The Dangerous Debutanteby Kasey Michaels
A debutante deceived is dangerous indeed!
What makes a lady? Morgan Becket wouldn't know. The scandalous debutante is being sent off to London to have her first Season in hopes a gentleman will finally tame her. Yet shortly into her journey she meets Ethan Tanner, Earl of Aylesfordof noble blood, but surely too wild, too unprincipled, too/p>/b>
A debutante deceived is dangerous indeed!
What makes a lady? Morgan Becket wouldn't know. The scandalous debutante is being sent off to London to have her first Season in hopes a gentleman will finally tame her. Yet shortly into her journey she meets Ethan Tanner, Earl of Aylesfordof noble blood, but surely too wild, too unprincipled, too unsuited for Morgan. Or perhaps too well suited.
Since Morgan has always wanted anything everyone else says she can't have, Ethan is perfect for her. But upon arriving at Morgan's Romney Marsh home where Ethan wants to ask for her handhe's already had her bodyshe realizes her suitor may have an ulterior motive for making her his wife. And a deceived debutante is a dangerous debutante Lord Aylesford, beware!
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11 March 1812
My dearest Chance and Julia,
Warmest greetings from Becket Hall, my children.
It seems so long since your visit at Christmas-time, but we understand how occupied you must be at the War Office, Chance, what with our new Lord Wellington so busily preparing to storm Badajoz now that he has at last dispensed with opposition from Ciudad Rodrigo. Wellesley now an English duke, and even Duque de Ciudad Rodrigo into the bargain? ¡Madre de Dios! How we reward men for the efficient killing of other men in this upside-down world.
I wonder, do the honors change him, or will his good common sense prevail? With the rumblings we hear about Bonaparte possibly setting his sights on Russia,Wellington would be wise to let the Little Corsican have his head, and concentrate on the Peninsula, as I have a great respect for the Russian spirit. No one, as we both know, fights with more determination than a man with his back to the wall.
But that is a discussion for another time. There continue to be no red skies at morning, and only clear black nights, all of them without incident, and we rejoice in the fair weather. Courtland keeps himself busy about the countryside.
All else remains quiet here, or will be as soon as Morgan is dispatched to you on Friday. She'll be heavilyaccompanied until well into civilization, and should be with you by dinnertime on Sunday, unless she bedevils Jacob into some mischief along the way. I have commissioned Jacob to guard her because the poor besotted boy would die for her.
I have, however, yet to decide whether this makes the lad eminently suited for the position, or fatally flawed.
Cassandra, of course, is exceedingly jealous of her sister, and has demanded I remind you that she will be needing a Season of her own in a few years, a truth this father greatly wishes to ignore.
Fanny has not asked for the same consideration, as she remains more invested with her horse and Romney Marsh, and you know that Eleanor has made it quite plain she has no intentions of traveling to London, much less considering marriage.
I say this only in the hope you will not envision the whole of the thing at once, this continuing sponsoring of your sisters, and decide to pack your bags in the middle of the night as you and Julia flee to America.
As to America. Forgive this recluse his interest in the world. What hear you at the War Office about the possibility of war between our countries? Someone here has heard rumblings, although you, of course, cannot mention your most unreliable source if you speak to your superiors.
Were I a betting man, however, I would place my wager on the rumor becoming fact before summer.
Spencer and Rian keep themselves busy, with Jacko and some others beating in their heads with knowledge that should have been theirs years ago, while I have, as you know, made Courtland my special project for the nonce. So I suppose I should correct myself. All is not quiet here at Becket Hall, and I must say, life grows more enjoyable by the day.
MonsieurAubert, the dancing master you were so kind to dispatch, has left here a fortnight past, contemplating the pursuit of another calling, and with the protective gad a sympathetic Odette fashioned for him. But Morgan has learned her steps, if she does tend to move with a bit more flamboyance than the good monsieur felt he could countenance. Mon Dieu, but that Frenchman could weep!
