Today’s post comes from a current work in progress, His Wicked Lady, which I expect to have out in January.
Malcolm is Melissa Jasper’s brother. Melissa was the heroine in Ruined by the Earl, and if you’ll recall, Malcolm wasn’t at all happy with the gentleman she married. He’s still not happy with the match in this book. I don’t know if that will be resolved or not.
But it’s now time for him to have his own story, and as it turns out, he will have it in His Wicked Lady. Today, I wrote this scene which takes place in Chapter 5. (This is in first draft mode.)
Needless to say, his refusal to meet with the lovely–and mischievous–Lady Cantrell will come back to haunt him. But let the record show, he was allowed to see her before marrying her. ;)
Two days later, Malcolm was in his den working on his ledger when a familiar knock came at the closed door. “You may enter as long as you didn’t bring your reprobate of a husband with you,” he called out to his sister.
She opened the door and peaked into room. “How did you know it was me?”
“Because you use the same series of quick taps every time you knock.” Since she hadn’t fully entered the room, he narrowed his eyes at her. “Is that cad with you?”
“No. Logan doesn’t like to be here any more than you like having him here.”
“Then why are you partially hiding behind the door?”
“Because I important news to tell you.”
That made no sense at all, but then his sister seemed to have taken loss of her senses ever since Logan came into her life. “Well, come on in and tell me the important news.”
She did as he requested, hiding something behind her back. Before he could ask what it was, she held out a piece of parchment to him. “We’ve selected a wife for you!”
Surprised by her excitement, he took it. “Is she unbelievably wealthy or something?” There had to be a reason she looked as if she was ready to jump up and down in glee.
“Well, she is. You’ll be delighted at how well she manages money.”
“All right,” he slowly replied, not sure why this wasn’t as reassuring as it should have been.
This wasn’t his sister’s typical odd behavior ever since marrying Logan. This was something altogether different. He lowered his gaze and saw the contract for his approval for the choice the Duchess of Ashbourne made in picking a wife for him.
He didn’t recall the name. Glancing back up at his sister who was still grinning from ear to ear, he asked, “What’s wrong with her?”
“Nothing. I got a chance to meet her, and she’ll be perfect for you.” She clasped her hands. “I’m just excited about this. A better match couldn’t be made in all of London.”
He relaxed. Since she put it that way, he supposed he couldn’t blame her for being enthusiastic. He read through the contract.
“You can meet her before the wedding,” Melissa told him. “We can do the banns or get a special license.”
He thought over the options then ran through the long list of things he had to do. “No, that’s all right. You picked Lady Cantrell for me, and that’s enough. I’ll just meet her at the wedding.”
“I knew you’d pick that option,” she said. “That’s why I had Helena mark it down for you to initial.” She leaned forward and pointed to the paragraph. “You can get a special license, and we’ll arrange the rest.”
“What about Lady Cantrell?”
“Oh, she agreed to the marriage as soon as we told her your name. She’s more than willing to marry you without meeting you first. She signed her agreement to the special license.”
Surprised, he asked, “She did?”
“Yes. She knows exactly who you are, and she said she couldn’t be happier with the match.”
How was it possible Lady Cantrell knew about him, but he had no idea who she was? The answer came to him as soon as he finished the thought. He was well known and respected in all of London because of his business prowess. He had friends like Warren, and Warren was one of the most influential gentleman he’d ever met. So naturally, she knew him. She, however, was an unknown lady who probably remained in the corner somewhere during balls.
“Is Lady Cantrell shy?” he asked Melissa.
“No, but she’s a widow with a child, so she doesn’t engage much socially.”
Oh, that explained a lot. No wonder he’d never heard of her.
“I assured her you are good with children,” Melissa added. “In fact, my son couldn’t ask for a better uncle.”
“What’s not to like about children? They don’t represent the unpleasant aspects of London.”
“I wish you wouldn’t be so difficult when it comes to Logan. He’s actually quite sweet.”
He grimaced and signed the contract. “You and I will never come to an agreement on him.” He handed it to her. “Let me know when the wedding is, and I’ll show up.”
If Lady Cantrell was as happy to marry him as Melissa claimed, this would be a very suitable match indeed. Lady Cantrell, after all, was already showing him what good taste she had.
“I’ll do that,” Melissa promised then ran out of the room, and if he was right, she was cheering the whole way out of his townhouse.