Book Tours, Reviews,
Friday, April 20, 2018
Captain Rockford's Reckoning
Genre: historical romance /suspense
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Esmie Elstone is thrown into panic
when she hears of Captain Rockford’s return. But she is determined that the
days of him interfering with her life are over. Destroying her chances of a
happy future during his last visit had resulted in her being foisted on her
aunt for a third pointless season in London.
To alleviate the boredom of society
life, Esmie helps run a discreet betting enterprise under the guise of asewing
club. But there are some things you just shouldn’t wager on, and Esmie’s
integrity is soon put to a dangerous test.
Richard Rockford had known Esmie
almost all her life. As neighbours, her father, Admiral Elstone, had depended
on Richard to keep an eye on his daughter when he was away at sea – a
responsibility he had always taken on willingly. But her cruel and thoughtless
actions, from the day he had left four years earlier, had shaken him. Now, he
was back, and he wanted answers.
But when Esmie tumbles into a
treacherous conspiracy, can he really turn his back on her?
“Lady Danby, good evening.”
Esmie jerked bolt upright
as Rockford’s unmistakably smooth voice floated down. He was standing in front
of her aunt. How on earth did he get there without her knowledge? Had he
climbed through a window, or lowered himself from a chandelier? He
certainly had not entered through the main double doors. Dash it, the man had
never been straightforward.
“Ah, Captain Rockford, I
see you are back from your travels,” her aunt replied, squinting at him through
her pince-nez, with only slightly hidden delight. He had always been a
favourite of hers, but especially since he had been elevated in society and
wealth by his uncle’s death.
“Indeed, Lady Danby. I hope
you are well. You are looking radiant tonight. The shade of your turban is
Her aunt beamed, and her
hand went up to pat her elaborate head-piece.
Oh no. Esmie froze. He had been
in her presence for seconds and already causing her misdemeanour with the giant
feather to be revealed. But her aunt’s hand was deftly collected in Rockford’s
as he bent down, raised it to his lips, and kissed her glove. Esmie thought she
detected a malignant smirk on his lips. She lowered her eyes to study the
highly-polished buckles of his shoes. The underhanded fiend must have been
secretly observing her for several minutes.
“And, Miss Elstone. It has
been far too long.”
Reluctantly, she levelled
her gaze. Stormy green eyes devoured her whilst his face remained set in a mask
of polite indifference. He gave her a short bow, but thankfully made no move to
take her hand or compliment on her appearance. His eyes were an even
darker shade than she remembered, and Esmie was sure the look of disgust that
he had left her with still lurked behind that deadpan expression. Lady Danby,
however, continued to prattle amiably to him, not at all aware of the invisible
wall of ice that lurked between them.
“I wonder, Lady Danby, if I
might engage Miss Elstone in a dance.”
Dance. Esmie tried to swallow
the lump of terror in her throat. “Actually, I am feeling quite unwell at the
moment, and was about to retire.”
“Nonsense! Esmie, what sort
of welcome home is that for the Captain? Of course, she will dance with you,
Rockford. I am sure she has spaces on her card.”
Esmie gritted her teeth. Here
we go again: poor Rockford; jolly good Rockford; thank heavens for Rockford.
Surely he must appear to sprout a halo and wings to her peers.
She handed him her card as
if it was the executioner’s axe, and watched him enter his name against the
supper dance. “I will count the minutes,” he said softly, to reach only her
ears, before he returned the card and walked away.
She watched him head
towards the sugar-coated Julia Grant. Well, she was welcome to him; in fact,
maybe he would become so infatuated with her beauty that he would completely
forget the terrifying appointment now documented and hanging on Esmie’s wrist.
Unease stirred in her belly.
Susan Lodge was brought up with five brothers in the West of England and
spent her formative years climbing trees and watching westerns. Leaving home, she
headed for London and embarked on a career in the Civils Service, gaining a
science degree along the way.
Over the years she has worked in several historic
cities, where the streets still resonate with the Georgian period, providing a
wealth of inspiration for her stories. Her romantic novels are often set
against the backdrop of Nelson’s navy, and she always manages to inject a fair
dose of humour into the plot.
Susan’s always wanted to be an astronaut but would now settle for a
flight into space. She loves tinkering on her piano, perfecting her swing dance
routines and discovering new destinations for her characters.
Married, with two children Susan now lives in Hampshire. You can find
more of Susan and all her books by vising her website athttp://susanlodge.com/
How long must Esmie hold out before she is declared an actual spinster, too old for the chase and set on the shelf? She has no desire for a husband if it means a man who dictates her moves and moods.
A fresh look at the ton and the season. What are the women really doing in the sitting room while playing at needlework? Who is the mysterious harpist and what caused her death? Does her final message, heard only by Esmie, have a deeper meaning?
And why did that infuriating, but handsome, Rockford have to return? Raised as neighbors, occasionally interacting like teasing siblings, once Esmie is of an age to become betrothed, she never considered Rockford marriage material. Sometimes the heart knows more than the head. Whatever his true feelings, he can not allow harm to come to the headstrong Miss Elstone.
An enjoyable adventure told with a quick pace and exciting moments.