Love on a Dime

Love on a Dime

3.8 114
by Cara Lynn James
     
 

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In age of elegance and excess, Lilly Westbrook longs for a love both true and eternal.

Newport, Rhode Island, 1899, is a place of shimmering waves, sleek yachts, and ladies of leisure. Of opulent mansions that serve as summer cottages for the rich and famous. Home of railroad magnates and banking tycoons—dashing young men and the women who aspire to

Overview

In age of elegance and excess, Lilly Westbrook longs for a love both true and eternal.

Newport, Rhode Island, 1899, is a place of shimmering waves, sleek yachts, and ladies of leisure. Of opulent mansions that serve as summer cottages for the rich and famous. Home of railroad magnates and banking tycoons—dashing young men and the women who aspire to marry them.

But it's not the place for lady novelists. Especially not those who pen disreputable dime novels. This poses a problem for Lilly Westbrook, because that's exactly what she does.

No one in Lilly's social set knows she pens fiction under the nom de plume Fannie Cole. Not her family or the wealthy young man about to propose to her. And especially not Jackson Grail, the long-lost beau who just bought her publishing company...and who stirs her heart more than she cares to admit.

But Lilly must put aside her feelings and follow the path that will maintain her family's social stature and provide the financial security that everyone is depending on.

Now Lilly faces a double dilemma. Can she continue to protect her secret identity? And will she have the courage to choose the man who will risk it all just to win her heart?

Editorial Reviews

Romantic Times
“James’ debut novel is filled with romance, laughter and secrets,
which will delight fans of historical romance. The characters are well defined and try to be true to themselves with unexpected results.
Readers will look forward to the next Ladies of Summerhill installment.
Four stars.”
CBA Retailers and Resources
“Love on a Dime is a touching, well-written novel whispering the theme that all things are possible with God.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781410430878
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
10/01/2010
Series:
A Ladies of Summerhill Novel Series
Edition description:
Large Print Edition
Pages:
524
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.30(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

LOVE ON A DIME


By CARA LYNN JAMES

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2010 Carolyn James Slaughter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59554-679-1


Chapter One

Newport, Rhode Island-July 1899

Six years later

With a deep sigh of satisfaction, Lilly Westbrook whipped the last page of her manuscript out of the Underwood typewriter. Carefully she shredded the carbon and threw the messy strips into the wastebasket. No meddle some maid could possibly reconstruct her work and tattle to Mama.

For a moment, a wave of sadness overshadowed the pleasure she felt at finishing another story. How she longed to share her secret with her mother, but as much as Lilly hated deception, she knew Mama would never understand. Mama was proud of her for dabbling in poetry, but this?

No. It was best to stay behind closed doors to write her dime novels.

Lilly shuddered to think of the disgrace she'd bring upon herself and, even worse, upon her family, if her secret was revealed. The very notion of social ostracism weakened her knees and left her legs wobbly. A twinge of guilt pinched her conscience as it often did when she considered her concealment. Yet why look for trouble when her work was progressing so well?

Lilly scrubbed her hands until all evidence of the carbon paper and inky ribbon disappeared into the washbasin near her bed, then covered the typewriter Mama had given her as a birthday gift a few years before. Mama thought a typing machine unnecessary for a poet, but she wasn't one to begrudge her children anything within reason.

Lilly withdrew a letter from her skirt pocket and smiled as she re-read the last lines.

My dear Lilly, I want to again express my thanks for all you've contributed to the Christian Settlement House of New York. We so value the time and effort you have devoted to assisting our young ladies with their sundry life skills and English fluency. Your exceptional generosity and financial support have enabled us to continue our work in accordance with the Lord's purposes. Sincerely, Phoebe Diller, Director

Miss Diller's kind words sent a rush of warmth to Lilly's heart and strengthened her resolve to continue writing. For without the profits from her novels, she couldn't afford to donate more than a few dollars to her favorite charity. How could she possibly quit writing when her romance novels provided so many blessings to others?

Lilly locked the final chapter in the rolltop desk by the bay window and hid the key beneath the lining of her keepsake box. Time for a well-deserved walk by the sea. She removed her reading spectacles and placed her straw hat decorated with bright poppies squarely on top of her upswept hair. After a last furtive glance toward the desk, she left her bedroom to the morning sunshine that splashed across the shiny oak floor and floral carpet.

All the way down the staircase she congratulated herself for typing "The End" of her story, though it was only a few days before deadline. That was much too close for comfort. She sighed. Too many social events had disrupted her normal writing routine this summer. But she had no choice but to force a smile and attend the functions, even though most of them bored her to distraction.

