To Unleash a Lady’s Hidden Desire (Preview)

Chapter One

The day had been a clear one for the Duke, Roger Egerton. There was not altogether much of a fog in the morning as was discussed earlier in the day with James, his dear, beloved cousin. He had only stayed for the announced visit for a short time, discussing the succinctness of the politics of the new political year. It was a serious conversation, but it was, thankfully, long enough to take in the marvellous views of the small creek and a just a minute hint of the greenness from beyond the eastern pasture view.

Marley had been playing up again, the dark bay that the Duke had ridden that day; a project horse. Walking sideways was his new downfall, a sudden criss-cross trot too. It was a touch like a circus type act, from one of those horses trained to do techniques that were not readily used further afield in the world of richer men. In reality, the Duke had laughed it off when James had mentioned that the animal be put down for such misbehaviours, but the Duke said he was trialling him in a way he had never tried before. A certain ‘horse whispering’ technique he had read about in the latest gazette, The Starlet, with a refreshing style of adherence that was kinder to the animal, and less fraught with disobedience punishment than was the norm in the current day. It was a stronghold his father had pursued firstly. Now the Duke sat in the garden, thinking of the fruits of the day.

“Roger, I am here now,” said the very smiling Selina as she caught her brother somewhat off guard. His imagination was as creative as her own was in that regard.

The Duke immediately smiled. He sat on the pale white bench seat, a place next to the gorgeousness of the pink rose bushes, a place he liked to reside each and every afternoon.

“Dear sister, Selina. I am so glad to see you. You look radiant in yellow today. It seems that you are competing with the sun’s brightness this day.”

Selina did look beautiful. Her hair was up and placed neatly with well selected pins. Her dress was a bright burst of yellow with the seams embroidered in tiny flowers, a creation of the local dressmaker, and made to fit her ever so succinctly. It was quite literally, made for her.

“I am sorry I missed James today,” she said, still smiling happily from the kindness of her brother’s compliment. “I was writing a letter to Cousin Francine, she and Harry will be wedding later in the year and I wanted to tell her of the dress I imagined her in last night. Oh, it was so very beautiful indeed. I hope I explained it correctly in my writing. I know I can be somewhat impatient as I describe the richness of such exciting things.”

“She will be thrilled that you have given such detailed input, dear sister. How absolutely brilliant of you.” The Duke gave a half smile. “I am so glad we can both move forward after Mother and Father’s passing. I think it is definitely time to grow, you and I.”

The big smile that had gleamed widely on Selina’s face was now a slight frown. Even the mention of her parents was something she found exceptionally difficult to bear. Her demeanour changed too as she shifted slightly in her seat with the uncomfortableness she felt as they were mentioned in (any) conversation.

“I am alright, yes, brother. I am trying to move forward with the thought of the future in mind. I feel as though we have both done such a tremendous allowance of mourning now. It is time to be happy, or at least yearn for the goodness of such a feeling inside. Without you and Jessie, Ms. Jones I mean, well, I fear I may have lost myself. Dear Jessie, yes, oh how much I love the kindness of her bountiful heart. She has made my days easier, like you, and when we go to the next ball we will both be wearing the colour that is said to be the season’s winner.”

The Duke laughed as he listened to the vibrancy of his sister’s words, knowing full well she too had been reading the gazette for intelligence on such modern subjects. He too had gotten caught up in the whirlwind of the writings each and every week. It was an affair in itself, the excited feeling from the sheer gossip and magnificence of the time.

“You will both be the most beautiful belles at the ball. It seems reasonable that this ball will see you wed. Yes, that would be a lovely change in the wind, and I do believe it is a highly likely circumstance that you will endure very soon, sister.”

“Endure? Whatever do you mean, brother?” asked Miss Egerton, questioning the unusualness of the word as given by her brother.

“Well, men can be… Let me see, I am trying to think of the word I am meaning. Is it logical, perhaps?” he asked, beaming a wide smile.

“Yes, I guess they are that, definitely. Oh, how I want someone who is interesting though. A man who loves to read and who discusses the modernisms of the day.”

“Yes, I suppose you do,” said the Duke. “And I dare say you will have it, darling Selina.”

“Oh, I do hope so, brother. I long to find a husband I can share my life with. London can be so… No, I dare not say it so as not to sound ungrateful.”

