introduces the feisty Miranda Lavenham and the charming Earl of Wenham. The chemistry between the lead couple in this story is sparkling. Ihave seldom enjoyed witnessing the banter of two people as much as I have between these two, and they seem to bring out the best in one another. I loved watching the self-assured young earl deal with self-doubts and jealousy; it was definitely fun for me and his sister was a puppet-master without emasculating him. I lost myself in the traditional plot and could not have asked for better descriptions or settings. The supporting characters were well developed and entertaining and added depth and value to the story. I’d love to see Miranda’sbest friend get his own adventure as I believe he deserves to find himself a stunning match. I’ve come to expect a good solid read from this author and this story lived up to my expectations. If you are a fan of sweet historical romance,then this is a fabulous choice.”–Pauline Michael, Night Owl Reviews

 

“The Reluctant Bridegroom starts us off on the right foot as soon as you pick the book up! I absolutely adored this story. It was a quick read, but fun and containing both witty and situational comedy that had me grinning like an idiot on my train. Arabella Sheraton gets full marks from me for her Reluctant Bridegroom!”–Katelyn Hensel, Readers Favorite Book Reviews

 

“From the very first Arabella Sheraton novel I read, I was forever lost in a world of romance. These novels are absolutely captivating and keep one spellbound from beginning to end. Arabella Sheraton is an exceptionally talented writer.” — Lizette Nolan, romance reader

 

Book Information

Release Date: April 10, 2015

Publisher:  Bublish

E-Book: 208 pages; $2.99 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3OVxpZX 





“You have the most incredible gall, your lordship,” said the termagant, folding her arms and tapping one foot impatiently.

“Aren’t you going to show me the Dutch miniatures,” he asked, pasting his most charming and humble smile onto his face. “In case your aunt asks me how I liked them.”

The boyish grin that usually melted the stoniest of female hearts had no effect at all on his hostess. Miranda made an angry sound and strode into the gallery. She flung both arms outwards in a dramatic gesture.

“There!” she snapped. “Take your pick and make up whatever opinion you like since you’re not only an accomplished liar but a fraud as well.”

Hugo recoiled from the little spitfire in front of him.

And Father and Almeria thought she would be the perfect wife for me? I think not.

Hugo felt a strong desire to shake Miss Miranda Lavenham until her teeth rattled for her infernal impudence, but that was not the way a gentleman, and definitely not how the Earl of Wenham behaved. Miss Lavenham was clearly unschooled in the niceties of correct social behaviour, given her unseemly display of emotion upon setting eyes on him earlier. No society lady in London would ever reveal by a shred of discomposure that things were not as she had expected them to be.

Serves her right. She deserves to have her nose put out of joint.

Hugo put on a haughty expression, enjoying his triumph even before he had spoken. If anyone was a liar, it was Miranda.

“I can assure you, Miss Lavenham, or should I say Miss Clarice Smith, that unlike you I am no fabricator of stories. The names I gave you—Charles St. John—are just two of my given names whereas I wonder if Clarice or Smith feature anywhere on your birth certificate.”

She looked away from him, her guilt staining her cheeks.

“Oh, all right,” she conceded in a grudging tone. “But you lied to me when I first met you.”

He shook his head. “No, I did not lie.”

“Yes, you did. You could have said last night that you were the Earl of Wenham. You could have saved me the mortification and shock I felt when I discovered just a short while ago that the man I met last night was, in fact, the Earl of Wenham.”

“And if I had said so, how would you have reacted?” he demanded. “You had made an elaborate plan with Fred that collapsed because he got drunk on brandy mixed with laudanum for his toothache. You came all the way to the inn in the freezing cold, late at night. You were so set on your chosen path that to say I was the earl at that moment would have been a terrible shock for you. More than the shock you received just now.”

Then the insult to his identity, courtesy of Miss Lavenham’s vivid and wildly selective imagination, sprang to mind.

He pointed an accusing finger at her. “Oh yes! How could I forget? You seriously misrepresented me. You told Fred I was old and gouty and had to have a wife found for me because I was incapable of getting one on my own. Fred called me an old nincompoop.”

She glared at him again. “He only called you that because he didn’t know who the Earl of Wenham really was, and besides, I told Fred you were old and gouty.”

He gave a scornful snort. “You should make sure of your facts, Miss Lavenham, before you go about insulting people behind their backs. I am none of those unflattering terms, and I am quite capable of choosing my own wife, thank you very much.”

She said nothing, just continued to look daggers at him.

“You should apologise to me, Miss Lavenham. I have not insulted you to your face, but you have insulted me to mine.”

She tossed her head in a particularly contemptuous way, as if nothing he had just said mattered a jot to her. Apologies were not part of Miss Miranda Lavenham’s vocabulary. For two pins, Hugo could have stalked out of the house and back to the inn, packed his things and his sick valet into his curricle, and driven back to London, never to see this annoying female ever again. In fact, never again would be far too soon.

However, he had promised Almeria he would try his best to be polite. He held onto his temper with an iron grip, suppressing the renewed urge to shake Miranda very hard. It was not surprising she was still single. Any man in his right mind would run a mile after five minutes in her company. Spoiled and selfish were understatements.

He was not sorry for her after all. She deserved to be immured in the countryside to protect any hapless soul, ignorant of her true nature, from proposing and thereby condemning himself to a life of matrimonial misery.

