Title: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy (Smythe-Smith Quartet #4)
Author: Julia Quinn
Publishing Date: January 27, 2015 (from Avon Romance)
Genre: Historical, Romance
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Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can’t be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family’s infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She’s the type of girl you don’t notice until the second-or third-look, but there’s something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she’s the one.
Iris Smythe-Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can’t quite believe it’s all true. And when his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he’s hiding something…even as her heart tells her to say yes.
“Besides, you need someone with a dowry, do you not?”
“We all need someone with a dowry,” Richard said darkly.
“True, true.” Winston might be the son of the Earl of Rudland, but he was the second son. He wasn’t going to inherit any spectacular fortunes. Not with a healthy older brother who had two sons of his own. “The Pleinsworth chit likely has ten thousand,” he said, looking back down at the program with an assessing glance. “But as I said, she’s quite young.”
Richard grimaced. Even he had limits.
“The florals?” Richard interrupted.
“Iris and Daisy,” Winston explained. “Their sisters are Rose and Marigold and I can’t remember what else. Tulip? Bluebell? Hopefully not Chrysanthemum, poor thing.”
“My sister’s name is Fleur,” Richard felt compelled to mention.
“And a lovely girl she is,” Winston said, even though he had never met her.
“You were saying …” Richard prompted.
“I was? Oh, yes, I was. The florals. I’m not sure of their portions, but it can’t be much. I think there are five daughters in the family.” Winston’s lips twisted to one side as he considered this. “Maybe more.”
This didn’t necessarily mean that the dowries were small, Richard thought with more hope than anything else. He knew little of that branch of the Smythe-Smith family—he knew little of any branch, truth be told, except that once a year they all banded together, plucked four musicians from their midst, and hosted a concert that most of his friends were reluctant to attend.
“Take these,” Winston suddenly said, holding out two wads of cotton. “You’ll thank me later.”
Richard stared at him as if he’d gone mad.
“For your ears,” Winston clarified. “Trust me.”
“Trust me,” Richard echoed. “Coming from your lips, words to send a chill down my spine.”
“In this,” Winston said, stuffing his own ears with cotton, “I do not exaggerate.”
Richard glanced discreetly about the room. Winston was making no effort to hide his actions; surely it was considered rude to block one’s ears at a concert. But very few people seemed to notice him, and those who did wore expressions of envy, not censure.
Richard shrugged and followed suit.
“It’s a good thing you’re here,” Winston said, leaning in so that Richard could hear him through the cotton. “I’m not sure I could have borne it without fortification.”
“The pained company of beleaguered bachelors,” Winston quipped.
The pained company of beleaguered bachelors? Richard rolled his eyes. “God help you if you attempt to form sentences while intoxicated.”
“Oh, you’ll have that pleasure soon enough,” Winston returned, using his index finger to hold his coat pocket open just far enough to reveal a small metal flask.
Richard’s eyes widened. He was no prig, but even he knew better than to drink openly at a musical performance given by teenaged girls.
And then it began.
JULIA QUINN started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since. The New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four novels for Avon Books, she is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and is one of only fifteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.
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A Print Bundle of the Smythe-Smith Quartet, including A NIGHT LIKE THIS, JUST LIKE HEAVEN and THE SUM OF ALL KISSES
More Julia Quinn on the blog:
The Sum of All Kisses (Smythe-Smith Quartet #3)
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