At the betrothal ball of the man she had expected to marry herself, Lady Theresa latches on to Damian Ashby, hoping to divert attention from her own humiliating situation. Of course, she’s not seriously interested because he’s a useless London fribble, in her opinion. He is not favorably impressed with her either.
Still, she’s the daughter of an earl, and he’s the heir to her father’s title and estate, so they are destined to spend more time in each other’s company…sooner rather than later. And who knew that the two of them would develop an unlikely attraction to one another?
But can a London swell and a country lady ever make their diverse lives and interests work together?
The dancing had already begun when they arrived. Damian stayed close at Theresa’s side, his arm lightly around her so that his fingers pressed into the small of her back, while she introduced him to her friends and acquaintances. They shared a set of country dances, and when he returned to her side after fetching a glass of lemonade, she was chatting merrily with a cluster of her friends, so he danced a trio of sets with some of the other young ladies. He managed to get back to her in time for the supper dance, just ahead of a tall, fresh-faced youth in a poorly tied Mathematical and a waistcoat that went out of style years ago.
“When does the waltzing begin?” he whispered as they performed the elaborate steps of the country dance. “I must claim the first waltz.”
“We do not waltz here,” she whispered back. “It’s considered far too scandalous. Besides,” she added when they came back together, “we have already danced twice. A third would make us the talk of the shire.”
He chuckled. “Isn’t that what you were aiming for at the Sedgely ball? A juicy scandal to divert the gossips’ attention?”
She looked up at him in surprise. “You know,” she said, “I just realized I don’t care about that anymore. I’m glad Reese is happy with Eugenia.”
“Indeed,” he managed, wondering why he suddenly felt so relieved.
She did condescend to dance another set with him, and Damian hoped all of the old biddy gossips had noticed.
On the return trip, Mrs. Noble babbled on incessantly about gowns and stale cakes while Damian found his eyes lingering over the curvaceous form of the young lady on the seat across from him, the light of the moon being thankfully dim enough to conceal his bold appraisal.
She was silent, in a reflective mood, her head turned toward the window and the shadowed images of the scenery outside.
“Imagine that scamp Dickie Fielding enticing the Hampton chit to meet him in the garden!” Mrs. Noble exclaimed indignantly. “Why I thought her father would explode when they were discovered.” She lowered her voice. “I have it on good authority that they were embracing,” she revealed. “A dreadful scandal indeed should they not marry post-haste.”
Theresa’s head shot around to face him, and he knew she was recalling that night at the betrothal ball when she’d tried to lure him out to the terrace and he’d made a hasty escape. He rather thought now that he would enjoy a pleasant interlude alone in the moonlight with her. He would hold her against him, her head on his chest, while his hands swept over her curves. When he felt her pulse rising, he would draw her chin toward him and take her lips in a long kiss while his other hand would cup her breast, already pebbling with her desire.
Damian froze. What was he thinking? Cousin Theresa was no strumpet. The only way he could indulge in such carnal delights with her would include an obligatory wedding first. And that was out of the question.
Susana will be awarding six vintage traditional Regency books from her personal library to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop (US ONLY) and a grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
About the author
A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.
In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around England and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.
Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog): http://susanaellisauthor.wordpress.com
Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog): http://susanaauthor.wordpress.com