The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London

Book 1 of The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London series from Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing Corp.

Sneak peek: Every unmarried gentlewoman who comes to London for the Season must accept that finding a husband is the business of her life. Neither her family nor society offers any other honorable provision for her future. Therefore, until she forms an attachment with a man of respectable family, decent habits, and comfortable income, a sensible woman will make use of every available means to put herself in the way of eligible parties and will devote her time and her energies to determining who among them is both suitable for the purpose and susceptible to her charms. To waste even a single evening in idle flirtation or to pin one’s hopes on unreasonable expectations is to risk no less a thing of lasting value than her own happiness. The purpose of this slim volume, then, is to guide the Husband Hunter through the perilous waters of the Season to the calm shores of wedded life.

 

Jack Ryker's Story

Book 3 of the Canyon Club series from Boroughs Publishing Group.

Sneak peek: From his window two stories above the Strand Jack Ryker could see the girl coaxing her reluctant companion along the public walkway. The Strand, a wide, smooth concrete ribbon ran from the edge of the Palos Verdes hill to the northern end of the South Bay beach towns, passing in front of miles of million-dollar, beach-front houses. Jack leaned forward slightly in his chair, and Soldier, the black dog at his side, shifted, instantly alert to his needs. He couldn’t hide anything from Soldier.

It was mid-November in L.A., not winter exactly, but a milder form of perpetual summer with shorter days and cooler temperatures and even one rain already. Jack had taken possession of the beach house in July, and he was familiar now with the girl’s almost daily performance and her tactics for handling her reluctant companion. Jack figured that she had a specific goal in mind, a corner to be reached on these outings. He guessed from the timing of her passing and the interval before her return that the turn around point was a few blocks north of his place.

A strong afternoon breeze shook the old guy, to whom she gave her arm, and blew the girl’s dark brown hair wildly about her face whenever she turned away from the ocean. The old man had to be fifty years her senior with thick, short-cropped white hair and a stoop in his wide shoulders. He had the brown and weathered look of a man who’d spent years in the sun, and his clothes came straight out of old salt casting. Khaki pants hung on his lean frame, sagging over his boat shoes. A frayed and faded pink knit collar stood up around his thin neck, and one elbow poked through a dark blue sweater with some yacht club burgee on the breast. His lurching uncertain gait required constant adjustment on the girl’s part. That and the old man’s tendency to balk as if he refused to take another step.

He did it again, just now, stopping below Jack’s window, steadying himself by grabbing hold of one of the thick glass panels that separated Jack’s patio from passers by. The girl turned to the old man with a smile. She had pink cheeks, rounded features, and blue eyes with long dark lashes. From the look on her face Jack imagined her saying some light, bright, encouraging thing. She did not lose her temper. He knew he would, but she never did. Her patience with the old man pissed him off every time.

Just watching her made him tighten his hold on Soldier’s nape. Soldier tensed in response, and Jack carefully relaxed his hand. He didn’t want to confuse his most reliable ally.

It would not be hard for Jack to find out who the girl was. He had the resources and the connections. One of his security cameras had no doubt already recorded her image. He could scan the thing and run it through his face-recognition databases. Hell, he could send one of his security guys down to the Strand this minute while the old man and the girl lingered in front of his patio. A little muscle from one of his guys might scare her off, keep her from stopping in front of his place, and he would be spared another day of watching her.

Not what he wanted. Not yet. He could, if he chose, get up out of his chair, with Soldier’s help, and make his way to the elevator he’d installed. He could descend to the first floor of his house. He had a chair there, too, on the Strand level. He could get a closer look at her. She’d never see him through the tinted glass with the glare of the afternoon sun on it.

What he wanted was for something to push her, to make her angry enough to turn on the old man, to rail at him for his weakness, his distraction, his dependence on her, his inability to get better. Jack wouldn’t be able to hear her. Even if she shouted, the wind would snatch the angry words away, but Jack didn’t need to hear the words. He just needed to see her snap. The old guy was not getting better. Her patience was clearly wasted on him.

Inevitably, though, she got him going again. Something she said made the old man turn his head toward the ocean into the wind. He stood and let the breeze buffet him as if he could take the wind into himself. For a moment the old man reminded Jack of the dog at his side. At times when they were out together, Soldier assumed that same posture of alert wariness, of sensing danger or possibility from the air itself. Jack’s life depended on it.

The breeze brought a smile to the old man’s face and pushed tears from his eyes. He turned to the girl, and they moved on. Tomorrow, Jack would spend the afternoon downstairs. Again, Soldier stirred under his hand. It was time for another round of Jack’s therapy. He was not yet thirty, and he’d spent a year working with doctors and sitting in specially built chairs. If he’d made any recovery, he couldn’t see it. He’d be no match for the old guy in a race up the Strand, and if he didn’t want to be led about for the rest of his life by some nursemaid, he had to get better.

 

 

 

 

 

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