Lady Mary’s May Day Mischief
W. J. Power • August 24, 2020
EBOOK: • Kindle •
Lady Mary had a skill at making matches for her friends…until her choices proved disastrous. Now the one man she wants for herself has come home from the wars and she’d like to claim him for herself.
But Lord Bridges cannot take a wife. He has too many responsibilities and too many aspirations that cannot include the devotion he’d like to lavish on Mary.
Can he find a way to keep his career and his commitments to his estate—and enjoy the charms of marrying the woman he loves?
And how difficult can that be for Mary whose mischievous past might ruin their hope of happiness?
Note: Lady Mary’s May Day Mischief has previously been published as part of the A May Day To Remember box set.
About the Series
The Four Weddings and a Frolic Series:
LADY FIONA'S TALL, DARK FOLLY, Book 1
LADY MARY'S MAY DAY MISCHIEF, Book 2
MISS HARVEY'S HORRIBLY LOVABLE FIANCÉ, Book 3
LADY WILLA'S DIVINELY WICKED VICAR, Book 4
MISS WEAVER'S HANDSOME FROLIC, Book 5 — coming soon
Read an Excerpt
Mary mashed her lips together, disconcerted by his insistence that he’d failed. “How often did you fail? Tell me. Where?”
He lifted a shoulder and gazed off to consider a hideous hole in Spain. “I did not do well at Badajoz.”
As if he’d punched her, she sat taller. “You must not take all blame for that battle.”
“We numbered twenty-one engineers leading infantry. Teaching them as we fought hand-to-hand down into the trenches. A nightmare to climb out. My god.” He raked a hand through his tousled hair. “Over our own wounded and dead. The French rained down artillery upon us like a million devils.”
“But in the end, you won that city.”
“I cannot claim success.”
“Then I claim it for you. And praise you for it. Your parents would commend you for what you learned and what you built and what you endured.”
He considered the keyboard, but finally raised his head. “I am proud of what we did, but more of what we learned. After Badajoz, we knew our weak points and how to correct them.”
“And that,” she said as she squeezed his hands, “is what we celebrate the most.”
“Until this moment,” he said as he took in her hair, her eyes, her mouth, “when you and I celebrate what we were and what we can become.”
He put his arm around her shoulders and hugged her.
“I say! Good morning!” Lady Courtland greeted them from the doorway. Behind her came two of her friends and all three took chairs across the room.
“So much for privacy.”
He silently cursed. His agenda would have to wait. To the music then.
Mary cleared her throat as she scooted away from him. “We had a repertoire, as I recall. A very good one.”
“I know.” Hip to hip, he winked at her. “Let’s do the simple Mozart first.”
“Our lullaby.” She brightened as once she did as a mischievous child.
“Ours, yes.” As children they’d chosen one of Mozart’s simpler piano pieces and dubbed it their own. Cooperating at first for their own amusement, they’d adapted his works for four hands. They became so good at their innovations that they had performed for their families and for larger gatherings. “Try the first chords. I’ll follow.”
She flexed her fingers as she examined the keys. Then she grinned at him. “A simple round first?”
He nodded, thinking she spoke of their renewed relationship more than of music. “We start slowly.”
Her blue eyes rested in his. “I never thought to see you again…or play the piano with you.”
“We correct that now.” He tore his gaze from hers and focused on the keys. “Begin.”
She started off slowly and simply, but as she approached the second refrain, he set his fingers to begin his own accompaniment. He felt, rather than saw her laugh, and they both approached the next with more confidence. The third round was more elaborate, she with the theme, adding as she could, and he creating a new digression. By the fourth round, they played with enthusiasm and an audience of two gathered round. Another approached and yet one more. By the end, they gained hearty applause.
He stood to extend a hand toward her for the guests’ approbation. She rose, curtsied and he led her toward the garden doors. They stood together, perhaps too close, secluded from prying eyes at least partially by heavy drapes. “You were wonderful, Mary.”
“I never would have thought to try it.” Her cheeks were pink, the twinkle in her eyes his reward. “Thank you.”
“Shall we play tonight?”
“During the ball? Oh, no,” she said. “You must dance.”
He could not contain his need of her. “With you, I will.”
“Oh, Blake, I won’t embarrass myself.”
“Let me hold you.”
He heard the breath leave her lungs.
“I need to dance with you, darling.”
She worked at words, blinking.
He chuckled. “Did you think I would not wish it?”
“I—no. I told you I still do not dance. I haven’t had a partner. Not before you. Not after you.” She put two hands to her cheeks. “Oh, I am flustered. You terrible man.”
He caught her wrists and lifted both to his lips. And on each warm and tender pulse, he placed a tender kiss.
She stood, her mouth open.
“I don’t care who sees us, Mary. I want you. In my arms. To dance. To kiss on the wrist and on your pretty lips. I want you. Tonight on the floor. Dance. With me.”
Her lips pursed as if she coveted his proposition. “You make it sound so—”
“Scandalous?” He arched a brow.
A wide smile graced her lovely face. “Delicious.”
Victory! “Good then. Done. Now leave here. Quickly, lest I scoop you up in front of all these curious people and carry you off.”
The lazy sweep of her eyes over his features had him thinking she might agree to let him do that, too.
“One more thing,” he held her back before she left him, stiff and throbbing with need of her.
“Hmmm. May you always say that.”
“To what?” she asked, part imp, part wayward angel.
“Do not come near me in the village.”
“No?” She swayed closer as if he mesmerized her. That he had that ability filled him with pride. “Not to dance round the May pole and wish each other good harvests?”
“No dances round any pole, Mary. Our harvests together will always be bountiful.”
Her lively blue eyes went limpid. “Blake, you are a devil.”
“Go,” he said, a glance at others in the room who took notice of their conversation. “Tonight is ours.”