I’m happy to have Virginia Heath guest blogging on Nesie’s Place today! Read about her latest book in the Wild Warriners series, preorder your copy ahead of the February 1st release, and enter Virginia’s Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of FIVE digital copies of A Warriner to Tempt Her. 🙂
Hello, and thanks for inviting me to Nesie’s Place to celebrate my release. A Warriner to Tempt Her is the third book in my Wild Warriners quartet, but like all my stories, is a standalone so you can read about my sinfully handsome brothers in any order you like. This book is Joseph Warriner’s story. He’s a brilliant young doctor working in his home town in Nottinghamshire. Not the best place for a Warriner to set up his practice because the family have a dreadful reputation going back centuries. But Joe is determined to win them over regardless.
The story starts with Joe convinced he is in love with the feted society beauty Lady Clarissa Beaumont, but it is her sister Bella who intrigues him as he finds himself reluctantly working alongside her when she volunteers at a children’s home…
For over an hour she watched him surreptitiously. He had an easy way about him which she envied, clearly comfortable in his scholarly skin and enjoying the company of his boisterous family. When Bella accompanied her mother to the retiring room, she returned to see him dancing with one of his brother’s wives. Bella had briefly been introduced to Mrs Cassie Warriner and had liked her immediately. She had not been introduced to her husband, but had noticed his pronounced limp the first time she had seen him, so it stood to reason that particular Warriner did not dance so his brother was standing in for him. Justifying why the doctor was dancing with a pretty woman—a pretty and obviously pregnant woman—made the fact he was dancing with one more palatable, not that Bella wanted to dance with him, of course. Dancing would mean touching and the very thought of that sent her into a panic. She never wanted to be touched again.
At the end of the dance she lost sight of him and was scanning the crowd for his dark head when he came up alongside. ‘I see your ankle is better.’
Instinctively she jumped and took a step back even though he was not that close. ‘Yes, it is…although it’s not up to dancing.’ Why had she felt compelled to say that when he hadn’t asked her to?
Idiot. He dances so well, as well. I miss dancing.
The voice inside was sighing. It was most disconcerting.
‘Tom is doing well.’ A safer topic and one Bella could manage without palpitations.
‘The inflammation is almost gone and there has been no sign of a raised temperature for a whole day now,’ she said.
‘I think we should keep him in the infirmary for at least another day. Little boys tend to pass on illnesses in the dormitories and we don’t want any more cases of quinsy if we can help it.’
He kept referring to the patient as theirs, as if they shared the responsibility of his treatment, and that warmed her. He recognised her part in Tom’s recovery and her place in the infirmary. Recognised it and acknowledged it. ‘I shall check on him on Monday, and if he continues to make rapid progress we can send him back to be with his friends.’
‘He’s very bored.’ Now that the crisis had passed, Tom wanted constant entertaining. She had read him every book on the little bookshelf. Some of them twice.
‘Excellent news. Bored is good. The very ill are rarely bored. They are too busy being ill. Only the well get bored.’
You’re bored, the voice inside her reminded her. Bored is good. He just said so. Do you remember when you were too terrified to be bored? What is that if not progress?
‘Dr Warriner!’ her mother interrupted a little too casually, with her father in tow. ‘You have not yet met my husband, have you?’
‘Your lordship.’ Joe bowed his dark head politely. ‘It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance.’
‘I was curious to meet the man behind the infirmary my daughter is wedded to.’ Her father looked the doctor up and down, assessing his worthiness, and to Bella’s mind did not approve of what he saw. ‘It seems I must thank you for coming to her rescue the other day. Bella speaks very highly of your skills as a physician.’
‘She does?’ Those fathomless blue eyes regarded her with amusement and she blushed crimson to the tips of her toes. Subtlety was never her father’s strong suit and he had rather given the impression she had been waxing lyrical, which perhaps she had once or twice when she regaled her day to her family over dinner. It was splendid to be doing something again. Especially something as useful and important as healing.
