"Her Lessons In Persuasion" Are Best Taught In Romance

Title:  Her Lessons In Persuasion
Series:  School For Scoundrels #1
Author:  Megan Frampton
Format:  ERC
Length:  384 pages
Expected Publication Date:  January 24, 2023
Publisher:  Avon
Rating:  5 Stars

Megan Frampton dazzles in the first book in her new series, A School for Scoundrels. Five gentlemen with unbreakable bonds navigate life--and love--in London. Perfect for fans of Sarah MacLean and anyone who loves BRIDGERTON!

To Lady Wilhelmina Bettesford, the "game" of finding a husband is a competitive sport she wants no part of...until her much-younger step mama forces her to play it. So when her stepmother asks sexy barrister Bram Townsend to pretend to woo the amateur astronomer to boost Wilhelmina's popularity, it's up to Wilhelmina to navigate a fake courtship that will keep the family from forcing her into a marriage--any marriage--before she finally receives the inheritance that will allow her to live as she wants.

The trouble is every time Bram takes her in his arms she has a most difficult time remembering theirs is an act...the make-believe passion feels very real indeed.

Bram Townsend is a man on the way up: living for his books and his beliefs. Squiring Lady Wilhelmina through London's dusk-to-dawn social whirl is hardly an ordeal--she's beautiful, bright, and bold, everything he finds tempting in a woman. Their deal means he can meet the "best" people while she keeps her family at bay. The challenge is he quickly finds himself wanting her to say "yes" when she's so determined to say "no." She persuaded him to make this impetuous bargain, but how can he convince he
r to make it real?

