NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Emmeline and William Pershing have enjoyed a perfectly convenient marriage for eight years. Their relationship is a seamless blend of their talents and goals. They’ve settled into separate, well-ordered lives beneath the same roof, and are content to stay that way—or so Emmeline thinks. And if William has secretly longed for a bit more from the woman he adores, he’s managed to be content with her supreme skills as a hostess and planner, which has helped him advance his career.
Then when Emmeline’s grandfather, the reclusive Duke of Welshire, summons them both for his birthday celebration and demands they bring their two little angelic children, William is stunned to discover that his very proper wife invented not one, but two heirs to fulfill the agreement for living at Winnover. But surely if Emmeline and William team up and borrow two cherubs to call their own, what could go wrong? Enter George, age 8, and Rose, 5—the two most unruly orphans in Britain.
As the insanity unfolds, their careful, professional arrangement takes some surprisingly intimate turns as well. Perhaps it takes a bit of madness to create the perfect happily ever after.
Winnover is Emmeline’s childhood home, a home that in order to keep she was supposed to deliver an heir. Instead, she has invented two children a son and a daughter to fulfil said contract. Unfortunately, the normally reclusive and unsociable Duke of Welchire has decided he wishes to have a family reunion to meet all these new additions to his family.
William Pershing has no idea that his wife has invented children in their marriage. Now with their home on the line they must find a solution to their dilemma. The best Emmeline could come up with is two orphans, she makes a deal with them to find them a good permanent home if they agree to learn everything necessary to pass as the Pershing’s children.
With lots of negotiation and more than a few giggles bargains are struck. All is going according to plan until the children’s older brother shows up. He has far more demands both of the Pershings and the children.
This is a delightful and funny read with just a touch of drama and the rekindling of a relationship.
5 Contented Purrs for Suzanne!
“So James has promised to get Rose a puppy,” Emmie said, as Will chose a pair of fishing poles.
“He’s trying to make amends, I imagine, since George said they didn’t expect to see him again.”
“Even so. What if he decides he’s seen enough, and he bundles them off to God knows where?”
Will handed the poles to Edward. “I’m not certain he actually has a right to take them. I’ll send a few letters to solicitor friends, asking their opinions. Discreetly, of course.”
If Will was one thing, it was discreet. “Good. Until you hear from them, I intend to proceed as if nothing has changed except for the addition of one extremely inconvenient house guest.”
“I’d like to say it would be good for them all to be a family together, but I’m not so certain. And I hope my . . . distaste isn’t simply because we need George and Rose here. But yes, we need to continue seeking a family for them, until they tell us otherwise.” Hefting a bucket, Will took back the poles and headed for the kitchen door. “And now I’m off to talk about fish and gentlemanly behavior.”
Yes, that was good, proceeding as if nothing had altered. It hadn’t, yet, more or less. But promising a puppy to Rose—that was just underhanded. Emmie found Rose and Hannah in the morning room, and she leaned in. “Rose, I think you should begin with embroidering a rose. Hannah, will you help her choose thread colors? I’ll be back in just a moment.”
“Of course, ma’am.”
Emmie hurried outside and around the side of the house to the stable. A puppy. That was unfair. “Billet?” she called as she stepped inside the large building.
“Mrs. Pershing.” The head groom popped up from beside Willow in the mare’s stall.
“Billet, we are in need of two ponies,” she said, putting on her most confident smile. “Calm, suitable for George and Rose, and good-tempered. And we’ll need them today.”
“Today?” The groom squinted one blue eye. “That’s . . . Hmm. I’ve a prospect or two, I suppose. The beasties won’t come cheap if you want them now and already trained for children, though. The Hendersens’ve been looking to sell off their ponies and purchase some full-sized animals for their young ones.”
“Now is what matters. They’ve never ridden before, and I don’t want them terrified.” Or dreaming about a cottage full of puppies and eager to leave Winnover the moment their brother snapped his fingers. “If you purchase the animals from anyone we know, please make it clear the horses are for my visiting niece and nephew.”
With a nod he glanced past her toward the house. “Niece and nephew. As you say, ma’am.”
Yes, every additional lie made everything more complicated. But the children needed to be explained in a way that would not cause any gossip back in London. She’d managed it on paper for seven years, but actual children made the task trickier. And with the addition of James, it became nearly impossible. But these were the youngsters they’d chosen. And aside from keeping Winnover and Will’s employment intact, if ever any children deserved a chance at a better life, if was Rose and George Fletcher.
Suzanne was born in Southern California sometime in the latter half of the 20th century. In the way that some people are born knowing they want to be astronauts or cellists, Suzanne always knew she wanted to be a writer. Early dreams of becoming a zoologist and writing true stories about her adventures in Africa were crushed, however, after she viewed a television special about the world’s most poisonous snakes; she did NOT want to write about how she’d been bitten and lost a limb to a cobra. Thankfully at the same time the movie “Star Wars” premiered, and she realized that she could make up adventures and write about them, and not be eaten by deadly predators while doing research.
She dabbled in romantic fantasy writing for a year or two after graduating with a degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, until her affection for traditional Regency romances led her to write one for fun. After several encouraging rejections from publishers, she snared the interest of the world’s best and most patient literary agent, who advised her to revise the manuscript. This ultimately led to the publication of her first book, The Black Duke’s Prize, from Avon Books in the Spring of 1995. A second Regency, Angel’s Devil, followed that Fall.
When Avon folded its traditional Regency line, Suzanne was encouraged to try her hand at historical romance. As she remained keenly interested in England’s Regency period, she decided to attempt another manuscript set in that time. Lady Rogue hit the shelves in March of 1997. She wrote a total of 29 books for Avon, including two anthologies and a five-part contemporary series which received a pair of starred reviews from Publishers Weekly. One of those books, Twice the Temptation, was named one of the five best romances of the year by PW in 2007.
In 2002 her well-known love of all things “Star Wars” led to an invitation to appear on the E! channel in the television special “Star Wars: The Force Is Back”, where she discussed the romance in the movie series and ended up with more air time than George Lucas.
In 2010 Suzanne left Avon Books for St. Martin’s Press, where she continues to pen historical romance novels. Her 31st book, Taming an Impossible Rogue, is set to arrive in March 2012.
Suzanne is known for her humorous characters, sexy bad boys, and whip-sharp, witty dialogue. She currently resides in Placentia, California with several hundred guppies and various other tropical fish, and handful of very loud, spinach-loving finches. And her collection of action figures and statues from “Star Wars”, “Lord of the Rings”, “X-Men”, and “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Everybody needs some inspiration, after all.