Earl’s Well That Ends Well
by Jane Ashford
Publication Date: 12/29/2020
About the Book:
Arthur Shelton, Earl of Macklin, has helped four young noblemen
recover from grief and find love, but he's learned to live his own life as a
widower. Yet when he returns home after traveling, his estate feels too empty,
and he quickly heads to London. There, he encounters Teresa Alvarez de Granada,
a charming Spanish noblewoman and is immediately entranced.
There is no room for earls in the quiet, safe life Teresa has
finally found for herself. The earl might be charming and handsome, but she
knows firsthand how dangerous attraction can be. The more determined Teresa is
to discourage Arthur, the more entangled they get, and it's only a matter of
time before her respect for him starts to feel a lot like love.
Meet the Author:
Jane Ashford, a beloved author of historical romances, has been
published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and
Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career
Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. Visit her online at www.janeashford.com.
She lives in Los Angeles, California.
Read an Excerpt:
was a lovely spot. The carpet of blue blossoms wound back into the trees like
rivulets of color, beckoning one deeper into the shade of branches in new leaf.
A stream ran nearby, the gurgle of water blending with birdsong. The blossoms’
sweet scent filled the air.
Alvarez turned in a circle to take it all in. “Maravilloso!” She held out her arms as if to embrace the landscape
was the first time Arthur had seen her really laugh, and he found it glorious –
the musical sound, the flash of her dark eyes, the joyous gesture, the curve of
her lips. She seemed lit from within, as if a shadow had been whisked away and
the brilliance inside revealed. This was how she should always be, he thought,
glowing, carefree. To be the thing that made her happy – that would be an
have been meaning to take up some cobbles behind my house and make a place for
a garden,” she said. “Why have I put it off? I must do it at once. This is…comida para el alma. Food for the soul.”
a few cobbles sounded meager. Arthur had gardens galore at his estates. He
wished he could give her one. But a garden wasn’t like a jewel, to be handed
over. Even if she would easily accept gifts, which she would not.
think Mr. Dolan would be glad to pull them out,” she went on as if the plan was
unfolding in her mind.
Alvarez turned as if she’d forgotten he was there. “One of my neighbors is a
Friend of yours?” He was not, of course, jealous. That would be ridiculous.
query seemed to arrest and then amuse her. “He is, along with others on my
street, ever since we rid ourselves of Dilch. That canalla bullied Mr. Dolan’s son.”
she had stopped it. Arthur had never known a woman so self-sufficient. She had
a life he knew nothing of, a network of friends. He felt he wasn’t quite one of
them, and this galled.
talk and do small favors for each other now. It is pleasant.” She walked deeper
into the wood, looking right and left as if to drink everything in. She was
enraptured, and Arthur found himself envying a swathe of flowers. The idea made
Alvarez looked over her shoulder at him. “You find this amusing? That people
should be kind?”
raised dark eyebrows.
was laughing at myself.”
“You were?” She sounded surprised.
shouldn’t I? In particular.”
are an earl.”
that means I cannot be ridiculous? The title conveys no such immunity. Alas.”
He smiled at her.
some reason, she looked uneasy.
I have found laughter the remedy for a great many ills,” Arthur added. Senora
Alvarez seemed mystified, or…annoyed? That couldn’t be right. Why should she
be? Just a moment ago she’d been delighted. “Is something wrong?”
I am the most transparent of men,” he joked. He was so pleased to learn that
she thought about him that he added, “What do you wish to know? I have no
expression revealed his mistake. Senora Alvarez didn’t care to discuss secrets.
She had too many of her own. “I ask nothing of you,” she replied, turning to
with her and himself, Arthur followed. Tom had wandered off, as he tended to
do. There’d been no sign of him since they left the carriage. They were alone
in a world of color and birdsong and scent. Perhaps the peaceful beauty of the
place would soothe her temper, Arthur thought. But he didn’t know what would
gain her confidence.
gurgle of the stream grew louder, and then there it was, a thread of clear
water tumbling over rocks. Bluebells, ferns, and mosses bent over the banks.
Soft moisture wafted through the air. Senora Alvarez breathed it in. “Hermosa,” she said.
was, but Arthur was not foolish enough to voice his opinion. He could not
resist stepping closer.
partridge erupted out of the bracken with a violent whirr of wings. Arthur
started, twisted one boot heel on a stone, missed his footing with the other,
and stumbled toward the stream.
caught him with an arm about his waist, stopping his slide to a certain
dunking. They teetered together on the bank. He held onto her shoulders to regain
his balance. Though she was much smaller, her grip was strong, her footing
solid. She could hold her own and more. Her body felt soft and supple against
his as they came safely to rest.
looked down. Her face was inches away. Her dark eyes were wide, her lovely lips
slightly parted, as if primed for a kiss. She raised her chin. He bent his head
to touch them with his, an instant of exquisite pleasure.
jerked away, nearly sending him reeling once again. Her expression had gone
stark. All the beautiful animation had drained out of it. “Do not play such
games with me,” she said.
told you that what I said at the theater meant nothing!”
you did,” replied Arthur, stung. “And I heard you.”
you try to take advantage.”
bird startled me. I tripped.”
my lips.” Her tone was contemptuous.
“I beg your pardon. In the moment I thought
know nothing about me. But I will tell you that I despise tricks like that.”
was no such thing.”
made a derisive sound.
had no grounds to address him with such disdain, to practically call him a
liar. “Do you doubt my word?”
observe your actions,” she answered, moving away from him. “Where has Tom
have no idea.”
she called. “Where are you?”
came the reply from downstream “Come and see. There’s a waterfall.”
Alvarez walked away.
Excerpted from Earl’s Well That Ends Well by Jane Ashford. © 2020 by Jane Ashford. Used with
permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks
Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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