Sophie went to London to have her season hoping to find a husband, never knowing her father lost all his money and her mother claimed her sum was still intact, but gossip spreads quick all of London already knew. Now 2 years later given a second chance will Sophie ruin another season when her brother gets her involved in a deserter wanting treasure she has no clue where to find.....
Ashe Gardner, Earl of Graemoor surveyed the ballroom as all of the young women paraded in their best. The girls had all been presented at Court a few days before, which meant the season could truly get under way. That meant that Ashe’s grandmother could get to work getting him married. That meant he could get to work thwarting her every attempt. It’s not that he abhorred the idea in itself, just the choices that his grandmother pushed in his direction. Most of his dances for the night were already filled with all of the young ladies she had pointed out to him as the best prospects. For a dance, they were fine enough; forever after, he would go mad. His wife had died only a year after they wed and ever since mourning was satisfied; his grandmother had pushed matches on him. She didn’t seem to care that he had no trouble finding a woman, but they weren’t wives. They were not the same thing. So now, he was stuck with seventeen and eighteen-year-old girls who only wanted to get a titled husband. Keeping the ancestral estate running kept him busy enough, not to mention all the parties that he threw to keep his grandmother entertained since she rarely left the house anymore.
Then he spied a true diamond of the first water. Dark ash blond hair, slate blue eyes completed the best countenance he’d seen in a good long while. Ethereal pale skin, a long neck setting off an almost regal bearing, tall, statuesque the best word. Perhaps there was a reason to endure the season. Ashe hardly noticed a person take up position next to him.
“You’ve got your eye on someone, I know that look.”
Ashe finally pulled his eyes away. “Who is that, Darnley?”
“Tad more specific.”
Ashe looked over at the vision. Didn’t he see her? “There.” Ashe pointed unobtrusively. “The blond one. The only one worth looking at.”
“Ahhh, haven’t you heard? That’s Miss Sophie Greenwood. Her father is a baron, impoverished as they come in only the last few days. Her mother’s tried to marry her off to half the country before it was found out that her twenty thousand pounds was gone in some business misadventure. I received a visit myself before coming to town.”
“Pity.” Ashe muttered turning away.
Sophie was close enough to hear him, and her heart died that night. How could it not. The news was unheard to her ears until that moment. If only the ship had gone down several months later after she had secured a husband with her sum, she wouldn’t have had to endure her mother’s tirades as if it was her fault her father pulled the money from the bank. He gambled it, not on a gaming table but on a ship. A ship that should have arrived in a far off port to buy goods worth a fortune even greater. Business, as many would tell her, was not fitting their position but with the money that was to be made, they were willing to risk it. Instead a hurricane downed the ship and with it her uncle and the fortune her father had entrusted to him, her sum among it. She hadn’t known that was out of the bank as well when she left home. The news reached the gossips before it even reached her own ears. She had watched them, heads together at Almacks and she had to ask for the knowledge that hopes of a husband were dashed. A poor man wouldn’t marry her for he would have nothing to support them with. Now beneath the touch of a rich man for the shame of allying with a mother that had so splendidly tried to marry her off before news of the financial ruin reached their ears. Rowengate Park and the Barony passed to her brother Jasper. She was a poor relation, nothing more. What if she had actually found a man to go to her father and ask for her hand without this knowledge? Sophie could hear her mother’s voice even then. No, wait dear man, you may have my daughter but that sum that induced you as much as her beauty you’ll have to wait a bit longer for it since we’ve thrown it all away. Hope there are no storms and you’ll get it eventually.
She was pulled from London the next day. It would be a man the likes she had never met who would take her under such circumstances.
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The Dark Castle Lords