Author Karen Fuller

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sweet Rebellion

 

ISBN#978-1-937085-26-1

Now Available!

E-Book $5.99

Trade Paperback $10.99

In The Wake Of A Tragedy, A True Love Is Born...

“I am a man of my word. You shall still have your event. You can dance with every beau there, if that is your wish.”

I nodded sadly. “We will see how things play out, Mister March. If your son returns and still bears hatred for me I’ll not wed him, honor or no.” I lifted my chin, my eyes meeting his boldly. “I’ll not live in a loveless marriage, Mister March. I will live out my days as a penniless spinster before I succumb to that.”

The year is 1860 and in the South life isn’t easy. Sixteen year old Bree Montgomery is finding out firsthand how difficult it can be. She had the same dreams that most young women had; to fall in love and be whisked off her feet by her Prince Charming. But the sweet passionate dreams of night can turn into the harsh nightmares of reality in the light of day. Her hand in marriage has been promised by her father to the one young man who despises her most, Gabriel March.

While the country’s fate is wrapped in the turmoil of a brooding Civil War, a battle of wills is being fought as two stubborn personalities collide. In the heat of an argument a stolen passionate kiss leads to a truce and sparks a flame in Bree’s heart. In an era where propriety and reputation for a young woman are everything, Bree is torn between doing what’s proper and following her heart. Sweet Rebellion.

 

 

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Desire Everlasting available now through World Castle Publishing in both print and e-book

Desire Everlasting 5 Star Review

Review of DESIRE EVERLASTING                                 Book synopsis:

In The Wake Of A Tragedy, A True Love Is Born...

Life isn't easy in the South in 1860. Bree Montgomery's life is set in turmoil by the tragic deaths of her parents. Forced to leave her friends and home in the big city of Charleston, she moves to the small rural town of Willstown, Alabama, to live with her aunt. She now lives so far out in the country that there's not a neighbour in sight. She is convinced that her life is ruined. That is, until she meets the gorgeous, Gabriel March, a young man with a stubborn will and a fiery temper to match her own.

A battle of wills is fought as the two stubborn personalities collide. In the aftermath, they are left with a love so strong that the only thing that can separate them is...a Civil War. 

Bree's life is thrown into turmoil again. Will her will be strong enough to survive it? Or will she be thrown into a Desire Everlasting?

Review: 5/5

DESIRE EVERLASTING is a great historical romance for teens, young adults and those that just love a good romantic tale. The protagonist Bree has lost her parents and is forced to start school in a new town. Realizing that her hand has been promised to the handsome neighbour boy, Bree rebels as she believes her father would not approve. She voices her concerns about her aunt’s arrangements, but tries to make the best of the situation. Although she still does not agree with it. Little does she know this was all her father’s doing and his reason for sheltering her all these years. The betrothal has been planned for years as Mr. March and Bree’s father have been long time friends, and the joining of the families will benefit both sides.

The handsome Gabriel and Bree continue to disagree, but the romantic tension is building between them faster than either realises. Before long the two young adults must admit what everyone else has known for some time now, and see where it may take them. Once they have accepted the arrangements set in motion by their parents, the relationship blossoms. Nothing could come between the two now, except for the confederate army and the Civil War. But Bree would never accept losing her love to war.

Readers will enjoy watching the romance build between Bree and Gabriel well as learning and watching how a family’s place in society can affect the lives of everyone around them. Some play in to the stereotypes as other refuse to judge others based on the jobs their family holds. Can a family accept another even when their stature in life does not match with who they love? Bree will make sure love wins out in the end, because love is all that really matters when it comes to family. 

Author KAREN FULLER has done an incredible job with this story. The writing is superb, and her research for the historical element is second to none. Every character Karen introduces into the story, is well written, and fully developed. As a reader, I felt as if I were inside the tale watching it play out before my eyes. I could not have asked for anything more for this story and believe that everyone who enjoys romance will enjoy DESIRE EVERLASTING. Readers will love this story even if historical fiction is not your top choice as Karen does not allow the historical elements to overpower the story, only compliment it. I look forward to reading other works by the phenomenal Author KAREN FULLER.

Review done by Charlotte Blackwell –Author of the Embrace Series

 

Sneak Preview . . .

Chapter Six 

The morning dragged by painfully slow for me. The tension from sitting in such close proximity to him was unnerving. Not once did he turn his head in my direction. He must have truly taken offense to my words in the carriage. I turned my head to whisper my apologies when Miss Carter dismissed the class for lunch. Without word or gesture to me, he jumped up from his seat, running for the door. My mouth dropped open in surprise as I watched him leave.

