Today I’m doing something a little different—a cover reveal on a blog. Usually, I would email cover reveals to my newsletter subscribers first, then I’d put it out on my Facebook pages—personal and author. But today, Inspy Romance readers are the first to see the full cover of my upcoming release, A Romance for Rose.
This is all the world has seen so far…
Without further ado, here’s everything you want to know about A Romance for Rose—the blurb, cover, plus the first scene excerpt.
Rose Blume has a secret, and she’s kept it for six long years. It’s the reason she’s convinced herself she’ll have to find her joy making wedding dresses, and not wearing one.
Fashion design icon Joseph Digiavoni crosses paths with Rose for the first time since their summer romance in Florence years before, and all the old feelings for her come rushing back. Not that they ever really left. He’s lived with her image since she returned to England.
Joseph and Rose are plunged into working together on the wedding outfits for the Rathbone / Blume wedding. His top client is marrying Rose’s sister. But will this task prove too difficult, especially when Joseph is anxious for Rose to admit why she broke up with him in Italy and what she’d done in the months that followed?
One person holds the key to happiness for them all, if only Rose and Joseph trusted that the truth would set them free. When they finally do bare their secrets, who has the most to forgive?
EXCERPT~A ROMANCE FOR ROSE:
IN THE well-lit workroom of her exclusive London bridal boutique, Rose Blume bent her knees to weave the last pin into the bodice of Lady Melody Hamilton’s wedding gown, taking care not to prick her finger. The slightest drop of blood on the fabric would ruin any chance of the prima donna bride-to-be taking delivery of the dress. And Melody’s mother, The Countess of Hamilton, could tarnish La Mia Bella Signora’s reputation because of one slip of a pin.
Rose started as her cell phone’s signature ringtone—Get Me To The Church on Time—interrupted Melody’s chatter with her mother. The pin burst through the satin and lace, and Rose yanked her hand out of the way. She glanced at the phone lying on the dove-gray carpet where she’d pinned the hem minutes ago.
She should get that. She’d been expecting this call since she’d heard the news from her family last night.
She looked up at her blue-blooded patrons. “I’m sorry, Lady Hamilton, Lady Melody, I do need to take that. I shan’t be long.”
“Take your time.” Melody flung her blond curls over her shoulder and admired herself in the full-length mirror. The gown was magnificent, and Rose could understand why Melody was more than happy to be in it for as long as she possibly could—pins and all.
Rose stooped to grab her phone. She slid her thumb across the screen as she walked away, silencing the fun wedding tune from the sixties movie, My Fair Lady. It was the classic that had inspired the name of her boutique. As had Italy. And a certain woman who had helped her through the darkest time of her life.
Don’t go there. Too many sad memories.
Rose swallowed back the hurt to attend to the matter at hand and lifted the device to her ear as she headed toward the front of the shop.
“Rose… Did you hear the news?”
Who hadn’t heard the news? Britain’s most eligible bachelor engaged—for real this time… It was likely all over the Cumbrian Times this morning. Probably made it into the London papers, too. The internet… But who needed newspapers and social media when you had siblings. Her other five sisters had already messaged her late last night to ask if she was making the wedding gown. And the bridesmaids’ dresses. Rose had long ago reworded the phrase ‘Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.’ Her mantra? ‘Always the dressmaker, never the one wearing the dress.’ And that was nobody’s fault, but hers.
She sucked in a breath and put on her happy voice. “I did. Congratulations. I’m over the moon for you. Dear Maggie, you are going to make such a beautiful bride.”
Maggie gave a little squeal from the other side of the phone. “You do know why I’m calling, don’t you?”
How could she forget? When she opened her own bridal boutique in London four years ago, each of her sisters called dibs on Rose designing and making their wedding dresses. She’d already done one…five more to go. Six if Lily married again—and Rose hoped she did. Twenty-five was far too young to be widowed, especially with a toddler.
It was likely her studies in Florence and her experience in both Milan and London, however, that were the big draw cards—her being their sister having little to do with their choice. It was hard not to wonder if she didn’t design such exquisite gowns, whether she would still be their dressmaker of choice.
“I wouldn’t miss making your dress for the world, Maggie. There’s nothing could keep me from this honor.”
“Thank you, Rose.”
“So when is the big day?”
“Eight months’ time—on New Year’s Eve.”
“Clever, two parties for the price of one. But,” Rose gave a shiver, even though her sister couldn’t see, “the middle of winter? You’re brave.”
“Not really. It’ll be an evening wedding inside Levens Hall’s banqueting hall, so we don’t have to step a toe outside in the cold. Although, if it snows, I’d love to get one or two photos of me and Davis in the white stuff. Should be fun.”
“Should be. Make sure to have snow boots waiting at the front door of the mansion.” Rose peeked past the display window models clad in flowing white satin, chiffon, organza, and lace. Outside the skies were clothed in their usual gray. Two more months until summer. All three weeks of it. Thankfully Maggie wasn’t getting married then. Much as she loved dressing summer brides, no way would she be able to get a gown designed and made for Maggie in that short of a time. Especially with her current workload.
“The banqueting hall… Isn’t that the place Davis proposed the first time?”
