Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can’t be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family’s infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She’s the type of girl you don’t notice until the second-or third-look, but there’s something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she’s the one.
Iris Smythe-Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can’t quite believe it’s all true. And when his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he’s hiding something…even as her heart tells her to say yes.
Iris sighed, wondering how she might occupy herself now. She supposed she could fetch another book, but she was too comfortable slouched on the sofa to consider getting up. She sighed.
“What?” Daisy demanded.
Iris fought the urge to groan. “Not every sigh has to do with you.”
Daisy sniffed and turned away.
Iris closed her eyes. Maybe she could take a nap. She hadn’t slept very well the night before. She never did, the night after the musicale. She always told herself she would, now that she had another whole year before she had to start dreading it again.
But sleep was not her friend, not when she couldn’t stop her brain from replaying every last moment, every botched note. The looks of derision, of pity, of shock and surprise … She supposed she could almost forgive her cousin Sarah for feigning illness the year before to avoid playing. She understood. Heaven help her, no one understood better than she.
And then Sir Richard Kenworthy had demanded an audience. What had that been about? Iris was not so foolish to think that he was interested in her. She was no diamond of the first water. She fully expected to marry one day, but when it happened, it wasn’t going to be because some gentleman took one look at her and fell under her spell.
She had no spells. According to Daisy, she didn’t even have eyelashes.
No, when Iris married, it would be a sensible proposition. An ordinary gentleman would find her agreeable and decide that the granddaughter of an earl was an advantageous thing to have in the family, even with her modest dowry.
And she did have eyelashes, she thought grumpily. They were just very pale.
She needed to find out more about Sir Richard. But more importantly, she needed to figure out how to do that without attracting attention. It wouldn’t do to be seen as chasing after him. Especially when—
“Callers, ma’am,” their butler announced.
Iris sat up. Time for good posture, she thought with false brightness. Shoulders up, back straight …
“Mr. Winston Bevelstoke,” the butler intoned.
Daisy straightened and preened, but not before tossing an I-told-you-so glance at Iris.
“And Sir Richard Kenworthy.”
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/12/the-secrets-of-sir-richard-kenworthy.html
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/51153-smythe-smith-quartet
JULIA QUINN started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since. The New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four novels for Avon Books, she is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and is one of only fifteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.
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