I rose from the desk, walking quietly outside, alone. Stopping by the side of the building, I looked around, having no idea what to do with myself. Unbidden, my eyes found him, and I couldn’t deny that I did take pleasure in watching him. I couldn’t help but admire how absolutely handsome he looked as he strode over to his carriage, strong and confident, speaking with his servant. He reached inside, retrieving a covered basket. Lifting the linen cloth, he peered inside, smiling. He looked up. I presumed he must have said something witty because his servant nodded in agreement and they both laughed quite jollily. I caught myself smiling at their interaction, and quickly sobered my expression. It wouldn’t be appropriate for someone to approach me standing here with a silly smile upon my face with no one around me, or worse yet, guess the direction of my gaze. Sighing heavily, I looked away, walking in the opposite direction. “No, it wouldn’t suit my disposition for Mister March to know that I watch him. It wouldn’t suit at all.”

I felt something touch my elbow. Catching my breath in surprise, I whipped my head around to gape up into a pair of beautiful brown eyes. He smiled brightly at my shock. “What wouldn’t suit, Miss Montgomery?”

My mouth went slack, and I felt the color creep to my cheeks. “I…I…” I found myself speechless and unable to answer. He chuckled softly at my dilemma. I knew at that very moment that he had heard what I said. My embarrassment of the situation left me feeling defensive. I raised my chin, lifting an eyebrow. “Mister March, most people would consider it quite rude to intrude into another’s thoughts.” To my consternation, he actually had the nerve to laugh at my dress down.

He crossed his arms over his chest, cocking his head to the side. “I do stand corrected. However, Miss Montgomery, I must say that if you don’t wish to have your thoughts intruded upon, then do not speak them aloud.”

I narrowed my eyes, mimicking his stance. “It was an error on my part and one I don’t intend to make in the future.” I dropped my arms to my side, turning on my heel to leave.

He grabbed my elbow again. I set my jaw, whipping my head around to glare at him. His eyes widened in amusement. “Just where do you think that you are going?”

I huffed out an irritated breath. “Anywhere you are not!”

The corner of his mouth twitched. “I’ve rather enjoyed this banter with you, however, our lunch time grows short, and I am quite hungry. I followed you to tell you that we brought lunch for you as well.” I rolled my eyes, turning to walk away again. “Please join us, Miss Montgomery. I do apologize for teasing you.” He stood, waiting patiently for my answer.

I sighed heavily. “Very well, I accept your apology…and your invitation to lunch.”

He chuckled softly, turning on his heel, and heading toward his siblings. Following a short distance behind, I walked past them. Sitting down at the base of the oak tree, I leaned back against it, trying to calm my fragile nerves. He leaned forward, handing me a linen napkin, and held out the basket in offering. “Help yourself, Miss Montgomery.”

I reached inside, taking out a piece of fried chicken. “Thank you, Mister March, for the chicken and the invitation.” Laura giggled. I wasn’t really sure how I felt about being laughed at by a child for my manners.

He raised an eyebrow. “Laura, mind your manners.”

“Gabriel, she’s just so formal.”

“She is a young woman who has studied good manners, unlike you. Next year you will go away to school and will learn to speak formally.”

“I don’t want to go away to boarding school!”

“You must if you want to blend in with proper society. Otherwise, any eligible young men will think that you’re a heathen with your current manners.”

Her mouth dropped open. “I can’t help it that I was raised without benefit of a mother.”

He nodded. “My point exactly.”

She crossed her arms defiantly over her small chest, looking away from her brother. “I don’t wish to have this conversation with you now…” Tears pooled on her lashes. “I’m finished eating. May I visit with Jenny?”

He nodded. “We will continue this conversation later, Laura, but for now, you may join Jenny.”

I nibbled on my piece of chicken, trying to ignore their private interaction.

Glancing in my direction, he took a small bite of chicken, chewing it thoughtfully before he spoke. “So, how has your day been so far?”

I shook my head, looking away from him, which was obviously the wrong thing to do.

He set his jaw in irritation. “Cat got your tongue?”

My eyes met his. I cocked my head to the side, observing him curiously. “Why are you trying so hard?”

His eyes widened in surprise, and he sat up straight in a defensive manner. “Trying so hard at what?”

