My Reformed Rogue (The Wayward Yorks, Book 2) (Ebook)
My Reformed Rogue (The Wayward Yorks, Book 2) (Ebook)
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He thought he’d reformed. But maybe he was just destined to be a rogue forever…
Inheriting the title of marquess saved Daniel’s life. Literally. Without it, he would’ve remained in London, indulging in all the vices that plagued him. Now, he can finally focus on his responsibilities and become a better man. Letting his lovely and infinitely fascinating new neighbor assume he was a lowly groom was not on his agenda. But sadly, that’s exactly what he did…
Lady Anwen Astoridge loves horses more than people sometimes. Especially after what happened during her last Season. So, when she meets an honest, amusing, and charming groom she actually likes, she’s shocked. If she could, she’d choose him over any of the titled gentlemen in London. Too bad her family would never allow that to happen…
When Daniel’s true identity is revealed, can Anwen forgive his deception? Or will this supposedly reformed rogue be denied a happily ever after with the woman of his dreams?
My Reformed Rogue, book 2 in the Wayward Yorks series. A sexy and spicy, friends to lovers Regency historical romance. Download today and get ready to fall for Daniel and Anwen.
Read a Sample
Read a Sample
"Yah!" Lady Anwen Astoridge drove her robust sixteen-hand mare into a canter, leaning forward in the saddle and urging her over a high hedge grove.
The wind whipped at her hair, the last of the pins her maid had strategically and carefully placed only hours before fell to the ground, lost forever in the muddy field. Her bottle-green riding suit, splattered with leaves and mud, modeled perfectly against her figure, even if she was no longer fit to be seen.
Should her mama see her, she would have apoplexy and scream down the house, demanding her brother keep a better handle on his wayward sister's soul. But Dominic would not. He loved her and allowed her to enjoy what life had to offer.
And right at this moment, it offered a day away from home, riding the hundreds of acres they owned and enjoying a picnic in solitude, if the weather held clear and warm.
Anwen pulled Luna into a slow trot before walking the remainder quarter mile to the fast-flowing river on their land's outskirts. A place she had found and called her own for many years now. A place she had not even shown her twin sister, so much she wished it to remain the one place on earth she could sit and ponder, think, and plan.
How to get out of the London Season in particular.
She frowned, knowing that her latest ruse would only last so long. As far as her family understood, she was still abed, resting after an atrocious summer cold.
And while all of that was true, she may have prolonged her cough and symptoms far longer than they deserved. But what joy consumed her the day she watched her sister ride off toward London with her mama, brother, and new sister-in-law in tow while she remained at Nettingvale.
A ruse she knew would not last forever.
The sound of water rushing over rocks drifted through the copse of trees, and she dismounted, loosened the reins for Luna, allowing her to graze, and strode with her satchel bag toward the river.
The sight of her little oasis brought a smile to her lips, and she settled on her flat rock, rummaging through the satchel in search of what Mrs. Florence had packed for lunch.
The poor servants were not as pleased with Anwen prolonging her illness. She was under no illusion they all knew she was now playing her family for fools, but they would also not dare tell a viscount's sister that she was placing her pretty slippered feet on the wrong side of the boards and being devilish.
She unwrapped the slice of pie and took a bite, closing her eyes as the taste of raspberries, and Mrs. Florence's sweet pastry, burst into her mouth. The lady was a true master of delicious food. She really ought to be more than a viscount's cook.
Of course, her ruse would not last forever. There was little doubt her brother, maybe even tomorrow, would send a letter demanding answers regarding her health, and the housekeeper would apprise him, and she too would be soon shipped off to town.
How she hoped the letter was delayed as much as possible or, better yet, would never arrive. Maybe if she could intercept it…
"Good afternoon," a male voice said from across the river.
Anwen jumped at the intrusion, almost choking on her pie, before she swallowed and skimmed the trees on the opposite bank, looking for the elusive voice.
Typically Anwen was not one to succumb to a pretty face, but even she felt her eyebrows rise and her eyes widen at the sight of the man before her.
A very tall, rugged, broad-shouldered man with a head full of curls that cascaded over his ears and nape as if they could never be tamed.
She shut her mouth with a snap and schooled her features to one of lofty disdain. If one needed to remove a person one did not know or seek the company off, the cut direct was what she ought to do.
However, that would have been far easier had he not had the most infectious grin on his lips.
He indeed appeared harmless enough.
