Fleabag: The Scriptures
My favorite stories come from Ms. Lerner hot! Again, this anthology was a great way to try new-to-me authors and discover new favorites. I was already a fan of Ms. Lerner and Ms. Bourne love her! Cooper and Ms. Lin were new to me. I liked their stories very much and plan to read more books by both. I could count on her story to always be well done and heartwarming, and I invariably discovered a new author to enjoy in each book.
Balogh is one of my favorite authors and this anthology contains some of my favorite stories by her. Each tale has an HEA and is just perfect for Christmas. What makes it great is the sweet start to their romance and how well the two characters balance each other.
The tale of a former bully and bad boy and a woman in desperate need of help this is a charming second chance at life Christmas story. Her psy-changeling books are a treat to read and four stories in that world? Her story was excellent, and two of the other stories were fantastic as well. The physical pain was nothing to that.
But every second she remained here, being manhandled by them, was another moment where someone might find the trunk she'd lowered out her window. Her father was an embezzler and a suicide. Nobody would help her—nobody except herself. She shut her mouth and tried once again to free her arm. Mary shut her eyes. She hadn't cried, not even when she'd realized that her father had left her alone with nothing. Not when she'd realized that the future she'd dreamed of was gone forever. It had been easy to bury her fear, her despair, her mourning. Those emotions were too big to believe; her loss too large to comprehend.
He didn't belong with these men; he never had. The other men were both grandfathers; John was scarcely twenty-five. They were dressed in sober, respectable browns and grays, every white starched to points; John's cravat was a bare pretense of a neckcloth, well-laundered but soft. Most of all, the other men were thin and pale from hunching over desks, while John's hours out-of-doors had left him golden-skinned and broad-shouldered.
He hadn't been part of their initial investment scheme. His father and his brother-in-law had been involved. But he'd taken over when his relatives had passed away. She had always believed his eyes were sweet—large and liquid brown. There had been nothing sweet about them last night, when he'd confronted her father, proof in hand, finger pointing directly at his chest. There was nothing sweet about them now, either. Mary's stomach churned, and she looked away. She knows something.
I swear it's so. John's eyes flicked to Mary, touching her without really seeing her. But he didn't contradict the older man. He simply shrugged. Don't spit on Papa's carpet, some stupid part of her wanted to say. As if the Turkey carpet mattered. Just one more possession to be sold to make up for his wrongdoings. One more thing for her to leave behind. Still, that disrespect hurt more than John's casual acceptance of her new status.
It's not wrong to slap—". She forced herself to concentrate on the hard lines of John's face, so different from the confident smile that he usually gave her when their paths crossed.
Review: Midnight Scandals by Courtney Milan, Sherry Thomas and Carolyn Jewel
He made her think of a rocky cliff: impossibly hard, with an unforgiving drop to the crags below. Useless bitch. Mary wouldn't give him the satisfaction of seeing her affected by that epithet. She simply nodded to the two men, as if this were the last round of an exchange of pleasantries, and turned to go. John set his hand in the curve of her spine and guided her away, down the dark hallway, to the back of the house. He wrenched the servants' door open, and then glanced outside, verifying that nobody was about.
Then, and only then, did he turn to her. She'd never heard his voice like this—dark and rumbling like thunder on the horizon. She'd never seen his eyes like this, either.
Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas | Penguin Random House Canada
There was a tension in them, worry-lines gathering at the corners. He wasn't quiet because he intended to be gentle with her. It was the quiet of a pot on the verge of boiling over. Like everyone else, he was thinking only of her father.
But unlike the others, at least he believed her. For now. Mary's thoughts went to her trunk, to the ache in her arms.
He left me—" All that angry fury raged within her for a moment, startling in its heat. No place to put it now; she had too much to do. Is that your trunk over there? She hadn't dared to look at the massive steamer trunk where it lay. It had followed her from Southampton to Vienna, and then back for more holidays than she could count. It was large enough to fit all the many components of a lady's wardrobe, and that made it very large indeed.
The rope she'd used to lower it was still fastened to one handle; the brass fittings dented where it had banged against the ground when it had gotten away from her. She glanced over, bit her lip, and nodded. She turned away. You'll only say something that we'll both regret. After last night, anything more is impossible.
And yet the possibility of that more kept intruding on her. Was it so little, then, that they'd had between them? She had liked the look of him, the way that he laughed. He'd liked the look of her. That was all. A few months' acquaintance. A few kisses, a few conversations—not much, but enough to spark a lifetime of hope. Enough that she'd chosen the possibility of him and family over…. She couldn't let herself think that way any longer. Those memories belonged to another woman entirely—Miss Mary Chartley, the daughter of a respected member of the community.
She wasn't sure who she was in this skin any longer, but she'd ceased to be that person. No matter what she and John might once have been to one another, it wasn't enough to survive the cataclysm of discovering that her father had taken thousands of pounds from their partnership. His hand slapped against his trousers, and he turned his head from her. His jaw worked. It took him a few breaths to regain his composure, but when he turned back, he didn't take the ring from her. She couldn't let him touch that.
If he tried to lift it, he might wonder what made her luggage so heavy. Say you love me, that you would marry me without any fortune, with my father in disgrace. Say your sister would welcome me into the family, knowing that my father stole her son's future. He met her eyes. She wasn't sure what she saw reflected there. If I did…" She slipped the ring into his hand.