The Matchmaker’s Surrender by Tammy L. Bailey
Series Matchmaker Book Two
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publication Date May 20, 2019
Miss Jane Dalton, one of London’s most successful matchmakers, would rather bring couples together than choose a gentleman for herself. In fact, she could not think of anything more frightening than falling in love.
Fate, however, disrupts her plans to remain a single matchmaker when Mr. Nicholas Waverley, her brother’s best friend, is forced to kidnap her after she becomes entangled in an assassin’s web.
Brought together under dangerous circumstances, Jane realizes her true feelings for Nicholas. In the end, however, is her love for him worth the fall?
With perspiration gathering in the most delicate of places, Jane discarded her shawl and went to join her aunt. She sank hesitantly onto a scroll-end sofa with a gold satin stripe, and, anchored to her seat, watched Mr. Waverley shuffle out his remaining guests, much to the chagrin of his mother. Mr. Waverley and his unhappy mother’s conversation echoed into the room Jane and her aunt occupied, seemingly forgotten in the flurry of departing ladies.
“How could you dismiss everyone so cruelly, Nicholas? You know I’ve been planning to hold a party here.”
“Yes, a ball, later in the season. Tonight, you were supposed to return to Oxfordshire.” He paused to draw in an impatient breath. “You knew the location of my townhouse was private and undisclosed. Now, I will most likely need to move.”
He exhaled and ran a hand through his thick blond hair. “Besides, shouldn’t there be a balance of ladies and gentlemen in attendance? What you arranged was an intimate audition of single females to see who would best suit me as a wife.”
“I had to do something. I’ve heard several ladies dare to call you a libertine! Don’t you know you cannot flirt your entire life or charm your way into a lady’s good graces?”
“You cannot force fate on them either.”
Just then, Jane’s aunt gave a loud sort of snort, startling Mr. Waverley and his mother. They turned toward Jane.
His mother whispered what seemed like words of disapproval before Nicholas strode toward Jane, stopped, and towered over her, breathing exasperatedly. “You’re not very good at following directions are you, Miss Dalton?”
“Nicholas Vincent Waverley! Apologize to her at once,” his mother scolded from the other room.
He sent his mother a sheepish look before nodding toward Jane with a tight smile. “Please forgive—”
Jane held up her hand for him to not waste his time. “I think I liked you better when you were predictable and unpretentious, Mr. Waverley.”
His jaw dropped, and she stood, lifting her gloved hand to tap his chin closed. “Good night, sir.”
Jane curtsied to Mrs. Waverley who was preparing to leave the townhouse. “It was a pleasure to meet you. Dinner was lovely.”
Mrs. Waverley sent her son a displeasing look before returning her attention back to Jane. “Thank you.”
On her aunt’s arm, Jane left the house, disappointed and confused. Not once in the short time Jane had known him had Mr. Nicholas Waverley ever appeared so anxious and uncharismatic.
By the time both Mrs. Waverley and Jane’s carriage was brought around, it was almost one in the morning. Her body felt heavy, and her mind raced with questions and curiosity. Her interest grew the moment her carriage pulled away: she noticed another vehicle rumble by to stop just outside Mr. Waverley’s door. She watched curiously, hoping to see who was arriving so late at night, but Jane’s carriage drove away before she could see who got out.
Discontented, Jane sat back and tried not to dwell on her feelings or his bizarre actions. Perhaps the cab held a lady whom Mr. Waverley didn’t want anyone to see. Jane’s heart squeezed in her chest from the very thought.
“Poor lady,” Jane grumbled. She had sulked for quite a few minutes before she shivered—she’d left her shawl at Mr. Waverley’s townhouse. She glanced back, tempted to force the carriage around.
“Oh, Jane, be reasonable,” she scolded herself aloud. After all, what good would come of her arriving unannounced and stumbling upon Mr. Waverley with a lady of ill repute?
