This letter has fallen into the hands of your Teatime Tattler editors. We trust our readers will find it of interest.
From Mrs. Letitia Piggott-Pym, Berkeley Square, London
To Miss Lorena Ogilvy, Vine Cottage, Sussex
At the close of this most successful Season, I am delighted to report that not only have we secured an entirely satisfactory husband for Arabella, but that our future son-in-law, if somewhat lacking in the matter of a chin, more than makes up for it in family connection and social distinction.
But I will confess that for a time our prospects appeared somewhat less propitious when Bella (along with several silly girls of her set) conceived a sudden tendre for a certain Mr. Merion – a development which, as you can imagine, Mr. Piggott-Pym and I found not a little worrisome.
In particular, dear Lorena, it simply wasn’t possible to refuse to receive Mr. Merion. He is a protégé of Viscount Crowden, not only having saved the viscount’s life during a terrible battle at sea, but being quite excessively attractive, looking just as one wishes one’s national heroes to look, as, sadly, they rarely do. War, after all, will cause disfiguring scars, burns, and amputations, but Mr. Merion’s wound is of the more decorative variety. In truth, the nearly imperceptible limp with which he walks, aided by a masterfully wielded cane, can only fan the flames of patriotic virtue among the girls, and perhaps, at times, even within the bosoms of their Mamas.
Not to speak of the fit of his coat, and even what might discern beneath…
But I digress; and in my meanderings have nearly forgotten to add that Mr. Merion is quite rich, or well on his way to becoming so. Of course, a lady doesn’t speak overmuch of such matters, but I am assured that he’s highly respected as a commercial investor in properties in certain neighborhoods. And although one wouldn’t venture to such quarters oneself, Mr. Piggott-Pym tells me that large sums of money may be made there in rents to a certain class of person.
Which brings me finally to the inescapable truth, that as ornamental an addition as Mr. Merion had made to one’s guest list – for his aforementioned assets and as proof of patriotism on the part of his hosts – the fact remains that Mr. Merion was not born a gentleman, and in fact served in His Majesty’s Royal Navy as a common sailor. And although this did not stop certain families from countenancing his attentions to their daughters, I can assure you that Mr. Piggott-Pym and I felt very differently…
And so in consequence, it was no surprise to find ourselves quite vindicated by the most shocking, interesting, and entertaining development… when a week ago, without a word of explanation or apology to any of his generous and condescending new connections, and leaving several dinner parties horribly lopsided, Mr. Merion quite entirely, and inexplicably, disappeared…
ABOUT THE BOOK: A House East of Regent Street
The future looks bright for former sailor Jack Merion. His wartime heroics have won him influential contacts, and his good looks and flair for business are definite assets. With funds to invest, he’s on the brink of financial success in the high-stakes world of Regency London.
And buying the house in Soho Square is a can’t-miss opportunity. Once a fashionable brothel, the property will yield a good income in commercial rents and a clear path to the respectable life Jack has never known.
There’s only one problem – another prospective buyer. With a dark past, a desperate future, and some unmistakable assets of her own, Miss Cléo Myles is a formidable obstacle, one that Jack would be wise to steer clear of.
But instead, he proposes a bargain that’s as scandalous as it is irresistible.
Five afternoons. Five rooms. Uncountable pleasures…
…In a neighborhood that’s seen better days. And a house that’s seen everything except love.
Woman, rather than lady.
Unless, Jack supposed, one knew how to pronounce the word lady with a certain ambiguity – a tone of voice like a wink or smirk exchanged with the other men in the room, to show that one really meant quite the opposite. A courtesan. Or even better, the French phrase Lord Crowden had taught him – trust the French to come up with an expression like grande horizontale. He himself had never encountered such a woman at first hand, and so he’d never been quite sure of all the nuances of implication.
But this… ah, lady could quickly fill the gaps in his education. He need only contemplate her posture and manner of address; it would be like memorizing an entire lexicon – of new uses for ordinary words that Miss Myles’s extraordinary presence had suddenly rendered inadequate.
One couldn’t, for example, exactly say she was small: not with her posture so regal that only the proximity of the lanky servant called attention to her lack of stature. Slender? He doubted that the possessor of such a voluptuous bosom could correctly be called slender. She was hardly young but it wouldn’t do to call her old either; the word ageless came to mind, but here his common sense rebelled. No woman was ageless – her youth, or lack of it, was always a critical index of her value.
Beautiful? He wasn’t quite sure – he’d always thought that beauty brought with it a comforting, disinterested sort of serenity. Well, striking, then, Miss Myles was certainly that. Sparkling eyes slanted catlike above well-drawn cheekbones; her mouth was expressive, the sinuous upper lip curving in a wary half-smile above the full, appetitive lower one. The afternoon sunlight seemed to embrace her as its own, her bright eyes and creamy skin outshining the brilliance even of these surroundings.
And oddly dignified, Jack thought, dignified and defiant – though world-weary might have been a more accurate word…
Release Date October 6, 2020 – Available for Preorder Now
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About the Author
Author of historical romances set during the English Regency and before the French Revolution, Pam Rosenthal has been praised for her graceful style as well as her writing’s unabashed eroticism. She was twice nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA award, and in 2009 her novel The Edge of Impropriety won the RITA for Best Historical Romance. Find out more about Pam and her books at pamrosenthal.com, on Twitter @pamrosenthal, on Facebook, and on Goodreads.
“Elegant, tender, and daring… Pam Rosenthal has an impeccable sense of the Regency and a fearless way with a story.” – Julie Anne Long, USA Today Bestselling Author