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About the author:
I’ve always loved reading historical romance, including westerns. I lived through the Midwest and West and wanted to bring my love of these regions to my books.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Rosalie winced as she stepped into the parlor. Her corset bit into her in places, rubbing her skin raw. Annie, her maid, always pulled it too snug. Rosalie’s mother took a keen interest in fashion and that meant wearing the latest styles with no regard to comfort. Her mother didn’t care for the looser dresses that some ladies were wearing. She deemed them inappropriate and forbade Rosalie from wearing one. After she married, Rosalie planned to take a greater hand in her own wardrobe. It was one of many benefits she anticipated would accrue to her after marriage to her fiancé, Winslow Dudley, in January.
Laughter rang out across the room and Rosalie made her way to the conversation group. As she approached, talking stopped and everyone avoided her gaze. Her closest friend, Katherine, immediately launched into a description of new hats she’d seen the previous day at Jordan Marsh, and soon conversation resumed.
Rosalie couldn’t shake the feeling that she’d been the topic of discussion and the surreptitious glances she intercepted cemented her opinion. There was no reason for anyone to be gossiping about her that she knew of. She was always very conscious of her comportment. Her mother never would have allowed it to be otherwise. Rosalie didn’t care to risk a week’s worth of lectures for a momentary lapse.
Tea was served and Rosalie took a place on a settee next to Katherine. “Did you purchase a new hat yesterday?”
Katherine didn’t meet her eye and her words came out in a rush. “Why no I didn’t, though they were lovely. I have so many hats already. I’m having a few new dresses made for Christmas. We’re doing so much entertaining after all, and I thought I’d see what I needed.”
“Is something amiss?” Rosalie and Katherine had always had a special kinship. Katherine’s mother was as domineering as Rosalie’s and they often took solace in one another’s company. Out of their common experience, true friendship had blossomed.
Katherine wrung her hands. “Of course not. Everything is quite fine with me. And yourself?”
“Everything is in place for the wedding, of course. I just hope the weather won’t be too harsh come January.” Cold and a dusting of snow wouldn’t interrupt the plans, but a full-blown snowstorm would be a disaster. Rosalie would have preferred to wait until spring or even summer, but she hadn’t been given the choice.
Katherine jerked at the mention of the wedding. Her fingers fiddled with the brooch pinned to her dress.
Rosalie placed her hand over Katherine’s. “I know something is bothering you. Is it your mother?” Rosalie spied the sheen of tears in Katherine’s eyes.
Katherine shook her head. “Perhaps you could offer me a ride home after tea in your carriage.”
Rosalie hid her surprise. “I’d be glad to.” Katherine’s suggestion was unusual, and though she was glad to grant the request, it made her uneasy. Rosalie’s discomfort grew until she suggested they take their leave early.
Katherine was more than happy to oblige and soon they found themselves tucked into the carriage, making their way through the streets of Boston. The coachman drove with care as the packed snow made the streets slick.
Only a moment passed before Katherine grabbed Rosalie’s hands in her own. “I’m so sorry. I … I guess everyone knows. Don’t worry though, it will blow over.”
Rosalie frowned. “Katherine, what are you talking about?”
“Winslow’s … situation.” Katherine released Rosalie and began twisting the ribbons that decorated her reticule.
Rosalie’s eyes widened in confusion. “I beg your pardon?” Winslow was a successful businessman. He hadn’t mentioned a concern of any kind in his business or otherwise.
“Oh dear, you don’t know?” A ribbon on Katherine’s reticule detached from her rough treatment and she stuffed it inside.
Rosalie could no longer hide her growing irritation and spoke more sharply than she would have wished. “Don’t know what? Katherine …”
Katherine’s hands flailed about as if seeking something new to grab on to. “About Winslow’s mistress.”
“Mistress? What are you talking about?” Rosalie took a calming breath as her agitation grew.
“His mistress.” Katherine shifted on the seat.
“Winslow doesn’t keep a mistress.”
Sadness settled onto Katherine’s face. “Yes, he does and she is … increasing.”