No Regrets

No Regrets

4.6 10
by Michele Young
Caroline Torrington is large, and she wears glasses. Beside the beauties of her day, she feels dowdy and unattractive. Since the death of her father the Vicar, she and her sisters have fallen on hard times.

Meanwhile, Lucas, Lord Foxhaven, a noted rake for his wild and reckless behavior, is once again in dispute with his father, who won't give him his grandmama's


Caroline Torrington is large, and she wears glasses. Beside the beauties of her day, she feels dowdy and unattractive. Since the death of her father the Vicar, she and her sisters have fallen on hard times.

Meanwhile, Lucas, Lord Foxhaven, a noted rake for his wild and reckless behavior, is once again in dispute with his father, who won't give him his grandmama's fortune unless he marries Caroline Torrington. Lucas and Caroline arrange a marriage of convenience and go off to London for the season.

Little does Caroline know that her voluptuous body is driving Lucas to distraction. Each time he pulls back, Caroline thinks that he is disgusted by her body.

In the midst of this deepening mutual attraction and misunderstanding, Caroline gets embroiled in a scandal and is kidnapped. Lucas comes to her rescue and in a dangerous escape they discover they are each other's true love.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Full-figured, lushly endowed, and nothing like the sylphlike beauties currently in vogue, naïve Caroline Torrington can't imagine any man being physically attracted to her. So when her childhood friend Lucas Foxhaven suggests a temporary, celibate marriage of convenience in order to ensure his inheritance and secure her and her sisters' futures, she agrees. But Lucas is anything but repelled by Caro's ample curves. As the sexual tension flares between them, it takes all of his resolve to honor their agreement-an action that Caro, not unexpectedly, interprets as rejection. Misunderstandings nearly doom their relationship, until a treacherous kidnapping opens Caro's eyes and jolts Lucas into action. Though readers may be impatient with the couple's lack of communication, they will root for them to get it right and cheer when the villains get their much-deserved comeuppance. Greed, jealousy, and deceit underlie the plot of this sexy, occasionally violent adventure that is one of the launches for Casablanca's new romance fiction line. Young (Pistols at Dawn) lives in Ontario.

—Kristin Ramsdell

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4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.20(d)

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No Regrets

By Michèle Ann Young

Sourcebooks Casablanca

Copyright © 2007 Michèle Ann Young
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4022-1016-7

Chapter One

Norwich, 1816

The future had never looked so bleak. Carolyn Torrington gazed at the soapy plate she clutched in fingers raw from hot water. The white, shiny surface offered no hint of a change for the better. The gold-rimmed dish merely reflected a pair of worried brown eyes and a moon face framed by strands of damp hair. She had no one to blame but herself. She pushed her misted spectacles up her nose, trying not to choke on the strong smell of lye.

Setting the plate to drain beside the old stone sink, she hummed along with the to the sound of a lively Roger de Coverley wafting down the passage. Last year she had been a guest at the Grantham's annual hunt ball. No doubt this year she was simply a source for local gossip. They all knew about the plump Vicar's daughter who had rejected Norwich's most eligible bachelor only to find herself destitute. She winced and plunged her hands back into the suds. Bleak indeed. If she didn't find a paying position soon, she and her sisters would find themselves seeking asylum in the local workhouse.

She shuddered. Perish that thought. She'd pay any price to avoid that fate. Almost any price, she amended. Tomorrow she would visit every business in Norwich. Surely one of them required the help of a refined, well-read female. After that, she would seek rooms with a reasonable rent. Somehow, she must find a way to keep her family together.

Jaw clenched, she heaved the next stack of greasy plates into the sink, blinking as a sharp drop of water splashed up to join the moisture suddenly blurring her vision.

There was always the other way out, a small voice whispered in her head, tempting and wily. After staying away for a twelvemonth, he had presented himself at her door every day for a week. To agree to his demand would be like selling her soul to the devil, and after he'd caused all her troubles in the first place.

