A Marquess’ Forbidden Desire – Lucinda Nelson

Lady Marianne Purcell, Daughter of Baron Westlake
“You see, mother, it is absolutely essential that I take a trip to Bath for a short while. To
summarize-” Marianne paused and looked back over her shoulder at her servant, Miss Becky Cole.
“Am I doing alright?”
“Yes, my Lady, very well indeed! Please go on.”
Marianne nodded and looked back at the mirror. She watched her own face as she spoke,
looking for faults. She wanted to see resolve, conviction and strength. And she thought she could see
it. Lurking in her emerald eyes.
“To summarize,” she went on. “Going to Bath will afford me a much needed break from the
stresses of London. It will give me the chance to see a place I’ve never been and broaden my
horizons. Perhaps I may even learn something from the experience and return wiser than ever before.”
She took a breath.
“You often say that I am too young in spirit. Too unworldly. Then allow me to become worldly.
Give me this opportunity and you will not regret it.” In conclusion, she gave a firm, assertive nod and
spun back towards Becky.
Becky clapped wildly. “Bravo, my Lady.”
Smiling, Marianne curtsied. “Thank you, thank you, you are too kind.” She waved her hand
forwards and touched her cheeks, as though she was a flattered performer receiving a standing
ovation.
Becky laughed and so did she. A bright tinkling sound that her mother often said made her sound
like an infant.


But she didn’t mind too much. Not when she was with Becky at least, who was more of
a friend than a servant.
She hopped onto her bed, where Becky was sitting, and bounced on her knees. “Oh my dear, do
you truly think they will let me go?” She said, showing a glimpse of teeth as she bit at her lip.
“I do not know how they could refuse, my Lady. I am entirely persuaded.”
Marianne squeezed her hand thankfully and smiled. “I do not think you needed very much
persuading.”
“That is true,” she answered, smiling bashfully. “But I believe that I would be persuaded
regardless of my own personal interest in the matter.”
“I do hope they feel the same way.” She took another steadying breath and looked at her
bedroom door. They would go down for dinner at any moment.
“Are you very nervous?” Becky asked, with a sympathetic furrow between her brows.
“A little,” she admitted. “I want this terribly.”
“But?”
“But mother will not like it,” Marianne said.
Becky nodded, but didn’t say anything else. It wouldn’t have been right for her to remark on
Marianne’s mother’s temperament.
And Marianne appreciated her restraint. Though her mother, the Baroness of Westlake, had a
reputation for being a little cold, she remained her mother. And Marianne loved her dearly.
“She is only cautious,” Marianne said. “She likes to play by the rules, but she isn’t callous. She
can be very loving at times.


“I am sure,” Becky answered, but her smile appeared a bit stiff.
Marianne knew that her mother could be especially mean-spirited with the servants, so she
couldn’t blame Becky for her uncertainty.
“Would you fix my hair?” Marianne asked, as she touched a curl that had sprung loose from its
holdings.
“Certainly, my Lady.” Becky sounded relieved to be free of that particular conversation.
Marianne crossed the room to sit beside the mirror and Becky began to pin back any curls that had
become loose.
As she sat there, she thought about her mother and tried to recall a time that she had been loving.
It was quite a struggle, but after a moment the words sprung to her lips. “There was that time that she
allowed Lilia and I to take the best horses riding. Do you recall?”
Miss Lilia Dartmouth was her best friend, who Marianne often visited. But it was rare that she
came to see Marianne, because her mother didn’t like her. To this day Marianne didn’t know why.
Lilia was the sweetest girl she’d ever known.
Marianne often wondered if her mother didn’t like Lilia because she gave Marianne a taste of
true freedom. Lilia’s parents didn’t much care what Lilia got up to. They trusted her. And Marianne
envied her terribly for the privilege of her parents’ trust.
“Yes, my Lady. A very kind thing for her to do,” Becky said, though her voice did not have
much energy in it.
Yes, it had been kind of her mother to allow that. Though after a moment or two, Marianne
recalled that Lilia had brought her cousin with her.
An extremely wealthy cousin that the Baroness had been keen to marry off to Marianne’s sister.
Frowning, she had to wonder whether her mother had ulterior motives when she’d allowed
them all to go riding with the best horses that afternoon.
She didn’t rectify her statement. Only tried to smile at Becky again in the mirror and forget that
they’d ever discussed the matter of her mother’s kindness.


It was a rather depressing conversation. Still it was better to think about that than her current
state of anxiety.
Marianne thought again of the conversation she would soon broach with her parents and felt
nervousness slither through her belly.
Becky must have felt her stiffen or shiver, because she caught her eye in the mirror and said, “It
will be fine, my Lady.”
“Yes,” Marianne answered, though she didn’t sound entirely convinced. “I’m sure it will be.”
***
Lord Alexander Anthony Redmond, Marquess of Riversdale
“Absolutely not.”
“How can you say that?” Julius responded.
Alexander continued packing, but Julius was having none of it. He planted his hands on the back
of the case and slammed it shut.
“Don’t you see, Alexander? This is our last moment of freedom. To be shared as the best of
friends, sowing our wild oats all across England.”
“It is only Bath,” Alexander answered. He tried to pry open the case, but Julius bore down on it
with his full weight. He was a stocky man. Strong and well-built.
“Only Bath? No, no, no, my poor naïve friend. It is not only Bath. It is a symbol. A symbol of
liberty. Have you heard much of the women in Bath?”
Alexander tried not to let his amusement show. He gave his friend a bored look. “I have no
interest in the women in Bath. When I choose a wife, it will be under my father’s bidding. He does
not know of any women in Bath.


