The Bastard’s Bride (The Davenports #4) Read Online G.L. Snodgrass

Categories Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Tags Authors: Series: The Davenports Series by G.L. Snodgrass

Total pages in book: 67
Estimated words: 61399 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 307(@200wpm)___ 246(@250wpm)___ 205(@300wpm)

Despite her rebellious nature, Lady Louisa Davenport is determined to make her family proud. Unfortunately, one small mistake results in her being blackmailed. Her reputation, and therefore her family’s, is placed at risk. To make it even worse, it appears the only person who might be able to help is a heartless bastard.
The bastard son of a duke, James Carmichael was a man caught between worlds. That of a top prize-fighter and that of his father’s dying command. Bring no shame to the family and watch over the legitimate heir. He believed he was managing both rather well when Lady Louisa Davenport entered his life and changed everything. None of it for the better.


Chapter One

Finally, she was in charge of her own life. Or at least as much as any other adult woman. She had been accepted into the ton. Everything would only be better from this point forward.

Lady Louisa Davenport squeezed her best friend Prim’s hand and gave her a special smile. One that only Prim would understand. Prim squeezed back. Louisa could easily see that, like herself, Prim was having to fight the urge to squeal with pure happiness. But young ladies didn’t do such things.

They were here, finally. Their coming-out ball. Family, friends, and every eligible bachelor in England were in attendance. The room was bathed in the soft light of a thousand candles. The women wore their best gowns. The men in tight frock coats. Everyone talking, creating a soft hum.

It really was the best time to be alive, she thought to herself. The war was over, Napoleon exiled to St Helena in the South Atlantic. Britain ruled the waves. All three of her brothers loved talking about the opportunities this would provide. The even greater wealth they could gather for the family.

London was becoming the center of the world. Everyone who was anyone wanted to be here. And being the sister of a Duke, she was in the perfect place at the perfect time. At seventeen, she had arrived to witness it all.

Sighing to herself, she took a moment to appreciate just how fortunate she was. A strong family name, family wealth. No longer would she be ignored. In fact, according to Elizabeth, her sister-in-law, and Prim’s sister, they both should expect to be pursued by dozens of men. They simply had to pick the best of the bunch.

The musicians tuning their instruments sent a wave of chattering through the crowd as people quickly finished their conversations.

Johnathon, the Earl of Leicester, Prim’s brother, bowed at the waist to Louisa and extended his hand. It had been arranged that he would be the first on her dance card. While Louisa’s brother, Noah, The Duke of Cambridge, would be Prim’s first partner.

Placing her hand in the Earl’s, her stomach churned, a thousand hours of dance classes came down to this moment. If she made a misstep the old biddies would frown, shake their heads and the whispers would begin. Perhaps Lady Louisa Davenport wasn’t as valuable a catch as people had assumed.

Prim blushed as she took The Duke of Cambridge's hand and allowed him to lead her to the floor. People smiled, welcoming. They wanted the girls to do well, Louisa realized.

The music started, she curtsied, and then they were off, weaving back and forth in a Quadrille. Her heart soared as she realized people were watching her. She well knew herself. She had never despised being the center of attention. Something her brother Duncan never failed to point out.

But this was different. This sense of belonging, accepted. Oh, a girl could come to enjoy this too much.

When the dance ended, Lord Leicester escorted her back to her family then smiled at his sister Prim and nodded his approval. The girl sighed with pleasure.

They had made it through the first one successfully, from this point, minor mistakes might be ignored.

The evening became a whirlwind of dances, talking with other adults. Her three sisters-in-law, Elizabeth, Amelia, and Helen were there for support. Quietly whispering the identity of a Lord or Lady, complimenting her on her behavior and conversation skills, always encouraging her.

Their husbands, her three handsome brothers, Noah, Simon, and Duncan, would frown when a young man approached for his turn to dance. But they didn’t beat him about the head and chest, which Louisa thought might be the best she could hope for.

Overall, the evening was progressing perfectly.

She was standing amongst the family. Actually, almost relaxed for the first time that night when two new guests arrived, stepping into the ballroom as if it were perfectly normal to arrive an hour late.

“Who’s that?” she asked Elizabeth as she had to remind herself not to gawk.

“The Duke of St. Albans,” she whispered back. “He just came into his maturity. But he isn’t old enough to make a good husband.”