Saved by a Seductive Earl (Preview)

Chapter One

Georgiana was feeling better for having a walk before breakfast. She needed something to clear her head and make her feel ready for whatever she was going to do for the day. Normally, it would be either spending the day in the library with a mountain of books she had earmarked for reading next, or going to see her friend Martha. There was no in-between, not unless her father had anything to do with it. He didn’t like that Georgiana was such a wallflower.

That wasn’t any of his business. Georgiana didn’t want to go out and meet anyone, nor did she want to talk to anyone who weren’t her parents or Martha, or even her own servants. They were her safe space, something she was comfortable doing. None of them made her feel like she was being scrutinised.

Then again, the Marquis of Oxfordshire was a man who did get frustrated that his only child was not outgoing and looking for a husband. He claimed he wouldn’t push her, but Georgiana didn’t think that would be the case for much longer.

Another reason why she went for a walk—to brace herself if Oxfordshire suddenly sprung on her news she didn’t want to hear.

It hadn’t happened lately, though, so Georgiana had a feeling she was safe. She would be able to go about her business without worrying if someone was going to approach her with a question she didn’t want to answer. Not that anyone approached her often, but it was better than having everyone coming after her for something. Georgiana had no idea how her father coped.

She was humming to herself as she came back into the house and headed through the maze of hallways to the dining room. She was never hungry when she first woke, and her father had an aversion to getting up and out of his bedchamber before nine, so they often had breakfast mid-morning once they were both properly awake and hungry. Now Georgiana’s stomach was growling, and she was looking forward to eating something.

She entered the dining room to find her parents already there. Oxfordshire was sitting at the head of the table, while her mother sat in her usual spot beside him. She looked up and beamed as Georgiana entered the room.

“Good morning, my dear. Did you have a nice walk? Fulham, fetch Lady Georgiana’s breakfast.”

One of the footmen bowed and went to the buffet table at the end of the room. Georgiana had paused in the doorway, watching her mother curiously.

“Mother, are you all right?”

“I’m perfectly all right, darling. Why do you ask?”

“Because you’re not normally this cheerful at this time of the morning; I typically have you complaining that I spend too much time walking around the pond in the garden when I should be having breakfast.”

The Marchioness replied with a tinkly laugh that made the hairs of Georgiana’s arms prickle

“Oh, that. Just ignore me. I only want us to have breakfast as a family, that’s all. I push a little too much.”

Now Georgiana was feeling less hungry and more nervous. Her mother was far too cheerful at this time in the morning. She was always despairing that her husband and daughter chose to have breakfast later rather than with her. She was always an early riser, and she couldn’t wait for her family to eat, which she didn’t like. Georgiana had never seen her look like this in the mornings before.

“Georgiana?”

Georgiana jumped. Her father was giving her a strange look. He nodded to her chair.

“You can sit down. Fulham’s put your breakfast on the table.”

“Oh. Right.”

Georgiana hadn’t noticed the servant at all. Now there was a plate of food on the table, and it was making Georgiana’s stomach churn. Something was not right, and she didn’t like it at all. Taking a deep breath, she pulled out her chair and sat down slowly, looking from her mother to her father and back again.

“Coffee, dear?” Lady Oxfordshire picked up the coffee pot. “Or you can have tea?”

“I…I think I’ll stick to orange juice.” Georgiana glanced at Fulham. “Is there any, Fulham?”

“Yes, my lady.”

She didn’t look at her parents as the footman handed her a glass of orange juice. She needed to maintain her composure, and Georgiana was already feeling lightheaded with her nerves. The last time she had seen her parents this cheerful was at a time that she didn’t care to recall again. Not a time in her life she wanted to remember, after the way things went.

Something was up, and from the way her mother was almost squirming in her seat, she couldn’t wait to share the news.

Georgiana took a sip of her juice. Then another. And a bigger one. The cold hit her head and woke her up a bit more. She wished it was a brandy; she had a feeling she was going to need one.

“What news do you have for me, then?” she asked.

Oxfordshire arched an eyebrow. “What makes you think we have news for you?”

“You’re up and not squabbling with Mother, Mother looks like she’s about to burst, and she’s unusually chirpy. Something’s wrong.” Georgiana frowned at her parents. “What’s happened?”