Please enjoy this excerpt from
Her Lessons In Persuasion
Megan Frampton

London in the evening was a dangerous place if you had money in your pocket. It was already dark by the time Bram Townsend left his office, clapping his hat onto his head as he shut the door behind himself. An ordinary man with coins jingling in his pockets would, perhaps, hail a hackney cab to take him from where he was in the depths of The City to the fine streets of Mayfair. Far safer than walking. That he did have money, despite his ignominious birth, made him far from ordinary. Unusual, even. Distinctive. Bram didn’t take his good fortune for granted. He’d worked hard to become a barrister, making sure justice prevailed in England’s courts of law. He had ambitions of becoming a judge to serve justice even more widely. He had no time for anything save his profession and his friends—four fellow orphans who’d also been at the Devenaugh Home for Destitute Boys, more famously known as the School for Scoundrels. That was why he was walking on foot, despite the danger. His long stride and quick pace would get him to where he was going far faster than a hackney would. This evening he was on his way to meet his friends for their monthly meeting, where they discussed books and their respective lives. They’d be debating Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton tonight, and he was already preparing his arguments. Which were numerous. Bram didn’t spend any time heeding the calls of certain women to come find his pleasure with them as he walked. He also ignored the lively chatter that spilled into the streets from pubs catering to all sorts of people—even, he knew, gentlemen who had the audacity to work for their livings as he did. Not only would it make him later, it wouldn’t be proper. And since he already had the black mark of illegitimacy tied to his name, he took care to keep his behavior proper at all times. “Was Gaskell using the murder to illustrate the plight of the Bartons?”he muttered. It felt, while reading Mary Barton, that he had suffered along with Mary as her life took precarious turns. The night was cool, the temperate warmth of the early spring day having ebbed as the sun set. Bram liked how it felt to be a bit chilled—his offices and the courts could get swelteringly hot, all the bodies, both washed and unwashed, pressing together in search of justice. His path took him across the Blackfriars Bridge, the wind a bit colder when there were no buildings to shield him from it. He dug his hands farther into his pockets and lowered his head, making it so he almost didn’t see the altogether inexplicable figure of a woman perched on the parapet, her long cloak flapping in the wind. She wore no hat, and her hair streamed behind her, the moonlight limning her silhouette. For a moment, his fanciful part—which until that moment he hadn’t realized he even had—wondered if she was an angel come to earth, or some other sort of otherworldly creature. A fairy, a goddess. A water sprite. But first of all, he didn’t believe in any of that nonsense, and second of all, why would an otherworldly creature choose to alight on Blackfriars Bridge? And then she wobbled, and he knew she was a mere mortal who was in very great danger of falling off said bridge into the cold depths of the Thames. A mere mortal who was courting great danger, and even greater notoriety. “Stop,”he roared, rushing forward to wrap his arm just below her knees, jerking her backward as she yelped in surprise. She tumbled off, the fabric of her cloak clinging to him as she pitched backward. She landed on top of him while he landed right on the hard surface of the bridge. “Mmfargh,”she said as he made an equally inarticulate groan. They both lay there still for a moment, him already cataloguing what hurt: everything. She scrambled off him, hitting a few tender places with his elbows and knees, then rolled so she was on her knees, flinging her cloak over her shoulder. “What,”she began, “did you do? How dare you?”“Stop,”he said again, grabbing her ankle. “I can’t—”“Let go of me, you ruffian!”she replied, wriggling her foot. He held on tight, clasping her ankle with his other hand as well. “I will not,”he said, his tone low and intense. “I cannot let you do this—”“Let me?”she said in a squeak. “Who are you to have anything to say about what I do?”He looked up at her. “Surely it’s not worth it,”he said, groaning as he shifted onto his side. “I am certain we can find you some help. If it’s money you need, I can give you some now, and perhaps try to find you employment. If it’s something else,”he said, thinking of his own illegitimate birth, “there are resources there, too.”He couldn’t see her face since the moon was behind her. Was she mortified someone had seen her? Aghast she hadn’t been able to do what she’d originally intended? Relieved she’d been saved? “Help?”she said, her tone outraged. Neither mortified, aghast, nor relieved, then. “You think I needed help? Employment?”She twisted around to punch him hard on the arm, almost making him fall onto his back again. It had the added bonus of getting him to release her ankle. “I do not need help, you interfering baboon.”He blinked up at her. “You—?”he began. “No!”she interrupted. Her speech was that of a lady’s, which was even more surprising. No lady would venture into either of the two neighborhoods the bridge served, and certainly not alone. That wasn’t even taking into account the whole “standing on a narrow piece of stone that would hurl you into the River Thames if you misstepped”thing. “I was not trying to harm myself,”she said, sounding exasperated. “Which you would have known if you had simply inquired.”His lips twitched. “So you wished me to ask if you were planning on ending your life before I saved you? What if the answer was yes, should I have said, ‘Please proceed’?”He continued speaking. “And if the answer was no, then I should have saved you? But what if in the course of answering the question your footing grew more unsteady, and you ended up falling in? You would certainly have drowned, even though I had inquired, and you had told me ‘no.’”He paused. “In that case, my intention would have been noble and appropriate, certainly, but it would have had disastrous results. I far prefer my method.”He rolled onto his knees, wincing at the pain he felt in his back. He took a breath, then rose all the way up onto his feet, holding his hand out to the lady, who still knelt on the ground. “I don’t want your help,”she said, and he didn’t need to see her face to know she was frowning at his hand. “Nevertheless, I must insist you take it,”he replied, grasping her forearm and hauling her up before she realized it. “You must know it is dangerous to be out here this late at night, especially for someone like you.”She slapped his hand away. “Dangerous because strange men might assault me?”she asked pointedly, and he winced, shoving his hand deep into his pocket. The moonlight shone on her face, revealing her more clearly than before. Her hair tumbled around her shoulders in gentle waves, though he couldn’t determine its exact color. Her eyebrows were dark wings over her narrowed eyes, and her mouth was generous, looking as though she liked to laugh. Even though her lips were currently pressed together in a thin line. “I didn’t—I was not—”he sputtered, and she crossed her arms over her chest, giving him a fierce glare. “You have proven that this bridge is dangerous, thank you so much,”she said, her tone dripping with sarcasm. Making him twitch with the desire to argue with her faulty supposition. “The help you gave nearly pitched me into the water!”she added. She uncrossed her arms to withdraw a cloth from her pocket and, before he realized it, she was dabbing at his face. He was so startled he just allowed it, but of course not so startled he couldn’t continue to argue. “Which you proved by standing on a parapet,”he said dryly, instinctively holding his head still so she could continue her ministrations. “Yes, I can see that.”She growled in response, at which he held his hands up in a gesture of surrender. “I promise, I have no plans to assault you. I am merely pointing out the obvious flaw in your logic.”“Are you always this infuriating?”she asked, now frowning at his face as she continued to dab. He had to admit it felt pleasant—albeit unusual—to be taken care of like this. “Or is it just me?”Bram chuckled in amusement. “I’m fairly certain it is not just you.”If his friends were here, they would most definitely agree. She was likely beautiful when she wasn’t glowering, he realized. She was glowering now. Her head reached to the middle of his chest, which made her of medium height for a woman. She was young, but not so young to make him believe this was some sort of wayward misbehavior of youth. She looked close to his own age of thirty, and he had to wonder what kind of woman reached her age without having somebody responsible for her. The kind of woman you should stay away from, a voice said inside his head. Not that he had plans to go near any women at all—he had no time for them. Even though a part of him wanted to know precisely who she was and what she was doing. The curse of being someone whose job was ferreting out information. “Well, you’ve saved my life, so why don’t you be on your way?”She shoved the cloth she’d been using into his hand, then made a shooing motion with her hands. “I cannot leave you here,”he bristled. “What if you try it again?”“Thank you, Mr. Helpful.”That sarcastic tone again. “I have already told you that was not my intention. If it was, you would have to spend the rest of your life with me to prevent that. It is not as though—if that was my intention—that I would be deterred forever because some strange man tackled me.”“I did not tackle you,”he replied stiffly. This woman was clearly far more outspoken than any lady he’d encountered before, and he did not like it. At all. “I believed you were in danger—in fact, I know that you were in danger—and I merely removed you from it.”“By tackling me,”she finished, the tone of her voice making it sound as though she’d landed a hit. He flung his hands up in exasperation. “Fine. I tackled you. Can you please allow me to escort you from the bridge so I can ensure your safety?”He could not believe he was having this discussion with someone whose judgment was so faulty she would get herself up onto a bridge for a reason other than self-harm. Someone who would do something so untoward that might bring unwanted attention to herself. “If you had just left me up there, I would be perfectly safe and not sore for having fallen,”she remonstrated. Apparently nearly as unwilling to give up a point of contention as he was. So they had something in common. Even if it was an infuriating thing. “And what were you doing there anyway, if not—?”he asked. “I was,”she said haughtily, “merely trying to get a better look at

