The Rake’s Bride
Dry Bayou Brides
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Publisher: Charizomai Press, LLC
Date of Publication: June 27th
Word Count: 57k
Cover Artist: Dar Albert
Tagline: Lies, Fate, Redemption…
Jean-Luc La Fontaine is tired of sowing his wild oats. So, after a disastrous summer in France, he’s back in Dry Bayou, ordering himself a mail-order bride. A new wife will help him forget about the siren with sapphire eyes…
Intelligence, wealth, prestige… It means nothing when you fall in love with the wrong man. So, when scandal chases Isabeau Montefret from France, she runs to America, determined to forget the man with the wicked smile. Isabeau hoped becoming a mail-order bride was the answer to her problems. She’d change her name, start a new life, and lose herself in a small town. When she discovers that the man who disappeared with her heart is the man she agreed to marry, Isabeau settles in for the fight of her life.
When the one woman he’d left France to forget arrives in town, claiming she’s his new bride, Jean-Luc doesn't know what to feel. But when pain gives way to the truth, he must risk keeping a dark secret, one that would steal every chance at happiness. Isabeau once made him believe in happily ever after, now he must learn how to keep his new bride at a distance, lest he lose everything.
Can Jean-Luc be a true husband to the woman he's been deceiving? Can Isabeau convince Jean-Luc she’s his one true love? Will these two rediscover what they had once upon a summertime?
Luc stared down at her, his jaw muscles working, his nostrils flaring, and the black eyes behind his dark lashes flashing fire.
Isabeau spun and walked toward the desk, trying to put distance between them. Enough distance that she could take a deep breath. The sound of the door closing and lock turning made every hair on her neck stand on end.
She was trapped.
Silence ruled, and the ticking of the clock on the wall only reminded her of each pressing moment.
Finally, he stepped forward. She could feel his heat burning into her back, his very presence thrilling through her blood. Oh, how she missed him. Did he miss her? Hope flared to life within her, but she remembered what Tilly had said: You already know Mr. La Fontaine? Luc La Plume, the man she’d met and fallen in love with one summer in France, was Jean-Luc La Fontaine, the man she was there to marry. A man who had no idea the woman he’d left behind was the same woman he’d agreed to wed.
She swallowed as the truth hit her: he’d left. He’d forgotten about her. And had planned to marry someone else. It didn’t matter that she was that someone else. It only mattered that he hadn’t cared enough to tell her he was done with her.
The trickle of apprehension she felt when she’d first spotted him across the restaurant slowly gave way to the cool head that would serve her much better in this situation.
“Marielle.” Deep and resonant, his voice vibrated through her, and she nearly moaned at the memory of the words that voice had spoken in the warm and fragrant gardens of La Chateau du Montebleu.
Sucking in a deep breath, Isabeau spun on her heel and pinned Luc with her gaze. He cocked an eyebrow, and something she recognized from their summer together blazed in his eyes—but then it was gone. Swallowed up by disdain. Pain took shape in her chest, but she swallowed down the rising ache. Don’t look away, don’t look away. Don’t let him know how much he hurt you.
“Mr. La Fontaine, I see you aren’t dead,” she said in French. She thanked the Lord her voice was stronger than she’d expected. Though, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. She always seemed to find her strength when she was with Luc. All her life, she’d fooled herself into thinking she thrived in the shadows, hidden away from the people and the chatter and the expectations. It’d taken a dashing rake, his astute observations, and his gentle manner and touch to show her she wasn’t thriving along the wall of her life—she was dwindling. Like a rosebush planted in perpetual shade.
With Luc, she’d learned to speak with frankness and face challenges with courage. Challenges like leaving the only home and family she’d known to travel across the ocean and make a new life in a wholly terrifying place.
About the Author:
Lynn Winchester is the pseudonym of a hardworking California-born conservative, now living in the wilds of Northeast Pennsylvania. Lynn has been writing fiction since the 5th grade, and enjoys creating worlds, characters, and stories for her readers.
When Lynn isn't writing she is running a successful editing business, reading whatever she can get her hands on, raising her four children, making sure her husband is happy, and binge watching shows on Netflix.