Her Morning Star
Her Morning Star
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- Adventure and suspense
- Opposites Attract
- Only one bed
They're engaged in a dangerous game of espionage. But the bigger scandal these two ladies risk is the joy they find in each other's arms...
England, 1807. Miss Melanie Bright longs to escape the shadow of disgrace. Still haunted by her parent's mistakes, the shunned debutante seizes on a hopeful chance by sharing a roof with a well-respected noblewoman. But when her patron proves to be a beautifully reckless daredevil, she's quickly seduced by the breathtaking promise of foreign escapades.
Lady Evelyn Prynne hides deep wounds behind her madcap reputation. Determined to track down and expose a French spy, she refuses to let her gorgeous guest become a distraction. Yet as they face perilous gaming halls, Lebanese deserts, and gunfire side by side, she's intrigued by the backbone of steel beneath her delightful new companion's dainty exterior.
Wondering if the ton's favor is still her coveted goal, Melanie questions why she's so desperate to please her tough benefactress. And even as Lady Evelyn revels in having found a confidante who can finally keep pace with her fiery nature, she continues to plunge them into darker dangers.
Will they dare the wrath of convention and bring home the life-changing prize of love? Her Morning Star is the adventure-filled first book in the Ladylike Inclinations historical romance series. If you enjoy cloak-and-dagger drama, fierce heroines, and lushly passionate encounters, then you'll adore Violet Cowper's riveting dive into the past.
Intro Into Chapter 1
Intro Into Chapter 1
When Melanie had stepped inside Viscount Howick’s ballroom for the first time, her heart had been full of hopes.
This was supposed to be her first entry into society since the scandal – the nightmare that began that terrible morning more than a year ago, unspooling into days ahead and blackening them with ruin. Lady Evelyn’s arm had been firmly, if rather stiffly, linked with hers, assuring her of the promised support.
Technically, the promise had been made by Lady Evelyn’s uncle, but Melanie was sure that even such a headstrong lady as the raven-haired heiress was reputed to be would not defy Sir Owen in such a way.
The setting seemed so beautiful it could have been constructed by the gods of bygone antiquity as a platform for her triumph. The chandelier was blazing with light reflected in a myriad of crystals, the candles weeping with white bridal wax. Deities of old with soft curls and creamy skin ran across the ceiling. Melanie was unsure which myth these belonged to.
Melanie had been greeted warmly by the host, but his attention had turned to Lady Evelyn rather quickly. Melanie did not begrudge him his quick loss of interest. As Sir Owen Prynne’s niece and the daughter of the earl of Marsden, Evelyn outranked her in every possible way.
Melanie had been staying with Evelyn as her companion for a year now, and in that time, their goals had been wildly different. Evelyn’s was to keep her uncle’s household in town while he was away in the north, canvassing for the next election. Melanie’s was to glue her life back together.
Melanie positioned herself by the western wall, feeling like a callow debutante again, floating in an unknown world, unsure where salvation or disaster awaited, and watched the other guests dancing. She wasn’t as sprightly a dancer as some of the girls, but she could have acquitted herself well in the country dances. The final notes of the gentle and conservative ‘Flowers of Edinburgh’ faded away, and her breath caught when the orchestra struck up a waltz.
She had been discouraged from dancing the waltz during her first and only season, and she had never been the kind of daughter who would require a stern ban to dissuade her from improper behaviour.
On the other hand…
Melanie hesitated by the wall. It was only fitting that her new life started with a new dance.
She blushed, gazing at the closeness of the couples gliding across the well waxed floor. She couldn’t blame the matrons frowning on the benches: of course, they would worry with their charges pressed so closely against their gentlemen partners.
The movements of the dance seemed easy enough to remember, and Melanie would never allow anyone to think that she lacked bravery.
She straightened her back, seeing herself in her mind’s eye: a chaste and lovely figure draped in a high-waisted gown of pale muslin – thank God for the Prynnes’ generosity – that made her look like a classical goddess or a bride.
Or a sacrificial offering.
She silenced her inner voice and waited for an invitation.
The music started winding to a close. Melanie swallowed, her gaze darting back and forth across the ballroom with a growing desperation. She had never been a complete wallflower; even during her frugal debut, her dance card had never lacked invitations.
You know why. You know why very well.
Is the scandal following me still?
Do you think the ton has much to talk about? Or do you suppose it is every day that a respectable gentry squire from Yorkshire divorces his adulterous wife?
This was wrong; this was completely wrong. This was supposed to be a thing of purity, the start of a new life –
The waltz ended, and Melanie smiled when the orchestra began playing another one.
This time, Melanie vowed, she was going to be bolder.