Home > Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers #2)(3)

Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers #2)(3)
Author: Sarah MacLean

The door to the room opened and shut quietly, and Isabel gave a little self-deprecating laugh, wiping the tears from her cheeks. Finally, she turned, meeting Jane’s knowing, serious gaze.

“You should not have threatened him.”

“He deserved it,” the butler said.

Isabel nodded. Asperton had taken the place of her father in those final minutes. Tears pricked once more; she kept them at bay. “I hate him,” she whispered.

“I know,” the butler said, not moving from her place in the doorway.

“If he were here, I would happily kill him.”

Jane nodded once. “Well, it seems that such a thing will not be necessary.” She lifted one hand, revealing a square of parchment. “Isabel. The earl … he is dead.”


And what would these lessons be, Dear Reader, without a prospective lord to land? The gentleman for whom you have so diligently studied? The answer, of course, is that they would be nigh on useless.

Are we not, then, the very luckiest of ladies, that our fair city boasts the best and the brightest, the charmed and the charming, a veritable treasure trove of bachelors—wealthy, willing, and wandering lonely through our streets, wanting only for a wife!

Finding these paragons of gentlemanliness is a daunting task, but never fear, Dear Reader! We have assumed the job for you—scoured the city for the lords most worthy of your invaluable, unbridled attention.

Consider, if you will, the first on our list of eminently landable lords …

Pearls and Pelisses

June 1823

When the blonde by the door winked at him, it was the very last straw.

Lord Nicholas St. John sank further into his seat, cursing under his breath. Who would have imagined that a superlative doled out by an inane ladies’ magazine was enough to transform London’s female population into clamoring fools?

At first, he’d found it amusing—a welcome entertainment. Then the invitations had begun to arrive. And when the clock in his St. James town house had barely struck two, Lady Ponsonby had joined them, claiming to have business to discuss—something to do with a statue she had recently acquired from Southern Italy. Nick knew better. There was only one reason for a viper like Lady Ponsonby to come calling at a bachelor’s home—a reason Nick was certain Lord Ponsonby would not find at all reasonable.

So he had escaped, first to the Royal Society of Antiquities, where he had sequestered himself in the library, far from anyone who had ever heard of ladies’ magazines, let alone read one. Unfortunately, the journalist—Nick flinched at the liberal use of the term—had done his research, and within the hour, the head footman had announced the arrival of four separate women, ranging in age and station, all in dire need of a consultation regarding their marbles—all of whom insisted that none but Lord Nicholas would do.

Nick snorted into his drink at the memory. Marbles, indeed.

He had paid the footman handsomely for his discretion and fled once more, this time with little dignity, through the rear entrance to the Society and into a narrow, sordid alleyway that did little to enliven his disposition. Tilting the brim of his hat down to shield his identity, he’d made his way to sanctuary—to the Dog and Dove, where he had been ensconced in a dark corner for the last several hours.

Well and truly trapped.

Ordinarily, when a voluptuous barmaid made eyes at him, he was more than willing to consider her ample charms. But this particular woman was the fourteenth of her sex to have overtly considered his charms that day, and he had had quite enough. He scowled, first at the girl, then into his ale, feeling darker and more irritated by the minute. “I’ve got to get out of this damned city.”

The deep, rumbling laugh from across the table did not improve his mood.

“Do not doubt for one moment that I could have you shipped back to Turkey,” Nick said, his voice a low growl.

“I do hope you will not. I should hate to miss the conclusion of this entertaining theatre.” His companion, Durukhan, turned and looked over his shoulder, dark eyes passing lazily over the comely young woman. “Pity. She will not even consider me.”

“Clever girl.”

“More likely, she simply believes everything she reads in her magazines.” Rock laughed as Nick’s scowl deepened. “Come, Nick, how awful can it be? So the women of London have been publicly apprised of your—eligibility.”

Nick recalled the stack of invitations that awaited his return—every one from a family with an unmarried daughter—and took a long drink of ale. Setting the pewter mug down, he muttered, “How awful, indeed.”

“I should take advantage of it if I were you. Now you may have any woman you want.”

Nick leveled his friend with cool blue gaze. “I did perfectly well without the damned magazine, thank you.”

Rock’s response was a noncommittal grunt as he turned to wave the young barmaid over. An arrow shot from a bow, she arrived at their table with speed and purpose. Leaning low over Nick to best display her voluptuous curves, she spoke in a low whisper. “My lord? Do you have … needs?”

“Do we, indeed,” Rock said.

The brazen female seated herself in Nick’s lap, leaning close. “I’ll be anythin’ you want, luv,” she said, low and sultry, as she pressed her br**sts against his chest. “Any-thin’ you want.”

He extracted her arm from its place around his neck and fished a crown from his pocket. “A tempting offer, to be sure,” he said, pressing the coin into her hand and lifting her to her feet. “But I am afraid that I want only for more ale. You had best look elsewhere for companionship this evening.”

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