Miss Evangeline Grey, intelligent and sensible, has no desire to marry, her reluctance born from the dire warnings of her overly emotional mother. Her father has other ideas, however, and decrees that unless she weds by the spring, he will choose a husband for her.
Prim and proper Evangeline accepts her father’s issue with little more than mild alarm. Knowing herself plain of face and sharp of tongue, she believes herself capable of warding off any perspective suitor. Her plan goes awry when the scandalous seducer, Mr. Thomas Masterson, visits her family’s home, for Thomas has learned that he must procure a wife to receive his full inheritance.
When he discovers Evangeline’s predicament matches his own, Thomas determines to orchestrate a practical arrangement. A war of wit and word results, and Thomas finds himself ever more beguiled by the soft heart he discovers under Miss Grey’s stern, inhibited exterior. Patiently, he endeavors to gain her respect and awaken her passions. As tenuous trust blooms between the rake and the reluctant, unfortunate events – and Thomas’ past reputation – threaten to destroy the peace and happiness he has found within the bonds of his Practical Arrangement.
Genre: Historical Romance
Evangeline felt sorry for Melody in a small way, her mother as well. They had no defense, no antidote to counter the forceful emotions stirred in them. She counted herself lucky to have been spared their burden.
In good time Melody and their mother returned, tea arriving directly afterward, and while glad to see them she couldn’t deny sorrow over her lost solitude.
“Oh, they both are such handsome men, Melody. And wealthy enough, too.”
“Mr. Lane is, by far, more handsome with his light hair and eyes,” Melody admired openly.
They really are too silly! Infatuated girls, you’d think!
“What say you, Evangeline?” Melody challenged brightly. “Which gentleman do you prefer?”
Pursing her lips, Evangeline took a deep breath.
Of all the fiddle-faddle! Preferring gentlemen!
“I don’t prefer either of them, nor any other for that matter.”
But as usual, Providence gave her no quarter, choosing the moment of her sister’s question to spring said gentlemen into the sitting room. All eyes landed upon her, her father grinning in a most amused way. Evangeline flushed, a deep burn rising under her skin. Thomas Masterson made his greetings, and as the others conversed around the tea cart he neared, taking her hand and bringing it to his lips.
“I’d take you at your word, Miss Grey, but your pretty blush suggests perhaps you do harbor a preference.” His eyes simmered, locked intently on hers.
Oh! What did he mean by saying that?
She found herself squirming under that gaze of his – and appalled – stilled immediately. Gathering herself, she answered. “Never confuse indifference with deceit, Mr. Masterson.”
Still, he did not look away, surprising her.
About the Author
Nadja Notariani was born in Rochester, Pennsylvania. Her upbringing included very diverse environments, affording wide and varied richness of ethnic and religious tradition. Raised in both an Italian/Mediterranean American home and a traditional German household, Nadja gleaned the unique benefits of viewing the world through two widely different lenses.
Nadja resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, ever embracing new adventures with her husband, three sons, and faithful German Shepherd. She also boasts two daughters, who have flown the nest to pursue their own adventures.
Within her titles, readers can find romance and adventure, from contemporary to paranormal to historical, always with a happily-ever-after. Nadja enjoys hearing from readers and can be found at her website, on Facebook, Goodreads, and at Romance Novel Center. Readers are welcome to contact her via email.
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