Beverley's Books

The Accidental Elopement - Scandalous Miss Brightwells #4 (AUDIOBOOK)

The Accidental Elopement - Scandalous Miss Brightwells #4 (AUDIOBOOK)

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The Accidental Elopement: A friends-to-lovers, humorous matchmaking Regency Romance

New audiobook release!


Friends at seven, lovers at seventeen, Katherine and Jack were meant to be together.

But Jack, an orphan, is determined to make his fortune, while Katherine must make a good match.

Seven years later, Katherine is now a widow, awaiting the return of her beloved Jack...

Only to discover that Jack is bound by a betrothal agreement upon which his honour depends.

And while Jack still loves Katherine, he truly believes she chose to elope with another man the night he set sail for the West Indies.

Katherine has a secret she knows will win back her true love. But she also knows that appealing to his honour is not the same as appealing to his heart.

And that winning back his heart is what she must do.

Will duty and honour separate them once again?


Sample of The Accidental Elopement 

Although The Accidental Elopement can be read as a standalone, it is best paired with The Wedding Wager, which tells the love story of Jack's mother, Eliza, who discovers Jack seven years after she was forced to put him in the Foundling Home.

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When there was no answer to her knock, Katherine opened the door and slipped into Jack’s room. It was empty and there was nothing under his pillow, so she raised her candle for a quick search, running her gaze over the tallboy and washstand without luck.
Disappointed, she went back to her own room again where she remained awake until, about half an hour later, she heard Jack and George in the passage on their way to their respective bedchambers.
When all was silent again, Katherine slipped out of bed and crept into the passageway, shielding her candle until she reached Jack’s room.
For the second time that night, she knocked quietly but, receiving no response, she flung open the door and hurried inside, closing it behind her, before looking up with a gasp.
“Good God, Katherine, don’t you ever knock?” Jack exclaimed, reaching for a strip of linen to cover his nakedness.
“I did but there was no answer.” Katherine blinked, curious rather than shocked.
“That was probably because I was washing my face and didn’t hear you.”
She took a few steps forward and put the candle down on the washstand. She’d never seen a man without his clothes and, without embarrassment, she stared at Jack’s feet, long and broad, before her gaze travelled up his legs, past his flanks which he’d modestly covered, to his chest, lightly dusted with sandy hair. It was a nice chest, she decided, whether or not it was covered in a well-cut coat. Katherine had enjoyed being pressed against his chest and breathing in the scent of him.
“What are you looking at?”
“You, of course. I don’t have any brothers, so I’ve never seen a man like this.” She bit her lip as she seated herself on the edge of his bed. “You look very nice.”
“Nice?” He frowned, poised by the wash stand, as if he wasn’t sure how to respond.
“Why, Jack. You’re not embarrassed are you?” she laughed. “You’re never embarrassed about anything. It’s only me, you know.”
“Yes, and that makes it worse.” He glanced away, tossing his wet face cloth onto the slab of marble then taking a few steps into the centre of the room. Away from her. “I don’t want you to judge and find me wanting.”
“Really?” She liked the fact that he was concerned about her opinion. “I certainly don’t find you wanting. I really enjoyed it when you kissed me the other day, in case you didn’t know it.” She straightened. The dim light in the room, combined with the fact he looked so vulnerable and appealing, suddenly made the idea of kissing him again even more desirable.
“Katherine, what are you doing?”
Even Katherine wasn’t sure what she was doing. She just knew she wanted to wrap her arms about his waist and press her cheek against his chest.
Which was what she was doing.
“You said you’d get me Mama’s pearl earring.” She was fascinated by the sound of his heart beating loudly in his chest as she burrowed her face into his warm skin.
“And I was true to my word. I have it in the pocket of my coat.” He sounded slightly strangled as he tried to push her away with just a touch of pressure.
But to no avail. Katherine wasn’t about to relinquish what she was enjoying too much. “That’s good. That’s why I’m here, of course. But Jack.” She tipped her head up to look at him. His expression was anxious, one light brown curl flopped over his brow, and he appeared, to her mind, quite adorable.
