Nora Pembroke ran her hand along the smooth, sun-warmed back of her mare and, closing her eyes, drew in a deep breath of the crisp air. It was January, the beginning of the London season and the parliamentary session, and by happenstance the weather had co-operated with an exhilarated day of clear, calm weather. The ground was still wet from the cold drizzle yesterday, and all the older folk shook their heads and informed Nora that it would turn grey again soon. But she and her three brothers had taken advantage of the beautiful day and the excitement pulsing through their veins to take their horses out for a ride through the nearby park.
Nora opened her eyes and caught her oldest brother, still unmarried but ever imperious William, looking at her with a raised eyebrow.
“Well?” He smiled at her. “Have you been able to fully enjoy the day now that your eyes have closed in such a fashion, or do you require more loitering time?”
“Ah, let her loiter,” the youngest, 21-year-old David, interjected with a wink. “We are all feeling the gaity of London and the enjoyment of time stretching out in front of us. Why should not our little sister?”
“She’s nineteen,” James intoned, the scholar in him coming forward to correct his brothers, but his eyes still carrying the mischievous Pembroke twinkle. “I hardly think we can call a young woman ‘little’ who has officially entered the public sphere and upon whom we can peg the hopes of the Pembroke estate.”
“If I thought for a minute you could pin the hopes of any estate on my prowess,” Nora retorted, well used to keeping pace with her brothers’ teasing, “then I’m sure I should run now to America without looking back. Blessedly, however, my father had three sons, all born before his little angel, to shoulder the responsibilities due such men. You may study all the dreary things and go to all the dreary meetings, but I shall take my time closing my eyes and breathing in the London season in all its grandeur.”
She leapt up then, with the ease that came from many years of horseback riding lessons and practice and balanced herself across the side-saddle as gracefully as she could manage. She arranged her riding habit, a close-cut, stylish scarlet affair that had been made fresh for the season per her mother’s request. It had a double-breasted jacket, a full skirt, and matching velvet hat pinned down over Nora’s soft brown curls. She had always thought herself rather diminutive on the social scene, being inordinately petite with brown hair and blue eyes and none of the shapely appeal of some of the prettier girls in her county. But sitting astride her mare with that cap tilted rakishly to one side and her posture stick straight in the saddle, Nora felt the confidence of knowing she and her three handsome brothers would draw just the right kind of attention riding through town.
David rode up beside her, putting a finger to his top hat as though to mockingly greet a lady he had never met.
“There is something about London that always seems to bring out your energy, Nora,” he teased. “Be careful that you are on your best behaviour, for Mother has many spies in this part of the city, and every move will be scrutinised and reported back, I assure you.”
Nora sighed. “It is not that London brings out the energy in me,” she said with a smile. “It is that London stifles my energy, and without wide open fields upon which to race my horse and beautiful lakes in which to bathe, I am left to make a fool of myself in the public sphere.”
The brothers laughed, but William’s eyes held a veiled concern.
“Oh, brother,” Nora teased him, edging her horse out into the walkway so that her brothers fell into line beside her. “You needn’t look so dour. I am only teasing. I care about public attention as much as the next girl. I just have never had much skill at courting it. Please, don’t worry yourself.”
“I do worry,” he answered her a little more soberly. “You know that you’ve a lot of freedom and privilege, Nora. Take care not to take it for granted.”
“I don’t.” Nora felt a sting to her pride but corrected it almost at once. She knew that her brother meant well. Everyone meant well, guiding her in the right direction and trying to keep her acting as polite and elegant as her wealth and station required. But in her heart, she longed for the intangible things that rarely came to a woman in her position. She thought fleetingly of the box of paints she had not yet unpacked in her rooms back at their London house. She was never complete without them, and though she loved to paint and create there was always a feeling of sadness, longing associated with it. How she wanted to travel across the Channel to the wilds of Europe and see what other magnificent things there were to paint and experience. She fought this longing off as she always did. With a smile and a toss of her head. “Besides, I suspect you are all just worried that I shall be named a blue-stocking and cast out of polite society. And for that, we can only blame Father, who saw fit to educate his daughter as he did his boys.”
James turned with a reproving frown. “We mustn’t blame Father. I’m sure he had good reason for his choice.”
Nora couldn’t hold back her laugh. “I know he had good reason, dear James. I was teasing. Of course I’m grateful for the opportunities I have been given, and I should have you remember that the insult in particular was derived from a circumstance involving a group of women who used to meet with Dr Pope. And Pope is considered most proper now. I’m not sure why we are condemned for studying someone who is so well-regarded in the community.”
