I thought I’d take a brief time out from editing to share one of my favorite scenes that I’m working on in A Most Unsuitable Husband. This book will be a comedy, and the scene between Lord Edon (Ethan) and his mother helps to set the stage for it. While I love writing dramas, I also enjoy a good comedy from time to time. :D
I hope to do an interview with Ethan and his mother soon. *fingers crossed they’ll cooperate with me*
As a side note: on the timeline in the Regency Collection, A Most Unsuitable Husband takes place before Her Counterfeit Husband. You know me. I have trouble writing books in chronological order. However, what happens in Her Counterfeit Husband has no bearing on this book.
So currently, this is the order of the Regencies: The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife, A Most Unsuitable Husband, and Her Counterfeit Husband. The Reluctant Wife would be after Her Counterfeit Husband, and A Hasty Marriage falls somewhere after that. (A Hasty Marriage is going to be Lord Clement — aka Perry — from The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife). I’m sure I’ll come up with more books as I go along.
Ethan looked up from his book in time to see his very unhappy mother enter his library. He slammed the book shut and slid it under his chair before she realized he’d been reading Shakespeare.
She glanced at where he put the book and made the sign of the cross. “You’ll be the death of me yet. I don’t even want to know what you’re reading. If only you’d read one of the books your father invested money in.” She gave a mournful sigh and scanned the many books lining the shelves.
“Mother, please. You know I find history and the like boring.” He grimaced. Truly, he did. History, biography, politics… They only served one purpose: to put a gentleman to sleep.
She set her plump frame in the chair across from him and wrung her hands. “You were in the Tittletattle again.”
His ears perked up at the mention of the scandalsheets. “I was?”
“Don’t act so pleased.”
He stopped smiling and gave her a solemn nod. “You’re right. I have behaved abhorrently.” After a pause, he added, “What did I get caught doing?”
She let out a cry and pressed her hand to her forehead.
“Oh come now, Mother. It couldn’t have been that bad.”
“It’s got to be one of the worst things you’ve done yet. Prostitutes and your own mistresses are one thing, but you were caught with Lord Hedwrett’s mistress…and in broad daylight where everyone could see you!”
“It wasn’t like that.”
“No. It was twilight.”
She let out a cry and pulled out a handkerchief. “Why can’t you settle down with a good, respectable lady? Why must you insist on dallying with such…such…women?”
His brown eyes grew wide. “I’ve never heard you talk this way.”
“I’m sorry, Ethan, but you bring out the worst in me. When your father died, I promised him that I would make sure you found a good lady to pass on the title to your son. Only, there is no good lady and no son.” She gave him a hesitant look. “At least no legitimate son. Are there illegitimate sons?”
“No. I don’t think so. At least no one’s mentioned it.”
“Please, please marry a good lady this Season.”
He ruffled his blond hair and groaned. “I’ve been trying.”
“Not hard enough.”
“I’ve been going to each Season for four years.”
“And with each passing year, it’s getting harder and harder to convince a proper lady that you’re worth marrying. As much as ladies desire a titled gentleman, they still have their limits.”
Crossing his slender legs, he leaned back in the chair and watched her as she agonized over his future. He knew she meant well, but the responsibility of the title never appealed to him. How he wished he could hand it to his cousin who could then take over the estate so he could live a quiet life—out of the limelight—in his cottage. What more did a gentleman really need than the solitude of good books and the peacefulness of nature? No, instead, he was expected to run from one social event to another and frequent White’s. At least in the winter, he could return to Kestrel. But no. It was time to be in London and do the whole running to and fro thing all over again.
Inspired, he straightened. “I have a wonderful idea!”
Though she seemed hesitant, she asked, “You do?”
“Let’s give my title to Clarence. You know he’ll do well with it!”
“Not this again.”
“But why not?”
“It’s not as easy as you seem to think it is to hand over your title to him, and if it were, I forbid it. You make much too light of it. It’s an honor to have one, and you can do more with it than you can without.”
He sunk back into the chair. He knew she was going to say that. She always said that. No matter what vile thing he pulled, she clung to her obsession with him passing on the title to one of his future sons. Little did she realize, he’d never had them, whether legitimate or not.
“There’s a ball tomorrow night,” she began, and he groaned. “Now don’t act that way, Ethan. I want you to put on your best clothes and be charming to the ladies.” She paused for a moment. “Not too charming, of course. I don’t want you to lure an innocent out to the gardens. Granted, a scandal would secure a marriage, but you’ve lived so recklessly, my heart can’t take that kind of betrothal. What we need is an honorable engagement to an honorable lady.”
This wasn’t the first time she’d made such a declaration, and he was sure it wouldn’t be the last. But either way, it wouldn’t happen. He was very careful to avoid anything that might mean he had to marry a lady. No one insisted on marriage if the lady in question was a mistress or a lady of ill repute. They were, by far, the safer bet if he felt inclined to talk to a member of the fairer sex.
“I’ll attend the ball,” he said because he knew it would make her happy. Never mind the fact that she’d be disappointed tomorrow evening when there was no lady who would be a possible daughter-in-law. Just the hope alone would have to suffice.
Relaxing, she smiled. “Thank you. Maybe this Season will be the one!”
Maybe it would be the Season where she would give up her nonsense of him finding a wife.
Standing up, she motioned to the book under his chair. “I’ll let you return to,” she sighed, “your reading.”
His eyebrow arched as he watched her leave. Once she shut the door, he picked up the book of Shakespeare’s plays and resumed reading it. He could only imagine the talk of the ton if anyone found out he was reading something so noble. Such a thing wouldn’t be good for his stellar reputation as a rake.