Nauseous from her own imaginings, she grasped her stomach. No matter her curiosity, she didn’t wish to catch a glimpse of Mr. Waverley without a stitch of clothing. Oh, perfect. Now she was going to picture Mr. Waverley without his clothes.
She closed her eyes to keep the image of his striking and powerful form from flitting through her mind. It didn’t work. Heat rose from her chest to her cheeks, consuming and shocking.
“Jane, do be still,” her aunt scolded her from her napping position.
“I’m cold,” she lied. “I…I left my shawl at Mr. Waverley’s place.”
Her aunt thought for a moment with her eyes closed. “We are not too far away. We shall return to retrieve it.”
Her aunt straightened and tapped the top of the carriage, leaning her head out of the window to call to the coachman. “Return to Grosvenor Square at once.”
“This isn’t necessary, Aunt Sophia,” Jane begged.
“Neither is you dying.”
Knowing it was useless to argue, Jane waited until the carriage stopped in front of Mr. Waverley’s house again. The black vehicle she’d seen earlier was gone. As well, all the lights inside his townhouse were snuffed out.
“Go on, Jane. A footman should still be awake to assist you.”
A knot of apprehension tightened in Jane’s belly. Still, she stepped out of the carriage and to the door, knocking twice. After a few moments of silence, she backed away, relieved. Who returned to retrieve a shawl this late and without an invitation? Well, apparently, she did. Embarrassed, she shifted back toward the carriage when the wide door clicked open.
“May I help you, Miss?”
Jane twisted around to find—instead of Mr. Waverley’s footman—the short, slight build of the housekeeper, Mrs. Fielding.
“Oh, I hope I didn’t wake you,” Jane said.
“No, Miss. Is the Master expecting you?”
Jane shook her head. “I…I left my shawl here earlier.”
Mrs. Fielding nodded and waved Jane inside, shutting the door behind her, and led Jane into the sitting room.
“Please, wait here,” she said. “I’ll be back soon.”
Jane stood still until heavy footsteps sounded on the staircase behind her. She turned just in time to see Mrs. Fielding bustling up the stairs, a candle in one hand and Jane’s shawl clutched in the other.
“Mrs. Fielding?” Jane called, but the housekeeper continued away from her.
“Oh, what are you about?” she whispered.
While sensibility begged Jane to remain where she stood, curiosity drove her forward and up the stairs. Light was scarce, and she crept at a cautious pace until two carved gilt-wood wall sconces illuminated her path on the landing.
When a cold draft flitted across the nape of her neck, she shivered and turned back the way she had come.
“I’ll buy another shawl,” she murmured. However, before she could take one step, a door clicked behind her, luring her to retrace her steps.
Jane leaned forward, following a blood-red carpet runner down the muted hallway with her gaze. Like a snooping child, she tiptoed onward, both terrified and intrigued at the same time.
When she came to an open door, she peered inside. The room appeared empty except for a few chairs placed around a small round table illuminated by the flickering of a single half-melted candle.
“Hello?” she called, her voice breaking on the word. Her heart pounded inside her ears as she slipped across the threshold.
“I’d just like my shawl back,” she said.
In the hallway, the clomp of footsteps echoed on the runner carpet. Before she could turn around, a hand clamped over her mouth and hauled her into the darkest part of the room.
“I beg of you, do not move, do not breathe, do not blink.”
To celebrate the release of THE MATCHMAKER’S SURRENDER by Tammy L Bailey, we're giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Tammy L. Bailey. Giveaway ends 5/26/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Author will deliver the prize to the winner directly.
A LEO wife, mother, and military veteran, Tammy began writing when the shows and movies she watched didn't end the way she wanted them to end. Whether it's historical or contemporary, for her, there must always be a happy ending.
When she's not writing, she's spending time with her husband and two boys near Cleveland, Ohio. Without their sacrifice and understanding, she believes she would have never been able to pursue her passion of writing or her accomplishment of becoming a published author.
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