Do you enjoy Regency romance?
Here’s a fun snippet from The Lady And The Rake: A Scandalous Arrangement, Melly’s story.
Melly has become the focus of unkind gossip, so Lord Linton has taken her for a turn around the park in his phaeton.
Regency romance: the pretend betrothal
Linton stepped up into the phaeton and took over the reins. His groom and the tiger jumped down. Then the groom handed her up, and Linton nodded to the groom at the horse’s head to let him go.
The horse was already sweating, and took exception to every carriage they passed. Melly smiled, as riders and carriages moved out of their way. “He’s a challenge, but amazing,” she said to Linton. “Henry would love him.”
“You’re enjoying this,” he said, shooting her a look. “I thought you might.”
The horse reared, but Linton mastered him and drove him forward.
Finally, after fifteen minutes, the chestnut settled. The horse lengthened his stride, and performed as though he’d been in harness all of his three years.
“Will you tell me about this kindness?”
Linton looked at her. She smiled at him, and he returned the smile. “I want you to agree to a betrothal — to me.”
“A what?” Melly stared at him. He was looking at the horse, guiding him past a carriage with a footman running alongside. She couldn’t have heard him correctly. “Did you say — are you asking me to marry you?”
“I’m asking you to agree to a betrothal,” he said carefully. “A betrothal will end the war between Mrs. Grove and Lady Burnley.”
“A pretend betrothal — a game?” Melly asked. “Why?”
“As my countess, your rank would ensure that the ton ignored little Lady Burnley. She’d be seen for the spoiled little…” He paused for a moment.
Melly saw the quick flare of anger which passed over his face. He was very angry at Lady Burnley, she realized.
“Think of the rise in consequence our betrothal would bring you.” He smiled slowly at her. “Are you refusing the chance to become my countess?”
Now he was teasing her. “The Countess of Linton?” She answered him in the same tone. “How could I refuse? All doors would be open to me, would they not?”
“Until I cried off.”
“Mel, that needn’t happen for years. After all, you’ve no wish to be rushed into a wedding — neither have I. You’ve two sisters who will make their bows to society. As my betrothed, you’d give them consequence too. My view on this matter is simple. Our betrothal would eliminate any trace of the scandal that Lady Burnley began.”
His tone was perfectly bland. She had no idea what he was thinking. “I don’t know whether it would help,” she said. A part of her was dismayed. Pretend that Linton wanted to marry her?
The Lady And The Rake: A Scandalous Arrangement is available now.
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