Valentine Countdown Blitz Day 2 : COURTING THE COUNTESS By DONNA HATCH!

Donna Hatch is the author of the
best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The
Golden Quill and the International Digital Award.
 
 A hopeless romantic and
adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8
and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a
sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple
volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her
husband). 
 
A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific
Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there
really is a happily ever after.



 

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When charming rake Tristan Barrett sweeps Lady Elizabeth off her
feet, stealing both her heart and a kiss in a secluded garden, her brother
challenges Tristan to a duel. The only way to save her brother and Tristan from
harm—not to mention preserve her reputation—is to get married.
 
But her father, the Duke of Pemberton, refuses to allow his
daughter to marry anyone but a titled lord. The duke demands that Elizabeth
marry Tristan’s older brother, Richard, the Earl of Averston. Now Elizabeth
must give up Tristan to marry a man who despises her, a man who loves another,
a man she’ll never love. 
 
Richard fears Elizabeth is as untrustworthy as his
mother, who ran off with another man. However, to protect his brother from a
duel and their family name from further scandal, he agrees to the wedding,
certain his new bride will betray him. Yet when Elizabeth turns his house
upside down and worms her way into his reluctant heart, Richard suspects he
can’t live without his new countess. Will she stay with him or is it too
little, too late?

 

 

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Richard
tried to quiet the fluttering in his stomach. “Your Grace, my brother acted
impulsively and he shall be strongly reprimanded. He is prepared to do anything
you ask; a public apology, or whatever you and the marquis see fit to remedy
the situation.”
 
The
duke sat on a gold brocade settee facing him and crossed one leg over the
other. “My daughter has been compromised and her reputation is sullied. An
apology will not suffice.”
 
Richard’s
stomach dropped. Barely holding on to his composure, he raised a brow. “He
merely kissed her, sir. Her virtue is still intact.” Providing she hadn’t
already given it away to someone else, that is.
 
Pemberton’s
face darkened. “She was caught alone with an infamous libertine by some of the
biggest gossips in London. And according to the marquis, your brother was
touching her in a most intimate manner.”
 
Richard
winced. Stupid, stupid Tristan!
 
Pemberton
held out his hand. “Still, I do not wish for any harm to befall my son. And I
respected your father, God rest his soul. For their sake, I am willing to
negotiate an alternative.”
 
Relief
trickled through Richard. “Thank you, Your Grace.”
 
“I
will prevent the challenge from being issued. My price is marriage.”
 
Richard
nodded, unsurprised. “Of course. My brother’s follies are merely the
foolishness of youth. He’ll rise to the responsibility and shall be a good
husband to your daughter. He has a substantial allowance, and a number of
profitable investments. She will lack for nothing.”
 
Pemberton
frowned. “You are mistaken. I refuse to allow any daughter of mine to wed a man
with such unacceptably flawed character, and a mere second son at that. The
only husband I will accept for her is you.”

 

 
 
 
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