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Mary Balogh | Exclusive Excerpt ALWAYS REMEMBER


Always Remember
Mary Balogh

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Ben's Story

Ravenswood #3

January 2024
On Sale: January 16, 2024
Featuring: Lady Jennifer Arden; Ben Ellis
368 pages
ISBN: 0593638387
EAN: 9780593638385
Kindle: B0C2P5VX5H
Hardcover / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Also by Mary Balogh:
Always Remember, January 2024
Remember Me, June 2023
Remember Love, July 2022
Remember Love, July 2022

ALWAYS REMEMBER Excerpt

 

The whole of the Ware family was amiable, in fact, and warm and welcoming. But there was also Mr. Ben Ellis, who was not a Ware by name though he was nevertheless an integral part of the family.

He was the sort of man one tended not to notice. In physical appearance he was very . . . well, ordinary. He was tall, with broad shoulders and a sturdy build. He had darkish brown hair, which he kept short and neatly styled. His face was pleasant but not outstandingly handsome. He dressed just fashionably enough that one did not notice exactly what he wore. He was quiet without being silent, serious without being morose, well-mannered without being either ostentatious or obsequious.

It all added up to . . . ordinariness.

Jennifer wondered if it was deliberate. Did he choose to go un- noticed? He was the illegitimate son of the late earl but had been part of the earl’s family since he was a very young child, according to Aunt Kitty’s account. He must have been accepted with kindness by the countess—a remarkable fact. Both she and Mr. Ellis’s half brothers and sisters treated him with affection—as he treated them. They all doted upon his daughter. But he had never been given his father’s name. Had there been other subtle or not-so-subtle details that had set him apart? One of them, of course, had not been subtle at all. When his father died, it was Devlin Ware, Mr. Ellis’s younger brother, who had inherited the title and Ravenswood and, presumably, other properties and a fortune too. There would have been no choice in that, of course. Mr. Ellis was illegitimate.

Jennifer had scarcely noticed him until today. She hoped that had nothing to do with his illegitimacy. She hoped she had not dismissed him as a person of no account because he was by far her social inferior. But she could not be sure. So many of the judgments one made about other people were unconscious. She had clear memories of meeting every other member of the Ware family last year in London. They had all been at Arden House for Luc and Pippa’s wedding. She had remembered too the little curly-haired girl who had wanted to sit on her wheeled chair with her and go for a ride. But she had recalled Mr. Ellis, if at all, only as the father of that child, the man who was connected with the Wares but was not really one of them.

What a very strange encounter that had been between the two of them out in the courtyard. It had been almost bizarre. She had been horribly embarrassed to be discovered walking there two- footed on her crutches. She was always careful not to be seen by anyone except Bruce. She had done a mental inventory before going out there after the Rhyses had left, and it had seemed to her that everyone was accounted for. Those who had not still been in the drawing room when she left were on their way up to the nursery, the babies now being all awake. Mr. Ellis had not figured in that inventory. She could not remember if he had said he was going with the nursery group or if he had remained in the drawing room. Or whether indeed he had been there at all during the visit of the Rhyses.

To do him justice, he had been quite willing to leave the courtyard so she could have it to herself again. He had undoubtedly been as embarrassed as she. But somehow—she could not remember who had suggested it—they had ended up sitting together in the rose arbor. And there they had talked.

That had been the most bizarre part.

She had told him about her illness and about her bent leg and twisted ankle and foot. It was incredible. She never talked on the subject with anyone else, even her closest family. It was horrid and embarrassing and not at all genteel. And then she had listened to his wild ideas on how she might . . . oh, not overcome her disability, but find ways to add more mobility and independence and variety to her life. Not to mention exhilaration. By riding. Upon a horse’s back, if you please. By swimming. In water, where she would sink like a stone. By wearing some contraptions on her leg and foot to help her walk better—or run and leap and twirl. The man was mad.

Oh, but the longing his ridiculous ideas had aroused in her!

He had also told her something of himself, and she wondered if he had set out deliberately to shock her. If he had, then he had certainly succeeded. She knew that Devlin had been a military officer during the Peninsular Wars. She had probably known too that Mr. Ellis had gone with him, though as a civilian rather than as a fellow officer. He—Mr. Ellis, that was—had married a washer- woman, who had grown up in a London orphanage and before she met him been married and widowed twice, both times to common soldiers. Joy, that little girl who was such a delight, was the product of his marriage.