I do feel I also must tell you that I have just yesterday received a rather impassioned note from the good monsieur, apologizing most profusely for allowing Morgan to tease him (the man said tease, and I shudder to consider the implications!) into teaching her the steps to the Viennese waltz, supposedly considered quite acceptable in Paris, yet, mourns Monsieur Aubert, totally offensive to London society.
Yes, son, this all comes to you in the way of a warning. If, at a ball, you hear the strains of anything you believe even vaguely Bavarian or German in tone, you might wish to grab Morgan by the ear and drag her to the nearest refreshment table, so that she cannot disgrace you in public.
Although I must tell you that Eleanor and I are pleased with the modiste that accompanied the monsieur, and Morgan's wardrobe should be most fitting for a London debutante with aspirations to set the ton on its collective ear.
It is Morgan herself, as you know, who is not quite so demure, as she is, physically, her mother's daughter. Clad in fine silks or sackcloth and ashes, our Morgan remains impossible to overlook.
But I need not tell you any of this. I know Morgan is in good hands, thanks to my dearest Julia, who could most probably whistle a herd of stampeding elephants to heel.
You will see us all soon enough, God willing, and your siblings send their love, with Courtland adding a special message that he fully expects you to pop Morgan off on some unsuspecting Romeo before the man has a chance to see her with both eyes open.
Keeping you both to your promise to accompany Morgan back to her family at the end of the Season, I look forward to regular reports of the girl's progress. Do think to spare this old man's blushes, however, and don't tell me everything my dear daughter might do. My imagination is terrifying enough. I shall hold out only faint hope there exists a man in London who will be up to the challenge she presents.
A grateful parent's thanks, blessings, and prayers on you both.
Your loving father,
Ainsley G. B. Becket
"YOU'LL BE DELIGHTED to know that my father remains the master of understatement," Chance Becket said, then handed the two-page letter to his wife before heading to the drinks table in the drawing room of their Upper Brook Street town house, to pour himself a glass of wine. "Would you care for some lemonade?"
"No, thank you, dearest," Julia said, quickly scanning both pages, then putting them down beside her. "Ainsley never worries about the cost of postage, does he? I'll read this later. Why don't you tell me what he has to say — and what you believe he was really saying."
Chance sat down beside his bride of nearly a year and took her hand, raised it to his lips. There was no sense in lying to her. "I believe, sweetings, he was warning us that Morgan could present a problem."
Julia rested her head against her husband's shoulder and sighed, for she knew Morgan, and believed Chance's words also to be in the way of a gross under-statement. "Oh, is that all. I'm already expecting problems, and I'm certain the last thing Morgan would want to do is to disappoint me. What else did he say?"
"The Red Men Gang is still happily absent from Romney Marsh, Court's still in charge as the Black Ghost, and everything continues to run smoothly on that head."
Julia straightened, thoughts of their time spent at Becket Hall rising to the surface, bringing back old memories, old fears. She'd first met Chance, met the Beckets, when she'd answered an advertisement and became nanny to Chance's young daughter, Alice. And her life had never been the same. "He actually said that?"
"No, not in so many words. But he did say it." Chance put down his wineglass and became occupied in twirling a lock of his wife's blond hair around his finger. "He also sees a defeat in Bonaparte's future and an English war with America. Why a man who never leaves Romney Marsh is still so interested in the rest of the world amuses me. That he can know so much, analyze and deduce so much, amazes me. I wish he'd come to London, join me in the War Office."
Julia squeezed Chance's hand, the secrets they shared about Ainsley Becket, all of the Beckets, already holding them fast. "But he won't. He doesn't dare be recognized, or else everything he's so carefully built will come tumbling down."
"I'm not sure even he believes that anymore. He's been safe for more than a dozen years. Well, we'll soon have Morgan, at least. That's a start. Then possibly Spence and Rian will come for a visit, and I can chase them out of every gambling hell and whorehouse in the city."
