The series continues with the tale of a brooding widower…
and the lively young woman who tempts him to believe in love again.
Signet Eclipse | June 1, 2010
The Weston siblings have been blessed with Shakespearean names and an affinity for impropriety. Prepare to fall in love while discovering how the Westons are won.
While Olivia Weston loves matchmaking and romantic novels, she intends to make a suitable match. But first she wants an adventure, and when given the opportunity to visit a reclusive widower living in a haunted castle, Livvy can’t possibly resist.
After his wife’s death, Jason Traherne, Marquess of Sheldon, shut his heart to everyone but his son, and until now he has succeeded in maintaining his distance. But there’s something about Livvy—her unique blend of sweetness and sensuality—that tempts him beyond all reason.
Though there’s nothing suitable about the feelings he inspires in her, Livvy can’t help falling for the marquess. But can she persuade him to let go of the past and risk his heart again?
“As decadent and delicious as a hot fudge sundae—indulge yourself!”
— NYT Bestselling Author Christina Dodd
“Lindsey demonstrates a deft hand with historical romance.”
— Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal
“Lindsey’s Weston series is an enchanting and entertaining read. It’s the tale of a romantic miss eager for adventure and the brooding hero she rescues. The characters are endearing, their romance steamy and their battle of wits will keep readers engaged until the last kiss.”
— Maria Ferrer, RT Book Reviews
“This humorous and stimulating adventure, book two of the Weston series is beyond brilliant, creative and written with a passionate flare. This series is not to be missed!”
— Mandy Burns, Fresh Fiction
“A charming story about a woman learning that life isn’t just like her favorite novels.”
— Christie Ridgway, “Perils on the Path to Love,” BookPage
“Tempting the Marquess is a funny, charming, sweet love story and I savored every page. This one is going on my Keeper shelf.”
— Valarie Pelissero, Rakehell
“Ms. Lindsey is a wonderful author who uses brilliant and witty dialogue that will have you eating out of the palm of her hand. Tempting the Marquess has so many good qualities it would take pages to discuss them all. … If you are a fan of independent women, passionate discussions, painful pasts, and funny moments then you will be enchanted with this tale.”
— Danielle, Coffee Time Romance
“Glorious. I loved it!”
— Paige Ray, Writing, Reviews, and a Little Bit of Me
“If you’re a fan of historical romance with a slight gothic feel, look no further than Tempting the Marquess. I, for one, am enjoying the crazy antics of the delightful Weston family and can’t wait for the next installment!”
— Andrea, The Romance Dish
“Tempting the Marquess is filled with lively characters and an irresistible story that will keep the reader enchanted from the very beginning.”
— Lauren Calder, Affaire de Coeur
“Set primarily in Wales with its magic and mystery, Tempting the Marquess gives us a terrific cast of characters both familiar and new and takes us on a journey of forgiveness and friendship, of hope and healing, of laughter and loyalty. As we follow the twists and turns of Livvy and Jason’s journey, we find there’s nothing quite as tempting as true and lasting love.”
— Brynna James, Romance Roundtable
“Sara Lindsey has crafted a cast of characters that we, the audience, can become completely invested in. From the irrepressible Weston clan to the feisty Scottish butler, each individual is a bright thread the in richly constructed tapestry of her stories. Honestly, there’s simply nothing not to love about both this book and its predecessor, Promise Me Tonight.”
— Kelly Arden, Romance Roundtable
“Author Sara Lindsey has given historical romance fans another great read! I sometimes get tired of dark, discomfitted, taciturn heros who hang on to their grumpy ways far longer than is good for the flow of the story. Lindsey has let us see Jason’s dark side but she doesn’t keep him in that frame of mind too long. But he has his secrets and these must be exposed and some of the myths upon which he is basing his relationships must be debunked, once again testifying to the truth we all know, even in our own experiences, that genuine, authentic relationship will never survive apart from honesty. At the risk of being repetitive, historical romance fans will like this book. Those of us who are becoming acquainted with the Westons will really like this book.”
— Judith, Book Binge
“This book has everything that is needed for a perfect romance – a tortured hero, a caring heroine, a secret from the past that can destroy their love and a very happy ending. I can’t wait to read the next Weston novel!”
