The Sister Solution
My contribution to this anthology is a short story set
in the Regency era (my fave, obviously!). Dutiful
Lizzy Courdray worries over her sister's wanton
behavior. To save the girl from a ruined reputation,
Lizzy joins forces with a devilish gentleman in hopes
that he might do the honorable thing.  Little does
Lizzy realize she ought to be worrying about herself!
Excerpt from short story, "The Sister Solution"

“Ah, Petunia,” Lizzy sighed, smiling into the dog’s beady black eyes. “What’s to be done about them?”

“I’m sure if she could speak, she’d tell you the same thing anyone would, Miss Courdray.”

Lizzy started, turning to find Mr. Alexander Hartwood leaning casually against the railing beside her. She hadn’t
meant the man to catch her talking to a dog. Frankly, she hadn’t expected him to catch anything aside from
Marguerite’s attention. And that, she knew, he’d already done. Marguerite had set her sights on Mr. Hartwood
from the moment they’d been introduced at Aunt Anna’s rout two weeks ago.

“So now you read the minds of dogs, Mr. Hartwood?” she replied, having to twist her neck slightly to look up at
him.

It was not difficult to do, though. To say the least, Mr. Hartwood was easy on the eyes. She just wished—for
Marguerite’s sake—he was the type to be easy on the heart, as well. Rumor had it, however, he was very much
the opposite.

“No, but I do have some measure of common sense, Miss Courdray.”

“Oh? And what would common sense tell you about my sister and her proclivity to attract a surplus of unsuitable
suitors?”

“I’m sure it’s nothing that a woman of your sensibility hasn’t already realized for herself, Miss Courdray. I would
expect it is obvious to you what must be done for your sister.”

“I know what I would have done for her, Mr. Hartwood, but I’m hesitant to ask what you might suggest.”

He laughed. It was a full, rich, heady sound that resonated even within Lizzy. His eyes wrinkled at the corners and
she noted his lips turned up just slightly more at one corner than at the other. Despite Marguerite’s many flaws,
Lizzy could hardly fault her sister for recognizing Mr. Hartwood’s charm. It would be impossible for any
breathing female not to.

His smile had a rather peculiar effect on her, too.

“How could the lovely Courdray ladies not draw attention wherever they might go?” he said.

She recognized brazen flattery when she heard it, yet still her cheeks grew warm.

“Go ahead and tell me what to do with my sister, sir,” she said, turning back to Petunia and pretending she could
not care less what the man might say. “Then I can tell you to kindly keep your opinions regarding my family to
yourself.”

She hadn’t expected it, but his words surprised her.

“What your sister needs, Miss Courdray, is to be married off as quickly as possible.”