A sense of freedom and independence seem an obvious right, yet not for a female in London, England during the Regency era. A lady’s reputation was her dearest possession and she suffered through society’s judgement, her future dictated by any unfortunate accident or misstep which labeled her unfavorably. Surely learning to shoot a pistol, ride astride or swim would set tongue’s wagging if the mere slouch of a shoulder or public gesture to scratch an itch caused damage to a lady’s good standing.

Young ladies were educated in deportment, propriety, conversation, dancing and such fundamental skills as dining, all with the hope they would present themselves well and attract an advantageous match. Chaperones and proper introductions added another layer of structure and unavoidable anxiety. Females were expected to be poised, reticent, and never to laugh loudly.

Amelia Strathmore, the heroine of London’s Wicked Affair, understands these expectations, but hardly accepts them. She refuses to allow Society’s stringent rules to dictate her future without at least participating in the decisions which shape her life, and desires for her voice to be heard before she’s bartered away to a suitable gentleman. As her dearest friend Charlotte reminds her, “women are as much chattel as a wingchair or a storage trunk.” And while this is a blunt depiction of the truth, Amelia refuses to capitulate without her best efforts to preserve a modicum of choice for her future, even if it causes further scandal.

Amelia’s good intentions and refusal to compromise result in several unlikely situations as well as an impactful realization about herself. Despite she searches for freedom and the ability to maintain her own identity, she never anticipates how her quest for control will ultimately cause her to surrender her heart. It is a battle of courage and determination, but there in lies her happily ever after.

 

In Anabelle Bryant’s wickedly romantic new series, secrets and seduction go hand in hand . . .

Lunden Beckford, Duke of Scarsdale, has chosen to exile himself far from London, with its painful memories and cruel gossip. Forced back to town on business, he’s eager to make his stay as brief as possible. But first, he must honor his promise to find a suitable husband for his friend’s little sister. On one hand, Amelia Strathmore has grown into a stunning, statuesque beauty. On the other, the willful chit is more likely to scandalize a drawing room with her outspoken opinions than blush prettily. At least she agrees to accept his help—if he fulfills certain conditions . . .

Though duty-bound to marry, Amelia longs to secretly enjoy some of life’s freedoms first. In this, as in many things, Lunden proves an excellent guide. In fact, Amelia’s girlhood admiration for her brother’s friend is fast becoming something far less innocent. Lunden believes he’s known too much darkness to offer any woman happiness. Yet Amelia is starting to see how much pleasure can lie within the right partnership—especially if one is willing to be a little wicked . . .