“Why should anything be wrong?”

“How about you tell me and let me figure it out for myself?”

Lady Oxfordshire sighed impatiently. “Oh, just tell her, darling. Or I’m going to do it.”

“Ease up there, Arabella.” The Marquis put his newspaper down and put it to one side. “Georgiana, your mother and I—”

“You’re going to be married.”

Oxfordshire frowned at his wife. “I said I was going to do it, darling.”

“I couldn’t help myself. I’m just so excited.” Lady Oxfordshire giggled. “I didn’t think I’d be saying it at all.”

Georgiana heard the words, and they sank in at the same time her heart sank. She was going to be married? Out of nowhere? She stared at her father. “I’m going to be what?”

“You heard your mother, Georgiana.”

“I did, and I was hoping that I had misheard.” Georgiana could feel her heart beginning to race. It was fluttering like mad. “I thought I said I didn’t want to get married.”

“And you think you have an opinion on the subject now? You’re one-and-twenty—any older and you’re going to be considered too old to be desirable for a gentleman.”

“So what?”

Lady Oxfordshire frowned. “There’s nothing wrong with getting married, Georgiana. I don’t know why you’ve got an aversion to marriage, but everyone’s got to get married at some point. Even you.”

“But I don’t want to!” Georgiana protested. “I would rather just carry on the rest of my life alone. I’m happier that way.”

“You don’t mean that.”

“I do mean it, Mother!”

Georgiana couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She had thought her parents understood about her not wanting to get married. Without going into the actual details, she had made it clear that she didn’t want to find a husband. That had annoyed the Marquis and Marchioness, the latter especially. But Georgiana was not swaying on the matter. She didn’t want to get married.

Not if all men were going to hurt her. And they all would, in the end. Even her father, and Georgiana had never thought he could hurt her.

He was now, saying that she was getting married.

“I…I thought you would let me know when you started looking for a husband, not just spring it on me.”

“And you would be protesting the whole time. It was easier to get things into motion and finalised before we told you.”

Oxfordshire looked very pleased with himself, like he had accomplished something great. Georgiana wanted to scream. This was not meant to be happening. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“And whom is to be the man you want me to marry?”

“Patrick Pembroke.” Lady Oxfordshire said brightly. “The Earl of Reading’s eldest son.”

“Him? But I don’t know him! I’ve never associated with him at all!”

“That’s because you shut yourself away or stay with Martha. You don’t go and see people.” Lady Oxfordshire shook her head. “You’re not going to find a husband if you don’t go out into the real world, Georgiana. There’s only so much we can give you before you have to actually find a husband.”

“I told you, I don’t want a husband!” Georgiana cried. “I can’t believe you just ignored me!”

The Marquis sighed and rubbed at his eyes. “Georgiana, you’re past the prime age for marriage. Your reputation is in tatters, and this is your only chance to get yourself a husband. You shouldn’t throw it away.”

“Reputation?” Georgiana snorted. “Just because I don’t dance with gentlemen at social engagements? Because I don’t talk to people and choose to keep you myself?”

Her father frowned. “You are cold and disrespectful to people. Nobody wants to approach you because of the way you treat them.”

“If you didn’t drag me to these places, I wouldn’t treat people in such a way.”

“And you shouldn’t be going out into Society, as the daughter of a Marquis. Do you have any idea how humiliating it is for us to have a daughter who chooses to go against what social etiquette is? This is your only chance to get married, and consider yourself lucky that someone is willing to consider it, even if it’s arranged.” Oxfordshire shook his head. “I do hope he manages to turn you into a young lady, because we’ve certainly failed at that.”

Georgiana had been warm from her walk, but now she was cold. Very cold. And she felt nauseous. Pushing away the plate, Georgiana stood up and headed towards the door.

“Georgiana?” her mother called after her. “Your breakfast! You must have something to eat.”

But Georgiana didn’t stop to reply. If she did, she was going to start screaming at how unfair they were being. And she wasn’t going to resort to a tantrum that wouldn’t get her anywhere. She needed to get away.

And feel the full gravity of the situation.

She was going to be married. And Georgiana didn’t want it.

#

Miles stared at his father. Surely, he must have misheard.

“What did you say, Father?”

