Friday, November 28, 2014

Miss Prentiss and the Yankee by Susan Carroll Excerpt

Miss Prentiss and the Yankee by Susan Carroll

A Regency Romance by Susan Carroll, award winning author of The Bride Finder-- Abigail Prentiss was engaged to turn the two Misses Harding from Pennsylvania into proper English ladies, acceptable to the ton. She vowed to do in spite of their brother Nathaniel and his boorish behavior. A truly superior governess would not lose her temper or become ruffled by a barbaric Yankee. Even though Nate Harding had clearly thrown down the gauntlet, Abigail was determined not to fight the revolutionary war all over again. She would be the last to admit that this handsome lusty male had already begun to breach the walls she had so carefully constructed around her heart.


Heat stung Abigail's cheeks. The man went quite too far.
"Mr. Harding! I do not seem to be making myself clear. I have never dined with the family in any of the noble houses where I served."
"This isn't a noble household, only a simple Yankee one. You have a choice, ma'am. You can come down to the dining parlor or else."
"Or else what?" Abigail said, meeting the challenge in his steely blue eyes.
"Or else I may be forced to carry you!"
Abigail's lips set in a mutinous line, daring him to try it. But when he advanced upon her in menacing fashion, she realized the ruffian was fully capable of executing his threat. Backing up against the landing wall, she felt a rush of apprehension, anger, and a strange, unsettling excitement.
"The truth is, Mistress Abby," he said, his eyes glinting down at her, "you are an infernal snob just like most Englishwomen. That's the real reason you don't wish to dine with us."
"How perfectly ridiculous," Abigail sputtered.
"I can't think that you can find any fault with Helen or the girls, so I suspect it's me you keep turning your nose up at."
"I am sure I have never shown you any disrespect or said anything to make you think—"
"You don't have to. Your eyes say it for you. You've made it quite plain since we first met that you find me an intolerable barbarian."
"Your present behavior is hardly calculated to make me think otherwise," she said. "Are these the sort of rustic manners that won you so many hearts back in Philadelphia?"
Mr. Harding's face washed a full red, and his eyes narrowed ominously. As he pressed closer, Abigail knew a moment of real alarm. She was not certain whether he meant to fling her over his shoulder or strangle her. Or perhaps he had something entirely different in mind, his gaze fixed upon her mouth with a hot, angry intensity.
Abigail's heart skipped a beat. But she was too mortified and too stubborn to cry out for help. Just as she wondered if she was going to have to box his ears, Mr. Harding seemed to snap to his senses.
He flung himself away from her, growling, "Oh, the devil with it! Go on up to your room. You can eat on the roof for all I care."
"Thank you, sir." Though she was feeling strangely weak, Abigail skirted past him and paraded up the second stretch of stairs with injured dignity.
"But—" The sound of his voice stayed her once more. "If you persist in refusing to dine with my family, be warned, ma'am. The truce between us is over."
Abigail paused to regard him warily. "And just what does that mean, sir?"
"It means that if it is war you want, lady, I shall be happy to oblige you." An unholy smile crossed his face.
"Mr. Harding," Abigail protested stiffly, "I never desired—"
But the infernal man was already striding back down the stairs. Abigail watched his militant retreat with indignation and dismay.
If she wanted war, he would give it to her? Abigail could not imagine what devilish design such a remark portended. But she had a sinking feeling she would soon find out.

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