Accidental Fiancee (Love Inspired Historical Series)

Accidental Fiancee (Love Inspired Historical Series)

by Mary Moore

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373282975
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 01/06/2015
Series: Love Inspired Historical Series
Edition description: Original
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Mary Moore has been writing historical fiction for 15 years. After battling breast cancer, Mary is more excited as she dedicates her books to encourage others. Her debut novel, The Aristocrat's Lady, won many awards including the 2011 award by RT Magazine and the 2011 Holt Medallion Award. Mary is a native of Washington, DC, but she and her husband now live in the Blue Ridge mountains of VA. She would love to hear from you!

Read an Excerpt

En Route to London, 1817

Oh, Grace, it can be none of our concern!" Grace's younger sister, Lydia, warned softly. "I am persuaded it would be better if we did not get involved." But Grace was already walking toward their parlor door at the Blue Swan Inn.

Sitting quietly over a pot of tea in their private parlor, Lady Grace Endicott and her sister had been surprised to hear voices from the next room come clearly through the inn's thin walls.

"I tell you, Mama, it was Lord Weston pulling into the yard," said a faceless voice in a tone of loud frustration.

"But, dear, what does it matter?" asked a harried older woman in response.

The first voice, more menacing now, drawled, "Really, Mother, must I spell everything out for you?"

Grace now had the two women pictured in her mind and she did not like the view. Would a daughter really speak so to her parent?

"My dear Charlotte," the mother complained, "Lord Weston is rich, to be sure, but should you like to be married to him? He has quite a reputation as a rake."

Charlotte snorted loudly. "What a singularly stupid question. Do I wish to be a marchioness with more pin money than you can even imagine? He must marry sometime. He has to beget an heir. Once I have provided one, I will be free to go my own way…with all the money I need to do so."

Charlotte's mother responded, "So you have a plan?" Then she asked eagerly, "You think you can catch him?"

"Mother, dear, I have a splendid plan," Charlotte replied, her tone oozing with evil intentions. "I will happen to encounter him when he enters the inn. I will insist he join us. He cannot refuse to pay his proper respects to my beloved mother. When I bring Lord Weston here, you must rush past us, claiming that you are ill, and leave the room. I will keep the marquess in here long enough to be fully compromised." She laughed wickedly. "He will be honor bound to marry me, and I will be very rich!"

That was the point at which Grace knew she must do something. She knew it was none of her affair, yet she would not wish such a thing forced upon an innocent person. She was appalled at the way Charlotte and her mother had spoken to one another. That they would contrive to trap a man into marriage went beyond her comprehension or experience. A husband at any price? Grace did not remember Society to be so avaricious in her own Season. She knew she and Lydia would never fit in with London's ton if deception and plotting was the way of life there.

Lydia was so looking forward to her Season, the purpose behind the girl's first trip to London, but Grace had visited the city many times and had always felt the people to be cold and calculating. She regretted having to leave her country home, even for a short while. She also worried that Lydia's innocent and kind heart would be hurt by the cruel ton.

The best way to protect her precious sister would be to lead by example, through helping others in need whenever possible.

Grace would start now.

"Darling Lydia, I cannot stand by and allow such a malevolent act." She walked out of their parlor, intent on saving this man from his conniving assailants. She knew she would appear forward to address a stranger, but that was a small price to pay if she could warn him of their intentions.

Grace need not have feared identifying the marquess; there was only one man and he was with the landlord. He was large, with the blackest hair, and he was obviously a Corinthian—as men of fashion were often called—based on the number of capes on his driving coat. With a short prayer, she walked up behind him.

"Sir?" she asked, summoning her most charming smile. "When you are finished making arrangements with Mr. Dobbins, may I speak to you a moment?"

As the most handsome man she had ever seen turned to her with a question in his dark eyes, she held out her hand, and indicated a small table centered in front of the benches beside the entryway.

The gentleman raised a brow and asked, "I beg your pardon?"

He began smiling lazily down at her, waiting for her to explain herself. But those eyes were awake upon every suit, despite his smile.

"Will you not sit, my lord?"

"I prefer to stand, I thank you." He looked at her askance. "But I should like to know how you know me." He leaned up against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest. "I admit I am quite at a loss as to know how I might be of help to you."