“I said Patrick is going to marry Georgiana Wynn, the Marquis of Oxfordshire’s daughter.” The Earl of Reading frowned. “I’m not in the habit of repeating myself, Miles, and I’m not going to say it again.”

That was what Miles had thought he said. And it still wasn’t sinking in. He stared at his brother, who had gone rigid the first time Reading had told them of his news. Patrick looked like he had turned into a statue, all the colour having left his face. For a moment, Miles thought he was going to pass out.

He touched his brother’s arm, and Patrick shook himself, pulling his arm away abruptly.

“I’m fine,” he said sharply.

He wasn’t, but Miles wasn’t going to push it. Not right now. He was more concerned with how his father had gotten them into a position where they were going to marry Patrick off to a girl they didn’t know. Miles was aware of Georgiana Wynn, but only because of how people spoke of her. It wasn’t kind.

“But…why would you do that, Father?” Miles demanded. “Why would you subject Patrick to that? And when were you going to tell us about this?”

“Why would I tell you, Miles? It’s not your future I’m sorting out. Yet.” Reading narrowed his eyes. “Although I do have a few things to say about you gallivanting about with that Alicia Howard. That’s embarrassing enough without our current financial situation.”

Miles felt his face get hot. “Alicia and I ended things weeks ago. And how I live my life is none of your business.”

“When you’re unmarried and still under my roof, it is always going to be my business,” Reading snapped. “You need to remember that while you may not care about how people see you, your actions affect the rest of the family as well.”

Miles didn’t like it when he was constantly reminded about that. He simply glared at his father while Patrick spluttered.

“But…I…where is this coming from, Father? How did you end up deciding that I would marry someone I don’t even know?”

“Come off it! How do you get to nearly thirty and not know who everyone in Society is?”

“Because she and I don’t move in the same social circles, and you didn’t answer my question.”

Reading sat behind his desk and reached for his glass. Miles hadn’t seen him drink this early in the day for some time now, and from the amount, it looked like he was considering it a celebration.

“I was in my club in London, and a few of us started playing cards.”

Miles groaned. “Father, you know our financial status is not great, and we haven’t got the money to gamble with. Why would you do that?”

His father frowned at him. “Anyway, one of the other players was the Marquis of Oxfordshire. I ended up losing to him, and I couldn’t afford the bet. So, he ended up offering me a deal. His daughter needs to have a husband, but there are no potential suitors, and if one of you marries her, then he’ll give us the money that we need for the family to wipe out the debts.”

Miles felt like he hadn’t woken up that morning. Did his father really just use them as pawns in a deal? Patrick looked just as shocked.

“You just agreed to it, just like that?” he cried. “Without consulting us?”

“Why would I need to consult you?”

“Because we’re grown men, and it involves us!” Miles snapped. “Neither of us agreed to this!”

Reading sighed. “I didn’t say both of you were marrying her, Miles, so I don’t know why you’re getting upset. Patrick’s the one who’s going to marry Lady Georgiana. We’re going to be finalising everything later today, and then your brother will be a married man next month while our debts are settled.” He held up his glass. “I think that’s enough of a celebration.”

Miles couldn’t see that as a celebration. And from the way Patrick was staring at the Earl, he certainly wasn’t seeing it that way, either.

“Father, that’s not fair! You know I want to marry Lady Joanne Ollerton.”

Reading frowned. “We’ve been through this already, Patrick. Her family has no money, so she’s not a suitable choice for you.”

“You mean, her family is of no use to us!” Patrick retorted. “I don’t care if her family doesn’t have any money. I love her!”

“And when there’s no money about, that’s not enough. She’s a nice girl, and she’ll make a good wife, but not for our family.”

Patrick looked like he was about to lose his temper. Miles touched his arm and eased him back as his brother started towards the desk. This was not a time for either of them to really lose their tempers; Reading wasn’t going to back down from this. Miles could tell.

“What does the Marquis get out of this?” he asked. “He wants to have his daughter married? Is that why he’s offering money?”

“Of course. And it works out.” Reading gestured at his sons with his glass. “You two are unmarried, so I have something Oxfordshire needs. And he has money, which is what we need. I give him a husband for his daughter, and he takes care of our debts. What’s not to like about that?”

“How about neither of us agreed to this?” Patrick snapped.

