Title: When The Marquess Falls
Author: Lorraine Heath
Review Format: eARC
Length: 128 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Rating: 5 Stars
The long-anticipated and utterly extraordinary tale of the Mad Marquess that proves love truly does last forever
The Marquess of Marsden always follows the rules. Expected from birth to adhere to decades of tradition, he plans to marry a proper young woman from a good family. But when a beautiful, and completely unsuitable, woman snags his heart, he begins to realize that to get what you want, sometimes you have to break the rules.
Linnie Connor dreams of the independence of running her very own bakery. And while she may be allowed to be a marquess’ childhood companion, the baker's daughter never ends up with the handsome nobleman. Determined to achieve at least one of her dreams, Linnie makes plans to leave her sleepy village for London, intent on purging him from her heart. And yet, when an invitation to the Marsden annual ball arrives, she can't refuse her one chance to waltz in his arms.
It will be a night that stirs the flames of forbidden desires and changes their lives forever.
1Chapter 1Havisham Hall, DevonshireSpring 1882Killian St. John, Viscount Locksley, strode past the silent sentinel standing in thehallway without giving the oak inlaid clock much thought. He’d been six when he’d firstlearned that the hands weresupposed to move, that the clock’s purpose was to mark thepassage of time. But with the death of Locke’s mother’s, for his father at least, time hadcome to an abrupt standstill.When a child doesn’t know any differently, he accepts what he knows as the absolutetruth for how things are done. He had believed the only rooms that servants of anyhousehold ever tidied were the ones in use. At Havisham Hall they straightened thebedchamber in which he slept, the small dining room in which he ate, the chambersoccupied by his father, and the library in which his father sometimes worked at his desk.The remaining rooms were mysteries shrouded behind locked doors.2Or they had been before the Duke of Ashebury and the Earl of Greyling, along withtheir wives, were killed in a horrific railway accident in 1858. Shortly afterward theiryoung sons had been brought to Havisham Hall to become the wards of his father. Withtheir arrival so, too, had arrived all manner of knowledge, including the confirmation thathis father was stark raving mad.Now Locke entered the small dining room and came to an abrupt halt at the sight ofhis sire sitting at the head of the table, reading the newspaper that the butler dutifullyironed each morning. Normally the older man took his mealsin his chambers. Moreastonishing, his usually disheveled white hair had been trimmed and brushed, his faceshaven, and his clothes pressed. Locke couldn’t recall another time when his father hadtaken such care with his appearance. On the rare occasion when he wandered out of hissanctuary, he more closely resembled a scraggly scarecrow.With Locke’s arrival, the butler poured coffee into a delicate bone china cup beforedeparting to retrieve his plate. As customarily he was the only one to dine in this room,he kept his meals simple and small. No sideboards with assorted offerings from which tochoose. Just a plate bearing whatever fare Cook was of a mind to prepare brought upfrom the kitchens.His father had yet to notice him, but then the lord of the manor tended to spend muchof his day and night absorbed in his own private world where memories of happier timesflourished.“Well, this is a pleasant surprise,” Locke said as he took his seat, striving to shake offhis lingering concerns over the estate’sdwindling finances. His apprehensions hadrousted him before dawn and resulted in his sequestering himself in the library for more12older than twenty-five. Her clothing was wellmade, in excellent condition. No fraying,no tatters.She lifted her arms, reaching for her hatpin, and her pert breasts lifted as well. Theywere the perfect size to fill the palms of his hands. Those very same hands could span herwaist, close around it, draw her up against him. Why the devil was he noticing things thathad no bearing on his strategy?She swept the hat fromher head, and his breath caught. Her hair was a fiery red thatrivaled the flames in a hearth for brilliance. The strands appeared heavy, abundant, and indanger of tumbling down at any moment. He wondered exactly how many pins he’d haveto remove to makeit do just that. Not many,he’d wager. Two, three at the most.Shifting to ease the discomfort of his body reacting as though he hadn’t been near awoman since he’d left the classroom, he draped his arm along the back of the sofa,striving for a nonchalance he wasn’t feeling. He didn’t care about her hair, her eyes, orher figure. Or those plump, full lips the shade of rubies. He cared about her motives. Whywould a woman as young and enticing as she was be willing to marry a man as old anddecrepit as hisfather? She had to have young bucks fawning over her. She drewattention. So what did she hope to gain here that she couldn’t gain elsewhere?“Now, my dear—”his father began, leaning forward.“Here we are, m’lord!”Mrs. Barnaby sang out as she bustled in, carrying a teaservice. Her hair, more white than black, was pulled back in her usual tight bun, her blackdress pressed to perfection.“Tea and cakes, just as you requested.”After setting the trayon the small table that rested between the two chairs, she straightened, cocked her head tothe side as she studied their guest, her brow furrowing.