Wednesday 14 February 2024

A chivalrous gentleman. A damsel in distress. Only… he’s a radical reformer and she’s a duke’s disgraced daughter. Falling in love with her could cost him everything.


Never Tempt a Widow 
(Marry in Haste Collection Book 4)
By Elizabeth Keysian

Publication Date: 18th May 2021
Publisher: Elizabeth Keysian Books
Page Length: 150 Pages
Genre: Historical Romance

The Duke of Wolfingham's scapegrace daughter Seraphina is convinced her lover tried to kill her. Alone, penniless, and desperate, there's nothing she can do to save the life of her beloved baby daughter, Adelina. Sir Rowland Cavendish offers an escape from her grief, but how can Seraphina ever trust a man again?

Rowland has just lost his wife, and his baby boy needs feeding. The beautiful young widow from the village would make the perfect wetnurse, but the conditions she sets in exchange for her compliance are not at all what he expects.

Seraphina refuses to share her secrets with Rowland, but her past returns to haunt her, threatening her new-found security. Her future hangs on a knife-edge as the game turns deadly, and a web of kidnapping, blackmail, and lies is uncovered. 

She loves Rowland deeply, but if she doesn't leave him, he could lose what he values above all else. His baby son.


Gloucestershire, England, 1785

The betrayal of her family cut Fina Hamilton, youngest daughter of the Duke of Wolfingham, in two. But Dundas Reedman, the most handsome rogue in all of Gloucestershire, had assured her that reconciliation would be possible—after they were married and the baby was born.

Dundas cut a fine figure on his bay stallion, his long dark hair blowing in the May breeze, breaking free from its queue as it so often did. His tricorn hat was of the best quality, and his deeply-skirted riding coat was a perfect fit, emphasising the slenderness of his waist.

Fina smiled. How she longed to get her fingers on the multitudinous horn buttons, gradually opening his coat to reveal the embroidered waistcoat and billowing white shirt. But it was what lay beneath that fascinated her the most—the virile male body that had given her such illicit pleasure in the pergola at Wolfingham Park, by the banks of the River Severn last summer, and before the roaring fire in Dundas’ house in the autumn.

All pleasures had to be paid for, mind, and this was a massive sacrifice, to elope with a man her parents would never let her marry because he had no title. But now, she had to. Now, she carried his child.

He turned and grinned at her. “How do you fare, my lovely?”

“No nausea. Saxon makes an easy ride.” She patted the mottled neck of her grey stallion, gifted to her by Papa on her eighteenth birthday. The animal had been her best friend—aside from Dundas, of course—ever since.

“Good. We have a long, difficult road ahead, as you know. But you’ll adore London, Fina. For dances, dinners, entertainments, gambling, and whoring, it knocks Gloucester into a cocked hat.”

“I shan’t care for any of those.” She lifted her chin. “I shall be at home with our child at my breast, ready to rock him to sleep with lullabies and kisses. I trust you’re not thinking of gambling or whoring yourself?”

He was just trying to tease her, as was his wont. Ever since their secret affair had blossomed into passionate, bodily desire, she’d heard not a whisper of Dundas going with any other women or betting dangerously at the card tables. He hadn’t even flirted with her two older sisters when he’d danced with them at the last assembly.

She was so fortunate to have won this amusing, dashing buck for her very own when he could have had any woman he wanted. He had but to crook his little finger, and they’d come. It might have been any one of Gloucester society’s diamonds now following the bay stallion and its rider to a wedding in the Fleet prison—but he’d chosen her. She’d been promised a life of mingled love and excitement, rubbing shoulders with the diarists, artists, and politicians of London. Dundas had been the most ardent of suitors, constantly begging locks of her hair, a glove here, a fragment of lace there—all so that he had something to remind him of her when they were apart. 

“Are you comfortable, my dove? Are your bags and boxes still firmly attached? I did the best I could with them in the dark.” He slowed his mount so that he was walking beside her, despite the narrowness of the bridleway they were following. Deep below, the young River Severn flashed in the sunlight as it rushed its way towards Bristol and the sea.

She patted the most important item of all—her jewel box. It felt comfortably heavy. “Secure enough. But if you crowd me, some of my luggage could get knocked off by a tree branch. So, for that matter, could I.”

He gave her a feral grin. “You may go ahead of me then. Just follow the road. But have a care. There’s a steep drop to the river—I’d hate you to miss your footing.”

She trotted past him, ducking beneath a low bough of ash. “Oh, no, Saxon’s very sure-footed—No! Whoa. Whoa, boy!”

“Fina, hold on!”

Her stallion was tearing along the track as if it had a pack of hounds at its heels. She could hear the drumming hooves of Dundas’ horse as it thundered behind her, but he wasn’t shouting anymore. Instead, she heard the thwack of a whip as it sliced through the air and cut into Saxon’s flesh.

What in the Lord’s name?

Saxon reared, screaming his fury, tipping her straight from his back.

A cascade of pain, tumbled light and shadow, and an unstoppable descent through gravel-spiked mud followed. Then she was thrashing about in water, not knowing which way was up and which was down.

Weighted with water, her skirts tangled about her legs, dragging her away from the light, but as the pressure threatened to burst her lungs, she clawed for the surface, instinct coming to the fore.

The river couldn’t be that deep, the current not that powerful—there must be something to cling to, and Dundas would have seen her fall.

Sodden and gasping, stabbed with a thousand points of pain, she clung to a root, rough on her hands but strong. Greedily wheezing in air and coughing out water, she shook the hair from her face and gazed up the bank to the tall trees that fringed it. “Dundas! I’m here. Help me!”

A host of pigeons clattered out of the woods in alarm.

“Dundas!” Her voice was a scream now. Her grip was slipping. “I can’t get out on my own. Help me!”

Her only answer was the rush of water and blood in her ears.

And the sounds of a horse’s hooves galloping off into the distance.

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Elizabeth Keysian

Elizabeth Keysian is a USA TODAY bestselling author of heart-pounding Regency romances, set mostly in the West of England. She has just completed a series for Dragonblade Publishing called Trysts and Treachery, which is set in the Tudor era. Though primarily a writer of romance, she loves to put a bit of mystery, adventure, and suspense into her stories, and refuses to let her characters take themselves too seriously.

Elizabeth likes to write from experience, not easy when her works range from the medieval to the Victorian eras. However, her passion for re-enactment has helped, as have the many years she spent working in museums and British archaeology. If you find some detail in her work you’ve never come across before, you can bet she either dug it up, quite literally, or found it on a museum shelf.

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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx