TITLE: My Shackled Marquess
GENRE: Regency Romance
She held her head up high despite of the gossip swirling in the ballroom. Mimi Anderson weaved her way through the crowd, acutely aware of the glances thrown in her direction and the snickers that followed in her wake. She ought to tell them to go to the devil. What a lovely idea. Pity she needed a sparkling reputation to stay in society and to capture Ashford Simon Dering, Marquess of Blackstone, in marriage.
She would be lucky if Ash didn't give her the cut direct. That was what they were hoping would happen, what they were all salivating to see. Her legs wobbled at the thought. The smell of candle wax, perfumes, and body odor assailed her nose and tightened the knots in her belly. She swore below her breath. Owning a body full of cowardly parts was quite annoying. She tipped her chin up and squinted at the majestic staircase up ahead.
Ash was not among the latecomers.
Blast the man. He had been back a week, and he could devastate her life again, this time for good. The least he could do was make an appearance so she could... well, see him. She had no
plan in mind. Shameful, really, since she had eight years to prepare.
Squeezing past a gaggle of bejeweled women, she smiled. They returned her smile and prattled behind her back. Not even the lively tune of the orchestra could drown out the murmured speculations of the juicy tidbits the gossipmongers had unearthed.