Dear Mr. Clemens,
Greetings to you good sir! It is I, Miss Fanny Aberthnot, one of your most admiring readers, writing you yet again to report on a scandal most disturbing. While, like your kind self, I have a true fascination with all things involving the gentry, it is with much distress that I bring this deplorable situation to light.
Sadly, my letter yet again involves his most gracious Duke of Summerton, or rather not him, but his sister-in-law, Miss Beatrice Hawkins. As I hear it, while she was residing with the duke and his wife, her older sister, the Duchess of Summerton, she became engaged to a merchant gentleman from the north, a Mr. Bainbridge. It is my understanding that the betrothal was arranged by her distant cousin and former guardian, Sir Alfred Hawkins.
The scandal ensued when she, reportedly under the guidance of the Duke himself, fled the city in a most perilous and suspicious manner with none other than one of London’s most scandalous rogues, Lord Michael Carver, Earl of Bladen.
While news of their where-a-bouts is strictly guarded, it is feared that misfortune has befallen them and that, out of concern for his future bride’s safety, Mr. Bainbridge has set upon their trail to rescue her. Since he departed London, however, news of Miss Hawkins and the earl has been sparse and there were even reports that their carriage was set upon by thieves. As a result, it is now believed that Miss Hawkins is traveling with the earl and without a proper chaperone.
As you know, this is most unacceptable for a proper lady. More than that, a woman who would do so would be considered severely damaged and certainly not welcome in any proper parlors throughout the realm. The potential for her complete ruination is unfathomable!
As for the earl, Lord Bladen, a widower and no stranger to scandal himself, it is unsure what part he is playing in this drama. In some parlors, it has been suggested that Miss Hawkins and the earl have long been concealing an “affair de couer” for some time.
It has long been hoped that Lord Bladen would one day cease his rakish behavior and return to proper society. Among most of the bon ton, he is known for his penchant for dueling and had in fact been doing so under the guise of defending a gentle woman’s honor on several occasions. This does seem to cut him as a romantic figure. During his last bout he suffered the loss of his right eye and now sports a devilish black eye patch. You can imagine how such a dashing figure as he could cause many a young lady to swoon! (Especially if she were given to such frivolous ideas—of which I assure you, I am not!)
Oh, but if he were but to reform and return to the arms of gentle society, it is certain that he would be welcomed by all. He is an earl, after all, and many gently bred mothers would welcome the former rake into their families should he choose to cast his hat once again into the marriage mart.
Sadly, this is the extent of my knowledge of this scandalous affair at this time. No one is certain how it will end—will it be with Miss Hawkins married to the man to whom she is betrothed? Will His Grace, the Duke intervene yet again to prevent the nuptials? And, what’s to become of Lord Bladen? Will he somehow intervene in Miss Hawkin’s betrothal? I assure you, as soon as I hear the slightest of hints as to the outcome, I promise, I will be diligent informing you and your readers.
Once again, with kind regards,
About A Most Delicate Pursuit
Though he’s fiercely loyal to his friends, Michael Carver has managed to avoid romantic entanglements by cultivating a reputation as a rake and a gambler. Believing himself incapable of intimacy, the Earl of Blandon avoids anything more than lighthearted flirtations or trysts with married women—which leaves more than enough time to slip out into the wilderness for a little fishing. All is well until Michael agrees, as a favor, to keep his best friend’s stubborn yet alluring sister-in-law company.
After one failed engagement, Beatrice Hawkins would rather become a spinster than risk her heart again. Her family, however, is relentless when it comes to finding her a suitable match. So when the roguish earl suggests they join forces to feign courtship and throw everyone off their scent, Beatrice only hopes the ton will take the bait. But at the hunting lodge where Michael takes her to escape prying eyes, Beatrice finds herself lured in by the unexpected charms of a man who has so much love to give—even if he doesn’t know it yet.
About Pamela Labud
Pamela Labud, author of historical, paranormal and fantasy romance fiction, also writes sexy historical western romance stories as Leigh Curtis. She’s been published in book length fiction since 2003. Her first print book, Spirited Away, was published in Kensington’s Zebra line, earned a Double RITA nomination. Since then she has published in both print and electronic formats. You can read more about Pam at: http://www.pamlabud.net, and Leigh at http://www.leighcurtiss.