"They wouldn't do that," Julia said, then bit her bottom lip for a moment. "Yes, they would, wouldn't they? I think I'll allow you to be in charge of your brothers when they visit, and I'll watch over the girls. Do we have a bargain, sir?"
Chance grinned, then kissed her cheek. "If I'd known how easily I could be shed of responsibility for Morgan, madam, I would have been a happier man these past months. So it's a promise? You're in charge of bearleading Morgan, and any of my sisters who want to cut a dash in society, and I'm in charge of my brothers?"
Julia saw her husband's smile and reached for Ainsley's letter. "Before I agree to that, I think perhaps I ought to read your father's warnings for myself."
Chance rolled his eyes dramatically and picked up his wineglass again. "So much for my hopes. Did I tell you, dearest, that I'll be needed at the War Office almost continuously for the next three months?"
Julia's eyes had already widened as she read about Monsieur Aubert. "Oh, I doubt that, Chance. I doubt that very much. The waltz? She wouldn't dare. I may be new to society myself, but I know the waltz is frowned on — why, even Lord Byron condemns it."
"As being unchaste.Yes, I know.While Byron himself, of course, is virgin as a new-fallen snow." Chance took a sip of wine. "Ainsley seems to want Morgan married off quickly. I think that's fairly clear. Do you think we should be drawing up a list of eligible bachelors?"
"And then steer her toward them? Oh, I don't think so, darling. It's the one we'd steer her away from that she'd most likely find interesting. That said, yes, I believe I've reconsidered, and will join you in a glass. And not lemonade."
JACOB WHITING WAS SO upset he could barely keep from wringing his hands like some fretful old lady as visions of disaster evilly danced in his head. He'd thought this would be such a grand adventure.
Just once before in his twenty years had he been anywhere interesting, when he'd been taken to Dym-church to have a tooth drawn. Traveling up to London-town had come to him unexpectedly, like a special treat from Father Christmas, and traveling there with Morgan Becket was like all of Christmas and his birthday combined.
And now, not even two days into his grand adventure, Morgie was ruining everything and he wished himself back at Becket Hall, or snug in his bed above The Last Voyage in the small village Ainsley had built for everyone, listening to the old sailors telling tall tales as they drank their rum in the tap room below him.
"Morgie — that is, Miss Morgan, please. Your papa will have my head on a pike if anything happens to you."
Morgan Becket frowned at Jacob, who was proving unusually uncooperative, not to mention melodramatic. She was much more used to having him twisted neatly around her finger, as he had been from the first day he'd laid eyes on her, more than a dozen years ago.
Excerpted from The Dangerous Debutante by Kasey Michaels Copyright © 2006 by Kasey Michaels. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
USA TODAY bestselling author Kasey Michaels is the author of more than one hundred books. She has earned four starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and has won an RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award and several other commendations for her contemporary and historical novels. Kasey resides with her family in Pennsylvania. Readers may contact Kasey via her website at www.KaseyMichaels.com and find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKaseyMichaels.
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The second Beckets’ of Romney Marsh is a wonderful Regency romance starring a wild female daredevil and the Earl who matches her zaniness (after all it is in his blood)! His mother Lady Tanner is fabulous and I would so love to see her get a story of her own. I can’t think of a couple more suited and more entertaining than Morgan and Ethan. Morgan is stunningly beautiful, brave, strong-willed and free spirited. At the same time she often she can be vulnerable and innocent. Ethan's delectable good looks along with his wit and charm make him the perfect match for Morgan. These two major characters, both wonderfully drawn, are supported by a cast of characters that are as real and lifelike as everyone else. Kasey Michaels is two for two so far in what is turning out to be an intriguing, well written series.
