A London ballroom
Too many people, too much noise
Lasham took too big a swallow of his wine, knowing his headache would only be exacerbated by the alcohol, but unwilling to forgo the possibility that perhaps, for just a few minutes, his perception would be muffled, blurred a little around the edges.
So that he wouldn’t be in a state of constant keen awareness that he was the Duke of Lasham, that he was likely the most important person wherever he happened to be—according to everyone but him—and that he was under almost continuous surveillance.
The ballroom was filled with the best people of Society, all of whom seemed to be far more at ease than he had ever been. Could ever be, in fact. He stood to the side of the dance floor, the whirling fabric of the ladies’ gowns like a child’s top.
Not that he’d been allowed anything as playful or fun as a top when he was growing up. But he could identify the toy, at least.
“Enjoying yourself, Your Grace?” His hostess, along with two of her daughters, had crept up along his blind side, making him start and slosh his wine onto his gloved hand. Occurrences like this weren’t the worst part of having lost an eye—that obviously would be the fact that he only had one eye left—but it was definitely annoying.
“Yes,” he said, bowing in their general direction, “thank you, I am.”
The three ladies gawked at him as though waiting for him to continue to speak, to display more of his wondrous dukeliness for their delight. As though he were more of an object than a person.
But he couldn’t just perform on command, and his hand was damp, and now he would have to go air out his glove before bestowing another dance on some lady he would be obliged to dance with, being the duke, and all. Because if his glove was damp, it might be perceived as, God forbid, sweaty, and sweaty-handed dukes might mean that the duke had gotten said sweat because he was enthralled with the person with whom he was dancing, which would lead to expectations, which would lead to expect a question, and Lasham knew he did not want to ever have to ask that question of anybody.
It was bad enough being the object of scrutiny when he was out in public. At home, at least, he was by himself, blissfully so, and taking a duchess would require that he be at home by himself with somebody else, and that somebody would doubtless have ducal expectations of him as well.
“Excuse me,” he said to the silent, gawking ladies. He sketched a quick bow and strode off, trying to look as though he had a destination rather than merely wishing to depart.
A deliciously fun historical romance!
At first, I thought that surely the title was just wrong, wrong, wrong…Lasham was NOT at all wild. Perhaps Ms. Frampton was confused? Her publisher had taken leave of their senses? But it soon became clear that poor, awkward, can’t-manage-to-say-what-he-means-out-loud-and-seem-like-an-intelligent-adult Lash desperately wants to be wild. Or at least a little. As long as he can make that attempt with Lady Margaret, who he describes as (be still my wildly beating heart!) “the sparkling woman”.
Oh. My. Gosh. He is just too much. My new favorite duke–I just don’t see how he’ll ever be dethroned, because, adorkable.
Lasham felt himself wince as he recalled what he’d said to her, the lady of sparkles. “Wear your bonnet,” or some such nonsense, something that managed to make him seem bizarre and insulting all at the same time.
Perhaps for his next trick he could tell her she was stupid and not worth his time. Or would that be too subtle?
Seriously. I. Love. Him. Margaret says it rather perfectly, I think:
She thought he was rather adorable, if one could be adorable being over six feet in height with an eye patch and an occasionally threatening manner.
Amazingly, one can.
Maybe this time he would mention that since they both drew breath they had things in common, and shouldn’t they consider spending the rest of their lives together, just breathing?
YES. And if Margaret hadn’t stepped up in the end (and been perfect for him, darn it) I would volunteer for that position in a heartbeat.
I loved every minute of Margaret and Lash’s adventure, and found myself unable to stop reading for pretty much anything else, yet not wanting the book to ever end. It was quite a conundrum–so to make myself feel better about it, I highlighted lots and lots of favorite passages so that I could read them over and over again and giggle and swoon just as much as I did the first time. This will definitely be a re-read in the future…I haven’t yet read all the books in the series, so it would make sense to re-read this one in the correct series order, surely? Maybe two or three times?
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A