Why the Earl is After the Girl
Ways of Love Book 1
by Tabetha Waite
Genre: Historical Romance
A missing heirloom. A stolen inheritance. Can love conquer mistrust?
Athena Hawthorne never imagined that she would lose everything she'd ever had. But after the death of her father, his prosperous jewelry store is sold off to pay his supposed debts. Athena, now destitute, embarks on a mission to discover the truth, but circumstances force her to accept an offer from a handsome stranger to work as a governess. She's determined to clear her father's name, but a certain earl is making matters far more difficult than necessary. And she can't be in danger of losing her heart to a member of the aristocracy...
Orion Ashcroft, the Earl of Rockford, is convinced that Athena is a grasping thief who stole a priceless family heirloom, the rare sapphire known as the Couleur Magnifique. When he offers her the position of governess to his sister's children, he only intends to catch her in some nefarious scheme and get back the sapphire—his grandmother's dying wish. But he soon discovers that keeping his distance—and his sanity—around the beautiful Athena isn't as easy as he'd planned. It certainly doesn't help that his sister and his best friend plead her innocence at every frustrating turn. Soon he's struggling between honoring his promise and his growing attraction to Athena.
But there's danger closer than either expect. Even a masquerade can't hide Athena from the curiosity of the ton forever...and there's a threat hiding among the highest members of society...
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Walking casually into the front parlor where his sister and Gregory sat enjoying a round of piquet, he found himself looking around for Athena before feeling a surge of disappointment when she didn’t appear.
“It seems rather quiet tonight,” he noted, to which he was ignored. With a frown, he walked over to a large globe in a corner of the room. Giving it a haphazard spin, he tried to keep his tone neutral when he asked, “Has Athena already retired?”
Cassie didn’t even look up but merely kept playing. “No.”
More was obviously not forthcoming, so he turned to his sister and put his hands on his hips. “Is she with the twins?”
“No.” This time the obscure reply came from Gregory.
Rion instantly froze. Something wasn’t right here…”Then where is she?”
“Out.” Cassie shrugged as she laid down another card.
He blinked, not sure that he’d heard correctly. “Do you mean she’s gone?”
“That’s what ‘out’ usually means, yes.” His sister rolled her eyes at Gregory as though she was worried about the welfare of Rion’s mind.
It was the last straw. “Does someone want to tell me what the hell is going on?” Gregory finally glanced up, his green eyes full of censure. “Friend or brother, I will thank you not to use that sort of language around my wife.”
“Then can we quit dancing around the subject of Athena?” Rion shot back irritably.
“Athena, is it?” Cassie said almost silkily, as she finally – finally – laid down her hand and turned to face him fully. When Rion didn’t reply, but merely kept his expression mutinous, she lifted her chin and said in the most casual manner imaginable, “She’s at a masquerade ball with Lord Eversleigh.”
Athena was with -- Roarke? “Wait.” Holding up a hand, he asked firmly, “How does she even know him?”
“The viscount paid us a call this afternoon.” Gregory replied, his full attention on the exchange now.
“To see Athena?” Rion asked, doubly confused.
Again, Cassie rolled her eyes, and damned if she wasn’t pregnant or even blood relation he would have called her out at that moment, regardless of the fact she was a woman. “No. He came to see Gregory and myself, but after meeting Athena, he thought she would be the perfect choice to take to the ball. So, I helped her choose one of my gowns…”
“You mean you were a party to this debacle?” Rion groaned in disbelief. Surely he was dreaming and he was only imagining this entire nightmare.
“I didn’t see where it hurt that she had a night to herself.” Cassie shrugged. “She is a young woman of age after all and she has been working quite hard.”
Rion felt a tic begin in his jaw. “Who, pray tell, was her chaperone?”
“Oh, good heavens! She just went out with Eversleigh!” Cassie replied, as if it was perfectly commonplace to allow a single governess to go about London in the middle of the night with a known rogue.