The Earl shook his head. “You need to accept that you’re not going to be able to marry who you want, Patrick. Life doesn’t work like that.”

“I’ve noticed,” Patrick sneered. “It’s all about the money. It doesn’t matter what the heart really wants, if they don’t have anything you can’t exploit.”

He turned and stormed out of the room. Miles flinched as the door slammed. His brother was normally the calmer one, the brother who kept his temper. To see him like this was worrying. If he had just been told he couldn’t marry the woman he loved and was forced towards someone else, Miles knew he would feel the same.

Reading frowned and took a gulp of his drink. “It’s good to know that I have such good support from my family.” 

“You knew neither of us wanted to be used as pawns, Father,” Miles pointed out. “And you promised before that you would never do that. So why are you changing your mind now?”

“Because we’re in need of money! Otherwise we lose practically everything. Do you want that?”

“If it means we can be free to choose without obligation, then I don’t care.”

Reading scowled. “That is why you’re the second son, Miles. You don’t understand.”

“Patrick doesn’t, either. What’s wrong with being happy?”

“It means nothing when you can’t sustain it.”

Miles scoffed. “Money doesn’t buy happiness or love. Status doesn’t, either.”

“You’re not the heir, so you wouldn’t understand. Patrick will once he’s calmed down. It’s the best position for both families.”

Miles didn’t agree with that, but he could tell his father wasn’t going to budge.

“Is there anything we can do to get us out of this? Can’t we do something so this doesn’t happen?”

“The only way out of this is for me to pay up my share of the bet during the game, which I can’t do. I don’t have the money, and Oxfordshire knows it.”

“So, he chooses to pawn off his own daughter?” Miles snorted. “I’ve heard that she’s very stubborn. I don’t see her agreeing to this, either.”

“She hasn’t got a choice. We’re going to confirm it all later today. Within a month, Patrick and Lady Georgiana will be married.”

Miles stared. “In a month? That’s a bit fast, isn’t it?”

“Earlier than that, if we can. We want the marriage to happen quickly.” Reading waved his glass towards the door. “Now get out of here and make sure you’re both ready to go at three-thirty.”

“Both of us?”

“I need someone to keep your brother in line. I don’t want him embarrassing me.”

Miles gritted his teeth. He didn’t want to go anywhere near that, but he had a feeling he wouldn’t be able to get out of it, either. And Patrick was going to need someone at his side if he was going to be forced into this.

There was no point in arguing with his father now. The Earl looked like he was going to turn this celebration into getting drunk. That was going to look good for the Marquis.

Miles left the room, wishing there was something he could say that would help his brother. But, right now, he was stuck. This should not be happening at all. True, their financial situation was terrible, and they were going to be in real financial ruin soon, but that was not of his doing, nor Patrick’s. The Earl of Reading had a love of gambling, and he threw money at anything he thought was worth it. He thought he was good at placing bets, but he was terrible. Even Miles and Patrick had figured out how to fleece their father when they were small children; his ability to hide his tricks was really bad if Miles, at five years old, could win all the sweeties. And yet Reading thought he was just going through an unlucky streak.

That unlucky streak had been lasting for years and Reading was in denial about it. Now he had put them in a situation that nobody wanted, just so he could get himself out of a predicament he had thrown himself into without thinking.

Using his children as pawns to do it.

Chapter Two

Miles was still reeling from the news. Their father had arranged a marriage without their input or consent? True, it could happen with families who were fine with doing that, but Miles had thought he and Patrick would be able to choose in their own time. Their father had promised that he would never do that to them; he knew how stubborn they could be.

Why was he going back on it now? It had to be the money. Reading’s opinion about his title was very high. He had very high standards for his Earldom, and he liked to think he was good enough to rub shoulders with the bigger nobles. He certainly had the charisma and the intelligence to keep up with them.

But money had to be a part of it, and Reading had now lost it all. From what Miles knew of the Marquis of Oxfordshire, the man liked to gamble big amounts. He had the wealth to do it, and he was a wise gambler. Unlike the Earl of Reading, he knew when to back down.

And he was taking advantage of an Earl who couldn’t afford to pay him.

