Happy May, everyone! I’m happy to say my final edits for A Bride for the Season have been turned into the publisher. In honor of that, and since this is May 5 (or 5/5), here is a little snippet from chapter 5.
Lucinda entered the drawing room and found Emily and James seated next to one another on the sofa, sitting just far enough apart to qualify as proper. Emily was sipping tea with unnatural tranquility; Lucinda had never known her sister to be able to control her fidgeting. She smiled at Lucinda with the complacency of a cat who has just swallowed a canary.
James stood up immediately, as did her father, whose expression Lucinda would have described as closer to resignation than contentment. But at least the signs of anger were gone—a complete turnaround from this morning. James gave her a bow and a polite greeting that was entirely devoid of his usual ironic air.
Lucinda could only stand and stare. The whole atmosphere of the room was weirdly off-kilter. Had everyone gone mad?
Her father took her hand and drew her into the room. “We’ve been waiting for you, my dear.” He led her to a chair with an assiduous attention that was completely unlike him. She stared at her father in mute inquiry.
“Sit down, Lucinda,” Lady Cardington commanded imperiously. “We’ve important family business to discuss.” She set down her teacup and began to dust sandwich crumbs from her fingers with a napkin.
Here, at least, was something that had not changed. Lucinda seated herself and accepted the teacup proffered by Emily. She took a cautious sip; Emily always put too much sugar in her tea. But today it was exactly as Lucinda liked it. She threw a wary look at her sister. “Are you well, Emily?”
“Oh, perfectly!” Emily answered, her eyes shining. “We’ve been making such wonderful plans, and—”
“—And your father is going to tell you about it,” her mother broke in, peering significantly over her pince-nez at Emily.
“Yes, Mama,” Emily replied demurely.
Too demurely. Emily never failed to bristle whenever their mother interrupted or corrected her. Now Lucinda was sure something was very wrong indeed. As all eyes in the room settled on her, she had a sudden mind picture of a gazelle being separated from the herd for a kill. It would be better to have this out as soon as possible. “So are Emily and Mr. Simpson to be married, then?”
“We are!” Emily clasped James’s hand and gazed at him like a schoolgirl whose head is filled with romantic fantasies about love. James did not appear quite so ecstatic, but he returned Emily’s smile with a warmth that Lucinda deemed sincere.
“Well, I’m glad that’s settled,” Lucinda said truthfully. She dared not ask why her father had abandoned his foolish insistence that Lucinda get married first. Everyone here knew full well she had no beau, nor was she likely to get one. Not that she was in the market. She’d made up her mind on that score. “My felicitations to you both. When is the happy day to be?”
“A week after yours,” her father said.
A Bride for the Season will be released this fall. I’ll be offering some fun giveaways this summer, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter to keep up with the current news!