Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Earl She Should Never Desire by Lara Temple - Book Blitz + Giveaway

The Earl She Should Never Desire

This very handsome earl…Is the one man she cannot fall for…
War widow Lily Walsh has left her aristocratic family behind, but she can’t deny her younger sister’s request to come to London to meet her fiancé. Though not a love match, Lord Sherborne is kind, amusing and ideal for her sister on paper. But as Lily gets to know him, she’s finding him alarmingly attractive! And the forbidden look in the earl’s eye shows the feeling is mutual…

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The engagement between Lord Sherbourne, London’s most eligible bachelor, and Anne Devenish, London’s most beautiful and well-mannered young lady, is the envy of the ton. All might have been well but for Lily, Anne’s less than perfect widowed sister. Since her arrival in London, Marcus and Anne’s perfect engagement-of-convenience has been unravelling. In this scene Marcus is dragged to attend a wedding in St George’s Hanover Square, the very church where he is set to marry Anne in a month’s time…


‘We’re here.’ Dom hopped down from the hackney and Marcus followed. He’d been lost in his thoughts and hadn’t noticed where the carriage had turned on their way back from Westminster.

Until he looked up. Those columns…those stairs…St George’s, Hanover Square, was unmistakable.

‘What the devil are we doing here?’

Dom paused with his foot on the lowest step. ‘We’re here to attend my cousin’s wedding. You promised. I agreed to go to your ball and you agreed to come with me today.’

‘When the devil did I agree to attend a wedding? I don’t even want to attend my own.’

Dom’s eyes widened and he flapped his hands in a shushing motion.

Marcus lowered his voice with effort. ‘You did not mention it was a wedding, Dom. I would have remembered that, trust me. At least I warned you I was dragging you to a ball. You might have returned the courtesy.’

‘I’m not as nice as you. I didn’t tell you because I knew you wouldn’t come. I must attend or my aunt will inform my father and that means at least four pages of vicious vitriol by the next post. But if I attended alone people might have drawn the very wrong conclusions about my matrimonial ambitions. With you here everyone will assume it was you who dragged me along now that you are set firmly down the path to wedded bliss. Problem solved. Now hush and move.’

He caught Marcus’s sleeve and tugged him towards the stairs.

Marcus called himself to order. Irrespective of Dom’s perfidy, there was no need for histrionics on his part. It was only a church. He’d been here several times for his friends’ weddings and survived intact. He’d just never noticed how noisy it was. And even with the high vaulted ceiling and wide nave with the pews raised on either side it felt…cramped and close.

The wedding party was already there, standing in the nave and filling the pews. There were others in the church, some on their own business and some waiting with evident pleasure for the spectacle. It was cheaper than a penny play and not as stuffy with body odour and tobacco smoke as the theatres.

St George’s was a fine place to idle for a stray hour.

Marcus followed Dom through the church to the raised pews on the left, relieved they wouldn’t be actually joining the wedding party below. He had his limits.

At least he thought he had. As they moved up the side aisle towards the front he glanced around the familiar church, taking in the Corinthian pillars and the barrel vault above the nave, across to…

He froze.

The pews on the other side were populated by a row of young women dressed in various shades of flowers, the silk trimmings of their bonnets catching the light filtering through the high glass windows. They were a delightful sight for the young bucks to ogle. Marcus recovered himself and shoved Wrexham into the first seat that was free.

‘Not this far back, Marc,’ Dom protested.

‘Yes, this far back,’ Marcus snarled. ‘Anne and her sister are over there. Did you know they would be here?’

Dom shrugged. ‘They must be relatives of the bride. Damnably small world, the ton.’

A very thin man with more hair than head gave them an impressively vicious look over his shoulder and they fell silent. At least outwardly. Inside Marcus was a cauldron bubbling with several of the ten plagues—there was thunder and lightning and pestilence and a strong urge to do away with the first born of the Wrexham family.

If this was Dom’s twisted attempt to prove to Marcus he was wrong to be flinging himself into a parson’s mousetrap, it was a wasted effort. He’d already come to that conclusion himself. Like most profound revelations, this one, too, had come too late to make a difference.

But it wasn’t the setting of his upcoming marriage that was twisting his gut. It was the sight of the plain straw bonnet with a single yellow ribbon amid the sumptuous millinery confections of Madame Fanchot and her like. Or rather, the sight of the face it framed for a moment as she settled into her seat.

Lily was the very last woman he wanted to see in the venue where he would all too soon be consigning himself to marrying her sister.

Perhaps the Greeks were in the right of it. According to them the Gods delighted in setting humans up to make tragic fools of themselves. They would have delighted in this scene.


Author Bio

Lara Temple writes strong and sensual Regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion. She lives with her husband, two children, and one very fluffy dog and they are all very understanding about her taking over the kitchen table so she can look out over the garden as she writes and dreams up her Happy Ever Afters.

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