“She is rather young, m’lord.”13“An old woman isn’t going to give me an heir now isshe, Mrs. Barnaby?”“I suppose there is that.”She gave a little curtsy, her arthritic knees creaking as shedid so.“Welcome to Havisham, Mrs. Gadstone. Shall I pour the tea?”“No, I’ll see to it, thank you.”“Oh.”Mrs. Barnaby’s shoulders slumped. She was obviously crestfallen to bedismissed before hearing anythingof noteshe could share below stairs.“That’ll be all, Mrs. Barnaby,”his father said gently.Heaving a huge sigh, she turned to go. Locke held out his hand.“I’ll have the keys,Mrs. Barnaby.”She slapped her hand over the large ring dangling from her ample waist as thoughhe’d asked for the CrownJewels and she was determined to guard them with her life.“They’re my responsibility.”“I may have a need for them. I’ll return them to you later.”His need depended onhow this conversation went.With a mulish expression, she reluctantly handed them over before marching from theroom with righteous indignation shimmering off her in waves. He didn’t know why sheclung to them so tenaciously when they were more ornament than use. He supposedbecause they heralded her vaunted position in the household, one she’d acquired becauseshe’d stuck around when many of the parlor maids had gone in search of greenerpastures. Or ones less haunted.Returning his attention to Mrs. Gadstone, he watched in fascination as she slowlypeeled off a black kidskin glove as though she reveled in exposing something forbidden.Quarter inch by frustrating quarter inch. Yet he seemed unable to look away as her14smooth unblemished hand was revealed. No scars. No calluses. No freckles. She took thesame care withuncoveringthe other, and he fought against envisioning those small,perfect, silken-looking hands gliding leisurely over his barechest. Withcare, she set thegloves primly in her lap as though completely unaware of the effect her slow unveilingcould have on a man. Although he would wager half his future fortune that she knewprecisely what she was about.“Lord Marsden, how do you prefer yourtea?”Herraspy voice shimmied down his spine, settled in his groin, damn it all. Shesounded like a recently sated woman.“An abundance of sugar, if you please.”Locke watched as she poured, added several cubes, stirred, and offered the teacup andsaucer along with a tender smile to the marquess, who smiled back as though grateful forthe offering when in fact he detested tea.“And how do you prefer your tea, Lord Locksley?”“Surely as my mother, you should call me Locke.”Her gaze came to bear onhis, her eyes as sharp as a finely honed rapier. God, she waswilling to slice him to ribbons. He’d like to see her try.“I am not yet your mother, LordLocksley, am I? Have I done something to offend you?”Leaning forward, he dug his elbows into his thighs.“I’m simply striving to determinewhy a woman as young and lovely as yourself would be willing to lie on her back so aman as shriveled as my father can slide on top of her.”“Locke!”his father bellowed.“You’ve gone too far. Get the hell out.”15“It’s quite all right, my lord,”she said calmly, never taking her challenging gaze fromLocke’s, not flinching, not blushing, not so much as arching a thinly shaped eyebrow athim.“I don’t see that your father’s preferred position for coupling is really any ofyourconcern. Perhaps he will take me standing while coming in at me from behind. Or on myknees. Or upside down. But I assure you, he will not be shriveled.”Then she slowlylowered those damned whiskey eyes to his lap, and he cursed his cock’s betrayal.Withstartling detail, images of him with her in all those positions had flown through his mind.He’d grown so hard and aching that he couldn’t have gotten up and walked out if hewanted.And she bloody well knew it.“Tea. My lord.”“No.”The word came outstrangled. It seemed every facet of his body was intent onbetraying him.Her luscious lips turned up into a smug, triumphant smile. She turned to his father.“May I interest you in a tea cake, Lord Marsden?”Despite the innocence of her words, all he wanted to do was drag her up against him,claim her mouth as his own, and see if it tasted as tart as it sounded.The entire book becomes available Nov. 29.Happy Reading!
Introduced to readers in The Viscount And The Vixen. The Marquess of Marsden a.k.a. The Mad Marquess, is a character who is at once able to captivate, intrigue, and astound. Whether it be his eccentricities, his love for his late wife, his dedication to his sons, both natural and adopted, or his sentimental heart. One can never run short on things to love about this most uniquely cut "jewel of the ton."
The 128 page When the Marquess Falls, being just the right format in which to do so.
We often hear tales of people being "born to love" their mates. It seems that in the case of one George William St. John, sixth Marquess of Marsden. This sentiment could never have proved more true. At least as it applies to a certain Miss Linnie Connor. Daughter of the local baker. George's childhood friend...and one clearly far below the blue-blood standard that one must have to attain even the slightest acknowledgement from George's high-minded mother.
But as often is the case with love. All is conquered in a most Ciinderella-like fashion, and the bittersweet tale of love and loss is laid before readers in its full romantic splendor. As only Lorriane Heath can...