“Say it if you like. You are talking with me now, and in the utmost privacy. Only the birds can hear us, and they have better things to do than to gossip about our whining.”

“Well, the word I wanted to use was tiresome. London can be tiresome sometimes.”

“Yes, my dear, it definitely can be. I think you definitely need a husband to override the sheer boredom of it.” The Duke laughed loudly and Miss Egerton giggled slightly, still remaining in her upright position, the product of being a lady of the household, but still the true essence of hear dear mother; now passed.

It was the similarity to his mother, with the cover of his sister’s right hand over her mouth, just as she giggled that made the Duke feel happy. He wanted only the best for his beautiful sister, the kindness in her could beat that of twenty women, and her loveliness was something far beyond what the imagination could even fathom or unfold within the best poetry ever written. For whoever would get her hand in marriage would be blessed in every way. He knew it from when they were children. Her golden hair and those deep blue eyes, it was like looking at a goddess with a mystery to behold. The treasure within Selina was something unmatched; he had never seen it in another, except his mother, of course.

Leaning forward, Miss Egerton caught her brother’s attention. She had a distinct look of naughtiness, a glint of mystery in her eye. The Duke knew she was about to say something forward thinking, or maybe, perhaps, something to tease him. The familiarity in her look made it more than evident to him.

They were interrupted by Dudley, however, the upper servant butler who now discreetly walked through the garden archway, the one which was married with lilies and petunias, an executive thought given to the gardener by the late Agatha Egerton, Roger and Selina’s kind-hearted and very creative mother.

“Yes, Dudley, what is it?” asked the Duke, keen to understand the impromptu interruption.

“I am delighted to say that Ms. Jones has arrived, and is sitting in the parlour awaiting Miss Egerton’s arrival, Sir.”

“Oh, it must be three o’clock already,” said Ms. Egerton excitedly. “Oh, may I be excused, please, dear brother?” she asked quickly.

The Duke looked kindly to her and then to Dudley, who was standing like a bean pole and awaiting the chance to be dismissed. “Yes, of course, sister, go now. The time flies by so wistfully these days. Thank you, Dudley. I am grateful for your adapt reminder. And please, Dudley, call on Mr. Dutton to have me measured for the ball this coming Saturday. I do hope it is not too short notice for him to come tomorrow at nine.”

“I am sure he will be contented to make his way here to fit you out, Sir. He has been inundated with orders of late, but has been awaiting your need for his duties.”

“Good, I will be ready to see him then. Is there anything else?”

“No, Sir. I mean, well…”

“What is it, Dudley? You don’t need to be shy with me, man,” said the Duke, becoming more and more agitated by the waiting for words from his butler. It seemed to be something that was becoming a habit of late.

“It’s Mrs. Barker, the cook.”


“She cannot find the recipe for the chicken dish you asked for. I’m afraid her memory is not what it used to be, not at all.”

The Duke gave a half smile, still semi-serious but secretly laughing about the entire breadth of the character of the curious woman his mother had hired over a decade ago. She was the most hilarious woman the Duke had ever come across. She was matter of fact, entirely forgetful, astonishingly ingenious in the kitchen, and the biggest drama queen, for want of better words; he had ever known. In truth, she had the sass of Cleopatra and the mystery of Joan of Arc, a striking combination when mixed with cookery, and one hell of a thing to listen to as she bossed the other servants around, as if she were a queen from some distant land, needing things quickly and wondering why on earth no-one could ascertain her meaning. And yet, she was also fiercely kind, a woman of integrity and fairness, but not someone to argue with, especially over the cutting techniques of potatoes.

“It will show up eventually. I am sure Mrs. Barker will enlighten us with some other chicken creation, something delightful and mystifying, I am certain of that. You are excused, Dudley, I mean, if there is nothing else at hand.”

Dudley cleared his throat, obviously trying to not be nervous, although coming across as more so than when he had asked about the plight of Mrs. Baker’s unfound recipe. “Well, there is one last happenstance that needs your approval. It seems that Mr. Waverly, the gardener, he is asking for a week’s leave so he can visit his brother in Yorkshire. The funeral for their father is…”

“Yes, of course. Please make sure Mr. Gregory does his share of the work so that my mother’s roses do not become unkempt. It pains Ms. Egerton when the garden becomes unruly. This is our haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, and so please remind Mr. Gregory of the importance of such a task and make sure it is within his grasp. I expect that Mr. Waverly will exact him to the cause of the garden’s tending.”

