This month, most of the Bluestocking Belles are publishing the novellas that were part of our 2016 box set, Holly and Hopeful Hearts. My contributions to the set were A Suitable Husband. and The Bluestocking and the Barbarian. I’m not releasing Barbarian yet. I want to expand it into a novel. But I have A Suitable Husband up on prerelease and it will be published on 30 September.
As the Duchess of Haverford’s companion, Cedrica Grenford is not treated as a poor relation and is encouraged to mingle with Her Grace’s guests. Perhaps among the gentlemen gathered for the duchess’s house party, she will find a suitable husband?
Marcel Fournier has only one ambition: to save enough from his fees serving as chef in the houses of the ton to become the proprietor of his own fine restaurant. An affair with the duchess’s dependent would be dangerous. Anything else is impossible. Isn’t it?
So far, I just have it up on Amazon, but I’ll add other links over the next week or so. Read on for an excerpt.
✶´`´*★ ☆EXCERPT – A SUITABLE HUSBAND☆ ★.¸¸,.✶
“He does not look at me and see a woman. No one does.”
Lady Sophia spoke decisively. “You are blue-devilled, my dear. Who knows whether any of us will meet a man who can see past our elderly exteriors to the treasures we all are? If we do not, you and I shall be old maids together.”
“Yes,” Lady de Courtenay agreed. “Perhaps we should set up house together. Certainly Sophia and I have no more wish to live forever on the sufferance of our brothers than you do on the Haverfords’. Who needs men, after all? Selfish, conceited creatures, always jumping to conclusions.”
This time, Mademoiselle Grenford’s laugh was more genuine.
Lady Sophia said, “Rest for an hour. Read a book. I will order a pot of tea and some cakes, and Grace and I shall deal with anything that arises.” Her voice was coming closer.
Swiftly, before she could open the door and find him listening, Marcel retreated down the hall and around the corner, all the way back downstairs, thinking furiously.
First, he must order a tray set with the most delicate of cups, the finest tea, and some of the little cakes from the test batch he had made that morning, in preparation for the real challenge of Christmas Day’s dinner. Each was a work of art with its own sugar flower, and it had not escaped his notice that his mademoiselle liked them.
Then, while his assistants made the tray, he must make peace. This war must end. If that meant giving Madame Pearce her way on the tower, then so be it. He could not be part of causing pain to his mademoiselle.
His! How foolish he was. He was a chef. She was an aristo, of a family with a duke, despite her humble words. Yet un chien regarde bien un évêque. A dog can take a good look at a bishop. The English proverb was similar. A cat may look at a king. What would Mademoiselle Grenford think if she knew Marcel saw her as a woman, as she put it?
Perhaps bread to go with the cakes? Bread sliced thinly and buttered by his own hand and topped by some of Madame’s conserve. A peace offering from them both.
Determined, he gave his orders to his kitchen and braved the kitchen of Madame Pearce. An odd quest, but would not a knight dare anything, brave any danger, undergo any humiliation, for the lady he must adore from afar?