Pretty and popular, Miss Clare Westmore knows exactly what (or rather, who) she wants: the next Duke of Harrington. But when she twists her ankle on the eve of the Season’s most touted event, Clare is left standing in the wallflower line watching her best friend dance away with her duke.
Dr. Daniel Merial is tempted to deliver more than a diagnosis to London’s most unlikely wallflower, but he doesn’t have time for distractions, even one so delectable. Besides, she’s clearly got her sights on more promising prey. So why can’t he stop thinking about her?
All Clare wants to do is return to the dance floor. But as her former friends try to knock her permanently out of place, she realizes with horror she is falling for her doctor instead her duke. When her ankle finally heals and she faces her old life again, will she throw herself back into the game?
Or will her time in the wallflower line have given her a glimpse of who she was really meant to be?
Miss Clare Westmore wasn’t the only young woman to fall head-over-heels for Mr. Charles Alban, the newly named heir to the Duke of Harrington.
Though, she was probably the only one to fall quite so literally.
He appeared out of nowhere, broad-shouldered and perfect, trotting his horse down one of the winding paths near the Serpentine. His timing was dreadful. For one, it was three o-clock on a Friday afternoon, hardly a fashionable hour for anyone to be in Hyde Park. For another, she’d come down to the water with her siblings in tow, and the ducks and geese they’d come to feed were already rushing toward them like a great, screeching mob.
Her sister, Lucy, poked an elbow into her ribs. “Isn’t that your duke?”
Clare’s heart galloped well into her throat as the sound of hoof beats grew closer. What was Mr. Alban doing here? Riders tended to contain themselves to Rotten Row, not this inauspicious path near the water. If he saw her now it would be an unmitigated disaster. She was wearing last Season’s walking habit—fashionable enough for the ducks, but scarcely the modish image she wished to project to the man who could well be her future husband. Worst of all, she was with Lucy, who brushed her hair approximately once a week, and Geoffrey, who ought to have been finishing his first year at Eton but who had been expelled just last week for something more than the usual youthful hijinks.
Clare froze in the center of the milling mass of birds, trying to decide if it would be wiser to lift her skirts and run, or step behind the cover of a nearby rhododendron bush. One of the geese took advantage of her indecision and its beak jabbed at her calf through layers of silk and cotton. Before she knew what was happening—or even gather her wits into something resembling a plan—her thin-soled slipper twisted out from under her and she pitched over onto the ground with an unladylike oomph. She lay there, momentarily stunned.
Well then. The rhododendron it was.
About the Author
A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal. Jennifer can be reached via her website at www.jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites
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