“Yes, of course, Sir. He has already begun the instruction of it.”

“Excellent. Thank you, Dudley. I will have some tea in the dining room and read the gazette at four. I am sure I will need some fodder of thought before dinner time. I truly cannot wait to see what we shall be served up this time. It always intrigues me so.”

“Yes, Sir. Thank you. I shall ensure your afternoon tea is ready for four.”

The Duke sat alone for a while longer, and after a time he could hear the voices of his sister and Ms. Jones in the garden. He carefully noticed the maroon fabric of Ms. Jones’ day dress. She looked altogether radiant and her face was slightly flushed from the walk. In truth, he had not noticed her like that before. She too, had become a woman, like his beautiful sister. He noticed, quite instantly, her long black hair, and it was the colour of a raven’s feathers. It was half tied up and the rest flowing down the back of her dress, with slight curls bouncing as she moved, walking gently alongside of his sister. He was taken with how wonderful they looked together, sharing ideas and talking about their love of going to the ball. He could not quite make out what they were saying, but was still ever so eager to watch their happy and allowing natures. It seemed so natural the way they were together, similar to how he and his cousin James were. They each gave each other time to speak and would actively listen to the other. In his mind, it was exactly how great friends, kindred spirits should be.

Chapter Two

The Duke had looked at the women for long enough, and when doing the checking of his own fob watch, realised that it was getting close to afternoon tea time, a time where he would thoroughly enjoy reading the new instalment of the gazette news. He imagined for a moment that his cook was a feature in there, telling stories about her own servants and how each of them might get in the way, right before dinner time and at the most crucial of moments. The thought of it made him laugh out loudly, and then he began walking through the colourful archway that was his late mother’s piece de resistance, as the French would call it. Her love for the French language was something she had savoured, like the books about flowers she had brought from her travels throughout England, always buying them as she visited delicate shops that stocked such beautiful and inspiring writings. At times, his father, Albert had thought it somewhat ludicrous, reading about flowers and their histories in encyclopaedic terms. He had scorned her once, but seen the avid look in her eye for her want of knowledge for such things, and from there he had allowed it. Albert knew only too well that she longed for knowledge, just like his beautiful daughter, Selina also craved.

“Roger, Roger! Oh, do stop walking so quickly.” He heard his sister’s voice calling to him in a lovely tone. She always did sound like his mother, and at times, he could nearly have sworn that Agatha had come back from the grave, may God rest her soul.

“What is it, sister? You can’t run in those shoes,” he said, trying not to tease too much.

“You’re coming to tea with us. I am inviting you to join Ms. Jones and myself. We’re going to have it at the Gazebo at four. And never mind telling Dudley, I have already pre-arranged it myself. The setting is ready and waiting for us there already.”

The Duke watched on as Ms. Jones walked up alongside them both; her dress was so flush at the bottom, with a hint of lace that was seamed so well at the bottom. Jessie, Ms. Jones was wearing a kind smile, seemingly happy to spend time with the siblings together. In the past, they had rarely spoken, with Ms. Egerton taking the reins so quickly in every single meeting that they had enjoyed, always accompanied by Davis, Ms. Jones’ chaperone. He was the man who always walked so solemnly in the background, seeming to enjoy the succinct aroma from the flowers, including the roses, so prevalent at this time of the year.

“How do you do, Ms. Jones? I would be delighted to join you and my sister for tea in the Gazebo. Let us walk there together so that we are not late for the hotness of it. Cold tea is a meddlesome dislike of mine. Only a small thing really, but something I cannot seem to push past in my likings of things.”

Ms. Jones smiled a dutiful smile, something she had learned from her own mother. Politeness was a subtle trait learned well and practiced on a daily basis at the Jones’ household. There family was one of the richest in London, making their way in the world through stocks and bonds, and other necessities of day to day banking.

Ms. Jones spoke sweetly, “Yes, I completely understand. I too do not envy cold tea. It seems to have a slightly bitter taste in the course of consumption if it is left for too long. I am also delighted that you will be joining us both. Thank you.”