"No, sir," she said, almost in a whisper. "It is I who wish to help you" As he laughed out loud, Grace began to seriously regret not listening to Lydia's pleas.

Brandon Roth, Lord Weston, had no idea what was afoot, but he was enjoying himself immensely. When the tedium of the journey to London had initiated the stop at this inn, little had he known what awaited him. The woman before him was behaving in a peculiar fashion, to say the least, but he sensed no malice from her. He could not help but be intrigued by her plea for a private conference. They were in full public view, so he felt relatively safe from the traps normally set for him. Yet he remained wary.

"My lord," she said, "I have overheard a plot to compromise you into marriage, and I wished to put you on your guard."

He had not known what to expect, but he would have never guessed this! She appeared to be telling the truth, and he wondered at such innocence in one certainly out of her girlhood. "You overheard?"

"Yes. You see, my sister and I were taking tea in that parlor there, and the women in the room next to ours were talking quite loudly."

"Ahh, an eavesdropper, are you?"

"Of course I am not…" She put her hands on her hips, frustrated. "You are making sport of me when I am trying very hard to be of help." Her voice had a low timbre. He would not go so far as to say sultry, but it was soothing, even in the exasperation he caused her.

Brandon did his best to avoid laughing. He wondered whether she was coming from or going to London. Already he hoped the latter and that their paths would cross again in Town; though he supposed even she would lose her charm eventually.

"Very well, madam. Why don't you finish your tale and we may proceed from there."

She tried to explain to him about the conversation she and her sister had overheard, and she finished with, "I thought if I could get word to you before she appeared, you would be able to handle the matter in whatever manner you wished."

He asked, "Did you by any chance catch the, ah…lady's name?"

She turned red at his insinuation. "Oh, dear, it was Charlotte, I think. Yes, I am sure it was Charlotte." She bowed her head, saying, "Godspeed, my lord," and turned to go.

He could not think of a Charlotte at the moment, but truth be told he was not terribly concerned with her. It was obvious this woman was unaware of his reputation, but somehow, he thought she would have offered her help even if she had known of his well-earned title of rake. For the first time in a long time he was touched. Amused, but touched.

He grasped her hand as she turned away, and she looked askance at him over her shoulder. He pulled her back, to face him, and took hold of her other hand, as well. She smelled good—of lavender, he thought. He was still intrigued by her; he wasn't ready for their tête-à-tête to come to an end.

"As a man too often in the presence of grasping and manipulative women, I apologize for my behavior to one who is obviously not."

"Great guns! You are the strangest man I have ever met!"

"'Great guns'?" he repeated, and threw back his head in laughter once more, squeezing the hands he was still holding. "What a delight you are, my dear!"

"Shh! I beg your pardon," she said, eyes downcast. "I am not in the habit of having to watch my tongue."

He lifted her hands to his lips and kissed them. "On the contrary, you are the most delightful and—"

A gasp from across the room broke the spell, and his rescuer broke the hold he had on her hands. She nervously smoothed her gown. Looking over, Brandon felt his smile immediately give way to a frown. It had never occurred to him the Charlotte she had mentioned could be Lady Charlotte Marchmont, one of the most outrageous gossipmongers in all of London.

The lady's eyes were mere slits and her voice was insinuating. "Well, my lord, either you are being much less discreet, even for you, or it appears you have kept a budding romance secret from the ton. I wonder which it could be." Apparently if Lady Charlotte was kept from carrying out the seduction overheard through the walls, she would, at the least, be sure of retribution. Brandon feared it would be directed at the perceived interloper. So here he stood, free of Lady Charlotte, but bound now, in honor, to protect this woman. Her reputation could soon be in tatters, if Charlotte Marchmont had her way.

He could walk out that door as though nothing had happened; Charlotte could spread any tale she liked of his actions; Society would forgive him. And there would be no penalty to Lady Charlotte for spreading unsavory tales, from a society that loved juicy gossip more than reputations.

No, the consequences would rest solely on the woman in front of him, who had done nothing to deserve them.

He had not expected the backbone of the lady before him as she retorted, "I am not a secret anything to this gentleman. And I will thank you—" she said, just as Brandon announced:

"Lady Charlotte, may I introduce you to my betrothed?"

Both women turned to stare at him as if he had grown two heads.

