Any Time. Any Place. Any Day. Getaway.

A Courtship for Cecilia
by Ruth J. Hartman

Product Information

Genre: Regency Romance

Length: 190 pages

Heat Level: 1

eBook Price: $.99

Print Book: $10.99


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Cecilia Fletcher yearns for true love with the man of her heart. A life of her own away from her demanding mother would be an added benefit. But in order to do that, Cecilia must live a lie, making it necessary to use a false name in order to hide a family secret.

Barrington Radcliff was betrayed by a woman who he thought loved him. Because of that, trust is hard to willingly give. When he meets pretty Cecilia Fleming, his heart wants to give her a chance. Something about her doesn’t ring true, but Barrington allows love to overrule his good judgment.

Can Cecilia and Barrington get past their hurt and secrets long enough to find true love?


Chapter One

Barrington Radcliff stared at the man facing him. Uncle Percy had said some strange things before, but now Barrington wondered if the man hadn’t truly lost his mind.
Percy pointed out the window. “Barrington, take a closer look at that squirrel. Don’t you notice the close resemblance to your Great Aunt Katherine?”
“Even the scruffy beard. I’m telling you, they could be twins.”
“I’m really starting to worry about you, Percy.”
“I’m not the one with the problem. If that squirrel doesn’t get its beard trimmed soon, it might trip over it. Think how the other squirrels will laugh.”
Barrington shook his head and stepped across the room to the sideboard. If there was ever a time for a glass of port, he’d found it.
“Say, pour me one, won’t you?”
Doesn’t inebriation advance madness? “Are you sure you should? Perhaps you should wait.”
“What a silly question. There’s never a bad time for port. Besides, you’re having one.”
With a shrug, Barrington poured two glasses and handed one to Percy. If his uncle hadn’t changed his bizarre ways at his age, it wasn’t likely to happen. While Barrington sipped his port, his uncle downed the entire contents of a glass in one slurp. Except for the drops that had splattered on his chin. Those were left to dangle perilously, not quite sure when they would fall or where they would land.
Hopefully, not anywhere near me. Sometimes living with his strangeuncle was like sharing a house with a small, inquisitive boy. He glancedover to Percy. Make that a boy of way over fourteen stone but not with the adequate height to balance it out.
Percy gestured with his empty glass. “Say, you haven’t mentioned Martha Lymington in the last few weeks. Something amiss between you two?”
“In a manner of speaking. But I’d rather not discuss it.” When the one person Barrington had trusted had lied straight to his face, the feeling of betrayal had stung deep. He had so many memories of times with her. Carriage rides. Parlor games. Laughter. Friendship. And stolen kisses behind the stables.
He’d thought they’d marry. There’d been no doubt, at least not in his mind. Martha had even hinted at it in a teasing way, but that was Martha. She might be tittering about something, but if he listened closely enough to her words, there was always a meaning beneath. Something deeper. As if to say — This is what I’m trying to tell you. She never acted serious about important subjects, though. Preferred to be the center of the fun, dancing the longest, laughing the loudest, and having the most friends.
“Oh, come now, Barrington. Surely you can confide in me?”
He stared at Percy. I’d sooner trust my deepest feelings to the bearded squirrel hanging by its toes from our tree branch.
If not for Barrington putting up with Percy’s wild conjectures, surely his uncle might find himself a resident of Bedlam. With both of Barrington’s parents deceased, Uncle Percy was his only family.
“I thought surely by now you two would be betrothed. You’ve known her forever. It seemed she’d become a permanent fixture in the house.” Percy’s eyes took on a dreamy appearance. “I’ve often thought her hair looked like bird feathers.”
“Oh, I only meant that in a good way.”
“Of course.” How could that be construed as any way but positive? What a loon.
They had feathers. Barrington rubbed his hand down his face. Please don’t let the mad gene filter its way down to me.
“You’re not a spring chicken you know, Barrington.”
“We’re still discussing birds?” He’d swear sometimes his uncle should have been born in a nest.
“You, my friend, are advancing in age as we speak. Aren’t you ever going to take a wife? Give me some great-nephews?”
He’d thought by now that he would have already done just that. But Martha seemed to be having too much fun to talk seriously about anything, well, serious. Certainly, Barrington enjoyed gaiety as much as anyone else, but why couldn’t Martha understand that it was time to grow up, time to move past playing like they had as children in the nursery? Barrington sighed and sipped his port.
