Much like the 1960s, the Regency was a special time. It was not as freewheeling as the Georgie period before it, nor was it as straight-laced as the Victorian era that followed it. It was a time of new ideas and thinking. Political groups ranged from the Tories, who supported the monarchy and the old way of life on one side and on the other side were the Whigs who supported a more liberal approach to the new United States, granting more rights to the common man, more educational opportunities, and better working conditions. Then there were the Radicals who supported universal suffrage and the abolishment of the peerage.
Philosophers like Mary Wollstonecraft, Jeremy Bentham, and others were on the ascendant. And, thanks to authors like Jane Austen, the new idea of love matches was taking hold. Once a lady was married and had delivered her husband an heir and preferably a second son as well, she was free to engage in discreet affairs. Yet, young unmarried ladies still had to adhere to a strict set of rules least they be ruined and forced to spend their lives as spinsters, or worse, outcast from their families in a time where it was not easy for a lady to earn a living.
In my latest book, The Most Eligible Lord in London, the heroine, Lady Adeline Wivenly is now faced with putting into practice what she has spent a lifetime learning. Balls and other social events were full of pitfalls for a young lady making her come out. But there were also a few rules gentlemen had to follow as well. Chief of which was not to introduce themselves to a lady. In order to meet a lady, a man had to find someone who knew her and would provide an introduction. Another was to agree to dance with any lady his hostess wished him to. There was no dodging that duty if he wanted to continue to be invited to entertainments. Some gentlemen were able to get around the duty by arriving late and departing early, thus becoming the despair of any hostess.
With everyone in full knowledge of their obligations, what could go wrong?
“Lords Turley and Littleton are coming toward us,” Georgie whispered and glanced at Dorie, who was talking to a worthy-looking gentleman.
Adeline slid a look across the assembly room. Drat. Georgie was right. To make it worse, he was even better looking in evening clothes. No rakes. “I have no objection Lord Turley, but I do not wish to have anything to do with Lord Littleton.”
“You cannot refuse to dance with him.” Georgie’s tone had lowered even more.
“If he even asks me.” Perhaps he would not. “He might ask you or Augusta instead.”
“I do not think so.” She pasted a polite smile on her face and curtseyed. “My lord. Good evening.”
Lord Turley bowed. “Miss Featherton, might I ask you for this dance?”
“It would be my pleasure.” He held out his arm and she took it, leaving Adeline to face Lord Littleton all by herself.
“My lady”—his voice was low and seductive just like a rake’s, and his bow was elegant, but it was his deep meadow green eyes that held her plain gray ones as they had that afternoon. They still made her feel as if she was the only lady he saw. “Would you do me the honor of being my partner?”
She curtseyed and kept her tone cool. “I would be pleased”—not delighted—“to dance with you, my lord.”
The Most Eligible Lord in London
In this captivating new Regency trilogy, bestselling author Ella Quinn picks up where her beloved Worthingtons series left off, as three Lords of London discover true love at last . . .
Handsome, rakish, incorrigibly flirtatious—Fredrick, Lord Littleton, is notorious. Lady Adeline Wivenly is resolved to keep him at arm’s length during her first Season—until she overhears another woman’s plot to trick him into marriage. Even a rogue is undeserving of such deception, and Adeline feels obliged to warn him—only to find herself perilously attracted . . .
In the past, Littleton’s charm nearly got him leg-shackled to the wrong woman. Now he’s positive he’s found the right one, for Adeline is everything he wants and needs in a wife. Her sense of justice is so strong she agrees to help him despite her mistrust. But can the ton’s most elusive lord convince the lady he is finally serious about marriage—as long as she will be his bride?
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