Historical

The Temptation Of Lady Serena By Ella Quinn

Saturday, December 28, 2013

We are all about Rakes on this blog tour! After all, who doesn’t love a bad boy? We’ll I’m sure some ladies don’t, but not me. I married mine thirty years ago. Of course before I’d agree to accept his hand, he had to reform, not all the way mind you, just enough to make him good husband material. I’m here to tell you, a reformed rake makes a very good husband.

In The Seduction of Lady Phoebe, twenty-year-old Lord Marcus Finley starts out as a dissolute rogue, drinking to excess, gambling, and consorting with ladies of ill-repute, were only some of his faults. He was so bad, that even in racy Regency England his father decides to banish him to the West Indies before Marcus can cause a major scandal. Then at his last hurrah party in England, he meets and falls in love with Lady Phoebe Stanhope.

He knows she’s young, but not how young. Every woman he’s met so far, we’ll not discuss the caliber of the females he’s been with, have loved him, and he is confident he’ll be able to sweep her off her tiny feet and carry her away Gretna Green, then on to the West Indies. That didn’t go so well. You’ll remember the bit about drinking. Phoebe ends up giving him a good piece of her mind, and he slinks off to the West Indies, drunk.

But I’m discussing reform. Eight years later, Marcus has turned his life around, and still wants to marry Phoebe.

Guy, the Seventh Marquis of Dunwood, watched as the American-made schooner approached the dock. A tall, tanned, young man in his late twenties stood at the bow, a line in hand ready to throw to one of the dock hands on the pier. He looked more like a seaman than a well-born gentleman.

His youngest son. The one, Guy thought ruefully, he hadn’t recognized two years ago, when Marcus had come to visit.

The line sailed through the air and looped perfectly around a piling. After tying it off, Marcus walked back and addressed the captain before disappearing from sight.
Not more than a half an hour later, Dunwood greeted his son. “Welcome home. You could have returned earlier.”

The good humor drained from Marcus’s eyes. “Not and have made provisions for Lovet’s family. They were left in bad straits when he died.”

Dunwood would never understand the reason this son saw the need to care for those who were not his dependents. Apparently the West Indies had more of an impact on him than Dunwood thought it would. Well, what Marcus did with his private fortune was no bread and butter of Dunwood’s. Rather than argue, he asked, “How is the new steward doing?”

His son’s broad shoulders relaxed. “Well indeed. He used to work for the Spencer-Jones family, but when their third oldest son married, the property my new steward was managing went to the son. The man came highly recommended. I made the offer before anyone else could beat me to it.”

“Good. I’m glad you were able to find someone.” Dunwood started toward the two large coaches near an inn. “Where are your trunks?”

“I’ve only one. Covey, my man, will see it stowed,” Marcus said. “How are Arthur and the girls faring?”

“Your brother is doing as well as can be expected, as are his daughters.”

Marcus glanced around to see Covey wave to him. The last time he’d visited his brother, Arthur was hale and hearty. Now he was dying of consumption. His wife had passed a
few years ago leaving him two daughters, but no heir.

As a result, Marcus had been recalled from banishment. He wondered how difficult it was going to be, after all the years of being his own master, to live with his father and be under Dunwood’s rule.

Glancing around the small town, Marcus felt as if he were in a foreign country, but he’d been gone long enough. He looked at his ship, the Lady Phoebe, tied up at the dock.

Perhaps too long.

“After you’ve spent a few days visiting your brother, I’ll take you to London.” His father’s lips formed a moue. “You need to call on Weston and Hoby to see about your clothing before the Little Season begins. One of your first jobs will be finding a wife.”
Marcus nodded. At long last he and his father agreed about something. “I’ll make it a priority.”

So what do you think? Can a rake truly reform?