Perhaps not caused, she admitted with a sigh; she had his father and her own stubborn pride to shoulder that blame. But he wasn't helping matters by plaguing her daily.

And that was the reason the Granthams' medieval scullery offered the perfect hiding place. He'd never think to seek her here among the dirty dishes while the gentry danced the night away in the Tudor great hall. At midnight, the huntsmen would ride in for their trophy as ancient tradition demanded. Horses in a ballroom, for goodness' sake, and in this day and age. Did men never grow out of such nonsense?

Suddenly, the outside door crashed back against the stone wall. The antiquated flambeaux quivered in the iron wall sconces. Shadows danced wildly across the walls. The rush of cold air sent a shiver down Caro's back.

Heart pounding, a hot, wet plate pressed to her chest, she swung around to face the ebony horse and black-coated rider clattering beneath the great stone arch and into the vaulted chamber.

Think of the devil and he was sure to appear. Lucas Rivers, Viscount Foxhaven, her erstwhile best friend and rejected suitor, certainly fit the bill. Long jet hair scraped back in a queue, the flickering light chiselled his face into planes and sharp angles. A slash of black brow winged up to match the wry twist on his lips.

Her foolish heart tumbled over. By dint of will, she curbed a smile of welcome. The ton might find his antics amusing, but he'd get no encouragement from her, not any more.

How on earth had he managed to run her to earth? Or was he foxed and had simply lost his way? "If you are here for the trophy ride, you need to enter through the front door. Otherwise you will find the stables across the courtyard." She sounded remarkably calm given the stallion's size and the way it replaced good fresh air with the smell of leather and horse.

He cracked a familiar short laugh. "I know where the stables are." His deep voice resonated off the ancient stone walls and strummed every nerve in her body.

She quelled the flutter of awareness. "What do you want, Foxhaven?"

"You. Your sisters said I would find you here,' He ran a disparaging glance around the cavernous room. "I didn't think you'd sunk this low."

Not low enough, if his presence meant anything. A spurt of anger stiffened her shoulders. "There is nothing wrong with honest toil."

He glowered. "It won't wash, Caro. I'm not leaving until you agree to marry me."

"Then you stay and I will leave."

Metal-clad hooves striking sparks on the flagstone floor, the stallion moved deeper into the kitchen, blocking her exit. "I mean it," Foxhaven said.

She glared at him. "You had your answer a year ago. I see no reason to change my mind."

His sardonic gaze swept over the shapeless black gown and the mobcap she'd borrowed from Lizzie, her maid. "Really? I suppose you would sooner wash dishes than marry me?"

She shrugged. "You've had your little joke. Now, take yourself off, before something breaks and I get the blame."

"I'm leaving, all right."

Then why did it sound like a threat?

He clicked his tongue. The horse picked its way between her and the table, trapping her against the sink's hard edge at her back and a well-muscled thigh on a level with her nose.

She sucked in a breath. "Be careful, you idiot."

He lunged down and caught her around the waist. One swift jerk and she swooped off her feet. She screeched as the ground fell away in a sickening rush. For a moment, she dangled in his strong arm, then he settled her sideways across his lap with a grunt.

"Did you strain your back?" she asked with sugary sympathy.

"I expected you to be heavier."

Heavier? Wasn't it enough that she was larger than a Norfolk ewe before shearing, according to one local wit? And he was being kind.

The sight of the handsome face so close to hers froze any words she might have dredged up. The feel of his arm in the hollow under her ribs, his warm breath fanning her cheek, caused an unexpected flutter in the pit of her stomach. How could she respond in this shocking way to his touch when she ought to be angry?

Blast it, she was angry. She slammed her fist against his shoulder. A shock wave jolted up her arm as if she'd struck an oak tree. "Ouch. Foxhaven, put me down." To her disgust, she sounded utterly feeble.

"Not until you say yes." With a delicate touch he brought Maestro around the table and headed down the passage toward the assembled company.

