Welcome to Grace-by-the-Sea, a Regency spa village where everything is designed for your comfort and delight. Just don’t look too closely at those who pass silently in the night. . .
“The Matchmaker’s Rogue was a pleasure to read. I loved the characters. The eccentric residents and the “crazy” aunt all added a wonderful feel to the book. . . . It was the perfect blend of romance, mystery, and townsfolk. I can’t wait to see who is matched in the next installment of the series.”
One of the reasons Jesslyn Chance loved the village of Grace-by-the-Sea is that it rarely changed. The same hot mineral water had been bubbling out of the limestone cliffs since before the Romans had landed in the little horseshoe-shaped cove below. The same families fished from the cove, farmed the chalk Downs above, worked at the spa, married at St. Andrew’s Church, and had babies who grew up to marry and have more babies.
For the last hundred years, the same sorts of people, from young misses nervously awaiting their come out to venerable military gentlemen nursing war injuries, had come to drink the spa waters and bathe in the sea. The village had grown up to cater to the needs of its guests, boasting shops and conveniences few of its size ever managed. It was all very civilized.
Until you introduced a rogue.
“It was such fun reading and trying to figure out who to trust and who the smugglers were. . . . While things wrapped up neatly, they didn’t. The ending hints at much more to come in this series: more mysteries to unravel, more adventures. I can’t wait!!”
“I’ve read books and novellas by Regina Scott before, and I am a fan! Her characters are always so well written and lively. The characters in The Matchmaker’s Rogue are no exception. . . . The Matchmaker’s Rogue is a mystery that will keep you guessing and a romance that will leave your heart feeling happy. I can’t wait for more Grace-by-the-Sea books.”
“You see it, don’t you?” her aunt whisper, nodding toward the man approaching them across the polished floor of the Grand Pump Room. “He’s a pirate, a rogue. He’s out to steal our greatest treasure.”
Jess took a deep breath and raised her head. “Larkin Denby is no pirate. His mother and sisters live in Upper Grace. Very likely he’s merely here for a visit.”
“Good afternoon, Mr. Denby,” she said, launching into her prepared speech. “Welcome to the spa at Grace-by-the-Sea. I am your hostess, Miss Chance, and this is my assistant Mrs. Tully. If you have any questions or would like an introduction, you have only to ask.”
His head snapped up. Though he held her gaze only a moment, as was proper, she felt as if he were memorizing every feature, from the blond curls clustered around her face to her gloved hands resting on the table beside the book. His smile bloomed, and something inside her bloomed with it. “Miss Chance. How nice to see you and your charming aunt again.”
“Mr. Denby will get on with the others famously,” she assured her aunt, letting go of her cautiously. “Look, he’s talking with the general like a gentleman.” The two men chatted, strangers making idle conversation as so many of their guests did. Then Lark moved on, leaving the general smiling as he rubbed the paunch straining his waistcoat.
“Mr. Denby doesn’t fit in the spa,” Maudie argued. “He doesn’t look the least bit ill. He has no limp, no squint, no sign of a scrofulous cough.”
“Neither did most of our visitors to arrive this summer,” Jess pointed out. “Not everyone comes to the spa because they are ill.” She tidied the stack of pamphlets, noticed her hands were trembling, and shook them out. At this rate, her aunt might suggest that Jess take the waters!
“I love Regina’s writing and this one is probably among one of my favorites I have read by her to date. . . . I am giving The Matchmaker’s Rogue five plus stars. I can not wait to see what happens next in the Grace by the Sea series.”
“I am your devoted servant, sir,” he told the commissioner. “But surely there are other ways to identify these smugglers than to spend my time sipping the waters.”
“I don’t care if you sip them, dunk yourself in them, or pour them on the ground,” the commissioner had replied, face tight and eyes steely. “Our source says the man we’re after sails from Grace Cove, and we have reason to believe he moves among the gentry, perhaps even the aristocracy. Where else would you expect to find him but at the spa?”
Yet it was her eyes that drew him. Large, wide-spaced, and a delicate blue, they made her look as if she were perpetually amazed by the world around her.