David feigned a yawn, drawing it out with a touch of drama as he always did. “Are we really to speak of intellectual things on a day such as this? Look, up ahead are some fine ladies, and if we are to ride by them absorbed in conversation about a poet who was, even in his scandalous work, dreadfully sermonising, then I shall despair of having come to London at all.”
At this he pasted a handsome smile on his face and, reaching up a hand, tipped his hat to the ladies as he had pretended to do to Nora earlier. All her brothers had the Pembroke blue eyes, and while William had sandy hair and James a sort of cross between red and blond, David had Nora’s blue eyes and dark hair, and when he raised his eyebrow to the women they nodded in response, hiding their blushes beneath their parasols.
“You’re impossible,” Nora said.
“What if you run into one of those ladies at one of the lovely balls we are to frequent this season?” William asked with an indulgent smile.
“Why, I suppose I will be doubly recognised,” David retorted. “Don’t pretend you weren’t casting a gaze their way, brother.”
William sighed. “I’m only saying that such bold behaviour will be somewhat startling in this particular part of London, and perhaps there are better ways to be recognised.”
“Did you hear that, sister?” David asked with affected innocence, turning to look at Nora. “It seems to me that our brother is afraid I’ll be recognised for the wrong thing.” He put a gloved hand to his chin and pretended to think. “Let’s see, how could we make more of an impression in this sleepy little neighbourhood, do you think?”
“David –” William began with a note of warning, but Nora only laughed, feeling the thrill of excitement she always felt at the mention of one of David’s schemes.
“Race you to the fountain,” she said, before her brothers could cut her off.
“It is an impropriety!” James exclaimed. But before the words were even fully out of his mouth Nora and David were off.
The fountain was all the way on the other side of the park, down a trail that twisted twice through small copses of woods, went past a quiet little pond around which lovers were strolling serenely, and ended at the great stone monument covered over with fresh water. David’s horse was the quicker starter, but Nora knew from years of racing with her brothers that if the track was long enough her mare, surer-footed and a good deal better at distance, would take the race. She leaned in over the neck of the beast, nudging her along, and as she rode the faces on either side of her flashed by in various stages of surprise. While she saw a few people walking together point and laugh at the fun being had, the majority of the expressions, fleeting though they were, looked rather astonished and distressed. She could see how disapproving one particular group of matrons looked and, though she knew it would probably be best for her to take heed and slow her pace, she urged her horse on regardless. She was nearly to the fountain when she felt a sliding sensation on her head and then, in a rush, felt her hatpin escape and her little velvet cap fly off her head. She looked around, but it had rolled out of sight amongst the crowd and in the next moment she was at the fountain with David trailing just a few hoof beats behind.
“You had a head start,” he complained, laughing as he did so.
“I did not, and you know it. Your horse always leaps before mine anyway,” Nora protested, too breathless to laugh. She put a hand to her hair and felt with only mild display that all the carefully pinned curls had dislodged and were beginning to tumble down around her shoulders. She looked up and caught an older couple, arm-in-arm and walking by the fountain, gaze openly at her. She didn’t recognise them from the other seasons she’d spent in London, but from their dress and bearing they were clearly well-to-do, respectable folk. She put her hand up in a mock salute and smiled broadly. “Good day,” she said, barely holding back a giggle. The exhilaration of the ride was still pumping through her veins. The pair nodded serenely and, the next moment, turned away.
David stifled a laugh. “Nora, everyone calls me the scandal waiting to happen, but you have far more of a direct manner than I. You won’t get away with such things forever.”
“What fun would it be if I got away with it?” Nora slid off her horse and patted the mare gently along the neck. “You did well,” she whispered kindly to the creature, who nuzzled her gently in response. Then she turned and examined the trail behind them. “Did you see where my hat went?” she asked David.
David rolled his eyes. “She beats me thoroughly in a race and then asks me if I managed to sight her headwear whilst she was tearing about the county? The gall of this girl.”
William and James rode up just then at a respectable trot. William’s smile, though a bit scolding, had humour in it as well. “What am I going to do with you, Nora?” he asked.
“Join in next time, I sincerely hope,” she retorted. She knew that, for all his bluster, William had a special place in his heart for his little sister. He was unfailingly kind to her and was always looking out for her best interest. She cocked her head in his direction now. “You didn’t happen to see my hat on your way here, did you?”
