Rose Ellington doesn't know the whole truth about her past and suspects it's for the best. She's content to live her life as it is, quiet, unnoticed. God hasn't shown any more interest in her than her father has. Since God doesn't bother with her, she doesn't bother with Him.
The American Lion
George 'Leo' Smith's life was spared at the expense of a man he admired and loved like a father. To honor the man, Leo honors God in everything he does, like a knight of old. The hunt for a slave trader who has threatened Leo's family, more than once, is nearing the end.
The Greatest Adventure
As one chapter comes to a close, God offers a new adventure, the greatest adventure in life. Love requires sacrifice, courage, and honor. Will the Rose and the Lion accept the challenge or choose the safe way?
"Mr. George Smith," the footman intoned.
Rose's breath caught in her lungs, even as her heart raced. The traitorous organ sought to fall at his feet. The sensation inspired fear she squashed with a heavy dose of annoyance. No fanciful thoughts allowed.
She blinked to clear her vision. While she'd anticipated an aged gentleman, the man returning the crowd's avid study couldn't be much more than Rose's own six and twenty years. Her painting of the knight in shining armor on the white charger, with a flaxen mane and tail, flashed into her mind and stayed no matter how she endeavored to dislodge it.
Confidence defined his stance, tall, straight, unhesitant, absolutely certain of his place in the world. His black coat fit fashionably snug across his broad shoulders and chest, covering a white on white embroidered silk waistcoat. His crisp snow-white cravat emphasized his tan. His black trousers tapered down to black leather shoes. He held a black cane, a silver handle peeking through his white-gloved fingers.
Her gaze traveled up his trim figure to the top of his head, admiring his obvious good health and fitness. His short cropped, light brown hair, streaked with blond, framed his tanned face, indicative of a man who spent a fair amount of time in the sun. No doubt from all his travels around the globe. Curious golden brown eyes watched the crowd watching him. His high cheekbones and straight nose drew her gaze to his firm lips, the lower fuller than the bowed upper. His square chin kept his face from being too pretty. One corner of his mouth twitched upward.
From what she'd heard of him, during the last hour, she expected him to lift his chin and stare down his nose at them all. She wouldn't blame him. Everyone gaped at him like some exotic animal.
Mr. Smith lowered his chin, in the merest nod of acknowledgement, and stepped into the crowd, greeting the nearest person.
Conversations rippled, quieting as Smith neared and rising after he passed. Not even royalty stirred so much disquiet.
In comparison to everyone else in the room, Rose felt decidedly shabby. Meg's signature embroidery decorated the hem and neckline of Rose's green silk dress, adding a unique beauty of its own, but lacked any hint of being fashionable.
Irritation stirred, and she fed it. Who was this man who caught her interest where so many others failed? She didn't need to impress him.
Doubts flayed her. Was this truly the man she believed him to be?
"He isn't what I expected," Lydia Platt whispered. "He isn't old."
"No, he isn't," Rose murmured.
"He's much too young to have done all the things I've heard said about him. The gossiping tabbies are usually better informed, but they're as wrong as my mama and brother. Even half of what they said must be an exaggeration or more likely outright lies."
"More likely understated," Rose muttered to herself. She attempted to skirt the edge of the room, but more than a step or two in any direction lay blocked by those intent on meeting the man of the hour. Moments before, she'd counted herself among them. She wished she could disappear. Agreeing to attend the evening with the Platts was a mistake, and she berated herself for allowing her curiosity to best her.
Thank you Carol Fiorillo for the beautiful cover.