“Oh, I long to try dandelion tea. I read about it in the gazette last month. Apparently, it can help with all manner of things in regards to the healthiness of someone’s bodily functions and the way it behaves on a scientific level.”

The trio sat down and continued talking about the varieties of fine teas available in distant lands, with India being a main idea that Miss Egerton cannot seem to let go of.

“They have gigantic plantations there. I read all about it in one of Mother’s fine books. I simply cannot get enough of those books. I can still remember when the governess used to ask my mother to borrow them. She was both intrigued and delighted at the course of explanation in them. She said they were like encyclopaedias but better, because some of them had very artistic drawings adorning them. The pages were said to be ‘filled with sunshine,’ well that is what she used to say.”

Ms. Jones looked over to her friend, astonished at the delight she had in books. “I like reading novels. Some of the newer ones have mystery in them and it is hard to guess what will occur next. They keep you on the edge of your seat. That is how my Uncle Jeffrey explains it. They have lots of genres now, and I simply love that word as the expression of how a topic is. Like mystery…”

“Or romance,” Ms. Egerton chimed in, just as her hand was placed over mouth so she might giggle.

The Duke and Ms. Jones laughed together, as if on a schedule of sheer timeliness together, and then they caught a glance of one another, with Ms. Jones looking downward, signalling her politeness and slight flushed demeanour from looking into those mesmerizingly-blue eyes. His eyes were much like his sister’s, but with a hint of sadness behind them.

The Duke felt a slight pinch of uncomfortableness, having spent time with many people of late, including the upper and lower servants, and also including an array of well wishers who had come to pass on their condolences about his mother and father’s sudden death. The disease had taken its toll ever so quickly, and he had not seen it coming so fast as it did. It had seemed to swallow them both up within its grasp, without allowing for much of a chance of fight for either of them. It was like a nightmare that came quickly, spinning the untidiness of death and making it known so fervently, disallowing the body to better itself, even for the needs of the children, Roger and Selina. The Duke hated science now, for it had not managed to save his own kin, and he had believed in the practitioner who had said that it would all go away and in time that it would all “…be alright.” It was a time of hell on earth for them both, being unable to stop the reality of their parents’ passing, and a time he longed to forget in his mind; to get the pain to go away.

The Duke spoke, he said, “I like reading too. Sometimes the politics can be exciting, but now I like the idea of writing I think.”

Miss Egerton looked at her brother in surprise. “Really?’ she asked. “I did not take you for a writer. What will you write about, brother? Have you any writings already? I cannot believe you are only sharing such things now. I am usually so good at guessing.”

The Duke looked at his sister and after taking a sip of mildly hot tea he smiled. “I have nothing in the works as yet. Well, Shakespeare himself would not know if I did. I do like his writing, don’t you?”

“Yes, he was an entirely clever man, and although shrewd at times, I do not think the reading of such works would have been insistent in the same way. What do you think, Jessie?’ asked Miss Egerton, eagerly awaiting her friend’s ideals on the subject at hand.

“Well, my favourite is of course the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. It was such a brilliant, romantic story. Although the way it ends is something my imagination was not at all entirely ready to partake in. Imagine that, the pity of those families, how unashamedly horrid it was. Love should not be tampered with in any sense of the word. There are poems I have read recently by Blake that also state that fact.”

The Duke was delighted to hear Ms. Jones’ take on Shakespeare, she seemed quite evidently taken by it, as was he. He felt that he would enjoy discussing these things more with her, as he very much enjoyed the contents of her voice. It was far less hurried than what he was accustomed to, also having a calm and sweetness of tonality to it that made him feel like he could hear far more. He found himself eyeing her more often than a friend should do, but was quite unable to tame himself from it, without consciously putting the effort forth to do so.

“Do you like Blake, brother?” asked Miss Egerton.

“I am not sure I have read much of his works, except what was printed in the gazette more recently. I like William Wordsworth’s modern works. He takes the sweetness and tends to distil it down into a peace, an essence that comforts the reader somehow. I do believe it is quite hard to put my finger on exactly how he does this. It makes the mind dwell there, when reading his work, it seems quite contemporary.”

“Yes, quite,” added Ms. Jones, flushing a little, which was well noticed by the Duke’s consistent, wandering eyes.

