Read A Family Affair Online

Authors: Jennifer Wenn

Tags: #Regency

A Family Affair

BOOK: A Family Affair
4.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Epilogue

Thank you for purchasing this publication of The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

A Family Affair

by

Jennifer Wenn

The Royal Family, Book One

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

A Family Affair

COPYRIGHT © 2013 by Jenny Wennergrund

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Debbie Taylor

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First English Tea Rose Edition, 2013

Print ISBN 978-1-61217-824-0

Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-825-7

The Royal Family, Book One

Published in the United States of America

Dedication

To Stefan for being humble

Prologue

August, 1801

“I would be an excellent wife.”

Fanny could tell she had surprised him with her daring boast. Devlin Ross closed his book and stared at her with disbelief.

“Excuse me?”

No time to waste. Not now when she finally had his full attention. When Uncle Rake dashed out the front door alone, she knew his friend would be somewhere by himself. He’d mentioned the book from school, the one he had to read before their summer holiday was over, so she’d started her search in the library.

And luck was with her. She found her hero by himself, lounging in a comfortable armchair surrounded by shelves containing thousands of books.

“I would, you know,” she continued, not acknowledging his confusion. “You couldn’t do better. Everybody says so.”

“They do?” he uttered, baffled, and she nodded, satisfied with his input to the conversation.

“All the time.”

She tried to look as innocent as possible as she told the lie, but just like her parents he saw straight through her.

“Are they now?” His golden eyes twinkled as he gave her one of his breathtaking smiles.

“Maybe,” she admitted, and giggled when he rolled his eyes, without words telling her he knew she was lying to him again. She thought no one could love him more than she did. With her head to one side, she sighed in awe, pretending not to see his amused grin.

“So, Devlin, will you?”

“Will I what, Pup?”

She sighed again, but this time with some slight irritation. How would she get the answer she wanted from him if he didn’t listen to her?

“Marry me?”

“Oh.”

Again she had managed to surprise him, and as he seemed quite out of words, she decided he needed a little push.

“I would be an excellent wife,” she repeated seriously, with a grave voice. His eyes twinkled again, blinding her with the bright beauty of him.

“I’m sure you would be.”

She liked his polite reply and bestowed her most radiant smile upon him before she moved to sit on his lap, forcing him to put away his book. He sat stiffly, unused to having someone in his lap, so she took his hands and put them around her waist.

“That’s good,” she praised him.

“Thank you,” he said courteously, and she bowed her head gracefully in response.

They sat silent for a while, and she closed her eyes and enjoyed his breath as it caressed her hair. She put her arms around his torso, planted her cheek tightly against his shirt, and listened to his heart beating steadily.

“So will you?”

He used mild force to make her sit up straight so he could look into her face.

“Will I what?”

“Marry me?”

“Oh, I don’t know, Pup. I haven’t really thought about marriage yet. I’m rather young, you know.”

“But so am I, and I know what I want.”

He gave her the same kind of fatherly smile her brothers gave her when they thought her silly but didn’t want to hurt her feelings by telling her so.

“And you want me?” He sounded serious and interested, but she could tell by the way he was pursing his lips that he was trying hard not to laugh.

“Yup.” She nodded.

“Are you sure?”

“I know what I want.” Her voice was stern this time.

“Okay.” He gave in with a tender smile. “I will marry you, Pup.”

She clapped her hands and laughed with joy.

“Now you can always stay here,” she cried out, and jumped down from his lap to do a twirling dance in front of him, in sheer happiness.

“I can’t stay here. I have to finish school, just as your Uncle Rake does.”

Her dancing stopped, and she stared at him with tears in her eyes. For a moment she had lived her dream, but after giving her what she wanted, he’d now destroyed everything.

“You must!”

“I’ll come back when school is finished. Then we can marry.”

She pondered his words for a minute. Wait for school to finish? What a horrible idea. In her mind, it would be forever.

“How many days must I wait?” she asked, frantically thinking on how to solve this situation.

“Days?” He laughed. “I’m talking years.”

“No!” Her foot stomped angrily. “I won’t have it.”

“But Fanny,” he soothed. “I still can’t marry you until you’re at least eighteen.”

“You can’t?”

“No. Only adults can marry.”

“Oh.”

She hadn’t known her tender age was a problem. Eighteen sounded like a very long time away. She would talk to Grand-Papa Hannibal about this. He always knew what to do when she came to him with her problems. He could solve this for her.

Devlin gave her another beautiful smile, and again she sighed with awe. So what if she had to wait? She still wanted him.

“Will you wait for me?”

He stood up and made a cross over his chest.

“I promise.”

The door opened and Uncle Rake barged in, calling for his friend. Their holiday from school was nearly over. It saddened her that the two young men soon would leave her again.

