Gambling on Love
Hold Tight to Your Dreams
The Hadley family survives on newly laid eggs and memories of past prestige. Edith holds tight to her dreams even if daily life consists of cold rooms, worn clothes, and inadequate meals. She and her brother Ogden refuse to let the family home be sold despite their father’s furious gambling habits. Her comforts are her best friend and the local assembly dance.
Jasper Slater is ready to leave his past behind, for the second time. After leaving home as an outcast, he ran a gambling hall in London. Now he is determined to prove he can reclaim his roots and be a gentleman. He has the estate and only needs a wife. To amuse himself and, hopefully, enchant his new neighbors, he builds a racetrack on his land.
Edith and Jasper meet at the local assembly; their attraction is instantaneous. However, Edith’s father uses her as collateral for his gambling debts by betrothing her to one of his debtors. And the local gentlemen don’t seem to like Jasper or his racetrack. He worries about his standing in the neighborhood. Wooing the engaged daughter of a neighbor is not acting like a gentleman.
A Cinderella novella.
In This Series...
All she saw was teeth. This is the man from before. Her big toe throbbed in response to the introduction as her palms sweated. She fiddled with the fabric on her dress to cover for wiping her hands. Edith could no longer afford gloves, but she had never minded the loss before.
Mr. Slater held out his hand, his grin brightening his tanned face. She slapped her hand in his, shook firmly, then pulled hers back to tuck in her skirt folds so he wouldn’t notice her faux pas. “We met briefly.”
“Might I have the next dance?” An eyebrow rose over interesting eyes, a pale green.
His hair is too long. She attempted to find something to quibble over, but her lips parted in a smile as a whisper in her gut fluttered into something more substantial.
“Ogden? When is our formal meeting with Lady Frances?” She sought her brother’s consent.
“After the interval. You may dance.”
That fluttering bubbled higher, from her ribs to her heart. The skin above her exposed neckline flushed as her insides vibrated; she followed the handsome newcomer to the dance floor. Only then did she allow him to take her hand.
Dancing with a stranger was like something from a novel. For the entire first set, she allowed her fancy full rein. Edith imagined herself the heroine falling in love with this striking man as he twirled her around, his teeth on display.
Like most young women, she dreamt of happiness. However, when the second dance started, two things made the fluttering in her chest seize up, crawling up her throat to choke sense into her. A strange dark-haired man stared at them from the side; his close posture indicated displeasure. Then she and Jasper passed in formation, and she noticed Lady Frances glaring at her. Those mahogany brows dipped low in disapproval. Edith sighed as her daydream evaporated.