"Mayhap, my love, we should take our discussion into your private parlor," he drawled. "Landlord, please have my horses stabled and a room prepared for me. I would appreciate dinner within the half hour." Brandon thought he did a very creditable job of not clenching his teeth.

He was now betrothed to this unknown woman. He must keep up appearances. "Let me just give my coachman a word on the horses and I will join you, my dear."

As he passed by the first doorway, he bowed to the flashy redhead and smiled. "Charmed, Lady Charlotte."

If the caterwauling coming from the room after the door slammed shut was any indication, she was not happy with the turn of events.

His coachman was still in the foyer, so giving him his final instructions of the night took very little time. Brandon leaned against the doorjamb outside of his new betrothed's private room. Despite his attitude of nonchalance, he knew he was in as much danger from the unknown woman as he was from Charlotte Marchmont.

He would use the same tactics she had used: seeing what he could glean through the thin walls.

"Oh, Grace, dearest, what kept you? I thought you were just going to warn him and come right back. The lady in the next room has been ranting. I had to cover my ears, it was so loud." He listened, not recognizing the voice that spoke. He would guess she was a younger woman, likely the sister who had been mentioned. "Oh, dear, are we in the suds this time?"

"Lydia, darling, we are not in the suds. But I must clear up some confusion with the gentleman. We will be on our way to London on the morrow as planned." From the tone she used, it was clear that the second woman was someone "Grace" loved very much. "I think if you will just go up to bed, it will be easier to make the necessary explanations."

"Cor, my lady," interrupted the clear voice of a servant. "We can't be leavin' you alone with a gentleman, 'specially one you are unacquainted with." Hearing her called "my lady" by the maid made him more wary. It could complicate matters considerably.

"For pity's sake, I am six and twenty, not sixteen." So, this beauty had fire in her! "I apologize. Everything will be fine once I have spoken with the gentleman. The staff and guests here think I am betrothed to the man, so there is no reason for anyone to wonder at us being in here alone."

"Betrothed to him?" the one called Lydia asked.

"But I," Grace continued, as if she had not been interrupted, "cannot have the two of you watching us as we discuss what must be done. He did not seem in a particularly good humor at the end of our meeting, so I should like to get over this rough ground as smoothly as possible."

Hmm, she had been able to detect his shift in mood after the charade stopped being interesting. She was more than just a pretty face. He listened again. "I will join you upstairs directly." She resorted to pleading. "Please, Lydia."

He stepped back into the shadows as the door opened and two women left the room. From his vantage point, he could not see their faces, but one was definitely a servant and the other a very young lady.

When he entered the room, lowly lit by the fireplace, he found the mysterious woman leaning against the mantel, staring into the flames, and he had a few moments to study her as she remained lost in thought. She was not a conventional beauty, but standing in the glow of the embers, she almost took his breath away. She was a little taller than most and the colors of the fire turned her brown hair to a shining chestnut. Her tanned skin indicated she spent much time out-of-doors. It would not help her in the marriage mart, where porcelain skin was envied, but he thought it becoming to her.

She was an enigma to be sure, but until he knew her mind he would keep his guard up. Since he'd been nineteen years old women had been trying to entice him or entrap him into marriage. He knew every trick in the book, and if that was this woman's plan, he would put her in her place soon enough. For some reason, however, he believed her when she said her only thought had been to rescue him. If that proved true, he must act honorably now. He could not afford a scandal, at least not this Season. The stakes were too high.

"Well, madam," he growled, scowling from the doorway and making her jump. "Perhaps we should be properly introduced!"

