The Marquis' Kiss by Regina Scott
No one in Regency London would guess that the outspoken Margaret Munroe hides a secret: she is hopelessly in love with the dashing Marquis DeGuis. But such a paragon would never look at an impoverished miss who's been dubbed an Original for her unorthodox ways. That is, until the fellow all but tumbles into her lap at a ball.
Thomas, Marquis DeGuis, is still smarting from two disastrous courtships, but his own secret drives him to marry quickly. Why not try the Original Miss Munroe? From her ideal of living in the moment to her active role in helping the poor, Margaret challenges him. Could a kiss be all it takes to win a bride who is truly one of a kind?
Book 3 in The Marvelous Munroes series, sequel to Catch of the Season. Tagline: The Marvelous Munroes: What could be more marvelous than falling in love?
"Regina Scott delivers another winning romance. Her fans will be thrilled by this latest release, and so will you!" Affaire de Coeur
"Ms. Scott serves up a light morsel with clever dialogue and engaging characters." RT Book Reviews
Here's a taste:
Could it be that he had been letting a pretty face and a composed manner dictate his choice of bride?
Thomas could only wonder how many other young ladies of the ton would have thought of his happiness rather than their chances of taking Lady Janice's place in his affections. Miss Munroe's unlooked for devotion was so kind, he brought her hand to his lips and kissed it. The redoubtable lady stumbled, and he had to help her back onto her feet.
"Sorry," she mumbled, swallowing convulsively. "Must have been a bump in the floor."
Thomas looked away to give her a moment to compose herself, marveling that so small a matter as a kiss on the hand could be so disturbing. He had used the gesture any number of times with other ladies to show appreciation. Certainly his other kisses did not engender such a response. He pushed the painful thought away. That's when he noticed the number of people staring at them. Across the room, Pinstin grinned conspiratorially at him.
Thomas frowned. Even without a second dance it seemed the ton thought he had shifted his affections. The rumors would do his reputation, and Miss Munroe's, little good.
She must have seen the stares as well for she gave his arm a reassuring squeeze. "Do not let them trouble you, my lord. None of them would seriously believe you are courting me. I'm an Original. You have much more refined taste than to hook yourself up to one of those."
Refined taste he might have, but it had not won him his marchioness. The young lady on his arm had already showed herself to have more appreciation and understanding than either of the young ladies he had previously courted. He wasn't ready for another courtship, but he could not allow the gossips to say he had been using Miss Munroe, as would undoubtedly happen if he did not further their acquaintance. He stopped their walk and bowed to her.
"You underestimate yourself, madam," he told her truthfully. "I find myself intrigued. Are you free next Friday, around three?"
She was staring again, but this time she appeared to be in shock. "Yes, certainly, what, whatever time is convenient," she stammered.
"Until then," he replied with a bow. As he turned to leave, he told himself he ought to be depressed. He'd been turned down again and had precipitously decided to investigate a woman who could only be called unique. Yet he felt absurdly pleased with himself.
Perhaps there was something to be said for Margaret Munroe's insistence on living in the moment.