She wouldn't think of that now. At least she'd finished the manuscript before the deadline and for that she'd treat herself to a few minutes out of her room. With a light heart, she strolled through the deserted foyer, past Mr. Ames, the butler, and out the front door. A beautiful day greeted her with its sun-blessed smile.

As she crossed the veranda, her sister-in-law Irene Westbrook, seated at the end of the porch, peered over a small, familiar book. The lurid cover of Lilly's latest novel, Dorothea's Dilemma, popped out in garish color. Lilly stopped short and pressed her palm over her gyrating heart.

"Oh my," she murmured. She'd never expected to see one of her novels in her own home, let alone in the hands of her brother's wife.

Irene smoothed her halo of silky blonde curls caught up in a loose pompadour. She laid the slim paperback on her lap, her eyes gleaming with curiosity. "Why hello, Lilly. Where have you been on this beautiful afternoon? Cooped up in your bedroom again? My goodness, what do you do in there all day?"

"Sometimes I enjoy a few hours of solitude." Lilly's nerves seized control of her voice and it rose like the screech of a seagull. "I'm sorry I interrupted your reading." Heat crept into her skin as Irene watched her, face aglow with interest.

"Do sit down, Lilly."

She slipped into a wicker chair opposite Irene. A gust of salty air, typical of Newport's summer weather, blew in from the Atlantic and brushed its cool breath across her cheeks. She prayed it would fade the red splotches that came so easily when embarrassment struck.

Irene cocked her head. "Is something wrong? You look positively ill."

"No, I'm fine." Though every fiber of her body continued to quiver, Lilly steadied her breathing. She folded her hands in the lap of her charcoal-gray skirt and willed them not to shake. "You aren't shocked by my novel, are you?" Irene smirked.

"Of course not." Lilly squirmed around on the soft chintz cushion and avoided Irene's skeptical stare. "Why should I be shocked?"

Irene leaned forward. "Some people claim dime novels are trash, and from your reaction I thought you might be one of those faultfinders. Of course they're wrong. These books are filled with adventure and I love adventure." She rolled the last word around her tongue like a stream of honey.

Irene, the niece of Quentin Kirby, one of San Francisco's silver kings, fancied herself an adventuress, but Lilly inwardly disagreed. Irene merely appreciated fun and frivolity more than most. That hardly made her a woman like the heroines of Lilly's books. "I'm so sorry, Irene. I didn't mean to criticize your choice of books. I just wondered where you obtained your copy."

"I discovered it in the kitchen while I was searching for a blueberry tart." Irene grinned as if Lilly ought to admire her clever ness. "One of the scullery maids must have left it there."

"You took it without asking permission?" Lilly could scarcely believe Irene had wandered downstairs to the basement kitchen, the domain of servants who strongly disapproved of visitors, even the family.

"Why yes. Well no, not exactly. I borrowed it. As soon as I finish reading, I'll give it back. Of course."

Irene tapped the big, red letters spelling out the author's name across the cover. "Fannie Cole. She's a splendid writer, the very best. Have you ever read any of her books? I devour them like chocolate."

Lilly's heart lurched. "Naturally I've heard of her. I believe her stories are rather popular."

"They're enthralling."

At the sound of the front door squeaking open, Lilly looked away with relief.

Mama bustled onto the veranda, a frown knitting her eyebrows. "What's that about Fannie Cole? She's quite infamous, I hear." Glancing from Lilly to Irene, Mama's eyelashes fluttered, a sure sign of agitation. "Oh, I see you have one of her books ..."

Lilly knew her mother couldn't let this breach of propriety pass without comment. On the other hand, the kind and ever tactful Vanessa Westbrook would hate to offend her new daughter-in-law.

"Mama, Fannie Cole writes harmless fiction. You needn't worry." Lilly smiled her assurance, hoping she'd veer off to another topic.

Her mother sunk into a wicker chair beside Irene. "Perhaps, my dear, but you must admit, there are so many more uplifting novels." She patted Irene's arm, which was robed in a cream silk blouse that matched the lace of her skirt. "Lillian is a poet, you know. Her work is delightful. You must read it. I'll go fetch you a copy."

Lilly cringed. "No, Mama. I wrote those poems years ago. She wouldn't be interested in the meanderings of an eighteen-year-old ninny. It's sentimental tripe."

"Nonsense, my dear. You've always been much too critical of yourself."

