Character Interview – Lady Elizabeth Blayneton
I’d visit all the sights in London that I’ve heard about but never seen. I’m not allowed out the house, you see. My Uncle August keeps me isolated in the hope that I’ll marry his son Frederick. The man stinks of hounds and gapes like a fish. I’d rather die a spinster than marry him.
2. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they’ve known you for a while?
I don’t make an impression. I’m invisible, little more than a servant in a household that exists because of my fortune. I only have threadbare gray gowns. When visitors call on my cousins I’m banished to either my room or my stillroom. What with my silver blonde hair and my hideous gowns, I sometimes think my whole life is gray
3. What’s your idea of a good marriage? Do you think that’ll happen in your life?
I can’t marry without my uncle’s permission or until I turn thirty. Since I won’t marry Cousin Frederick, I’ll be an old maid before I can wed. If I ever find the opportunity, I’ll gladly give up virginity while I’m young enough to enjoy it.
4. What are you most proud of about your life?
My herbal skills. Before my parents were killed in a carriage accident, mama and I studied plants and their uses. Even my cousins want my potions. The good thing about that is I’m allowed out at dawn to collect herbs.
5. What about on a personal level?
Some people think my stubborn streak’s a bad thing – Uncle Augustus and my cousins among them. I don’t. I keep refusing to wed Frederick. Nothing could make me take him into my bed.
6. Do you think you’ve turned out the way your parents expected?
No. Papa made his will when my aunt was alive. She’d never have let Uncle Augustus treat me the way he does. Mamma and I were planning my come out when their carriage overturned and killed them. They wanted me to enjoy a couple of London Seasons, but obviously that never happened.
7. What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
She lived well, had fun, and helped those in need. It hurts that I can’t do any of that until I turn thirty and inherit my fortune. The only men who will want me then are fortune hunters. I want to live now, not in seven years’ time.
8. Describe your ideal mate.
I’d like a husband who sees me as I am and loves me for it. I don’t want my fortune to matter. I’d like him to be tall and dark-haired. Someone unafraid to stand up to Uncle Augustus. A dashing soldier maybe.
9. What are you most afraid of?
Dying a virgin – unloved and unwanted by anyone.
10. Are you lying to yourself about something? What is it?
I keep telling myself everything will work out find. Only deep down, I know it won’t. My solace is my herbs. If I concentrate on them and ways to heal people, then I can get through each day as it comes.
While he is no stranger to pleasurable company from ladies of the night, Major Richard Rothbury of the royal dragoons is not the kind of man who will stand idly by as a woman is taken against her will, and when he witnesses a disreputable cad attempting to force himself on a girl in a back alley, he does not hesitate to intervene.
But after the grateful young woman offers herself to Rothbury, he is shocked to discover that not only was she no harlot, she was a maiden and he has deflowered her. Furious at the girl’s scandalous behavior and her carelessness with her own safety, Rothbury chastises her soundly.
Though she is due to inherit one of the largest fortunes in England, the fact that she cannot touch the money until she marries or turns thirty has kept Elizabeth completely at the mercy of her cruel uncle, and for years she has been treated as if she were a servant. Her encounter with Lord Rothbury is by far the most exciting thing that has ever happened to her, but while he shows great concern for her safety, he refuses to believe that she is anything more than a serving girl.
Despite having made it clear that he doesn’t consider a match between them to be possible, when Elizabeth disobeys him Rothbury proves more than ready to strip her bare, punish her harshly, and then enjoy her beautiful body in the most shameful of ways. But can she dare to hope that he will one day make her his wife, or is she destined to spend her life being wickedly used?