Matchmaking Gone Wrong
The clock is ticking! Widowed Dr. Rafe Reynolds will soon be left alone when Ellen, his daughter and backgammon opponent, weds.
Shortly before the Christmas holidays, Ellen and his meddling sister convince Rafe to let them find him a suitable wife. Rafe reluctantly agrees, but he also insists that love doesn't matter at his age, and ladies who are loud and demanding need not apply.
Mrs. Lavinia Fitzroy, exuberant widow and old friend, is bold, well-connected and entirely uninterested in marriage for herself. She is just the woman to help find the gruff doctor a finding the perfect match for Rafe proves to be as thorny as winter holly. One minute everything is going as smoothly as clockwork, and the next, it's gone to the dogs!
Will Lavinia discover the perfect bride...one who ticks all the boxes for the doctor? Only time will tell!
Book Four in the Cherrybrook year, "Time Will Tell" may be read alone. With older protagonists, it's a later-in-life romance (kisses only)!
An Excerpt from Chapter Two
He had finished his rounds early and came walking home; his house calls had not taken him beyond the village, and he had had no need for his horse or gig. Bundled up and therefore well-protected from the buffeting winds, he hummed cheerfully, starting and stopping intermittently as he trudged past his gatepost and entered the drive. He shifted his doctor’s bag to his left hand and stretched the cold, stiff fingers of his right. He paused and looked expectantly towards his house. As was his custom, he gave a sharp whistle and watched for the front door to open. Nothing happened. He looked around to the right and whistled again.
If the dogs were already outside, they’d be on alert for his call. Or, if they were inside the house, he’d see their faces in a window. Normally, the door would open, and the dogs would come galloping out with wide-mouthed, sloppy grins to welcome him. no one, not even the dogs, expecting him home at this hour.
He was nearly his front steps by the time his front door was thrown open for the dogs, but instead of Ellen or one of the household staff appearing, it was his sister, Mary.
Amidst the excited barking and pawing, she sang out, “Lovely! We’ve been expecting you, Rafe!”
“I should hope so, Sister, seeing as it is my own home.” Rafe struggled to get his bearings for a moment, but he remembered with some annoyance that he had been informed of Mary’s imminent arrival this time. As soon as he had made peace with this thought, his mind latched onto the plural nature of her greeting, and he tried in vain to peer around his sister. “We?” asked with a frown. “You have not come alone?”
“No, I told you I would not!” Mary gestured in mild annoyance. “I have brought Mrs. Fitzroy and her unmarried cousin through marriage, Miss Katherine . They are here for the Cherrybrook dance as my guests. Don’t you recall? I wrote and warned you that I would be descending upon you for this You must remember Mrs. Fitzroy! Well, Lavinia kindly agreed to make an introduction for us!” Here his sister gave him an encouraging smile paired with a penetrating stare.
“Mrs. Fitzroy. You mean… You cannot mean Lavinia Lawton?” Rafe nearly choked, and in a he hardly as his own, he said, “She is here?” Before he had time to collect his wits, the dogs came whirling back up the stairs passing him on the top step and whooshing into the house. He heard a familiar commanding, yet not unpleasant voice from just inside his doorway, say sharply, “That is quite enough wag and bark, boys. Sit! !” When Rafe stepped into his front hall and leaned his back against the door to close it, there were his dogs, miraculously obedient. The anxious creatures were sitting; panting, with heads and eyes lifted to Lavinia’s face, their tails thumping against the floor!
Almost as if her command the dogs had extended to end his own chaotic emotions, he paused, staring, and did not speak. Lavinia’s eyes sparkled in greeting and her mouth turned up one corner. she met his stunned gaze, she reached into a pocket somewhere in her skirt and like a conjuror, pulled out a couple of small, round biscuits, and fed them to Oswald and Williver.
If Rafe had ever permitted himself to exercise his imagination upon a picture of a middle-aged version of the girl he had known and cared for so long ago, he might have come up with a fair estimate of Lavinia’s appearance, for she was not changed in any essential way. She was still tall, of course, nearly eye level with him, and while she was not a slender woman, she had retained that heartiness and vivacity that comes from an active lifestyle. Her face was still a pleasing oval, with rosy cheeks and a slightly upturned nose over a wide and smiling mouth. Her eyes were lively and there were those distinctly expressive, rather crooked, eyebrows. Her auburn hair was lighter than he remembered it, and streaked with grey, but still thick and wavy.
Coming to himself again (and with some embarrassment that he must be staring), Rafe struggled to respond. He wanted to take Mary aside and give her a well-deserved tongue lashing, or maybe Lavinia, for the humiliation he had suffered her rebuff all those years past. But no. Now that she was here in front of him again, he found he could not bring up the old feelings of bitterness. He numbly settled upon, “It is good to see you after so long a time, Lav-” he stopped himself from calling her by the familiar childhood name, “- Mrs. Fitzroy.” At that moment, Williver let out a low, whine and raised his eyes toward the lady in hopeful supplication, and Rafe blurted out, “What have you given my dogs?”
I grew up with an emotional support book. You know, the girl who never leaves home without one tucked under her arm "in case"?
For me, this was usually an English classic or high fantasy YA with a strong romantic subplot. When I finally read my first genre romance novel at the gentle age of forty, I was happily swept away! Once reading romances became a beloved habit, penning my own quickly followed.
Currently, I live in Michigan, USA, with my delightful family, beloved pets, and a busy bird feeder. I do my utmost to write heartfelt stories about memorable characters with a dash of humor and playful prose. If you're a Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Georgette Heyer or (actor) Richard Armitage fan, you're my kind of book friend!