animated book cover showing a MF couple infront of flames, the female is holding a cat

Lady Imposter

He’s not in the market for a wife. But she can pretend, can she not?

No one can blame on-the-shelf paid companion Olivia Hales if she forgets herself when she stumbles across the shirtless man in the garden. But letting him assume that she’s the lady of the estate currently interviewing for a husband might be a big mistake.

Former captain of His Majesty’s Royal Navy, Nathaniel Oliver, knows all about duty. Which is why he must deliver his apologies for the forged application his meddling, but well-intentioned motherless daughters fabricated, and take his leave.

That was the plan anyway, before he met the buxom blonde on the overgrown grounds of the enchanting, ramshackle country estate, and they’re forced to take shelter together from a fierce storm.

Olivia is certain her heart has been struck by lightning, while Nate wishes he was the wealthy, titled gent she advertised for. Despite recognizing that he has no hope of winning such a coveted jewel, it doesn’t mean Nate isn’t stubborn enough to try.

Even if he has no inkling who he’s really in danger of falling in love with…

Lady Imposter is the second book in a fun and sexy adult Regency romance series full of witty banter, humor, and steamy scandals resulting in feel-good happily ever afters.

Release Date: April 30, 2024
ISBN:
• 9781949426984 ebook
• 9781949426717 print
• 9781949426397 large print


REVIEWS

“Lady Imposter is a sinfully, delightful Historical Romance that entices with its humor, engaging characters and wonderful storytelling.”
– 5-Star Review

Absolutely well written, full of love, drama, fun, laughs, society, family, steam, chemistry and so much more… So well worth the read and has some really great laughs to go it. Fabulous story worth more than 5 stars. Would strongly recommend to everyone.
– 5-Star Review

“This is got to be one of the most hilarious and entertaining books I have read it a very long time.”
– 5-Star Review

“It was both touching and fun. You feel like you really get to know the characters in a short time and they are truly meant for each other.”
– 5-Star Review

“Olivia and Nate are wonderful complements to each other and their initial meeting is worth the story by itself. It’s rather magical how they come together and with such an immediate connection but somehow it is nearly plausible with their banter and chemistry. Laughed and smiled throughout the book! Definitely a fabulous complement to Lady Scandal.”
– 5-Star Review


Excerpt

The verdant, lush green of a spring in full bloom greeted her, lent a lift to her spirits, and she fairly flew over the flagstone path that circled the old manor, intent on intercepting their errant applicant before he came back inside.

Duty called.

Tell the final applicant he wasn’t needed? It was a task she dreaded.

To be cast last and now discarded without an audience? What man would take kindly to hearing such?

Bad news was best broken under a sunny sky, or so her mama had always claimed. Olivia spared a quick glance upward and cringed. Today, a cloudy sky would have to do.

Rounding the second corner, her feet stumbled to an abrupt halt. Her breath hissed inward. Her eyes nearly bugged to Bedfordshire and back.

And her heart? That hurly-burly organ took off like a galloping horse—stealing away with her common sense perhaps?

Because instead of swooning or shying away, instead of yelling loudly, Olivia stood, happily, hungrily in place. She stood stock-still and she stared. 

Stunned. Savoring the sumptuous, unexpected sight…the play of muscle across a strong, bare back as applicant twenty-five (for who else could it be?), completely unaware of her presence, wielded a Dutch hoe in one corner of the weed-infested herb garden. Most notable of all? He was dressed in nothing more than black tall boots and tight black trousers.

Obscenely tight trousers.

Well now. 

And to think, Juliet had complained there wasn’t anything of value remaining on the grounds.

Olivia begged to differ.

Astonishment pinned Olivia’s breath in her chest and time graciously waited for her to gawp her fill. Which she did until her lungs burned as though she’d been fighting a fiery blaze for hours. 

She might have been trained to teach proper behavior to young ladies and to exhibit it herself, but she knew enough about life and death, about expectations and disappointments to know opportunity didn’t often knock. Especially opportunities for observing and admiring a strong, sweaty man wearing absurdly tight trousers.

So she watched. And her dratted throat betrayed her, making some sort of begging, yearning whimper that had her unexpected treat jerking upright and whirling around.

“Oh!” was all he said, a gruff sound of surprise.

