From ARe bestselling author Layna Pimentel comes a brand new suspenseful historical romance.
Releasing in eBook on August 17th, 2015
Liquid Silver Books
Novella – 83 pages
Historical Romantic Suspense/Gothic Romance
Warning: This book is intended for a mature audience only, and contains frank language and adult situations.
The twists, diabolical turns and disturbing descriptions had me hooked and wanting more! I couldn't put it down! ~ Goodreads review
Filled with emotional turmoil, danger, suspense, mystery, deceit, lies, scandal, murder and romance. What an awesome blend of romance with suspense, family turmoil and secrets. Not for the faint of heart… ~ My Book Addiction and More
Where I can usually figure out the intrigue element in most mysteries, I wasn’t exactly left guessing who the bad guy was, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out he had an accomplice! ~ Award winning author Nichole Severn
Every man has a price...
As Lord Benedict St. John and his fiancée prepare to marry, his family is blackmailed by a former acquaintance. Hoping to set things straight, he accepts an invitation to dine at the Blackmailer’s family estate.
But how many should die...
Estelle agrees to accompany Benedict, but nothing prepares her for the mysteries and bodies she stumbles across during her time at Hawthorne Hall.
Before the shocking truth is exposed?
Hawthorne Hall holds many secrets, but will Estelle and Benedict escape to see the day their union is blessed, or will they succumb to an untimely end?
Benedict St. John glared ice-cold daggers at his father. The marquess paced behind his desk, muttering oaths and, within his meaty grip, he held a crumpled piece of paper. Benedict didn’t know what had the patriarch so vexed, however, whatever it was, had to have been infuriating enough to radiate contempt. To have pulled him away from making arrangements for his and Estelle’s wedding had to have been of great importance.
Exhaling, Benedict took a seat by the fireplace, but not before reaching for the brandy his father left out on the sideboard. He swirled the amber liquid and inhaled the sweet scent of the indulgence; the liquor his father preferred to drink when something went awry.
“Dare I ask what has you in such a state, Father?”
“I’m not sure if you want to be privy to such information. It’s a bloody scandal. Your mother is going to be surly when she finds out. Not to mention how the rest of our family will be dragged through the mud. No, it is crucial we put a stop to this madness.”
Benedict winced, knowing all too well his mother would only give her scathing disapproval if the situation were related to their finances. They had led a comfortable lifestyle up until now and, while taking up a smaller residence wouldn’t bother him that much, his mother would certainly object. He imagined his mother’s words spewing and sputtering, society this, and society that. They would be ruined, and she would be too embarrassed to face society. She would insist that they leave town, and God would only know to where.
In fact, while he maintained a small income and the inheritance he received from his grandfather, the time had arrived for him to consider moving into his own residence. Something he should have done some time ago, but his resolve in ensuring him and Estelle had enough income without relying heavily on his parents had weighed on him greatly.
With his nuptials to Lady Estelle Humphrey pending, he really should have established their family residence by now. He had no excuse to not have it completed already. Their wedding being more than a month away certainly didn’t leave him more time to piss about and squander time he didn’t have.
“Father, come and sit down with me. I am certain we can discern how much trouble the family is in. If there is an opportunity to consolidate properties—”
The earl guffawed at the suggestion. “My dear boy; let me ascertain that none of the servants are nearby and I will confide in you. What I have to say impacts on everyone and I want to make sure this information stays between you and me.”
Benedict raised a brow at his father’s comment. What on earth, could the man be hiding?
“Pardon the intrusion, my lords. This just arrived for Master Benedict.”
The butler passed him an envelope with the identical wax seal from the note his father received earlier. Only this time, the letter was decorated with intricate designs.
“Thank you, Horace.”
“What is it? Who is it from?” his father asked quizzically.
“I don’t know, Father. I’ll have a look at it later. I’m rather late for a few appointments now. I will check in on you later this afternoon. Do tell Mother I will be asking Estelle to join us for dinner tonight.”
His father groaned yet again. While his parents approved of his desire to marry, they simply did not care for his selection of a wife. The aristocratic snobs that they were, they had expected him to marry an equal, or a lady that came with an extremely large dowry. Estelle was Baron Humphrey’s daughter, and while her dowry wasn’t that of an earl’s or viscount’s daughter, her purse strings and entitlements didn’t bother him in the least.
From the moment he saw her for the first time at the market, he’d been smitten with the petite and exotic beauty. He’d lifted her from the muddy street, and as her deep dark eyes settled on his, she’d bewitched him. Mind, it took several weeks for him to dissuade another potential suitor, not that the lad stood a chance. Estelle was one catch he would never give up, and now he had to find the perfect home for them, but where? She lived in town with her father and widowed aunt in a modest townhouse during the season, and after that, they resided in a country home with a full set of staff and several tenants to oversee. All of which he could match with his inheritance; but for Estelle everything had to be perfect. She deserved nothing but the world, and if he could give it to her, he would.
“Horace,” Benedict called out, reaching for his hat. “See that my carriage is ready post haste. I have to go to town and begin looking at properties.”
“Yes, my lord. Right away.” The butler disappeared around the corner, leaving Benedict alone in the foyer.
He desperately wanted to open the envelope but refused to do it so close to home. He didn’t want his father to worry, nor did he want the servants to speculate on what was the matter. He’d open the blasted thing and read it in the privacy of his carriage.
Darkness shrouded the street, as if evil lurked for its first victim of the day. He stepped in, and gave his driver directions to Mayfair. A quick scout of the area would give him an idea of where there might be some opportunities. His future countess deserved the best. After scouring some neighborhoods, he’d collect his lovely bride and return home for dinner.
A few minutes into the drive, he pulled out the letter and opened it.
Lord Benedict St. John,
You are formally invited to Hawthorne Hall as a guest of Lord George Cuthbert. Celebrations are expected to last a week, and we hope that you will stay for the duration. Several festivities, including a masque, will be held in honor of George’s return from the continent. We hope you will attend, and look forward to being introduced to your lovely bride-to-be.
Lady Cuthbert, Countess of Hawthorne.
Nothing made sense. Why would Lord Cuthbert send a letter blackmailing his father, and then invite him and Estelle to attend a party at Hawthorne Hall? It had to be a ruse of sorts, but then again, he could use this as an opportunity to dig more into the situation with his father. Yet, was it wise to introduce Estelle to this particular crowd of society, especially when there were other sinister things being plotted? If anything happened to Estelle while she was in his protection, he would never forgive himself. Nevertheless, if he told her about his plan and what was happening, she might be willing to aid him in freeing his father from the devil’s clutches.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Layna discovered her love of reading at an early age. She’s a bestselling author at All Romance eBooks, and multi-published author of historical, paranormal and contemporary erotic romances. When she isn’t devouring salacious romance novels or writing, she enjoys losing herself in researching ancient history and mythology, weaponry, and hiking. She lives in Northern Ontario, with her husband and two daughters.
For updates on her upcoming releases, or to leave her a comment, you can find at: