Sunday, 1 July 2018

Release Day Spotlight: One Week to Wed by Laurie Benson

One Week to Wed
One Stolen Night…leads to unexpected wedding vows!
Widowed Lady Charlotte Gregory believes she’ll never love again after losing her husband, until meeting dashing Lord Andrew Pearce brings her respectable, lonely world back to vibrant life! Left alone one night, they give in to their desires only to find their secret passion leads to shock, scandal…and a sudden marriage of convenience.
Excerpt #2 for ONE WEEK TO WED
Why had she not taken breakfast in her room? She might still have an appetite if she had. Now she was sitting alone with Lord Andrew Pearce, drinking tea and watching him eat. Occasionally he would glance at the door as if he, too, was expecting a footman to enter and confer respectability on their encounter. At times Charlotte’s gaze would follow his, mentally willing the closed door to open.
What if he was not attempting to strike up a conversation with her because he thought she was looking for a husband and had set her sights on him? Perhaps Lord Andrew thought she had arranged this with Ann! Where was Ann? Although it was too early for a Town gentleman such as Lord Andrew to be awake, it was not for country folk like Ann and Toby. She closed her eyes and rubbed her brow. Why was Ann torturing her like this?
Are you well?’ he asked, drawing her attention away from what she planned to say to her friend the next time they were alone.
Forgive me, yes, I am.’ She lowered her hand and played with the napkin on her lap. ‘I confess, I did believe our friends would be having breakfast here at this hour. Had I known you were dining here by yourself, I would have left you to your peaceful solitude to enjoy your meal and read your paper without having to make polite discourse with someone you do not know.’
After spreading jam on his toast, he lowered his knife. ‘I see.’
She couldn’t tell if he believed her. She couldn’t tell if he thought her to be a widow in search of her next husband. Being trapped alone at breakfast with her would make it a logical conclusion. ‘I did not arrive here yesterday evening with a design to meet you. I did not wish to stay last night at all, but was forced to do so by the unfortunate weather and our rather insistent friends. And I did not come down for breakfast with the intention of being alone with you in this room in this compromising situation. It was all done by chance.’
He tilted his head while studying her, but remained silent.
He didn’t believe her.
I am not a widow with a plan to trap you into marriage. If I were, I would have brought my own clothes last night. Instead I’m forced to wear this gown that, while lovely, is yellow and I never wear yellow. At least I haven’t worn yellow since my husband passed. I can assure you, I would not be sitting across from you shining brighter than the midday sun if my plan was to entice you into marriage.’
She was rambling. Dear God, she wasn’t even certain what she had just said. Something about yellow…possibly? Her brain was not working with her mouth. It very well could be from lack of food. That bacon smelled so good, but her stomach was now clenched tight, as if it was trying to tell her that if she ate one bite, she would be seeing it again shortly.
Charlotte shifted her attention from the bacon on his plate to his unreadable expression. She really wished he would say something—anything. Heat was spreading up her neck. She should just excuse herself and return to her room. Or just leave the building entirely—and perhaps the town and county. She rubbed her brow again.
When she glanced over at him, she caught something that looked like amusement in his eyes as he chewed his toast. The shine from the sugar of the jam highlighted his top lip, before he licked it off.
Involuntarily, she swallowed. She needed to get away. His presence was having an unsettling effect on her. She stood suddenly, startling Lord Andrew and bringing him to his feet.
I will leave you,’ she said, and before he could reply she turned and walked to the door. When she opened it, she was surprised to find a footman standing outside as if guarding the door.
Please see that my carriage is brought around in half an hour. I’ll leave a note for Mr and Mrs Knightly. I assume they are still abed.’
I believe so, my lady. I’ll see to it directly.’
Wait,’ Lord Andrew called out, holding up his hand and walking towards the doorway with his gaze fixed on Charlotte. ‘You cannot leave. It has started to rain again.’
Her head snapped to the window and her eyes widened at the sight of raindrops sliding down the glass panes. She looked at him and had the ridiculous urge to reassure him that she had nothing to do with the rain.
My lady?’ The footman’s voice broke the spell from where he stood beside them. ‘What would you have me do?’
Lady Charlotte, the roads have not dried out and we don’t know if they are even passable. I think you are forced to remain a bit longer and, since our hosts are nowhere to be found this morning, that leaves it to me to convince you of the sensible course of action.’
That was the longest thing he had ever said to her. ‘Why do you…?’
I would not be able to live with myself if any harm came to you because you fled to prove you have no desire to be in my presence.’
I’m not trying to prove anything.’
Then you are simply willing to risk injury to get away from me.’
Yes. No. I mean…’
His eyebrows rose and he appeared amused rather than insulted. She really needed to stop talking.

Laurie Benson is an award-winning author who writes flirty and frisky Regency romance novels. She began her writing career as an advertising copywriter, where she learned more than you could ever want to know about hot dogs and credit score reports. Her novel An Unexpected Countess was voted Harlequin’s 2017 Hero of the Year by readers.

When she isn't at her laptop avoiding laundry, Laurie can be found browsing antique shops, going on ridiculously long hikes, or sitting in her car on the school pickup line. She lives with her husband and two sons in a house filled with testosterone—even her bunny is a boy.

To learn about her upcoming books, visit her historical blog, and to sign up for her newsletter go to

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