I really love secondary characters. They come in particularly handy when I need
to lighten the mood of a story. This scene from LADY
BERESFORD'S LOVER involves Nicholas, the new Earl of Beresford, and the
woman he wants to court, Miss Silvia Corbet. As you will see, Nick is in need of
a bit of help.
Nick started to trail Silvia at a reasonable distance when a gloved hand,
adorned with rings, stopped him. â€śI donâ€™t believe Iâ€™ve made your acquaintance,
sir.â€ť An older woman with a purple turban complete with large floppy feathers
addressed Hawksworth. â€śHawksworth, make the introductions, if you would.â€ť
Nick wanted to bark a laugh as his friend paled.
Hawksworth bowed. â€śMy lady, allow me to introduce the Earl of Beresford. My
lord, Lady Bellamny, my godmother.â€ť
Ah, the dragon of the ton. Only Almackâ€™s patroness had as much influence. â€śMy
lady, a pleasure to meet you.â€ť
â€śWell, youâ€™re one of the few young men who think so.â€ť
He choked, quickly turning it into a cough.
â€śIâ€™ll leave you now before you have apoplexy.â€ť She patted his arm. â€śMiss Corbet
is safely back with Lady Telford. If you wish to court her, here is your
It was apparently Hawksworthâ€™s turn to change a laugh into a cough.
â€śYou misunderstand,â€ť Nick said firmly. â€śI have no interest in the lady, nor does
she have any in me.â€ť
â€śIndeed.â€ť Lady Bellamny leaned toward him a bit. â€śIn that case, the two of you
should not spend so much time watching one another.â€ť
Before Nick could think of a reply, she left to accost another innocent guest.
â€śBetter you than me,â€ť his friend muttered. â€śThank you for absolutely
Hawksworth shrugged. â€śWhen it comes to Lady Bellamny, itâ€™s each man for himself.
The woman scares me to death when sheâ€™s in Town, and I have known her all my
life. However, if you wish to marry, she will do all she is able to assist you
into the parsonâ€™s mouse-trap.â€ť
Nick scanned the ballroom. Silvia was being led out to dance with a man of
middling height who looked to be several years older than he. â€śWho is she with
â€śNo, Miss Corbet.â€ť
Hawksworth fixed his quizzing glass on the dance floor. â€śBumfield. He is a
widower with several children. Perfectly harmless.â€ť Nick must have done
something, for the next thing out of his friendâ€™s mouth was, â€śWhy the devil
donâ€™t you just ask her to stand up with you?â€ť
â€śShe wonâ€™t do it,â€ť he answered, hoping his tone wasnâ€™t as petulant as he felt.
â€śOh, I think she will. As long as there is a space left on her card. After all,
if she turns you down, she canâ€™t dance for the rest of the evening.â€ť
Nick had forgotten that small nicety. She would probably annihilate him later,
but it might be worth it. â€śDo you know Lady Telford?â€ť
â€śYouâ€™ll have to introduce me. I plan to do a bit of reconnaissance before
springing the trap.â€ť
Hawksworth shook his head. â€śYou were in the army for far too long.â€ť
â€śBe that as it may.â€ť Nick grabbed his friendâ€™s arm. â€śI need an introduction, and
you will need to perform it. And I was in only a year longer than you.â€ť
A few minutes later, Nick bowed and Hawksworth did his duty.
â€śIt is a pleasure, my lord.â€ť Lady Telford glanced from Hawksworth to Nick.
He cleared his throat. â€śIâ€™d like to ask Miss Corbet to stand up with me.â€ť
The older lady languidly waved her fan. â€śThen ask her.â€ť
His cravat tightened. â€śI wanted to know if she had any sets left this evening.
She is quite popular.â€ť
Her ladyshipâ€™s lips curved in a catlike smile. â€śShe is indeed, and your luck is
not in this evening, my lord. However, I believe she still has a few dances open
to-morrow for the Torrington ball.â€ť
As luck would have it, he had accepted an invitation to the event. â€śThank you.â€ť
He moved to the side a bit and watched Silvia gracefully perform her part of the
cotillion. It might be a good idea to ask her with her ladyship close at hand.
He waited until Silviaâ€™s partner returned her to Lady Telford, and bowed â€śMiss
Her fine dark brows drew together. â€śMy lord?â€ť
â€śI wish to ask you to dance with me at the Torrington ball.â€ť
She opened her mouth and shut it again. â€śIâ€”I donâ€™t know what I have available.
My dance card for that entertainment is at home.â€ť
â€śCome, my dear.â€ť Lady Telford seemed to purr. â€śI remember you had a country
dance and the supper dance. Though I believe Lord Oliver intends to request the
supper dance. It is a waltz.â€ť
Lord Oliver be damned. â€śIâ€™d like the supper dance.â€ť Hawksworth poked Nick in his
back. â€śIf you would be so kind.â€ť
Her ladyship nodded approvingly, while Silviaâ€™s glare shot darts at him. But his
friend was right. He had trapped her. She couldnâ€™t do anything but accept.
With a smile he knew heâ€™d pay for later, she responded, â€śThank you, my lord. It
would be my pleasure.â€ť
At least she hadnâ€™t gritted her teeth.
â€śI look forward to to-morrow.â€ť He bowed to both the ladies before making his
escape. If he remained too long, she was sure to think of a way out of standing
up with him. â€śThat didnâ€™t go badly at all.â€ť
â€śI hope she doesnâ€™t carry knives,â€ť Hawksworth remarked.
â€śNo, not metal ones at any rate.â€ť Though her tongue could flay the flesh off a
Bestselling author Ella Quinnâ€™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.
Ella Quinnâ€™s bachelors are quite sure of what they want in lifeâ€”and loveâ€”
until the right woman opens their eyesâ€¦
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 planâ€”and remember his longing for a wife and family.
Yet he senses that she too has been hurt, though she attempts to hide her
feelingsâ€”and moreâ€”in the most baffling and alluring way. Intrigued, Rupert is
willing to play along, if winning her is the prizeâ€¦
Crushed by her late husbandâ€™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 doesnâ€™t recognize her, she
begins an after-hours affair with him, always in costumeâ€”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?...
That was a very entertaining excerpt that you chose for today's posting, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book!! The cover of your book is beautifully done as well!! Congratulations on your latest book, and I'm sure it's going to do quite well. (Peggy Roberson 9:37am July 22, 2015)
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