My Thoughts

This man made this story. From his high jinx at trying to save a lady that did not want to be saved. To his honest attempts not to marry the self same lady who did want to be married. To him.
And right down to his brooding, argumentative, devilishly handsome, virgin toes.
That's right!
He's a virgin!
This man keeps pages turning without a doubt.
And to top it all off he doesn't have to be a Duke or Earl to do it.

As for our leading lady. One Wilhelmina Bettesford.
She is the headstrong, take no prisoners, bookish type. Always trying to learn something that the boys say she shouldn't. (In this case, astronomy.)
And be somewhere which by virtue of her sex. The boys say that she is not allowed. (In this case, The Stars Above Society.)

This "boy from the wrong side of the blanket" makes good. Meets girl from "the right side of side blanket". But on the wrong side of society. Offers readers a far more "everyday" experience of a love story. Than the usual Lord and Laaaady! Let's take a stroll around the ballroom. Get caught kissing by her mother, and have to marry drivel.
This is a story to love. Right down to the interfering, but smart like a fox younger stepmother, Alathea. And the sweet little dog named Dipper.

And sweetening the pot even more for those of us chomping at the literary bit. This is but book one in this delightful series.
And because this read has proved to be heaven sent indeed.
Who knows what romantic lighting will strike in book two.

Reviewer's Note:
All opinions expressed in this critique are my own. And have in no way been influenced by any outside party.
Thank you to Netgalley and Avon Books for providing the review copy on which my review is based.

About Megan

Megan FramptonMegan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic womens fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and son.

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