Mine, Forever & Always
(The Matchmaker Series Book 1)
Just shy of fifteen years old, and during a fake and impromptu wedding ceremony, LILY SCOTT married her best friend's brother, HENRY DALTON.
It seemed harmless enough until he leaned in and whispered to her his true feelings, amorous words she has been unable to forget: You’re mine, forever and always.
Unfortunately, growing up pulls them apart and transforms Henry into a pompous scoundrel. When they meet again at a house party hosted by Henry’s sister, will Henry remember his once faithful promise to Lily?
“Please, Lily! You are much more romantic than I am, and so you must write the letter to Mr. Waverley for me! With this, he is sure to know my affections are real, and he will ask my parents for my hand in marriage.”
Lily blinked at Jane, both surprised to hear about this Mr. Waverley and amused that Jane Dalton, the most prolific matchmaker of their generation, thought Lily more romantic.
“Otherwise, I will be forced to marry a man who is fifteen years my senior with more hair popping out of his ears and nose than is growing on the top of his round head.”
Lily sighed, the conversation reminding her of her own unfortunate circumstances regarding marrying well at one and twenty. Although the man her parents had in mind for her was handsome, there was something about his character that set her on edge.
“I’m truly sorry, Jane, but I don’t write love letters. I write plays. Besides, how can I pour my heart out to a complete stranger? It wouldn’t be genuine.”
Her friend scoffed and turned toward the casement window, her bottom lip protruding over her upper lip. Jane’s lithe profile was that of a woman who surely had no want of attention. Striking with a fair complexion, cornflower-blue eyes, and soft light brown curls, she was the envy of every woman between sixteen and sixty. Her appearance contrasted with Lily’s forest green eyes, olive skin, and dark mahogany hair. Lily had often wondered whether she would be more memorable if she possessed softer features like Jane’s.
“When have I ever asked a favor of you?” Jane sniffed, a handkerchief lifted to her pert nose for dramatic effect.
Lily narrowed her gaze, recalling the day when Jane, bored out of her romantic mind, decided Henry needed to take a wife. Lily, two years younger and infatuated with the heir to Hadley, had agreed to play his young bride in the spirited ceremony.
What she’d thought was a sweet diversion changed her life, and not for the better. Unrehearsed, Henry said his impromptu vows before shifting a peck on the cheek to a firm kiss on her lips. What he uttered next changed her entire world. Now you’re mine, forever and always.
“Pompous,” Lily mumbled. Not only had her “husband” turned out to be an infamous libertine in the seven years since their wedding, but he’d also forgotten his words and, along with it, her name, introducing her to one of his lady friends as “Miss Prescott” last summer. Oh, Lily supposed, children had succumbed to sillier pastimes through the centuries. She only wished she’d known to guard her heart before engaging in one of them.
“Please, Lily.” Jane rotated around to blink her wispy lashes. “You are my dearest and closest friend. Mr. Waverley must know how I feel. I cannot risk him falling in love with someone else.”
Jane’s words and her ardent pleading struck a deep chord in Lily’s soul. What right did Lily have to deny her friend a chance at happiness? “Very well, but how am I supposed to slip a letter to Mr. Waverley without him believing I was the person who wrote it?”