In 1859, ladies of New York society were expected to do three things well: find a husband, organize a smooth-running household, and have children.
Rosemary Fitzpatrick’s agenda is very different. As the author of the popular Harry Hawk dime novels, she must hide her true identity from her new publisher, who assumes the person behind the F. P. Elliott pen name is male. She must pose as his secretary in order to ensure the continuation of her series. And in the midst of all this subterfuge, her mother is insisting that she become a debutante this year.
Henry Cooper is not the typical Boston Brahmin. Nor is he a typical publisher. He’s entranced by Mr. Elliott’s secretary the moment they meet, and wonders how his traditional-thinking father will react when he brings a working class woman into the family. Because his intentions are to marry her, regardless.
Rosemary’s deception begins to unravel at the Cotillion ball, when Henry recognizes her. The secretarial mask must come off, now that he knows she is a member of New York society. But she can’t yet confess who she truly is until she knows if Henry will accept her as F. P. Elliott.
The more time they spend together, the closer they become. But when Rosemary reveals her true identity to him, will Henry be able to forgive her or has her deceit cost her the man she loves?
“I cannot tell you enough how much I love Becky Lower’s books. She is by far my favorite historical romance author, and I would recommend anything she writes to everyone I meet. She just has a way with words and has a brilliantly warm and classic, romantic heart. HEAs Are Us
If you are a historical romance fan, love multi-layered characters and enjoy a great story, please read this series. The Reading Cafe
Kudos to Ms. Lower for writing a series that is different, the setting and subject matter unique and quite engaging.” –Deborah Cordes, Author
“Hello, Mr. Cooper.” Good Lord, was that the best she could do?
“I thought possibly you were frightened away at the thought of getting a fencing lesson.”
Ooh, a dare. The bane of growing up with older brothers. She never could resist when someone issued a dare. Aware that she was about to enter uncharted territory, Rosemary’s hands went to the waistline of her skirt and she unbuttoned it. With a flourish, her skirt fell to the floor and she stepped over it, dressed only in her riding breeches.
“On the contrary, Mr. Cooper. I am excited at the possibility of besting you.”
His grin grew even wider. Her butterflies multiplied and performed swan dives into the pit her stomach had become.
“I see you’ve come alone. That’s not what I would expect from a fine, cultured lady such as yourself.”
“How many other fine, cultured ladies have you given fencing instructions to?”
“Touché, Miss Fitzpatrick. Shall we begin, then?”
Henry turned from her for a moment, gathered up a heavy vest and another weapon, and took a step toward her.
“You must wear some protection, as will I, so we don’t unintentionally slay each other.” He held the vest open, waiting to help her into it.
She moved in front of him and allowed him to assist her into the vest, as if it was a fine coat. “What if we want to intentionally slay each other? Is that permissible?”
Henry’s chuckle burst forth from deep within his body. Rosemary quivered as it wafted over her. Her back was pressed up against him as he assisted her.
“You are a cheeky little thing, aren’t you, Miss Fitzpatrick? Or should I say, Miss Wyatt? Or is it Miss Elliott?”
She turned around and faced him. He was standing ever so close. She lost herself momentarily in the deep brown of his eyes. It took every moral fiber she had to break their gaze, but she did. She took a step back.
“We both know Miss Wyatt was a ruse. And Miss Elliott was a mistake. Miss Fitzpatrick will suffice just fine, Mr. Cooper.”
“I still don’t understand why you needed to set up such a subterfuge in the first place.” He handed her a sword, its tip covered with a guard. “Let’s begin, shall we? For the time being, we’ll leave the tips covered and will work without headgear, so you can better see what I’m referring to.”
He took a position opposite her, blade facing out. “Fencing terminology is primarily in French, so you’ll get a language lesson as well as a fencing lesson.”
Henry touched his sword to hers. “This is presentation, where I offer to you my blade for engagement.”
“Doesn’t sound French to me, Mr. Cooper.” Rosemary held her sword against the light pressure Henry was exerting against it. The pressure against her blade grew stronger, the sound of steel on steel permeating the air as Henry’s blade slid against hers, and Rosemary’s grip faltered.
“The time for games is now over, Miss Fitzpatrick. En garde.”
She lifted her sword back up to waist level and presented it to him. “On the contrary, Mr. Cooper. The games have just begun.”
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Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it present day middle America or on a covered wagon headed west in the 1850s. Contemporary and historical romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Contemporary and Historic RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com