To celebrate my new release this day, I’m sharing an excerpt of my newest release from the Regency Blooms series. Don’t forget to check out my website, http://www.jessicajefferson.com and follow my blog tour for chances to win gift cards and other great swag!
She’s the other sister…
Lillian Tisdale has lived her life overshadowed by the beauty of her older sister. She’s better known as the other Tisdale, unremarkable and unsure how she could ever deliver on the promise of her family name.
He’s hiding behind a façade…
Will Colton leads a frivolous existence, embracing notoriety instead of managing his family’s fortune. Determined to forget his financial burden and his father’s growing resentment, he maintains a lifestyle dedicated to pleasure and self-indulgence.
When Will is invited to the Tisdale estate for an extended holiday, he never expects to become friends with the forgettable Lillian. But when a family secret comes to light, Will must choose between leaving London and protecting the honor of one woman or staying and risking the reputation of another…
Two years later, Will Colton returns to England under dubious circumstances to find the girl he left behind has come out of the shadows and into her own. Lilly’s finally the center of attention, and not all of its good. But with his own reputation in tatters, how can this reformed rake lure her out of the hands of London’s bachelors and back into his arms? Can Will escape his past and reclaim her heart, or will he have finally lost Lilly for good?
She looked . . . lovely.
“Leave me alone,” she said, her voice quivering.
He shook his head. This little chase had cost him a brand new pair of expensive pants—he was certainly not going to back down now and make it all for naught. “Not until you tell me what’s the matter. Why did you run away?”
“Because I’m being a silly female.”
Will had known her long enough now to be certain that nothing was further from the truth. “You’re not at all silly.”
She shook her head. “I am and it’s not something I’m proud of, either. But I’m afraid I can’t seem to help it.”
“This.” She waved her arms around her. “Being so angry!”
“I knew you were mad.”
“No, you fool. I’m not angry because of anything you said. It’s what you didn’t say.”
Now she did sound a trifle bit ridiculous.
“What did I do wrong? At least tell me that much.” This was precisely the reason he’d never befriended a female before. They were highly confounded figures that were prone to fits of hysterics—just like this.
“You told me I was a good friend,” she stated quite derisively.
“And that was a bad thing?”
She shook her head. “It’s not . . . but it is.”
His head hurt.
“You wouldn’t understand,” she said, turning her back to him. “Someone like you could never understand. Everybody likes you, everybody remembers you. You’ve never been teased or overheard others talk about your spots when they thought you weren’t listening. Oh, I bet you’ve never even had spots!”
He watched her shoulders tremble and knew she was crying again. Suddenly, he didn’t care how preposterous the conversation was. He just wanted whatever had gone wrong to be set right again. He wanted to make her stop crying, to provide her whatever comfort he could.
Will reached out and touched her shoulder. He felt her stiffen underneath his hand as she tried to subdue the sobs that were racking through her.
Lilly took a step forward, causing his arm to fall away, then turned to him again. “People are forever telling me how funny I am, or letting me know how much they appreciate my kindness. But the only reason I’m ever invited anywhere is because of Ambrosia.”
“There are worse things to be called than funny and kind.”
“Not always,” she said quietly, looking off into the distance. “My sister is beautiful, just like my mother. I’ve lived my entire life in the shadow of that beauty, with the conciliatory prize of being dubbed the funny one. This time next year, my sister will no doubt be married to a perfectly lovely man and will have started trying to make their ridiculously gorgeous family.”
“Are you worried that you may not find a husband? That you won’t be married as well?” he asked.
“Oh, I’ll be married all right,” she stated confidently. “I have a large dowry and a powerful father. Whereas my sister has her beauty to tempt eligible gentlemen, I’ll be forced to use my wit and hope that my fortune will be enough to draw them to me. I’m certain I’ll meet a nice gentleman who doesn’t make my pulse race or my heart thump madly against my chest, but gets along with me just fine. We’ll be good friends, and that’s all that I’ll ever have to look forward to.”
“You can’t think that—”
“It’s the truth,” she interrupted. “It says a great deal to be admired for one’s good nature, but just once I’d love for a man to want me for so much more. I want to be desired, to be wanted . . .” Lilly looked down at her feet. “Now, do you understand why it’s so silly?”
The moon was higher now, and the entire garden was cast in a blue tinged light. Lilly stood there, her sooty black lashes fanning out upon the apples of her cheeks. Her hair was styled into a single braid—strands of gold and red shined in the moonlight. Her wrapper was thin and when she moved just right, her back to the light, her silhouette could be seen clearly through the garment. He’d made a mistake in thinking of her as a girl. She was clearly a woman, with ample breasts and a generous curve to her hips.
Standing as she was, she looked very much like a statue of a Greek goddesses, with her voluptuous figure and skin gleaming like alabaster in the moonlight.
He wanted her.
The feeling came on rather swiftly and the realization practically knocked him over. Despite her claim to the contrary, Lillian Tisdale looked quite desirable and the farthest thing from his mind was how funny she could be.