Tempting Lord Lucius
Historical Romance- Regency
Once, Lord Lucius St. Albans was a notorious rake. But since a horse racing accident that nearly killed him, mistresses and gambling hells have lost their allure. His long-lost grandfather, the Duke of Warrington, has given him Ashby Manor, which Lucius longs to fill with a loving wife and children. His redemption is almost complete.
Although she barely casts him a second glance, he finds Miss Adele Sutherland utterly bewitching. But as far as Adele is concerned, Lord Lucius is to be swerved; her younger sister was ruined by a seducer of a similar ilk. She will keep to her quiet life of raising her young nephew and running the family stables. However, when Lucius requests riding tuition, she just cannot afford to turn away his business, so she vows to use every ounce of strength she possesses not to be tempted by his legendary charm.
Only Adele hasn’t bargained on discovering that Lucius is a far kinder, sweeter man than his rakish reputation…Or that he’s the one person who may come to her assistance when all that she cherishes is threatened with going up in smoke…
Sunlight shone down upon them. With broad smiles, Maximus and Mother flanked Lucius. They exchanged glances, clearly knowing what was to take place. Their excitement was contagious as Lucius stood and waited for his grandfather to speak.
“Before the fourth Duke of Warrington built Warrington Hall, Ashby was the primary ducal residence. Through the years, various relatives have occupied the house. The most recent was my youngest brother, Lachlan. His family resided here for quite some time before deciding a few years ago that London suited them better. But now, Ashby Manor, the stables, dower cottage, the land… it’s all yours, Lucius, and your heirs, for generations to come.” Grandfather said this as if it was every day that a man was presented with a house as a gift. No, not just a house, but a grand estate, with tenants, stables, kennels, and an immense amount of responsibility. But for some strange reason, Lucius did not fear that weight of responsibility.
For once in his life, he had nothing to say. No words seemed appropriate for such an extravagant gift. Countless seconds passed, and yet, still no words came. He was too stunned with the prospect of being a landowner and caring for this piece of Warrington ancestry to speak.
Laughter rumbled from his brother. “I guess all it took to silence my dear brother was a house of his own.” Maximus teased him, then affectionately patted Lucius on the back. “All mocking aside, you will be an excellent landowner.”
“I…I don’t know what to say.”
“There is nothing to say.” Grandfather brought both brothers into an embrace. “My life has new meaning and purpose with you and Maximus having been returned. I want to share my heritage, my wealth, with the both of you. Your father would have felt the same.” That he had not lived to see his sons reunited with their family was the one regret they all had. Grandfather stepped back and smiled. “And now I can share traditions not only with my grandsons but also a new generation.” As if on cue, a phaeton came into view on the drive, and beside it, a beautiful mare with an even more enticing rider.
Who was the woman riding towards them? She was like a goddess atop a white mare, confident and completely at ease, her golden-brown hair glistening in the sun. Lucius recalled having never been at ease riding a horse as he marveled at her grace and elegance.
“Good afternoon, Your Grace,” an older gentleman with crisp white hair, a pleasant grin, and tired eyes said as the phaeton stopped a few yards from where they were standing.
“Good afternoon Mr. Sutherland, Miss Sutherland. You’re already acquainted with my daughter-in-law, Lady March, and these are my grandsons, Lord March and Lord Lucius.” Grandfather glanced their way for a brief moment before adding, “We’ve been looking forward to this day for quite some time.”
While Grandfather conversed with Mr. Sutherland and the others about the temperament of the mare being delivered, Lucius—who’d never been interested in the attributes of any horse—decided to take the opportunity to acquaint himself further with Miss Sutherland, who had dismounted and was loitering next to the animal. Her dull brown riding habit did not deter from her natural beauty, or the intellectual gleam in her eyes. Her attention was seemingly on the conversation, but if Lucius knew anything about women, and he did, she was just being coy.
As recently as several months ago, he would have been tempted to pursue a beauty such as Miss Sutherland. But—he reminded himself—he’d given up those ways. However, harmless flirtation to pass the time was another story; he wasn’t a saint after all. Under the guise of taking interest in the horse, he sauntered toward where Miss Sutherland stood, enjoying the full length of her form. She was neither tall nor short—a perfect height in his estimation, with a lovely heart-shaped face and full lips. However, as he approached, his plans were foiled when one of the stablemen approached, taking the reins and guiding the horse closer to where the others stood. Lucius would have to settle on pleasantries instead.
“Good afternoon, Miss Sutherland, it is a pleasure to meet you.”
“Lord Lucius,” she responded in a clipped tone with a nod of her head but never making eye contact.
In all his life, he could not recall receiving such a greeting, even when he was nothing more than an orphan being brought up by a baron. She could not have possibly heard about his reputation. She lived in the country, was the daughter of a horse breeder, and did not move in the same circles as he—she wasn’t even part of Society. Not to mention that since his arrival to Warrington Hall last summer, he’d been mostly on his best behavior. Annoyance burned at his self-esteem. He would not give up his quest so easily. He did enjoy a little flirtation now and then, and it wasn’t as if he was seeking his next mistress.
“There must be something wrong with my eyes,” he began to say, then paused, hoping to garner her attention. Miss Sutherland’s gaze shifted to his, revealing the most beautiful green orbs he’d ever seen. The spot between her brows crinkled slightly. This was his opportunity to make her swoon. “Because I can’t take them off you.”
Without a word, she walked away but not before shaking her head.
Miss Sutherland was actually walking away… from him! Lucius was fairly certain his mouth hung open in disbelief. Mild flirtation or not, that had never happened to him before.
What makes this book a must-read and/or what inspired you to write this story:
The inspiration for the second book in A Legend to Love series was the legend of Romulus and Remus—the twin brothers who founded Rome.
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Award winning historical romance author Alanna Lucas grew up in Southern California, but always dreamed of distant lands and bygone eras. From an early age, she took an interest in history and travel, and is thrilled to incorporate those diversions into her writing. Alanna writes Regency-set historical romance.
When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, or going for long walks. She makes her home in California with her husband, children, one sweet dog, and hundreds of books.
Just for the record, you can never have too many shoes, handbags, or books. And travel is a must.
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