“I am not talking about choosing a wife,” Julius retorted, with a broad and impish smile. “I am
talking about sampling the goods of the nation. How are you ever to make a sound decision without
first taking a sample?” Lady Marianne Purcell, Daughter of Baron Westlake “You see, mother, it is absolutely essential that I take a trip to Bath for a short while. To summarize-” Marianne paused and looked back over her shoulder at her servant, Miss Becky Cole. “Am I doing alright?” “Yes, my Lady, very well indeed! Please go on.” Marianne nodded and looked back at the mirror. She watched her own face as she spoke, looking for faults. She wanted to see resolve, conviction and strength. And she thought she could see it. Lurking in her emerald eyes. “To summarize,” she went on. “Going to Bath will afford me a much needed break from the stresses of London. It will give me the chance to see a place I’ve never been and broaden my horizons. Perhaps I may even learn something from the experience and return wiser than ever before.” She took a breath. “You often say that I am too young in spirit. Too unworldly. Then allow me to become worldly. Give me this opportunity and you will not regret it.” In conclusion, she gave a firm, assertive nod and spun back towards Becky. Becky clapped wildly. “Bravo, my Lady.” Smiling, Marianne curtsied. “Thank you, thank you, you are too kind.” She waved her hand forwards and touched her cheeks, as though she was a flattered performer receiving a standing ovation.

Becky laughed and so did she. A bright tinkling sound that her mother often said made her sound like an infant. But she didn’t mind too much. Not when she was with Becky at least, who was more of a friend than a servant. She hopped onto her bed, where Becky was sitting, and bounced on her knees. “Oh my dear, do you truly think they will let me go?” She said, showing a glimpse of teeth as she bit at her lip. “I do not know how they could refuse, my Lady. I am entirely persuaded.” Marianne squeezed her hand thankfully and smiled. “I do not think you needed very much persuading.” “That is true,” she answered, smiling bashfully. “But I believe that I would be persuaded regardless of my own personal interest in the matter.” “I do hope they feel the same way.” She took another steadying breath and looked at her bedroom door. They would go down for dinner at any moment. “Are you very nervous?” Becky asked, with a sympathetic furrow between her brows. “A little,” she admitted. “I want this terribly.” “But?” “But mother will not like it,” Marianne said. Becky nodded, but didn’t say anything else. It wouldn’t have been right for her to remark on Marianne’s mother’s temperament. And Marianne appreciated her restraint. Though her mother, the Baroness of Westlake, had a reputation for being a little cold, she remained her mother. And Marianne loved her dearly. “She is only cautious,” Marianne said.

“She likes to play by the rules, but she isn’t callous. She can be very loving at times.” “I am sure,” Becky answered, but her smile appeared a bit stiff. Marianne knew that her mother could be especially mean-spirited with the servants, so she couldn’t blame Becky for her uncertainty. “Would you fix my hair?” Marianne asked, as she touched a curl that had sprung loose from its holdings. “Certainly, my Lady.” Becky sounded relieved to be free of that particular conversation. Marianne crossed the room to sit beside the mirror and Becky began to pin back any curls that had become loose. As she sat there, she thought about her mother and tried to recall a time that she had been loving. It was quite a struggle, but after a moment the words sprung to her lips. “There was that time that she allowed Lilia and I to take the best horses riding. Do you recall?” Miss Lilia Dartmouth was her best friend, who Marianne often visited. But it was rare that she came to see Marianne, because her mother didn’t like her. To this day Marianne didn’t know why. Lilia was the sweetest girl she’d ever known. Marianne often wondered if her mother didn’t like Lilia because she gave Marianne a taste of true freedom. Lilia’s parents didn’t much care what Lilia got up to. They trusted her. And Marianne envied her terribly for the privilege of her parents’ trust. “Yes, my Lady. A very kind thing for her to do,” Becky said, though her voice did not have much energy in it. Yes, it had been kind of her mother to allow that. Though after a moment or two, Marianne recalled that Lilia had brought her cousin with her. An extremely wealthy cousin that the Baroness had been keen to marry off to Marianne’s sister. Frowning, she had to wonder whether her mother had ulterior motives when she’d allowed them all to go riding with the best horses that afternoon.

She didn’t rectify her statement. Only tried to smile at Becky again in the mirror and forget that they’d ever discussed the matter of her mother’s kindness. It was a rather depressing conversation. Still it was better to think about that than her current state of anxiety. Marianne thought again of the conversation she would soon broach with her parents and felt nervousness slither through her belly. Becky must have felt her stiffen or shiver, because she caught her eye in the mirror and said, “It will be fine, my Lady.” “Yes,” Marianne answered, though she didn’t sound entirely convinced. “I’m sure it will be.” *** Lord Alexander Anthony Redmond, Marquess of Riversdale “Absolutely not.” “How can you say that?” Julius responded. Alexander continued packing, but Julius was having none of it. He planted his hands on the back of the case and slammed it shut. “Don’t you see, Alexander? This is our last moment of freedom. To be shared as the best of friends, sowing our wild oats all across England.” “It is only Bath,” Alexander answered. He tried to pry open the case, but Julius bore down on it with his full weight. He was a stocky man. Strong and well-built. “Only Bath? No, no, no, my poor naïve friend. It is not only Bath. It is a symbol. A symbol of liberty. Have you heard much of the women in Bath?” Alexander tried not to let his amusement show. He gave his friend a bored look. “I have no interest in the women in Bath.

When I choose a wife, it will be under my father’s bidding. He does not know of any women in Bath.” “I am not talking about choosing a wife,” Julius retorted, with a broad and impish smile. “I am talking about sampling the goods of the nation. How are you ever to make a sound decision without first taking a sample?”

.

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