"What do suppose your family would think of Mr. Green?"
Startled by the mention of Phillip, Ivy's heart jumped into her throat and she flashed a look at her friend. "Why, I hardly see where it matters what they think."
Elise merely regarded her with a bland stare.
Unable to bear the scrutiny a moment longer, Ivy turned her face to the window again. A late autumn shower had drenched the landscape. The tall brown grass lining the lane drooped, and lingering rainwater dripped off the tips like nature's own tears. "I imagine they'd treat him well."
"Would they now?" Elise gave a delicate cough. "Even if they knew you had your eye on him?"
Astounded by the turn of the conversation, Ivy pulled her gaze from the dreary landscape and forced a laugh. "Eye on him! I don't have my eye on him. I barely know the man. The very idea, Elise!" She snickered again to prove her point.
"You know…" Elise fussed with the edges of her pelisse. "You might fool your mother and father, even sometimes your grandmother. But they've never seen you when he's been near."
"There's nothing to see when I'm near Mr. Green." Ivy shook her head. "Besides, Grandmama was present the first time I met him."
"The first meeting, yes… and your grandmother doesn't see. But I have seen you when you've chanced to encounter him," continued Elise as though she hadn't been interrupted. "You have paid him more attention during the couple of occasions you met than you gave all of those prospective suitors your parents lined up in front of you put together."
Ivy drew herself up tall in the seat and folded her arms across her chest. "I most certainly have not!"
Elise grimaced and lifted one shoulder. She graced the carriage with a soft sigh as she leaned forward and peered out the window. "Then you'll have no interest in the fact that his giant black horse is tethered in front of St. Timothy's Church."
Ivy's breath hung up in her throat as the carriage drew to a halt. "Oh, is it?" Her voice came out with a squeak, and she cleared her throat.
He was a duke who wanted to be a toymaker. She fell in love with a toymaker but her parents wanted her to marry a duke.
Lady Ivy Plumthorne, elder daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Wythorpe, is a worry to her parents. Desiring only that she be as happily wed as her younger sister, they've spent the past year parading prospective suitors in front of her. When she finds none of the suitors... suitable, her parents despair she will ever find the perfect husband. With Christmas approaching, they find one more prospective suitor, the Duke of Greenbriar. Only problem is, Ivy's already met the man of her dreams... and he's a toymaker.
Noel Phillip Vincent Greenstone, the Twelfth Duke of Greenbriar, wasn't cut out to be a duke. He preferred crafting toys that made children happy. So that's just what he did. And as Phillip Green, he traveled freely about, visiting shops and orphanages, and making certain no child went without a toy of his or her own. But after a few chance meetings with Lady Ivy, he knows he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. The problem is, she needs to marry a nobleman and she only knows him as Phillip the Toymaker. He needs a plan, and fast. The world needs to meet the reclusive Duke of Greenbriar, so Phillip plans his own coming out. But how will Ivy react when she learns the truth?
You can find The Toymaker at Astraea Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Smashwords, and Kobo.
Kay Springsteen is a romance junkie and a chocolate addict, who makes her home in Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains. She can and does write anywhere, and often incorporates little oddities of her every day life into her stories. Her family has learned the hard way to maintain a low profile in order to stay off her radar, for fear they will find themselves crafted into her latest novel. Kay is a Christian, who is passionate about all life. She has been an outspoken advocate for homeless persons, shelter pets, the environment, military and first responder personnel, community outreach, education, and people of all ages who have disabilities.
Kay can often be found taking long hikes in the mountains with one or two of her terrific rescue dogs, but she's just as content to stay home gardening or simply spending time with her wonderful family. You might even find her at Starbucks writing. But if she sees you, watch out! You might just end up in one of her books. She believes in magic and real-life fairy tales, and the romance of life, and knows everyone has a happily ever after waiting out there somewhere. But until you get to it, why not pick up a good book and think about the possibilities?