Dear Mr Clemens, if you were not present yourself at the splendid ball held in the Hanover Square rooms last night, you may have missed one of the juiciest tidbits of gossip that any worthy correspondent could possibly pass along to you this week. Imagine the sight of two earls’ daughters facing off in the middle of Lady Newsham’s grand event! Yes, society’s darling, the beautiful Lady G. M., approached a relative newcomer to the London social scene, Lady H. deR., and unexpectedly and rather scandalously was treated to an earful by that rather intrepid young lady (who some say is merely hoydenish and quite improper).
Some expected their exchange to end with fists flying, but I must report it did not come to that, to the disappointment of many, I am sure. What a shocking spectacle that would have been! And the cause of this incident? A man, of course. But you may be astonished to hear that the fellow in question is a commoner, a baronet’s son, Mr. C.H., the very one Lady G. M. threw over last season on account of his being exposed as a fortune hunter! Apparently there is no limit to what trouble a handsome face may cause. —Yours truly, Lady M. in Portman Square
My Dear Lady M: Lacking said anticipated scandalous spectacle of fisticuffs, I must assure you that a heated conversation between two noble ladies in the middle of a ball does NOT constitute one of the “juiciest tidbits of gossip” I have come across, but as the ton has been unusually devoid of greater scandals this week, I thank you for the report! It is entirely too bad that you were not near enough to actually overhear the exchange between the ladies. Now, THAT might have been juicy. But I have now learned on good authority from someone who was close by that Lady G.M. started it with the best intentions of cautioning Lady H. deR. about said gentleman, and that young lady responded with a vigorous defense on his behalf, audaciously calling Lady G. M.’s own actions and beliefs into question.
Ah, such innocence! It seems both Lady H. deR and the gentleman in question were recently in the wilds of Derbyshire, where they were among the guests attending the nuptials of Lord F. and his bride, Miss T., in the village of Little Macclow. One imagines Lady H. deR. had plenty of opportunity to fall under the spell of said handsome if questionable fellow. We can only wish her well and hope she will not come to regret her actions. —Yours sincerely, Samuel Clemmens, editor, The Teatime Tattler
Her Perfect Gentleman
(Book Three, Tales of Little Macclow Regency Romance Series)
She is the worst thing that could happen to him. He might be the best thing that could happen to her. How will two hearts on such opposite tracks find their way to true love?
The last thing Christopher Haslitt needs or wants is another involvement with a wealthy, high-ranking, unmarried young lady. He is still trying to repair both his heart and his reputation after last season’s disaster left him branded as a fortune hunter. Five days in Little Macclow for his best friend’s wedding should be only a brief delay on his path to redemption. But he hasn’t counted on spending it with five unmarried daughters of earls, one of whom has her sights set firmly on him!
Lady Honoria deRaymond finds Mr. Haslitt more attractive and charming than any other gentleman of her acquaintance. What’s more, his perfect manners include overlooking her tendency to be impulsive and not always quite proper. She knows the rules; she just has trouble sticking to them. Marriage to a high-ranking peer, as her family expects for her, will mean a highly visible life of constant pressure to conform and behave properly. Could Mr. Haslitt, a baronet’s son, be her means to escape such a fate? Can she possibly win his heart in just five days? When she returns to London, her one chance to forge a different future may be gone.
Sweet with a little sizzle, the Tales of Little Macclow are linked by their shared setting in scenic Derbyshire and recurring characters. They follow a shared chronology and, while best read in order, they are complete stand alone romances with happy endings that will warm your heart.
Little Macclow—a village tucked away and maybe touched by magic…at least the magic of love.
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Amazon direct link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BMLQCLSW
She straightened and stepped towards him. “I should check your arms. It will only take a few moments. We can do it here, right now.”
He scowled. “No, absolutely not. It would be highly improper.”
“Because I am a lady?”
“Yes, of course because you are a lady! And an unmarried one, even worse. I would have to partially disrobe. You should not see a man in his shirt sleeves unless he is your husband!”
“I have already seen you in your shirt sleeves—bloodied ones at that! And I have seen arms before. Must I remind you that I do have a brother?”
“Yes, one who would flay me alive if he were to learn I allowed this to happen.”
“If I see how your scratches are healing I will know if you need to continue to use the salve. I am trying to help you. It is for a medical purpose.”
“This is not an emergency. With Jennie on Wednesday, I felt the situation was.”
“This could become one if you do not heal properly.” She crossed her arms, tapping her foot. “Little Macclow is too small to have a doctor, or even an apothecary. We are in the stillroom, a place where medicines are prepared. We are alone here, and no one will see. We can do it very quickly. You needn’t even remove your waistcoat. You are teetering into the brotherhood of the narrow-minded again!”
“No. I am trying to protect your reputation—and mine. If someone should come along and see—especially given what some are already thinking….”
The panic in his eyes hurt her heart. Did he think she was trying to entrap him? “No one will. But if they should, we can simply explain. Everyone here knows you were injured rescuing Jennie. Most know I have been making salve to help you heal.”
If only she had a salve that could heal his heart. “Do not try to pretend that no woman besides your mother has ever seen you in your linen. We both know that isn’t true. Please, take off your coat.”
* * *
Of course women besides his mother had seen him in his linen. Beautiful women, willing women, women whose whole intent had been to see him out of his linen. Not respectable, innocent women like Lady Honoria. Not a woman who tempted him against all good sense.
Truly, she had no idea what she was asking of him. Keeping tight control over his reactions to her was difficult enough under the most ordinary of circumstances. How was he supposed to manage it half-dressed and with her undoubtedly touching and inspecting him?
The noises from the kitchen continued unabated, reminding him of just how nearby other people were. Could her wish possibly be accomplished quickly enough to avoid anyone catching them at it?
She still stood there waiting, chin up, arms crossed and toe tapping impatiently. She looked adorable, magnificent, irresistible. “You are making propriety more important than your health, Mr. Haslitt. You will not convince me that such a priority isn’t absurd. What do you think will happen if we break the rules?”
Loss of control. Emergence of baser instincts. Her discovery that he did not always want to be the perfect gentleman. “Oh, the total disintegration of society, of course.” At this moment everything in him argued in favor of such a result. He wanted nothing more than to pull her into his arms and kiss her senseless. She was far too trusting.
Of course, she laughed. “There you have it. I’m glad you see you are being ridiculous.”
With a sigh, he surrendered. Best just be quick, for every reason.
About the author:
Award-winning author Gail Eastwood started writing stories as soon as she learned to string words together on paper, and blames Beatrix Potter and A.A. Milne for making her a devoted Anglophile at a very early age. After detours into journalism and rare books, she finally found her path writing Signet Regencies acclaimed for their emotional depth and innovative plots. Twice nominated for RomanticTimes Magazine’s Career Achievement award, a Golden Leaf winner and twice a Holt Medallion finalist, Gail had to put writing on hold to deal with family health issues for almost 16 years. But now she’s back doing what she loves best and offering readers a new, heart-warming Regency series set in a small village possibly touched by magic (or it is just the power of Love?), Tales of Little Macclow.
“One of the genre’s most imaginative storytellers, a master at painting pictures of Regency life,”
—Romantic Times Magazine
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