Yes, dear reader, the rumour about London’s newest and most exotic viscount is true. We have it from one who heard it from the Duke of W.’s own lips.
Viscount E. has been ordered choose a bride and marry as soon as possible.
One sees the Duke’s point. The man is heir (after his father) to his grandfather’s title, and he is (not to put too fine a point on it) a foreigner. An English bride as mother of the Duke’s greatgrandchildren, including the one day future duke, would make his existence much more palatable to the high sticklers of Society.
Not that the young viscount is shunned. Far from it. He is handsome (though swarthy) speaks English without an accent, is personable, and is almost certainly extremely rich, if the money now being spent on the much neglected W. estates has anything to say to the matter.
Good looks and fine manners will get him invited to dinner tables and dance floors. Money and the prospect of one of England’s finest titles may assist with the rest. For the moment, the most cautious matchmaking mothers are reserving judgement, waiting to see whether Society’s acceptance will warm beyond reluctant.
But those who have hopes of a duchess in the family may be too late. Our source tells us that Viscount E. has been instructed to marry one of his cousins. Which shall it be? The one known as the Saint of Mayfair? Or Society’s darling, the W. Diamond?
Or, has the prospective groom ideas of his own? His attentions to the sisters of the Earl of H. have not gone unnoticed. Will Lady F. be the viscount’s bride?
Your devoted reporter watches with interest.
Excerpt from To Wed a Proper Lady
James had stayed back from the hunt organised for the men in the hopes of spending time with Sophia, and had found out about the charity expedition too late to offer his services. “I am sorry that I missed it,” he said sincerely.
He noted one glaring omission in her descriptions of her preparations for Christmas. “Just a decoration,” she had told him, mendaciously, when he asked about the kissing boughs.
And now pretending to be ignorant of these English Christmas customs was about to pay off. One day, when she was safely his wife, he might admit to Sophia that he and the whole citadel had hung on his father’s tales of an English Christmas, that his mother and her maids had decorated high and low, and his father had led the troops out to find a fitting Yule log to carry home in triumph on Christmas Eve. A harder job in his dry mountains than in this green land.
But this was not the time for that story. Not when Sophia was relaxed and about to pass under a kissing bough that retained its full complement of mistletoe berries.
James suppressed a grin. “Look,” he said, at the opportune time, pointing up. “My Kaka—my father—told me about these.”
She stopped, as he had intended, and with a single stride, he had reached her, wrapped her in his arms, and captured the lips that had been haunting his dreams this past eight months.
And she kissed him back. For a moment… for one long glorious moment, while time stood still and the world ceased to exist, Sophia Belvoir kissed him back.
The Children of the Mountain King series
In 1812, high Society is rocked by the return of the Earl of Sutton, heir to the dying Duke of Winshire. James Winderfield, Earl of Sutton, Winshire’s third and only surviving son, has long been thought dead, but his reappearance is not nearly such a shock as those he brings with him, the children of his deceased Persian-born wife and fierce armed retainers.
This series begins with a prequel novella (Paradise Regained) telling the love story of James senior and Mahzad, then leaps two decades to a series of six novels as the Winderfield offspring and their cousins search for acceptance and love. It is free to download from most ebook retailers.
The first novel, To Wed a Proper Lady, tells the story of James junior, the Viscount Elfingham. It was published in April this year and is available from those same retailers.
The novella Melting Matilda (this year’s Bluestocking Belles’ story published in Fire and Frost) is also set in the world of The Children of the Mountain King, and happens after To Wed a Proper Lady and novel 2 (coming soon), To Mend the Broken Hearted.
See the book page on my website for more about my published books. https://judeknightauthor.com/books/