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Love Continuance and Increasing, available for pre-order now

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Love Continuance and Increasing, available for pre-order now

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A dark-haired young woman in a white Regency gown looks off into the distance to the right, her hands steepled together in front of her. Two men, one in a British army officer's red uniform of the Napoleonic Wars and the other in the blue coat of a lieutenant of the Royal Navy, gaze back at her, patient and yearning. Below the title bar, there is a seascape with a tall ship at the right-hand side.

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Lieutenant William Thorne, of His Majesty's Navy, was a man of humble origins. He knew that his affair with Major Anthony Rockingham of the 43rd Infantry couldn't last forever, not only because the war against Napoleon sent him on blockade duty in the English Channel while the major's regiment trained ashore, but because Rockingham was a viscount, and viscounts must marry. When Rockingham's letter reached him, saying that he'd chosen Miss Caroline Filmer as his bride, it was no more than Thorne had expected.
 
What he had not expected, when he returned home after the Battle of Trafalgar, was to find an invitation to the christening of Rockingham's son. He had not expected, when he met the young viscountess, that he would fall instantly and passionately in love with her. And he had certainly never expected that Caroline would fall just as desperately in love with him. Thorne was sure that their feelings for each other could only lead to disaster, even more so as his love for Rockingham had never gone away. While the war with France continued, he found himself fighting a war within his own heart...

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"She's well practiced at arranging such things," Anthony said. "But I fear it was very tiring for you, even so. Do you wish to sleep?"

"I do." Caroline drew in a breath, gathering her courage. "But, Anthony, I would speak with you."
 
"Of course, my darling. What did you wish to say?"
 
Caroline curled tighter against him, trying to reassure herself that she would not soon be pushed away. "Do you remember, before we wed, when you bid me that should I ever find myself in love, I should tell you of it, and you would not reproach me?"
 
Anthony kissed her hair, and rubbed his hand in circles on her back. "I remember well. Are you telling me of that now?"
 
Caroline found that she could answer him only in the smallest of voices. "I am."
 
He kissed her again. "I'm glad to hear you tell me," he said. "I hoped very much that you would believe me when I said I'd not be angry, and trust me enough to do so. I'm glad you find me worthy of that trust. But you are unhappy. Will you tell me more?"
 
Caroline blinked back the tears that were welling in her eyes. "I did not wish this," she said. "It came all unbidden. I hoped it might be a moment's fancy, but I cannot put him from my thoughts. I fear I am in love with Lieutenant Thorne." She sniffled. "And I was right. Being in love is most uncomfortable."
 
Anthony held her close, resting his lips at the crown of her head as she hid her face against his shoulder. He moved his hand in slow strokes down her spine. "Oh, my darling. I'm sorry it grieves you so. I don't blame you for an instant. William is the best of men, and it's no surprise you should love him. I love him, too."
 
"But hardly in the same way, I think, my lord?"
 
"In very much the same way, I should think. I'll speak it plain: you wish to lie with him?"
 
The tears would not be stopped. "I do."
 
"As do I," Anthony said softly. "We were lovers once, and I care for him still."
 
The surprise was enough to do what comfort could not. Lovers? Well, Anthony had said, upon their very wedding night, that he'd lain at times with men. She'd not taken much notice of it at the time, being intent on other concerns, and he'd never spoken of it since. But he'd told her privately of Captain Birtwhistle's love for Alexander Godwin, not with any distaste, but only so that she might not trouble them with questions about sweethearts; and with Mr. Godwin one of Stephen's godfathers, it was clear at least that Anthony counted it no sin, never mind who might think otherwise. And could she fault him for desiring William, when she did the same? But that they'd once been lovers... she'd never have suspected.

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