How to Rescue a Rake (Book Club Belles Society)

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9781402287824: How to Rescue a Rake (Book Club Belles Society)
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HOW TO RESCUE A RAKE:

Reject his marriage proposal
Nathaniel Sherringham has returned to Hawcombe Prior a changed man. Gone is the reckless rake who went out on a limb to propose to Diana Makepiece three years ago. Now Nate's mysterious new wealth has the town's rumor mill spinning. To stir things up (and get Diana's attention), Nate boldly announces his plans to marry "any suitable girl" under the age of 25.

Run away
Diana, now 27 and still single, is acutely aware of Nate's return. When her mother suggests a trip to visit a cousin in Bath, Diana leaps at the chance to escape the heartbreak and regret she can't help but feel in Nate's presence...and avoid his irritating charade to find a bride.

But for Nate, Diana has always been the one. He might just have to follow her to Bath and once again lay his heart on the line to win her attention-and her heart.

The Book Club Belles Society:
Before the Kiss: A Book Club Belles Society Novella
Once Upon a Kiss
Sinfully Ever After
How to Rescue a Rake

Praise for Once Upon a Kiss:
"Feisty dialogue and strong-willed characters make for...a winning love story."-Booklist
"Deliciously funny."-RT Book Reviews
"[A] witty romp."-Publishers Weekly

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Jayne Fresina sprouted up in England. Entertained by her father's colorful tales of growing up in the countryside, and surrounded by opinionated sisters, she's always had inspiration for her beleaguered heroes and unstoppable heroines. She lives in upstate New York. Visit www.jaynefresina.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Prologue

1815

Halfway up a tree...

Sometimes a man had to go out on a limb.

Captain Nathaniel Sherringham, a gambler who had dangled at the end of a great many theoretical limbs, and frequently lost his shirt there, was nothing if not persistent. But for once he found himself quite literally up a tree and potentially about to lose more than a linen shirt.

Still, if he ripped his breeches and got stuck while climbing this tree, it couldn't be for a better cause. Hopefully, the note he carried in his coat pocket was about to impress Diana Makepiece enough that she'd give him another chance to plead his case, this time while he was sober. Whatever his means of getting that note into her hand, she ought to be moved by it. And should he amuse her by getting trapped in the branches or savaged by blackbirds in the process of delivery, all the better.

Despite her haughty manner, Diana had struggled to hide her chuckles if he walked into a wall, or got poked in the eye by a lady's ostrich-feather headdress. With her dark sense of humor, she'd take delight in seeing him stranded up there, and if he fell a few feet and broke something, she would be even more amused. Mayhap he could arrange a black eye too. The hilarity would surely bend her double, but only when no one might witness her elegant shoulders relaxing.

"Captain Sherringham," she would say in her somber voice, and with her querulous eyebrows on alert, "I would have sewn you some wings, had I known you were trying to fly."

Oh yes, Nathaniel's misfortunes were frequently her source of private glee. Yet, perverse as it may seem, this was the woman he wanted and he was not giving up yet. Diana had recently suggested that his optimism in the face of impossible odds was part of his "wretched" charm. That was enough to give him hope.

Now here he was, inching along creaking tree limbs, making one last attempt to win Diana over before he left Hawcombe Prior, risking his new buckskins in the process.

It was fortunate that although the early morning air pinched his skin with cold fingertips, frost had not yet set in. There was certainly little else in his favor as he scaled the oak tree behind the cottage where Diana and her stern mother lived. Nothing more than reckless bravado.

He looked down to the gnarled roots where he'd set young Jamie Bridges on guard. When he whistled sharply, the boy turned his sleepy face up. Nathaniel jabbed two fingers toward his own eyes and then pointed at the cottage. Jamie nodded, frowning a little, and leaned back against the tree trunk, waiting for the penny he'd been promised and the safe return of his sling. He was possibly the world's most disinterested lookout.

Nathaniel couldn't get much higher in the tree, so it was time to take his chance. He knew her window; it was open. Diana had told him once-in a rare, unguarded moment-that she liked to sleep with fresh air blowing in, even when it was winter.

He took the folded note out of his pocket. The small square of paper was tied with string to a crab apple, which he estimated would give it just enough weight. Carefully, he aimed the borrowed sling and fired. His message flew gracefully across the short distance and through her window, bypassing any other barriers. Such as her mother.

All that remained was to wait and see if Diana came to the old bridge to meet him. If she didn't, he would set off on his journey and never think of her again.

The branch across which he stretched gave an ominous creak, and he suddenly had no need to worry about his descent because the law of gravity saw to it for him.

"Never seen a grown man climb a tree before," young Jamie grumbled, scratching his head and looking down at Nathaniel's sprawling form.

"And you haven't now. Remember?" He groaned. "Not a word to anyone."

"Don't get all aerated, Sherry. I ain't stupid." The boy yawned. "I ain't the one climbing a tree for a woman already engaged to marry another."

Indeed, Nathaniel thought with an inner groan of despair while brushing dead leaves from his uniform jacket, when would he learn to give up on a lost cause? But he was a gambler, wasn't he? It was what "Sherry" did best.

Which, much to his chagrin, wasn't saying an awful lot for his other abilities.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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