"Nevertheless, I'm sure Irene would prefer Fannie Cole." Who wouldn't? Lilly thought. Still, she appreciated her mother's enthusiasm for her meager literary efforts.

Irene tossed her a wide, grateful smile. "There, that's settled."

Mama's round, girlish face tightened with distaste. "I wish you wouldn't read dime novels because ..." She looked toward Lilly for support.

"Really, Mama." Lilly softened her voice, not meaning to scold. "While some of the dime novels are sensational, others are written to help working girls avoid the pitfalls of city life. They're moralistic tales that encourage virtue. Nothing to be ashamed of reading." Or writing. "Exactly." Irene beamed. "I couldn't have said it better myself. Of course, I read for the story, not the moral lesson, but I'm sure it's beneficial for those who enjoy a good sermon."

Lilly suppressed a sigh of resignation. "No doubt Miss Cole hopes and prays her words touch the hearts of her readers and bring them closer to the Lord." Lilly looked at Mama and Irene, hoping they'd somehow understand her purpose and approve. But both looked puzzled over her words.

Irene's gaze narrowed. "An odd way to spread the gospel, don't you think?"

"Not at all. The Lord is more creative than we are." Lilly bristled and then glanced away when she found her mother and sister-in-law still staring at her.

She'd spoken up much more forcefully than she intended. With a sinking heart, Lilly realized Mama would never accept her viewpoint; it flew in the face of beliefs and opinions ingrained since childhood.

Irene picked up a sheet of paper resting on a small table between two pots of ferns and waved it like a flag on the Fourth of July. Lilly immediately recognized Talk of the Town, a gossip rag published by that scandalmonger, Colonel MacIntyre, the bane of Newport society. He shot fear into the hearts of all upstanding people and others who weren't quite so virtuous. Lilly swallowed hard.

Mama gasped. Her pale skin whitened. "Oh my dear, that's hardly appropriate for a respectable home."

Irene shrugged. "Perhaps not. But if you don't mind my saying so, it's great fun to read. I'm learning the crème de la crème of Newport are up to all kinds of mischief." She laughed with pleasure.

"Listen to this." Irene leaned forward. "One hears that Miss Fannie Cole, author of wildly popular dime novels, has taken up residence at one of the ocean villas for the season. The talk about town claims this writer of sensational-some might even say salacious-stories, belongs to the New York and Newport aristocracy. Which of our fine debutantes or matrons writes under the nom de plume, Fannie Cole? Speculation runs rampant. Would the talented but mysterious author of Dorothea's Dilemma, Hearts in Tune, and several other delectable novels please come forward and identify herself for her public?"

Lilly's throat closed. She clamped her hands down on her lap, but they shook like a hummingbird's wings. Had a maid or a footman stumbled across her secret and sold the information? Colonel Rufus MacIntyre of Talk of the Town paid handsomely for gossip. No one was safe from his long, grasping tentacles, including some of the most prominent people in society.

"The colonel has mentioned Miss Cole in his column for the last two weeks, so I expect we'll hear more about her during the summer." Irene grinned as she studied the sheet. "I wonder who she is. I'd love to meet her."

Mama's mouth puckered into a small circle. "Undoubtedly someone from the wrong side of the tracks. No one we'd know." She punctuated her words with a firm nod.

Irene persisted. "You must have an idea, Lilly. You seem to know everything that's going on in society."

Lilly turned away, sure that a red stain had again spilled across her pale skin. Her sister-in-law was right. She did listen to all the tittle-tattle, but she prided herself on her discretion. The foibles of her set provided grist for her novels, not for spreading rumors and innuendo.

"You give me far too much credit, Irene." She hated to dodge questions to keep from lying, but what was her option short of confessing? She twisted the cameo at the neck of her tailored shirtwaist.

Mama wagged her finger. "Mark my words. By the end of the summer someone will discover Fannie Cole's true name and announce it to the entire town. Oh, my. What humiliation she'll bring upon her family. They'll be mortified."

"How delicious," Irene murmured.

Lilly groaned inwardly. Her subterfuge gnawed at her conscience, worsening day by day, but she couldn't turn back the clock and reconsider her decision to write in secret.

She rose. "Will you excuse me? I need to take my walk now."

With her head held high and as much poise as she could muster, Lilly descended the veranda's shallow steps. She strode across the wide, sloping lawn that surrounded Summerhill, the old twenty-two-room mansion the Westbrooks rented for the season.

