What happens when four renowned romance authors each write a novella with the same setting? Well, that depends on the authors and the setting doesn’t it? In this case, the authors are Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Jacquie D’Alessandro and Candice Hern. The setting is a posting inn – not the same one each time, but similar – at different seasons of the year. In each case, two travelers encounter one another after years apart. They have a romantic past, and whether or not it ended well is part of the story. What did their collective imaginations render? A very entertaining anthology entitled It Happened One Night.
Stephanie Laurens opens the anthology with The Fall of Rogue Gerrard, a heart-warming tale of love lost and rediscovered. Robert “Rogue” Gerrard takes shelter in a small inn when a downpour makes traveling impossible. He is shocked to see Lydia Makepeace has stopped at the same inn, although she is clearly not just passing through. It seems destiny has not forgotten him after all. At twenty-two, when a young man discovers the woman meant for him, he usually runs in the opposite direction, as Rogue had done. Now Lydia is here, and her plans to ferret out a misplaced letter will put her in harm’s way unless he can come up with a better plan.
In Spellbound, Mary Balogh delivers an emotionally charged vignette about youthful passion and its repercussions. Nora Ryder has lost her position as lady’s companion and has to spend her last coin on the mail coach to London. When she reaches the posting inn she learns that there has been an accident and the coach will not leave for another day. With no money for a room, she is wondering what to do when an old acquaintance comes to her rescue. Not exactly an acquaintance really, just Richard Kemp, Lord Bourne, who happens to be her husband – or so he insists. Was their Scottish elopement legal? When her father and brothers took her away, they had insisted that the marriage was a ruse? If that were true, why did Richard call her his wife and why had he never come back to claim her?
When a young noblewoman turns her adoring gaze on the son of the stablemaster, things never end happily. That was the lesson learned by Cassandra Heywood when she loved Ethan Baxter. She was expected to marry someone suitable, and Ethan was dismissed. Now, a decade later she is a widow, headed back to the family estate. When she seizes a moment for herself, to see Ethan again, to make sure he is settled and happy, who would naysay her? She is a countess, she does what she pleases. Stopping at his inn by the sea will lengthen her journey, but she just wants to see him one more time. Author Jacquie D’Alessandro offers us her tender story in Only You.
Fans of Candice Hern’s Merry Widows series will be thrilled to find Wilhelmina’s story in this anthology. As the courtesan who captured a duke, she always found a way to encourage the widows into believing in their passion, and encouraged them to bravely seek love. Her own adventure is about to begin. As young Wilma Jepp she had captured the heart of Sam Pellow, a fisherman in her Cornwall village. When his boat capsized and turned up on shore empty, her heart was broken. Sam was lost forever. Her own mother disowned her for her youthful indiscretion and Wilma had gone on to become a famous demi-rep Wilhelmina Grant and later the Duchess of Hertford. Sam had not died, but had been impressed into service in the Royal Navy. Now they meet again as travelers stranded in the storm. Will Sam ever forgive Willie for her choices? Can he accept her as she is today? From This Moment On tells their heart-warming story.