Oh was right. Oh great day in the gloomy afternoon, she’d never seen such a handsome man. With his shirt off.

One who stared directly at her, as though he liked what he saw as well.

Her.

Well now. Mayhap this wouldn’t be such an onerous task after all.

***

A half-strangled moan penetrated Nate’s awareness. One with an almost breathy, beckoning quality.

Sheer instinct guiding his actions, he straightened and guiltily swung toward the sound. Guiltily because the last thing he was supposed to be doing today was whacking off weeds at the root in a stranger’s overrun herb garden.

The very last, given how he was here on the grounds of this venerable old estate for the express purpose to apologize and nothing more.

He wasn’t supposed to like the ramshackle estate he’d been sent to. Wasn’t supposed to admire the stately three-story structure, albeit one faltering around the edges from time and neglect (and a few thunderous doses of rainstorms no doubt, evidenced by the lightning-induced crack adorning the garret).

Wasn’t supposed to appreciate, even remotely—or so his rational mind persisted—the wretchedly dark mahogany walls and heavy, scarred furniture crowding the space where he’d been stashed all morning.

But he had, finding the dark room with its boarded windows pathetically snug. Comforting in fact, easily putting him in mind of his below-deck quarters on the ships where he’d served.

If it hadn’t been for the stuffy, smoke-filled air—and his yearning to be outside and on his way before the expected deluge hit later this afternoon—he could have patiently waited there longer.

Where he certainly wasn’t supposed to develop a rapport with one of his “competitors”—the chap who had gone before him. And most emphatically of all, he wasn’t supposed to grow bored at being so inactive and take up the first gardening implement he saw, setting to work ridding himself and recently healed body of accumulated energy, and the garden of its encroaching inhabitants.

But—Nate couldn’t help reflect in the wink since he’d spun toward that inviting whimper—for a man who sure liked an awful lot of unplanned things today, why should he be surprised at how very much he adored the fetching sight of the stunner before him?

“Oh,” escaped from him, as he readied himself to apologize.

But the stunner appeared to be in shock. Was grabbing at her throat.

“Miss?” Forgetting his attire—or lack of it—in a wave of concern, he stepped forward. “Are you all right?”

“Qu—quite!” She fanned the air in front of her face. “Simply strangled on some spit. ’Tis all. Don’t mind me.”

But her face was poppy red, eyes flushed, and—

And when he saw where her gaze had landed and remained, he realized why.

To the devil with me, I’m standing here practically naked!

And in front of a lady.

“Damn me. Oh, hell, didn’t mean—”

To gawp back like a lad? Curse about like a dolt?

“To swear!” he yelled at himself, partly embarrassed. Mostly intrigued.

Other women had never rendered him pudding-headed. Why does this one strike me dumb?

“Ah, forgive me. I— Um…” His mind cast about for an explanation, his tongue a way to say it without further cursing—or floundering.

“My shirt,” he said inanely, pointing past her shoulder, toward the wheelbarrow now sporting both shirt and jacket, “seam split. Damn near tore… Uh, I vow—” He’d vow he typically didn’t blubber about. Nor curse in front of ladies.

What was so difficult about explaining that he’d ripped a shoulder seam? That the torn sleeve had slid straight off the end of his fingers, once he’d pulled at the unraveled threads, leaving the remaining portion of the shirt gaping indecently?

Oh, aye, and if she hasn’t gone running by then, you might very well tell her your trousers are so painfully snug that any second now you have been expecting them to split nigh in two. For your arse to be sunlight bound, your ballocks—

Stubble it! Nate ordered his wayward thoughts.

Wearing a soft, lemony-yellow dress—that made his mouth water more than any biscuit in memory—with honey-colored hair pulled over one shoulder in a thick, touchable braid that only renewed the tingling in his fingers, the surprised female beckoned him more than any sight he’d beheld since coming ashore. More than any sight in memory, if truth be told.

She had a woman’s ample figure—the square neckline of her dress giving but a hint of the full bounties beneath, the flared hips below the cinched waist of her gown all but inviting his hands to land upon them, to slide up and down, find their home and pull her close so he could—

What are you doing, man?