Miles had a feeling that Georgiana wasn’t going to be too impressed with this, either. They didn’t go around in the same circles, so he didn’t really know her. Then again, barely anyone was in her circle; Georgiana Wynn was a cold woman. She didn’t even bother to hide it. When she was out at a ball and, on the rare occasion, she was asked to dance, she outright refused. That was a bad thing to do. She didn’t talk much, and when she did it was very short, and she had an unflinching stare that made everyone awkward. She was just…cold.

It had to be hard for the Marquis to find someone who would marry his only daughter. And he had taken advantage of someone who had unmarried sons.

Would they get any money out of this to settle their debts? He didn’t know, but if they didn’t, then they would be stuck. Oxfordshire was a gentleman, he wouldn’t go back on his word.

Would he?

Patrick was pacing around the library when Miles finally found him. Just as Miles came into the room, his brother picked up a book and threw it across the room with a snarl. It hit the wall near Miles, dropping to the floor and lying open with the pages smashed against the floorboards. Miles picked it up.

“You’re not going to do that to the whole library, are you?” he asked, smoothing out the pages. “I don’t think we’ve got anything to replace everything in here.”

“That’s not amusing, Miles.”

“It wasn’t meant to be.” Miles crossed the room and put the book carefully on the table. “Throwing things isn’t going to make it any better, Patrick.”

“It’s either that or I throw something at Father.” Patrick scowled. “I can’t believe he would do that to me! He knows that I’m in love with Joanne, so why would he do that?”

“What else? He’s been offered money, and he’s seeing nothing but that.”

“But why me?”

Miles sighed and sat on the settee. “You’re the eldest son. By tradition, you’re meant to marry first.”

“I have someone I want to marry!”

“But Joanne’s family don’t have the money Father needs.”

Patrick growled. “You’re beginning to sound just like him.”

“Don’t start snapping on me. I’m just telling you Father’s point of view. I like Joanne, she’s a lovely girl. But if she doesn’t have something Father needs and wants, you’re not going to get anywhere.”

It was painful to see Patrick go through the anguish of being in love with someone and not getting permission to marry. Miles didn’t think Patrick would even listen, but much as he wanted to go against his father’s wishes, his older brother still fell in line. Very reluctantly, but he didn’t go against what the Earl wanted.

“I wish Mother was here.” Patrick slumped onto the settee beside his brother, staring up at the ceiling with a forlorn expression. “She would be able to tell Father that he’s being ridiculous. She might have been able to stop him before it got to this point.”

“I wish she was here as well. She would be scolding him for doing it for his own selfish means.”

The Countess of Reading had always been the voice of reason. She had been calm and a good influence on her husband, always standing up for her sons. Sadly, it had been three years since she passed away, and the Earl’s gambling had gone from the occasional fun moment to doing it so much he barely knew what his sons looked like and they were practically destitute.

She would be really upset with this.

“Do you think Mother would like Joanne?” Patrick asked.

Miles frowned. “Why are you asking? Of course she would.”

“I wish they had met.”

“Well, we’ve got a parent, and we have to deal with him on our own.” Miles stretched out his legs and rubbed his thighs. “Father said we’re going to be at the Marquis’ residence this afternoon. We have to be ready by three-thirty.”

“Why are you coming as well?”

“I have no idea. Probably wants me to keep you in line.”

Patrick snorted. “As if my little brother could keep me in line. I’m going to be protesting this marriage all the way.”

“Do you really think Father and the Marquis are going to listen? We’ll just make things worse if we protest like this.”

“What do you expect me to do? I don’t want to marry Georgiana Wynn! Especially if I have no idea what she’s like. I barely knew she existed.”

Miles sighed. “She doesn’t really go out much. When she does, she’s rather…off-putting.”

“Off-putting?”

“It’s incredibly rare that someone can actually talk to her and have a decent conversation. She barely talks to anyone, and that stare of hers…” Miles shuddered. “Let’s just say it’s enough to make anyone cold. She could set someone on fire with that stare.”

“How do you set someone on fire with a cold stare?”

“I have no idea, but Georgiana Wynn has perfected the art.”

Patrick frowned. “You speak like you’ve been in her company. Do you know her?”

Miles winced. Maybe he had spoken a little too much. “I…I met her once. At a ball a few months ago.”

“You did?” Patrick sat up. “What happened?”

