Midsummer Bride | November 2013
Miss Harriet Burton, a horrendously rich American heiress, laughs too loud, states her opinion directly, and even conducts science experiments. Her aristocratic uncle is desperate to get her off his hands and is offering a king's ransom to anyone able to arrange a suitable marriage that comes with a title. In contrast, Harriet's interests lie in science, returning to America, and avoiding matrimony, until she meets Duncan Maclachlan, Earl of Thornton. When Thornton is falsely accused of being a traitor, Harriet must use her knowledge of chemistry to find the real culprit and spark true romance.
Following the smoke, Thornton ran to where the sound had originated. A bedroom door burst open and more acrid smoke billowed out. A young woman staggered from the room, coughing hard.
Thornton caught the young lady, who appeared unsteady on her feet. He quickly scooped her up in his arms and took her down the stairs and out through a side door so she could breathe the fresh air.
“Stop!” The lady tried to say more but began coughing again. “I can manage.”
Thornton placed her down on the stone step and rubbed her back to try to help her breathe. “Dinna fear, just take several deep breaths.”
The lady did as requested and after several deep breaths with her head down looked up at him with a rueful smile.
“Miss Redgrave!” A jolt of something flashed through him. What had happened here? Was she all right?
“I am sorry to cause such trouble,” she said, trying to smooth back tendrils of her auburn hair that had escaped her bun. “Especially since you were so kind as to invite us to your house party.”
“Are ye hurt?”
“No, I am fine.” She smiled, her teeth white in contrast to her soot-covered face.
“I do apologize. I canna understand what has caused this. If ye will be well, I need to return to discern what has happened.”
“Oh, I can tell you what happened. It was my fault entirely. I had been traveling so long I simply could not wait to begin my next experiment as soon as we reached the house.”
“Experiment?” asked Thornton.
“I dabble in chemistry.”
“Yes, I do apologize, but I was slightly careless with my mixing, and I had a tiny little explosion.”
“Explosion?” Thornton realized he was copying her like a parrot, but given her extraordinary tale, he could not find sensible speech.
“Do not worry. There’s no damage, or at least I think I kept it to a minimum. I’ve had many much larger explosions at home.”
And now Thornton could think of nothing to say. He often lacked conversation with ladies, but this was worse than usual. He sat beside her mute on the step. An awkward silence engulfed them.
Harriet pressed her lips together in a manner that hardly improved her appearance. Her face and hands were dirty and her frock appeared to have been damaged in the explosion.
At length, Harriet spoke again. “I don’t think we ever properly met each other. I mean I know your title, but what is your name?”
Thornton opened his mouth but no speech emerged, his mind spinning at this unconventional female. What kind of an introduction was this? “I am Duncan Maclachlan, Earl of Thornton, at yer service.”
“Harriet.” She held out her soot-covered hand.
He smiled in spite of himself. He took her hand in his and they shook hands then held on for a moment longer. “Yer hands are not cold this time.”
“Chemicals. Explosions. Keeps them warm.” Her eyes were a bright green.
“Might I suggest a fireplace? Or would that be too conventional for an American such as yerself?
“I shall try to amend my ways. For you. Since you saved me.” She gave him a slow smile.
Perhaps it was some of those chemicals wearing off on him, but he was suddenly flushed with heat as well. Being cast in the role of hero was new to him. Whenever adventure struck, it was always his friends for whom the ladies swooned, while he was the sensible one who picked up the pieces and took care of the details. Yet in Harriet’s eyes, he saw himself a different man.
“It was my pleasure.” Never had he spoken those words with more truth.
“I suppose should go help clean the mess.” She stood up and wiped the soot off her hands and onto her skirts.
Thornton stood and gave a polite bow. She returned it with a smile.
“Thank you for your help, Lord Duncan… I mean Lord Thornton.” She looked away.
Thornton could not tell exactly beneath the soot, but he suspected she was blushing. “I am at yer disposal if ever any o’ yer plans go awry.”
Harriet turned back with a broad smile. “I fear that would keep you busy day and night. And now that I think of it, I am mostly confident the fire has been put out of the drapes, but I should go confirm.” She whirled and disappeared back into the house.
Thornton found he needed to take a few deep breaths himself before returning to the house. She was so unlike any other female he had ever met he became utterly perplexed and simply ended up being himself. Imagine a lass who dabbled in chemistry. Tiny little explosion? Not when his mother found out. He ran back into the house. It seemed his self-assigned role as Miss Redgrave’s protector might indeed prove to be an extensive occupation.
A sweet story of a man and woman finding that spark that will ignite into an all-consuming passion. ~The Window Seat on a Rainy Day
It is really nice to know that there are still ways to freshen up the traditional romantic themes. ~ Musings on Literature
Overall I enjoyed the characters and the plot. A very good story for any one of any age that loves historical romance. ~ Mrs. Condit & Friends
The writing of this novel was very well done with lots of humor included. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of Ms. Forester's novels. ~ bookworm2bookworm
Love a good ole fashioned historical romance with some mystery, humor and a beautiful couple finding their way to each other? Check this series out. You most certainly will find a bit of this and that! ~ The Reading Cafe
This is one thrilling ride you won't want to get out of and will have you guessing how it will turn out till the end. ~ With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
So ready for the next one. ~ A Novel Addiciton
Forester follows A Wedding in Springtime with an ingeniously funny historical... Circling spies and thieves provide for divertingly funny subplots, and Forester magically makes it all work. ~ Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
With refreshingly crisp and humorous dialog, somewhat atypical characters and a witty twist on the familiar “fortune hunters” premise, A MIDSUMMER BRIDE is the perfect book for someone who just wants to be swept away by a few hours of light, romantic entertainment. ~ Novels Alive
This sprightly romance sparkles with light humor and a delightful cast of characters, including staid dukes, devious mothers, a crotchety grandfather, an outspoken American heiress and an unlikely pair of matchmakers. With more than one romance and the hunt for a traitor, this Marriage Mart installment is just plain fun. ~ RT Book Reviews