A horrid premonition entered her mind. Her stomach dropped. "You can't mean to take me in there."

"Can I not?"

She grabbed the front of his coat and gave him a shake. "No." She kicked his booted calf.

He winced. The horse sidled, causing her to slip. She gasped and snatched at the reins. "I will not let you do this."

He encircled her wrists in a large gloved hand, trapping them against her chest.

Searing heat flooded her skin at the pressure of his knuckles against her breasts. She forced herself to ignore the casual intimacy. "I will be recognized."

"Then you should not have refused to speak to me each time I called this week. I tried to be civil. You left me no choice." His square jaw set hard, he urged the horse along the gloomy hallway.

Music and talk and laughter from beyond the ornate wooden screen grew louder. Her stomach sank to the far distant flagstones. "Please don't shame me like this."

"Give me your promise to wed and I'll turn around right now. No one will ever know we were here."

"That is blackmail."

He shrugged and the stallion pranced forward. As they rounded the screen, her captor flung the tail of his full-skirted greatcoat over her head. "One last chance, Caro," he growled.

She ducked beneath his coat, clutching it close.

In the warm dark, her cheek rubbed against the rough wool of his jacket. The scent of sandalwood and male filled her senses, while his heart drummed a steady rhythm in her ear. If the whole thing weren't so dreadful, she might be tempted to cuddle closer.

The hum of conversation ceased. The music trailed off into squeaks and then silence. A raucous male laugh rang out.

"You're too early, Foxhaven," a deep voice yelled. "And whoever you have there, she has a neatly-turned ankle."

She inwardly groaned. Her skirts must be at her knees. Heat scalded her face as ripple of titters washed up against her. She wished it would float her out of the door, like flotsam. Or should it be jetsam? She never remembered which was which. And besides, she was more likely to sink than to float.

She peeped through the gap between Foxhaven's coat and his shoulder at a thin sliver of brightly lit world, at the crowd of avid faces eager for blood. If she jumped clear and ran with her head down, she might make it into the passageway behind the screen unrecognized. She started a downward slide.

Foxhaven tightened his grip. She pried at steely fingers, then bashed his knuckles with her fist. His sharp intake of breath gave her a moment of satisfaction, until the dratted horse lurched and she realized they were ascending the wide stone staircase alongside the dais. She clutched Foxhaven's coat sleeve with a frantic moan. If Maestro slipped, they would both be crushed. "You are mad," she muttered.

A chorus of complaints broke out around them.

"Now see here, Foxhaven," Lord Grantham howled from behind them. "Get that blasted animal out of here."

Foxhaven's thighs flexed beneath her bottom. "Easy, old fellow." He leaned forward for balance, his chin grazing the top of her head. She stilled, afraid a sudden movement might startle the nervous beast beneath them despite his master's iron control.

Awareness of male strength shimmered across her shoulders and tingled her spine. The way Foxhaven controlled the skittish stallion with his knees while holding her in place filled her with awe. No wonder people called him the Norfolk Nonesuch.

He chuckled, deep and low. An answering chord of excitement thrummed low in her belly, reminding her of wild rides across open fields and childish games of Knights of the Round Table. Only now her knight's armor had lost its luster.

Drat the man for enjoying her humiliation. Nothing he could say would make her forgive this night's work. She would give him a set-down the moment she got him alone. Her stomach flipped. She really didn't want to be alone with him.

The horse leveled out. She breathed a sigh of relief as the sounds from the ballroom faded behind them. Finally, a chance to talk some sense into the dissipated idiot. Maestro came to a stop, but footsteps trotted after them. She risked a peek.

One of Grantham's servants grabbed at a stirrup. "My lord, you must turn back."

"Stand aside," Foxhaven ordered. He lowered her to the ground, careful to set her well clear of the fidgety animal, then dismounted.

Run, her mind shouted. Her feet seemed to take root.

He grabbed her arm, tossed the reins to the slack-jawed lackey and snatching a lantern from the wall, pushed her inside the nearest chamber. "This will do."