“To get me to talk to you.”

He raised his eyebrows. “And why would you not want to talk to me?” He took another bite of his chicken, chewing it slowly.

I replied in a matter-of-fact tone, “Wouldn’t you rather be talking to your betrothed?”

His eyes widened in alarm at that one. “What betrothed?”

Narrowing my eyes, I crossed my arms over my chest. “Miss Green. That’s what betrothed.”

He took a sharp intake of breath, choking on his piece of chicken, coughing and wheezing slightly. “Miss Green!” he shouted, looking over at Sally. She turned her head, smiling brightly at him. His face flamed at the unwanted attention. He turned, glaring at me in anger. “Why on God’s green earth would you say that?”

I narrowed my eyes and glowered. “I saw her hanging on your arm!”

Nathan rolled with laughter. Gabriel scowled at him in irritation. “Stop it! This is not the least bit funny!” His eyes flashed in anger, and he growled at me, “Miss Green has no claim on me!” Sally’s eyes rounded. It was apparent she heard every word, and she turned away with a huff.

Lifting my chin, I arrogantly returned his glare. “Well, you could have fooled me!”

Nathan looked between us, laughing hysterically. “Stop it! Stop it!” he moaned. “I can’t stand it! My ribs hurt! Pleeaassee ssstttoooppp!”

The ludicrousness of the conversation must have taken its toll on Gabriel, and Nathan’s laughter proved to be contagious. He laughed with his brother. I glowered at them both as if they had lost their collective minds. 

Turning my head, I caught Sally’s hateful scowl in my direction. Her expression resembled someone sucking on sour lemons. Nathan pointed her way to Gabriel. They looked at each other and laughed all over again.

I rolled my eyes at them, finding no humor in Sally’s behavior toward me. I had not done anything to warrant her animosity. Standing, I shook the wrinkles from my skirt. Huffing out a breath, I turned from them, walking angrily toward the schoolhouse.

“Miss Montgomery, may I have a moment of your time, please?”

To my anxiety, he seemed to have little difficulty in catching up with my angry strides. My cumbersome skirt made a quick exit difficult. He stepped in front of my path, and I had no choice but to stop or run into him. Setting my jaw, I drew my lips into a thin line, staring away from him. I heard him chuckle softly. Whipping my head around at the sound of his laughter, my eyes met his.

“Miss Montgomery, you are quite obstinate for a young woman.”

I crossed my arms over my chest. “So my mother has told me repeatedly, Mister March. What is it that you wished to speak to me about?”

His eyes sparkled with amusement at my ire, a smile gracing his shapely lips. “I wanted to apologize for laughing back there. My brother has a rather odd sense of humor. He knows that I go to great lengths to avoid Miss Green, and he found your jealousy quite amusing.” My eyes widened, and my mouth gaped open at his words; his smile grew larger at my reaction. “In this situation, I was inclined to agree and couldn’t refrain from laughing myself.”

I raised my chin, glaring into his eyes. “Mister March, that does not resemble an apology to me, and I can assure you that I’m not jealous of Miss Green. I think it is rude for you to presume that you know how a person feels and then voice your opinions on a matter you know nothing about. Furthermore, whomever you court or don’t court is none of my affair. In fact, it interests me little. Now, please let me pass.”

He threw back his head, laughing, which irritated me further. “Yet again, you call me to task for my manners.” He crossed his arms over his chest, raising an eyebrow. “Twice in one day. I’d have to say that it’s a first for me. My manners are usually impeccable. My apologies, again.” His eyes were wide and innocent, but the corner of his mouth twitched, which gave hint that he was teasing me again.

I rolled my eyes again. “You speak the proper words, Mister March. However, I do not appreciate being a source for your amusement, and your laughing manner leaves your words lacking sincerity.” I knew that losing my temper would attract too much attention, so I took a deep, calming breath. “Please let me pass, Mister March, before I forget my manners.”

Lifting an eyebrow, he stepped aside, letting me pass. I was only able to take a few steps before he spoke again, “Miss Montgomery…” I stopped, but didn’t turn to acknowledge him. “This isn’t the big city, and this is a small country school. Things aren’t quite so formal here; you might do well to remember that.”

“Are you finished berating me for what you perceive to be pretentiousness?” I whirled around to glare into his eyes again, my hands fisted at my sides.

His eyes rounded in surprise at my allegation. Holding his hands out to calm me, he took a hesitant step toward me. “I wasn’t…”

Setting my jaw, I pointed my finger at his chest, charging on accusingly. “Weren’t you?”

