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Susanne Marie Knight
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A BATTLE OF WILLS
Impoverished Katrina Jones is determined to earn a living by pursuing a career. Her landlord, the Earl of Udall, has other ideas for her. Can she set aside her fears about marriage and learn that trust goes hand in hand with love?
A THORN IN HIS SIDE
Quentin Thornhill, the Earl of Udall, is used to having his own way. When the delightful Katrina inadvertently thwarts his plans to install his latest mistress at his newly-won lodging, he begins to realize that not all females are as devious as the women he has known. Can he overcome his cynicism and give his heart to this young and innocent silhouettist?
Katrina snuggled into her pillow and ignored the heavy breathing that penetrated the outer edges of her dreams. She willed the noises to go away. Sleep was the only time she escaped from the rigors of the day; she would not be cheated out of a much needed night’s rest. Rough fabric scratched at her cheek. She frowned, but still kept her eyes closed. Bad dream, she decided.
A sharp aroma of rum invaded her nostrils. It was her call to the world of the living. As reluctant as she was to open them, she finally rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. Then she gasped. Resting on her bed was a large gloved hand. Two fingers poked their way out of the glove, giving it a more grisly effect. She gasped again. The hand was attached to a dark clothed arm. The rest of the person remained hidden by the side of the bed.
Sitting up, she pulled the bedsheets to her neck for cover. "What are you doing here?" she asked in a severe tone.
"B--Blimey! You gave me a scare!" The hand disappeared, but a man’s head poked up from the floor. He pulled off his fuzzy hat and stared at her.
He did not seem dangerous but… "I gave you a scare! Whatever are you doing here?"
She leaned over to her bedstand and lit a candle. The room glowed with flickering light, exposing the soft down on the man’s chin. Young--and inexperienced. He had to be; he made a mistake in coming here. She had nothing a thief would want.
He kneaded his cap. "Please, mum. I just be lookin’ for that accursed bracelet, is all. Juliet, she be wantin’ it awful bad. Diamonds and sapphires! As sure as me name is Jack, I wish I never laid eyes on it!"
Brushing her hair out of her face, Katrina curled her legs underneath her. She had nothing to fear from this man. "Juliet? Does she know the Earl of Udall?"
The man bobbed his head.
"But I returned the bracelet to the Earl some time ago. He should have given it to Juliet by now."
Jack’s shoulders slumped. "The Earl, he be done with Juliet. She just has me to take care of ‘er."
His simple statement touched Katrina’s heart. She could not agree with the way Juliet earned her living, but sometimes a person had to do unorthodox things in order to get by. Katrina knew that for a fact.
"I am sorry, Jack, but--"
A sound at the window captured both of their attentions. Katrina held the bedsheet tighter at her throat and watched as a muscular leg appeared over the window ledge. A few grunts and groans later, and the Earl of Udall stood inside the room.
Katrina balled her fist by her mouth. "Faith, now I know I must be dreaming!"
Wiping off the dirt, he swept his gaze over her and Jack. "Faith indeed! I risk life and limb, and what do I find? A veritable tea party!"
Jack’s uneasy shifting warned her that he contemplated making a mad dash to escape. The Earl’s solid glare of anger made her certain he would not take kindly to any of Jack’s bids for freedom.
She spread out her hands. "Jack was just looking for that bracelet. He is fond of Juliet, you know, and they thought they might…"
If Lord Udall frowned any deeper, the chords in his neck were bound to burst. Katrina winced.
"I am well aware of what they thought to do." He stood with arms clasped against his chest and took a step forward. His gaze rested on the fallen bedsheet.
Her face flamed. Although her nightgown had fewer patches than any of her daytime clothes, its material was filmy enough to cling to her body. She snatched at the bedsheets, again.
"If you please, My Lord, perhaps they could have a second chance? I do not think Jack means us harm. Perhaps if he had some direction--some help?"
She did not know why she was pleading this man’s case. After all, he had ripped her from one of her more satisfying dreams. She glanced at him. He twisted his cap so violently, it was sure to have more holes than his gloves.
She raised her gaze to the Earl. "Please?"
He exhaled deeply. "Lord, give me strength."
Award-winning author Susanne Marie Knight specializes in Romance Writing with a Twist! She currently has sold 16 books. In addition to A CONTINENTAL MARRIAGE, she has THE RELUCTANT LANDLORD and ALIEN HEAT (futuristic romance) with Wings ePress Inc. Her other Regencies include 2005 EPPIE finalist THE CONTRARY CONTESSA; 2003 EPPIE finalist THE MAGIC TOKEN; two five-star time-travels Lord Darver’s Match and TIMELESS Deception; and SOJOURN THROUGH TIME. In addition, she is the author of the 2003 EPPIE finalist and award-winning Janus Is A Two-Headed God; 2004 Dream Realm Award Winner THE COMING; 2003 EPPIE finalist LOVE AT THE TOP; Tainted Tea For Two; PAST INDISCRETIONS; COMPETITORS!; and Grave Future.
Susanne lives in the Pacific Northwest, by way of Okinawa, Montana, Alabama, and Florida. Along with her husband, daughter, and feisty Siamese cat, she enjoys the area’s beautiful ponderosa pine trees and wide, open spaces--a perfect environment for writing. For more information about Susanne, please visit her website at www.susanneknight.com.
Ms. Knight has written yet another enjoyable romp illustrating the development of an unlikely relationship between two opposites. Her quirky sense of humor and endearing characters provide hours of reading pleasure, along with a fast moving plot written smoothly and seemingly without effort. Well-rounded characters, while thoroughly likeable, are not without their faults, which serve to add compelling back-story and character development beneath the talents of Ms. Knight's pen. She has once again delivered with 'The Reluctant Landlord'. -- Denise M. Clark The Road to Romance
The Reluctant Landlord is a fairly short story and is easy to read. There are a lot of obstacles in The Earl and Katrina’s path before they can find true love. Fortunately, the Earl is a man used to getting his own way and sweeps aside anyone who tries to thwart him. Though he is formidable, he is still rather a likable character. Susanne Marie Knight wrote the characters well and it is evident that they are thoroughly thought out. They interact with each other superbly and this makes them all the more interesting. Reviewed in July 2002 by Mary.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 214
Paper Weight (lb): 9.2
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