‘I’ve been telling my parents about Tom’s tonsils and…’ Perhaps it was better not to try to explain and simply brush it off, except she couldn’t muster the nonchalance to brush it off when he was still smiling at her, so she clamped her mouth shut instead.
Always so benevolent, Dr Warriner finished her sentence for her. ‘And I hope you have also told them how your swift intervention prevented him from going downhill. I was detained with another patient and your daughter single-handedly brought down the poor lad’s fever. By the time I arrived, the crisis had passed and he was already on the path to recovery.’
Both of her parents gaped at her. ‘You did?’
Once upon a time they would have expected her resourcefulness. It was a stark reminder of how far she had fallen in a year that they were both astounded and pathetically grateful to see some remnants of their old daughter return. It made Bella even more self-conscious than she was already. ‘I only brewed some willow bark tea.’
‘I fear I must contradict you there, my lady.’ Kind blue eyes were even more amused. ‘She sent to my surgery for a precise concoction of herbs to ease the child’s distressing symptoms. I was mightily impressed with her knowledge of medicine.’
Her mother was now completely beside herself with joy, reading far too much into a silly potion than the thing warranted. As if being able to remember a few herbs would somehow return her to her old self. Her father was positively scowling. How she wished they would all stop staring at her. ‘Bella has always had a very scientific mind. Had she been born male, I have no doubt she would have been the most dedicated and brilliant of scholars.’ Her father disapproved of her ‘hobby’ but had allowed it in Retford while she ‘convalesced’, even though he had decreed the daughters of earls were not supposed to get their hands dirty. He was, however, prepared to indulge her for the duration of the summer whilst she was out of sight in Retford to see if industry reaped better rewards than the water treatments and bloodletting.
‘If you’ll pardon me for saying it, sir, your daughter is a dedicated and brilliant scholar. Anyone who is familiar with the recent writings of Dr Laennec has a knowledge of medicine which exceeds that of the average layman.’ Things her father would be mortified to hear. Dr Warriner began to rifle in his coat pocket. ‘Which reminds me, I brought you this, Lady Isabella.’ He handed her a wooden stethoscope. ‘This was the original one I had made, but it is far too dainty for my enormous hands and I thought you might like it.’
Bella supposed most girls would melt if a man gave her flowers, but the exquisitely turned medical instrument was more beautiful to her than a bouquet of a thousand crimson roses. A funny little nerve jumped in her tummy and her heartbeat was so fast and so loud in her own head she doubted anyone would need a stethoscope to hear it. ‘I don’t know what to say…thank you… I shall treasure it.’
Her parents shared a knowing look and instantly Bella wished the floor would open up and swallow her whole. Her father was clearly both concerned and horrified in equal measure. They were reading things into this innocent exchange which were not there. Dr Warriner was being nice and respected her mind. Just as she respected his mind…except there was so much more she was coming to like about him.
‘There you are, Dr Warriner!’ Clarissa sailed towards them and his eyes swivelled automatically. She threaded an arm through his possessively. ‘You did promise to dance with me, did you not?’
A shy innocent wary of all men… After a shocking incident, shy Lady Isabella Beaumont is perfectly happy to stay in the background and let her sister get all the attention from handsome suitors! However, working with Dr. Joseph Warriner to help the sick and needy pushes her closer to a man than she’s ever been before. Is this man worth trusting with her deepest of desires…?
Is your book part of a series / standalone? It is part of The Wild Warriners series but can be read as a standalone
Are there any possible trigger warnings that bloggers/readers need to be aware of? I don’t think so. It tackles mental health issues in the 19th century and there is a smallpox epidemic.
Purchase Link – http://myBook.to/Warriner3
When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Fortunately, the lovely people at Harlequin took pity on her and decided to publish her romances, but it still takes her forever to fall asleep.
Win 5 x E-copies of A Warriner To Tempt Her by Virginia Heath