Tired of being unfavorably compared to her beautiful younger sister, Melanie travels to a distant city for a lengthy visit with her stylish aunt. She throws herself into volunteer work and settles into her new life—only to get caught trespassing on Lord Peyton’s neighboring property. Lord Peyton is the most arrogant, aggravating, conceited, and condescending man she’s ever met, but women seem to fall at his feet. As Melanie and Lord Peyton work together to help a local orphanage, will the cold enmity between them ever thaw?
The Prettier Sister is a standalone novel that shares a common world with the Mannequin Series. Pre-order now for a release on July 26th. Keep reading for an excerpt…
When she arrived at the small grove, she peered at the burgeoning fruit. As she had suspected, it would probably be another month before it was ready to pick. She sighed with disappointment — only to spot a gooseberry shrub nearby. Melanie gasped with delight and hastened over to pluck a handful of green berries. An abundance of sour flavor exploded on her tongue, and she wiggled with delight. She filled her mouth with as many berries as her cheeks could hold and then turned to scamper back to the lane.
A tall man stood in her way, his arms akimbo, and she froze.
His dark wavy hair fell loose about his face and shoulders, and he wore a linen shirt open to the waist. It appeared as if he’d paid as little attention to his attire that morning as had Melanie, but his state of dishabille lent him an air of danger whereas she looked like a ragamuffin.
He glowered. “You’re too old to be scrumping, wouldn’t you say?”
Since her mouth was full of fruit she could not respond. As she chewed and swallowed, a flush of embarrassment made her face feel as if it were on fire. Finally, she managed to clear her throat.
“Er…you should always pick the outside berries on a gooseberry shrub and prune the branches to gain the best crop.”
He looked at her askance. “So you’ve done me a favor?”
The scathing note in his voice stiffened her spine. “No, of course not, but you needn’t be so resentful. I’ve done little harm.”
“You’re a trespasser.”
Her temper flared. “I apologize for treading upon your hallowed property, sir! I am utterly and completely in the wrong and it won’t happen again.”
Melanie stomped past the man in a fury, made her way back to the split-rail fence, and climbed over. When she glanced over her shoulder, she discovered the man had actually followed her, as if to make sure she left.
With gritted teeth, she leaped over the ditch once more, and made her way up the lane. As she turned into her aunt’s drive, she refused to look back. If the nasty man wished to see where she lived, she could not stop him. No doubt he would complain about her to Aunt Ginny.