Then she gave another pert toss of her head, this time accompanied by a sniff of disdain. “Then why are you here if you are so capable of choosing your own wife?”

He stared at her. “Don’t you know? I am here because your father sent me numerous invitations which I ignored, and then he wrote to my sister and dredged up this stupid pact between our parents.”

Miranda put her hands on her hips. Her expression challenged him.

“You’re not much of your own man if you allowed your sister and my father to bully you into coming here to make me an offer I will refuse.”

Hugo almost exploded with annoyance. There were no limits to this woman’s impudence.

“Out of respect for your father, and mine, and to please my sister and, no, I would not offer for you if you were the last female on earth because you are a complete shrew!”

Her affronted expression indicated that his words, instantly regretted, had struck home. However, she shrugged off the insult.

“You humiliated me in front of my father and my aunt.”

He raised his shoulders in a questioning gesture. “Did I? I wonder if you are capable of embarrassment after your provoking display when I met you in the drawing room. You acted like an overindulged little brat who couldn’t get her own way.”

He wagged a reprimanding finger at her. “Your father seems to tolerate your eccentricities rather well, as does your aunt. Perhaps you are able to get your way more often than you led me to believe. You certainly misled Fred Hodges into almost tarnishing his good name and perhaps that of his parents by forcing him to embark on a stupid scheme to elope. What would your own family have thought? But I suppose you never considered those consequences.”

Miranda clenched her fists and glared at him even more fiercely. “Fred has always loved me, from the time we were children. He said he’d do anything for me. He promised and a promise is sacred. He is the kind of friend who keeps his promises.”

“Love you?” Hugo burst out laughing. “I hate to contradict you, but I fear I must. Miss Lavenham, you live in a world of fantasy, and perhaps your mindset comes from reading too much of Lord Byron’s overly lyrical and sentimental poetry.”

She stared at him with stony eyes. “Who told you that?”

He stared back at her, his expression equally cold.

“Fred, who very definitely does not love you, does not want to marry you, and who thinks you are a nag, which is exactly what I think you are.”

Miranda’s lips trembled as his barbs hit home again. “Fred would never say that. He loves me.”

Hugo gave an exaggerated sigh and shook his head. “No, he told me most plainly that he likes you very well and loves you as a sister but would not want to be forced into a life with you because he wants to do things a squire’s son does, and you would make him read poetry books instead.”

“But he agreed to run away with me!”

“He agreed out of loyalty to you as a friend, not out of love. You bullied him into submission, and he is such a faithful fellow that even though he had a terrible toothache, he went along with your elaborate plans.”

She walked away from him, further into the picture gallery.

“Anyway, Miss Lavenham, you told me last night you don’t love Fred, and you were willing to marry a perfect stranger—me—in order to escape the evil Earl of Wenham, also me.”

She made an indifferent gesture with one hand, as if the subject bored her. “What does it matter, your lordship? You are not interested in me and I am not interested in you. You do not want to propose to me and I do not want to hear one anyway. But my father sincerely believes you will make me an offer. We are at an impasse.”

Hugo followed her. “In that respect you are right. Five minutes of conversation with Lord Lavenham has convinced me that nothing will dislodge the ridiculous notion he has of the two of us fulfilling this old promise.”

She swung round to face him. “All that nonsense about being nice to you and letting my father and aunt think something would happen, and then things just drifting into nothing…”

She gave a small angry sob. Hugo was positive she was not crying out of sadness, but more from anger and chagrin at having her plans to elope overturned.

“Now you’re here, and Father will get his hopes up, and I will be a monstrous daughter to let him down because I will not accept your hand in marriage.”

Hugo fished a handkerchief out of his pocket and handed it to her. She took it silently and blew her nose in a very unladylike fashion. Then she slipped it into her sleeve with a muttered promise to launder it for him. Hugo began to feel guilty at what appeared to be signs of true distress. Perhaps he had hurt her by saying Fred did not love her. His remark about not marrying her if she were the last female on earth was also beneath him. Females always wanted to hear proposals, no matter how often they said not. An apology seemed in order.

“Forgive me, Miss Lavenham. I apologise for putting you into such a predicament. I promise you I will not make you an offer of marriage. I am also sorry about what I said…you being the last female…and all that.”

She looked up at him, with tears glistening on the ends of the longest, darkest lashes he had ever seen. In fact, despite her blotchy complexion from crying and nose reddened with blowing it, she was not entirely unattractive.

He gazed at her. Almeria would be the perfect person to take her in hand. He cocked his head to one side, inspecting her properly for the first time.

Get rid of the dowdy clothing, cut her hair in one of those new smart crops just come into fashion, dress her properly, and Miss Lavenham and her fortune might well find a willing suitor. A touch of town bronze and she would be perfect to launch into the Marriage Mart.

“Really?” A smile peeped out and transformed her face. “Do you promise?”

He laughed. “Not now and not ever!”







Arabella Sheraton
 grew up on a diet of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and many other writers of that period. From Jane Austen to Georgette Heyer, Arabella has found both enjoyment and inspiration in sparkling, witty Regency novels. She also loves history and generally finds the past more fascinating than the future. Arabella wrote her first Regency romance to entertain her aged mom who loved the genre. Arabella is honoured to share the adventures of her heroes and heroines with readers.

You can visit her website at https://regencyromances.webs.com or connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Her latest book is the regency historical fiction, The Reluctant Bridegroom.




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