London season matchmaker.., p.1

London Season Matchmaker Box Set: Regency Romance, page 1

 

London Season Matchmaker Box Set: Regency Romance
 



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London Season Matchmaker Box Set: Regency Romance


  London Season Matchmaker Box Set

  Lucy Adams

  © Copyright 2019 by Lucy Adams - All rights reserved.

  In no way is it legal to reproduce, duplicate, or transmit any part of this document by either electronic means or in printed format. Recording of this publication is strictly prohibited, and any storage of this document is not allowed unless with written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.

  Respective authors own all copyrights not held by the publisher.

  For my fans…

  Thank you so much for taking the time to read and enjoy my books. I’m so grateful to you for choosing to read my novels. I hope you enjoy!

  Get your FREE novella…

  Click here to get your free novella…

  Lady Eliza’s Broken Heart is the novella length prologue to Lucy’s first series, London Season Matchmaker. Find out about Lady Eliza and the Duke of Avondale’s romance when it was in its early stages… before he broke her heart!

  You’ll get the FREE novella when you join Lucy Adam’s newsletter.

  After joining, you’ll be one of the first to find out about Lucy’s new releases and book giveaways. Plus, you can participate in helping Lucy decide on book titles and cover images.

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  Contents

  The Duke’s Return

  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

  Epilogue

  The Noble Spy

  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

  Epilogue

  The Earl She Despised

  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

  Epilogue

  The Duke’s Secret Wager

  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

  To Love a Scoundrel

  Book Description

  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

  Epilogue

  Want to read the prologue in its entirety?

  Author’s Note

  The Duke’s Return

  London Season Matchmaker Book One

  Book Description

  Lady Eliza Wells was utterly heartbroken after the Duke of Avondale, the love of her life, turned away from her and chose to marry another.

  Now he’s back…and Lady Eliza is nothing less than horrified.

  He is widowed, sorrowful and desperate to explain what happened all those years ago.

  Determined not to give in and holding tightly onto her pain, Lady Eliza refuses to give him even a moment of her time and instead tries to develop an attachment with Lord Montrose.

  Lord Montrose is both suave and amiable, but Lady Eliza is struggling to make herself feel as much for him as she does for the duke.

  Then, when the Duke of Avondale discovers a terrible truth, Lady Eliza is forced to look deep into her heart, questioning everything she thinks she knows about both gentlemen.

  Is Lord Montrose truly the man he seems? Or will her engagement to him all come crashing down once the truth is revealed…

  Author’s Note:

  This book was formerly titled “The Return of Lord Avondale.” I’ve listened to reviewers and have since made corrections to my Regency salutations, and thus decided to rename this book. The story remains the same, with edits made to ensure my Regency salutations are correct! I have not had the chance to review every book, though I will be doing that with time. So please forgive me if you find an incorrect salutation here or there in this box set. Otherwise, enjoy the stories!

  Prologue

  August 1813

  The wind no longer seemed to be as warm and welcoming as it had when Eliza first stepped out. Now it was cold and tinged with ice as it attempted to wrap itself around her shoulders.

  Lady Eliza Wells, eldest daughter to the Marquess of Whitehaven, shivered violently and wondered, not for the first time, where Avondale had gone.

  It was not like him to be tardy, for their meetings were often only a precious few minutes together before Eliza had to return to the house or he to his duties back at his estate. Of course, the Duke of Avondale often spent time with Eliza’s family, coming to take tea with them or going out riding with Eliza and one of her sisters, but these clandestine meetings were the most wonderful of them all.

  It was a time when they held each other’s hands, where whispered promises were given and taken, and where hope began to come to life within her. Avondale had promised her a good many things and, most recently of all, had promised her his love.

  A love that she knew she returned. There was no other lingering in her heart, no other that had captured her affections. She felt as though she and the Duke of Avondale were almost one and the same person, such was their intimacy. They had known one another as children, laughing and running around in Lord Whitehaven’s gardens, until their childish teasing had begun to turn into something more. Now as a lady in her own right, out and free to make her choice of suitor and choice of husband, Eliza knew that there could be no other. Jeremy, Duke of Avondale, was the only gentleman with whom she could share her future. How delightful it was to know that he felt the very same as she.