She would miss Devlin, her pretty husband-to-be, but she would miss her favorite uncle just as much. He had always been special to her, and she knew she was special to him, too.

“Shall we?” Rake asked Devlin, and gave his niece a smile full of love as he put a hand on her brown hair and fondled one of the curls.

She looked into his loving eyes, eyes the same smoky-gray shade as hers, and patted his hand.

“Devlin has promised me we shall marry when I turn eighteen.”

“How nice, Fanny,” Rake said, and she caught him rolling his eyes to his friend over her head.

“How many years is it until then?”

“You are five now, so it’s thirteen.”

“Oh.”

Rake and Devlin grinned at her obvious disappointment before they headed out through the door, leaving her standing there alone but filled with joy over what he had promised her.

She would marry her hero.

Chapter 1

April, 1814

“I can’t believe you dragged me here.”

Lady Francesca Darling hid a smile as her brother Sinclair—Sin, as he was called among friends and family—growled. Their mother had demanded his presence at the annual Easton
Ball, and it had been impossible for him to deny her, thanks to certain of his recent indiscretions.

“I know you are well aware of the importance of this ball,” Fanny enlightened him mischievously though unnecessarily, as he was the veteran at these parties, not she. But anything she could do to vex him a little was worthwhile. “If you want to be a part of the social life this season
,
you have to attend, and look your best. Lady Easton might not be our parents’ favorite person, but as her ball is the first, it is here where it is decided who is the height of fashion and who is not. And you do want to be fashionable, don’t you?” Sin shot her a look of brotherly disdain, and she hid another cheeky grin. She knew exactly how to tease him enough to irritate him, a great pleasure to her during their childhood days. He was such a dear man, and had more patience with her than she sometimes deserved.

“I prefer being unfashionable.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.” He snorted. “Being fashionable would mean having to pretend interest in what all the debutante dimwits are saying as they chat away about fashion and horses and, heaven forbid, how perfectly suitable they find me.”

“Sounds awful indeed.”

He growled at her again but chose wisely enough not to answer her. She would have loved to discuss with him the importance of getting married. It was one of their mother’s most adored subjects of conversation, one Fanny knew Sin detested, so she wasn’t surprised when he changed the subject.

“What do you think of your first ball so far?”

“Most interesting, I assure you.” She made a wave with her hand, almost hitting a poor elderly lady in the face. When the lady’s upset feelings were soothed, Fanny continued as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. “I have never seen so many people in a ballroom before. There must be thousands upon thousands of socialites here tonight, and everyone in their finest garments.”

“A couple of hundred, maybe, not thousands.” Sin smiled tenderly toward her, and all the surrounding ladies sighed in awe over the handsome Sinclair Darling, the most eligible Earl of Chilton. She would have, too, if he weren’t her brother. Instead, she giggled.

“Still, there are people everywhere, and they all look so utterly glamorous. I can’t help but wish I could wear something other than this dull debutante dress.”

She looked down at her white dress, beautiful but unbecoming for her complexion. She believed its paleness made her even more homely.

If only she had inherited some of her parents’ good looks, as her brothers had. In the right light she might be called somewhat pretty; otherwise there was nothing special about her brown hair and gray eyes.

“I think you look lovely,” Sinclair assured her with an adoring smile, and she put away the disappointment over her looks.
No point to sulking over something impossible.

She put her hand on his elegantly dressed arm. “You are the kindest of brothers. I know how much you loathe these assemblies, and yet you stand here by my side at one of the worst.”

“Well, I could hardly refuse. This is your debut season, after all. Furthermore, I want to make sure you find someone to marry as soon as possible, so I can have my life back. Meantime, I’ll just stand here, bored to my teeth, ignoring all the desperate mothers, and count the hours until I can get out of here.”

“What a fate for a confirmed bachelor.”

“Indeed.” He grinned, and again the surrounding ladies seemed close to fainting.

Several of Sin’s acquaintances came up just then, and after the proper introductions Fanny stayed quiet, looking here and there around the ballroom, enjoying all she saw.

It had been an adventure from the start. At the front door of Easton House she and her mother, father, and two older brothers were met by footmen in the Easton livery who relieved them of their coats.

Then, after her mother made sure everything about Fanny’s appearance was perfect, the family had followed others into the ballroom. She had been warned about the matrons’ good eyesight and how they didn’t miss a thing, not
even
the
smallest
strand
of
hair
being
out
of
its
place. Too
many
nervous
young
debutantes
had
managed
to
spoil
their
whole
season, she had been told,
because
of
doing
something
wrong
in
that
first
short
minute.

BOOK: A Family Affair
4.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

A Daughter's Secret by Anne Bennett
Duncan's Rose by Safi, Suzannah
Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat
Butterfly Sunday by David Hill
Only Son by Kevin O'Brien
Beneath the Wheel by Hermann Hesse
The Porcupine by Julian Barnes