He was like someone from a different world. Someone who had made himself virtually invisible in her world, not by hiding but by being very . . . ordinary.

She had asked him to take her out one day in a conveyance she might conceivably drive herself. At least that was what she had implied—Shall we try it one day? No, she had done more than imply it.

And he had agreed.

Was she mad too? She could never drive a vehicle. Even though it might appear as though all the driving was done with the hands, and there was nothing wrong with hers, in reality the feet surely had much to do with it too. They had to brace the body while the driver pulled upon the ribbons to slow the carriage or stop it or change direction. Without two serviceable feet she would be at the mercy of the horse, which could jerk her overboard with one wrong move. She did not have two serviceable feet.

He would probably forget the whole thing. Deliberately. And she was certainly not going to remind him. In fact, she was quite sure she would avoid either looking at him or being near him in the coming days if she could possibly do so without being obvious about it. Mr. Ellis made her intensely uncomfortable. She was not sure why—though a few possible reasons had suggested themselves just this afternoon. There was a certain otherness about the man. A differentness. She was adept at making conversation with all sorts and degrees of people from her own world. Even servants and trades- people. There was no reason she should not be able to chat amiably with him too. He had, after all, grown up in a noble household— this household—and been raised as a gentleman.

These thoughts were spinning in her head and she was not sorry when a light tap on her door interrupted them. It opened slowly and soundlessly, and a head peered around it.

 

Excerpted from Always Remember by Mary Balogh Copyright © 2024 by Mary Balogh. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

ALWAYS REMEMBER by Mary Balogh

Ravenswood #3

Always Remember

Ben's Story

Lady Jennifer Arden and Ben Ellis know that a match between them is out of the question. Yet their hearts yearn for the impossible. Discover a new heartwarming story from New York Times bestselling author and beloved “queen of Regency romance” Mary Balogh.

Left unable to walk by a childhood illness, Lady Jennifer, sister of the Duke of Wilby, has grown up to make a happy place for herself in society. Outgoing and cheerful, she has many friends and enjoys the pleasures of high society—even if she cannot dance at balls or stroll in Hyde Park. She is blessed with a large, loving, and protective family. But she secretly dreams of marriage and children, and of walking—and dancing.

When Ben Ellis comes across Lady Jennifer as she struggles to walk with the aid of primitive crutches, he instantly understands her yearning. He is a fixer. It is often said of him that he never saw a practical problem he did not have to solve. He wants to help her discover independence and motion—driving a carriage, swimming, even walking a different way. But he must be careful. He is the bastard son of the late Earl of Stratton. Though he was raised with the earl’s family, he knows he does not really belong in the world of the ton.

Jennifer is shocked—and intrigued—by Ben’s ideas, and both families are alarmed by the growing friendship and perhaps more that they sense developing between the two. A duke’s sister certainly cannot marry the bastard son of an earl. Except sometimes, love can find a way.

Romance Historical [Berkley, On Sale: January 16, 2024, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780593638385 / eISBN: 9780593638392]

Gentle Regency romance with body inclusivity

Buy ALWAYS REMEMBERAmazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Love's Sweet Arrow | Walmart.com | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh grew up in Wales. Before she was ten, she was writing long, long stories about children having spectacular adventures and always emerging victorious. For one of her stories she won a large box filled with Cadbury's chocolate bars, a far more gratifying prize than any trophy to a ten-year-old, especially in post-World War II Britain. Many years passed before she became a published author. All those pesky things like school and university and a teaching career and marriage and motherhood to three children got in the way of what seemed like a mere dream. Oh, and the move to Canada, which was supposed to be for two years but turned out to be permanent. But it happened eventually--the publication of that first book, A MASKED DECEPTION, a Regency romance, in 1985, and a two-book contract. Twenty-seven years and five grandchildren and one great-grandchild later, Mary has almost one hundred published novels and novellas to her credit, all of them historical romances, most of them set in the Regency era in England. She has won numerous awards and, to date, has had nineteen books on the New York Times bestselling list. She lives in Saskatchewan, Canada, with her husband of forty-three years. They divide their time between the rural town of Kipling (summers) and the capital city of Regina (winters).

 

Huxtables | Slightly | Simply Quartet | Survivors' Club | Horsemen Trilogy | Westcott | | Ravenswood

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