Hello Everyone! The second novel in my Defying Propriety Series, Son of an Earl, is available for pre-order on Kindle, and I am in the middle of a blog tour. Here is the cover along with the blurbs for both the series and this book.
We are formed by experiences of our childhood. Family and friends influence our character. Decisions, wise and foolish, direct our path. Through chance encounters and early introductions, our beloved Pride and Prejudice characters come together on a slightly different path which may, to some, defy propriety.
All the books in this series are sweet, clean romances.
Ashton Fitzwilliam, Viscount Grayson and cousin to Fitzwilliam Darcy, has always known what was expected of him. As the eldest son of an earl, he must marry a lady from the first circles of society, preferably one whose father will be a new ally to the current earl. He never anticipated meeting an intriguing American lady with a secret or two she is determined to keep hidden from the disapproving haut ton.
After all we learned at the wonderful presentation on blogs at the JAFF Reader/Writer Get Together this year, I am sharing the second part of Chapter Two with you. You might have seen the first chapter on my stop at Babblings of a Bookworm where we were introduced to the young American, Miss Adsila Carrington, who peeked the viscount’s interest. The first half of Chapter Two was shared at From Pemberley to Milton, and we met Ashton’s younger sister, Lady Demetria. Let’s see how she helps her brother along with his “investigation” into the mysterious American lady.
“Demi!” Lady Gertrude cried as she embraced her friend. “I am so pleased you were able to join us. I wish we had been able to accompany you to the theatre last evening; I am certain it held ever so much more entertainment than the ball.”
“Oh, I suppose, but I found it a bit tripe.”
“Tripe? Shakespeare?” Lady Gertrude affected a laugh. “Demi, you are so droll.”
“Well, I have never had a head for such things. Herbert loves the theatre and so, to the theatre we shall go.” She turned her attention to the others. “Did you enjoy the ball, Miss Carrington? My brother tells me you danced with Mr. Croome.”
“And with Lord Grayson,” Lady Gertrude added.
Demi tipped her head to the side as she studied her brother. “Yes, he mentioned it.”
“Miss Carrington took pity upon me when Lady Gertrude refused me.”
“My card was full, Lord Grayson, as you waited too long to request a set.”
“I shall remember to approach you earlier in the future.” Ashton dipped his head in her direction. “Did you enjoy the ball, Miss Carrington?” he repeated his sister’s question.
“It was everything I expected from a London ball,” she replied.
Ashton was pleased she spoke in a louder, though still soft, voice. “I am uncertain if that is a compliment or critique.” Before she could respond, he asked, “How did it compare to such events in Virginia?”
He was pleased to see a hint of the lightning he had spotted in her eyes the night before as she responded.
“I am certain balls vary only slightly from one location to another. It is the company which sets them apart.”
“And you would prefer Virginia?” he pressed.
“You put words in my mouth, my lord.”
Ashton had never heard his honorific hold such umbrage. “I dare not,” he replied.
“I am certain Miss Carrington prefers Virginia, but she is content to make due with us, given the circumstances.” Lady Gertrude smiled at her friend, though Ashton noted her eyes widened a bit after a moment.
Miss Carrington took a deep breath before painting a similar smile upon her lips. “Of course, do all of us not prefer that to which we were born?” she asked in that frustrating whispery voice.
“Have you been north?” Ashton asked in an attempt to further the conversation.
“My father dislikes winter in Cumbria, of which you are aware, Lord Grayson.” His hostess eyed him suspiciously.
“Forgive me, I had forgotten.” He settled back with his cup of tea and allowed the ladies to carry the conversation for a time, hoping he had not raised any suspicions in Lady Gertrude.
Miss Carrington followed his example, and the two friends turned to their favourite topic of late: their weddings. The hands on the mantle clock appeared to slow nearly to a halt as Ashton remembered why he rarely spent time with his sister.
“Oh, dear,” Demi cried, startling him from his stupor. “Mamma is expecting us. Forgive me, Gertie, but we must go. I lost all track of time.” She turned on her brother. “Ashton, you should have told me we were going to be late.”
