Polite society has its rules for marriage. But for Ella Quinn’s eligible bachelors, their brides will show them that rules are for the faint of heart . . .
Phoebe Stanhope is not a typical Lady. As feisty as she is quick witted, no one can catch her, especially when she is driving her dashing phaeton with its perfectly matched horses. And unlike her peers, experience has guarded her against a growing list of would-be suitors. But when she encounters Marcus Finley, what she fears most burns deep within his blue-eyed gaze . . .
For Lord Marcus, the spark of recognition is but a moment in the love he has held these many years. Now that he’s returned to England, all the happiness he desires rests on Lady Phoebe never finding out that he was the one who turned her heart so cold and distant. He must work fast to gain the advantage—to convince her what she wants is exactly what she denies—but in order to seduce her into his arms, he must be willing to give up more than he can control . . .
Marcus Finley arrived at the White Horse Inn with his friend Robert, Viscount Beaumont, who had reserved rooms there. Marcus found chambers across the street at the Red Unicorn. They met later to dine in a private parlor Marcus hired.
“Quite good ordinary they have here.” Robert sat back in his chair, crossing one highly polished boot over the other. “The brandy is as good as any I’ve had. Must be French, though I don’t wish to know how the landlord came by it.”
Marcus grinned. “Yes, it’s very good and probably smuggled.”
Silence fell for a few moments, then Robert sat straight up in his chair. “Marcus, my boy, I saw the most beautiful gal I’ve ever seen in my life at the White Horse.”
Marcus lounged in his chair, lifting a brow in inquiry. Robert was known to be a favorite with the many disenchanted matrons of the ton.
“And where did you find this paragon of nature?” Marcus asked in a languid drawl. “In the tap?”
“No, no, my boy, not a game-pullet. Not at all. She was a lady.”
Marcus raised his quizzing glass and regarded his friend more closely. “Married?”
“No. Put that thing away, you know I don’t like it. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with me. She is a well-bred, unmarried lady. Beautiful, I tell you. Tiny. Has a good figure, quite a neat ankle, and the most gorgeous gold-red hair. Perfect in every way.”
Marcus’s fingers tightened around his glass. Robert’s conquests were legend, but they didn’t extend to well-bred innocents. A terrifying thought began to fill Marcus’s mind. It couldn’t be Phoebe. She was at Cranbourne Place.
He fought to keep his face calm, his gaze focused on his friend. “Who is this lady, do you know?”
“Yes, got my groom to ask one of the ostlers. Stupid fellows, those ostlers, giving out that kind of information,” Lord Beaumont ruminated, definitely on the go. “Yes, now that I think on it, I believe I shall have a word with the landlord. The servants ought not be giving that sort of thing out.”
Marcus tapped his fingers on the table. “Her name, Robert?”
“Her name?” Marcus repeated and waved an impatient hand to encourage his friend to continue.
“Oh, yes,” Robert finally said. “Lady Phoebe Stanhope. Heard of her of course. Never seen her before. Don’t, as a rule, attend those types of events. Not much for the Grand Strut you know. Must avoid the matchmaking mamas. M’grandmother’s been after me to marry. Lady Phoebe is a devilish good looking gal. I may have to make a push.”
Marcus fumed. Lady Phoebe. His Vision. Friends or no, he would be damned if he’d let Robert anywhere near her.
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Ella Quinn's studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.
She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a Great Dane. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat. After cruising the Caribbean and North America, she completed a transatlantic crossing from St. Martin to Southern Europe. She's currently living in Germany, happily writing while her husband is back at work, recovering from retirement.
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