Scandalous Family—The Victorians, Book 4.0

Victorian Era Historical Romance

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Alice loves her family, but longs for independence…

Lady Alice Thomasina Balfour is the acknowledged daughter of Dane, Duke of Wakefield, but her real father is Benjamin Hedley, her mother’s secret and lifelong partner. Her third father is Stephen Spearing, Esq., who is Dane’s secret partner. Alice is torn between her beloved family and their expectations and her need for the independence young, modern women are beginning to enjoy, which she believes she can have if she opens her own shop. She needs funds to do so, but as a woman, cannot take a loan with any bank. Her family for once, are not supportive.

Garrick Lawrence Wortham is not a peer, but thanks to his family’s fortune and upper-class status, he is expected to marry into the peerage and solidify the family’s reputation. After refusing yet another debutante, Garrick feels obliged to bow to his father’s wishes to fund and manage a new, shocking project; the opening of a retail establishment by the daughter of the Duke of Wakefield, a peer whose family have fallen into disgrace and social ruin. But managing the willful woman’s new business venture is more taxing than he expected. It doesn’t help that the lovely Lady Alice is prickly, defensive and hiding secrets that, as he learns more, brings him to make an outrageous proposal…

This book is part of the Scandalous Family—The Victorians series. This is the second spin-off series to feature a new generation of the Great Family, who are now scattering across Europe and beyond in search of adventure…and love.

This story is part of the Scandalous Family—The Victorians series:
1.0 His Parisian Mistress
2.0 Her Rebellious Prince
3.0 Their Foreign Affair
4.0 His Outrageous Proposal
and more to come!

A Victorian Era Historical Romance

{Also see: Romance, Historical Romance, Novels}

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His Outrageous Proposal
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So the drawing room was empty of the usual crush of people.  Aunt Annalies sat in her favourite position at the end of the sofa, while two people stood warming themselves by the fire.

“Adam!  Anne!” Jennifer cried.  “We heard so many wonderful things about your wedding!  You must tell us everything!”

Adam looked astonished, while Anne, his new wife, laughed merrily.  She had lived in this house for a short time after Alice and Jennifer had moved in, and had been Aunt Annalies’ butler.  In fact, she had installed a bookshelf upon the wall over Alice’s bed, which Alice was still using.

Alice stepped back to examine Anne from head to foot.  “You look so different from when you were living here, Anne,” she said.  “I hope that is not too rude an observation?”

“I suppose it depends upon whether her appearance has improved or deteriorated,” Annalies said.  “I, for one, find Anne’s appearance very much improved, which is just as it should be, for a new bride just back from her honeymoon.”

Anne’s cheeks turned red. 

Adam gave a small laugh.  “It wasn’t a honeymoon, precisely,” he said in his deep voice.  “I’m afraid work intervened now and then—possibly more than Anne would have liked.”

“No, I liked learning about your business,” Anne said quickly.  “Besides, it extended our honeymoon and distributed it across most of Europe.  What lady can complain about a tour as royal as that?”

Adam didn’t reply, but his expression said much.  His eyes seemed to darken and grow warmer as he shared a private moment with his wife.

Alice shook her head.  “It isn’t just the honeymoon that has changed you, Anne.  That dress you are wearing is simply divine.  May I look at it more closely?”

Anne smiled.  “It is one of the designs that Adam and his father sell—using Kirkaldy tweed, of course.”  She stepped away from the fire and turned slowly, while Jennifer and Alice examined her from hem to collar.

The gown was in two parts, the skirt narrower and straight at the front than any skirt Alice had ever seen before.  It was as if she could detect the shape of Anne’s hips from the way the dress hung. The petticoat beneath must be of the finest cotton…

The back of the dress wasn’t simply gathered, but had been folded at the waist into formal pleats that fell to the floor and gave the necessary freedom for Anne to take a full stride.   It was charmingly different to the full, gathered skirts that were fashionable in London right now.

The jacket was a reddingcoat shape, cut too narrow to close over the torso, and clearly designed to show off the shirtwaist beneath.  It actually buttoned to the skirt on either side, by her hips.  The lapels were made of a lovely Battenburg lace, and the upper sleeves were puffed and full, rising above Anne’s shoulders.

The white shirtwaist was stiff with pintuck pleats and Anne wore a blue ribbon at the collar which matched the flecks in the tweed.

“It is lovely,” Alice said, with a small sigh.  “Maud will want to examine every seam, when she gets home, so she can copy the design.  Those sleeves are simply enormous, Anne.”

“Oh, they’re quite sensible compared to the sleeves we saw in Paris,” Anne said complacently.  “I think some of them were actually stuffed with netting to stop them from collapsing.  And hat brims are growing larger by the day.”

“We’re arranging for the bigger sleeves to be added to our current day dress designs right now,” Adam said, his tone thoughtful.

Jennifer lifted Anne’s hand and stroked the sleeve of the jacket.  “It is the tweed itself I like more,” she said.  “I do adore the colours they put into their tweed in Kirkaldy.  Aunt Bridget mixes the oddest colours together, but they work together very well.  I’ve never seen such colours in other tweeds.”

“Perhaps you should sell the tweed by the yard, Jennifer,” Adam said, with another small smile.  “We don’t distribute yardage—our customers want ready-made garments.”

Alice stared at him, startled.


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