Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist - Best Short Historical 2003
"Julianne paints a vivid picture of colonial Nova Scotia and wonderful characters in Adam, Madeline and the Coates family. I enjoyed watching the relationship between Adam and Madeline unfold as the reassess their rose-colored impressions of first love struggle to establish a stronger, deeper bond. One that will last a lifetime. A rich, rewarding read!"
-Historical Romance Author, Deborah Hale
She crossed an ocean to wed the man of her dreams
Madeline Oxley has long lived under the shadow of her more beautiful and sophisticated sister, Diana. When Adam Coates, the handsome hero from her youth, asks for Diana's hand in marriage, Madeline's scheming father assures her the proposal is meant for her.
Believing she will finally get her own happy ending, Madeline crosses an ocean to marry the man of her dreams. Upon her arrival, however, the future newlyweds are both stunned to discover the truth. Her father sent the wrong sister! Sparks fly, and soon Adam begins to discover that young Madeline stirs his passions in ways her sister never had....
Read an excerpt...
At that moment a tall man walked into the courtyard. He wore a finely made black coat, the ruffles of a clean white shirt visible at his collar, and a black tricorn hat. He carried himself with a grace and confidence that made most heads in the yard turn and stare.
Even from a distance, Madeline knew. It was Adam. Her blood rushed to her head and her knees came dangerously close to buckling beneath her skirts. She grabbed blindly for Mrs. Ripley's sleeve before the woman walked away.
Mrs. Ripley looked toward the fort's entrance. "My word, Madeline," was all she said, in a breathy voice.
Fighting the crippling sensation that had taken over her legs, Madeline watched him. Dear God, he was a magnificent man, even more handsome than she remembered, if that was possible. The years had been good to him. There was a confident manliness in him now. A maturity.
Madeline quickly straightened her fichu, ran her hands over her tight, boned bodice and down her striped cotton skirt.
Adam walked toward a man just inside the entrance and spoke to him. The man pointed a powder horn toward Madeline and the other passengers from the Liberty, who were all standing in a crowd outside the barracks.
The next moment, Adam was walking toward them, his long strides full of purpose, his gaze searching over everyone. There was anticipation in his eyes. Could it be he was as ardent in his yearning as she?
Mrs. Ripley nudged Madeline a few times in the arm, and she heard someone behind her whsiper with interest, "Is that Miss Oxley's fellow? Goodness..."
What was said after that, she had no idea. It was all Madeline could do to keep a calm, composed expression on her face and prepare herself to say hello.
Adam stopped in front of Mrs. Ripley, removed his hat and slid it under his arm. His dark hair - lighened with a hint of gray here and there - was tied back with a ribbon. His eyes were still as blue as an autum sky, framed with black brows and black lashes, and he wore a polite yet confident expression.
Madeline's heart warmed at the sight of him. Though she knew he was a stranger to her now, she felt as if she'd known him all her life, which in a way she had. The idea of him was a part of who she was, a part of her identity.
He glanced once at Madeline - rather indifferently - then turned his attention back to Mrs. Ripley again. "Good afternoon, madam. I'm here to meet someone, and I wonder if you could tell me - "
Before he had a chance to finish, Mrs. Ripley put her arm around Madeline's waist, pushed her forward and said with a warm smile, "Yes, Mr. Coates, she's right here."
Adam's gaze fell upon Madeline again, a little attentively this time. For a long moment, he studied her face.
Madeline felt suddenly self-conscious in front of all these onlookers. She cleared her throat to say How do you do, Mr. Coates, but before she had the chance, his dark brows drew together with a look of concern.
"No, it's someone else I'm looking for. We're to be married. Her name is Lady Thurston."
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