Miss Dashwood’s Dilemma
Author: Arabella Sheraton
Cover Artist: Kelly Shorten
Editor: Wendy Clements
Ebook Designer: Cera Smith
Genre: Regency Romance, Historical Romance
Audience: romance lovers
Formats: e-books (pdf for hosts)
Publisher: MUSA Publishing
Ebook ISBN13: 978-1-61937-585-7
Date Published: 20/12/2013
When Miss Diana Dashwood accepts an invitation to Lady Prescott’s Christmas party, things do not go quite as she imagines. Through an unexpected event, she is forced to spend the night in a woodsman’s hut with one of the guests. What a scandal! Of course, Sir Gareth Blakely must propose, and he does. Unfortunately, Miss Diana Dashwood has already been engaged to and broken off her engagement from Sir Gareth Blakely after a bitter quarrel. Is it likely she will bow to social pressure and accept his proposal, one made only to save her reputation, and if they marry, does their union stand a chance of survival? And what about the pretty heiress, Miss Jemima Plymstock, whom everyone thinks is the lady Sir Gareth had his eye upon? Headstrong and proud, Miss Diana Dashwood is caught in a dreadful dilemma.
“Oh!” Rage surged in her breast as she sat up in the chaise lounge. It was impossible to express indignation while lying supine. The effrontery, the gall of the man. She raised her voice. “So now I am stupid because I deliberately strained my ankle?”
His voice became louder as well. “I did not say that—”
“But you meant it,” Diana said through clenched teeth.
“How dare you just announce that we are engaged because of some antiquated idea of saving my virtue? I don’t need you to protect my reputation.”
His jaw dropped. “Oh, really? I suppose you are thinking along the same lines as when you abandoned me just a day before our wedding. You did not do your reputation any good then.”
“It was two days,” she retorted. “Does it matter how many days it was?”
This time his voice was quiet. “It amounts to the same thing.”
Humiliation stung her. “So now you are calling me a jilt?”
The chair scraped on the floor as he stood. “I had no need to do so. The whole of London did it for me.” Then he strode to the door.
Diana’s breath caught in her throat. Shame burned her from head to toe. “You are the most…horrible, cruel, callous, nasty, ill-mannered man I have ever had the misfortune to meet.” She pulled off the ring and clenched her fist, ready to throw it in his face. “I will not be engaged to you. I will not marry you.”
In two strides, he was by her side, and gripping her hand. His fingers tightened painfully on hers. He knelt and stared right at her with a grim, unforgiving expression. “You will remain engaged to me, Miss Dashwood, and for as long as I choose. Do not trifle with public opinion, my dear, or you will be sadly the loser. I tried to protect you and you have flung my best efforts in my face. Have you thought about my reputation? Or that of my aunt and uncle, and your mother, who would also be embarrassed by your petulant behaviour? Have you given any thought to anyone else but yourself in this fiasco?”
She drew in a trembling breath. “No,” she said in a low voice. She dropped her gaze, fuming that he was treating her like a naughty child.
“I will not force you to marry me. I am not such an ogre and I do not want to punish you for what you did. But cooperating with me in this regard will be to your benefit.” He put one hand under her chin and tilted her face upward. “Will you cooperate?” His face was so close to hers. His eyes were like the sky after rain, his mouth so firm…he bent his head closer. Diana thought she might faint. The most ridiculous feeling of dizziness overcame her.
Arabella Sheraton grew up on a diet of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and many other writers of that period. From Jane Austen to Georgette Heyer, Arabella has found both enjoyment and inspiration in sparkling, witty Regency novels. She also loves history and generally finds the past more fascinating than the future. Arabella wrote her first Regency romance to entertain her aged mom who loved the genre. Arabella is honoured to share the adventures of her heroes and heroines with readers.