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About the author:
L.L. Neal grew up reading romances and particularly loved Regency romances. She took up writing when the romances she was reading started to blur together and to look the same. Her first set of Regency romances, The Tumbling Green romances, are set in Regency times but with strong-willed heroines.
L.L. Neal comes from a family of eight and grew up with five sisters, giving her insights into how siblings do—and don’t—get along. L.L. Neal currently lives with her husband of seventeen years, two dogs, and two cats. In her spare time she's crafty: sewing pillowcases for charity, knitting wool socks for family, crocheting lap throws, and quilting.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Lady Lilly was swinging in her favorite tree swing. She had a book with her again, though, this time, she wasn’t reading it. She laid it aside, and as she sat, she pondered. The day was blustery. Her younger sister Felicity was on a tear. Lilly didn’t feel like dealing with her, nor the other seven sisters still at home. There were ten sisters in all, and Mama was expecting a new bundle of joy any day now, which meant there would be eleven children, total.
Lilly was being counted as the oldest at home and was expected to be the one with all the answers, but she didn’t want to be. Felicity, number four in the lineup, was angry over something Beatrice, number five in the lineup, had said, and was making everyone’s lives miserable.
Desperate to escape the hubbub, Lilly went to sit in her swing. She had brought a book, and there she sat, pondering life in general, the book forgotten. The old oak was her favorite spot in the world. It was a small world as she thought it, but still, it was her spot. She escaped daily to the old tree with the swing. It wasn’t hidden in a field like Edwina’s spot was, but it was special to her just the same. Edwina was her oldest sister, who was married to a duke and had triplets. She had been married before the Season had started. It seemed everyone was married this Season, and she wasn’t. She was feeling a bit put out about this. It made her feel like she was alone in the world, even though she had sisters galore.
As she sat upon her swing, moving to and fro, a lone thought popped into her mind—Lord Parkhurst. She stopped, flabbergasted. Now, how had that man popped in there? she thought. Why on earth was she thinking of him? Then she remembered why—a soft knock on her bedroom door at the inn, and him softly calling her name. She sighed.
He had left when she didn’t respond. What she didn’t know was he had leaned against the door, eager to hear some sound from her, and it was only when he didn’t hear a thing that he walked softly and slowly back to his room, his heart breaking a tiny bit. He left before she awoke, which she had found out from her papa, and that little bit of knowledge tore at her, though it was a bit of a surprise to her.
This reckless man who had pursued her so relentlessly the last half of the Season left before she awoke, and that one tiny bit of information, made her feel more than she had ever felt for him. She sighed again.
Drat! I need to get over this, she thought. I have to do something, anything.
She had been invited to the local assemblies and had even danced with the new doctor in the village of Tumbling Green. He was nice, but there was one problem: he took one look at her younger sister Felicity and all bets were off. It was love at first sight for the man with her sister.
Felicity, on the other hand, silly goose that she was, didn’t recognize it for what it was. She thought the man funny and interesting, but no other emotion came to mind for her. Lilly felt bad for the doctor. He walked away from the dance he shared with Felicity, in love, and not realizing the silly little girl felt nothing for him. She had actually laughed at the poor man. Lilly shook her head and walked away.
Lilly decided she’d had enough of this melancholy. She grabbed her book, got up, and walked toward the house. When she was almost there, one side door flew open, and out ran Beatrice, screaming like a banshee at the top of her lungs, Felicity hot on her heels. Lilly swung back around and walked toward a field. On second thought, she wasn’t in the mood to put up with her sisters.
As she walked, she found herself headed toward Sir Archibald and Lady Muriel’s house. She stopped. She didn’t want to go there, either. They had a newborn baby, and Sir Archibald loved to show him off, bragging every chance he got, and in the most insufferable way. Sad thing was, the baby didn’t look a bit like Sir Archibald—he looked like her cousin, Leopold Winston. No one had said anything to that effect, but she saw the child and immediately thought Sir Archibald had been cuckolded. He was happy, he had a son, and Lady Muriel just smiled as he carried on.
She turned toward Edwina’s tree and walked that way. As she walked, she realized that she was to have another Season soon, and this time, Felicity and Beatrice would be going along. Papa was determined to see more of his daughters married.
She walked toward the tree, spread her skirts, and sat down. Then, with a sigh, she picked up the book and started to read. As the pages turned, the afternoon slipped by, with her lost in the pages. She finally looked up when she heard horse hooves pounding the ground near to where she sat. She gasped. It was he, the man, the one she had been thinking of. Her mouth went dry and she stared. He was incredibly handsome, she would give him that. The feeling of loathing she had become accustomed to associating with him wasn’t there, and she wondered at its absence. He didn’t see her, so she looked her fill, secure in the knowledge that it could hurt nothing. He looked rather dashing, she thought, atop a horse.
She stared at his muscled thighs, his wide shoulders, his square jaw, the deep shadows created by the hair on his cheeks. He hadn’t shaved that morning, she noted. His dark hair was windswept, his eyes an entrancing emerald green. She sighed. He was incredibly handsome. His skin was dark, tanned from being outside. Suddenly, as she gazed at this man on a horse, in her papa’s field, she found she wanted him.