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The New Marquess (Wardington Park) (A Regency Romance Book)
Author:Eleanor Meyers

The New Marquess (Wardington Park) (A Regency Romance Book)

Eleanor Meyers


September 1835

Williamsburg, Virginia

Lord Morgan Platt remained silent as the wagon traveled down the dirt road. He tried to ignore the ungodly smell of his transport and the fact he was sitting on a bed a hay and who knew what else, losing himself in the beauty of the foreign land as they left the city and started toward a more rural area of Virginia.

Despite the travails of the first settlers, who had died of sickness and warred with the natives, Morgan could see why people had chosen to stay.

He admired the trees and the abundance of color that overtook his senses. Reds, golds, and greens mixed with forest and sun-kissed open fields, drawing him in as little did most days. Even the air seemed different, untouched. But after being on a ship for over a month without any of the fineries he was used to, he’d truly just been glad to see land again, yet while he’d found nothing appealing about the cities compared to London, he did admire the country space.

And in less than a year, he’d have country space of his own back in England. His eldest brother had gone missing nearly seven years ago and Morgan, who’d always enjoyed being a second son, was now to be the Marquess of Durham. With the title would come all the land his father had planned to pass on to his brother and if that were the only thing Morgan was set to inherit, he’d have not minded at all, but with his brother’s title also came the oaths made upon the next Marquess of Durham. Morgan was set to marry a woman he’d never met, a woman of his mother’s choosing, and Morgan didn’t even know her name.

For a long time, he’d thought about escaping, just as his brother had, and choosing his own destiny, but other obligations kept him in London for the time being, which meant he’d not escape the upcoming courtship and marriage.

His thoughts on his pending future with his mysterious bride were put aside as the young women across from him giggled. Caroline Goodman was fifteen while the other, Charlotte Goodman. was seventeen. They stared at him with small smiles touching the corners of their mouths.

They wore matching blue dresses made of cotton, a material that was quite cheap and something a local delivery man like Mr. Goodman could afford.

“What’s London like?” Caroline asked in her distinctive American accent. She’d asked a version of this question before during their long journey, but Morgan suspected she and her sister simply enjoyed hearing him speak.

“London is like any other city, I suppose,” he said. “There are theatres, parties, gardens, and other amusements.”

Caroline laughed and said, “Oh, parties.” She emphasized the word ‘party’ to sound closer to his own pronunciation. She sighed. “I would love to go to a party. Everything about England sounds so wonderful.”

Charlotte batted her eyes and whispered, “Yes, I wish to go London as well.”

“Girls, don’t harass our guest,” Mrs. Goodman said.

The girls laughed.

He returned their smiles, but put none of his charm behind it, before looking toward the front of the wagon to find the girls’ mother staring at him with a considering expression he recognized. It seemed not even in America could he avoid matchmaking mothers. Mr. Goodman had welcomed Morgan into the wagon once he glimpsed his coin. Morgan had been instructed to dress like a servant for his journey in an effort to hide his identity, and while Morgan had played the part of peasant on more than one occasion, worry had him distracted.

Morgan was a member of the British spy organization called the Order of the Second Sons, or O.S.S., and though he’d been assigned to more than one dangerous mission, this mission had Morgan’s heart racing. The closer he drew to his target, the more his worries grew.

“It won’t be long now. I hope your man of business is home. If not, you’re more than welcome to join me and my family for the night.”

There were muffled giggles from the girls, and Morgan didn’t have to look over to know that Mrs. Goodman was staring at him again.

“Thank you for your kind offer, Mr. Goodman. If I find myself stranded, I will gladly depend on your kindness.” Though ‘gladly’ was nowhere near the truth. He could think of nothing worse than having to attend dinner with the Goodman girls. He didn’t wish to lead the women on to think he’d be taking either of them home with him. Both were far too young for his taste Besides, he would be taking a wife and while he didn’t know her, he planned to be faithful to her for as long as that arrangement suited them both.

“That’s it,” Mr. Goodman said.

The wagon made another turn, and Morgan looked through the trees until a house came into view. The small one-story wooden home sat in the middle of a grass field in the distance. A thin dirt road made of wagon tracks led to its door. The sun had begun to make its descent a few hours ago, and with its position behind the house, it was hard to make out what sort of condition the house was in.

Goodman stopped the wagon at the end of the dirt path. “I would travel with you, Mr. Tift, but I’ve a crate to deliver before dark.”

“This is fine.” Morgan made his way off the wagon and grabbed his bag. He’d not brought much since he’d known he’d be unable to take servants with him. Where he was going, no one could ever know he’d gone. The Goodman family didn’t even know his real name.

When he was on the ground once more, he turned to Mr. Goodman and smiled. “Thank you.”

“Remember the offer I made you.” With a nod of his head, Mr. Goodman started the wagon again. In the back, the man’s daughters waved their goodbyes and Morgan lifted a hand before starting down the dirt road.

With every step, he could feel his blood rushing, propelling him forward just as much as it tried to keep him back. This mission had not been given to him by the government. This was to pay a debt to one of London’s most powerful men: The Duke of Wardington.

He remembered the day he’d all but sold his soul to that devil. It had only been months ago that Morgan and sworn to do anything the duke asked for in exchange for what eventually helped the O.S.S. unfold an evil plot. One would assume that a duke of the realm would freely give aid to men who were fighting to save the Crown but then that person obviously didn’t know Wardington. Nothing was free. Everything came at a price, and Morgan was about to meet his.