Maggie laughed. “Yes. Who would’ve thought the night I ran out of there, a mere nine months later, we’d be getting married? Much as we’d like to tie the knot tomorrow, marrying a viscount takes a lot of planning.”
“Viscount? I thought Davis was a baron.” Had she missed a communication somewhere? Or was this fresh news—she the first to hear for a change?
“He is, but he’ll no longer bear the courtesy title when we marry. Hadley…I mean Earl Rathbone, Davis’s father, is so pleased about the marriage proposal, he’s bestowing on Davis the title of Viscount, as he’s rightly entitled to.”
“Does that mean you’ll be a viscountess?” Rose turned and strolled back toward her waiting clients. Much as Melody loved being in that dress, Rose doubted her mother would want her daughter dodging pins for too long.
“I guess so…” Maggie said.
“Will I have to call you ‘Lady Magnolia’?”
Maggie let out a giggle. “Heavens, no. I’ll always just be Maggie to my family. This won’t change me.”
“Phew, thank heaven. I’d hate to lose my sister to all that snootiness.” She dealt with enough of the airs and graces of her exclusive clients—she didn’t want to see her sister go that way, too.
“Rose, the Rathbones are far from snobs, especially Davis. You’ll see when you meet them.”
And until then, she’d just have to take Maggie’s word for it, unbelievable as the thought might be that aristocrats could be…normal, nice people.
“So when am I to meet this gorgeous fiancé of yours?”
“I’m glad you asked. We’re coming down to London next weekend. Are you free?”
“If I’m not, I’ll make myself free.” Couldn’t let her sister think she had no social life, that the only thing occupying her time was her work. Or did she already know that?
“Great. We’ll book a table for four on the Friday night at Clover’s restaurant. On Saturday we can plan the wedding outfits. Davis and I want to waste no time—these eight months will go by fast, and we’re leaving nothing to chance. With a wedding like this, we can’t risk a thing going wrong.”
“Four? You do know Clover isn’t able to join us when she’s working.”
“No, not Clover.”
So who were they planning on inviting to dinner, if not their baby sister?
“The fourth person is Davis’s clothing designer. We’d like you to meet him. Davis and I have some specific requirements that will need you to work together closely.”
“Him?” Rose peeked around the curtain of the workroom cubicle where she’d left the Hamiltons. She gave a wide smile and indicated a minute more with her finger. She stepped back, allowing the gray fabric to fall into place. “Who is Davis’s designer?” she whispered as she walked away from the cubicle again. Wouldn’t want the Hamiltons to overhear anything she said. They likely moved in the same circles as the Rathbones.
Please, Lord, don’t let it be that Frenchman everyone’s crazy about using these days…Bernard Lefebvre. I’ve heard he’s so difficult to work with.
“Davis said his name was Jody and that he’s the Italian god of men and women’s fashion.” Maggie sighed. “I’m sorry, I’ve no idea what his surname is. Do you know anyone by that name?”
The air sucked out of Rose’s lungs as if someone had punched her mid-riff. Know him? She’d done far more than just know him—she’d fallen in love with him. It would be easier to partner with Bernard Lefebvre on this wedding, than work with the charismatic JoDi. But she’d promised Maggie there was nothing that could keep her from making her dress. And there was probably no way Davis would switch designers.
“JoDi… J–o–capital D–i.” Rose drew in a long breath, not that it really helped to calm her. “Maggie, I–I have to go. I’ve important clients waiting in a half-pinned wedding gown.” Not that she could work on that dress now with her shaking hands. She’d have to make an excuse and schedule another fitting with Melody later in the week.
“Of course, Rose. I can’t wait to see you. Wish it was this weekend.”
“Me too.” Although this weekend wasn’t a good one for her. Hadn’t been for the last five years. But, the sooner they did this, the sooner Joseph Digiavoni could breeze in and out of her life. Again. Thankfully she’d broken things off with him before he could realize why. He’d been the golden boy of the Italian fashion world—a rising star—no way she could’ve stood in the way of his dreams and plans. He would never have forgiven her, no matter how besotted with her he’d claimed to be.
She’d had dreams of her own, too. Making them happen had required the hardest of choices, and the greatest sacrifice. And even though she’d done what she believed was best for everyone, she lived with the guilt and remorse of her decision every day. If only she could turn back the hands of time. She would’ve done it all so differently.
I would’ve loved to share the second scene with you and introduced you to the hero, Joseph, but that, unfortunately, would have made this already long blog, far too long.
If you recognized some of the characters in that excerpt, good. That means you probably have read Book 1 of my series, Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters. A Romance for Rose is Book 2 and follows on from where A Match for Magnolia ended. It is, however, a stand-alone story, as are A Hero for Heather, Book 3 and currently in the Falling for You box set, and Book 4, A Husband for Holly, also currently in a box set called Candy Cane Kisses. Books 3 and 4 will release independently mid-December, along with A Romance for Rose. Books 5-7 will be released through the course of 2017.
I’m giving away a copy of A Romance for Rose when it releases to one person who leaves a comment. BUT, I’m also offering one reader here the opportunity to do a beta read prior to release. Your praise comment and name will be published in the front matter along with my other regular readers’ praises. The catch though is that you’ll only have a day or two to read the beta copy. If you’d be interested in this, please make a note in your comment to add you to the beta read draw.