Lady Catherine’s Secret
Secrets and Seduction, #2
By: Sheridan Jeane
Publication Date: December 1, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
Synopsis: London, 1853. Despite Lady Catherine’s love of fencing, she needs to stop pretending to be a boy and fraternizing with men…but not until after the fencing tournament! Her mother plans to marry her off by the end of the season, so this will be her last chance to enjoy her freedom. When she impulsively puts her reputation at risk to save the life of a dashing competitor, all seems lost when he sees through her disguise, but he vows never to reveal her secret. Thank goodness for gentlemanly honor!
Daniel, Marquess of Huntley, wants to overcome the rumors of his father’s madness so that he can be embraced by London society. His plan is to marry the most proper woman who will have him, and then raise stable, respectable children. He certainly isn’t interested in some hoyden with a penchant for masquerading as a boy and flaunting society’s rules. In fact, he’d prefer to keep his distance.
When an obsessed suitor discovers Catherine’s secret and threatens blackmail, the only path out of social ruin is marriage. But what kind of protection does matrimony provide when a vengeful suitor is plotting the ultimate revenge?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sheridan Jeane writes exciting and emotion-packed historical romances set in the Victorian Era that confront issues of trust and conformity.
With the advent of the industrial age, life was changing. Many people tried to hold on to the old ways of life while others embraced the new opportunities open to them.
Join Sheridan as she explores the clash between the old and the new.
Sheridan has always loved books, history, and stories about amazing people who blaze new trails.
Despite naming their daughter Sheridan because they thought it might someday look great on the cover of a book, Sheridan’s parents urged her in a more practical direction for college. Sheridan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with a minor in English.
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EXCERPT – Lady Catherine’s Secret
“You’re walking like a girl.”
In the glow of the gas lanterns outside the fencing academy, Lady Catherine Williams whipped around and scowled at her older brother. She felt the hood of her cloak fall back, but it didn’t matter, since the snug white head covering she wore hid her hair.
“Slouch your shoulders.” Charles’s critical gaze swept over her. “And lengthen your stride.”
She shot him a challenging look and then spit expertly into a pile of icy slush at the edge of the slick cobblestone road.
He closed his eyes and shook his head in mock despair. “Mother would be so proud.”
Catherine chuckled. “Spitting would be the least of my problems if Mother could see me now.”
She hurried up the stone stairs of Bernini’s Academy into its welcoming light with her brother trailing a step behind her. As she stepped through the doorway, contentment enveloped her. She was finally returning to her true home. She grinned at Charles with the sheer joy of the moment.
He shot her a quelling glare.
Mr. Winston, a secretary for the academy, sprang to his feet from behind a tall, gleaming front desk.
“Lord Spencer, how good to see you,” he said in the unctuous tones Catherine always found grating. “And young Master Gray,” he said, turning his gaze toward Catherine, “how wonderful to have you both back in London. If I may say, it’s been much too long since we’ve seen you.”
Catherine always found the small, balding man too effusive for her taste but had to grant that he was good at his job and kept the place running smoothly. She gave him a curt nod.
Winston peered at them through his round, wire-framed spectacles. “I’ll let Maestro Bernini know you’re here. He’ll be quite pleased.” He gave a small bow and departed through the office doorway with mincing footsteps.
“I hate this next part,” Catherine murmured.
“You can always go home,” Charles said. But he didn’t pause as he headed toward the dressing area. He knew her too well to think she’d actually leave.
Catherine followed closely on Charles’s heels and crossed the threshold into the dressing area. Her stomach knotted upon entering this purely male domain. The polished, wood-paneled walls and tall personal storage boxes gleamed from regular applications of lemon oil. The aroma lingered in the air, not quite masking the musky, male scent of perspiration.
She always avoided venturing very far into this particular area and kept her eyes cast down, focusing on the floorboards. This was the only part of her visit she disliked. Long ago, she’d laid claim to a storage box near the entrance, so she didn’t need to go far to gather her fencing gear. With Charles by her side to shield her, she slipped in, snatched up her foil and other items, and then darted back out the door.