Josette Price sees her future in Beddingfield Park. While her
brother, George, needlessly pursues a naval career, she
promises to watch over their beloved parents and the park
estate. Nothing would make Josette happier than to see her
sister and her self settled within the palings of Beddingfield. But
dark, brooding Captain Carter rides into their lives with news that
ruins everything: George has been lost at sea.

Learning the Park is entailed to their cousin, Edward, Josette
must decide between marrying her fickle relation or helping her
besotted sister trap him in her stead. Only Captain Carter and
his delightfully spinsterish relatives can stop the Price girls from
making a choice that would be the greatest tragedy of all.
Danielle Thorne

To Marissa Farmer, my old friend: You bring sunshine into
the lives of everyone around you. Never give up on romance.
“Papa!” she shouted, as she stampeded into the vestibule. “Papa!” She knocked
brusquely on the study door before storming in.

“Good Lord, Josette, what is it?”

Josette’s father had a frown creasing the folds of his skin. His eyes glared
impatiently from beneath fuzzy brows.

“Someone’s come. An officer.” She squeezed her hands anxiously. Her father did
not like to be disturbed in his sanctuary and he did not like it when his daughter
wandered about in the rain.

“You’re wet,” came his disapproving answer. Still, Sir Robert Price unfolded himself
from his chair next to the fire and moved over to one of three great windows
overlooking the park.

“It’s not George,” Josette said.

Sir Robert glanced at the wet puddles from Josette’s slippers. “Go change at once.
You are not fit to be seen.”

Josette felt the muslin sticking to her skin. Of course she was not. She’d put on
very little beneath her morning dress and it showed. Shamed that her lack of
modesty had been discovered, she hurried up the stairs.

Had the officer noticed? Heat tinged her cheeks but she pushed it away. She’d
done her duty and informed her father of their visitor, petticoats not withstanding.
At least they would be able to stoke the fire and fetch a warm drink.

As she reached the top of the stairs, Hannah met her with a gasp. “Which you’re
all wet, Miss Price,” she chided. The ancient woman, who had served two
generations of Price family, took her by the elbow in concern. “And you’ve been
out without your bonnet, too.”

Josette allowed herself to be led to her room. The door had not shut behind them
before she startled herself in the looking glass. Her hair was a tangled mess, her
face flushed on both cheeks. What had the officer thought of the hoyden in the

A recollection of him lying in a heap made her stare at her own reflection. With his
cape thrown back, the epaulette on his shoulder had gleamed in the dreary gloom.

There had been no white piping on that uniform.

“Oh bother,” she muttered.

The man galloping across Beddingfield Park had been no mere lieutenant. He’d
worn the rank of Captain.  
                                                    * * *

Hannah sent her warm milk but Josette was at no leisure to enjoy it, for Amy came
bursting in after the first swallow.

“Josette,” said her younger sister breathlessly, “a captain from the Royal Navy is
here!” She squealed the last word then jumped onto the bed like a little girl.
“Hannah said he’s very handsome, too.”

“And puffed up,” answered Josette.

“But he’s a captain. He is important.”

“First Lieutenants are important, too.”

Amy waved this away as if it were unpleasant vapor. With her prim nose, pink sash,
and golden hair set with ribbons, she looked angelic. “But a captain’s more so. And
I’d wager he’s come about George. He’s been promoted to be sure.”

A dark idea flowered in Josette’s mind at the same time a peal of thunder crashed
overhead. She hurried to the window to inspect the storm.

“Do you think he’ll stay?” Amy asked. The suspense in her voice revealed she
hoped that he would stay and long enough to fall violently in love with her.

“Bother, Amy,” Josette said impatiently, “What does it matter?” She watched a
raindrop trail down the glass like a slow, tired tear. From nowhere, a foreboding
weight settled in her chest.

Dodging the service tray, she made a perfunctory self-examination at her repair.  
The mirrored image showed dark curls, more a bristly mess than ringlets. She
turned to see the bow high on her back matched the smart green flowers scattered
across the printed cotton. Green was one of the few colors that didn’t clash with
her muddy brown eyes. She frowned at herself then hurried out with Amy dogging
her heels.

The pair of them stopped on the stairs as the doors to their father’s study opened.
Out came Bernard, their butler, with a very long face. He nodded toward Hannah
waiting at the end of the hall, and their faithful housekeeper burst into tears.

“Who died?” asked Amy in her carefree voice, and the weight in Josette’s chest

“Bernard!” she cried, forgetting the injustice of being able to only wear green and
brown. She jumped down the stairs two at a time. “What is it?” No one scolded her
for her precarious actions or tried to stop her from interrupting her father a second
time. She knocked as she swept through the door and stopped short at the
unwelcome picture.

Sir Robert stood afore the hearth with a look of disbelief, his hands limp at his
sides. His wife was seated beside the great mahogany desk. A small tear cascaded
down Lady Price’s cheek just as rain had trickled down Josette’s window.

“Mama?” Josette swallowed so that panic did not overtake her.

The man who had cut across the park was standing at the windows. He was
rumpled from the fall, and his hair was plastered to his head from the rain. He
turned when she entered the room, and the gravity on his face could not be
denied. Surely there would have been a letter or an announcement in the ship-
news if her brother had come to harm.

“What is it?”

The guest cleared his throat and looked for permission to speak, but both of
Josette’s parents seemed as if a Midas of bad tidings had frozen them into
caricatures of disbelief.

“Is it George?” Josette beseeched.

The captain finally spoke. “I’ve beaten the post which is late beyond reason.” He
hesitated as Josette’s heart began to race. “Your brother was a trusted friend and
a most loyal officer.”

Josette shook her head as she struggled to make sense of it. “My brother was?”
She flapped her arms like a bird, unable to fold them or put them to her hips. This
seemed to disconcert the man, and he looked once more to her father.

“Josette,” her mother whispered, but the captain with penetrating eyes interrupted

“Your brother is dead.” His emotionless answer blew Josette’s heart into pieces.
Book Reviews
"You will find sadness, humor, happiness and
the list goes on. I highly recommend Josette
and I believe once you've started reading it,
you will not want to put it down."

"Georgetet Heyer and Jane Austing fans, this
is definitely a must read book! The fact that it
comes so close to Regency perfection ends up
trumping even those nay-saying voices in my
head :D"
-TJ MacKay

"Throughout the pages I caught glimpses of
Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice
combined, yet this story is unique in its own
-Miss Mae

"The author evokes a range of emotions from
sadness, mirth, despondency, and joy. The
entire package is an easy, charming read. A
great choice especially for historic romance
-Martha E., Reviews by Martha's

"Many scenes were reminiscent of Austen's
Pride and Prejudice. Josette and a few other
characters had a nice depth to them."

"Sprinkled with deception, intrigue, and slow
building romance, Josette was all I hoped for
and more. I would recommend it with our
highest rating to all readers as it's the best
Regency romance I've read yet."
-Fire and Ice  

"I really enjoyed this book. When I finished this
book I was sad because it was over. Thorne
has a way of making her characters relatable. I
hope Danielle Thorne writes more regency"
Fiction-Romance/Historical Regency

Available in Print & e-book
December 2010

$11.95 / $3.99

ISBN-13: 978-1-
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