Here’s Chapter 1 of The Key with Hearts, available now at online distributors everywhere: Amazon / Kobo / B & N & many more.
Friday, 3 September 1813 ~ Myers Buckland manor and estate in Wiltshire, England
The little dog nosed along the edge of the bricked planters. His white tail wagged, excitement quivering through his whole body. He sniffed at every speck, whether dirt or leaf or twig. Brightly colored ribbons, tied tightly together to create a long leash, trailed over his back and the terrace’s paving stones.
His sniffing increased. He growled. His short nose swept across the slate-colored pavers. He retreated several steps as he tracked the scent, then followed it back to the grass. The clipped grass tickled his nose. He strained against the ribbon leash as he dug at the stones, as if the pavers were the edge of a cairn hiding a vicious rodent. Then his head popped up. Ears pricked forward. Dark eyes stared at the high hedge with its thick branches of boxwoods.
He glanced behind him at the woman holding one end of his tether. They had ended their walk by traversing the maze. Throughout their tour of the garden, she seemed distracted, barely attending to his tugs on the leash. Now her gaze focused on the drive that swept from the parkland. The gravel turned into a gentle curve as it approached the manor’s forecourt. The little terrier sniffed the air. Then he lunged forward.
The leash held him back. He strained against it then lunged again, but his paws didn’t find grass beneath him. His claws scrabbled on the pavers. He barked.
Secrets of family. Secrets of hearts. Secrets of blood and pain.
Secrets can kill.
Maddy Whittaker, on the shelf for years, never expects the man of her dreams will be the one she once called a stick in the mud.
Banished from a country party so she won’t ruin her sisters’ chances in snaring husbands, Maddy is sent to visit a cousin named Simon Jespers, who is hosting his own Valentine’s party. She expects three weeks of boredom.
Gordon, Lord Musgrove, expects he will propose to a biddable lady and live unhappily ever after.
He escapes his mother’s country party (where the dowager Musgrove expects her only son to snare a wife) for one last bid at freedom. He decides to retreat to his friend Simon Jespers. Gordon never expects that his friend will be hosting a Valentine’s party. He does expect days and days of boredom.
On arrival at Jespers’ country manor, Maddy and Gordon meet for the first time. A quick flirtation finds them well matched in mind and soul, and the flirtation changes into romance.
Yet a secret from Maddy’s past threatens their future.
And a serial murderer threatens Maddy’s life.
Can Gordon overcome past secrets and present dangers to marry his perfect match?
The Dangers of Secrets is a romantic Regency suspense of approximately 56,000 words.
The character of Gordon, Lord Musgrove, was first introduced in A Game of Spies, published in the fall of 2015.
Warning: While the romance is sweet, the murders have been described as sordid. Unwanted memories of abuse may be triggered. Please be cautious.