Fiction Fest: Carla Kelly’s ‘In Love and War’ brings November previews to a close

In Love and War_2x3 (print)Here’s a little something to brighten up your Black Friday, an excerpt from Carla Kelly’s latest, “In Love and War: A Collection of Love Stories.”

“In Love and War” is a treasured collection of wonderfully written stories of dashing war heroes and the sassy heroines who can’t help falling for them. From daring sea captains to genteel lords, there’s a little something for every heart’s fancy. Readers everywhere will adore these four regency romances—now available together for the first time in one must-have book!

“In Love and War” is available in bookstores and from online retailers.

EXCERPT:

The Light Within

Following the end of the Second American War in 1814, two Quaker widows from Nantucket have come to England in search of documented evidence that their husbands were killed in an encounter with a Royal Navy frigate prowling in Arctic waters for American whalers. They need the information to satisfy the ship’s partners that it was an act of war, or they will lose ownership of the Whittier Ropework to satisfy their creditors. Stumbling into this bit of business is a former British Army officer who has an entirely different agenda. He’s trying to save his family from ruin at the hand of his foolish elder brother.

The scurvy plot that set in motion the elopement of the season was precipitated by the deposit of kittens upon the doorstep of 11 Albemarle Road, the City, two days before Valentine’s Day, in the Year of Our Lord 1814.

Perhaps to call it an elopement is to put too strong a face upon the matter, although many insisted that Thomas Waggoner had last been seen in the fervent embrace of a beautiful woman. But no one really knows. There are those in London’s best houses who still wonder whatever became of Lord Thomas Waggoner, second son of the late Marquess of Cavanaugh and brother to the biggest rake who ever cheated his tailor.

Among the ton who discounted the elopement theory were those who believed the rumor that Tom Waggoner had taken Holy Orders and thrived, shriven and shorn, on some remote isle of Micronesia. Others declared that he had taken the king’s shilling yet again and served this time as a mere private in one of His Majesty’s far-flung regiments.

Absurdities mounted among those who still remembered Lord Thomas. One family friend even claimed, years later, that he was sure he had seen Thomas, Quaker from his broad-brimmed hat to his plain black shoes, striding bold as life down a street in Nantucket, America, with a small boy perched on his shoulder, an army of stairstep children behind him, and a pretty lady at his side.

“And we remember how susceptible all Waggoners since Adam have been to a pretty face,” the man had insisted. “She was a beauty, what I could see of her around that Quaker bonnet.”

It was a piece of nonsense, everyone agreed. No one considered it for a moment. Still …