The Dangerous Love of a Rogue is out on Jan 29th, it’s Mary’s story and so I thought I would share some of her previous scenes
*** If you have not read the series – Spoiler Alert ***
Today we meet Mary as a grown woman… A very young woman… But she has grown up in The Scandalous Love of a Duke;
John looked at the other letter and saw Mary’s effervescent writing. She was his eldest sister, the first child of his mother’s second marriage. She was just sixteen, approaching her first season.
She’d clearly rushed to write, scribbling a note to include in her father’s letter. She told John she needed her big brother home to lead her in her first waltz. She vowed she wouldn’t dance a single one unless he came.
Looking forward, he saw a slender, strikingly beautiful young woman. She had ebony hair and pale blue eyes, like his own. A beam of joy lit her face, and then she caught up her skirt and ran at him.
Good God, was this Mary Rose, his sister, all grown up?
She hugged him fiercely, her arms about his neck, and he held her loosely. “John! Oh John! I am so glad you’re back.” His baby sister was not even a child anymore. She’d been about ten years old and not much taller than his midriff when he’d left. Now she was as tall as his shoulder.
He lifted her off her feet and twirled her once, smiling, before pressing a kiss against her temple. “Mary-Rose, my not-so-little-anymore sister.”
Her fingers gripped his coat sleeves and she leant back, grinning as she looked him over. “You are no different, other than a little older, and no-one calls me Mary-Rose anymore, it is just Mary now. That is a childish name.”
John’s eldest sister, Mary-Rose, spotted them first. She was dressed in black, as they all were, but with her colouring the black only made her look more beautiful. All John’s family were beautiful. Katherine had never compared.
She pinned a smile on her face. She felt more certain of a welcome from the girls, but she did not wish to appear gauche.
“I cannot believe it!” Mary exclaimed as they neared. “Phillip! Katherine!” Her exclamation drew the attention of the others.
Mary had been a young girl when Katherine had seen her last, she was grown up now.
“I have not seen you for an age,” Mary hugged Katherine.
They had never been friends, Mary had been too young, and yet the younger girl had admired her brother’s playmate, with a desire to join in. Katherine knew Mary had challenged John as a child over why Kate was allowed to play the boys games, when Mary was not. But the young woman’s exuberance was open and honest as Mary gripped Phillip’s offered hand.
John had had enough. He was seeking his family to escape it for a little while, and looking for Mary particularly. He knew his vibrant sister would bring him back from the cold darkness crowding in on him.
Thinking of Robbie made John remember the money he’d settled on his brothers. He’d told Edward it was to ensure his brothers would live in a fashion which would not embarrass a duke. The truth was it eased John’s conscience, because he’d had little to do with any of them since the day he’d taken Robbie to Tattersalls.
He did not feel a part of his family anymore. There was too much of a gap in years, and status. So he’d traded genuine affection for cold hard coin. He’d agreed to enhance his sisters’ dowries too.
Mary had hugged him when he’d told her and John had warned her of fortune hunters.
Mary rose also and began rounding up the younger children.
There was suddenly a mass of motion and noise as the children excitedly packed up their games…
Jennifer had gripped Phillip’s arm. He was walking beside John’s stepfather, and Mary was minding the children with her mother and grandmother.
The heels of his boots hit heavily as he strode along the hall, announcing his arrival as he stopped before the door of his parents’ rooms. There was noise within, children’s voices, and Mary’s.
“Come,” his mother called, humour and happiness in her voice.
The sitting room adjoining his parents’ bedchamber was full of his siblings. The girls were excitedly looking over his mother’s and Mary’s evening clothes, while the boys were playing a rough and tumble game with his stepfather.
“John?” his stepfather said, his expression changing as he swung David, one of the younger boys, from his shoulders down to the ground. The very youngest must already be in their cots.
“I didn’t know you were home,” his mother stated, rising too.
“I have just returned. May I speak with you privately, Mama?”
“Did you have bad news in town?” Mary asked from across the room. “You look like thunder. In fact you look like Grandpapa.”
John cast his gaze at her and felt cold darkness swamp him, he felt like stone inside, like a statue, unable to live or breath anymore.
“Come on children, out,” his stepfather said. “I’ll walk you back upstairs. Dress in your room, Mary, and Robbie, you must go and get ready too.”
Immediately the exodus began, as his siblings fell silent and were herded from the room by his stepfather.
Carrying her dress over one arm, Mary smiled as she passed, and gently, briefly, gripped his arm.
“I am glad you came.” He was glad too. “You are interrupting nothing,” she said more loudly, drawing away and keeping a hold of his hand for a moment. He sat beside her. “But our conversation may bore you. We are planning Mary’s come-out. Will you stay for refreshments?”
He nodded, feeling another punch of guilt as he realised he ought to be sponsoring Mary. Edward had no title.
John offered up his townhouse for the ball and made a promise to escort Mary to a number of events. His name would give her opportunities Edward’s would not.
Whether you realize it or not, 🙂 I put a lot of facts between the lines of my stories, Mary does not play any major part in The Scandalous Love of a Rogue and yet if you read between the lines you will see her character building. Here you discover an exuberant, happy, young woman, whose grown up in a sheltered, safe and secure family home. Yet she is no longer spoiled she is one of many children, and she was excluded by John when she was younger, and has slipped into a motherly role with her younger siblings. So where is her support to come from?
She is close to Robbie, but Robbie is educated away from home. So when John returns, the much older brother she has looked up to, mostly from afar, he is someone new, someone to draw her away from her young siblings but John distances her again, and so once more she becomes lost in one of many within her family…