“What? Katherine, you really should leave.”
“Can’t I stay and chat awhile? We used to talk all the time when we were children.”
“But we’re not children anymore. And being together like this…might be misconstrued.”
“Misconstrued? You mean, if someone thought we were together…kissing…for example?” she asked. She wanted to kiss him again. In fact, the urge to do so was almost overwhelming. She tipped her face, closed her eyes and offered him her lips, expecting to feel the tender brush of his against hers like the last time.
When nothing happened, she opened her eyes and found to her indignation that he was looking with a great deal of desperation at the door.
“I’ll lock it,” she offered, gliding across the room to turn the key. “There, now you needn’t worry.”
“Oh yes, I have every need to worry. Katherine, you don’t know what trouble you’re courting. You say you want me to kiss you again, but do you know what you’re asking of me? How difficult—” He broke off.
“Difficult? What’s difficult about kissing me? You seemed to manage it easily enough the last two times we did it.”
He made a noise of frustration and knotted the piece of linen more firmly about his waist. “You are an innocent, Katherine. The truth is, so am I, but I just happen to know more than you. And what I do know is that for a start, if we were discovered alone in my bedchamber, with me all but naked, your marital chances would be severely compromised.”
Katherine shrugged. “I don’t see how that’s even a concern. For a start, the door’s bolted so no one is going to know we’re in your bedchamber together. But Jack, you didn’t seem the least bit concerned the last time you kissed me.” Leisurely, she took a step towards him and put her arms about his waist again, pressing her nose into his chest and breathing in. “You smell very nice, Jack. Comforting. And manly. Not at all like Lord Derry who smells of cigarillos. He makes me want to sneeze. So, are you going to kiss me? And if you then feel like doing all those other things you’re so worried people will think we’re doing, I give you complete liberty to go right ahead and do them.”
He unclasped her hands that were laced around his midriff as if stung. “Good God, Katherine; I don’t think you even know what you’re saying.”
Although the look she tried to send him was knowing yet self-contained, the beginnings of a great excitement were now churning in her chest and belly. “I know exactly what I’m saying. I felt some of it when you kissed me, Jack. So I asked Aunt Antoinette, and…she told me everything. It’s not only because of Mama’s pearl earring that I’m here.”
Jack had turned away and was now at the foot of the bed where he’d laid his coat. After fishing in the pocket, he turned, brandishing the earring. “Here you have it. Mr Marwick was not too happy to relinquish it, but I can be a persuasive fellow when I need to be. And now I need to persuade you of what’s good for you, which is to leave my bedchamber right this moment and go back to your own bed. Before any damage is done,” he added.
But Katherine was not to be dissuaded.
She took the earring with a smile; her eyes fixed level with his chest. “Thank you, Jack.” Experimentally, she touched his right nipple and felt it harden. She gave a soft gasp and raised her eyes, gripping his wrist and forcing his hand to cup her breast. “I had the same reaction. Oh, please kiss me, Jack?” she asked urgently. “Please. If I’m to be married, I want to know what to expect, and you’re the dearest person in my life. I feel safe with you. And Aunt Antoinette knows everything to make it all right—whatever that means. I just want to know what being married feels like so I can make an informed decision when the time comes. Kiss me, Jack.” Again, she tipped up her head. “Just start with one little kiss. Please.”
He looked as if he might resist, but when Katherine closed her eyes, it was only a second before Jack’s lips were on hers, and she was twining her arms around his neck, pulling him down to her.
Her heart began to race, and blood heated the surface of her skin. Her breath came in short, sharp bursts and, barely breaking the kiss, she dragged him to the bed, scrambling onto the counterpane where he joined her a moment later.
“Katherine.” She stopped whatever he was about to say with another kiss, kneeling by his side and bending over him.
His arms reached for her, and he pulled her down so that she was against his side. The candle flickered, then suddenly went out, and they were plunged into darkness with only the feel of their bodies to guide them.

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