To Covet a Lady’s Heart Landon Sisters #2
By: Ingrid Hahn Releasing February 20, 2017
One good blackmail deserves another.
After a lifetime of rakish behavior, Lord Maxfeld must pretend he’s reformed and find a fake wife. And, with the perfect blend of family scandal and tenuous acceptance in Society, there is nobody more suitable than Lady Phoebe. Trouble is, Phoebe will not agree to a false engagement, forcing Max to blackmail her into his scheme.
Phoebe will go to great lengths to avoid anything remotely dishonorable. Unwilling to bear the scandal of a broken engagement, she blackmails Max right back—directly to the altar.
Once married, though, Phoebe wants much more than Max’s ring. She wants his heart. But he will never give it. For better or worse may just be words but Phoebe cannot stay with Max if he thinks love is the worst thing that can happen.
Phoebe was still becoming accustomed to this mad whirl of parties and finery that was her life. Her sister’s wealthy husband afforded them a number of previously unthinkable luxuries beyond beautiful gowns. Like use of his London house for the Season…and all the trappings deemed necessary therein.
Privately, Phoebe suspected her new brother to be willing to pay any price to pry them out of his estate, Corbeau Park. Anything to buy time alone with his new bride. Who could blame him?
Lady Bennington gripped her arm, making no effort to speak over the noise. “Don’t look to your left, my dear.”
“Why ever not?” Phoebe strained to see anything she could in her peripheral vision, but there was nothing but scads upon scads of people.
“You don’t want to work to catch any man’s attention. Even his.” She paused. “Especially his.”
At that moment, regret hooked itself into Phoebe’s heart. She wasn’t up to making herself pleasant to men, not when she was so undecided what she wanted her ultimate fate to be.
She should have feigned illness tonight. She could be home by the fire in her chamber, feet curled under her. Her nose would be stuck so far into some lurid and entirely inappropriate novel, she’d not be able to set it free again until dawn. And she knew just from where she’d pilfer such a book, too. Her mother’s bedside table.
Then again, it would have been a shame not to come tonight, for she did like her gown. But there would be other nights, other balls, other chances.
“Who’s ‘him’?” Phoebe wasn’t desperate for anyone to join them, but she couldn’t say so where there was a chance at being easily overheard.
“Oh!” Clutching a fist against her breast, her mother’s eyes went big. “He’s coming this way.”
“Mama, you tell me not to look, and yet you make a spectacle of yourself.”
“No.” Her mother’s voice flattened. “No, he’s not coming here. He’s turned away. He’s—oh! He’s coming back this way, after all.”
“It’s impossible to tell whether you want him to come or to stay away.”
“Truth be told…” Her mother frowned, seeming to think the better of whatever the truth might have been. “Never mind, he’s still the son of my dear friend, and we shall treat him accordingly.”
Phoebe turned just in time to catch the eye of the man in question and prickled in that horrid way she did when she was aware he was close.
“Oh no. Not him.” Lord Maxfeld? Here? Tonight? Of all the ballrooms in all of London, why did he have to be in this one?
Ingrid Hahn is a failed administrative assistant with a B.A. in Art History. Her love of reading has turned her mortgage payment into a book storage fee, which makes her the friend who you never want to ask you for help moving. Though originally from Seattle, she now lives in the metropolitan DC area with her ship-nerd husband, small son, and four opinionated cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves knitting, theater, nature walks, travel, history, and is a hopelessly devoted fan of Jane Austen. She loves to connect with her readers
Q: Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
Definitely my head. Thankfully, I’m not a screw top, so I can always remember it. Everything else is fair game.
Q: If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
I can’t decide between two choices. Either Cleopatra right after she met Mark Antony, but I won’t tell you why. Or some chick inside a perfume commercial. You get to be gorgeous, perfectly made up, and there is usually a not-too-hard-on-the-eyes guy around. (That goes for perfume lady—Cleopatra wasn’t the gorgeous siren she’s depicted as being in popular myth.) The perfume lady has the bonus of either getting to wear a big fancy dress or lazing around a private beach.
Q: What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
The naughty ones.
Q: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I put a tiny, tiny bit of myself into each heroine in a superfluous way. My first heroine, Grace, loved chocolate and has less-than-perfect hair (far less, I’m afraid). My second, Phoebe, is a big reader and loves tea. My third, Eliza—her book is coming in June—hates cherries. However, unlike Eliza, I came by my dislike honestly. I just plain don’t like them. I won’t spoil it for you, but Eliza came by her dislike by way of an abhorrent association.
Q: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Let go of your ego, never stop learning, work hard to nail good conflict, learn to encapsulate your entire story in one pithy statement that makes strangers’ eyes bulge and beg you to write the book immediately (I’m still working on this one!). Don’t self-publish too early. Give yourself permission to turn into a seething green jealousy monster even for writer friends you love dearly when they achieve something you covet, but cap your time in The Great and Terrible Land of Envy to about ten or twenty minutes, then go back to being happy for them and focusing your energy on your own work.