I’m so relieved that I managed to complete my latest Regency romance, The Major’s Gift. With everything that went wrong this year, I thought I’d never find the time.
Hope you enjoy it…
Sweet Regency romance excerpt
Here’s an excerpt.
1816: Miss Merryford’s Academy, Bath, England
Always pay attention to your premonitions.
If only Ellie had done that. But she hadn’t.
At 24, Ellie Devayne considered herself well past the age of marriage. She loved teaching at Miss Merryford’s Academy. She enjoyed her pupils and she’d made a life for herself at the school. More importantly, she knew that her sister, Cassie, was growing up safe, well cared for, and happy.
Then fate stepped in.
Of course, she didn’t recognize that it was fate, even though she would remember the major’s strange visit at odd moments in the weeks that followed.
She remembered the major’s tanned face, the concern she’d seen in it, and his voice. He had a deep voice, and sky-blue eyes.
When she remembered, her stomach tightened. Later, she knew that that feeling was a premonition.
She’d imagined that she and Cassie were safe. In her wildest imaginings, she hadn’t seen any danger.
She’d been foolish.
On that fateful, unheeded morning when the major arrived at the school, Ellie’s biggest concern had been instilling French verbs into her pupils, none of whom felt like working on a bright summer’s day. The school was much quieter than usual. Half the girls were away, spending weeks in the country at their families’ estates.
“Girls — less talking, and more concentration, if you please,” Ellie said sharply, looking up from the book which was open on her desk. “Pomona, please sit down. And stop chattering. A lady sits calmly and quietly, she doesn’t squeal, or pull the hair of the lady sitting in front of her.”
When the girls stopped talking, she heard a timid tap on the classroom door. “A moment.” She glared at Pomona again, who smirked, and looked down at her desk.
Ellie opened the door and she smiled down at little Olivia, all of eight years old, and new to the school. Olivia missed her family, and Miss Merryford often asked her to run errands so that she’d feel useful and needed.
“If you pleathe, Miss Devayne, you have a vithitor,” Olivia lisped.
Ellie suppressed a smile. Olivia was delightful. She set the girls a short translation, then followed Olivia downstairs.
The only visitors she’d had in her three years at the school were the parents of her pupils. Had something happened to one of the girls who’d left for the summer?
“Ah, Miss Devayne, I’m sorry to interrupt your lessons… thank you.” Miss Merryford, a tall woman with bright blue eyes and greying curls ineffectively covered by a lacy cap, turned to greet her.
Ellie nodded and smiled. “Of course,” she said.
Then she curtsied to the large man standing beside the school’s principal. Although she didn’t stare, she assessed him quickly, before lowering her gaze again.
Tall as she was, Miss Merryford barely reached the visitor’s shoulder. Ellie knew that he was a military man, even without his uniform. An angry-looking purple scar slashed down his face from his left temple. The scar didn’t diminish his looks; it added to them. He had a forthright, direct gaze. His blue eyes assessed her.
And unsettled her. No one had ever stared at her like that — as if he were seeing everything about her. Noting her good points.
And her bad ones as well, Ellie thought resentfully, as she lowered her gaze again, and flushed. She compressed her lips, and smoothed her expression. He was a parent. She had to be calm. Miss Merryford would expect her to charm him. The school was always in need of money, so whatever the large man’s concerns, she had to allay them.
You can read more of the book’s excerpt here.