The fact that Davis was only yards away felt a touch annoying to the Duke. He would have enjoyed a distinctly private moment of talking to Ms. Jones for hours on end, just like he had always done with his sister. But in truth, the Duke knew that his sister was the top of the heap, for want of a better word, in terms of marriageability. She had longed for it so much in the months prior to, and after their parents passing. He was determined that she be wed before him so that he may rest assured in the knowing that she had herself well tied to another, first and foremost. He felt it was his duty to ensure her happiness above his own and, Ms. Jones, although alluring, was merely a friend. In reality, she was his sister’s best friend, and showed no interest in him anyway, other than the kindly chat they shared whilst sipping tea on that same afternoon. He would need to place his thought of marriage on the backburner for now, delighting only in seeing his sister become betrothed to a fine man of good standing, and hopefully a man who enjoyed talking a lot, just like Miss Egerton did.

The tea was served again, with the steam circling out from the silver teapot, ensuring the gladness of the Duke and his sister and friend. There were tiny cakes with flowers atop them, a newfound creation done by Mrs. Barker, and highly approved by the ladies who are stunned by the intricate details placed into them.

“She is a wonderful woman. I cannot believe how clever she can be in her skilled cookery,” said Ms. Egerton. “And they taste just like cake mixed with strawberries, but they are yellow. It defies my entire imagination on how she enables this mastery.”

“Our cook is simply divine. Everything tastes like it was made in heaven, although Mother is not impressed with Miss Cooley’s desserts. They are always too sweet, so Mother says. She believes that sweetness can bring indigestion, especially to Rupert, my brother. He likes sweets a little too much I’m afraid.” The Duke listens intently as Ms. Jones speaks. “Rupert is doing well under the new governess. She loves to let him do Math, his favourite subject. Ms. Westlake is quite intellectual when it comes to mathematical problems. She can also understand three other languages, or so Rupert says.”

“Good heavens! Three different languages. She must be a spirited genius,” said Miss Egerton. “I always found the learning of language, other than English, to be very difficult indeed.”

“It is a well known fact that speaking other languages denotes your intelligence. The more languages you can speak; the more intelligent you are,” added the Duke, slightly teasing his sister on the subject.

The Duke was in a cheerful mood, showing it through his disposition and in the cleverness of his words. She teased slightly too, but without pushing him too far. She questioned, “And how many languages are you fluent in, sir?”

The Duke was taken aback by the slight cheekiness of Ms. Jones’ words, having sprouted them out more than confidently, and him being unsure of how to respond, either intelligently or with a pandering to his own ego.

He responded with truth, speaking seriously but without too much of a show of pride. “Eight,” he said, forcing himself to not smile, but wishing he could laugh aloud at the unexpected change of face he witnesses in her, and right in front of his very own eyes.

“Goodness, eight?” Ms. Jones asked, looking to Miss Egerton to support the lengthy, impressive claim.

“Yes he can, he is an intelligent soul, my Roger, aren’t you brother?”

“It seems so,” the Duke said, trying to keep a calm face as he watched the face of Ms. Jones become both amused and entertained by his intelligence. It was a sight he wasn’t altogether used to witnessing.

Chapter Three

The beautiful landscape had seen the rain; picturesque in its entirety the north paddock seemed as lush as ever in the Duke’s mind. He loved riding, and today was a special treat, getting to see Ms. Jones again; at the request of his kind sister, trying to enable him to get over the loss of their parents too. The Duke would often spend time riding with his father, talking about events coming up on the social calendar, and of the works of Shakespeare, comparing him with other classical writers. They could never find a better one though, and the discussing of the plots at length was down to a mastery of philosophical ideas and ideals, as well as character discussions, referencing the main ones in greater detail as they studied their roles for comparison.

The grass looked magical to Roger as he watched the women riding ahead of him. They were in deep conversation about the details of the dresses they were each going to wear for the ball. The Duke was trying his hand at horse whispering, taking a slight backseat as he ‘spoke’ to Marley, using his voice to calm the animal more decently. His father had shown him the beginnings of the horse whispering ideal, something he had read about that made him feel more content about rearing the animals, and explaining how the servants should also relay their behavioural nuances toward him, the majestic animal he had always loved so much. So far, the Duke had noticed some changes, but it was a field requiring less science and more forward motion in terms of energy and emotional exchange with the animal and the human. It was a topic he longed to write about, maybe for the gazette, in time, and once he worked out exactly how to maintain a big eighteen foot beast without the need for whips and extra harnessing. It was something he took pride in, and his sister loved to allow him the time to do what he enjoyed, giving him space on the ride to give his talking commands to the wonderful creature.

