Penny Hampson writes mysteries and because she has a passion for history you’ll find her stories also reflect that. A Gentleman’s Promise, a traditional Regency romance, was Penny’s debut novel and the first of her Gentlemen Series. Penny also enjoys writing contemporary mysteries with a hint of the paranormal, because where do ghosts come from but the past? The Unquiet Spirit, a spooky mystery/romance set in Cornwall, was a contender for the Joan Hessayon Award 2021.
Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).
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Secrets, Scandals, and Spies
Saved by secret agent Phil Cullen from the house of ill-repute into which she’s been held against her will, Sophia Turner flees from her rescuer before he can learn her true identity. To tell the truth, Sophia is not sure who she is herself.
To Sophia’s dismay, Phil turns up in her life again just as she has established herself as a lady’s companion. He is on the trail of an elusive and ruthless French spy. Despite knowing that Phil has the power to ruin her new-found contentment, Sophia instinctively turns to this gallant gentleman when an even deadlier threat to her life as a respectable spinster reappears. Is this a mistake she will come to regret?
It isn’t long before Sophia’s life becomes a perilous adventure, where smiling faces mask treachery and deceit. No one is as they seem, and danger lurks in unexpected places. Will helping Phil unmask his spy and solving the mystery of her own murky origins explain why she is being relentlessly pursued? And by uncovering dark family secrets will Sophia destroy her chances of finding true love?
A Bachelor's Pledge
Heart-warming romance combined with action-filled adventure makes this third book in Penny Hampson’s Gentlemen Series a must-read for all lovers of classic Regency fiction.
Book Excerpt or Article
Sophia kept her eyes on her hands, which were clenched in her lap – she dared not look at the face of the man who sat next to her for fear of what she might see there. Despite him helping her to escape from that awful place, there was still a sliver of doubt in her mind about his intentions. Indeed, how could she ever trust anyone again? The so-called gentlemen who patronised the brothel, full of false smiles and pretty inducements, had been easy to ignore. But Ruth Newbody had turned up at her guardian’s house – a distinguished acquaintance to all intents and purposes. How was she to know that Ruth’s promises of respectable employment were false?
What a nincompoop she’d been to believe that woman’s lies. And tonight it had been made clear what her future would be. Lady’s companion indeed! Ruth had intended her to join her stable of girls from the start. The only wonder was that she hadn’t been forced straightaway. Something she couldn’t quite fathom. Now this gentleman, plausible and glib, offering her money and telling her that he would help her. What was his game?
There hadn’t been a chance to get more than a glimpse of his face. All she had was the impression of a tall, well-built figure with dark hair and strong but gentle fingers. Close to, he’d smelt of clean linen. His cultured baritone voice held a slight burr that she couldn’t quite place. Importantly, he hadn’t groped her when he’d had the opportunity, unlike some of the brothel’s patrons who sometimes managed to wander from the public rooms. That was why she’d stayed at his side. And once she’d seen the streets filled with drunken, lecherous fools and more girls like those she’d recently become acquainted with, she’d known she wouldn’t get far on her own. If she could only hang on to her nerve and pretend she wasn’t as terrified as she felt.
‘You’ll be more comfortable if you sit further back. You look like a terrified sparrow, perched there on the edge.’ His voice cut through the silence, and she jerked her head up to look at him. It was no good. In the gloomy interior, she still couldn’t make out his features.
‘I’m Philip Cullen, by the way,’ he continued. ‘May I know your name, miss?’
He was polite – she’d give him that. ‘Hart… Sophia Hart.’ It was the first name that came into her head. ‘Where are we going, Mr Cullen?’
He settled back into his seat and lifted the leather curtain covering the grimy window to peer out before answering. ‘I have a house not far from here. I thought it would be safe to take you there.’
She stiffened, her pulse quickening in fear, until he added, ‘I have a housekeeper – Mrs Dobson. She will be able to see to your needs until we can decide what is to be done.’
At least that implied she would have a part in deciding her own future – a power she was determined not to relinquish from now on. Her hands slowly unclenched.
‘Why are you helping me, Mr Cullen?’
‘No particular reason, Miss Hart.’ He cleared his throat. ‘As I said earlier, I saw you with that woman. She looked as if she was threatening you.’ He paused. ‘I thought perhaps you did not really wish to be there.’
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