“If Martha isn’t your choice for a bride, do you have someone else in mind?”
How did Percy know that Barrington was having second thoughts about her? “Of course not.”
“Just keep in mind that old men rarely father children.”
Barrington spewed his mouthful of drink down the front of his coat. “I beg your pardon?”
Percy lowered his eyelids until they were nearly closed and peered at Barrington. “You need to find a wife and bed her. Before it’s too late.”
After retrieving his handkerchief from his pocket, Barrington mopped the wetness from his coat, catching a stray drop that dangled from the end of his cravat. “I fail to see how my fathering anyone is your concern.”
“Of course it’s my concern. Who else’s would it be?”
Barrington closed his eyes briefly. “I would think it would be mine and that of the… uh… woman in question.”
“So there is a woman, then.”
“I never said that.”
“You most certainly did.”
“Percy…” He’s a corked-brain idiot, but I do love him.
“There must be something about Martha that you find not to your liking. Otherwise, wouldn’t you be wed by now?”
Barrington could overlook Martha’s childish ways if she’d at least been honest with him. That was the one thing he couldn’t get past.
“I’m certain if you look around hard enough you’ll find the woman of your heart.”
“How would you know Martha isn’t that woman?”
“When I observe you together, you don’t seem…” Percy shrugged.
“Seem, what?”
“You’re not a good match.”
Barrington frowned. “But it’s as you said. I’ve known her forever.”
“That has nothing to do with being a good match.”
“And I suppose you’ll tell me what it does have to do with?”
“Thought you’d never ask.” Percy set his empty glass on a side table. “There’s an elemental difference between men and women.”
Heat crawled up his neck. “Anyone knows that.”
“I’m not talking about the physical difference. Although that can be delightful. Did you ever watch a pair of bats when they’re courting?”
“Thankfully, no.” The man has lost his mind. “I fail to see what that has to do with anything. Why don’t we stay within the confines of humans, shall we?”
“If we must. Though it isn’t nearly as much fun to discuss.”
Barrington tapped the toe of his boot on the floor.
“Very well. Men are physical beings. We observe something, decide whether or not we like it, and either take it for our own or walk away.”
“And women?” I can’t believe I’m asking for his advice. Am I that desperate?
“Women are emotional. They hear your meaning when you say something, even if you didn’t intend to say it. They crave attention. Not just from anyone, but from that certain someone.”
Barrington frowned. Martha craved attention, period. Didn’t appear to matter if it was from him or anyone else. “Go on.”
“When a man and woman meet and have certain chemistry, if you will, something happens.”
Good heavens, he had no desire to discuss something of that nature with his uncle. “I know all about—”
Uncle Percy waved his hand. “No, no. There you go thinking like a man, again.”
“Well I am a man, Percy.”
“Of course you are. Don’t be daft.”
I’m daft?
“When you meet someone new, take the time to really watch her, listen to her, allow yourself to give her a chance.”
“A chance for what?”
“To become someone special. Sometimes the most special people in our lives aren’t even someone we’d give a second thought to when we first make their acquaintance.”
His uncle was actually making some sense.
Have I perhaps misjudged him?
Percy hurried to the window again. “Oh, splendid. Now the squirrel has a lady friend out there with him. Think he’ll bed her? He may have to trim that beard first.”
With a deep sigh, Barrington refilled his own glass.
No, perhaps not.

Ruth J. Hartman spends her days herding cats and her nights spinning sweet romantic tales that make you smile, giggle, or laugh out loud. She, her husband, and their three cats love to spend time curled up in their recliners watching old Cary Grant movies. Well, the cats, Maxwell, Roxy, and Remmie, sit in the people's recliners. Not that the cats couldn't get their own furniture. They just choose to shed on someone else's. You know how selfish those little furry creatures can be.

Ruth, a left-handed, cat-herding, Jeep driving, farmhouse-dwelling romance writer uses her goofy sense of humor as she writes tales of lovable, klutzy women and the men who adore them. Ruth's husband and best friend, Garry, reads her manuscripts, rolls his eyes at her weird story ideas, and loves her in spite of her penchant for insisting all of her books have at least one cat in them. Or twelve. But hey, who's counting?

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