During the Regency, gentlemen were expected to sow their wild oats before settling down with a wife and family. However, my hero, Rupert, Earl of Stanstead, at the age of two and twenty, does not want to wait. This however, presents him some unexpected problems.
Here he is with his cousin, Viscount Beaumont who has decided to give Rupert advice on finding the right lady to marry.
His cousin’s gaze sharpened. “What did Banks say to you to put you in such a foul mood?”
“He warned me away from his daughter.” Not that Rupert had any clear idea who the girl was, but apparently she’d been part of a bevy of young ladies walking in the Park yesterday. “I am too young to have serious intentions, and he’d thank me not to raise her hopes. He has five other daughters and needs to marry this one off as soon as may be.” Robert’s lips tightened, and Rupert went on. “He did say that the girl he has coming out in about six years might do. By then, I’d be of sufficient age and maturity.”
“Damn,” Robert swore softly.
“My thoughts precisely, even if I can’t remember her. I expect to hear similar warnings from other fathers. He suggested I find a mistress.”
“You have one already.” Robert linked his arm with Rupert’s as they strolled down the street toward St. James’s Park.
“I had one.” Rupert paused, selecting his words. “It is not what I want. After seeing the arrangements my mother and father and you and Serena have, as well as our other friends, I desire nothing more than a wife.”
His cousin was quiet for a few moments as they strode through Green Park. “I don’t wish to dissuade you. Quite frankly, I don’t think I could. You suffer what I now call ‘the Beaumont syndrome.’”
“I beg your pardon?” Rupert wasn’t sure if it was an insult or not. “What do you mean by that?”
“Don’t get on your high horse. It means when we want something we go after it and damn all else to hell. I did it with Serena. Even your mother did it with your father when she was young.”
Robert had compromised Serena. If it had not been for their grandmother and Serena’s family whisking her off to France, he might never have admitted he loved her. Rupert could hardly blame only his mother for engaging in relations with his father when they were young. There had been no way for them to know the part her father would play.
“You found partners.” Rupert shrugged, not understanding what his cousin was saying. “Someone with whom you could have an affaire de cœure. Which is what I desire above all else.”
“You must look at how we went about pursuing our loves.” Robert’s brows drew together. “I almost lost Serena, and your mother did lose Edward for years.” He paused again. “Ever since my wedding, you’ve been intent on marriage. What I think you should consider is whether or not you are giving yourself the time to find the right lady. For the better part of a year you pursued Miss Manning, even after she’d made it clear that she wanted a different sort of life from what you offered. One cannot have a successful marriage when one’s goals are not the same.”
“I hadn’t thought of it in quite that way.” Rupert had to give the devil his due. He had been so focused on gaining Miss Manning’s hand in marriage, he’d failed to even notice her interest in Lord Peter and that gentleman’s interest in her. They both wanted nothing more than the life of a diplomat. She would have been miserable living in England all the time.
As for being too young, Rupert felt much older than his years. He had come into his title at an early age, and even when he’d been on his Grand Tour he had missed his estate and his seat in the Lords. Now that he had returned, and despite his age, he was becoming influential in political circles. “What do you suggest?”
“Stand back a bit.” They had been strolling in the general direction of Berkeley Square when Robert stopped walking and faced Rupert. “At some point, there will be a lady whom you cannot ignore. She will dominate every waking thought and haunt your dreams. You’ll want to fight every man who asks her to dance or accompanies her during the Grand Strut.”
“You make it sound like an obsession.” Rupert had used a light tone, trying to lessen his cousin’s seriousness.
“In a way, it is.” Robert nodded slowly, and glanced away. “Yet it’s vastly more confounding. When you meet the lady you truly love, you would gladly lay down your life for her.”
“Is that what you felt for Serena?”
His cousin gave a harsh laugh. “All that and more. Nothing could compare. Later, after I’d almost lost her, I realized that what I’d thought was love, before her, was a weak imitation.” He glanced over at Rupert. “Did you feel that way about Miss Manning?”
He shook his head. “No.” After what his cousin had just said, it was clear he had never experienced that type of strong emotion. “She was beautiful, and I thought I was in love, but when she told me she had formed an attachment to Lord Peter, I felt nothing but sadness that it hadn’t worked out.”
They turned off Piccadilly onto Berkeley Street, which would lead them to Robert’s residence in Berkeley Square.
“Then I’d say you have not yet met the woman you were meant to be with.”
Ella Quinn’s bachelors are quite sure of what they want in life—and love—until the right woman opens their eyes…
After a painful heartbreak, Rupert, the handsome young Earl of Stanstead, has decided that when it comes to love, avoidance is best. Until he meets a woman who makes him forget his plan—and remember his longing for a wife and family. Yet he senses that she too has been hurt, though she attempts to hide her feelings—and more—in the most baffling and alluring way. Intrigued, Rupert is willing to play along, if winning her is the prize…
Crushed by her late husband’s scorn, Vivian, Countess of Beresford, believes she is monstrously undesirable. Sadly childless, she has moved to London resigned to a solitary life. Still, when she encounters Rupert at a masquerade ball, her disguise as Cleopatra emboldens her. Convinced he doesn’t recognize her, she begins an after-hours affair with him, always in costume—while allowing him to innocently court the real her by day. But when Rupert makes a shocking choice, will Vivian be able to handle the truth?…
Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series will start in April 2016.
She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and granddaughter, one cat and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America.
Ella is a member of the Romance Writers of American, The Beau Monde and Hearts Through History. She is represented by Elizabeth Pomada of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency, and published by Kensington.