She hadn't wanted this much privacy. Not with him.

The room smelled of mildew and damp. She straightened her spectacles. The faded blue bed hangings needed a good cleaning. Moths had made a feast of the tapestries on the walls, while a fine layer of dust coated the bedside table and the carved wooden armchair by the gray stone hearth. At least here there were no witnesses to her torture.

"Let him have his head and he'll be fine" Foxhaven said to the footman and slammed the door shut.

Someone pounded on the other side. "Open this damn door or Stockbridge will hear from me." Lord Grantham again.

"Good," Foxhaven shouted back, ramming the bolt home. "I'm sure my father will be delighted. He's in London."

"You numbskull," Grantham yelled. "I'm sending for the magistrate. God damn it, man, get this animal out of here." The noise of Maestro's hooves became faint along with the sound of Lord Grantham's threats.

Foxhaven placed the lantern on the stone mantel and turned to face her, legs astraddle, hands on lean buckskin-covered hips. Encased in a many-caped driving coat, his shoulders seemed to fill the room, while eyes as dark as chocolate and twice as tempting gazed at her. Unable to look away, she licked her dry lips. It had been months since she had tasted anything as luxurious as chocolate.

A slow smile dawned on his lean face, changing it from menacing to impossibly handsome, almost boyish. "Now, Miss Torrington. One good reason why we should not marry."

A year ago his resentment at being forced up to the mark by his father had been as obvious as storm clouds on a summer afternoon. He'd flung his proposal in her face and stood waiting for her answer like a man doomed to the gallows. The recollection still hurt. She backed into the soft wall covering, widening the distance between them. "My reasons are my own and the answer remains no. Now, let me go or face the consequences."

He raised a quizzical brow. "No one down there is going to care about a kitchen wench. Half the women are green with envy and most of the men are wishing they could get away with it."

"For goodness' sake, Lord Grantham is going to fetch the magistrate. Don't you see what you have done? I'll be ruined."

He flashed his too easy smile, the one he'd perfected in London, the one that spoke of knowledge and dissipation and set her pulse racing. "That's the whole point, I'm afraid," he said cheerfully. "Agree to marry me or I shall go down and announce whom I brought up here."

She desired above all things to blame him for her giving in, but she didn't believe for a moment that he would deliberately cause her harm. Not her friend and rescuer of old. In those days his smile had been honest and true.

Dark eyes mirthful, hands on hips, he stared down at her sprawled on the grassy bank of a swift flowing stream. Lucas. The sun burnished his dark hair and turned the sky behind his head a hazy blue. His gaze dropped to the bare leg she'd been rubbing. "What are you doing, Miss Torrington?"

She whisked her skirt-hem over the aching limb. "I tripped on a tuft of grass." She smiled to hide how awkward and foolish she felt and hoped her face wasn't too red. "I was picking flowers." She pointed to the scattered cornflowers she'd dropped when she fell. "I didn't hear you come along for the noise of the water." Otherwise she might have tried to jump up and hide her foolish predicament.

He strolled down the uneven bank and hunkered beside her, the full glory of his handsome features coming crisply into focus and halting her breath. "Are you injured?"

The concern in his tone soothed her bruised ego like balm, but did nothing to ease her physical pain. "I wrenched my ankle." Now she sounded pathetic. She held back the threatening tears that seemed more inclined to flow because of his sympathy. "It is sure to feel better in a moment or two."

"Let me see." He pushed her skirt a little way up her leg and ran a long gentle finger over the blue-tinged swelling just below her anklebone.

"That must hurt like the very devil," he said. He colored. "I mean it must hurt a great deal."

They must teach manners at school. He never used to be so formal.

"It is not as bad as it looks," she lied.

He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket. "I'll bind it, and we'll see if you can walk." He leaned over and dabbled the square of pristine white linen in the fast-running shallow water.