“I asked her to dance. And she refused.”

Patrick blinked. “She actually refused you? I thought it was bad etiquette to refuse a dance.”

“It is. But Georgiana didn’t care. She just looked right at me with a cool stare, turned around and walked away. I saw her mother try to scold her, but Georgiana simply left the room.” Miles shook his head. “I have had women turn away from me before, but never in such a public place. I heard a few other people talking about it a while later. To say they weren’t kind towards Georgiana’s actions would be an understatement.”

Public opinion was incredibly harsh when it wanted to be. But from the way Georgiana Wynn had behaved, she hadn’t cared about that. Miles had only seen her once, and then she was gone for the rest of the ball. If she was like that with everyone, it was no wonder that her parents struggled to find her a husband.

It was a shame; Georgiana was beautiful. Miles could still remember his first reaction from seeing her walk into the room. It was all he could do not to let his mouth fall open. She was tall, slender, smooth-skinned and perfectly composed. Her hair was a dark chestnut colour, pinned up with curls delicately falling down the back of her neck. Perfectly poised, looking like the ideal young lady.

Until you came close and saw the coldness in her eyes. She didn’t lose her composure, but when Miles had asked her to dance, there had been a flicker of something in her eyes. It had her composure faltering for a moment. Miles had seen it, but it was gone before he could focus on it. Then Georgiana was gone, sweeping out of the room.

He didn’t know how to feel about being turned down for a dance. Embarrassed, yes, but Miles hadn’t been able to stop thinking about that wobble. It looked like she was scared.

What was she scared of? He hadn’t done anything to her yet.

“I’m in big trouble, then,” Patrick lamented. He sat forward, elbows on his knees with his head in his hands. “I want to marry Joanne, and I’m being forced to marry a cold witch.”

“Witch is a bit harsh, Patrick?”

“What else can I call her after what you’ve just said? If you can’t warm her, what chance have I got?”

Miles didn’t know what to say to that. He felt awful for his brother; Patrick had what he wanted in life, but he was being denied it by their father’s selfish actions. And he didn’t know how he could get his brother out of it.

They had a few hours to think about it before they went to see Oxfordshire. And Miles had a feeling they wouldn’t have a way to get out of this impending marriage by that point.

“Don’t leave me with this, Miles.” Patrick looked at his brother. “I don’t want to be alone with Father and the Marquis. I don’t want to think about what they’ll make me do if I’m alone.”

“I’m sure it’s not going to be more than just having tea and getting to know Georgiana while our fathers go to talk with other people.”

“Even so…”

“I’m going with you, remember? If you don’t want me to leave your side, I won’t.”

“Promise?”

Miles grasped his brother’s shoulder. “I promise. I’ll even cover for you if you want to sneak out tonight.”

Patrick’s mouth twitched. “Much as I desperately want to see Joanne right now, I’m not going to bring her reputation into question by sneaking over to see her.”

Miles didn’t see why not. He would have done that if he were in this position. And Patrick needed someone to make him feel better after having something as important as an arranged marriage thrown at him.

#

“Georgiana, come on out of your room.” Her mother knocked on the door again. “The Earl of Reading is here, and you’re expected downstairs.”

“What part of what I said earlier didn’t you understand, Mother?” Georgiana shot back. “I’m not going to be paraded around in front of someone I don’t want to be married to.”

“You’re not going to be paraded around.”

“Yes, I am!”

Georgiana had been hoping to hide in her bedchamber for the rest of the day and claim that she was ill, but it wasn’t working. She could have the pox and her parents would still drag her downstairs. From their point of view, she wasn’t getting out of it. Now she was pacing around her room, trying to figure out how to get out of this. The only way out of the room was past her mother, and that would mean unlocking the door. As soon as she did that, Lady Oxfordshire would be grabbing her and making her sit in a room with a man who had lost a card game and agreed with her father to trade one of his sons for some money.

She didn’t want to be a part of it at all. But nobody was listening to her. Why couldn’t her parents respect her wishes? As far as she was concerned, she didn’t care if she was cold and short with people, especially gentlemen. If it meant she didn’t get hurt again, it was worth it.