Now he wasn’t even making an effort to hide his amusement. “No. Are you telling me it was lost during your decorous ride?”
She shrugged and climbed back aboard her horse, pretending not to care. “’Tis no matter. What could come of it, anyway?”
“Would you care to explain this?”
Nora’s heart sank, not because of her mother’s sharp tone, not because of the way she met them at the door when the foursome returned from their ride, but because of what she was holding in her hand.
“My hat.” She could hear more laughter in her brothers’ strained silence then she felt she would have if they had all guffawed in unison. She stepped in front of them. “How…fortunate.”
Fanny Pembroke had already turned around in that way she had had since Nora’s childhood, walking down the hall with the confidence of a woman that knew her children would follow dutifully along behind without being asked. She spoke now over her shoulder as she walked, still not turning fully around, as Nora and her brothers stumbled to catch up, tossing aside their jackets and caps as they did so.
“I’m glad that you see fit to use the word ‘fortunate’,” she said as she walked, “for in the rest of this conversation I don’t know that you’ll find a very useful place for such a word. There is absolutely nothing, aside from the retrieval of your foolishly misplaced article, that is fortunate about your behaviour today or what has resulted.”
“So you heard about the race through the park,” James said quietly, taking a seat across the room and crossing one leg over the other as his father always did. He opened a paper and sank behind it, clearly willing to let that moment of destruction rest as his voice in the matter.
“James!” Nora exclaimed, betrayed.
“Come now,” Fanny said, whirling around again with flashing eyes. “We shan’t blame James for saying something I already knew.” She was a short woman like Nora, although her hair was lighter and, even though she was older in age, she was clearly of that classically beautiful stock that had driven the Renaissance painters to the craft. She was attired now in dark silk, as she often was, not a wrinkle out of place, an old-fashioned wimple upon her frosted curls, pearls heavy against her throat. She was not a frenzied sort of woman. But when she felt her children had brought shame upon the house in any way she was a force to be reckoned with. “Sit,” she said crisply.
Nora knew that the instruction was only meant to be directed at her. The boys, although present for the activities, would not be held in any way responsible. James went ignored in the corner, William went to lean against the mantle, but David sat down crisply beside Nora in obvious solidarity. She smiled to herself but kept the amusement from her mother’s eye.
“What have you heard, Mother?” she ventured tentatively. “I think you might find that no great transgression was wrought after all.”
“You think so, do you?” Fanny sat opposite them, her back ramrod straight, only her cap quivering and showing the extent of her rage. “Well, that’s dreadfully presumptuous of you, my dear. Allow me to tell you precisely how the last half hour has transpired. I was sitting here minding my own, sipping a bit of tea and settling in to this grand estate – a trying thing for the nerves even in the most peaceful of conditions – and then Lady Cecilia Barrington came to call.”
“Lady Barrington!” David interjected, clearly attempting to lighten the mood. “How fortunate, Mama. I know that it’s sometimes difficult to connect with old friends at the beginning of the season –”
“David, my dear,” Fanny intoned coldly, “I’m afraid that you are not in so safe a position at present that you can risk my good opinion by interjecting at odd intervals with irrelevant comments.” She continued, looking back at Nora. “She happened to be walking through the park on the way to the tailors when she came upon a spectacle. She says that she looked up and saw you and David in what appeared to be some sort of physical competition.”
“A race, Mother,” William said quietly. “It was just a bit of sport.”
“There are places for sport,” Fanny said, not to be taken off track. “I think about the cricket fields, for example. There are even, on occasions in the country, places for a lady to ride rather more quickly than is completely proper on horseback, But I do not believe there is ever an occasion for manly competition in the centre of a London park, especially not with my daughter as the highlight!”
She stood up and held out the hat to Nora, who was also forced to stand to take it. “I’m sorry, Mother. It must have been very startling for Lady Barrington to come upon me in such a state.”
“I will admit that Lady Barrington is not the person I worry about. She appeared to find the whole incident immensely amusing and was willing enough to write it off. I’m concerned about every other person in that park, and what they might be telling their friends and family about the wild Miss Pembroke recently arrived in London for the season.”
