Welcome to the Excerpt Tour for The Rake and The Bishop’s Daughter by Julia Donnor. The author will be awarding a $30 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Follow the blog tour by clicking on the banner image above. Commenting on blogs increases your chance of winning. Please only comment once per blog (unless it’s active conversations with an author, multiple comments from the same person will be deleted.)
Genre: Regency Romance
Series: Friendship #3
THE BOOK WILL BE $0.99 DURING THE TOUR
Society’s beloved wastrel, Sir Harry Collyns, pushes his popularity past the point of acceptability when he poses for a statue that creates a social uproar. People line up for blocks to see Handsome Harry in the nude, sculpted by a female artist! Bored with the fuss and scandal, Harry hitches up his fastest team, heads for the country, and a near fatal curricle accident. When the bandages are removed from his head days later, he discovers the angel-voiced widow who’d cared for him is neither elderly nor as mild as her tone, but a straight-laced do-gooder unimpressed with his flamboyant past and dashing good looks. Head-battered and heading for a broken heart, he falls into love with Widow Olivia St. Clair, who might be the one woman in England that Harry can’t charm into loving him back.
Irritation flickered in Mainstay’s frigid glare. “I will tarry no longer with the purpose of this visit. Its unfortunate necessity came as no surprise to me, since your reputation is substantiated everywhere one goes. In this instance, my family’s association with you can no longer be denied nor ignored, since your attentions to my daughter have become public knowledge. Your association with her is whispered about everywhere. She foolishly allowed you to stay at Beechgate Cottage for days without the benefit of her companion, Mrs. Oliphant, who’d been called away.”
When Harry attempted to speak in Olivia’s behalf, the bishop cut him off with an abrupt flick of his hand. “I’ll hear no arguments from you, sir, nor the excuse that you were incapacitated due to your injuries. Again, your reputation preceded you into having everyone in the district believing it possible for you to have relations with my daughter even if unconscious. Appalling, your status.”
Harry ground his teeth together and stayed silent. He nursed a slim glimmer of hope that he might be allowed to speak with Olivia. Beyond that, there was truth in what her father said.
Bishop Mainstay slowly inhaled and exhaled before continuing. “Sir, now is the time to reveal if you possess any sense of honor. It pains me in no small way to report that your proclivities have left my daughter in an interesting condition.”
Harry blinked. Interesting condition? Olivia carried his child? Joy wound its way through his veins. Shock robbed him of his ability to mask his feelings, and the bishop’s expression changed. A smile thinned his lips. His next words, a mocking challenge, filled Harry with numbing terror.
“It is only fair that I inform you that, if you find yourself unable to do the right and honorable thing by my daughter, other measures have been arranged. A family friend is anxiously waiting to hear that he might salvage what is left of her name and save our family further embarrassment.”
Dread’s chill trickled through his abdomen and slithered down his legs. Harry struggled to keep his goal in focus, forcing down the fear, hurt and fury. How many more ways were there to inflict insult? He and Olivia weren’t children to be punished with guilt and humiliation. If he accomplished nothing else, he had to get Olivia out of her father’s grasp. Illuminating a truth was one thing, but beating one over the head with it went beyond his tolerance.
Regretting that his emotion-choked throat rendered his voice hoarse, Harry said, “Sir, may I have the honor of your daughter’s hand in marriage?”
When her father agreed with a nod, Harry demanded, “I must speak with Mrs. St. Clair to affirm that she is in agreement and will accept my suit.”
“She is waiting outside. You have five minutes.”