“I was so enjoying the company, I too forgot.” He smiled at their hostess. “Lady Gertrude, it has been a pleasure as always.” He bowed to her before turning his attention to her friend. “Miss Carrington, I look forward to seeing you again.” He repeated the gesture before offering his arm to his sister and escorting her to their carriage.
Once they were settled in the squabs and Demi had finished waving to her friend, he asked, “Mother is expecting us?”
“No, but I feared either you or Miss Carrington would drop your cups or snore, so I thought it best we leave.”
A laugh burst from his lips before he could suppress it. “I thank you for saving us from any embarrassment.”
“Did you find what you were seeking?” Demi asked, one brow arched in challenge.
“What I sought?” He looked out the window. “I have no idea to what you refer.”
“Miss Carrington is a bit of an odd duck. She is lovely, certainly, and I thought for a moment we might have a rousing discussion, but then she simply stopped.”
“After her friend gave her a quelling glance,” Ashton muttered.
“Did she?” Demi tapped a finger against her cheek. “I wonder what Gertie is trying to conceal.”
“She is your friend; does she not tell you all her secrets?”
Demi laughed freely. “Ashton, do you truly believe that ladies share everything with their friends?” Her eyes widened as he frowned. “You do! Well, I suppose sisters might, but friends can easily become enemies, and you do not want to hand your enemy a loaded gun.”
“You do not trust Lady Gertrude?” He could not express his surprise at this revelation.
“Do you fully trust any of your friends? Beyond Philip and Fitzwilliam, of course.” Her expression challenged him once more.
“I suppose not, but I had believed ladies held deep confidences.”
Demi laughed once more. “Oh, my poor brother. You are quite naïve when it comes to ladies, I fear. You really should listen to Mamma. She is far better at diplomacy than Papa. I suspect she has seen to the success of more of his projects than him alone.”
The carriage pulled to a stop, and a footman opened the door. Ashton stepped down before handing his sister out. As they approached the front door, he nudged her side. “I found our afternoon quite interesting, Demi. You have surprised me. I thank you for sharing your opinions and observations with me.”
She gave him a genuine smile. “I too enjoyed it. Shall we go walking tomorrow, during the fashionable time? Perhaps we will encounter Gertie and her friend.”
Ashton laughed and agreed. “Will Bedlington not become jealous?” he asked as they entered the house.
“Oh, he is in meetings most of the day. I will see him tomorrow evening when he comes to dinner.” She handed her outerwear to the footman before turning towards the drawing room.
Ashton frowned, having not previously paid attention to his future brother’s habits. “I would think a man in love would want to spend every available moment at your side.”
“A man in love?” Demi’s expression returned to what it had been in the carriage. “Ashton.” She laid a hand upon his arm. “We do not marry for love. Bedlington is handsome, and he shares many of Papa’s stances. He is a good man who does not over imbibe or gamble, and he is serious about his work. He will provide well for me and our children.”
“Do you not want more, Demi?”
“What more is there?” She patted his arm. “I am certain that, one day, we will love each other as Mamma and Papa do. I simply must make myself as indispensable to him as Mamma is to Papa.” She winked. “Luckily, I have learned at her side.”
She released him and continued down the hallway, only turning back when she realised he was no longer with her. “Are you coming? I thought I would tell Mamma about our day.”
Ashton shook his head. “No, I think not. I would ask, if you please, that you do not share my . . . curiosity regarding Miss Carrington with her.”
“Of course.” Demi frowned as she tipped her head, then returned to his side and placed a kiss upon his cheek. “Thank you for today, Ashton.”
He watched her until she disappeared into the drawing room, then called for his horse. He suddenly felt the need to be away from the house.
So, what are your thoughts on Lady Demetria? What do you think of her philosophies? She has been fun to write. Don’t forget to visit the other stops on this tour for little tidbits about the book.
Now, a GIVEAWAY! Just make a comment on this blog and 1 lucky winner will be picked to receive an ebook copy of Son of an Earl. Good luck! I can’t wait to read your comments. The drawing will be held on Friday, December 24, and the winner announced will be announced on Sunday, December 26,2021. Happy Holidays!