"Perhaps you did not hear me, miss, but I wished to say hello. I'm—"
"I know who you are," she blurted, taking in his ragged attire, possibly more mud splattered than hers. Indeed, he appeared to be of the working class. She cast her eyes past him and saw his horse, a beautiful creature much like hers, and his identity became clear. "You must be the new Lord Orford's groom. I heard he was traveling to Surrey soon, and much of his staff as well, now that he's finally bothered to move into the estate he inherited." She bit into the last of her pie, watching him as she savored the final morsel.
"Well, I suppose his living in London did delay him…" the servant hedged.
"What's the new marquess like?" she cut in, not caring about his life in London. Nothing of interest ever happened in that city. "Can you tell me? I heard he's young and did not expect to inherit." She chuckled at her musings. "Is he literate, do you know? Some say he came from such a distant line of the family that he had no learning."
The groom's face blanched before he cleared his throat, thinking about her question. Anwen had to credit him for keeping his cool after her prodding and teasing, but that was all it was. How much easier it was to find out information about a person when making assumptions that were incorrect in the first place.
People always were more than willing to correct inaccurate assumptions.
"He is literate. I can assure you, miss."
"Lady Anwen Astoridge, mister…" she asked.
"Mr. Clarence at your service and Lord Orford's too, I suppose," he said, bowing. "But you already guessed that."
She reached into her satchel for the bottle of lemonade Cook had sent with her.
"I suppose this is where you tell me we should not speak to each other since I'm a lowly groom and you're a lady." He glanced about before walking to a rock, much situated like her own, and sat.
She shrugged, having never been high in the instep, even if her teasing said otherwise. In fact, she knew all her brother's servants by their first names and many of their family members and ensured that whenever a problem arose, they must come to her and the family as soon as they were comfortable so they could help.
"I can sit and speak to you. There is no harm in that." She poured herself a drink. "You do not look like the type of man who would do me harm, and my horse is quick, and I'm a good rider. You would need to be swift to catch me should you attempt a foray."
Mr. Clarence burst into laughter, wiping his eyes before he could form a response. "For a lady, you speak very frankly, I must say."
"And for a groom, you speak very formally. Are you sure you're a servant?" she asked, unsure if that were the case. Maybe the new Marquess of Orford educated his staff. It would certainly make him a much more favorable neighbor than the late marquess, who was a cranky, old recluse.
"I have not lied about my name, I assure you, but I am new to this area, as is the Marquess of Orford. I have not seen you before this day, so I can safely assume you have not met your new neighbor?" he asked.
Anwen shook her head, wishing she had, if only to have something to write to her twin sister Kate about. "No, I have not met him ever. All we know is that the late Lord Orford passed in his sleep over a year ago and had no heir except for a distant relative. With you sitting before me, I suppose we can now assume the new Lord Orford is in residence. What is he like, truly?" she asked, curious if the rumors regarding the marquess were true.
But if there was one fault Anwen had, it was that of being nosy and asking far too many questions when they were not necessarily polite or the time to do so.
"He is a good man, honest, although prone to pranks that not everyone thinks are amusing."
"How sad for people not to laugh when one is funny or says something amusing. A droll life, would you not agree?"
"I would indeed agree." He smiled, and something in the pit of Anwen's stomach fluttered. How handsome and polite this groom was. What a shame he was not of her ranking, where she would be allowed to get to know him better.
"You speak very well. The marquess has invested in your education, I assume. Another admirable quality that the ladies in London will most certainly appreciate. Charity and looking after one's servants is honorable."
A look of disdain crossed his features before he met her eyes. "I was well educated, but due to my father's tireless devotion to making me the best man I could be. Lord Orford will merely benefit from my father's tutelage."
"I'm happy for you, but may I be so bold as to ask why you're working as his lordship's groom if you're so well educated? Maybe you should have been a steward, furthered your education, and became a lawyer or doctor."
"I love horses and cannot think of anything more I wish to tend to in my life." He gestured to her mount grazing not far from where she sat. "Your horse, Lady Anwen, is a beauty. Do you ride her often?"
"Most days and here always," she said, dismissing the thought as to why she needed to tell him that tidbit of information. "I, too, enjoy the pastime."
"So we have something in common, no matter our difference in social spheres," he said, his infectious grin making her smile.
She supposed they did.
- Mistaken Identity
- Different Social Spheres
- Regency Romance