  Of course, the Duke of Avondale had been more than proper in his attentions to her, although their meetings at the folly were becoming more frequent and their passion less and less hidden. His kisses had been to her hands or to her cheeks and yet Eliza felt herself grow desperate for his lips to land upon hers. He would not do so, however, until he proposed, until their betrothal was made known. Duke of Avondale’s respect for her was both obvious and entirely honorable, although his words of love and of affection sent warmth into her very soul.

  Twisting her fingers together, Eliza meandered up and down the well-worn path, her stomach tight with tension and mounting concern. Where was Avondale? He was never tardy, and she could not linger out here alone for long. A sudden thought struck her, forcing her to a stop. A small smile began to etch its way across her face, her heart beating wit
h a hope and a delight that she had not experienced before. Mayhap the Duke of Avondale has every intention of proposing to her this very day. Mayhap he was ensuring that everything he required for such a proposal was at hand. Would there be a bouquet of flowers in his hand as he approached her? Would there be a new light in his eyes as he held her gaze?

  Eliza’s hand pressed lightly to her heart, her hopes suddenly flaring to life and chasing her concerns away. They had spent many a minute discussing their future together, had they not? She had known that he wished to propose, had known that there was nothing to stop them from marrying aside from the Duke of Avondale’s requirement to speak to her father. Mayhap he was doing so now, knowing that she would be waiting for him in the folly and that she would not be at home to see him do so. Her hands clasped together in excitement and she could not prevent herself from whirling around, the cool April breeze no longer seeming to shroud her in cold.

  “Lady Eliza.”

  Turning, Eliza saw Avondale appear just behind her, coming through the small copse of trees. Her eyes lingered on him, feeling the same rush of affection that always came with his presence. “Avondale,” she breathed, hurrying towards him and surprised that he did not seem eager to rush towards her as he so often had done before.

  Perhaps he was anxious about what was to come.

  “You are late,” she stated, teasing him as she reached out to take his hands. “I have been here alone, fretting over your tardiness, Avondale.”

  Avondale studied her with his bright, blue eyes that so often lingered in her thoughts. She could almost always tell what he was feeling simply by looking into those blue pools, for they could sparkle like the sun on the sea or become as cold and as dull as a dark autumn day.

  Now, however, Eliza realized that she could not make out what it was that he felt, for his expression was hard and closed. Her heart began to sink towards her toes, all hope of his proposal going from her at once. This was not the expression of a gentleman seeking to offer his hand in marriage to the lady he loved. This was the expression of a gentleman who had something of great seriousness resting on his shoulders.

  “Avondale,” Eliza murmured, reaching up to press one hand lightly against his cheek. “Whatever is wrong?” She studied him carefully, feeling the slight roughness against her hand as she allowed her fingers to brush down his face. He was, to her, the most handsome gentleman in all of England. The Duke of Avondale was tall, with broad shoulders and a strong back. His blue eyes, square jaw and long, proud nose made him appear quite distinguished, although Eliza knew that it was his character that she considered more than anything else. As a Duke, he had a great deal of responsibility to his name and to his family, and he always did everything with a good deal of consideration first. The way he treated people, including his staff and servants, spoke of a care for others that Eliza sometimes found lacking even in her own self. All in all, she considered, letting her hand fall to her side, Avondale was more than wonderful. She could not imagine ever being separated from him.

  “I am to marry another, Lady Eliza.”

  Eliza’s smile fell from her face, shattering at her feet. Her heart seemed to stop entirely, her whole body going cold with fright.

  “I am sorry, but it must be so.”

  Avondale’s words were cold and hard, his eyes no longer fixed on hers but looking somewhere over her shoulder as though he could not quite bring himself to look at her.

  “Avondale,” Eliza whispered, feeling her heart begin to break apart within her chest and wanting to scream aloud with the agony of it. “No, this cannot be.”

  “It is,” he stated, firmly, still refusing to look into her eyes. “I am sorry, Lady Eliza.”

  She closed her eyes, swaying unsteadily. “You are turning from me, Avondale?” Her eyes opened, seeing the way that he had lowered his head. “Why?”