— The Book Girl
“Tempting the Marquess is filled with humor and tenderness that seem to be a trademark of Ms. Lindsey. Each of her books gets better and better. If you love experiencing a riot of emotions and characters that leap off the pages, you will love reading Tempting the Marquess. I loved it and highly recommend it.”
— Sal, Two Lips Reviews
“An entertaining read and [I] recommend that it be added to your summer reading queue.”
— Amy Cunningham, Romance Reviews Today
“There were a few scenes that formed a lump in my throat; there were scenes that made me laugh and scenes that were very hot. It was entertaining and endearing and I really enjoyed reading it.”
— Pearl, Fiction Vixen Book Reviews
“Anyone looking for a phenomenal read, please do yourself a favor and pick up Tempting the Marquess! You will not be disappointed!”
— Rebecca, The Season
“Tempting the Marquess is an outstanding historical romance. This is a great summer read.”
— Gloria Gehres, The Romance Readers Connection
“Perfect for those who enjoy historical romances.”
— Susan, Love Romances and More
“I really do enjoy a straight-up love story.”
— Nanette Donahue, All About Romance
“Sara Lindsey gifts us with another delightful Weston novel in her latest release. This is a charming, creative piece that is sure to win over many historical romance readers.”
— Pamela Denise, Romance Junkies
“Sara Lindsey writes a delightful story with some fun dialogue and snappy quips between the H/H. Overall, a great new author…”
— Lisa, Under the Covers
*This family tree represents the Weston family at the start of Tempting the Marquess.
For an enlarged view, please download the following PDF: Tempting the Marquess - Weston Family Tree (PDF)
livia stood before the castle’s thick wooden portal, inwardly bracing herself against what lay in wait on the other side. Freezing rain had plastered her shabby traveling gown to her body, and the biting wind whipped at her sodden locks. She thought wistfully of her blue velvet pelisse with the ermine trim, but she had left the garment—and the elegant, easy life it represented—behind when she had chosen to run away rather than marry the lecherous Duke of Devonbridge. And now she was a lowly governess, dependent on the kindness and goodwill of her employer… and her new master was purported to have little of either.
A lone wolf howled somewhere out on the misty, moonlit moors that stretched for miles around the isolated edifice. She shivered with cold and fright, wondering if she might not be safer with the wolves than inside the castle’s walls. A different sort of beast lay within that impenetrable stone fortress. A caged beast, confined not by chains but by his own despair.
The villagers called him the Mad Marquess, for he had been crazed with grief since the death of his wife some four years past. He eschewed all company… not that there were many eager to subject themselves to his foul humor. In the past year alone no fewer than eleven maids had resigned their posts at Castle Arlyss. She’d heard rumors, too, of a centuries-old curse…
Olivia raised her face to the heavens, searching for a sign that this was indeed the path she was meant to travel—that she was meant to save this tormented soul and show his son a mother’s love. Lightning flashed and crackled through the night sky, setting her hair on end. The angry rumble of thunder followed close behind.
Stiffening her spine, Olivia raised her fist to knock. Then, all of a sudden, a strong gust of the wind snatched at her sleeve, as if trying to stop her. The air swirled around her, rustling through the dead leaves underfoot.
It seemed to whisper a name.
Livvy, it murmured. Livvy…
* * *
A Carriage Bound for Castle Arlyss
Olivia opened her eyes and stared unseeing out the coach window. She blinked at the few rays of sunlight that dared penetrate the winter gloom lingering over the southwest of England. She shook her head. The wild, stormy night had vanished, and she was back in her aunt’s well-sprung carriage.
A wistful sigh escaped her. The dream had been so real… And now she was back to being ordinary Olivia Weston.
She turned her head to look at her young cousin, Charlotte, who was tugging rather insistently at her sleeve.
“What is it?” Livvy asked in as understanding a tone as she could muster. The journey from Scotland to Wales had already taken close to a fortnight, and though she loved Charlotte dearly, the boundless energy of a five-year-old was ill-suited to the close confines of a carriage. Not that Olivia was any stranger to small children. As the third of seven siblings, she knew all about them.
The little girl frowned, tugging at one of her glossy, dark ringlets, then shrugged. “I forget.”
