For me, Regency romance is the perfect comfort read. I adore Regencies, and have done since I read my first Georgette Heyer in high school. I’ve read all Heyer’s novels many times since, and always find something new in them to enjoy.
Traditional Regency romance novels: the third book our series
Anne’s story, The Lady And The Man Of Fortune: A Wicked Secret, is the third novel in the The Eardleys Of Gostwicke Hall series, and it’s coming soon.
Here’s an excerpt.
Preview — The Lady And The Man Of Fortune: A Wicked Secret
October, 1816, Kingston House, London
Lord Wallwood lounged on a bench in the park, staring at Anne’s house.
That man — he was an infernal nuisance. He sent her unwanted gifts. He called on her at least once a day, then spent hours sitting in the park, watching her house.
Anne hated feeling helpless. She’d had far too much of that when she was married to Lord Kingston. Now here she was again. Trapped. She peered across Berkeley Square Park through the gap in the long red curtains.
Did he know that she was there, just behind the curtains of the long center window of her second floor sitting room?
Although she knew that he couldn’t see her, she shuddered, and turned away from the windows. She went back to her chair, and picked up her embroidery frame. However, Wallwood had spoiled her usual enjoyment of her stitchery. She could feel him staring at her right through the walls of her house.
Three sensed her disquiet. The small black and tan spaniel jumped from her basket, then sat, and watched Anne. When Three tilted her head from one side to another, Anne realized that she’d spoken the words out loud.
She managed to laugh. “No, not you, Three — jump into your basket. We’ll go out into the garden later.”
The spaniel gave her a final enquiring look, then walked to her basket.
As she stitched the arrangement of hearts, flowers, and berries on the chair covering, Anne recalled the conversation she’d had with her sister Catherine that morning.
“You should marry again,” Catherine had said.
Perhaps Catherine was right, she mused.
A man in the house would eliminate nuisances like Wallwood. However, Anne didn’t wish to remarry. “Why would I?” She’d asked Catherine.
Anne’s marriage to Lord Kingston had changed her. The happy girl she’d been before her marriage would never have cowered behind curtains. She would have laughed at Lord Wallwood’s pretensions. Would she ever be that confident and outgoing again?
Kingston was dead, but he still affected everything she did. “Rest his soul, Kingston was not an easy man. So I’ve no desire to live like that again,” Anne had explained to Catherine, striving to keep her tone light.
Catherine always saw too much. Anne wished that she had Catherine’s air of command, and boundless confidence. Catherine wouldn’t be afraid of Lord Wallwood. She’d glare at him, and he’d wither, like a salted snail.
“Not all men are controlling — many are just useless, like my Major Grove, the gambling fool,” Catherine said. “Heaven knows, if I could rid myself of him, I’d marry anyone — a chimney sweep would be preferable. Trust me, I wouldn’t be demanding.”
“Grove still has no notion of your private properties?” Anne asked. She knew that Elaine their younger sister, who was an expert with figures, had helped Catherine to hide a couple of estates from her husband. However, Grove was suspicious. He’d forced Catherine to surrender her account books to his solicitor.
“No — at least I hope not. But it’s a constant worry.”
Determined to lighten the mood, Anne grinned, “Perhaps I should give in, and marry Wallwood. He asks me at least once a week.”
“No, you should not,” Catherine snapped, although she knew Anne was joking. “He’s a rich fribble, and a rake besides. Thinks far too much of himself. You want a country gentleman, not a man on the town. A country gentleman, with or without a title. A large estate, interesting neighbors, hunting… you adore hunting.”
Her gaze narrowed on Anne. “I’ll ask Mother and Bunny to bestir themselves. We’ve Melly and Elaine settled with an earl and a duke, so we don’t need another title in the family… A nice country gentleman — someone humble, who won’t terrify you, that’s just the thing. With a man in the house you needn’t be afraid of Wallwood.”
“I’m not afraid of him,” Anne protested. “It’s — he makes me uncomfortable. He stares, Catherine. I know that he can’t harm me, he just makes me…” She quivered like a horse trying to rid itself of march-flies. “When he stares at me he makes me feel as if I need to scrub myself all over.”
“Then I’ll warn him away. That’s easily done.”
“No, no, please don’t do that — he’ll give up soon, and I mustn’t make an enemy of him. He’s a gossip-monger connected to Lady Jersey and Wellington. He’ll grow tired of haunting me when Eva arrives. When Wallwood calls, he tells me in the smarmiest, smuggest voice imaginable that I must be lonely, with no one to speak with in this large house. But I won’t be alone when Eva arrives. Lady Jane Vernon will be here too, to school Eva with lessons in dancing and deportment. And besides, there’s Eva’s new wardrobe. We’ll have seamstresses calling for fittings, and milliners… And I must make calls, give parties, and take Eva about. I’ll be too busy to notice him.”
For a moment, Catherine frowned, then stared hard at her sister. “It sounds well enough. But are you sure you can do this? Sponsor a young lady? Miss Bywater will be in your sole charge; you’ll be responsible for her. Remember Elaine and Lady Foxton. Young ladies are the devil.”
Anne remembered all too well. Felicity, Lady Foxton, had fallen in love when she stayed at Eardley House to make her come out and had caused no end of worry. “Eva is not so young, she’s 21. And of course I can do it. I must do it. As Lady Fraser tells me, since Kingston left me everything, I’m the head of the family, and I have a duty.”
Catherine rolled her eyes and chuckled. “I love you my dear… But head of the family? You’re their banker, that’s all. Edwina Mellows never would bestir herself for anything. It suits her to push her daughter onto you because she doesn’t want to come to town — and because she needn’t spend her allowance on her daughter’s come out. There’s a proper pinch-penny for you. Did you know that she sold off old Fraser’s cellar before he was a month in the ground?”
“I know that, but with Melly and Elaine wed, and Henry still at her school in York — having people here will be diverting.”
Anne’s story is coming soon
Anne’s story, The Lady And The Man Of Fortune: A Wicked Secret, is the third novel in the The Eardleys Of Gostwicke Hall series.
All the novels in the series can be read as standalones.