Nora bit back a smile. Her mother was right. Lady Barrington was her mother’s sister-in-law and the mother of cousin Katherine Barrington, one of Nora’s oldest and dearest friends, and she had a notoriously good sense of humour on such occasions. However, it was inescapable that other people – she was remembering with a stab of guilt the elderly couple by the fountain who had looked so dreadfully offended – might get the wrong idea from her flagrant display.
“I was just so delighted by the day –” she began, but Fanny cut her off once more.
“I don’t understand,” she said, sitting back down and adopting a calmer though no less serious speech, “why you insist on carrying on in this way. I blame your father for it. He kept saying when you were a little girl that there was no need to stifle curiosity and a sound mind. But now that you are no longer a child I can see that your curiosity and mind are going to get you in serious trouble one day, and some stifling might be required.”
“Mother –” William began.
Fanny held up her hand and he shut his mouth just as quickly as he had opened it to speak. She continued. “I think very highly of you, Nora, but you’re a lady now. We may be blessed with your father’s wealth and business prowess. We may have all the grounds and income required. But we’ve no title and therefore nothing is guaranteed. You cannot get away with this kind of wandering behaviour any longer. Men will not overlook it in matters of marriage.”
Nora had heard this speech before, but something in her mother’s tone arrested her. She sat quietly and listened as she always did. But inwardly she wondered if perhaps she ought to be more careful. Always before the fun had lain in pushing the limits in London, seeing how close she could get to the scandalising line without plummeting over. But she loved her family too, and she could see that her mother was genuinely worried.
“I will try, Mother.”
“You have models all around that you can follow,” her mother pressed. “Genteel, graceful ladies your age, especially here during the season. You could emulate your cousin Katherine, for example.”
Yes, Katherine was precisely the sort of girl that Fanny approved of: classically pretty with pale blonde hair and green eyes; quiet in public; educated and secretive about it; good at music and needlework; and all those other dreadful pastimes that Nora had always considered to be distractions from what she really loved – painting and the outdoors. Nora didn’t resent Katherine these skills, either. She knew her cousin was also a sweet and likeable girl who improved everyone with whom she came into acquaintance. Nora wondered what it would be like to have that kind of skill and elegance. And while she knew how to make a good impression when she really tried, she also knew that at her heart she would never be that poised or at ease in the dull day-to-day life of a privileged young lady.
“I just want to know that you’ll try this season, Nora,” Fanny said, her voice softening. “You’re dear to me, but these shenanigans must stop, and sooner rather than later.”
“I understand, Mother.”
Fanny waited another beat, then took a deep breath and stood, looking at her boys fully for the first time. “You three have a responsibility too,” she said with a smile. “Keep your sister on the right track, and don’t go encouraging her into things, David.” She nodded to them all and then swept out of the room as though on wings. It was quiet for a moment after she left and then James, looking up from behind his paper, cleared his throat.
“I’m not surprised,” he began, but was immediately cut off by William.
“Good heavens, James. Not now.” He turned to Nora. “Are you well?”
She nodded and put on that smile again that she knew put other people at ease. She didn’t want her brother worrying about her, not after everything he had tried to do to keep her behaviour in check already. “Quite.”
The door opened and the butler came with the silver mail tray. He gave a crisp little bow and cleared his throat.
“Sir?” he directed his attention to William.
William smiled kindly at the man. “Hello Pierre. Are you settling in well to London?”
“The household is quite adaptable, sir, but it’s early yet.” Pierre extended the tray, and now Nora could see that a small cream-coloured missive sat upon it. “A note came for you earlier today but as you were out enjoying the fine air I am only now able to deliver it.”
“Very well, Pierre.” William took the letter and, bowing, released the gentleman back to his scheduled duties. He opened the letter, during which time James and David managed to get into a disagreement over some matter in the Times and Nora stood, prepared to go back upstairs to her rooms. Before she had made it to the door, however, she heard William’s good-hearted laugh. “Good news, gentlemen,” he said with a smile, holding up the letter as evidence. “Lord Gerard Colbourne is in town already and says that he will be at the Emersleys’ ball this evening. I had been vacillating on whether or not to even attend, but if we have old Gerard there then it’s impetus enough, don’t you think?”
Nora stopped in her steps and turned around, hoping that her expression was as innocent as she wanted it to be. Gerard Colbourne was her older brother’s best friend, a handsome, unflappable gentleman who she’d seen on and off growing up and had always had a sort of innocent attraction to. As of late, she felt this developing into a rather dedicated crush, the reminder of which now brought a blush unbidden into her cheeks.
