Hello, Sunshines, I am delighted to be a part of the blog tour for; Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack. This book looks so beautiful, I can’t wait to share it with you all. plus, I have an exclusive excerpt to tempt you with. I was scheduled to post yesterday, but there is a lot going on in the non-blog life which meant I wasn’t able to, apologies but here it is now. Firstly, thank you to Laurel-Anne at Austen Prose Tours for the invite.

About the Book

Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack.

Series: Mayfeild Family Romance

Genre: Historical Romance

Hazel Stillman is a woman of rare independence and limited opportunities. Born with a clubbed foot, she was sent away as a child and, knowing her disability means a marriage is unlikely, she devoted herself to scholarship and education.

Now working as a teacher in an elite private girls’ school, she is content with the way her story has unfolded. When her uncle Elliott Mayfield presents her with the prospect of a substantial inheritance if she marries, Hazel is offended. What kind of decent man would marry for her money? Besides, she loves her freedom as a professional, respected woman. When she hears rumors of the school possibly being sold, however, she knows she must consider all her options.

Duncan Penhale has a brilliant mind and thrives on order and process. He does not expect to marry because he likes his solitary life, shared only with his beloved cat. When Elliott Mayfield, his guardian’s brother, presents him with an inheritance if he marries a woman of social standing, Duncan finds it intrusive. However, with the inheritance, he could purchase the building in which he worksand run his own firm. It would take an impressive and intellectual woman to understand and love him, quirks and all.

Hazel and Duncan believe they have found a solution to both of their problems: marry one another, receive their inheritances, and then part ways to enjoy their individual paths. But when Uncle Mayfield stipulates that they must live together as husband and wife for one year before receiving their inheritances, Hazel and Duncan reluctantly agree. Over time, their marriage of convenience becomes much more appealing than they had anticipated. At the end of the full year, will they go their separate ways or could an unlikely marriage have found unsuspecting love?

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS

Advanced Praise

“What a lovely romance. The historical details, the depth of the authentic characters, and the realistic dialogue all contribute to an immersive story. [A] beautiful and inspirational story about loving people just as they are.”— Katie Jackson, Regency Proofreading

“Phenomenal. This book was phenomenal. The very best in the series.”— Lyssa Armstrong, For Where Your Treasure Is

“This love story was unique and such an uncommon take on a marriage of convenience! [S]weet and well worth the wait!”— Ashley Johnson, Bringing Up Books

“Beautifully written, sensitive, poignant addition to the Mayfield Family series.”— Susan K., The Flipped Page

Excerpt

“Did you know we have an illegitimate cousin?” Harry had said, his eyes wide with fascination as he’d plopped down beside her on her bed where she had been reading Robinson Crusoe for the fourth time that week. There was a limited selection of books at Falconridge, and she’d not thought to borrow from the extensive library at St. Mary’s before she’d left.

“We do not,” she’d said in the authoritative tone she used most often when talking to Harry.

“We do.” His eyes were bright with anticipation to share his gossip. “I heard Mother talking to Mrs. Moyle about it just now. It seems our Aunt Catherine—she died when we were five years old—took up with a man who already had a child, and Mother called Aunt Catherine ‘his mistress.’” Harry had grinned at the delightful scandal. “Catherine promised Uncle Elliott she would marry that man, but she never did, and then he died, and she was left with the care of his son, who became her ward. He is twenty years old and works as an apprentice clerk in Ipswich. Mother said that Uncle Elliott has paid for all the boy’s schooling and helped him find an apprenticeship, and she is furious.”

“If the boy’s parents were married when he was born, he is not illegitimate,” Hazel had said.

“But his father never married Aunt Catherine, and that is how Mother identified the boy to Mrs. Moyle—‘Catherine’s illegitimate son.’”

How should they reference this boy’s relationship to their dead aunt? Hazel had wondered. Catherine hadn’t been his stepmother, because she’d never married his father. Not wanting to admit she didn’t know the answer, Hazel had gone back to her book.

“You are an imbecile, Harry. Why does petty gossip hold such interest to you?”

Harry’s cheeks had gone red, and he had grabbed her book and thrown it against the wall, breaking the binding, before jumping off the bed and running from the room while she screamed additional names after him.

