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The Devil You Know

By Sophia Holloway

‘This is madness, my lord. Here we are, riding in the Park, and you are calmly discussing whether it would be advisable to seduce me, your wife. I should also say it does not sound very impulsive.’

‘I do not know about “advisable”, I was thinking more “desirable”. I have the advantage of you, my dear. You have no experience of seduction, and I have a lot.’

The Honourable Catherine Elford – Kitty – is presented with an awful choice.

Either she is cast off, penniless, by her penny-pinching step-brother, or she marries the handsome Earl of Ledbury, who would be perfect were he not a serial womaniser, and the very man Kitty idolised when she made her debut in Society; idolised right up until she found him in a compromising situation with a married lady.

Ledbury has only ever courted other men’s wives, and does not want a wife of his own.

However, Kitty’s generous dowry, which will keep him from selling his beloved racehorses, proves too tempting.

Following a swift ceremony and a disastrous wedding night, Kitty believes her only chance of survival is to make her head rule her treacherous heart.

If she doesn’t fall in love with Ledbury, his waywardness cannot hurt her. For his part, Ledbury has spotted a spark in his ‘dab of a wife’, especially when he discovers their mutual love of horses, and sets out to woo her in the only way he knows.

As Kitty begins to succumb to his seduction and believe that they have a chance of happiness together, Ledbury’s past starts to catch up with them.

Kitty feels that all of London is watching her, gossiping about her, pitying her. Meanwhile, as Fate conspires to keep the couple from love and a proper consummation, Lord Ledbury becomes ever more frustrated and desperate, and his temper worsens. It’s a recipe for disaster.

This witty and spirited romance casts an historical light on Regency Society life, and reveals that, despite the changes in social protocol, love and desire – and what they do to us – has not changed.

Sophia Holloway┬áis a military historian turned novelist, whose first interest was the Peninsular War, and who ‘grew up on Georgette Heyer’, so writing Regency feels very natural to her. She also writes medieval crime, and alternates between the two genres to keep both fresh.

 

 
 
 
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