An image of someone she had been trying to forget for the last two years floated across her mind, and Georgiana angrily swiped him away, swatting at him as if he was present before her. That resulted in her hitting the edge of her hand on the bedpost, and she flinched at the pain making her fingers bash together.

“Georgiana? I hurt a cry of pain.”

“I’m fine, Mother.” Georgiana massaged her fingers. Now they were tingling, the edge of her hand throbbing. “Just go away and leave me alone. You don’t need me for a discussion.”

“Yes, we do. You and Lord Pembroke need to spend time together while your father finalises the deal. It’s only fair that you get to know your husband.”

“I don’t want to get to know him!”

Lady Oxfordshire sighed. “Georgiana, you’re not a little girl anymore, and we did not raise you to be spoiled.”

“Last time I checked, Mrs Pennyworth raised me!” Georgiana snapped.

Almost as soon as she said it, Georgiana wanted to take it back. But it was mostly true; her parents had mostly left her with her nanny, Daphne, and then they had brought Mrs Pennyworth in to give her lessons and make sure she behaved like a lady. Georgiana had only seen her parents at meal times or when they weren’t in London; she had spent more time at their estate in Oxford, rarely going to London unless it was a special occasion like Christmas. Mrs Pennyworth had, in essence, raised her, while her parents had been mother and father in title only.

It didn’t mean Georgiana didn’t love her parents—it was what every family in the nobility did—but saying her mother raised her was not the case.

Even if it did mean upsetting her.

There was a moment of silence. Georgiana thought that Lady Oxfordshire had actually walked away and had left her alone. Then she heard a key turning in the lock, and her heart sank. She had forgotten that her mother was one of two people who carried spare keys for the house. Including for the locked door of her bedchamber.

Why hadn’t she left the key in the lock?

The door opened and Lady Oxfordshire came striding in. She went straight to Georgiana and grabbed her arm.

“You are not going to embarrass us now,” she hissed, her eyes blazing. “You’ve done too much of that lately, and I’m not going to have it any longer.”

“I don’t want to marry anyone!”

“You lost that right to choose long ago. You’re ruining us with your behaviour, and we’re not going to stand for it.” Lady Oxfordshire dragged her to the dresser and forced her to sit down. “Now we’re going to get you presentable and into better attire to be greeting guests. And you are not going to argue about it. Unless you want your father to come up here and shout at you?”

Georgiana froze at the thought of that. She didn’t want to do this, not at all, but her father’s anger she wanted to avoid; he was really scary when he was angry.

So she sat in sullen silence as her mother and one of the maids put her hair into something a bit more elegant than simply leaving it to fall about her shoulders, and they changed her into an afternoon dress. Georgiana wanted to fight back, but she didn’t. She didn’t say a word and was stiff as she was put into the dress, gritting her teeth as her corset was tightened more. How was she supposed to breathe in that thing? Finally, her mother stepped back and looked her up and down.

“That will do.” She sniffed. “Not what I would call perfect, but it’s close enough. Now, downstairs, and you are not going to embarrass me any further.”

Georgiana followed her out in silence, heading downstairs. Her heart was racing, and she was feeling lightheaded, although whether that was because of the corset or her own anger she wasn’t sure. She just knew she didn’t want to be here or do this.

She glanced at the front door as they descended the stairs, wondering if she would be able to get to the door and out before anyone stopped her. Then she saw how close her mother was hovering, and guessed that she would grab Georgiana the moment she went in another direction.

She did try, though. When she got to the bottom of the stairs, Georgiana turned left to head towards the back of the house, but the Marchioness caught her arm and steered her back around.

“This way, Georgiana. We’re in the drawing room.”

Georgiana remained stiff as they headed through the door and into the room. There were three gentlemen with Lord Oxfordshire, a man nearer her father’s age, and two closer to her age. They had to be the Earl of Reading’s sons.

She cast an eye over the three of them. The Earl was closer to sixty, tall and thin with iron-grey hair immaculately kept with a trimmed beard. He looked every bit a nobleman, although from the way he was looking at her, Georgiana didn’t think he cared about anyone but himself. His sons were similar in height, both dark-haired and well-built. One was a bit more thickset than the other, his hair cut closer to his head, while the other had slightly longer hair with a curl to it. Both good-looking young men, and their expressions said they would rather be anywhere else. Nevertheless, they rose to their feet when Georgiana and her mother entered the room, all four men bowing to them.