"You should be more careful," he chided over his shoulder. "You might have fallen in the stream."

"I know," she managed to reply, unable to do more than gaze at the fascinating contrast of jet hair curling over a stark white collar. Her pulse seemed to skitter.

"Perhaps this will help." He wrapped the sopping-wet square of white cotton around her foot. It felt deliciously cool on her heated skin. His knuckles brushed her calf as he knotted the fabric.

She inhaled a quick breath.

He glanced up sharply, removing his hand as if stung. "Did that hurt?"

She shook her head. "It feels wonderful." She felt heat rush from her breasts all the way up her neck to her face. "I mean the cloth." Oh darn it, now that sounded wrong.


Excerpted from No Regrets by Michèle Ann Young Copyright © 2007 by Michèle Ann Young. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Michele Ann Young is a senior administrator in a university. She was born and educated in England and has always been fascinated by history, particularly the Regency period. She lives and works in Toronto.

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No Regrets 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book to take when you want time for youself. It has everything you want in a romance. The heroine was a nice change from the glamorous standard.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great! Plot was complete and consistant with the characters. Sexual content was not vulgar or over the top. Related well to the pudgy, plain Jane with spirit, and hopelessly in love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
'No Regrets' written by Michele Ann Young is a very delightful change, The heroine Caroline Torrington is not your typical skinny heroine she is a wonderfully voluptuous woman. The Hero Lord Foxhaven thinks she is wonderfully breathtaking unbeknownst to Caroline. These two are forced into an arranged marriage. The story...Well unless I spoil it for you and I won't so let me just say I am looking forward to reading more from the very talented Michele Ann Young.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Caroline Torrington is not the usual specimen of attractiveness--at least, in her own eyes--and she doesn't believe for a minute that Lord Foxhaven really desires her. When he involves her in scandalous behavior, however, she concedes that she must marry him or be forever disgraced. At best, she believes him coming to her rescue only to create a marriage of convenience that will satisfy society--and his demanding father--and allow him to continue his dissolute life uninterrupted. At worst, she believes he might have some misguided desire to come to the aid of his childhood friend, and she really cannot bear either motive. To find out the truth of the matter, I encourage you to read for yourself this entrancing tale of love, heartbreak, and more love. No Regrets is a masterful piece of writing, and Regency buff that I am, I have to say that Michele Young is definitely a mistress of the Regency era. From the streets of London to its grand ballrooms, the cant of the times flows without fail. You can't miss this great read. It's on my keeper shelf! Diane Davis White Author of Moon of the Falling Leaves.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A lovely break from slim, svelte heroines, Young's Caroline Torrington is refreshingly Rubenesque. Caroline Torrington, Caro, sees herself as large, dowdy and overweight, but Lucas Foxhaven finds her lush, delicious, succulent and, for a variety of reasons, off limits. When his antagonistic and controlling father demands Lucas marry Caro to maintain his allowance, Lucas chafes. To smite his father, he foolishly proposes a marriage of convenience--no love, no sex, no children, no regrets. Even before Caro agrees to this sham marriage, she's full of regret. Hurt, but in a desperate financial state herself, Caro agrees. She's always loved Lucas, but she's fat and he's fit. She knows the only way he'd ever consent to marry her is for money. Will this couple ever really get together? Michèle Ann Young's NO REGRETS is the perfect love story with wonderfully imperfect characters. I loved Caro. She's a queen-size girl with a queen-size heart who innocently fumbles her way into queen-size blunders. Beautiful and loving, she learns to see her own beauty and love herself just about the time Lucas makes some discoveries of his own. You won't regret reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michele Ann Young's Regency novel No Regrets begins in a very interesting (and romantic) manner: Lucas Rivers, Viscount Foxhaven, rides his horse into the house where our heroine, Caroline 'Caro' Torrington is secretly working and carries her off. The couple were childhood friends and Lucas cannot receive inheritance until he marries