Lord Fallon, aging Duke of Sutton, has fallen for a lady half his age and twice as cultured. After proposing, will he succeed in winning her hand? Will their married life be happy? I suck at summaries so you might as well read this Victorian romance if that is your thing.
Ronan knocked on the door of the Wilkins estate at half past 12, the butler answered promptly, “Lord Fallon, you are expected…”
He heard a heated argument going on within the mansion.
“I assume the princess is awake…”he smirked stepping inside.
“…in the library…” the man sighed in exasperation.
“…you have this man over to the house at all hours…escorting you all over town…people already talk about this family, your…obsession with him isn’t help the rumors…”
“You wanted me to be well educated and intelligent and so I am. It’s not my fault that’s not what’s in vogue for young women of this age”
“That is not the problem here…! A young woman especially of your station being seen all around town with a man who is not a servant nor a husband without an escort is…”
“He is my escort…! And he’s a perfect gentleman otherwise I wouldn’t keep him in my company…”
Ronan knocked on the door.
“Who is it?!” Lady Wilkin’s barked.
“Lord Fallon, Duke Of Sutton”
There was a slight hesitation, “…come in, my lord”
He pushed open the door to two flustered women, Lady Wilkins was a handsome women a few years older then him. She had caused quite the stir by giving birth at the absurd age of 40 without harm to her or her daughter. She was once again in the public eye when she openly divorced her husband barely a year after said child was born.
Now she was over 60, her ebony complexion starting sag with anger lines, but Ronan couldn’t help but feel that it had to do with the divorce and raising a child on her own. The miracle baby, now a woman, was standing a not far away. She was lithe and pale with honey brown skin, thick dark hair and deep fathomless brown eyes.
Lady Wilkins glared at the both of them for a moment before seeing herself out in a huff.
“You’re late” Lady Moira Wilkins scoffed, turning back to the bookshelf.
“…so you decided to fight with her mother to pass the time?” He raised an eyebrow.
“She started it as she always does” she scoffed again. “Besides…she was being rude to you…I refuse to abide that…”
Ronan felt his old heart flutter, she had a curious way of doing that with out seeming to know it. He had met her a few years ago, curiously enough, in a gentleman’s club. She had been dressed as a man, drinking like a man and giving Sir Covington a run for his money over foreign government policies. Everyone had been impressed and taken with her intelligence and couth including Ronan himself.
He hadn’t caught on ‘til about a week later when he’d caught sight of her taking off her hat and unpinning her thick ebony locks. She’d seen him watching and threw him a smirk, “If you wish to chat some more, feel free to look me up”
She’d given Ronan her name before climbing into a carriage and making a speedy escape. And so he had, she had intrigued him, he had never come across such an openly intelligent woman. Most women, he found, kept their brilliance to themselves, only to be brought out during certain occasions. He had visited Wilkins Manor and had a rousing conversation with her under the watchful eye of the family butler.
Ronan had lost his dear wife many years earlier, his children were grown and out of the house and, if he was being perfectly honest, he was lonely. Conversing with her and escorting her on her daily tasks gave him a new purpose and filled his days.
“And what does the day have in store for you, milady?” He began, taking a seat in a chair and pulling a cigar out of his vest pocket.
“One of my mother’s acquaintances invited me to a Salon, mother told me to go in her place which pretty much tells me the level of intellectual credibility this woman has…” Moira sighed.
“Quite cold of you, milady…” he replied snipping the tip with a cigar cutter.
She glared, “…you know I hate it when you call me that…”
“Oh?” Ronan teased, searching for a lighter. She plucked the cigar from his mouth, her dark eyes scrutinizing.
“As you know I don’t allow smoking in my presence”
At times like this, looking into her eyes that demanded obedience he couldn’t help but feel a shudder of delight. He did his best to quash it.
The carriage pulled to a stop and Ronan helped Moira down. She looked distinctly uncomfortable in her formal lady’s dress, petticoat and heels. She took his arm in a furious grip, as he led her up the stairs to Lady Winthrope’s home.
Ronan smirked, he knew how much she disliked women’s clothing. She called them restrictive and absurd and he couldn’t absolutely disagree with her. He remembered the times his wife had begged him to help her out of her corset for the sake of comfort. In her last years she refused to wear one outright.
The butler opened the door on the first knock and they were led inside. The tittering of the other women made her visibly wince.
Ronan chucked, “…I’ll come for you in ten minutes…”