When her parents and twin brother die within weeks of each other, Alicia and her younger sister are left in the hands of an uncle who has brought them all to financial and social ruin. Desperate to save her family from debtor’s prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. She meets the dashing Lord Amesbury, and her heart whispers that this is the man she is destined to love, but his tainted past may forever stand in their way. Her choices in potential husbands narrow to either a scarred cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret.
Cole Amesbury is tormented by his own ghosts, and believes he is beyond redemption, yet he cannot deny his attraction for the girl whose genuine goodness touches the heart he’d thought long dead. He fears the scars in his soul cut so deeply that he may never be able to offer Alicia a love that is true. When yet another bizarre mishap threatens her life, Alicia suspects the seemingly unrelated accidents that have plagued her loved ones are actually a killer’s attempt to exterminate every member of her family. Despite the threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger to her heart. And Cole must protect Alicia from the killer who has been exterminating her family before she is the next target.
This romantic story of loss and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption, and strangers marrying, will leave you laughing, crying, and swooning. Sprinkled liberally with suspense, mystery, and heart-melting kisses, this is not your ordinary historical tale of an arranged marriage nor of redeeming the rakes. Fans of Victorian and Regency Eras as well as those seeking clean and wholesome romance with plenty of chemistry, not to mention the redemptive power of love, will love this story!
Dance with a duke, outwit pirates, save a kingdom, and fall in love. Believe in happily ever after.
The Rogue Hearts Series:
The Stranger She Married
The Guise of a Gentleman
A Perfect Secret
The Suspect’s Daughter
Praise for Donna Hatch:
“Donna Hatch is one of the masters of clean romance with electric tension and smokin’ hot kisses.” ~ Reading is My Super Power Reviews
“Written with heart and depth, Donna Hatch’s books are absolute must-reads for any fan of swoon-worthy historical romance.” ~ Sarah M. Eden, USA Today best-selling historical romance author
Join the Cover Reveal for the 5th book in the Rogue Hearts Series
Daphne’s trading adventure with her papa into the dangerous city of Nod turned out better than she thought. She found the owner of the beads and a handsome man. Unexpected danger and loss make things difficult for her. When robbers try to force her to give up her secrets, she must make a choice.
…or a new life?
Abandoned Hope is the third of the continuing saga of Lost Children of the Prophet. You’ll love this uplifting story of faith in difficult times.
Get it now.
A sigh escaped. David had found someone to love. Daphne brought them truths about Jehovah in her book, and David loved her. What would David do if, no when Daphne left Nod to return to her home with her papa? He would be lonelier than he was before. Now he would know what he had been missing.
Joyanna turned the page in her sketch book. The two young people sat close together, holding hands. David had declared his love and Daphne returned it. Joyanna could see it, if no one else did. They touched at shoulders and hips. Would their secret make them happy, or it would cause them great sorrow?
“I’ll have to be here for David when she leaves,” Joyanna murmured.
Robin King lives up to the legendary name of Robin Hood more than he should—a bigshot billionaire and successor of King enterprises, a Prince of Mischief and a rogue who steals hearts … and maybe even a few kisses. He never thought he’d follow the storyline so closely, until the day he gets in trouble with the law and pays the price—all for protecting his younger sister Scarlett.
Taken in by an Outlaw
Marian is a hard-hitting reporter … or would be if the New England Chronicle would stop assigning her puff pieces. Now she has the chance to prove herself, but it could prove her undoing—since the story of a lifetime might just be Robin King, a ruthless scoundrel, who she swore would never break her heart again.
Making New England Olde again
Together, they must overcome their differences to save their hometown from thieves and corruption. And they’d better do it before someone gets killed. As danger lurks closer, legend becomes life, and Robin’s feelings for Marian deepen as he struggles with sharing the secrets that could clear his name and ruin his sister.”
“Midge?” Robin called. “You up here?” The breeze whistled through the warped sides of the abandoned ski jump as he listened for the answer. If Robin had been up there by himself, that would be one thing, but Marian made him a nervous wreck. “I don’t know if I should’ve brought you up.”
“I’m no damsel in distress.”
She didn’t understand. He didn’t care what happened to him—he cared more about losing her. “Even if that means that you’re up here alone with me?” he teased. If anything, that would get her down.
Her lips curved up on the sides. “Oh, I can leave.”
Wait? What was he doing? This was what he wanted. “No, no, no.” The stars were bright, the view was gorgeous—she was more so—and they were alone. Maybe. He looked behind him. “Midge, if you’re up here, I’ll give you a hundred bucks.”
Nothing. “He’s not up here,” Marian said, smiling.