Once she reached the giant rocks that separated the grounds from the ocean, she picked her way over to a smooth boulder that doubled for a bench. As she'd done every day since her arrival three weeks ago, Lilly settled onto its cold surface. Instead of watching the breakers pound against the coast and absorb the majesty of nature's rhythm, she rested her head in her hands and let the breeze brush against her face.

What would happen if her beau, Harlan Santerre, discovered that she and Fannie Cole were the same person? The wealthy railroad heir, a guest of the family for the eight weeks of summer, miraculously seemed ripe to propose. Her mother kept reminding her how grateful she should be that such a solid, upstanding man as Harlan Santerre had shown interest in a twenty-five-year-old spinster with no grand fortune and no great beauty. Mama and the entire family would be humiliated if her writing became public knowledge and Harlan turned his attention elsewhere.

Yet the Holy Ghost had urged her to compose her simple stories, and as she wrote, her melancholy gradually faded. Her enthusiasm never waned thanks to the joy she received from doing the Lord's work.

Why would He allow someone to ruin her and end the good deeds she accomplished? He should smite her enemies instead. All her life she'd trusted the Lord to guide her and protect her, but never had she needed His help more than now. But would He continue to shield her?

Trembling, Lilly tossed a stone into the roiling surf and watched it sink into the foamy white waves. What if the surge of curiosity aroused by Colonel MacIntyre didn't fade away and everything she held dear was threatened?

Chapter Two

Jack Grail's blood coursed through his veins as the matched pair of grays gained speed. With daring abandon, he urged the horses forward as they pulled the carriage around the twists and turns of Ocean Drive. Manorial homes set on windswept lawns rushed by. He glimpsed the deep blue Atlantic crash and spit against boulders and cliffs. A steady breeze raked through his hair and whistled past his ears. How he loved the exhilaration that increased with every hoofbeat, the stimulant of speed.

"We're here." George Westbrook leaned across Jack and pointed to a winding driveway tucked behind a low stone fence. Jack slowed the horses to an easy canter before turning into the pebbled drive.

Directly ahead, Summerhill crowned a gentle rise. With white shingles and gingerbread trim, it looked like a wedding cake set against the sprawling acres of bright green grass. Yet the awnings and wraparound porch won his approval for their refreshing simplicity. This seaside home, called a cottage-despite its numerous rooms-appealed to him far more than the Italianate palazzos and French chateaux that lined Newport's Bellevue Avenue, one of the country's most exclusive addresses.

Jack lifted his chin toward the house. "What a grand home you have here."

"We rented it for the summer. The doctor thought a few months by the ocean might improve my father's health. His asthma has worsened this past year."

The Westbrooks weren't nearly as rich as the Astors, the Vanderbilts, or the Goelets, but leasing a mansion still made them plenty rich, in Jack's opinion. They certainly had enough to remain in great comfort.

A familiar and unwanted prick of envy punctured his good humor. Someday, he hoped to build a villa boasting thirty spacious rooms and sweeping views of the rocky Rhode Island coastline. If he expanded his business and achieved the success he expected, he might have a place like Summerhill, commodious, though unpretentious by Newport standards. In a few years a summer house could easily be within his reach-if all went well.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from LOVE ON A DIME by CARA LYNN JAMES Copyright © 2010 by Carolyn James Slaughter. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Cara Lynn James is the author of several novels includingLove on a Dime. She's received contest awards from Romance Writers of America and the American Christian Fiction Writers. She resides in Florida with her husband Jim.

