No Ordinary Love (A Hope Clinic Prequel Novella)

A Steamy Regency Era Romance

He'll go to the ends of the earth to win her love.

England 1820: Daughter of a tradesman, Alice Galbraith is dangerously close to being on the shelf. Arriving in London, she has little hope of finding a husband, much less the titled one her aunt expects. But when a handsome gentleman barrels his way into her path, her prospects appear brighter.

As part of the landed gentry, Andrew Weatherby is on the fringe of high society. When he literally runs into the enchanting Miss Alice, he falls--head over heels. But his hopes for an attachment dwindle upon discovering she's the great-niece of a countess.

Defying her aunt, Alice believes a proposal is on the horizon, until she witnesses a clandestine meeting which sends her running away to heal her broken heart. Called home by his father's illness, Andrew is shocked and confused upon discovering Alice no longer wishes to see him.

When they reunite half-way around the world, their hearts are challenged once again. But this time it may cost one of them their life.

No Ordinary Love is a prequel novella packed with adventure and action in the Regency  romance series The Hope Clinic. If you like heroes who don't give up and heroines who risk it all, then you'll adore this tale of extraordinary love.

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Chapter 1—An Ordinary Woman

 London, England April 1820

The crush in the ballroom pressed in on Alice, and she struggled to breathe. She turned her attention back to her great-aunt, the Dowager Countess Brakefeld, who chattered excitedly. About what, Alice had no idea.

“I’m sorry, Aunt Gertrude, what did you say?”

Her great-aunt scowled. “The least you can do, child, is pay attention when I’m speaking.” Her large bosom heaved as she exhaled an exasperated sigh. “I said the Duke and Duchess of Ashton have arrived. Although I detest the man, he is powerful. Being seen in his company would open doors for you even I cannot.”

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Translation—Doors to marriageable gentlemen. Alice cringed. Though she had come to London during the Season under the pretense of providing companionship to her mother’s aunt, the dowager countess had made it abundantly clear that she expected Alice to land a titled and wealthy husband. According to her aunt, her mother had brought shame upon the family by not only marrying for love, but choosing a man of trade. Aunt Gertrude intended to rectify the situation by securing an attachment for her great-niece to a well-heeled gentleman of the ton.

“Help me up, girl,” her aunt groused as she gripped her cane and struggled to rise from her chair.

Alice took the old woman’s arm and pulled as best she could without yanking it out of the socket. It didn’t help that her aunt adored cake a little too much.

They inched their way to the opposite side of the ballroom, and Alice feared by the time they had crossed, the duke and duchess would have moved to an entirely different room. Alice edged along the length of the room, positioning herself on her aunt’s left and shielding her from any onslaught of stray dancers.

“It’s a pity about the duke’s brother Harry. Rumor has it he was killed at Waterloo.” Her aunt shook her head. “A waste, if you ask me. As handsome as the duke but exceedingly more amiable.”

Alice resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Handsome or not—even if he were alive—she was not the type of woman who would capture the attention of a man in line for a dukedom. A man with that much power would seek a wife who was a diamond of the first water or who possessed a substantial purse, and Alice didn’t delude herself—she offered neither.

In truth, there  was little to recommend her. Neither short nor tall, she envied the slim figures of other women and cursed her curves for ruining the line of her gowns. Her blond hair had neither curl nor glossy sheen, and her gray eyes had not the color to attract a man’s attention. In short—she was ordinary. This whole endeavor would prove fruitless.

Aunt Gertrude leaned in and whispered, “Now, here’s a man worth setting your cap for.”

Lord Montgomery passed, giving them a polite—albeit uninterested—nod, confirming Alice’s prediction.

With only a few remaining steps to reach their destination, a body slammed into Alice, propelling her into her aunt and knocking the old woman to the floor. Alice stumbled, managing to keep herself upright with the help of two hands grabbing her arms.

“I beg your pardon.”

The man’s husky voice sent a delightful shiver up her spine. She blinked, turning toward the alluring sound. He released Alice’s arms and hurried to her aunt.

“Allow me to assist, madam,” he said, holding out his hands.

Aunt Gertrude batted him away with her cane. “You’ve done enough, you oaf. Alice, help me up.”

She pulled her aunt to her feet, then met the man’s eyes, concern expressed in their clear blue depths. He had a shock of red hair, and adorable freckles covered the bridge of his nose. Her stomach did a strange little flip.

He gave a brief bow. “Andrew Weatherby at your service, madam. I’m terribly sorry for my clumsiness.”

A delicate cough sounded behind him, and Alice peeked around Andrew’s tall frame to where a petite woman with piercing green eyes stood, the blush covering her cheeks almost matching her red hair. “Please don’t blame Mr. Weatherby, countess. I fear I stumbled during our dance, creating a perfect demonstration of Newton’s Laws of Motion.”

Aunt Gertrude grumbled and adjusted her gown. She grabbed Alice’s elbow and pulled her away, whispering, “Beatrix Marbry is a strange girl, you’d be best to avoid her. As for that Mr. Weatherby, he has no title, although he’s landed gentry from Kent. You can do better.”

Alice didn’t entirely agree with her aunt’s final statement, and she craned her head back to where Andrew stood, still staring in her direction.

 

COLLAPSE

Author Note

When I started the journey of writing an historical romance, I didn’t dream it would develop into a series. The characters of Andrew and Alice were so lovely in The Reluctant Duke’s Dilemma, I just had to give them their own story.

But how do you make an exciting book from two people who are so normal and likable? In this case, I let the characters take over. They told me their story, and the only thing I did was let my fingers type the words. Alice in particular surprised me (pleasantly).

As I wrote The Duke the characters really called to me, and I knew I had to give many of them their own stories. If you choose to continue with the series (and I certainly hope you do), you’ll see familiar faces pop in and out, and I hope that gives you some warm fuzzies.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Amy

    I really enjoyed Andrew and Alice’s story. Thier deep love had me tearing up at times. I love how how the tension builds and the resolution that came was perfect. When they had their “wedding night” I was all in and happy for them. Both Andrew and Alice’s tenaciousness and devotion were among the best I’ve ever read. I look forward to reading more.

    1. admin

      Thanks for your very kind words, Amy. I’m so glad you liked it, especially that it brought forth such emotion. It’s what I strive for in my writing.

  2. I.

    A good read with a feisty heroine who defies the rules of society and a hero who doesn’t hesitate to follow his real love. Made me curious about the series.

    1. admin

      Thanks for the feedback. Glad you enjoyed the book.

  3. Tia

    Loved this book.The story kept me captured, it was really a nice and romantic read

    1. admin

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Tia. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book.

  4. Robin L Christ

    Just finished No Ordinary Love. Excellent writing, taking me to the ballrooms of London, to the spices & colours of India. It had all the emotions and I wouldn’t change a thing.

    1. admin

      So glad you enjoyed the book, Robin! Thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback. Much appreciated!

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