Finding Miss McFarland
by Vivienne Lorret
Series: Wallflower Weddings #3
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Published: August 5th, 2014 by Avon Romance
Format: Paperback/eBook, 300 pages
Delaney McFarland is on the hunt for a husband—preferably one who needs her embarrassingly large dowry more than a dutiful wife. After the unspeakable incident at her debut, Delaney knows marrying for love is off the table, but a marriage of convenience—one that leaves her free to live the life she chooses—is the next best thing, never mind what that arrogant, devilishly handsome Mr. Croft thinks. Delaney plans to marry for money … or not at all.
Ever since the fiery redhead burst into his life—in a most memorable way—Griffin Croft hasn’t been able to get Miss McFarland out of his mind. Now, with the maddening woman determined to hand over her fortune to a rake, Griffin knows he must step in. He must help her. He must not kiss her. But when Griffin’s noble intentions flee in a moment of unexpected passion, his true course becomes clear: tame Delaney’s wild heart and save her from a fate worse than death … a life without love.
The instant he said the words, he released her. Delaney felt the loss of his touch as quickly as a bucket of water douses a single flame. “Mrs. Shaw said it belonged to the late Viscount Brinley.”
“And he was the Earl of Marlbrook’s son,” he said succinctly before he began to walk up the drive again. “Without an heir, the courtesy title passed to my father, who bequeathed the estate to me.”
She’d known Mr. Croft would eventually inherit an earldom and therefore wasn’t a pauper, but she’d had no idea he had a considerable fortune of his own. That was why he didn’t care a fig for hers. He’d never cared. A strange, terrifying thrill sprang to life inside her. All he wanted was her. The words kept turning around and around in her head as she followed him the rest of the way in complete silence.
Within half an hour, he stopped in front of the wide white door and spoke briefly with the manservant.
Once the servant disappeared, Griffin gestured to dark brick facade of the house. “Here is Brannaleigh Hall,” he said with a measure of resignation before he stepped over the threshold.
Still reeling and stunned, she followed him inside. An expanse of white marble tiles veined with grays and silver covered the foyer floor. The furniture and the chandelier overhead were draped in white sheets. The walls were painted and trimmed in white as well. She was very glad that she wasn’t holding a glass of red wine, for she’d be the first to spill it.
Griffin swept his arm into the space around him. “Here is the hall where I first arrived yesterday, exhausted and weary, but also exhilarated because I’d just come from seeing your face.”
She drew in a quick breath. There was no mockery in his tone but only more resignation. Lifting her gaze to search his face, she caught only his profile before he turned and began up the stairs.
At the very top, he walked down a wide hall trimmed in white wainscoting. More white? Imagine the disaster she would bring to such a pristine hallway. The lack of color was starting to tweak at her frayed nerves.
At the end of the hall, he turned and walked through an open door. It wasn’t until she followed that she realized it was an expansive bedchamber, accented in pale gray silks, from the walls to the coverlet.
Griffin didn’t look at her but stared at the bed, his expression hard and inscrutable. “Here is the bed where I spent hours dreaming of you last night.”
Of her, not her fortune.
And then he walked past her and out into the hall again. The other doorways were closed and likely had sheets covering all the furniture. At the end of a second hall was a wide window facing west, with the light from the setting sun filtering in. The room beside it opened up to a grand portrait gallery.