Cerise Deland
Lady Fiona's Tall, Dark Folly

Lady Fiona’s Tall, Dark Folly

Four Weddings and a Frolic, Book 1
W. J. Power • April 27, 2020

EBOOK: • Kindle

Can you fall in love at first sight…twice…with the same man?

Lady Fiona Chastain goes to her Aunt’s and Uncle’s May Day Frolic to brighten her dull existence…and distract her from her poor marriage prospects. When her coach breaks down and the man who rescues her is the very one she’s yearned for these past six years, she’s angry with him for his dismissal of her. Still she falls for his easy charm.

Then she learns his name and she’s appalled that his family is among her father’s enemies. Dashing, tender Rory Fletcher, the earl of Charlton, is the one man she must never love!

But her heart is committed.
So is his!
Can their love conquer old hatreds?
Or are some family feuds too bitter to resolve?

If you enjoy romantic comedy, then you will love this May Day party where every lady lands in the lap of the right beau for her.

About the Series

The Four Weddings and a Frolic Series

The Four Weddings and a Frolic Series:

Read an Excerpt

“Ahh, well!” Mary waved away Fifi’s belief. “I don’t think there is anyone for me.”

“You have much to share with a man. Besides, for this party, you promised me you would flirt.”

The coach lurched to one side.

Fifi grabbed the leather pull.

“What’s happen—?” Mary slid against Fifi.

The coach shivered and shook.

Fifi thrust out her leg and a pain like a knife sliced up her calf. Her foot…

Welles fell forward onto Mary. “Milady!”

Horses neighed and snorted.

The conveyance swayed one way, throwing them about, then it shuddered…and stilled.

Fifi tried to move…but she could not. Her foot was jammed.

The coach rocked.

Mary slammed against Fifi.

Welles landed on the floor, blinking at her mistress.

Outside, the horses raised a ruckus.

The coachman and his footmen shouted at each other.

Welles pushed backward, but the coach wobbled and the maid fell to her knees once more. She clamored to one side to try to right herself. “I’ll get help, milady.”

Fifi jiggled the handle of the door to try to open it. “Stuck.”

Mary’s bonnet had slid over her left ear and she looked tipsy. Tearing at the ribbons, she tore the thing off and tried to push away from Fifi. “We could say that the famous Flying-Post Coaches from Bath to London, don’t fly at all.”

Welles fell upon the coach door and rammed her shoulder against it. The coach jostled at her thrust, but did not move. The coach tottered at a precarious angle.

“Stop, Welles,” Mary ordered. “Don’t risk your safety.”

“Milady,” said Welles, “we must get out. I’ll try the door again.”

“I won’t have you hurt, Welles. Let the men get us out.”

More shouts met their ears.

Fifi pressed her face to the thin squabs. Pain consumed her every breath.

“Look!” Welles pointed. “Another coach.”

“Thank heavens.” Mary peered out. “More help, the better. Fifi, if you could not dig your nails into my—” She shot a glance at her. “What’s wrong?”

“My foot,” Fifi managed.

“What’s wrong with it?”

“Hurts.” Tears burned. But she would not cry.

“Don’t move, Fee. Stay still, both of you. We’re out of here in a thrice. You’ll see. I…oh my.”

Fifi heard shouts of men, neighing objection of horses.

“Is that help?” Fifi asked of Mary who couldn’t take her eyes from the scene outside their carriage.

Mary waved a hand at her in consolation. “He’ll get us out,” she said.

Fifi prayed she was right. She couldn’t see what the problem was. Her spectacles were off, of all damn times! But she certainly knew her foot was stuck between crushed floor boards and a crumpled seat.

Outside, men argued.

“What happened here?”

“Milord! Oh, milord! My reins broke.”


“Not my fault, milord. Please, tell ’em.”

“Are you mad?” one man yelled to the other. “Secure your horses!”

“The reins of the leaders broke!”

“Calm them all then, leaders and wheelers. Charlton! Grab this. Let’s get the ladies out of here.”

There was much cursing and ordering about among all the men. Fifi breathed deeply and waited…and waited for relief.

A man appeared in the window.

Mary clapped her hands, happy to see help.

“Lawton-Bridges falling down!” Mary greeted the gentleman who appeared at the window.

“Birdie!” he replied grinning in the window, happy about this meeting. “God’s nightshirt! Don’t rock this carriage, my girl!”

“Happy to—Whoa!” Mary braced herself as the carriage wobbled up and down.

Fifi clamped a hand to her mouth. She was going to be ill. Very ill. In front of them all.

Then the coach went still.

“Birdie,” warned the man who knew Mary. “Do not move. They free the horses.”

The door fell open.

Welles scrambled out.

Mary followed.

Fifi stifled a groan. A large man, an angry one who smelled of clean pine and citrus engulfed her in his essence as he tore apart the ruined innards of the carriage. He murmured comforting words to her as he sought to free her.

“Please get me out of here,” she murmured, the pain flames on her ankle. “Please.”

“I will, I will. Be still, my lady,” said another man with a voice like far-off thunder. “I need to remove the last of this seat and then…”

He yanked and pulled, the wood groaning at his power.

She sat, her eyes closed, gulping, fighting nausea. At once she felt the weight lift from her foot. “Oh, thank you.”

“Take my handkerchief.” He pressed it to her hand, then drew her into his arms as if she were spun sugar.

He led her stand but the second she touched her foot to the earth, she yelped. “I can’t. My foot.”

“Very well,” he said and swept her up into his embrace. One arm under her thighs, the other around her back, he slid her against him and carried her from the wreckage. Her knight in armor, her Goliath could lift her as easily as he did a pincushion.

Grateful as well as impressed, she snuggled against his chest and surrendered to the act of a man who treated a woman with tenderness. Curiosity about such kindness to her, she caught glimpses of him. Once, twice. Daring more and fearing he’d call her rude, she squinted at the gloss of his thick brown hair and the cut of his dashing square jaw. He didn’t seem to notice her perusal but took four long strides to the carriage. The conveyance was spectacular, a traveling carriage of black lacquer polished to a fare-thee-well. A blue escutcheon of some noble symbol had been painted on the door, but she couldn’t make out its detail. In truth, she cared not if the coach belonged to him or his friend. She could only wish for a respite from the agony of her injury—and the knowledge of her rescuer’s name.

He placed her inside upon plush leather squabs and plunked down opposite her. “There, there. Sprained your ankle. I know the signs. You’ll be fine. I’ll see to it.”

She sank to the comfort of the cushions and narrowed her eyes on him to no avail. Without her glasses, she could discern only the wealth of his sable hair, the perfection of his generous mouth and the remarkable glitter of his eyes. She leaned forward and…


She shot backward, a hand to her throat. This could not be…

But he was.

He most certainly was…dear me…Northington!