Caro, but she has stubbornly refused him. Caro, who could be called voluptuous, is very attracted to Lucas, who is rather a Rake, but doesn't believe he could ever find her beautiful. Finally, in order to provide give her sisters a stable financial future, Caro agrees to a marriage of convenience, which will be ended sometime in the future. They agree to 'no regrets.' Along the way, Caro receives society-lessons from Lucas' friend's sister, meets a previously unknown French cousin, spends time with Lucas' Aunt Rivers and Cousin Cedric (who looks after a lot of Lucas' business), and tries to win Lucas' affections (though she has actually already done so). Lucas, in reality, is very attracted to Caro, but does not want to violate their agreement or somehow ruin their longtime friendship. Unfortunately, Caro thinks she disgusts him. This leads to a variety of misunderstandings, including Caro believing Lucas has a mistress. Though the couple grows closer, Caro believes she is doing Lucas a favor by leaving him and traveling to France with her cousin to visit French relatives. Lucas follows her there, but when Caro is kidnapped (or has she voluntarily decided to remarry?), he must decide how he really feels about her. I don't want to spoil the rest of the story, so I will stop there. I really enjoyed reading No Regrets. It is a well-written and interesting Regency. Young did an excellent job incorporating the proper period elements and crafting a tension-filled love story. Lucas is a very attractive hero, with his dark hair and 'chocolate' eyes (yum!). Caro is a woman we can all relate to because she really struggles with her self-esteem and believes herself to be completely unattractive, especially to Lucas. The secondary characters add a lot to the tale, especially Caro's lady's maid Lizzie. She's hilarious. Fortunately, this book is on the long side (for a Regency), which means the reader gets to enjoy it a little bit longer. Lucas and Caro's difficulties in communicating their true feelings are frustrating---to the characters and to the reader---but that works in this story because the reader understands what they are going through. Obviously Lucas and Caroline have long-held and deep feelings for each other. As we all know, though, sometimes it is hard to express such important emotions to the most important people in our lives. I highly recommend No Regrets by Michele Ann Young.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Caroline Torrington thinks of herself as pudgy and unattractive, not understanding others view her as lush and voluptuous. Her parents are dead, and she and her sisters are destitute. As the eldest, it is up to her to find a way for her sisters to have a season when their time comes, so they might make good marriages. Enter Lord Lucas Foxhaven, childhood friend and her secret love. He offers her marriage, as he has for the past year. He won¿t get an inheritance until he is wed, and his father decided that Caroline, as a vicar¿s daughter, would make Lucas the perfect wife, providing the steadying influence he needs. Lucas is determined to wed Caroline so he can get his hands on his inheritance. She agrees to a marriage of convenience, with dissolution of the marriage later. Lucas agrees. Once in London, they both see how difficult the no touching part of the marriage is, although Caroline thinks it¿s because Lucas is disgusted with her large size. Lucas loves her lushness, but will not give in to temptation because he views Caroline as a good friend, and he does not want to hurt her. More difficulties arise, communication goes awry and suspicions blossom on both sides. Caroline is kidnapped, and Lucas finally grows up and acts like the man Caroline had always considered him to be. I loved this book. It wasn¿t at all what I had thought it would be. The author skillfully created her characters. Her heroine¿s naivety is believable, as is her goodness, insecurity, and human frailties. After he matures, the hero is very sigh-worthy. But oh, what a lovely story from the hero¿s rash proposal of marriage, all the way to the last page. This is a wonderfully told romance, and I highly recommend No Regrets.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was just terrible, so easy to predict and even skip pages and not loosing anything important. It seems like it was writhed as a fanfic and not a novel, the heroine was not some one you would identify with or even sympathy, she was just stupid and only got more stupid as you go on in the book, the hero was just a stereotype of, well a hero, he seem bad and will not go to the rules of anyone, but in hart was this wonderful human being that loves kid, eugh! the villain seems like the bad guy in some bad cheese movie. Over all was the worst book I have read so far 'and even as a fanfic I think would be bad!'