“There you are, my dear.” Oxfordshire fixed a smile at his wife as he walked over. “I was beginning to think you two weren’t going to come.”

“I was just getting Georgiana prepared.” Lady Oxfordshire’s smile looked just as forced, shooting Georgiana a sharp look. “We wanted her to look perfect.”

Georgiana didn’t respond. She simply fixed her father with a hard glare. The Marquis didn’t seem to notice, though, as he took her arm and steered her to a chair near the Earl’s sons.

“This is my daughter, Georgiana. This is the Earl of Reading.” Oxfordshire gestured at the older man. “And these are his sons, Patrick and Miles Pembroke.”

Georgiana didn’t look at any of them. She didn’t even respond. She just stared at a point over Miles’ shoulder. Her father cleared her throat, but Georgiana didn’t react. Just because they had agreed to it didn’t mean she had to go along with it.

“Well,” Lady Oxfordshire said brightly, “how about we sit and have some tea? I’m sure everyone’s parched.”

Georgiana didn’t respond while everyone else agreed. She simply sat down, put her hands in her lap and stared at them. This was not fair. She had made her opinion clear, and nobody was listening. Why was she being treated so badly?

The three parents sat together on the settee by the window as Lady Oxfordshire poured out the tea. She was the brightest one of the trio, giving Lord Reading smiles that seemed to be bordering on desperation. Georgiana kept glancing at her, and she shuddered at the sight of the smile. She knew her mother wanted her married, but to go to these lengths? How could she?

Georgiana sneaked a glance at Miles, who was sitting closest to her. It had taken a moment but she recognised him. He had approached her for a dance a few months back. Georgiana hadn’t wanted to be there, nor did she want to dance, so she had turned her back on him. It was very rude, but she didn’t care. People in Society should have known, by this point, that she didn’t want to dance, so either he had forgotten or he was incredibly stupid.

He was a good-looking man, even with his hair cut shorter than what Society was comfortable with. It would be easy to see him married; any woman would want to have him as a husband. Patrick, also; he was just as good-looking, maybe even more so. But there was a sadness about him, and he looked just as awkward as she felt. He looked like he didn’t want to be here.

Georgiana understood the sentiment. She didn’t want to be here, either.

But how was she going to get out of it?

She was still feeling lightheaded. The room was beginning to spin, but it wasn’t enough for her to pass out. Or was it? Maybe if she pretended to be faint, then she could go back to her room.

Georgiana closed her eyes and started to fall forwards, only for arms to go around her and she heard Miles’ voice close to her ear.

“I’ve got you.”



“Saved by a Seductive Earl” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

Having her heart broken in the past, the tantalising Georgiana Wynns vowed to never trust, or love, anyone ever again. When she finds out that her parents have decided to marry her off to an Earl’s son, Georgiana is determined to do whatever it takes to sabotage their plans, but it seems that there is no way out. Yet, soon, her marriage becomes the most scandalous adventure of all and when passion engulfs her…

Will she let down her walls and show her hidden, lustful side?

When his brother is about to be Georgiana’s husband, Miles Pembroke steps forward and offers to take his place. Knowing that his brother is deeply in love with another woman, it is a price Miles is willing to pay, even if this means that he has to quit his old, rakish lifestyle and live with a cold-hearted woman. Or that is what he thinks…

Will he ever manage to fulfil his lustful desires in what seems a passionless marriage?

With each passing day, the blooming passion threatens Georgiana’s carefully shielded heart and as Miles realises the fierce, flaming woman she is, someone from his past is trying to cause scandal. Will Georgiana believe Miles when he swears there is no one else in his life or will she decide it is not worth having her heart broken once again? Will the two of them manage to trust each other or will they be ripped apart by their past love affairs once and for all?

“Saved by a Seductive Earl” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

Get your copy from Amazon!

4 thoughts on “Saved by a Seductive Earl (Preview)”

  1. Georgians does not want to marry the man her father
    wants her to.So along comes his brother!
    Let’s see how this all works out!
    Love the cover!

  2. I liked very much what I read of the preview of this story! I am looking forward to getting the book when it is released.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Karen. I truly appreciate it!

      So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

      Thank you again and have a lovely day!

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