Read an excerpt from this 5-star read... Love and Lavender by Josi K. Kilpack (Excerpt) @JosiSKilpack @ShadowMountn #loveandlavender #historicalromance #regencyromance #inspirationalfiction #blogtour #newbooks #austenprosepr

Welcome to my tour stop! Earlier in the month I gave a 5-star
review here. Today, I'm sharing an excerpt you can read below...

Love and Lavender
(A Mayfield Family Romance #4/Proper Romance)
By Josi S. Kilpack
Adult Historical Romance, Regency, Inspirational
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 320 Pages
November 2, 2021 by Shadow Mountain Publishing


Hazel Stillman is a woman of rare independence and limited opportunities. Born with a clubbed foot, she was sent away as a child and, knowing her disability means a marriage is unlikely, she devoted herself to scholarship and education.

Now working as a teacher in an elite private girls' school, she is content with the way her story has unfolded. When her uncle Elliott Mayfield presents her with the prospect of a substantial inheritance if she marries, Hazel is offended. What kind of decent man would marry for her money? Besides, she loves her freedom as a professional, respected woman. When she hears rumors of the school possibly being sold, however, she knows she must consider all her options.

Duncan Penhale has a brilliant mind and thrives on order and process. He does not expect to marry because he likes his solitary life, shared only with his beloved cat. When Elliott Mayfield, his guardian's brother, presents him with an inheritance if he marries a woman of social standing, Duncan finds it intrusive. However, with the inheritance, he could purchase the building in which he works and run his own firm. It would take an impressive and intellectual woman to understand and love him, quirks and all.

Hazel and Duncan believe they have found a solution to both of their problems: marry one another, receive their inheritances, and then part ways to enjoy their individual paths. But when Uncle Mayfield stipulates that they must live together as husband and wife for one year before receiving their inheritances, Hazel and Duncan reluctantly agree. Over time, their marriage of convenience becomes much more appealing than they had anticipated. At the end of the full year, will they go their separate ways or could an unlikely marriage have found unsuspecting love?

Advance Praise

“What a lovely romance. The historical details, the depth of the authentic characters, and the realistic dialogue all contribute to an immersive story. [A] beautiful and inspirational story about loving people just as they are.”— Katie Jackson, Regency Proofreading

“Phenomenal. This book was phenomenal. The very best in the series.”— Lyssa Armstrong, For Where Your Treasure Is

“This love story was unique and such an uncommon take on a marriage of convenience! [S]weet and well worth the wait!”— Ashley Johnson, Bringing Up Books

“Beautifully written, sensitive, poignant addition to the Mayfield Family series.”— Susan K., The Flipped Page

(Affiliate links included.)


On nights when Duncan was late leaving the office, Delores would put his dinner on the warmer, a very kind gesture. Cold fish suited Elizabeth just fine, but he was more particular. On the weekends, Duncan did his own cooking on the stove in his apartment, shopping for ingredients on Saturday morning and enjoying the improvements he made to his favorite dishes. He especially liked fried ham steak and split pea soup.

Elizabeth finished her dinner first, as usual, and began weaving around his legs as he continued eating while standing. The sound of her purring made him smile between bites. Catherine had never let him keep more than one cat at a time, and she had never allowed them into the house.

Duncan had come to appreciate her wisdom after trying to keep three cats when he’d first moved into this small apartment. The transition had been uncomfortable for Duncan as he’d lived in the other rooms for eight years by then; having as many cats as he liked had seemed like a good way to mitigate the discomfort. Cats, as it turned out, do not usually like each other very much, and cats fighting in a small apartment was very distressing.

He had settled his attention on Elizabeth, the most person-able of the three cats, and stopped allowing the other two cats inside. He still saw one of the other two cats from time to time on the streets, but it no longer approached him, and he liked to think the animal understood Duncan’s reasoning, even though there was no research to suggest cats had that sort of comprehensive ability.

He’d adapted the window of his bedroom so Elizabeth could come and go while he was at work, which pleased her a great deal and improved the smell in the apartment, which had been foul after she’d been trapped inside all day. They were good company for one another in the evenings, and she slept on his feet at night, which kept his coal use more efficient than it would be other-wise, which made up for the loss of heat due to the window that Elizabeth used during the day.

