Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey
Release date: April 17th, 2018
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genres: Historical fiction, romance, young adult
Two young people must hide their true feelings for each other while figuring out who means them harm in this cheeky Regency romance from the author of Love, Lies and Spiesand Duels & Deception.
Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London, complete with a suitor of her father’s approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother.
Charming Ben Steeple has a secret: despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother’s intended.
But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows—despite their efforts to remain just friends—so does the danger. . .
The young gentleman hooked her hand and with little fuss tucked it in place as if he took the arm of young ladies every day—which she supposed he did, being as he had been in London for the Season. Oh dear, and now he was walking. Imogene tried to match his pace, saw him look over with a friendly smile and then, suddenly, their gait was in harmony. The awkwardness of their promenade disappeared and Imogene sighed in relief—and then worried that he had heard it.
But if he had, Benjamin Steeple showed no sign, merely led them to the blanket by the moat. Jasper trotted happily in their wake. He assisted Emily as she gracefully reclined beside the basket.
“Yes, I believe the old castle was built in the Elizabethan era.” Emily returned to the question at hand, glancing toward Imogene for a sign.
Imogene nodded and Emily smiled. “Yes, Elizabethan.” It was a brilliant smile, well executed: spontaneous, friendly and slightly sassy.
Imogene thought Emily had pulled it off with great aplomb but when she looked to see how it was received, she noted that Mr. Benjamin was not looking in Emily’s direction. He was still studying the ruin.
With a shake of his head, Mr. Benjamin turned to face them; silence reigned for eons—perhaps a moment or two—and then Emily and Benjamin Steeple began to speak at the same time.
Laughing at their folly, Emily indicated that Mr. Benjamin should go ahead.
“I apologize, again, for disturbing you. I will leave you to your…” he glanced at the basket. “To your al fresco meal.”
“Oh no, Mr. Steeple, don’t go. There is no need.” Emily sounded amused. “It is just a spot of tea… without the tea, to see us through until dinner. We have plenty to spare if you would care to join us.”
Mr. Benjamin’s brow folded for the merest second and then he nodded. “Thank you. So very kind, however, before I do, I might take a wander around this fine building.” He looked over his shoulder almost wistfully.
“Of course.” Imogene surprised Emily by answering before her. Imogene wanted to say more, though—warn him about the decay and less than steady walls. And it would seem that Emily had forgotten about the danger, for her friend silently gestured toward the castle with a bright smile.
Taking full advantage of the offer, Benjamin Steeple swiveled and quickly crossed the old cobbled courtyard to the crumbling great hall.
“Emily,” Imogene whispered, “warn him—about the hazards.”
With a jerk of realization, Emily called, “Stop, Mr. Steeple, please. The floor is weak in the center and the wall rickety. Best go round the other way. Yes, there is a path that goes around the back…” Emily snorted a laugh and dropped her voice. “Well, I guess he found it.” Benjamin Steeple had disappeared around the corner of the south tower with a casual wave, Jasper scurrying after him. “Methinks the gentleman likes your… ruins.”
About the Author:
Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.
Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Suitors and Sabotage is her third novel.
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