He glanced down at my finger poking his chest, and then he lifted his eyes to mine again. A slow grin appeared upon his handsome face. I caught my breath, finding myself mesmerized by his smile. My reaction to him surprised even me. Dropping my hand down to my side, I took a hesitant step back. “My, my, Miss Montgomery, you do have a temper when provoked. I see that you also can forget your manners as well.”

My mouth dropped slack at his words pointing out my faults, fueling my temper again. “Oooh!” I huffed in outrage, turning on my heel away from him. I stormed toward the schoolhouse, throwing a comment over my shoulder. “And you, sir, have no manners at all!”

I heard him chuckle softly, and I quickened my step. “I’ll see you inside, Miss Montgomery.”

***

I stormed into the classroom and took my seat. My mind furiously repeated the scenario from the schoolyard, sparking my anger again, but this time I was angry with myself instead of him. To my dismay, I realized that he was right. I had forgotten my manners by losing my temper. As much as I hated to admit it, propriety dictated that I must apologize to him for my rudeness. I groaned out loud with that decision, averting my eyes to the desk.

I heard an unladylike giggle from the back of the classroom. Turning in my seat to look behind me, I locked eyes with Miss Sally. She brought her hand up over her mouth, giggling uncontrollably. I glanced down at myself, thinking that she must have found amusement in the way I dressed. That’s when I heard several other girls giggle.

Pinching my eyebrows together, I set my jaw. I knew that something had happened, but I didn’t know what. Slowly, I turned back in my seat, glaring at the other giggling girls in the process. There were only about five of us in the classroom. In a huff, I turned to fully face the front of the room. My eyes caught site of the blackboard. I drew in a sharp intake of breath, my mouth gaping open in horror. Scrawled across the black surface was a heart. In the middle, boldly inscribed, were GM + BM. I groaned out loud again, and the giggling erupted into laughter.

All the negative events from the last week took their toll on my fragile emotions. The sting of fresh tears severely burned my eyes. I knew a torrent flood was forthcoming. Rising from my desk, I avoided eye contact, making haste to leave the room. I didn’t want to give that witch the satisfaction of seeing me cry.

Tears blinding my eyes, I rounded the corner, crashing into a solid, muscled chest. Strong hands gripped my shoulders to steady me. Catching my breath, my eyes rose to meet his, and my mouth dropped open in dismay.

The once pleasant look in his eyes changed to concern upon seeing my anguish. “I’m terribly sorry for teasing you outside. It was not my intention to cause you distress.”

His words of apology took me off guard. “Again, Mister March, you assume how another feels. I assure you that my feelings for you could not reduce me to tears because I have none.”

“This is highly improper!” A shrill voice boomed from behind me.

I jumped, my head whipping around at the sound. To my horror, my eyes met Miss Carter’s glaring accusingly back at me. She stood in a tense stance with a heavy book in the crook of her arm; the other hand was propped on her hip in irritation.

Cringing at the implication, I averted my eyes to the floor. Even though this was totally innocent, my reputation was at stake. “Yes, ma’am, it won’t happen again,” I stated with a downtrodden voice. Turning on my heel, I marched back into the classroom to face the blackboard again. I stopped in my tracks, and he ran into me.

“What in the devil?” He gripped my shoulders again to steady us both.

Chewing on my bottom lip, I turned on my heel to storm out of the classroom again.

Miss Carter stepped into my path, glaring at me sternly. “Miss Montgomery, is this your doing?”

I stepped back in shock at the accusation. “I assure you, ma’am, that this is none of my doing.”

Another unladylike giggle erupted from the back of the class, and we all turned in that direction.

Gabriel raised an eyebrow, nodding in Miss Sally’s direction. “Miss Carter, I believe we’ve found our source.”

“It appears so.” She nodded decisively. Clearing her throat, she spoke loudly. “Miss Green!” Sally’s eyes rounded. “Please explain yourself.”

Sally slouched down in her chair. “Ma’am?”

Miss Carter walked to the front of the class, placing her book forcefully on top of the desk. Reaching inside a drawer, she withdrew a wooden ruler. Using it as a pointing stick, she directed everyone’s gaze to the blackboard. “This, Miss Green. This is your doing, isn’t it?”

The color drained from Sally’s face. “Yes, ma’am.”