He and Jess had been close when he’d visited eight years ago, the only two people that young at the spa then. They’d spent every day together, talking, walking, dancing at the assembly, attending church. Nothing had come of it. Nothing could come of it. They were too different—her content with life, him determined to see and do more. Still, perhaps she would indulge in a little gossip now.
“Mr. Denby?” she persisted in that soft, lilting voice. “Might I be of assistance?”
“I loved this story about Jesslyn and Lark. It is a sweet romance but has a lot more to offer with all that happened in Grace by the Sea and the spa that is so important to the families that live there. . . . I highly recommend this book to others to read and enjoy.”
“Scott combines intrigue, romance, and small-town loyalty with a setting and characters I want to visit again. Not to mention an ending that makes me want to discover more about this sleepy little village. If you’re a fan of Regency and haven’t read Regina Scott’s books yet, you’re missing out.”
“Regina Scott’s books are always great reads, but I’m pretty sure that The Matchmaker’s Rogue is my favorite of hers so far. I can’t wait for book 2 to release – especially after the way this book ends! A story with romance, intrigue, adventure, and endearing humor, The Matchmaker’s Rogue is the perfect next read for fans of Jen Turano, Tessa Dare or Mary Connealy.”
“The Matchmaker’s Rogue is filled with charming and sometimes quirky secondary characters. . . . In addition to the criminal element of smuggling, there’s also the concern of spies and passing of England’s secrets to Napoleon. The author skillfully aroused this reader’s suspicion of almost all of Grace-by-the-Sea residents . . . . The ending arrives at a very satisfying conclusion, with the village coming together in a unique way. Very little is quite as it seems on the surface! I hated to leave Grace-by-the-Sea and its many endearing characters, but there’s the promise of much more to come.”
He smiled at her. “I’m staying at the Mermaid for a few days, and I find myself wondering what to do for entertainment.”
“It depends on what you find entertaining.”
Said in such a disarming tone, he should not hear iron beneath the words, yet he did. She was being polite but letting him know she expected him to respond in kind. This was no time for coy comments, teasing remarks. She was no longer the young lady looking for companionship to while away the summer.
Over the next while, she looked for her opportunity. But it soon became apparent she wasn’t the only one interested in the Newcomer.
“And what can you tell us about Mr. Denby?” Miss Montgomery, the eldest sister, asked over tea that afternoon.
Jess handed her a snowy white porcelain cup of the steaming brew from the wheeled teacart she or Maudie generally rolled from chair to chair. “His family lives nearby, a mother and two sisters.”
“My second book by this author and once again she has written another wonderful story.
Great characters with a great plot that will keep you reading until the book is finished.”
Grace-by-the-Sea: Where romance and adventure come home.
Polished Jesslyn Chance has one of the most enviable positions in the little Regency coastal village of Grace-by-the-Sea. She is the hostess of the spa, arranging introductions and entertainments and playing matchmaker to the ladies and gentlemen who come to take the waters, promenade through the shops, and dance at the assembly. But when a rogue returns from her past, Jess finds herself suddenly at sea.
Always an adventurer, Larkin Denby left Grace-by-the-Sea to right the wrongful death of his father. Now he’s back on a mission: to identify the mysterious Lord of the Smugglers who allegedly sails from Grace Cove and takes England’s secrets to France. But Grace-by-the-Sea is the perfect little spa town, run by the still oh-so-perfect Jesslyn Chance. When the village’s future is threatened, Jess must work with Lark to solve the mystery and protect the town’s own. In doing so, the matchmaker of Grace-by-the-Sea may just find that the best match for her is the rogue who stole her heart years ago.
About the Author
Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t sell her first novel until she learned a bit more about writing. Since her first book was published, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She now has more than forty-five published works of warm, witty romance.
She loves everything about England, so it was only a matter of time before she started her own village. Where more perfect than the gorgeous Dorset Coast? She can imagine herself sailing along the chalk cliffs, racing her horse across the Downs, dancing at the assembly, and even drinking the spa waters. She drank the waters in Bath, after all!
Regina Scott and her husband of 30 years reside in the Puget Sound area of Washington State on the way to Mt. Rainier. She has dressed as a Regency dandy, learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research, of course. Learn more about her at her website.