Livvy bit back a groan and stifled the urge to tear at her hair, which, to her everlasting disappointment, was neither curly nor dark. Neither was it blond and straight. Olivia’s hair was a very ordinary, indeterminate shade of brown, and it had just enough of a wave to always escape its pins and make her look unkempt.
“I remembered. I had a secret to tell you.” Charlotte crossed her arms over her chest and flopped back against the plush squabs with a satisfied smile.
“And?” Olivia prompted. She waited for further elucidation, but none was forthcoming. “Did you wish to tell me this secret you remembered?”
Charlotte thought a moment before shaking her head. “I’ll tell Queenie instead.”
Queen Anne, a doll in lavish court dress, was Charlotte’s most prized possession, a distinction it had held since being unwrapped a few weeks past. Yes, Livvy thought, she had been replaced in her cousin’s affections by an inanimate object. How distressing! She consoled herself with the knowledge that her conversational skills far surpassed those of Queenie. Then again, so did a squirrel’s. As was her wont, she began composing a list in her head:
Ways in Which I Am Superior to Queenie
1. I can read.
2. I can write.
3. My head is not made of wood.
4. I can breathe.
Hmm, perhaps that last should have been first on her list; it seemed a fairly important distinction. Of course, squirrels also breathed. Maybe she ought to list the ways she was superior to squirrels instead… She stopped herself, wondering if it was possible to go mad from boredom.
Aunt Kate looked up from her book to address her daughter. “Charlotte, I do believe Queenie looks a bit peaked. Perhaps you should both try to rest for a time and let your poor cousin alone.”
Charlotte was disgusted by this suggestion. “Mama, Queenie is a doll. How can she rest when her eyes don’t even close?”
Aunt Kate sighed and peered out the window at the passing scenery. “At least we are getting close to the end. We should arrive tomorrow provided the weather doesn’t change—” A choked laugh escaped her. “Dear heavens, that child will be the death of me!”
Livvy glanced at Charlotte, who had apparently decided to take her mother’s advice. She was curled into the corner of the carriage, with her feet drawn up under her and her head pillowed against one hand. Her eyes were closed, a beatific smile on her face. Queenie lay in the crook of her free arm— Olivia smothered a laugh as she realized the reason for her aunt’s proclamation.
As the doll’s eyes did not, as Charlotte had pointed out, close, her enterprising mistress had contrived other means by which Queenie might rest. Raising Queenie’s gown up over her head did shield her face from light, but this also exposed the doll’s lower half. And while Queenie’s ensemble boasted exquisitely detailed garters, stockings, and shoes, it did not apparently run to petticoats.
Ha! Petticoats! There was another way in which she was superior to Queenie and squirrels, too, for Livvy had never encountered a petticoat-wearing squirrel and very much doubted she ever would. The closest she was ever like to come was the stable cat her younger sisters had caught long enough to dress it in a bonnet and christening gown.
Aunt Kate leaned forward and spoke quietly so as not to disturb Charlotte. “I feel I ought to warn you about my stepson.”
“Warn me?” Olivia’s cheeks grew warm. “I hardly think—”
Her aunt waved a hand dismissively. “Heavens, child, I’m not suggesting anything of that nature. No, I only meant to caution you about the welcome we are like to receive.”
“You mentioned Lord Sheldon keeps to himself a great deal of the time. I am not expecting to be met with a grand parade. I wish to inconvenience the marquess as little as possible.”
That wasn’t precisely true.
If all went to plan, she would put the man to a great deal of trouble…
But that was her secret, one she didn’t dare share with present company. Not with Aunt Kate, certainly not with Charlotte, and not even with Queenie, who was by nature most admirably closemouthed.
“Jason,” Aunt Kate began, then sighed. “I know I should call him Sheldon, but I can’t seem to get my mind round it, no matter that he’s held the title for five years now. I suppose his Christian name is rather too familiar for polite conversation, but he has always been Jason to me.”
“Did he not have use of a courtesy title?”
“There is one,” her aunt admitted, “but most of the heirs would rather do without it.” Her eyes sparkled with laughter. “Most understandable, really. Would you like to go through life being addressed as Bramblybum?”
“B-bramblybum?” Olivia burst out laughing. She caught her aunt’s sharp glance at Charlotte and lowered her voice. “Surely you are joking.”