“He looks beautiful, brother. Majestic even. Father would be so proud of what you have accomplished with him. It’s very amazing how far he has come in just three short months.”

The Duke nodded at his sister, still a few decent yards away from the pair who were now stopped and waiting, in a bed of gorgeous wildflowers that had just bloomed. The Duke could notice the lavender in Ms. Jones’ dress, easily matching the pinkness and the essence of the flowers below her own feet, and pushing eagerly above the ground, blocking the chestnut’s hooves quite easily. He had to remind himself to answer his sister, not realising how long he had taken to eye Ms. Jones and her quaint steed.

“Indeed, has it been three months already? Good gracious, well that went quickly. I will endeavour to make my rides a half hour longer so he is ready for the visit from Aunt Kathryn. She is excitedly anticipating the success of her own bay, if it works on Father’s.”

The Duke was taken by the look in Ms. Jones’ eyes. She too was carefully studying him, sitting eagerly atop his father’s horse that is prancing some, as if to show off in front of her somehow.

“I think it’s delightful up here. You can see for a long way down to the creek. I wish we had a decent-sized creek on our land,” said Ms. Jones. “But, we do have a lovely garden with a fountain, so it is still worth being grateful for. There is just something so magical, so intriguing about a body of running water. Moving over the rocks with force, especially after the rain. I also delight in the sounds of it. Then there are the frogs too, they make such a lovely, enchanting sound. I am so grateful to be here with you both right now. Thank you.”

The Duke is happy to be under the sun, on his father’s horse and in his sister’s and Ms. Jones’ company. He feels alive, as if he is riding free with his father, safe in the knowledge that the estate is being taken care of with his mother leading the upper and lower servants, all with the help of her own imagination. And, she would sometimes even get happier than that, delighting in the changing of furniture, or of the decor too, or helping Mrs. Barker to be a delightful spectacle in the kitchen. In fact, being out and riding with the women made him feel like everything was alright again, as if everything wasn’t lost, or even coming undone at the seams like it had felt when his parents had died, just a few months prior, in the dead of night. It had been one of the saddest, loneliest feelings in the world to lose both parents within days of one another. First his mother and then his father, probably losing the will to go on and fight the damned disease because of losing the one he loved so much. Yes, Agatha, the beautiful wife who brought so much life and brilliant joy to the entire household. And even the servants loved her, Mrs. Barker especially, who always went the extra mile to impress Agatha, to entice her into a creative mastery that was like watching art in real time. It was like the splash of paint on canvas in the works, or even a poem with a hidden meaning so deep that only few people could understand it.

“I am so glad we could ride today. The flowers look so elegant even if they are as wild and unkempt as they are,” said Ms. Egerton.

“Yes, the view is superb,” added the Duke, secretly knowing he was discussing the fact that he was looking at Ms. Jones. The loveliness of her was better than the spring, in his mind, and a definite sight to behold amongst the bed of wildflowers, accentuating her loveliness ten, no; one hundred fold.

Ms. Egerton had her hand over her mouth and was giggling again. “I am not entirely sure that my dear brother wants to discuss the future betrothed. It may not be something that is of exceptional interest or importance to him, Jessie. Or is it, brother?”

“Well, if I may say, sometimes I dream about my future betrothed. I do believe that one day the beloved who I choose will be a suitable one. And definitely, definitively someone who is not boring and enjoys long conversations with me. She will, no, she must enjoy reading and discussing alternative poetry and even be interested in politics, perhaps?”

Miss Egerton looked up at the bountiful blueness of the sky. “Politics? Goodness me, I am not altogether sure there is a lady who is taken by the subject at hand. I think it is less romantic than the emotional breadth of novels and of real, deep seated poetry that has the heart longing, yearning for more. I want a husband who is easy on the eye. Yes, someone I can stare at for hours as he reads or does his own reading of politics. I am not shy to say that I would most like a handsome man. I want him to love me as if I am the last woman upon the earth, and I want him to feel my love for him and the many children we will share together. Oh yes, he must be longing for children as much as I am. I hope he has deep brown or hazel eyes, and I also hope he has a long jaw line that denotes a strong wisdom and good temperament too. Oh, how I long to have a husband who is my dream come true.”