  There was a moment of silence. The very air seemed to grow still, waiting for Avondale’s answer.

  “Because I must.”

  His words were heavy, his shoulders slumping as he spoke. No longer able to lift his head, he turned on his heel away from her, filling Eliza with a terrible, desperate fear.

  “No, no!” She hurried after him, clinging onto his arm, tears starting in her eyes. “No, Avondale, you cannot do this! You were promised to me.”

  Avondale made a strangled sound in his throat, his eyes finally meeting hers. “I never proposed to you, Lady Eliza,” he whispered, his words slicing through her like a sharp knife piercing her skin. “And now, I can never do so. I must marry another.”

  Eliza shook her head, tears now dampening her cheeks as she clung to him. “It cannot be so, Avondale,” she begged, not understanding what he was doing or why. “You say you love me, and you know that I cannot do anything but love you. Will you now turn your back on that? Will you stomp on my heart and leave it in pieces?” Seeing him still, Eliza did the only thing she could think of to do, reaching up to wrap her arms around his neck, she pressed her lips to his.

  Avondale froze in place as she kissed him, her tears pressing against his cheeks as she pulled herself tight against him. For a moment, Eliza thought he might step away, that he might loosen her arms from around his neck, but then he softened beneath her embrace and kissed her back, hard.

  Joy began to ring through her, the sound of bells beginning to peal over them both as Eliza allowed her passion to rise. There was hope yet. Avondale could not turn from her now.

  And then, Avondale let out a loud groan, breaking the kiss and pushing her back.

  “No,” he said, harshly, swiping the air with his hand. “No, Lady Eliza. We cannot. I cannot. I am promised to another. It is too late.”

  She crumpled, her pain forcing her to the ground. She sat on the grass, looking up at Avondale helplessly, her body beginning to shake with sobs.

  “You must forget me, Lady Eliza,” he continued, not reaching for her, not trying to help her to her feet. “I will be gone from my estate tomorrow, to marry my bride at her family’s parish. Nothing can change my mind. I must be gone from your heart and mind . . . just as you are gone from mine.”

  Those final words were spoken with a harshness that Eliza could not quite take in. It was as though Avondale was doing all he could to separate himself from her, as though he were trying to force her to hate him so that her love for him would dissipate entirely. Eliza could not understand it, bowing her head and allowing her pain to take over completely.

  She was quite broken. Tears poured from her eyes, her body racked with sobs as she plunged her face into her hands. She did not understand what Avondale was doing, nor why he was treating her with such disfavor when he had, only a few days ago, confessed his love for her. Why had he told her such things, why had he spoken such promises, if he was already planning to marry another? That was not the actions of the Duke of Avondale she knew! He was kind, considerate and caring. He would not trample her underfoot simply for his own pleasure . . . would he?

  Looking up, Eliza expected to see Avondale waiting there for her, even though he had not come to comfort her. Surely he would not have left her alone in the folly, broken and weak? But, as she looked about her, Eliza realized that the Duke of Avondale had done precisely that. He had walked away and not looked back at her, had not come to her aid, or even thought to assist her home. It was as though he had never cared for her at all.

  “I do not know him as I thought I did,” Eliza whispered to herself, the wind pulling her words from her mouth and flinging them high into the air. “I do not think I have ever truly known him at all.”

  Sitting on the grass still, Eliza dropped her head and closed her eyes tightly. There was too much to contend with, she realized, unable to sort out one tumbling emotion from the other. All she wanted to do was weep, allowing her pain to tear out of her so that she might be free of it. Free of the love she still had for the Duke, free from the passion and the hope that still lingered on within her.

  “I must forget him,”
she told herself, attempting to get to her feet. “I must rid myself of him.”

  Her heart refused to listen, holding tightly onto all that she and Avondale had shared. It refused to let him go, refused to forget him.

  Perhaps she would never be able to release him from her heart.

  Chapter One

  Two Years Later, May 1815

  “Your Grace.”

  Eliza could not speak, could not move, only barely hearing her mother’s cool voice as it echoed across the room to where the Duke of Avondale now stood.

 
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