Miss Claresta Huntington is running out of time. After her father's death, she must find a husband or lose her control of the family business, which she has rescued from the inept management when her father became too ill to run things, to a wastrel cousin.
But Society has turned its back on her, not only because she dares engage in "trade," but because the last few men who have considered her marriage proposal have had unfortunate accidents, earning her the nickname "Calamity." No longer fit for the ton's eligible suitors, Claresta has begun a search in less reputable places for a possible husband.
Drake Lockwood is fresh off a boat from the United States, and knows nothing of Society's gossip. While at a dockside tavern, he suffers an encounter with young thieves, who relieve him not only of his spending money, but also of the papers that prove he is the heir to an earldom. Claresta comes to his assistance. Drake believes the young lady is very generous and kind, or has cobwebs on the brain, but now he is in her debt.
Little does he know the true motive for her altruistic rescue.
An Awe-Struck Release
A native Floridian, Irene Estep resides in the Central Florida area with her husband of 30+ years. She has a large family, and she enjoys the chaotic holidays and the special family events when everyone gets together.
Irene, an award-winning author, has five romantic suspense novels and one regency romance in publication. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and very active in two local RWA chapters--has served on their boards and chaired committees for both. She’s also a member of the on-line Mystery/Suspense chapter of RWA, better known as Kiss of Death. And she belongs to EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection). Her favorite pastimes are watching spectator sports with her husband (golf and football mostly) and, of course, reading romance novels.
"Calamity Claresta had many surprises contained within the pages, surprises for both the reader and the hero and heroine. Many of the side characters had their own agendas and it made for some humorous reading to see all the different forces come into play. Irene Estep has penned a delightful novel that will engage all your emotions from beginning to end. Pure entertainment, be sure and pick up Calamity Claresta and be prepared to laugh, and to cry."Debbie -- eCataromance Reviews
"Calamity Claresta is a humorous romance dealing with two caring people looked down upon by society for being more interested in business and the welfare of the people who work for them than in the dictates of their status. They have major obstacles to overcome in Claresta's family, and in Drake's problem with establishing his identity. Author Irene Estep mixes charming characters, humor and suspense in a Regency romance that will keep yuo reading until the end."Robin Lee -- Romance Reviews Today
He saw Claresta come up for a quick gulp of air and go under again. Swimming faster than he'd ever thought possible, Drake reached the area where he'd last seen her surface. He dove down twice before he located her by feel in the brackish water. His hand caught in her long, flowing hair, which had come loose from its bindings. She seemed to be resisting his efforts to bring her to the surface. Then he realized she was tugging ineffectually at her underskirts.
Drake grabbed a handful of the material and ripped the weighty garments away, tearing a portion of her dress in the process. He wasted no time wrapping one arm around her and pulling her to the surface.
She coughed and sputtered, and then laughed. "I'm all right."
She may be, but he certainly wasn't. His heart slammed against his chest like a hammer striking an anvil. She had scared the living daylights out of him, and she dared laugh. Had he not needed both arms to keep them afloat he would gladly strangle her. Finally he dragged them both onto the shore. They fell in a heap, his arm still wound tightly beneath her breasts.
"You idiotic little minx. You could have drowned," he exclaimed brusquely and barely resisted the urge to shake her until her teeth rattled.
When she laughed again, he lost his reserve. He crushed her to him and kissed her. Her lips parted on a gasp, and he rammed his tongue inside. She tasted of salt and weeds and rain. Not exactly an aphrodisiacal combination, but desire stronger than anything he'd ever felt before surged through Drake.
He'd meant the kiss to punish her, but he was the one who suffered. It had started raining, but he paid little heed. He didn't want to let her go. Not now. Not ever.