My excitement is palpable! It’s only four days now until Taming Lady Lydia is live for e-readers, and I can officially bring you the passionate story of Lord Thomas Markham and his ward, Lady Lydia.
To whet your appetites for the forthcoming release, I am thrilled to be able to share a new snippet from the book. In this scene, Lord Markham is bringing Lydia to rights, and asking her to be accountable for her behaviour. Lady Lydia has been rather too indulged up to this point in her life, and it’s the first time that she has ever had to answer for her actions…
This is a pivotal moment in their story, and marks the juncture when they first collide. Lydia realises, maybe too late, that she does need to ask for Thomas’ pardon.
“My Lord, I need to apologise for my behaviour. You are right, you deserve better than my lies and manipulation.” I hesitate, looking into his face for clues about how my contrition is being received. Lord Markham’s features give little away. “I am sorry to have shown you such disrespect…”
“Disrespect and disobedience, My Lady.”
My eyes widen at his words, and I want to protest, but a simple wave of his hand tells me to halt.
“Yes—disobedience. I asked you outright at breakfast what it was that had troubled you, and you lied directly to my face. You are my ward—my responsibility—and you cannot be honest about such a simple thing. Does this not strike you as disobedient?”
I want to tell him that it does not. The untruth, whilst shameful in the light of day, does not constitute outright waywardness. I open my mouth to speak as I catch the fierce light in his green eyes. “I would not say disobedience, My Lord,” I counter as diplomatically as I can.
“Really, My Lady?” He saunters away to my left, beginning a circle around me as he continues. “Then what would you say?”
“I am defiant,” I say, wringing my hands in front of me with uncharacteristic penitence. “And I am wilful. These things are in my nature, My Lord. I fear I cannot change them!”
As he completes his circle, I find him standing back in front of me again, Slowly, his right hand raises from his waistcoat, and to my surprise it comes to rest against the left side of my face. Here his large thumb brushes against my cheek, before tucking a strand of my hair back within the confines of its bonnet. The feeling of his skin against mine is startling, and for the longest time I am unable to take a breath at all. It is at this moment that his hand ducks down the side of my face, and I feel one of his long digits beneath my chin. Without words, he uses the finger to lift my chin, so that our eyes once again lock.
“You will find that these things will change, My Lady, if you desire to respect your late father’s wishes, and remain here in my house.”
His tone is low and certainly not threatening, and yet something about his words and the intensity in his eyes sends me reeling. I feel my chest rising and falling below me, and for a long moment I am almost panting as I consider what he has told me. I have never been challenged before, least of all in such a way, and not once by a gentleman who appears to be so good at captivating me.
“I…” I stutter, trying to collect my thoughts. “I do not know what to say, My Lord.”
He smiles, releasing his gentle hold on my chin, but moving just a fraction closer to gaze down over his new ward. “Well, do you wish to stay here—at Markham Hall?”
The question is a fair one, particularly as I myself had articulated a desire to leave this place and return to my aunt in London less than a day ago. I shake my head a little as I recall my earnest appeal to him at supper, and yet now—now I find a longing to remain which is far greater than I had ever imagined. I wonder if the root cause of this new craving is the gentleman who now stands towering over me.
I raise my head and look him directly in the eyes—a little of the defiance on show for my guardian—as I reply. “I would like to remain at Markham Hall, My Lord… If you will still have me?”
He draws in a breath at my answer, as though he has been secretly burned by the words. “I meant what I have said, My Lady. I take my responsibility for you seriously, and I mean to be a good guardian. I would very much like you to remain here, with me.”
There is a twinkle of light in his gaze as he speaks, and for a moment I wonder if I have just imagined it there. As the corners of his lips curl though, I am convinced that I did not.
“What do you propose then, My Lord?” My voice trembles out of instinct as I ask him the question now looming in my mind.
What Lord Markham proposes changes the dynamic between them, and stirs an irresistible yearning that Lydia is unable to supress…
You can begin the journey to Markham Hall this Friday, 8th September. Stay tuned for the buy links!
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