Mary watched Mr. Perfect’s expression changed from merely polite to concerned.
“I take it that means you are in hiding for some reason?” he asked conversationally. As if he had this type of discussion every day.
He was doing his best to calm her, and to Mary’s astonishment it was working. In any event, he deserved to know the truth, and there was no point in hiding it now that she’d been discovered.
She took a breath. “Yes. Since my mourning for my father ended, I have been moving from family member to family member hiding from my paternal cousin, Mr. Gawain Tolliver. His father, my uncle, is my trustee.” Mr. Perfect—if she kept thinking of him by that name, she was going slip and end up blurting it out—Mr. Featherton listened patiently while she tried to tell the story in a logical fashion. “That is how I ended up at Rose Hill.”
He was quiet for several moments, his brows drawn together in thought. “Your cousin has not found you here, has he?”
“No.” She heaved a sigh. “The months I’ve been here are the first time in years that I’ve felt safe from him. Being at Rose Hill has been like heaven.” She smiled remembering all she’d done. “I was able to try new ideas for the estate and refurbish the formal garden.”
Kit set down his cup. He must still be in shock. The only thing he could think was that Lady Mary had a beautiful smile, and he was happy to finally see it. Not to mention, he didn’t have to go chasing her brother down to find her. Using a rueful tone, he said, “Then I had to come and ruin everything.”
Her gaze flew to him. “No, no, no, please don’t say that. Even if I have enjoyed Rose Hill, this plan was folly, and I have to leave soon in any event. I need to find a husband, or Gawain will still attempt to . . .” Her face turned a lovely shade of red.
Deuced strange that her father’s brother had been chosen as trustee. If the case had ever got through the court there would be no problem having the man replaced. “I thought you couldn’t marry without your uncle’s permission.”
She straightened her back and shoulders. “Once I am three and twenty, which is not many weeks away, I may marry whomever I choose, and it will not be Gawain.”
No, but Kit was not so green that he didn’t know very well it would be him she must wed. Her being at Rose Hill could not be kept a secret forever, particularly with Lady Bellamny’s goddaughter knowing. “It seems to me if you met the right man, he wouldn’t care about your money.”
Ella Quinn’s bachelors do as they like and take what they want. But when the objects of their desire are bold, beautiful women, the rules of the game always seem to change…
Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher “Kit” Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate.
Since her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real…
Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series will start in April 2016.
She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and granddaughter, one cat and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America.
Ella is a member of the Romance Writers of American, The Beau Monde and Hearts Through History. She is represented by Elizabeth Pomada of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency, and published by Kensington.