Fantasizing about making love with a woman sturdy enough to take a man’s full desires. A woman not frail, but one full of vigor and health, one inciting intense, fiery cravings he’d not thought to experience in this lifetime.

And you about to bid her goodbye? With nothing more than an apology and explanation? Don’t be daft!

Stay. Stay and see if the brain behind the beauty binds your interest as well.

While Nate’s inner debate waged, her widened gaze remained locked on him. She hadn’t shied away from the sight of his bare chest, not once. For a man who practically had more scars than skin in places, it was a balm to his ego, a comfort to his soul, to see an alluring female staring at him so intently, and with admiration.

A thick mass of grey clouds scudded across the sky, cutting out the direct beam of sunshine he’d been basking in. The sudden shade made him shiver.

Oh, mate, don’t start lying to yourself now. ’Tis not the touch of cooler wind that’s making you shiver. ’Tis the heat in her eyes. The look of wonder upon her face.

“Ahhh…” Find your tongue, man! “Just making myself useful. Not used to being so damn—ah, deuced idle.”

Fine way to impress the lady you have come to meet!

Impress? Where did that come from? He wasn’t here to make an impression. He was here to tender an apology.

No time like the present, then.

Using the forks of lightning flashing in the distance as a distraction, he shook off the stupor weighing him in place. He inclined his head in a diffident bow. “My lady. Forgive me, I regret too many years in the company of rowdy seamen has stolen the tact from my speech.”

Don’t you mean thoughts? As yours are veering in the same direction as that last bounder’s? The one who kept crowing about how he couldn’t wait to prig the Lady Wench?

Lady Wench, indeed.

He’d no sooner call her that than contemplate intertwining their naked legs betwixt the sheets—

Liar!

Ahem.

Ignoring the unwanted intrusion, Nate stared back at his newest, most unexpected, fascination.

She gazed at him as though enraptured. It was a heady feeling, that. One that almost made him regret the purpose of his presence today. He should state his piece and be on his way.

Aye, that’s exactly what he should do.

Already, with the bulk of the day gone, he’d need to stay over in Duffield before setting his borrowed horse on a course for home.

It’s what he would do, as soon as he apologized for his appearance—a man never greeted a female in such a state. By the devil, he couldn’t even remember his wife of fourteen years seeing his nude torso in daylight.

Taking the hoe’s weathered handle in a firm grip to steady himself, he walked toward his abandoned clothing—which just happened to be in the same direction as his captive audience. 

“Forgive me, my lady,” he said when he skirted past her and reached for his torn shirt, “for greeting you with such abominable taste. ’Tis only that your garden here showed such promise, I hated to see it in such a sorry state.” He gave a derisive, self-directed laugh. “Sorry state. Much like myself. Unpardonable, I know—”

His skin sizzled from her continued stare. He stepped back, propped the hoe against the wall and fumbled for the neck hole—in his distracted state, he couldn’t tell the top from the bottom, the way the material had split.

“Not unpardonable. Not if it ripped. I could always mend it for you?”

The unexpected offer, the hesitant tone in her softly pitched query arrested his attention away from his shirt and up to her face. Where her sincere, if embarrassed, expression snared his.

“No, you couldn’t,” he answered emphatically, tearing his gaze from hers to resume his search. A lady mend his shirt? Unheard of! “We just met. Haven’t met, actually.” His words spun in circles as his hands spiraled around the frayed fabric. “No need for us to meet, not really…” Not with me about to take my leave.

Certainly not with you acting the block-headed gollumpus. 

Where in blazes was the damn opening? “I most humbly beg—”

“Oh, don’t apologize,” she entreated with a breathy sigh, “not on my account, not when your chest is the most blessed sight I have seen in weeks. Years. In ever, I vow.”

It was? “It is? In…ever?” He paused in the act of sticking his head through one of the blasted openings—no idea if it was the right one—to make sure he’d heard aright.

And then, as though just realizing exactly what she had said, the fetching beauty slapped palms to heated cheeks, stumbled backward and groaned. “Mercy me. My tongue must be the most wretched thing ever—to say such.”

“Nay.” One long stride brought Nate within touching distance. He fisted his blighted shirt in his left hand and brought his right up to her face, lightly skimming several fingers where she’d pressed them to her eyes. “Not wretched, not when it utters such welcome compliments.”