From the threshold of the parlor in which the argument was taking place, Clarinda, Countess of Norwick, regarded her identical twin daughters with a look of resignation. She did that often given their propensity to vex her.
At least she could tell them apart—most could not. Dahlia Davida bore a slight scar on her neck from when her sister had scratched her, and Diana Dorothea, who preferred to be called Danielle because the man she knew as her father was named Daniel, tended to hold her left hand in a fist as if she needed to punch someone.
“Whatever has you two arguing now?” Clarinda asked as her own fists went to her hips. She decided she needed to appear more determined.
Girls were trouble.
Twin girls were double the trouble.
Dealing with double the trouble meant girding her loins.
Dahlia and Danielle turned to face her, immediately silenced upon seeing their mother’s stance.
“Something important, Mother,” Dahlia replied.
“Terribly important,” Danielle agreed.
Clarinda blinked. Well, they apparently agreed on something. “Out with it.”
“It’s about making love,” Dahlia stated.
“What’s involved, exactly,” Danielle added. “I’m quite sure I know, but Davy seems to think otherwise.” She directed a glare in Dahlia’s direction. “She claims she read all about it in one of Father’s books.”
“I didn’t just read about it,” Dahlia argued. “I examined all the color plates. They were quite instructive.”
Clarinda blinked. So much for battle.
Glancing toward the sideboard, Clarinda had a thought to pour herself a glass of brandy before she dared attempt to answer the girls. Instead, she motioned the twins to take seats near the fireplace and rang for tea.
Perhaps she would merely add some brandy after the maid brought the tea service.
“First, I must ask why you’re even discussing this,” Clarinda said as she moved to her favorite floral upholstered chair. “Has one of you accepted an offer of marriage without telling me?”
The twins shook their heads in unison. “If lovemaking involves bending over a library table with my naked bum pressed against some man’s bare frontside, then I shall insist Father give me my dowry so I can go on a permanent holiday to Italy,” Danielle announced. “I’ll have none of that.”
Settling back into the velvet squabs, Anthony regarded Dahlia for a moment, now worried the ghost might have had a conversation or two with his mother. He sighed. “He had a long talk with me, too, although he didn’t mention the insipid miss.”
“When was this?” she asked in alarm.
“He left only a moment ago. Just… disappeared.”
She sighed. “He does that.”
“Well, he is a ghost,” Anthony remarked.
Her eyes once again rounded. “You know that?”
Wincing, Anthony nodded. “I probably should be petrified with fear, but I find the old coot rather interesting.”
“Old coot?” she repeated in disbelief. “Aren’t you worried that he’ll… he’ll—?”
“Haunt me?” Anthony finished for her. “What do you think he’s been doing these past few days?”
It was Dahlia’s turn to wince. “I’m so sorry.” When she noted his furrowed brows, she added, “This is all my fault.” She couldn’t help the sob that accompanied her words. She’d been attempting to swallow it since stepping into the coach.
“May I join you?” he asked as he nodded to the bench upon which she sat.
She nodded and scooted over to give him room to sit next to her.
“Why do you think that?” he asked, his arm resting on the squabs behind her shoulders so he could sit closer to her.
“I should never have looked at that damned book,” she whispered.
He leaned over and kissed her on her temple. “Now I know you’re upset,” he whispered. “You so rarely curse,” he added when she gave him a quelling glance. “I take it you are referring to the book about sexual congress?”
Dahlia gasped. “Did my father tell you about that, too?” she whined as her face bloomed with color.
Chuckling, Anthony said, “Actually, your sister did.” When he saw anger in her eyes, he added, “Don’t be cross with her. I’m glad she did. Otherwise, how would I know about your fear of the marriage bed? You certainly weren’t going to inform me.”
“I’m not supposed to know about such things,” Dahlia countered.
“But now that you do know a thing or two, is that the real reason you don’t wish to marry me?”
“I never said I don’t wish to marry you,” Dahlia countered. When she saw his look of confusion, she added, “I just didn’t wish for us to have to … negotiate.”
Anthony straightened, deciding it best he not respond to the comment about negotiating, at least not yet. “Well, you’ve certainly vexed your father,” he accused.
“Good, because he’s done nothing but make matters worse,” she complained on a huff.
“Careful what you say, or he might haunt you for the rest of your life,” Anthony warned.
The Honor of an Heir
The Heirs of Aristocracy Book 7
by Linda Rae Sande
Genre: Historical Regency Romance
They swore never to marry. But will the right suitors melt their hearts?
Fiercely independent and daughters of a wealthy countess, twins Dahlia and Diana have no desire to husband-hunt, despite their mother’s pleas. But when the ghost of their late father makes an appearance, he takes it upon himself to guide the girls into marriage – even if his presence will scare off potential suitors.
Caught cheating in one of their university courses, twin brothers Anthony and Andrew’s dreams of a Grand Tour are shattered when their father pulls the plug on their allowances. They had hoped to put marriage off as long as possible – but with their father withholding their allowances until they are wed, they have no choice but to face the daunting task of a lifelong commitment. There’s only one problem – although one of the brothers wants to marry, the other feels as if he‘s being forced to wed for money.
Brought crashing together by fate and aided by the girls’ late father, both pairs of twins must learn to see through their differences and get along. But marriage is no easy decision, and it will take more than a miracle to convince these sisters to tie the knot.
Are the twins a match made in Heaven? Or will the girls’ independence and the brothers’ lack of a fortune serve to drive them apart?
Artfully blending a beautiful 19th-century backdrop with all the classic charm of British aristocratic life, this scintillating historical romance novel by bestselling author Linda Rae Sande is a delightful read that’s perfect for anyone looking for their next emotional fix. Scroll up and grab your copy now…
A self-described nerd and lover of science, Linda Rae spent many years as a published technical writer specializing in 3D graphics workstations, software and 3D animation (her movie credits include SHREK and SHREK 2). Getting lost in the rabbit holes of research has resulted in historical romances set in the Regency-era as well as Ancient Greece. A fan of action-adventure movies, she can frequently be found at the local cinema. Although she no longer has any fish, she follows the San Jose Sharks. She is a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC) and makes her home in Cody, Wyoming.
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