No matter how much their mothers wanted Sarah and Arthur to wed, Sarah had loathed him. However, circumstance and her late husband’s father conspire against her, and she is forced to turn to Arthur for help. Perhaps she needs his legal expertise, but she refuses to acknowledge how handsome her oldest foe has become…or her reaction to him.
His childhood nemesis is the last person Arthur Davenport expected to require his services. When a spurious claim against her late husband’s estate brings Sarah Wetherall to his door, he can’t refuse the pretty widow, no matter how much he wants to.
Thrown together by fate, will they discover there is a fine line between scorn and passion?
15 February, 1847. Mrs. Wetherall.
Arthur stared down at the name. There was something familiar about it, but he could not recall what it might be. He shrugged. She was soon to appear, and any familiarity would be quickly established.
At that, the door opened and a woman who could only be Mrs. Wetherall swept in, an obscenely large hat obscuring most of her face. A gown of uncommon simplicity clothed her person, but for all the garment was simple, it was obviously well made, which suggested wealth.
Ah, well, no matter if he knew her name or not. A wealthy client was always welcome.
Dunn trailed behind her, his expression as eager as ever. “Mrs. Wetherall, sir.”
Arthur inclined his head. “Thank you. That will be all.”
“Right you are, sir.” The clerk bobbed his head and left, closing the door behind him with a quiet click.
Arthur turned his regard to the woman. Currently she studied his qualifications, hung on the wall along with the framed pictures his mother had given him for his birthday every year since he’d become a solicitor. “Mrs. Wetherall, good afternoon. Please, seat yourself.”
Her shoulders straightened infinitesimally but she didn’t respond, instead continuing to regard the wall.
Irritation tugged, but he suppressed it. Emotion would get him nowhere. “Mrs. Wetherall?”
With a sweep of her skirts, the lady and her hat settled into the chair before his desk.
Frowning, he sank to his own seat. That enormous hat was absurd, still disguising her face. Why did women think such things were attractive? In addition to being ludicrous, it no doubt put undue pressure upon her neck.
Lacing her hands in her lap, the lady finally spoke. “I find I require the services of a solicitor in regards to my late husband’s will.”
The hair at the back of his neck stood up. No. Oh, Christ, no.
The hat tilted, exposing her face. Every muscle in Arthur’s body seized.
Mrs. Wetherall, formerly Miss Sarah Stanhope and the bane of his childhood, glared at him from beneath her ridiculous hat.
It takes a special kind of talent to craft a compelling short story–it takes very unique talent indeed to create characters as engaging and sympathetic as those found in Cassandra Dean’s stories, and to do it in only 60 pages. The second in her Silk series, this story of childhood enemies and their journey together is a marvelously diverting, entertaining story that will delight fans and hopefully attract plenty of new readers as well.
I’m in such awe of a writer that can 1) write historical romance 2) have me laughing after the first page 3) bring sexual tension to new heights with just words and 4) leave me wanting more. Ms. Dean has done that with Silk & Scorn.
The characters in Cassandra Dean’s Silk and Scorn grabbed me from the first pages, which include a short series of letters that establish their early disdain for each other, mostly born from their mothers’ insistence the two should marry. When the two meet again, Dean manages, in a novella, to draw two rich, complicated characters, both of which you can’t help but love, as much as they outwardly dislike each other. It’s a delicious journey to see their loathing turn to attraction and more.
BEHIND THE STORY
What’s in a name?
SILK & SCORN was rather imaginatively known as “Silk 2” because, uh, it’s the second in the Silk Series.
I had no trouble coming up with SILK & SCORN’s actual name, though. All the books in the series begin with Silk, which refers to the character who loves the law, and then the second word describes their hero or heroine. With Arthur and Sarah, what else could it be but Scorn?
The Story Behind the Story
I’m not sure where this story came from. I knew I wanted to write about a solicitor and his antagonistic relationship with the annoying girl he grew up with. Arthur became an estate planning solicitor as it ties in with my Day Job and I had a rather handy resource right at my fingertips. So it seems everything just came together to form the glorious cacophony that is SILK & SCORN. Huzzah!