“He’s here already?” she asked, a little too breathlessly. “I didn’t know he would be here this season – you know how the Colbournes always spend the beginning of the season in the country.”
“You’re right, they like to arrive late to the party and make an entrance,” William said with a smile. “But Gerard’s responsible for representation in the House of Lords this year, and therefore he cannot afford to slip in unannounced as he did in the years when his father was alive.”
Nora noted with a little sigh of relief that none of her brothers seemed to have noted anything unusual in her response. “So,” she said, feeling a bit more confident, “the ball tonight?”
“Yes.” William looked up at his little sister with a smile. “Put on your very best and we shall make an impact at the Emersleys’, no argument.” He went on talking almost as though he was speaking only to himself. “It’s been some time since I’ve seen Gerard. It’s as good a reason as any to attend a dance or two.”
“I think the ladies are the real reason,” David said confidentially to James, who rewarded him for his forward comment by glowering at him rather ferociously.
Nora merely smiled and left the room, her mind and heart aflutter as she went. She walked all the way up the great winding marble staircase to the quiet, carpeted halls of the upper rooms, found her own chambers at the end of the west hall, where a fire was already lit in her hearth, and intercepted the lady’s maid, a sweet girl named Mary, laying out her garments on the bed.
“Mary,” she said with a smile, feeling gay and giddy with excitement about the evening. “No dinner gown tonight. You’d best lay out a fine ball gown, for we’re starting the festivities this very evening.”
Nora inspected her appearance in the glass at the bottom of the stairs while she waited for her mother and father to descend and join her and her brothers in the carriage. She had chosen a pale-yellow silk trimmed delicately with white seed pearls and wide lace about the collar that set off a simple pearl pendant at her neck. Her hair was up, swept away from her shoulders with only a few tendrils escaping the thin white ribbon wrapped around her head. She frowned a little, wondering if it was all too simple, too childish. She felt her heart beating quickly thinking about seeing Lord Colbourne again.
The last time had been a brief meeting – was it a year ago now? – in the garden at her country estate and they hadn’t even spoken. She had just sat quietly nearby pretending to embroider while her brother and Lord Colbourne discussed politics. She’d been impressed, as she always was, by his gentility and kindness and thoughtful approach to matters of the world. However, she assumed that in his eyes she was still the little sister playing games in the orchard and making startling observations in the parlour and dining room during his visits with William. She wondered if she would seem that way again tonight, and as she stared back at her reflection she vowed silently but ferociously that she would try to speak to him this evening, try to show him that she was more than just William’s little sister.
“You know that vanity is not an attractive quality in the modern woman,” William said teasingly, coming up suddenly behind Nora and looking into the mirror over her shoulder.
“On the contrary, brother,” she retorted just as quickly, crossing her arms. “According to Mother and the leading experts, a woman who is not careful about her outward appearance and behaviour is not a proper woman at all.”
William adjusted his cravat and then turned to take his hat in hand and snatch Nora’s cloak from the wall. “Don’t let them get inside your head too much, little one. You’re pleasant to talk to and a good hand out of doors, and that’s enough for me.”
Nora smiled, although inwardly she wondered if William’s words were the compliment he clearly meant them to be. What William had described was perhaps the makings of a good little sister. But she couldn’t readily imagine that Gerard Colbourne would want to dance all evening with a quick wit and a ‘good hand out of doors’. She fastened her cloak, though, and determined to push all thoughts of vanity from her mind. Whatever society expected of her, she had no patience for this self-pitying approach to the world, not even in her own heart.
The carriage ride to the Emersley mansion was one filled with conversation and excitement. Nora sat pinned between her father and mother, who were both talking heatedly with the three boys across on the opposite bench. David was complaining that he really did wish he could have ridden separately so as to leave at his own time, James was intoning at intervals that he didn’t know why it was necessary that they all pile into the first ball so quickly instead of just enjoying London for a few days, and Fanny was speaking over it all with colourful entreaties that her sons “really ought not to leave all the profitable marrying to your little sister”. William caught Nora’s eye and winked, and she stifled a laugh.
When they pulled up at the glowing home where Lord and Lady Emersley made their London home during the season, Nora climbed out of the carriage with David’s assistance and looked up in open delight. She felt her cheeks flush with excitement despite the cool air as she gazed up the grand staircase to the house that seemed to be lit in every corner with candles, and lanterns, and the tinkling laughter of many people. Music came in rich strains through the windows, and as she slipped up the stairs with her family, she saw the flashes of colour from silk and velvet and muslin turning and whirling already through the motions of familiar dances.
