The Making of a Marquess by Lynne Connolly (The Society for Single Ladies #2)
English | 2020 | Romance, Historical | ePUB | 3.3 MB
Lynne Connolly (aka LM Connolly) is an award-winning, best-selling author of historical, contemporary and paranormal romance. She fell in love with the eighteenth century when she was nine years old, and it’s her dream job to write about the people who lived and loved back then.
The Society for Single Ladies is a crime-solving club founded by the wealthiest woman in London.
Yet even Miss Angela Childers’ charming detectives are not immune to the forces of love . . .
Dorothea Rowland attends a country house party to investigate a long-lost heir—not to find a husband. But when the dashing American claimant discovers her prowling for clues, she is startled—and then seduced—by his provocative kiss. It’s all Dorothea can do to remember her mission. Especially when a series of accidents adds up to something far more dangerous . .
Benedict only meant to silence lovely Dorothea—not find himself enamored. What’s a gentleman to do but join forces—and propose to the clever beauty? Yet as Ben and Dorothea pursue the truth about his inheritance, their faux betrothal threatens to become the real thing. Soon Ben’s plan to return to his life in America is upended—not only by his deepening bond with his bride, but by someone who wants his fortune badly enough to jeopardize his future—even end it. And Dorothea can’t let that happen. Not for the title, but for Ben . . .
Benedict Thorpe, Lord Brocklebank, heir to the mighty marquessate of Belstead, braced himself against shivering, despite the chill of the early morning. This April had been wet and cold. Today would be no exception. The people standing around would think he was afraid. He was not. Not one bit. Already in his shirtsleeves, facing his cousin Louis, Ben squared his jaw. If he died this morning, he’d do it staring down the man who’d dared to insult the woman who meant more to Ben than anyone else. His betrothed, the woman he would marry next week.
If he lived.
The great oak tree above them had witnessed many of these encounters. A dozen men stood around, their soft voices breaking the natural peace of dawn. They were placing bets and calling out encouragement to their favorite. Quietly, because dueling was illegal. If the authorities caught them everyone would be in trouble. Ben and Louis most of all.
How had they come to this? Louis had spent so much time in Ben’s childhood home, he was all but a brother. Watching Louis divest himself of his blue riding coat and hand it to his younger brother, William, Ben recalled childhood moments with his two cousins. Carefree times playing Robin Hood on the grounds of Cressbrook House. William and Louis had made his childhood bearable. If not for them, the expectations heaped on his shoulders would have overwhelmed him. Then Louis and he had roared their way around Europe, while William had started his longed-for army career.
So short a time ago. A year after they’d returned home, everything had gone wrong. To be more precise, ever since they both set eyes on Lady Honoria Colt.
Now look at them. Fighting over a woman. Although Honoria’s name had not crossed their lips, everybody here knew the real reason for this duel. And who had persuaded Louis to demand pistols? He had assumed Louis would choose swords, and they’d fight to first blood.
Honoria had accepted Ben’s offer of marriage before Louis had said the ugly things that had driven them to stand here. Instead of snuggling in their warm beds, they were facing off across twenty yards of damp grass.
If they’d used swords, one of them could still have died, but pistols made that eventuality even more certain. And yet, after what Louis had said, Ben could not forgive him. He never would.