The last you hear of John in The Passionate Love of a Rake …
“Uncle Robert!” Mary-Rose barreled through the French doors, the fresh smell of spring carried with her in her clothes. Bending, Robert captured her as the tot charged into his leg, squealing. He lifted her to his hip as her elder brother, John, raced in behind her. Robert imagined his own children thus, when they came. He was impatient for that day.
“Coward,” John accused as he approached, his skin flushed and his chest heaving. Robert saw grass in John’s hair and knew, without doubt, Mary was responsible. John was growing up, and he did not always wish to play her childish games, and Mary had run to her uncle for safety because she knew Robert was soft on her. There was tension in John’s jaw. He rarely lost his temper. He was, in general, a placid lad, but he was in the turbulent years of his life, and he had grown much quieter lately, and more solitary. John lifted his chin with a look too much like His Grace, the Duke of Pembroke, John’s grandsire, for comfort.
“She is an imp, Papa. Send her to bed without supper.”
Mary grinned at her brother, unrepentant.
Robert eased the argument by offering to take John riding tomorrow, and telling him he might stay with the men after dinner, and then to Mary he offered ice cream in the nursery as her appeasement.
Edward agreed to both of Robert’s offers and then took John away to play billiards, leaving Mary in Robert’s arms…
John at the beginning of The Scandalous Love of a Duke
The girls looked at one another as Katherine looked about them all. John was their pattern card. All his younger cousins followed him like shadows, emulating everything he did. They were all in awe of him…
…Katherine focused on the boys cavorting in the lake. They seemed oblivious to the girls obscured by the curtain of leaves.
They were splashing water at each other, shouting and baiting one another, laughing. John, pale skinned, lean and athletic, lunged at Katherine’s brother, gripped his shoulders and pushed him underwater. The game grew more aggressive. Phillip thrust up and retaliated, lunging back at John, and when John dodged him, Phillip dived beneath the water and pulled John under.
All the boys, a dozen or more of John’s friends from Oxford, broke into an uproar then, as the game became a mêlée.
They were not boys though, not anymore, no more than she was a girl. They were young men, and she was on the brink of womanhood. She could be married now if she wished. The problem was the only person she wished to marry was unattainable. John…
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