Miss Carter picked up a small cotton cloth, and strode to the rear of the classroom. Turning toward Sally, she slammed the ruler vehemently down on top of the desk, tossing the cloth at her.

Chalk wafted in a cloud around Sally as she caught it in her hands. Her eyes met Miss Carter’s in shock.

“Miss Green, you will clean the blackboard, and remain in the front of the class for further instructions.”

“But…”

The ruler banged cross the desk again in an audible swack. “Now, Miss Green.”

Sally trained her eyes on the ruler as she spoke. “Yes, ma’am.” Silently, she stood giving the teacher a wide berth, making her way to the front of the class. Lifting her hand, she slowly wiped the board clean.

Miss Carter turned to Gabriel. “Mister March, please ring the bell to bring the students in from lunch.” She then turned to me. “Miss Montgomery, please take your seat.”

“Yes, ma’am.” I made my way to my desk, sitting down. Gazing Sally’s way, I watched her jerky movements. By the way she moved, I could tell that she simmered in rage. I couldn’t deny that I felt some satisfaction in her punishment, but I knew that she would put the blame for her punishment on me, and that meant problems for me.

***

Three hours later, Sally had almost completely filled the blackboard with her punishment sentences.

Miss Carter nodded in satisfaction, turning to face the class. “Now we have managed to complete our first day back with only a couple minor mishaps. I want the older students to study the history notes that you took, and I want the younger students to practice their handwriting. Tomorrow, we will move on to something else. Everyone but Miss Green is dismissed.” She turned, speaking in a lower tone. “Miss Green, you only have about ten more sentences to write. Once you have completed that to my satisfaction, then you will clean and wash the blackboard before you will be dismissed.”

Sally shook the cramp out of her hand, glaring in my direction. “But…”

Miss Carter shook her head, pointing at the board. “No buts. I will have order in my classroom, Miss Green.”

“Yes, ma’am.” She huffed angrily, turning back to the board to finish writing.

Gabriel nudged me to get my attention. “The carriage is waiting.”

“Very well, Mister March, go on out ahead of me. I won’t be but a moment.”

He left the classroom with the rest of the class.

I rose from my desk slowly as I watched Sally. She was breathing hard in short, angry bursts. Gathering my things together, I turned, making my way from the room. As I rounded the corner, Victoria ambushed me from behind the building. She charged up, poking her finger at my chest. “You sure are smug,” she hissed viciously. “I bet you enjoyed tormenting poor Miss Green.”

I had finally had enough aggravations for one afternoon. Gritting my teeth together, I crossed my arms over my chest defiantly. “Poor Miss Green—Ha—That’s a laugh. When has Miss Green ever been a victim of anything?” Uncrossing my arms, I poked one finger at her chest forcefully, bringing my face close to hers. She backed up in surprise. “It looks to me like that spoiled brat gets everything she wants and then some. Well, Mister March doesn’t want her, so she’ll just have to get used to it.” In my anger, I spoke my mind without prior thought. About the time the words spilled from my mouth, I realized what I had said. I cringed at my stupidity, refusing to glance his way, but I did hear him chuckle behind me.

Victoria’s face turned beet red with anger; her frail body shook with the force of it. “Well! I never.” Air hissed through her clenched teeth. “You…You brazen hussy!”

My mouth dropped open in outrage. Without prior thought, I impulsively lifted my hands and shoved her to the ground, and I followed her down, throwing punches. She screamed shrilly as my fist hit her eye. A circle of students had formed. The sounds of cheering and taunting surrounded us. At this point, I didn’t care about propriety. My pent up anger and frustrations from the past week found an outlet through my fists. In the fog of my rage, I heard him laugh and then felt his strong hands tugging me off her. However, my rage hadn’t abated, and I jerked violently, trying to pull away from his grasp. “Let me go! Let me go! She’s been asking for it! Let me go!” The sound of his laughter stoked my anger further. I tried again to break free of his grasp.

In fear, Victoria crawled backwards to get away from me. That small action gave me some satisfaction. However, that was the moment I noticed the damage I had inflicted, and then I felt a little guilty. Her dress was filthy. I had ripped her bodice at the shoulder, and her right eye was swollen and puffy.

Nathan approached with a look of admiration. “Wow, Miss Montgomery, I’ve never seen a girl fight like that!” Nathan and Gabriel both laughed when I shot Nathan an irritated look.

Miss Carter ran out of the classroom at the commotion. “What’s going on here?”

I cringed, finding myself in trouble again.