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Accidental Fiancee 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
MrsTina42MR More than 1 year ago
Accidental Fiancee***** by Mary Moore 1817, en route to London....after a situation which could bring shame on both Grace and Lydia—what choice does Lady Grace Endicott have but to agree to a betrothal to the rake—Lord Weston, Brandon Roth in order to save her sister Lydia's introduction to society. But at what cost to her own reputation? Can Brandon convince Grace that his wicked ways are far behind him and possibly their betrothal could be real? I loved the interaction between Grace and Brandon—Grace certainly is not like any other young ladies who swoon at his feet and he finds her intriguing. Being a Christian, Grace does not lie and finds pretending to be betrothed challenging and longs to get out of it as soon as possible. There are lots of surprises in this story with some unexpected twists and turns, some humorous situations, finding love unexpectedly, faith and suspense. I love the inspirational thread of God's grace and forgiveness woven throughout the storyline and hoped Brandon would open his heart to God. The secondary characters are delightful, making this a heartwarming story. ~I won a copy of this book from ACFW party and the author, this is my honest review~
Laura_Pol More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed “Accidental Fiancée”! I was totally unprepared to laugh and giggle my way through the first half of the book. Grace and Brandon were a hoot! It has been some time since I have read any historical romance novels, but this one certainly made me want to read more of Mary’s books! From the beginning I really liked Grace and have to confess that I liked Brandon too. They were so different in the way they thought, but blended well together as their betrothal continued and other events mixed in. Due to their differences, this story was a fast read for me (if I could have stayed up all night to read it, I would have!). The budding romance as well as the hint of danger had me cheering for Brandon in a way that surprised me. The Gospel message of God’s grace felt very real and made me thoughtful as I read. I liked how everything wasn’t cleaned up perfectly in the end concerning some character’s spiritual walk, but encouraged a new beginning as grace does for us. This was a very pleasant read and one I highly recommend to historical readers. It is one that will stay with me for quite some time as well as one I would pick up again for a good, enjoyable romance. Five out of five stars for sure! *(I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.)*
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Janine_S More than 1 year ago
“Accidental Fiancee” by Mary Moore is a book I have been waiting for, since I learned that it was coming out. It seems as if when I am waiting for a book with such expectations, as I did with this book, I am let down about half the time for it turns out that it was not all that I hoped it would be. I can safely say that was not the case with this book, for it seemed to exceed all of my expectations. Normally I give a little personal thoughts on each the hero and heroine of the story but this time I am not going to do so. The reason I am not going to do so is because I think by describing these two characters, it would take away from this book where part of the pleasure in the journey that I took with this book was in fact learning about these two very unique characters. Each of them learn a few things with eye opening results, but I have to say that some of those lessons that were learned were learned fairly easily while others were not. I have to say that I fell in love with both Grace and Brandon for each of them lived up to their description on the back of the book with one being a scoundrel and the other being something else. It is interesting to watch how these two interact with other throughout the book, and I loved every minute of reading it. All of the characters, main and secondary, are written in such a way that they seemed to be able to pull various emotions out of me, from dislike to pity, love to disdain and so much more. It is really such a rare thing for me to find a 'Love Inspired' book to have such full characters all the way around from the main right down to the very minor characters that only have an appearance for a few pages. Then there is the humor that is spread out throughout the story that really endeared both Grace and Brandon to me for I just couldn't help but laugh at them. I also wanted to strangle one or both of them at one point or another because they allowed themselves to get into some pretty touchy circumstances. I truly hope all who read this book enjoys it as much as I did.
mustlovetoread More than 1 year ago
I loved this Christian historical romance by Mary Moore! I loved the dialogue between Lady Grace Endicott and Lord Weston. She is caught in a compromising situation, but she will do everything she has to in order to ensure nothing hurts her sister Lydia's introduction to society. To protect Grace's reputation, Lord Weston announces she is his betrothed. Sounds simple. Pretend to be betrothed and then break it off. But what happens when one of them is a Christian and isn't comfortable lying? Can a known rake come to accept God's grace? Can he turn his back on how he's lived his life and be the husband for Grace? He is determined to protect Grace's virtue, but the only way he can do that is to say she is his betrothed. Lord Weston is ready to put the plan into action, but Grace cannot lie about her situation. Grace has to follow along so her actions won't hurt her sister Lydia's chances of finding a suitable husband. Grace's sarcastic responses keep Lord Weston on his toes. She assumes she is too old for love but won't marry for convenience. Can they keep London society from guessing the truth? Or, will they discover they have more in common than they first thought? God's grace is freely given and covers our sins. Can Grace show Lord Weston that means even him? "We have been given the gift of grace from God." Accidental Fiancee is a great book with snappy dialogue, intriguing characters, and a plot that pulls you in. Lady Grace is an independent young woman set on living her life as a Christian. As she and Lord Weston get to know each other, will she find the rake is past all hope, or is there still a chance for him? Pick up this great book today and get lost in a wonderful love story!