Aunt Kate shook her head. “The marquisate was created for the ninth Viscount Traherne, who was, I gather, a great personal favorite with James I. The viscount’s son, who went on to become the second Marquess of Sheldon, openly disapproved of his sire’s, ah, special relationship with the king. The Traherne men have never been ones to keep their opinions to themselves, which perhaps accounts for the dearth of ambassadors and politicians in the family.
“In any case, the young man’s outbursts angered the king, and he might have met a very sorry end had not his father intervened. The viscount begged the king to disregard his son and joked how the boy had been born with nettles stinging his backside. The king’s revenge was to bestow a marquisate and an earldom upon the viscount. While his father was alive, the second marquess was known by his courtesy title.”
“The Earl of Bramblybum,” Livvy whispered, torn between horror and hilarity.
“Earl Bramblybum, actually, but I wouldn’t suggest you let that pass your lips once we reach Castle Arlyss. Jason always gets fussed on hearing it. He certainly doesn’t use the title for Edward. I have told you about Jason’s son, Edward, haven’t I? He’s nearly seven now and such a dear, sweet boy.”
Olivia nodded. She wasn’t sure if Aunt Kate had told her about Edward, but she knew about him all the same. But that was part of her secret.
Unconsciously, she bent forward and smoothed her hands over her skirts, her fingers searching out the almost imperceptible bump of the little fichu pin she wore affixed to her garter. The dainty brooch featured a tiny silhouette set in a gold frame surrounded by garnets. The portrait was no bigger than her thumbnail, but the artist had rendered the gentleman’s profile in great detail, from the slight curl in the hair at his nape to the soft ruffles of his shirt frills. An elegant man, but Livvy reserved final judgment until she met him in the flesh, which, with any luck, would be on the morrow. Finally, she thought, a little sigh escaping her.
“I’ll stop nattering on and let you rest.” Aunt Kate’s eyes twinkled. “You needn’t go take the same drastic measures as poor Queenie and cast your skirts over your face.”
“I wasn’t— I mean, you weren’t—” Livvy stammered out a protest.
“Calm yourself, my dear, I’m only teasing. I know I have a tendency to ramble, especially when I don’t have to mind my tongue.” She winked and nodded in Charlotte’s direction.
A rush of pride swept over Olivia at her aunt’s words. In the eyes of Society she was an adult and had been since her eighteenth birthday close to a year earlier. Girls her age, and even some younger, had already had their come-outs this past Season. She should have come out then as well, but her sojourn in Scotland with Aunt Kate, Charlotte, and Livvy’s newly married (and freshly abandoned) older sister, Isabella, had lasted longer than expected.
Nine months longer, give or take a little.
Olivia hadn’t minded putting off her come-out. She wasn’t overly anxious to put herself on the Marriage Mart, and besides, her sister had needed her. That last trumped everything else as far as Livvy was concerned.
Aunt Kate reached forward and patted Olivia’s knee. “I’ve grown accustomed to having you and Izzie around. I was so pleased when you asked to come along with us to Wales. I would have invited you had I known you were so interested in this part of the country.”
“I must confess, some of my interest stemmed from wanting to avoid traveling home with Mama, spending countless hours trapped in a carriage listening her expound on some Shakespearean heroine or other.”
For as long as Olivia could remember, her mother had been writing a critical work about Shakespeare’s heroines. Life in the Weston household was all Shakespeare, all the time, at least when her mother was present. The rest of the family bore it with equanimity—mostly because they tended to ignore her—but over the years her mother’s obsession increasingly grated on Livvy’s nerves.
She adored her mother, really she did, but she could easily do without hearing, at least once a week, as she had for her entire life: “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
Lady Weston particularly enjoyed tailoring her recitations so that each of her children would be familiar with the plays from whence had come their names. Though Olivia resented having Shakespeare’s greatness constantly thrust upon her, not for the world would she have hurt her mother’s feelings by telling her so. All in all, she felt lucky to have been named for a character in Twelfth Night, which, in her opinion, was one of Shakespeare’s more tolerable works, and not only because it was relatively short.