Heather had stood back, silently watching the show. She stepped up. “Miss Carter, Miss Victoria started it. She was being really hateful to Miss Bree. And Miss Bree, well, Miss Bree just stopped her.”

Miss Carter looked around at all the students. “Is that what happened?” Everyone nodded. Turning to Victoria, she demanded, “Well, Miss Taylor?” Victoria clamped her mouth shut. Her eyes shot cautious daggers at me. “It looks like I have another student in need of writing sentences! March yourself into that classroom and begin your sentences. I want one hundred of them. Is that clear?”

Victoria looked at her feet. “Yes, ma’am.” She picked up the hem of her skirt, hurrying into the classroom.

Miss Carter looked at the rest of the students. “It’s time y’all went home. It looks like we are all going to have a serious discussion tomorrow on behavior. Now, everyone, go home.” Turning, she hurried back into the classroom.

I approached Heather, smiling warmly. “Thank you, Miss Coe; I’m afraid you just put yourself on bad terms with your friends.”

Heather glanced in the direction of Victoria’s retreat. “They weren’t very good friends.”

***

As first days go, mine could have gone better. For the most part, the trip home was uneventful. Nathan’s curiosity with my earlier mishap kept him talking excitedly. However, I chose to remain silent, not wanting any reminders of what had happened.

I had high hopes of being able to slip by my aunt without her discovering my scuffle in the schoolyard. However, my hopes were dashed shortly after the carriage pulled in front of the house.

Aunt Elizabeth rushed outside to greet us as soon as she heard the carriage.

Gabriel jumped down first to assist me. His eyes glistened as he looked up to me, offering me his hand. “May I assist you down, Miss Montgomery?”

I stood, placing my hand in his. “Certainly, Mister March.” With my other hand lifting my skirt, I stepped gracefully from the carriage. I stopped, glanced down, and lightly smoothed the wrinkles from my skirt with my hands. I looked up upon hearing a sharp intake of breath.

Aunt Elizabeth grabbed my arm, bringing me around to fully face her. “What happened to your dress?”

Pulling my arm away from her grasp, I stepped self-consciously away. “N-Nothing, Aunt Elizabeth. I…I really don’t wish to speak of it.” I looked down at a couple of grass stains on my skirt, and then I gazed back up into her worried eyes. “It should come clean.”

She let out a heavy sigh, wrinkling her brow. “Bree, it’s not the dress that I’m worried about. I’m worried about you, child. You are so full of anger.”

I felt tears sting my eyes. The last thing that I wanted was for any of them to see me cry. Lifting my skirt, I stormed away from her toward the front of the carriage. I threw a comment over my shoulder as I walked away. “I mean no disrespect, but I’m not a child.” I stopped by the horse, lifting my hand to stroke his silken nose.

I heard her questioning Gabriel about my day. I tried very hard to listen, but they spoke so softly. I felt angry all over again when I heard her give another sharp intake of breath, and she groaned, “Dear Lord!”

I tried to concentrate on petting the horse, but all I wanted to do was lash out in my anger. “I can’t believe that he would be so cruel as to tell on me to my aunt,” I whispered fiercely to the horse. “I want to go back home to Charleston. I hate it here, and I hate him!”

“I am not your enemy, Miss Montgomery.”

My mouth gaped open upon hearing him behind me. He had managed to sneak up on me again, further getting on my nerves. Whipping my head around, I glared into his icy eyes. Apparently, this time, I had managed to anger him as well. “Maybe not, Mister March. However, you have not proven yourself much of a friend either.” He narrowed his eyes at my words, setting his jaw. “This entire day, you have set out to purposefully provoke me. I have always thought of myself as easy to get along with. I have never in the past found a need to argue and bicker with others. Yet today, all I seem to do is fight.”

He clenched his hands at his sides, rocking on his heels. The muscle in his jaw ticked. “I could also say that I find your haughty attitude a little irritating myself, Miss Montgomery.”

Squaring my shoulders, I lifted my chin defiantly. “I am not haughty!”

He lifted his eyebrow skeptically as his eyes raked over me. “I beg to differ with you, my lady, but you are.”

“Oooh! And you, sir, are an insufferable pig with no manners.” Lifting my skirt, I brushed past him in an angry stride toward the house.

“You will no longer have to worry about my manners, Miss Montgomery. I’m washing my hands of you.”

“Fine!” I threw over my shoulder as I stormed into the house.


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