Author: Whitney Dineen
Series: Seven Brides for Seven Mothers, #8
Publication date: February 1st 2023
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
Queen Charlotte of Malquar has been hard at work setting up all her children, but so far, she’s been unable to find someone for Sophie.
Princess Sophie was supposed to be the second royal sibling to marry, but she broke her engagement when she found out her fiancé was cheating on her.
Sophie has all but given up hope of finding her own fairytale ending. That is, until a mystery bouquet of roses shows up at the palace. The note says they’re from Arlo Hammond. After years of pining for the man she thought was her everlasting love, Sophie finally released all thoughts of Arlo, only to have him show up again thirteen years later. Why?
Will Arlo’s explanation win Sophie’s forgiveness? Will she give him another chance and find her own happy ending at last? Or will the heartache of the past be too much to forgive?
Find out in the final installment of Dineen’s bestselling and deliciously romantic Seven Brides for Seven Mothers series!
Curling up on my living room sofa, I snuggle under my favorite cashmere throw before picking up the telephone. After punching in the number, I smile when I hear the voice of my dearest friend from university days. “Sophie!” Avery sounds both surprised and delighted. “It’s been ages. How are you?”
“I’m confused,” I tell her bluntly.
“The farthest fork out is for the fish course,” she teases.
“Ha ha ha.” I love how easily we fall into old banter. It’s always been like this between us. But of course, I didn’t call to chit chat. “Do you remember Arlo Hammond?”
I hear her choke on what I’m guessing is her morning coffee. Having grown up in the States, Aves never was one for tea. “Of course I remember. But I thought he was old news.”
“He’s been sending me flowers once a month for the last seven months.”
“And you’re just telling me now?”
“I figured I’d wait to see if he said anything interesting.”
I hear a sharp knock, which I’m hoping is someone from the kitchen with the decadent sweet breads I’ve ordered. Even though my waistline doesn’t need the indulgence, I’m still going to enjoy them. “Hold on, Aves,” I tell her before getting up to retrieve my breakfast.
Padding across my living room rug in bare feet, I pull the door open. My enthusiasm vanishes when I see that my visitor is not from the kitchen. It’s my mother. “What are you doing here?” I greet none too politely.
“Good morning to you, too.” She pushes her way through the door.
“I’m on an important call, Mum. I can’t chat right now.” If I tell her who I’m talking to, she’ll simply demand to get on the phone and have her own conversation with Avery.
Stopping in her tracks next to the trestle table against the wall in my foyer, she says, “I see you received the flowers that arrived yesterday.”
“I did.” When she doesn’t immediately respond, I add, “Is there any way we can talk later? I really need to get back to my call. It’s rather important.” Let her assume I’m planning the next big charity event, and child literacy itself is at stake. Participating in charitable events is nearly all I do as a working royal, and while I know it’s an important contribution, it sometimes bores me to the bone.
“I’ll be in the parlor between ten and eleven,” she tells me before backtracking toward the door. Before she walks through it, she adds, “I’ll expect you at ten.”
“I’ll do what I can, Mum.” I’m about to shut the door when I spot the serving girl from the kitchen walking down the hall with my breakfast. I indicate that I’m leaving the door open for her before hurrying back to the couch.
As soon as I pick up the phone, I hear Avery yelling at someone, “Not there! I asked you to put them in the linen closet.”
“Who are you lording it over?” I ask with a laugh.
“My husband, of course. We’re only now getting down to the business of unpacking all the bedding.”
“But you’ve been married and in the house for over six months,” I tell her.
“You know me, Soph, I’m not that fussy. I’m okay with washing the old sheets and then returning them to the bed. However, my mother-in-law feels that kind of bohemian nonsense isn’t good enough for her Tony. She made me register for six sets of linens and now I have to store them all. I should dump them off at her house.”
“I don’t even have that many extra sheets,” I tell her.
“I venture you don’t have any idea how many sheets there are in that castle you call home. But you didn’t call me to talk about bedding. You called about Arlo.”
As the server pushes the trolley over the threshold, I motion for her to leave it there before mouthing a quick thank you. When she shuts the door behind her, I ask my friend, “What is he doing getting in touch after all these years?”
“You can’t guess?”
“Avery, what happened between us was over thirteen years ago. It barely even started before it was over.”
“You talked about him constantly for two years,” she reminds me.
It’s true, I did. Arlo Hammond made a huge impact on my life in a very short amount of time, but there was no way there could ever have been anything between us. “I did what I was supposed to do, and I forgot him.”
“Why were you supposed to forget him again?”
“Avery Flemming, you know perfectly well.”
“What I know is that your parents are much more open-minded than you give them credit for.”
I don’t give her the satisfaction of agreeing with her. I simply say, “Maybe …”
about the author
Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order.
Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017