Her younger sisters, identical twins Cordelia and Imogen, were stuck with King Lear and Cymbeline, two plays that were, in Olivia’s opinion, entirely too puffed up with melodrama. The first words Richard, her precocious little brother, babbled had sounded suspiciously like: “Now is the winter of our discontent.” Portia, the baby of the family, hadn’t got much past cooing and gurgling when Livvy had left for Scotland…
She realized with a slight pang that she had missed her youngest sister’s first words, and a wave of homesickness swept over her. These past months marked the longest time she had ever been away from her younger siblings.
“What’s caused that long face?” Aunt Kate asked. “Have I scared you off with this talk of my stepson? You mustn’t let him upset you. He is very changed since Laura’s death, and grief affects us all in different ways. Perhaps, given time…” She trailed off, her hopes for the future unspoken but entirely clear.
Olivia wanted to say she knew, or at least had an inkling, of what the marquess had been like before his wife’s death—but she could not. Instead she smiled brightly and said, “Then we must do our best to bring some cheer to both him and his son this holiday season. If you don’t mind, Aunt Kate, I think I’ll read a bit while Char is quiet.”
Her aunt laughed. “Yes, living with Charlotte one does learn to seize those rare moments of peace. They certainly don’t last long.”
Olivia nodded distractedly, already absorbed with her book. Or rather, with the piece of paper hidden inside. In bold, scrawling script were the words—the first clue—that had led her to the brooch, thus prompting her seemingly impromptu journey to Wales—words penned by none other than the Mad Marquess of her dreams.
*While the endings of romance novels are generally forgone conclusions, I would be remiss if I did not warn you that while there are no huge spoilers contained within, the following note is intended to be read (and will likely make more sense) after finishing Tempting the Marquess.
On Welsh Whimsy, the Real Rhoslynn, and the Truth About Asthma
When I wrote Promise Me Tonight, the first book in the Weston series, I mentioned briefly that Aunt Kate had a stepson. At that time, all I knew about Jason was that he was not in residence at Haile Castle, and I didn’t want him showing up there. A reclusive widower living off in the wilds of Wales fit the bill nicely, and I thought he might be a hero in a novella some day. Olivia had other plans, though, and those plans included a trip to a haunted castle in Wales. And, since Livvy was tagging along on Aunt Kate and Charlotte’s holiday visit, the timeframe for the story (at least the beginning of it) was also predetermined.
Wonderful. Now I was writing a book set in Wales, which I knew next to nothing about, during the holiday season, which was also pretty foreign territory for a Jewish girl from Southern California. Fortunately for me, the resurgence of the Welsh nationalist movements in the past century brought to light the need to document the traditional culture. Unfortunately for me, much of this documentation is only available in Welsh. I have tried to depict the holidays as they would have been celebrated in Pembrokeshire during the late Georgian era — taffi, holly beating, and all — and I hope I managed to capture in some small part the homespun magic that so beguiled me throughout the writing of this book.
There was further magic in Tempting the Marquess in the form of Rhoslynn, the White Lady of Castle Arlyss. I wrote Rhoslynn’s story as a sort of medieval Welsh Romeo and Juliet, and I envisioned Rhoslynn as a benevolent spirit trying to give others the love she had been denied in life. But just as Jason and Olivia discover that true love always finds a way to beat the odds, so did I. In researching the bloody, turbulent history of the Welsh struggle for independence, I learned about Owain Glyndwr, the last Welsh Prince of Wales, who led the rebellion against England in the early 15th century.
Glyndwr has long been glorified in myths and legends, even playing a role in Shakespeare’s Henry IV as the exotic, magical Owen Glendower, but it was his daughter, Alys, who really captured my interest. Despite being the daughter of a Welsh rebel leader, Alys is known to have married Sir John Scudamore, an English sheriff. Miraculously, Alys and her family managed to survive the aftermath of her father’s rebellion by living in seclusion in Herefordshire, where the family’s descendants still live today.
And for those of you who continue to wonder about the characters after you turn the last page, I want to make a note about Edward’s asthma. The existence of asthma has been recorded since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, but the disease itself was not well understood until the latter part of the 19th century. That being said, about half of those diagnosed with childhood asthma outgrow the disease during puberty. But regardless of whether or not this happens for Edward, I have it on good authority (my own) that he has a long and happy life in front of him. It’s one of the main benefits of being a romance author, aside from being able to work in pajamas which, you must agree, is a pretty tough benefit to beat!