Book 2 in The Lords of Oxford series
by Renée Reynolds
Rock Creek Publishing
Lady Miranda Leighton and the Marquis of Stafford, Roman de Courtenay, have a similar problem: their families want them to find a spouse. Together they hatch the perfect scheme: they will pretend an attachment and trick their families in their pursuit of one last season of unencumbered entertainment. Yet, in each other's constant company, they find their ruse giving rise to some surprisingly very real feelings. What happens when you set out to fool society, but only end up fooling yourselves? Lady Miranda Leighton and the Marquis of Stafford, Roman de Courtenay, have a similar problem: their families want them to find a spouse. Together they decide to pretend an attachment to trick their families while they enjoy one last Season. In each other's constant company, pretense blurs with reality, and they learn love doesn't play games.
The Marquis of Stafford laughed and the mirth returned to his eyes. “I will likely regret this decision, but I have an idea. Forces beyond our apparent control have decreed that you need a husband, and that I need a wife. It seems we are perfectly suited to be the answer to each other's problem.”ABOUT Renée Reynolds
Lady Miranda's eyes widened, her mouth gaping in shock. This was not a topic she would have ever guessed for discussion between the two people most disinclined toward matrimony. For certain, she misheard his words. “Am I mistaken, or did you just make me an offer?” she rushed out in a gust of breath. By the immediate look of surprise and dread mingling across his face, she knew she had indeed misunderstood.
“Good God, no!” he shouted before catching himself, looking around the room to see if he had been overheard. He pushed her toward the door, and they exited into the dim sunshine of the partly cloudy day. “I meant only that we could work together to help each other avoid marriage, since we are both desperate to do so.”
Miranda took in a deep breath, relieved, but also a little perturbed. She would be a fine catch for any gentleman, and should not inspire such a look of utter affright. “So . . . your actual proposal is thus: to avoid marriage, we must pretend an interest in each other. It would be remiss of me, however, if I failed to point out, since we have shown no such inclinations previously, that hurdle will be difficult to overcome.”
“Perhaps with those who have been in our company of late, but not those who have been absent, such as a brother and sister recently returned from one month's rustication in Kent.”
Miranda's mind began to churn with thoughts and ideas of bringing this new plan into action. She had to admit – but only to herself – it really was terribly well-conceived, and she did love to trick her brother whenever possible. But it would take a deft touch to keep other friends and family from being suspicious. She did so love a challenge!
“We must tread carefully, to prevent others from thinking our interests developed too soon, and also to prevent charges of caprice against ourselves when we eventually fall out of favor with each other. We must 'kill two dogs with one stone.'”
Author Renée Reynolds grew up all over the world in a family whose motto is you can never learn too much, travel too much, or talk too much. She owns an impressive stack of degrees that she ignores to instead write about what she cannot do: go back in time to dance at balls and flirt with lords and scoundrels.
Renée found her HEA in Texas, where she resides with the hubs, the kiddos, and a menagerie of pets. They've added to the family motto: you can never read too much, too often, or too late at night.