At the door, they greeted the lord and lady of the house and then swept in past the main hall to the room where the dancing and refreshments were laid out for maximum enjoyment. Fanny Pembroke sat with her husband almost at once in a corner and patted the seat next to her gently in an attempt to coax Nora there as well. Nora knew her place was by her mother’s side, just as every young lady stayed with their chaperone until such a time during which they could be properly introduced. But she turned eyes of entreaty to her brothers and William intervened.
“I shall stay by Nora’s side, Mother,” he said with serious bow. “She ought to walk around with us, so she has the most proper exposure to society.”
Fanny bit her lip. “So long as it’s proper,” she said, a note of warning in her tone. She pulled out a fan and began fanning herself, and Nora, having already laid aside her cloak, caught up with her brothers in their circle of the crowd.
The Pembroke brothers were a force to be reckoned with in any social setting, and Nora felt herself caught up in the glamour of it all as she always did. David pulled aside almost as soon as they started walking, having seen some young ladies with whom he already seemed to enjoy some manner of acquaintance.
“Nora, this is Miss Mary and her older sister Lady Emersley.”
“Oh,” Nora said, curtsying with delight. “The ladies of the hour, I see?”
“Yes,” Mary spoke first, her curls bobbing as she did so. “I know that it seems silly, but Father always seems to think that throwing the first ball gets all the business of social hosting underway so that he can get back to politics and business.”
Nora could see at once why David had uncharacteristically introduced the younger sister first in the conversation. She was far more talkative, and the more drawn and silent that Lady Emersley seemed, the more Mary had to say. She prattled on for a bit about the dance, convinced all three brothers to promise her a turn on the floor, and then released them at last to their promenade again.
Nora looped an arm in David’s and teased him when they were safely out of earshot. “I know you fancy the ladies,” she said with a raised eyebrow, “but do even you have the patience for such incessant conversation?”
He pretended to take offense. “My dear Nora, you cannot have any idea the depth of my patience when it comes to wooing a young lady as pretty as Miss Mary.”
“Lady Emersley has the better title,” James interjected languidly.
“And a personality to match,” David retorted. “You would actually be a good fit for her, James. You should consider speaking every now and again when you are with the ladies.”
“Come,” Nora said, stepping in as she often did as mediator between her brothers. “The moment has passed anyway, and it seems that at present we are safe from Emersley influence, so let’s away to the punchbowl and then on to the dancing from there, for though you walk all about this room promising yourself to young ladies, I know that you will all three save me a dance, will you not?”
“I wouldn’t dream of denying you,” James said with a wry smile.
Nora turned and looked at William, but he was looking past her and her brothers in the direction of the balcony.
“There!” he said, a smile spreading quickly across his face. “I knew the old boy would be here before us.”
Nora turned and caught sight of Lord Colbourne leaning against the bannister, caught up in conversation with three young ladies.
“A Baron Worth Loving” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Growing up in a family with three older brothers, Nora Pembroke has a wild spirit, hard to tame. The moment she meets her brother’s childhood friend at the ball, the romantic feelings that she had for him start to revive. However, Nora can hardly imagine that the very handsome gentleman would fall in love with her after years of friendship. As if this were not enough, the same night, Gerard witnesses an embarrassing misunderstanding that makes an earthshaking change in Nora’s life. Will she cover up a scandal that might destroy her reputation? Will she manage to win Gerard’s heart, or her only wish to be loved will remain unfulfilled?
Lord Gerard Colbourne is a kind and refined Baron. Since his father’s death one year ago, he has been responsible for controlling their poor estates and being a guard of his mother and sister. Following his mother’s advice to find a bride, Gerard attends a ball that will remain indelibly printed on his mind forever. Much to his surprise, he finds himself into a scheme of a ruse relationship to save his good friend’s younger sister. How far will Gerard go to rescue her? Will he protect Nora only for the sake of friendship, or will he realize that in her eyes, he has found more than what he bargained for?
Over the course of their plan, a deep and tender affection is growing between Nora and Gerard. However, a series of unexpected events will lead to a social war between families, and another misunderstanding that threatens to keep them apart. What will Nora and Gerard sacrifice for their love? Will they endure all the obstacles that emerge, or will they be condemned to live in pain forever?
“A Baron Worth Loving” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.