HER ONE TRUE LOVE
Released March 15th, 2016
She Can't Forget Him…
Jane Charlotte Danes has loved the squire of her idyllic country town for as long as she can remember. He is good, kind, and alluring beyond words… and he chose to marry another. Tired of dwelling on her futile longings, Jane plans a move to Bath, where she dreams of a new beginning. But the man who has so imprisoned her heart is only a few steps behind…
He Can't Let Her Go…
Until now, Matthew Cleaves has endeavored to meet the responsibilities of his position with dignity and good spirits--including his dutiful marriage. But when his wife leaves him for another man, Matthew is at last free to pursue his one true love. Only one vital question remains: will the captivating, stubborn, beautiful Jane allow him the challenge, and the pleasure, of winning her back?...
Matthew turned and faced Jane. “When are you leaving for the city?”
She took another step back, her gaze darting over his face. “The day after tomorrow. Why?”
“Because I will escort you. We can travel together in my carriage.”
“No, I do not need your––”
“I will be going anyway. I planned to visit some contacts in the city in the hope of securing guaranteed trade for Biddestone in the coming year. It seems unnecessary for us to make the trip separately when I have a carriage plenty big enough for us both.”
“There is absolutely no need. Jeannie will be coming with me.”
“My offer still stands.”
She glared. “It’s my intention to start on the path of independence, of finding out what the world has to offer me on my own merit. I will hardly be carving out my own path when at the first step from my home, I lean on you.”
“You are being stubborn.”
She pulled back her shoulders. “And you are not?”
The longer he looked at her, the more Matthew saw the quiet beauty he’d desperately tried to ignore. He took a steadying breath. “Please, Jane. Let me escort you to Bath.”
The seconds passed, but Matthew held his tongue. It was imperative she spoke next, that she understood he didn’t mean to bully her but wanted to ensure her safety to a city ravaged by danger, as much as opportunity.
She sighed. “Fine. On one condition.”
He held her gaze. “Which is?”
Her eyes softened, slowly lighting with mischief. “You smile. Now. You smile at me like you did before she left.”
Heat rose to his face. “You want me to smile?”
“Yes. Smile for me, Matthew.”
Empathy and passion swirled in eyes, but they also bore a deep, painful awareness that scratched hard over his heart. The longer he stared, the more he wanted to make her happy.
He smiled, his gaze on hers…and was surprised to find the trade no effort at all.
Jane’s heart ached to see such deep anguish in his gaze. There was no rage, no anger, not even a trace of the moroseness she had seen so many times in his eyes during the preceding months. He stood in front of her as the true, loyal, and honest man she’d always loved and admired.
All the months she fought her feelings for him and now he wished to be with her. Tears escaped and rolled over her cheeks. He brushed his thumbs under her eyes, and it took every ounce of her strength not to collapse against him and damn the right and wrong of her yearning.
“Jane, please understand how hard it is for me to see you cry and not fix things to be with you overnight. What is starting between us, what I am feeling, cannot be ignored.”
Jane took a strengthening breath. “I am not the same woman I was a year, even six months ago, Matthew. I’ve changed. You’ve changed. Neither of us should rush headlong into the idea of us being together when there are so many other people involved.”
He frowned. “Like Elizabeth?”
She nodded. “And the villagers. And for me, the children at the boardinghouse. I can’t stop my dream to do good now that I have found the courage to pursue it.”
“Everything will work out. I will ensure it.”
He smiled softly, the gentle determination in his gaze seeping deep inside her until impassioned hope squeezed like a vise around her weakening heart.
He brushed the curls from her temple and pressed his lips to her forehead. “I have been blind. My sense of pride and loyalty to my father, a man who thought of me as little more than a cog in his ambitious wheel, has meant I wasted two years with a woman I tried hard to make happy. I refuse to waste any more of my life.”
His words twisted and tore at Jane’s heart. The last thing she wanted him to do was act impulsively and jeopardize anything that might be good for the people of Biddestone. “So what are we to do now?”
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Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and three Victorian romances by eKensington/Lyrical.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest.
When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!