Now Hazel watched their “illegitimate” cousin take the last bite of his breakfast and calculated that if he had been twenty years old when she had been eleven, he was thirty-six years old now—the same age as her cousin Peter—and nine years her senior. She wondered what it had been like for Duncan to live in rented rooms above shops with a woman who was not his mother. What a strange life.

Duncan took another drink of ale.

Hazel decided to push for more information. “You do not find the requirement of making a genteel match offensive?”

Duncan leaned back in his chair. “Lord Howardsford said that he hopes to help each of us establish what he himself was unable to have in his youth. His hope may have blinded him to reasonable expectations.”

“Did you tell him that?”

Duncan shook his head. “As he has always done me such kindness, I did not want to be rude. I was taught to always say thank you when given a gift.”

“You had more manners than I did, then,” Hazel said, pushing both of her empty plates aside and feeling foolish for having spoken her mind so directly yesterday in light of Duncan’s restraint. Uncle Elliott had paid for Hazel to attend St. Mary’s, a more advanced school than her parents could afford, and he’d arranged to have gifts sent at her birthday and Christmastide, even though he had lived in India most of her life. He had come to see her whenever he was in England, and he was the first person to suggest that a specialty boot might be made for her clubbed foot. Walking had required crutches before then. It had been a wonderous thing to walk on two feet like every other nine-year-old girl, even if she still could not run or play.

“You were offended by his gift of dowry for you, then?” Duncan asked her.

“Completely.” It felt silly to say so. It was not as though she had anything less now than she’d had before. Somehow it felt as though she’d lost something, though. “I have no marriage prospects, and for Uncle Elliott to try to induce a man to marry me for money was quite . . . painful, really.”

“Is your lack of marriage prospects due to your deformed foot?”

Hazel’s spine snapped into alignment, and her eyes popped wide. The burn in her cheeks blazed red-hot, and she looked away not only to take a breath and center her thoughts but also to give him ample opportunity to restate his question or apologize. When he did not do either one, she turned back to him and stared at him coldly. He missed the look completely because he was not looking at her.

“Yes, Duncan. My deformed foot.” Her twisted, grotesque, and mutilated foot that had set the course of her life from the day of her birth.

“Is it so bad? I mean, you can walk, can’t you?” He looked around the room. “I see no crutch or bath chair.”

Hazel’s chest tightened up like planks of a barrel. “I can walk.”

“That is very good, then,” he said with a nod. “As you are of gentle birth, intelligent, and well-featured, a deformed foot is not such a deficit as to interfere with your ability to marry. As there are many men of gentle birth in need of fortunes for one reason or another, you will have no trouble finding a husband.”

While Hazel’s blood boiled, Duncan finished his ale and then pulled a battered watch from the pocket of his unadorned waist-coat. The footman came in to clear their plates. “That was a most excellent breakfast,” Duncan said, nodding at the stoic footman. He turned his attention to Hazel with an expression free of any awareness of her response to the egregious things he’d said. “I am glad to have met you, Cousin Hazel.”

“The pleasure is all mine,” she said stiffly. She wanted him to understand that he’d offended her, and yet looking into his innocent expression made her question the right to have been offended. He hadn’t said or done anything that indicated scorn of her failing; he’d simply been direct about her foot in ways no one ever was.

Deformed, she repeated in her mind. While shocking in its starkness and a completely inappropriate term for casual conversation, Duncan’s description of her clubbed foot was not wrong. Her foot was de-formed.

Duncan stood and straightened his coat, less awkward than he’d been when he entered the room, though still … odd. She did not quite know what to make of him. Was he slow-witted or, like Audrey, was he advanced in some ways and unskilled in others, like social graces that determined what one did and did not talk about?

About the Author

Josi S. Kilpack has written more than thirty novels, a cookbook, and several novellas. She is a four-time Whitney award winner, including Best Novel 2015 for “Lord Fenton’s Folly, and has been a Utah Best of State winner for Fiction. Josi loves to bake, sleep, eat, read, travel, and watch TV–none of which she gets to do as much as she would like. She writes contemporary fiction under the pen name Jessica Pack.

Josi has four children and lives in Northern Utah.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.