Please welcome Virginia Taylor. She's here today to tell us about her rousing historical romance Wenna.
Read on for details...
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The lady’s maid meets her match…
Wenna Chenoweth’s future is secure, until dashing Devon Courtney’s illicit flirtation gets her dismissed from her job as a lady’s maid. With nowhere to turn, Wenna is forced to accept Devon’s bold proposal: To be his bride. To enter society on the handsome aristocrat’s arm. To give him the heir he requires. It’s a foolproof plan. Except Wenna finds herself falling hard for a man who can never love her for who she is….
Wenna is passionate, mysterious, and ill-suited to the idle life of a society wife. She’s also exactly the kind of woman who could endanger Devon’s hopes to build his own future far from his family’s influence. For the spirited beauty has embarked on an unthinkable plan of her own—one that could lead him to surrender his resolve, and sacrifice everything he believes he holds dear….
Yet amid the wondrous landscape of colonial South Australia, anything is possible. Perhaps even love between two people the boundaries of society would keep apart….
She stood transfixed, not knowing what he might want of her. Her first thought was to pretend she hadn’t noticed and go on her way but he was staring straight at her and coming closer with each step.
“Do you need me for anything, sir?” she asked before he got too close. His cricket whites and light hair contrasted with his golden tan.
“I’m parched. Could you lead me to a gallon of cool water?”
The color of his hair reminded her of Da’s and her heart constricted. Her father, the big, blond Cornishman, had been crushed during a mine cave-in. Always frail, her mother had died soon after, leaving Wenna to fend for herself from the age of thirteen. But fend she had. In the thirteen years since, Wenna had worked her way from being a kitchen helper in the mining town of Clare, to being a ladies’ maid in a wealthy urban household.
Within two paces, he stood beside her. She glanced up at him, watching his gaze travel over the untamed outlines of her hair. His expression said that he, unlike everyone else, didn’t find a frizzed mass of bright red appalling. He lifted a hand, wound a spiral around one finger, and smiled down at her.
She stepped back, jerking her head away, her cheeks heating. He wasn’t her father but a stranger taking liberties, as gentlemen liked to do, though not usually with prickly Wenna. “Water. Yes. In the kitchen.” A flock of lorikeets swooped into the orchard, their bright red and green plumage blending into the leaves, which trembled as they searched for ripening pears.
Wenna stiffened her spine. The man was a golden god with a straight nose and a perfectly chiseled jaw, and he strolled beside her as if the most natural thing in the world was for a handsome young gentleman to accompany a spinsterish tongue-tied maid through an orchard.
“I’m Devon Courtney,” he said in a cultured voice, staring at her with a question in his eyes. He had the thickest brown eyelashes she’d ever seen, and stark clear blue eyes. His hair shone dappled white in the orchard.
Her pulse quickened and she lost the thread of her voice. “I’m Mrs. Brook’s maid.”
“Is that Cornwall I hear in your accent?”
“Is it? I don’t know.”
“It sounds like Cornwall.” He rolled his words with a lilt like Da’s. “Do you have a name? I can’t call you maid.”
“Wenna.” She should have said Miss Chenoweth. She should have kept her hair confined.
“Wenna. Definitely Cornwall.”
“My parents came from Cornwall. I might have picked up their speech.”
“No doubt about it, lass.” He stood, blocking her way, glancing from her hair to her mouth. If he wasn’t trying a line with her, she didn’t know the ways of the gentry.
Her insides tickled in reaction to his scrutiny. No young man before had shown such blatant interest, but no sensible maid would be foolish enough to be flattered by his attention. His sort would see a working-class woman as a mere diversion, a quick tumble to be forgotten in a second. “You said you wanted water.”
“Indeed, I do need cooling off,” he said with a mischievous smile as he stepped aside.
She slowly let out her breath and marched on, not about to let him see her confusing reaction.
He followed her into the kitchen, compounding her acute embarrassment. “This is Mr. Courtney,” she said to the cook, hearing the thick silence of the servants in the room. “He wants a cool drink of water.”
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