Abandoned on her wedding day, Rosalinda gets a chance to escape the London gossips and start over with a new husband in America. But although she leaves behind her privileged life style and learns to love Simon Phelps, her diplomat husband, she can’t quite relinquish her thirst for revenge against the man who left her at the altar, Lord Harry Montague.
Convinced her daughter is suffering in exile, Rosalinda’s mother sends Harry to Boston to fetch her daughter. Soon after he arrives war breaks out. Simon is feared lost at sea, and Rosalinda goes to London where she gets her chance for revenge. When Simon returns and challenges Harry to a duel, Rosalinda must choose between revenge and happiness with the man she truly loves.
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Home for Maureen Mackey is the towering firs and misty rains of the Pacific Northwest. Writing is her life-long dream, which first surfaced when she was in the third grade. She wrote an entire table of contents to a fairy tale, and then began writing the chapters only to get hopelessly mired in chapter four. Happily, she’s never gotten stuck like that again.
Born in Los Angeles, Maureen was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and earned a degree in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara. While studying English literature and history, she fell in love with her future husband, a fellow student, and also 18th-century and Regency England, time periods she continues to enjoy researching and writing about. Determined to become a working writer, she obtained a masters degree in journalism from UC Berkeley, which led to jobs as a staff writer and freelancer for a number of magazines and newspapers. However, she found she couldn’t stay away from writing fiction.
She was encouraged when her first Regency romance novel, Lord Peter’s Page, won first place in the Top O’ The Trees novel writing contest. Another novel, The Forgotten Bride, was a finalist in a competition sponsored by The Beau Monde, a chapter of the Romance Writers of America. In addition to the two novels mentioned, Maureen has written three other Regency romances as well as a contemporary romance and a romantic suspense trilogy, all published by Awe-Struck Publishing, an imprint of Mundania Press, LLC.
Currently, Maureen lives in Oregon, in a charming 105-year-old home in one of Portland’s historic neighborhoods, which she likes to explore with her dog. When she's not writing, Maureen gets inspiration from reading, going to the movies and working in her garden. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her two grown sons and their wives, and also keeps trying to improve her knitting and crocheting skills.
You can learn more about Maureen and her books at her website, www.MaureenMackey.com. You are welcome to subscribe to Maureen’s blog, The Regency Looking Glass. You can also follow Maureen on Pinterest and Twitter.
When she reached the drawing room the butler opened the doors. The young man waiting inside, dressed formally in black boots, cream-colored breeches, a crisp high shirt collar, a carefully folded cravat and white waistcoat under a well-fitted jacket of dark blue superfine, looked up as she entered. He started, and was momentarily speechless when she smiled at him. Then he recovered his poise.
"Simon," said Rosalinda, walking towards him with her hands extended. "It is so lovely to see you again. It has been many years since we played together on the banks of the village stream, has it not?"
"Yes, and in that time you have become a diamond of the first water," said Simon with a bow. "Though you were quite lovely then as well."
"Fie, Simon. I was 15 and in my awkward years," said Rosalinda with a self-deprecating laugh, fully aware she had never experienced an awkward day, much less a year.
Simon continued to hold both her hands in his, and seemed to struggle for words. The Duchess, coming into the room behind her daughter, cleared her throat.
"Indeed, Mr. Phelps. I would scarce recognize you as the young scapegrace who used to romp across the countryside with Lord Harry whenever the Montagues came to Wallingford Hall. How is your father, the village vicar?"
"Very well, thank you, your Grace."
"And how goes you? I understand that you are now in the King's diplomatic service, Lord Ellis having taken an interest in you while you were at Oxford."
"I have been very fortunate, your Grace. My tutor at school aided my entry into that great university, and there I found a kind mentor in the Earl. He has great influence with the Court and helped me obtain my present position."
Somewhere in the hall a clock chimed half past ten.
"I am sure your achievements are well-deserved. But we must away to St. George's for the wedding, which I see you are dressed for as well, so perhaps you should now tell us the purpose of your call."
Simon twisted his high-crowned beaver hat in his gloved hands.
"I am afraid I am the bearer of somewhat difficult news."
"Difficult news?" said the Duchess, crossing the room to the settee. She sat on the brocaded seat with a flourish of her ample skirt. "Pray, explain what you mean by Ôdifficult news'?"
"Perhaps you should sit as well, Lady Rosalinda."
Rosalinda stood in the middle of the room, rooted to the floor, and acted as if she hadn't heard his suggestion. "What difficult news? Where is Lord Harry? Has anything happened to him?"
"Ah, I am glad you brought that up," said Simon. "I am afraid Lord Harry is a bit indisposed."
"Indisposed?" said the Duchess. "Whatever do you mean? Is he is his cups?"
"No," said Simon, his face reddening under his sideburns all the way to the roots of his dark brown, close-cropped curly hair. "That is, he did stay rather late at his club last night. And we did go through quite a few bottles of claret."
"If he is ill," said Rosalinda softly, "we can postpone the ceremony."
Even as she made the suggestion she thought how galling it would be to have to admit to Letitia that her groom was too drunk to make it to the church. But in a society where nearly every male was a hard drinker, she knew his sin would soon be forgiven, even laughed about.
"I am afraid it would be no use to postpone the ceremony. Lord Harry is no longer in London. He is on his way to Dover."
"Dover? Is he going to start the wedding trip without me?" asked Rosalinda, confusion on her lovely face and a quaver in her voice.
"My stars and garters!" said the Duchess. "Harry's done a bunk, hasn't he?"
"I don't understand. Mother, what are you saying?"
The Duchess was too flabbergasted to break the news gently to her daughter.
"He's bolted. Fled the country. There'll be no wedding, gel. Your bridegroom has taken a powder."
Rosalinda sank to the floor in a fluid silk puddle. Simon rushed to catch her.
"I am so sorry to be the bearer of this news, Lady Rosalinda. You must allow me to help you. Are you ill?"
Rosalinda put one shapely hand to her brow. "I am far from well. I cannot comprehend what has happened. How could he leave without me?"
"I do not understand it either, my lady," said Simon, still cradling her in his arms. "Any man would have to be mad to abandon you at the altar."
Rosalinda looked at him, her blue eyes wide, as his words sunk in.
"I have been jilted, haven't I? And in the worst possible way. I will be the laughingstock of London."