He laughed. “Good, I didn’t have a hundred.”
She hid her face from him, but he knew she was laughing when he saw her shoulders jerk. Nothing was better than getting her to smile.
Below them, the people from the town were like miniatures. They added straw to the pile on the wagon so that they would be included in the luck when the wheels burned their way down the mountain. The music below him took him back to when he was young, and if he let himself get lost in it, he’d go back even further into the past, maybe to a time when cloaked figures had protected the forest. She would be his Maid Marian, and he’d be her Robin Hood.
Of course, that would make him the hero, and he didn’t feel like that right now. He’d rubbed elbows with thieves and murderers and all sorts of rabble in prison, and he’d barely walked away from that. Marian didn’t know who he was. At all. How did he convince her that he could still be trusted, even if he couldn’t tell her everything?
“Close your eyes,” he said.
Would she trust him even to do that? After studying him with her big eyes, she obliged him and squeezed them shut, taking a deep breath. He didn’t touch her, only watched her as the soft breeze lifted her hair instead. The music from below was muffled through the distance, as he dug the ring he’d stolen from her out of his pocket and slipped it onto her finger.
She opened her eyes and her look softened on him. “I’m glad you’re not a thief.”
“I wish things were different,” he said. How would the years have gone if they were? Would they have had children by now? Dark-haired daughters with her smile and his eyes?
Sighing, she pressed her chin into her palm. “If only none of this had happened.”
“How about we just start over?” he asked.
She peered down at her ring. “I don’t know.”
This was killing him. He wanted to reach out and brush her hair from her face, touch her, confide in her. Was there a way for her to trust him without betraying his sister’s confidence? He had to be patient. “Give me a chance to prove myself to you.”
The activity grew louder below them. The fire wheel was about to be launched and the torches were lit, illuminating the scene in glorious splendor. Marian pulled away from the railing. “Robin?” She hesitated. He waited for her to say what she wanted to say. “I want to trust you, but I don’t know how.” She tugged off her ring and gave it back to him. “I’m sorry.”
His forehead wrinkled. His ridiculous gesture had turned on him. “It’s not mine.”
She kissed his cheek then, a little closer to his mouth than maybe she’d intended. She smelled of lilacs. If he turned an inch, he’d have her in his arms, but he knew this was goodbye. “Keep it to remember me.” And she escaped down the stairs. He watched her go, feeling the loss as her dark hair disappeared from his view. Of everything he’d given up, this hurt the most.
Kendrick Denham left his family farm back east, fought in the war with Mexico, then answered gold’s call after it was discovered in California. In late 1852, when he reached Columbia, known as “The Gem of the Southern Mines,” he realized the easy-to-find placer gold was no longer that easy to find. He decided he would do better providing fresh meat to the townspeople. With extremely few women in the region, and most of the respectable ones already married, Kendrick entertains no ambitions for a wife and family. Then the county sheriff rides over from Sonora. With a cryptic expression, he hands Kendrick a six-month-old baby girl. “The mother named you as the father.”
Now her late husband’s stepson, whom she finished raising, is of age to inherit the farm left to him by his birth father, Lydia Meyer and her two young sons have been forced out of her home of over ten years. She leaves Pennsylvania headed for the wild gold fields of Columbia, California. She dreads living off the charity of her older sister who is just as disagreeable and overbearing as their late mother had been. Warned that most of the miners in California, many of whom left families back east to seek their fortunes, tend to be unsettled, uncouth, and prone to drinking and gambling, she worries it may be impossible to find a good father for her children. Even if she weds again, will it be another loveless marriage like her first?
Then there is baby Madeline, who is cast adrift in the world, all alone, with no one to love her. What will become of her?
KENDRICK is a stand-alone sweet American historical romance that is part of the multi-author series, Bachelors & Babies. Under the sub-title, “Too Old for Babies,” it is also part of the author’s own series, Too Old in Columbia.“
The sheriff offered Kendrick a wry smile. “The mother named you as the father.”
“Mother named –” Kendrick choked on the words. “I couldn’t have fathered a baby, especially not this one. You figure she’s what? A few months old? It’s been over three years, long before I came this far south to Columbia –” Kendrick clamped his lips shut. How he conducted his personal life was none of the sheriff’s business, not to mention he once again became aware of Jeb, a grin on his face, lurking in the far corner and taking in the entire scene.
“Didn’t say, but I figure about six months. You’re listed as the father in the family’s Bible packed in the trunk, plus the mother listed you as this baby’s father in her last will and testament. No one is going to question the words of a dying woman, not even one like her.”