The Duke and Ms. Jones locked eyes for a moment, signalling their enjoyment of the day with one another, and it was obvious that they were not entirely listening to Ms. Egerton’s long-winded speech about her very unreal, and yet to be ascertained husband to be. It seemed for a moment as if time had stopped, and it was as if the wonderment of the beauty of the day had taken over their senses. There was the pollen; the buzzing of the bees so close by to the wildflowers that seemed to dance at the feet of the steeds. It was a truly magical day, both temperature and weather wise, and Ms. Egerton very much seemed to be still caught up in her avid dreaming about a beau. There was a silence; a fortitude that seemed to last for minutes, and then the Duke’s horse began to paw at the ground, waking him up from his reverie of both the beauty of the day and the company he kept with his dear sister and her kind-hearted best friend, Ms. Jones.

“You are both not listening to me now! I know how much I rave on about dreams and things. I do apologise to you both for hijacking the conversation ever so much. I am just so eager to be married and I long for gorgeous, beautiful children too. I believe I shall be a kind mother and one who sings for them after suppertime, just like our mother did for us. I really hope I can be a wonderful mother. Oh, and there I go again, talking on and on as if I am the only one here. I will silence myself for a while so you may take in the scenery,” said Miss Egerton, trying desperately hard to quelch herself, but still seeming to be in her own reverie within her imaginative and dreaminess of mind.

“It is fine, sister. You are allowed to dream. And even if it is aloud it means that God will only know it more. He will hear your requests just like you would do within a heart-filled prayer, and so I believe he will offer these things to you. You do deserve a beautiful life.”

“Yes, your brother is correct. God hears you as we both do this glorious day. We are lucky to witness it before its occurrence, dear Selina. And one day we will know it has happened from this longing you have made public here today,” said Ms. Jones, smiling kindly at her best friend, and then reining her smile in slightly as she looked towards Roger.

The Duke was in awe of her curls again this day. They seemed to be endless as they fell to her breast, seeming so light and fragrant too, and just as the smell wafted to him. Or was it the wildflowers? He couldn’t altogether be sure. Either way, he liked what he smelled and saw, the whole morning had been calming to him, and in a way he could not yet explain within his own logical mind. Ms. Jones was more than elegant. She was kind and fragrant of body and mind too.

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Roger Egerton, the most wanted Duke in London, was terribly saddened by the loss of his dear parents. Hopefully, his sister’s more romantic and idealistic view of the world dragged him out of his misery. He longed to achieve his own happiness too, but finding a perfect match for his sister, Selina, must come first. While everything seems to go as planned, there is something devilish behind the scenes, ready to destroy their happy reverie. How cruel can fate be to a man who already experienced loss in the most brutal way?

Miss Jessie Jones and Selina grew up together and became best friends for life. In fear that her secret love for the Duke could ruin their friendship, she never expressed her true feelings. But when Selina goes missing, she has no other option than to work along with the Duke to find her. Will she be able to hide her sizzling desire for him? Or will she blow everything up?

The Duke found himself in a battle he could not face alone. But when she gets butterflies in her stomach every time he’s around, will she be able to behave herself, and help him solve the mystery? He will need all of his strength to navigate through this situation, and true love would definitely have to wait for the right and proper time. But what if the Duke feels the same temptation when she’s around, and he can’t wait anymore? Will he risk it all for love?

“To Unleash a Lady’s Hidden Desire” is a Regency romance full of passion, forbidden love and adventure. If you like powerful heroines and mysterious lovers, then you’ll adore Lucy Langton’s Regency tale.

“To Unleash a Lady’s Hidden Desire” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

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8 thoughts on “To Unleash a Lady’s Hidden Desire (Preview)”

  1. Love the unwrapping of the Duke’s and his sister’s personalities, as well as Ms Jones’ and the people around them in these first few chapters. I feel like I was sitting/riding with them and so want to know more about them and the turn their lives take as the story unfolds. I can’t wait to read the whole story!

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