He cut another bite of his potato and looked out the single window of his main room. He could see the lights of other apartments across the alley and hear the sound of laughter from patrons leaving the pub below. Da had died when Duncan was eleven years old, but he had taught Duncan to count and to fight, two skills that had proven very useful. Catherine had taught Duncan how to write letters and numbers, and how to read. It wasn’t until Duncan was a young man that he’d realized his father had been illiterate. Catherine, on the other hand, had been educated by a governess at Howard House and knew all sorts of things, even French.

After Da died, she was often sad and drank too much, like Mr. MacDonald, but she had been a lovely singer and had always been kind to Duncan. It was after Catherine died that Duncan first met Lord Howardsford, Catherine’s brother and a viscount in Norfolk. Lord Howardsford had already been paying for Duncan’s schooling, but after they met, he’d arranged for Duncan to apprentice with Mr. Perkins and Mr. Cromley. Duncan liked the rudimentary and monotonous work well enough and was glad not to have to work as a laborer the way Da had after the war.

Duncan liked his rooms on the top floor of the Burrow Building. He liked that he could keep Elizabeth inside. He liked to take walks around the city and through the nearby wooded areas, do puzzles or read in the evening, cook on Saturday, and attend church services on Sunday mornings. He liked to read the paper when he could get a copy. He liked to visit with his associates in the village and to buy meat pies from the vendor on the corner. He liked to write letters back and forth with Hazel.

He liked to buy a book every month from the book trader on Essex Street, which he would then read several times to make sure he had learned all he could about the topic. If he got tired of a book before the month was finished, he would trade it for a differ-ent book. He owned sixteen books of his own, a small but excel-lent library if one considered content more valuable than quantity.

Sometimes Duncan wondered if there might be other things he would enjoy, but there seemed little point in trying to discover what those things might be if the attempts interfered with the things he knew he already liked.

A woman laughed below his window, and he thought of Hazel. Besides Catherine and Delores, his interaction with Hazel had been the most enjoyable he’d ever shared with a woman. She spoke to him clearly and had not laughed at him or taken offense through the whole course of their conversations, of which there had been three on the one day they had shared company—one at breakfast, one at lunch, and one in the drawing room after dinner. He found it easier to look at her eyes than with most other people; maybe because her eyes were hazel, just like her name, and he liked the symmetry of those facts.

Delores had been the one to encourage him to write Hazel a letter and continue their number games after he had told Delores how enjoyable their conversations had been. He’d found the correspondence equally enjoyable and always wrote to Hazel on Thursday nights three weeks after receiving her letter. Delores had told him that was an acceptable time between letters; Duncan did not wish to annoy Hazel with too much correspondence.

He felt sure that if he and Hazel were to be in company at Howard House again one day, he would enjoy it even more than he had their first encounter. He wished she’d come to Howard House at Easter time so they could have had more time together. That had been his strongest motivation to attend, as he did not like to travel. He was concerned of her lack of education regarding the history of mathematics and felt that time together would allow him to teach her what she had missed. There was no doubt that a more substantial education would improve her overall passion for the subject. It certainly had improved his own.

Elizabeth jumped onto the brown sofa on the other side of the room and began licking her fur as she did multiple times a day. She often dug her claws into the sides of the couch and stretched, which had shredded the fabric. It was unsightly, but he’d come to think of the sofa as her domain, and so he allowed her to keep it as she liked and focused his attention on keeping the rest of the apartment tidy and organized.

Did Hazel like cats? What would she think about him punching Mr. Ludwig in the nose?

Perhaps he would ask her these things in his next letter.

Chapter 4, Pages 48-51

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to my reviews.)

About the Author

Josi S. Kilpack has written more than thirty novels, a cookbook, and several novellas. She is a four-time Whitney award winner, including Best Novel 2015 for Lord Fenton's Folly, and has been a Utah Best of State winner for Fiction. Josi loves to bake, sleep, eat, read, travel, and watch TV--none of which she gets to do as much as she would like. She writes contemporary fiction under the pen name Jessica Pack.

Josi has four children and lives in Northern Utah.

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