For almost 8 years, readers have eagerly followed the epic love-story-that-never-was of Lyon Redmond and Olivia Eversea throughout Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green novels. Now, FINALLY, readers will find out what really happened to separate the two lovers and if they can overcome the heartbreak and betrayal to reach their Happily Ever After.
Before we get there, though, let’s relive Lyon and Olivia’s story up until now. Follow along the Pennyroyal Green Excerpt Tour from 9/17 to 9/24 at the sites below and have your heart broken all over again…and then finally mend it on 9/29 by picking up or downloading THE LEGEND OF LYON REDMOND by Julie Anne Long.
9/17 Avon Romance–THE PERILS OF PLEASURE (below!)
9/18 All About Romance–LIKE NO OTHER LOVER
9/19 Coffee Time Romance–I KISSED AN EARL
9/20 The Romance Dish–WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE
9/21 Smexy Books–HOW THE MARQUESS WAS WON
9/22 Ever After Romance--A NOTORIOUS COUNTESS CONFESSES
9/23 RT Book Reviews–IT STARTED WITH A SCANDAL
9/24 Heroes and Heartbreakers–THE LEGEND OF LYON REDMOND
And since there was at last a lull in the storm of compliments, she decided to visit the ratafia table.
And she wove among the crowd wearing her useful, unspecific smile. Everyone looked familiar now and everyone was a stranger, but none of it mattered when they were united in gaiety, or so went her tipsy thinking. She sipped at her third—fourth?—cup of the evening. As she took a step backward, she bumped into someone, nearly sloshing ratafia onto an oblivious gentleman standing before her.
She turned carefully around. “Good heavens, I’m so sor—”
It was Olivia Eversea.
Phoebe froze, staring.
“Miss Vale, isn’t it?” Olivia looked genuinely pleased. “How lovely it is to see another face from Pennyroyal Green.”
“Oh, I agree!” Phoebe enthused. She’d learned how to gush this evening and it was becoming perhaps a little too second nature, but there was safety in it at the moment. “I do hope you’re having a lovely time, Miss Eversea.”
Phoebe never did know how to talk to Olivia Eversea. She was lovely and pale and unnerving, Olivia was, though never anything other than pleasant, her manners exquisite. All the Everseas possessed exquisite manners, even, rumor had it, when they were doing things like dangling from the balconies of married countesses or being sent to the gallows. And when her path crossed with Olivia, in town or in church, they were gracious to each other.
But unlike her gentler sister Genevieve, Olivia was somehow fearsome. She was delicately lovely but she was passionate about so many things, so very dedicated to causes, so clever and brittle.
And this was why Phoebe didn’t believe Olivia was enjoying herself. She reached up a hand to adjust her flower behind her ear.
Olivia went motionless. All the color fled her face. And she stared at Phoebe’s arm as though it was a snake.
“Miss Vale…Where did you get those gloves?”
It was as shocking as a knife attack.
The backs of Phoebe’s arms went cold, and a ringing started up in her ears, as she was pinned, surely as an insect to a board by Olivia’s brilliant gaze.
She was entirely sober in an instant.
And as lying didn’t come naturally to her, she hesitated too long before answering. No matter what, she was certain Olivia would know she was lying, anyway, so there was no point in attempting otherwise.
How did she know?
“Where?” Olivia’s voice was hoarse now. Insistent. She looked ill. “Who gave them to you?”
The crowd eddied around them, laughing too loudly, reaching for more ratafia, toasting each other, noticing nothing amiss about two frozen women staring at each other like animals about to lunge.
What in God’s name to say to her? What could possibly take away that raw hurt and fury and shock?
“He never loved me,” Phoebe managed, her voice a raw whisper. “Please believe me. He gave the gloves to me just…it was just because…”
Just because he couldn’t have you.
She would never really know. Lyon was a man, after all.
I kissed him because I was flattered and because I wanted to be kissed and because he was a Redmond. He kissed me because he could. And because he couldn’t have you.
She’d heard the rumors about Olivia and Lyon. It wasn’t until she saw Olivia’s expression that it became real to her, and it was disorienting, like seeing a myth come to life. She does love him.
She wished for an instant she’d never allowed Lyon to kiss her that night after the dart tournament, behind the Pig & Thistle. One second later she knew she would never, never apologize for it, for if she hadn’t kissed him she might never have known the difference between a mere kiss…and a kind that created a universe comprised of two people. The difference, in other words, between kissing Lyon and kissing the marquess. She might regret Olivia’s pain, but she would never apologize for a stolen moment of pleasure.
The silence stretched untenably. But Phoebe knew it wouldn’t have mattered what she said.
Olivia’s fine jaw had turned to granite. She gave her head a toss. And drew in a long, long breath, breathed out in a huff, Phoebe had the strangest sensation that she’d just born witness to the birth of resolve.
“Forgive me, Miss Vale,” she said with admirable composure. “I’m certain it isn’t your fault. I hope you have a wonderful time here in London.” She’d laid a hand gently on Phoebe’s arm, and she slipped into the crowd again and was gone.
Phoebe stared after her, composure rattled. She looked down at her gloves, that whimsically given gift, and wondered how Olivia knew. It seemed not even being a Redmond or an Eversea protected one from the vicissitudes of love. She had that at least in common with Olivia.
The thought held her motionless, despairing.
“Oh, please allow me to fetch another ratafia for you, Miss Vale. Yours is nearly gone.”
She blinked. A young man—there had been so many this evening, she could not quite conjure his name—was standing in front of her and beaming.
“I should like that very much,” she said.
And she pushed away the notion that she and Olivia and Lyon and the marquess might never get what they wanted. The best way to forget that, and Jules, was ratafia and compliments and dancing.