A Rather Charming Invitation

BOOK: A Rather Charming Invitation
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Praise for the Novels of C.A. Belmond
A Rather Curious Engagement
“Lilting . . . it’s fluffy and fun, even if you don’t have your own yacht.”

Publishers Weekly
 
“Bound to charm romantic suspense fans.”

Booklist
 
“What’s not to like about C.A. Belmond’s new novel? I was hooked by the end of the first page . . .
A Rather Curious Engagement
is delightful . . . something you can pass through the generations.”

Story Circle Book Review
 
“An entertaining and witty story,
A Rather Curious Engagement
displays the author’s flair for keeping the reader attached to the spell-binding story and adventurous, enchanting characters.”

Affaire de Coeur
 

A Rather Curious Engagement
is narrated by Penny from her own insightful perspective . . . and is as well crafted as its predecessor. I highly recommend them both and look forward to any sequels to come starring this likable couple.”

Romance Reviews Today
 

A Rather Curious Engagement
is a high-seas adventure with a wonderful little mystery and some nice laughs as Penny and Jeremy try to outwit some thieves . . . I found Penny and Jeremy to be a very endearing and sweet couple that I wouldn’t mind reading more about in future books to come.”

Ramblings on Romance
 
“Five stars! Excellent writing . . . I look forward to more books with these wonderful characters.”

Night Owl Review
 
A Rather Lovely Inheritance
“A spirited heroine.”

Publishers Weekly
 
“An entertaining yarn with family drama and intrigue aplenty.”

Booklist
 
“Utterly charming . . . excellent characterization and dialogue [with] a sweet touch of romance. If a novel can be both gentle and lively, surely this is one . . .
A Rather Lovely Inheritance
tantalizes and entertains with its mystery and skullduggery . . . Penny [is] a perfectly lovable heroine. It’s a rare gem of a book that leaves behind a feeling of pure pleasure.”

Romance Reviews Today
 
“I haven’t read anything like it in quite a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself . . . Penny is a delightful heroine . . . Who wouldn’t enjoy the unexpected chance to rattle around London and then fly off to the sunny Côte d’Azur?”
 
“Combines suspense, romance, and crafty wit. The protagonist is a character to cheer for, and the mystery subplot will keep readers turning the pages.”

Romantic Times
 
“[Penny] hooks everyone . . . with her klutzy optimism . . . Fans will enjoy the lighthearted breezy story line as the Yank takes England, France, and Italy.”

Midwest Book Review
 
“[Has] everything—mystery, romance, [and] a whirlwind tour of Europe’s hot spots.”—
Kirkus Reviews
 
“A return to the golden age of romantic suspense!
A Rather Lovely Inheritance
weds old-style glamour to chick-lit flair. You just want to move into the novel yourself—on a long-term lease, with hero and snazzy sports car included (villains sold separately).”
—Lauren Willig, author of
The Temptation of the Night Jasmine
OTHER NOVELS BY C.A. BELMOND
A Rather Lovely Inheritance
A Rather Curious Engagement
NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
First published by New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
First Printing, February 2010
 
Copyright © C.A. Belmond, 2010
Readers Guide copyright © C.A. Belmond, 2010
All rights reserved
REGISTRED TRADEMARK–MARCA REGISTRADA
 
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
 
Belmond, C.A.
A rather charming invitation / C.A. Belmond.
p. cm.
eISBN : 978-1-101-19666-3
 
 
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
 
PUBLISHER’S NOTE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
 
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For my hero
Part One
Chapter One
I
must admit that my life—and my wedding day—might have been completely different, if, months earlier, I hadn’t answered that telephone call. It was late spring, and the London days were warmer than anyone dared hope, but the nights still had a damp chill. We’d just lit a fire in the fireplace of the first-floor study at the back of the townhouse. One door in the study opened into Jeremy’s office, and, on the opposite side of the room, another door opened into mine, so it was the ideal place to meet at the end of a busy workday.
Jeremy and I had finally arranged our schedules so that we could do something we’d always wistfully dreamed of: take time out to just sit there together, relaxing over a glass of wine before dinner; he in his favorite chair of caramel-colored leather, and me in my paisley wing chair. His leather ottoman was between us so that we could both put our feet up, and a low table stood beside us, with two glasses of burgundy.
“Bit more wine, old girl?” Jeremy said waggishly.
We were playing at being an old English couple. We kept grinning at each other like two happy fools. It was the first time in two years that we were actually sitting still, without being on some mad chase. It was quiet, very quiet. If I had a clock, you’d have heard it tick. As it was, the only sound was the rustle of
The Yachting Gazette
(Jeremy), the scratch of a pencil (me, with the final sketches for my wedding dress), the crackle of the fire, and the occasional sudden slump of a log. And just as I looked up surreptitiously at Jeremy to see if I could imagine him agreeing to wear a grey morning coat at our wedding, with perhaps a maroon silk scarf in his pocket to match the roses I would carry . . .
Bri-i-i-ing!
The telephone at my elbow broke the spell.
“I’m not expecting any calls,” I said, hoping he’d get it.
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