Kendrick felt anger welling up inside of him. A small part of his brain warned him yelling at the sheriff would not be wise. His present state of being was not conducive to him exhibiting wisdom. His frustration won out. His question came out in a bellow. “One like her? Who—“
The sheriff turned to his deputy. “Josh, hand that baby over and go get that crate of foodstuffs for her. Don’t forget the carpetbag full of napkins for her backside. Then we best to be on our way.”
After the deputy walked over to the counter, he sat her on top next to the basket and shoved her toward Kendrick’s arms. Kendrick instinctively grabbed her to keep her from falling as the deputy walked toward the door.
His eyes wide, Kendrick stared at the cherubic face with its dark eyes and lashes. At first, the baby stared at him in surprise. Next, she scrunched her face into a frown. His anger transformed into panic, he turned his gaze back toward the sheriff. “No, wait! You can’t leave this baby with me.”
“We can and we will. I’ve got other duties to attend to. I wouldn’t have wasted my time and that of a deputy hauling this issue of yours up to you except I figured if I sent word for you to come get her, you’d ignore me. Now, accept the consequences of your actions and live up to your responsibilities. Just because most men don’t get caught doesn’t mean, once the truth is known, you can walk away from your own.”
Wrapping his left arm around the child and propping her on his hip so she faced outward, Kendrick walked around from behind the counter until he stood within a few feet of the lawman. “Sheriff, I’m telling you—I’ve been set up. This can’t be my child. What was the name of her mother, anyway? Where did she live?”
In the staring contest that developed between him and the sheriff, Kendrick refused to be the first to look away. No one played him for a fool. He needed answers.
Finally, the sheriff huffed and glanced at the floor before, once more, his gaze met Kendrick’s. “She lived in Sonora. Died a couple of weeks ago. Took this long to sort things out. The mother’s name was Margaret Pearline Mayfield.”
Kendrick suspected his face looked as blank as his mind felt. The name meant nothing to him.
“She’s better known by some of the finer residents of Sonora as Miss Pearl.”
Among the craftsmen traveling to the capital is Constance Rendare and her family. An artist, a widow of an unhappy marriage, and the mother of a young son, she dreams of escaping the cruel servitude of her father’s household.
Wilard Naron serves the Earl of Dentin. He returns to the capital, his childhood home, to collect his earnings and finally free himself from his father’s reputation.
Kidnappings, bandits, and a plot against the king complicate the journey. The conflicts throw Constance and Wilard together as their circumstances grow steadily worse. The more the pair uncovers, the direr the future looks for the country and for them.
Constance’s point of view:
A servant opened the door before Dentin could answer my question. I didn’t turn to check who it was and they didn’t enter the room. I forced myself to breathe evenly.
“A pitcher of water and glasses,” Dentin requested in calm, conversational tones. “Also, if you could locate Lady Dentin and let her know I require her presence in my book room.”
Then the servant left, leaving the door slightly ajar.
“What do you mean she isn’t well?” I demanded as the earl retreated to the opposite side of the table and claimed the chair there. He took his time arranging his overtunic and adjusting the position of his dagger. Clearly, he didn’t intend to answer me.
“You can’t expect me not to ask after using such ominous wording,” I pointed out, my annoyance at his delay overriding my awareness of his station. “We were discussing my sister. Tell me the truth plainly or…” My brain faltered for a threat that would work, but none came to mind.
Across the desk, Dentin had stopped fidgeting and now regarded me with blatant amusement.
“Don’t laugh at me,” I protested, torn between laughter and tears myself.
He cleared his throat. “I never laugh at people who threaten me.”
“Even when they fail miserably at it?” I asked with a half smile.
“Not even then.” He straightened in his seat as I became aware of movement behind me.
“You summoned me, my lord?” Lady Elsa’s soft voice soothed my frustration. I would have an ally now.
Dentin rose to his feet and came around the table to greet his wife. “Madam Rendare became overset, and I hoped your presence would help as we discuss the repercussions of my news.”
Something passed between the countess and the earl I didn’t catch, but I did witness the earl’s attempt at an expression of complete innocence before he deposited her in a seat next to me.
“What were you going to mention?” Elsa turned to me, and her expression melted into concern. “She is white as milk, Simon. What did you say?” Leaning over as best she could with her growing belly, she caught and held one of my hands in hers for a moment. She then frowned at her husband. “Explain.”
“I am only trying to convince her she needs to focus on her sister’s welfare, not her father’s. She can do more in that area than any other.”
“Simon…” The sound of gentle reproof in Elsa’s voice helped me quiet my frustration with her husband. “Tell her the full truth and let her decide for herself what to do. It is her decision, not yours.”