The Unflappable Miss Fairchild by Regina Scott
From award-winning author Regina Scott comes a tale of choosing to follow the rules or being true to your heart.
The ever practical Anne Fairchild knows the rules of engagement in Regency England--the proper way a young lady should seek a husband. She's been groomed to make the best match possible so she can help the two elderly aunts who raised her stave off poverty. So why is it one moment in the presence of the dashing Chas Prestwick, and she's ready to throw propriety to the wind?
The black sheep of the family, Chas excels at shocking Society with his wild wagers and reckless carriage racing. But his bravado masks a bruised and lonely heart. Can the sweet-natured Anne convince him to take the greatest risk of all--on love?
This sweet traditional Regency romance was originally published by Kensington Zebra.
". . . very likeable hero and heroine, humor, and one laugh-out-loud scene that stars one of the most outstanding examples of 'bad' writing since the Bad Hemmingway contest folded." -- The Romance Reader
"Ms. Scott's appealing characters will win your heart." -- RT Book Reviews
She'd heard that some members of the ton raced their carriages for sport, but she'd had no idea that a carriage could go so fast. Trees, houses, and other carriages whizzed passed so quickly that she barely had time to register them. There was no chance of escape. To jump would have killed her at this speed. Her heart was pounding as loudly as the thundering hooves of the bays. The wind whipped her face, snapping the ribbons of her bonnet against her cheeks. When she put up a hand to catch them, her bonnet flipped off the back of her head. In moments, her hair was free of its bun and streaming out behind her.
They careened around a turn, and the curricle tipped onto its right wheel. Anne watched terrified as the ground seemed to hurtle toward her. With a deft flick of the reins, Chas turned the horses and brought the curricle with a thud onto two wheels again. Anne swallowed her fear and clutched the curricle's sideboard so hard her knuckles stood out of her grey kid leather gloves.
"Just a little farther, Angel," he called over the roar of the wind. He winked at Anne, then frowned as if noticing her for the first time. "Don't get sick on me, now. I thought you were made of stronger stuff. Relax and enjoy the ride."
Relax? Had he lost his mind?
They whipped past a drayman's wagon with inches to spare, the neighs of his frightened horses echoing behind them. Yet as they continued to fly down the road, she began to feel less afraid and more excited. The exhilaration of traveling as fast as the wind was rather heady, and she began to understand why gentlemen raced.
"What record are we trying to beat?" she ventured over the roar of the wind and the thunder of flying hooves.
"Curricle and pair to Kew Gardens," he shouted back. "Lord Petersborough and I set the record last Season, fifty-five minutes from Knightsbridge, specifically to the Hose and Garter Inn. We were well nigh onto breaking it when the wheel came off."
"Where do we stand now?" she asked.
Before he could answer, the curricle hit a rut, and she bounced in the seat so hard that her hands broke free of the sideboard. She slid across the leather seat, right up against Chas Prestwick. Face burning, she scrambled away from him to the other side of the curricle.
"Miss Fairchild," he scolded, grinning wickedly as he whipped the reins again, "if you persist in throwing yourself at me, I will begin to think you have designs on my virtue."
"Nonsense," she managed to reply. "I believe the ton would agree that you have no virtue left on which to stake a claim."
Chas only laughed at the comment and urged the horses on.
Anne shook the hair out of her face. The tension must have been getting to her, for she would never have been so bold with any of her other suitors. Why was it with him she felt so free?