Rion didn’t even think. Before Cassie had even caught up to him, he had stalked back into the foyer and was shrugging on his greatcoat.
Where the Viscount Met His Match
Ways of Love Book 2
Secrets. Lies. And a second chance at love...
Torn from the only man she'd ever loved by a tragic secret, Mara Miller has traveled a long and difficult road. From poverty and the workhouses, she's finally made a life for herself as the owner of a small haberdashery in London. With her companion, Big B, an African slave she'd helped escape from a Brazilian slaver, she's made a fresh start. But when the past walks into her shop—in the form of the ever-handsome Roarke Garrott, Viscount Eversleigh—Mara feels her whole world crash to her feet. Thrust back into a web of lies, deceit, and manipulation, Mara is forced to face the one man she'd sworn to forget.
For the past seven years, Roarke had sequestered himself in India to mourn Mara's death. Vowing to move on and put the past behind him, he returns to London, only to find himself gazing into those beautiful green eyes he believed he'd never see again. Now he's found her—alive and trying to deny who she was. A million feelings wash over him. Joy. Fury. Heartbreak. He would have the truth from her—of where she'd gone, and why—but when trouble from the past finds Mara and Big B, the truth becomes secondary to saving Mara's life. After just learning that the woman he'd loved is alive, Roarke is not about to lose her again...
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Her heart was pounding so fiercely she was sure that he could hear it. As it was, her entire body nearly vibrated with the force of it. “How did you get in?” she whispered.
His tone was slightly mocking when he said, “As if a locked door could keep me away from you.”
“Why are you here?” she dared to ask, swallowing nervously.
“I think you know why,” he murmured huskily in return. “We have unfinished business.”
“There is nothing else to discuss. Everything has already been said.”
“Has it?” He stroked the back of her neck. “Yes.” There was a brief pause, while Mara held her breath, before he said softly, “That’s where you’re wrong. You see, all this time that you’ve been running, you’ve never once asked my opinion on anything, and I’ve decided that I don’t give a damn what you say, because I want you.”
Mara felt herself begin to tremble. “You don’t know what you’re asking of me, Roarke. There are things you don’t know, that would be detrimental...” She shook her head to regain control of her scattered emotions. “You would grow to despise me. I’d rather be dead to you in truth than have that happen.”
She felt the gentle brush of a hand on her hair.
“You know, for years I tried to hate you, but it appears I’m not capable of it when it comes to you.” He took her by the shoulders and gently, but firmly, turned her to face him.
When a Duke Pursues a Lady
Ways of Love Book 3
An innocent woman. A loyal agent to the Crown. A path of deception that tests the bonds of love.
Lyra Coventry, Lady Weston, has spent the past three years trapped in an abusive and loveless marriage. But just when she believes she’s free, she’s charged with the murder of her husband. With no one to turn to for help, her judgment seems rather dire, until the Duke of Albright comes forward to offer his aid. With no choice but to put her trust in him, she doesn’t know that he has an ulterior motive for helping her – to prove her guilty of treason. It isn’t until the true villain comes to light that she discovers a strength she never knew existed – and a love she never thought was possible.
Alister Ayles, Duke of Albright, might be the subject of ton ridicule, but as a highly respected agent for the Crown, he discovered a higher purpose. However, when he’s faced with his toughest investigation to date, he has to travel a difficult path. Years ago, he’d made a mistake and let Lyra slip through his fingers. Now, he has a chance to make it right by clearing her name. But when it comes down to a test of loyalty, will he stand strong, or fall prey to his desires?
Tabetha Waite is the award winning author of "Why the Earl is After the Girl," her debut novel and the first installment of her Ways of Love series. Raised in Missouri by her paternal grandparents, she always had a love of reading. Her early influences were the Gothic romances of the 60s, the Janet Dailey Americana series, and "Midnight Bride" by Kathleen Drymon. She continues to make her home in the Midwest with her husband and two daughters.
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