Sensible. Dependable. Reliable. These three words epitomize Miss Penelope Rose, confirmed spinster. Of course, these are fine attributes for a lady…or a cocker spaniel. After being the bridesmaid in the successive weddings of all of four of her sisters, Penelope Rose is officially on the shelf. So she does the most sensible thing and becomes the companion to the Dowager Duchess of Marchford.
In addition to her regular duties as a companion, Penelope has also joined the dowager to form a matchmaking service under the name of Madam X. Penelope facilitates the love matches of many a happy couple. So adept is she in finding matches, that the only one she seems unable to create a happy alliance for is herself.
Despite her penchant for practicality, Penelope longs to be seen as the bride, not just the bridesmaid. However, when a proposal finally does arrive, it is not the romantic offer she secretly dreams to receive. Here is the brash offer from the Duke of Marchford from her perspective.
“I need at least a fiancée, someone who will not plague me. Someone who does not whine or cry or do other feminishy things,” grumbled Marchford.
“Feminishy?” Penelope raised an eyebrow.
“Someone sensible. Someone who can stand up to my grandmother without causing a scene. Someone like…” Marchford narrowed his eyes at her, as if noticing she was in the room for the first time. “Someone like you.”
Penelope gasped. Or at least she would have had she been capable of speech.
“What do you think? It would get me out of a jam.” He spoke in a casual manner, which did not reveal any serious interest on his part.
“I beg you would not speak such nonsense,” she stammered.
“I am in earnest. You are a sensible girl. You get along with my grandmother. You can hold intelligent conversation. You are…sensible.”
“You said sensible.”
“It is one of your better features.”
Sensible. How she longed to be considered something more than sensible! “I thank you for that unmitigated praise.”
“Miss Rose, will you or will you not consent to be my wife?”
Of course sensible Penelope does not accept such a backhanded offer, interpreting it as only the duke’s strange sense of humor. Unfortunately, this leads then to his second request…
Marchford turned on her with an emotion she could not read flickering across his face. “If you will not oblige me, then it is your responsibility to find me someone who will, someone who meets the criteria I delineated.”
Penelope avoided his eye. “I can contact Madame X, the matchmaker, if you would like to engage her services to help find a bride.”
“Hang it, Miss Rose. I know Madame X is nothing more than a fictional character you and my grandmother created. Now I want you, not my grandmother, but you alone to find me a bride. What is your going rate?”
“Exorbitant!” she declared bodly.
“A little vague, but I am certain my solicitor can draw up the papers to your liking. Good day, Madame X!”
So instead of being the next Duchess of Marchford, Penelope is contracted to find Marchford a bride! What is a girl to do? Penelope must show Marchford a different side of her if he is ever to see her in a new light. Of course it starts by pairing him with the most ineligible potential brides possible!
I confess, in writing the story of Penelope and Marchford, I am much more like the reserved character of Penelope than the bold spy-hunting character of Marchford. And yet, like Penelope, I find I must occasionally step out of my comfort zone in order to experience new things, and shock my children out of thinking I’m too predictable!
To learn more about Penelope and Marchford, read WINTER WEDDING now available. To get you started in the series, the first book in the trilogy, WEDDING IN SPRINGTIME is being offered FREE for a limited time and MIDSUMMER BRIDE is currently only $1.99. I love to hear from readers so come visit me at my website, facebook, or twitter.
In what ways to do show your crazy, spontaneous, bold, utterly insensible side? Comment for a chance at winning a copy of A WINTER WEDDING!
Amanda Forester holds a Ph.D. in psychology and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance novels was decidedly more fun. Whether in the Highland hills or a Regency ballroom, Forester’s critically acclaimed novels offer fast-paced adventures filled with wit, intrigue, and romance. She lives with her supportive husband and naturally brilliant children in the Pacific Northwest. Visit her at her website.
About A WINTER WEDDING
This adventurous duke…
The Duke of Marchford requires a suitable bride, but catching spies for the Foreign Office takes up most of his time. Not wanting to face another London season as an eligible man, he employs the notorious Madame X to find him a match.
Has met his match
Miss Penelope Rose knows the rules of marriage among members of the ton better than most. Her own unsuccessful attempts at matrimony did not stop her from becoming London’s most exclusive matchmaker. Marchford proves to be a difficult client, but as he draws on her social expertise to help him flush out a dangerous traitor, they find that falling in love may be the riskiest adventure of all.
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