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Love on a Dime 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 114 reviews.
ISLANDFLOWER More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I will be reading more from Cara Lynn James.
GHott More than 1 year ago
Jackson Grail raced out of Lilly Westbrook's life only hours after proposing. His heart belonged to Lilly but he just couldn't shake his pride and overhearing a conversation Lilly's parents were having about Jackson not being good enough for their heiress confirmed his darkest beliefs and sent him tearing into the night. Now many years later Jackson is returning. He has finally 'made good' and is able to financially keep his lovely heiress if only he can regain her love. Lilly is not having it. It took her all this time to get over Jackson and when she finally gets a suitor - he returns acting like he never left. Oh, and worse! Lilly's doing something unconventional. Something that could get her get her tossed from polite society. Something that Jackson will find if he starts digging...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is filled with adventure, mystery, family, humor, and love! A fun story to read and enjoy. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ABSOLUTELY loved this book! I just spent an entire week in the hospital, and it was one of only 2 books there. The other was Cara Lynns Love on Assignment. Sadly, I was not able to read that one. I will be looking for it on my Kindle. Her honesty, emotion, wit and sarcasm mixed with Christian elegance makes this book worth it! I am not normally a "romance" novel reader, but this book has changed my mind! 5 Stars, without a doubt!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jessica Esposito More than 1 year ago
Easy romance novel.
novelimagination More than 1 year ago
I loved this story! It had a wonderful plot, charming characters and held my romantic heart's attention throughout. A 5 star story!
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Newport, Rhode Island in 1899, Lilly Westbrook, a woman from a prestigious family spends time alone in her bedroom penning dime store romance novels under the name Fannie Cole, to protect her family's name reputation. The upper society types don't prefer to read this "trashy" romance novels even though most of the staff finds it enjoyable and uplifting. Lilly's novels differ from most because she uses hers as a ministry to encourage and lift women up, to not settle for less than they are worth simply to marry for the wrong reasons. Lilly also has been using hers to help her get over being rejected by her former love, Jackson Grail. Jackson was a friend of her brother, George, who was a well educated man who came from humble beginnings. He leaves Lilly behind hoping to make a name for himself and win Lilly's hand in marriage and offering her the lifestyle her family has dreamed for Lilly. After 6 long years, he returns back to Summerville to find that Lilly is being courted, by Harlin Santerre, a very wealthy man with a prominent name in the community. Will Jack be able to win Lilly's heart once more or will his time simply become a distant memory in one of her dime store romance novels? In the novel, Love On A Dime by Cara Lynn James, you are taken back to a simple time of elegance and wealthy among the wealthy and noble socialites of the times, including the Astors. You will find yourself wondering just what will befall Lilly and Jack and if true love will win out over love of money and fame. I can easily rate this wonderful novel a 5 out of 5 stars. I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Cara Lynn James in her new book, "Love On A Dime" Book One in her Ladies Of Summerhill series published by Thomas Nelson takes us to 1899 Newport, Rhode Island. Lilly Westbrook has a secret identity: she writes dime novels under the nom de plume (pen name) of Fannie Cole. This may not shock us now, women write about anything now without society hindrances but in 1899 this was a definite no-no for a young lady of upper class society. So she cannot share her identity with her friends or family and certainly not her parents because they would not be proud of what she has accomplished. Six years earlier, Jackson Grail made a costly decision, because he was poor and he lost the ability to marry Lilly now he has returned to try to rectify that mistake. His chances are complicated because Harlan Santerre, from a family even wealthier than the Westbrooks, has already proposed. On top of everything Lilly is being blackmailed to keep her identity secret "Love On A Dime" is a delightful read full of atmosphere and history . Ms. James takes us back in time when the classes were well-defined by their money and society. But this book is more than just manners and money it is about trusting God and learning to lean on Him for His guidance and direction. The characters are so real and you root for their romance to blossom. Ms. James knows how to tell a story that is both interesting and delightful and I recommend it highly. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and business professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where it is available On Demand. To listen to 24 hours non-stop Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In age of elegance and excess, Lilly Westbrook longs for a love both true and eternal. Newport, Rhode Island, 1899, is a place of shimmering waves, sleek yachts, and ladies of leisure. Of opulent mansions that serve as summer cottages for the rich and famous. Home of railroad magnates and banking tycoons--dashing young men and the women who aspire to marry them. But it's not the place for lady novelists. Especially not those who pen disreputable dime novels. This poses a problem for Lilly Westbrook, because that's exactly what she does. No one in Lilly's social set knows she pens fiction under the "nom de plume "Fannie Cole. Not her family or the wealthy young man about to propose to her. And especially not Jackson Grail, the long-lost beau who just bought her publishing company...and who stirs her heart more than she cares to admit. But Lilly must put aside her feelings and follow the path that will maintain her family's social stature and provide the financial security that everyone is depending on. Now Lilly faces a double dilemma. Can she continue to protect her secret identity? And will she have the courage to choose the man who will risk it all just to win her heart? My Review - although this book was slow moving at first, the last 50 pages were intense and fast paced. I liked how it kept mentioning Irene's secret but you didn't know what it was until the very end. And I liked Jackson's character. Harlan was a drag though! I kept thinking to myself while reading it, my how times have changed. In this time era you went somewhere with an escort. Now that's not expected...Something to ponder...Overall a pretty good book and hopefully one day I'll get around to reading the other books in the series.
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Rita Mcabee More than 1 year ago
Could not put it downl
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