In 1812 her adopted father Captain Ainsley Beckett sends his oldest daughter Morgan from their home in Romney Marsh to London to have a season sponsored by his oldest adopted son Chance and the lad¿s wife Julia (see A GENTLEMAN BY ANY OTHER NAME) though he fears for the Ton when the outrageous high spirited woman takes the city. On the trek, Morgan decides she needs to ride her horse over the objection of her servant. This break from societal rules enables her to meet an Earl, Ethan Tanner of Tanner¿s Roost.------------------------- Attracted to her beauty, intelligence and élan, Ethan persuades her to come to his estate so that she can prepare properly for her arrival in London with him as her escort. In fact he wants her to meet his eccentric mom who runs off any eligible female with her zany behavior. Instead Morgan and Lady Tanner hit it off as kindred sisters. As they make love and fall in love, Ethan wants to marry Morgan, but she refuses as she feels she is beneath his position in society as he an Earl and she an adopted street urchin.------------- The second Becketts of Romney Marsh is a wonderful Regency romance starring a wild female daredevil and the Earl who matches her zaniness (after all it is in his blood). The story line focuses on their relationship as everyone including Ethan wants Morgan married to him that is everyone except her. She assumes that you can take the girl out of the street, but you can¿t take the street out of the girl. The tale focuses on Ethan¿s efforts to convince her that he does not care using his eccentric mom as his proof. Kasey Michaels is two for two so far in what is proving to be an amusing well written historical series.--------- Harriet Klausner
I enjoyed this novel because Ethan was honest right from the beginning about his feelings and love for Morgan. A refreshing change to most regency romances. I was surprised that Ms. Michaels kept my interest throughout by the way she unraveled Morgan's high-spirited personality. It was a different concept and I am disappointed that other readers didn't seem to understand it.
I wouldn't sit here and write this review if i hadn't taken one for the team and read this book to completion.. it was hard to stay focused, on a story that was DRAGGED ALONG... But nonetheless, I finished the book and threw it across the bed, thoroughly disappoint at the entire day I could of devoted to a more appealing book. The characters had some depth to them, and the storyline even piqued my interest for a second, but the bare honest truth is that it is OVER-written and CONTRIVED. A novel wouldn't be a novel without vivid imagery to make the reader not only connect with the characters but the setting as well, but there is such a thing called 'OVER-KILL'. Miss Michaels was reaching for something I couldn't quiet grasp. Not that the language was difficult or the words to 'BIG', but the way they steamed together just didn't do it for me. I wanted to get into this book so badly.. a great concept and the character that were unique provided the ingredients to an awesome story, but when they came together, they must of been left on the stove a bit too long because it came out all wrong. Picture the story of a premisquious young miss who lives with her family in isolation from the TON with the intentions of laying low. Their country way of life bores her and it is time she has a proper season in London. Her father sends her to stay with her recently married brother and sister-in-law, but on the way there she encounters a devilishly hansom Earl who (taken aback by her beauty) offers to escort her the rest of the way to London. The earl, with sufficient bones in his closet, works for the war offices and unbeknownst to him at the time, is becoming smitten with his next mission. The young Miss and her family's dark secrets come to pass and true, stabilizing love has to put up a fight to remain effervescent....sounds like a smashing hit.. too bad it just didnt translate well in Kasey Michaels version... pity.. see if you can brave the storm of boredum and get to the esscences of this surprisingly complex book. Something tells me this book would be a favorite of mine if only is was written a bit better.... P.S. The end is SOOO anti-climatic!!! a perfect cruddy way to end it off.... about the book I recommended below: This book has a somewhat similar plot lines (war office, and falling inlove with the prey so-to-say) like 'Dangerous Debutante' ,but is written better. The story flows and gives you something to 'AWWW' about. Not that i am trying to dismiss michaels, but I can't beat around the bush when I describe what her writing was like (in my opinion). I did connect somewhat with the characters and the plot was fabolous, which says something to her imagination.. but execution is everything..its one thing to have a great vision, its another to make others see it =) ENJOY
I have been a fan of this author for years but not so much anymore: she used to write stories with a little sex; now she writes about sex with a little story. Most of her more recent books seem to start the "panting" on about the 3rd page. I wish she would go back to her old style of writing. It was wonderful, full of humour and terrific characters. Oh well, I guess sex sells.