In her attempts to protect Edwina, the h and H were constantly at odds. Of course I cannot forget to mention the fantastic Bridgerton Pall Mall match! More of that and less of the nonsensical bantering during love scenes. Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping.

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Prologue Anthony Bridgerton had always known he would die young. Oh, not as a child. Young Anthony had never had cause to ponder his own mortality.

And so there were no parties, no fetes, no celebration other than that of mother and father staring in wonderment at their new son. The Bridgertons were young parents— Edmund barely twenty and Violet just eighteen, but they were sensible and they were strong, and they loved their son with a fierceness and devotion that was rarely seen in their social circles. He took the infant on long hikes across the fields of Kent, spoke to him of philosophy and poetry before he could possibly understand the words, and told him a bedtime story every night.

Edmund immediately adjusted his daily routine to take two sons on his hikes, and he spent a week holed up in the stables, working with his leathersmith to devise a special pack that would hold Anthony on the his back while he held the baby Benedict in his arms. They walked across fields and streams, and he told them of wondrous things, of perfect flowers and clear blue skies, of knights in shining armor and damsels in distress.

Here is our damsel in distress. Clearly we must save her. And just as you still will. Not because Edmund loved him best; by that point the Bridgerton siblings numbered four Colin and Daphne had arrived fairly close together and Anthony knew very well that all the children were well loved.

After all, no matter how long Benedict had known their father, Anthony would always have two years on him. And six on Colin. And as for Daphne, well, beside the fact that she was a girl the horror!

Edmund taught Anthony how to ride. He taught Anthony how to shoot. He taught him to swim. And it was. Anthony knew it would be. His father, after all, never lied. Anthony loved his mother. But growing up, everything he did, every accomplishment, every goal, every single hope and dream —it was all for his father.

And then one day, everything changed. It happened when Anthony was eighteen, home for the summer and preparing for his first year at Oxford. He was to belong to All Souls College, as his father had before him, and his life was as bright and dazzling as any eighteen-year-old had a right to enjoy.

He had discovered women, and perhaps more splendidly, they had discovered him, and he even managed not to roll his eyes when he passed his mother in the hall—pregnant with her eighth child! Anthony thought it a bit unseemly that his parents were still happily reproducing, but he kept his opinions to himself. Maybe he, too, would want more children at the advanced age of thirty-eight. When Anthony found out, it was late afternoon. He was returning from a long and bruising ride with Benedict and had just pushed through the front door of Aubrey Hall, the ancestral home of the Bridgertons, when he saw his ten-year-old sister, sitting on the floor.

Benedict was still in the stables, having lost some silly bet with Anthony, the terms of which required him to rub down both horses. Anthony stopped short when he saw Daphne. It was odd enough that his sister was sitting in the middle of the floor in the main hall. It was even more odd that she was crying. Daphne never cried. He stumbled back a step, knowing something was wrong, terribly wrong. Other people died young, like Uncle Hugo, but Uncle Hugo had been small and frail.

Well, at least smaller and frailer than Edmund. We were both stung. We came across a nest. I was stung on the shoulder. He could hear the panic in his voice and knew he was frightening his sister, but he was powerless to control it.

It was impossible. Utterly mad. Edmund Bridgerton was young, he was strong. He was tall, his shoulders were broad, his muscles were powerful, and by God, no insignificant honey bee could have felled him.

But when Anthony reached the upstairs hall, he could tell by the utter and complete silence of the dozen or so hovering servants that the situation was grim. His father was still. She turned, slowly, as if hearing his voice through a long, long tunnel. She shook her head, her eyes hopelessly far away.

Anthony took a step forward, his movements awkward and jerky. Anthony choked back the tears that were burning his eyes and stinging his throat and moved to her side.

He said nothing; it seemed useless to try to make any words fit the devastation in his heart. The doctors came later that evening and pronounced themselves baffled.

He was so vital, so powerful; nobody could have known. Then again, nobody had looked. Nobody could have known, the doctors kept saying, over and over until Anthony wanted to strangle them all. Eventually he got them out of the house, and he put his mother to bed. He looked at him and looked at him, staring at him for hours, barely blinking.

And when he left the room, he left with a new vision of his own life, and new knowledge about his own mortality. Edmund Bridgerton had died at the age of thirty-eight.

Chapter One The topic of rakes has, of course, been previously discussed in this column, and This Author has come to the conclusion that there are rakes, and there are Rakes. Anthony Bridgerton is a Rake. A rake lower-case is youthful and immature. He flaunts his exploits, behaves with utmost idiocy, and thinks himself dangerous to women. A Rake upper-case knows he is dangerous to women. He knows who he is and what he has done; further recountings are, to him, redundant.

He has little patience for the foibles of society, and quite frankly, most of the time This Author cannot say she blames him. The only question is: Will be the season he finally succumbs to the exquisite bliss of matrimony? There was little she liked better than teasing her sister. In a good-natured manner, of course. Kate and Mary might not be the most interesting people in London, but Edwina, with her buttery-colored hair and startlingly pale blue eyes, had already been named the Incomparable of At twenty nearly twenty-one, if one was going to be scrupulously honest about it , Kate was a bit long in the tooth to be enjoying her first season in London.

With their straitened finances, the Sheffields could manage the funds for only one trip to London. Renting a house —and a carriage—and hiring the bare minimum of servants for the season cost money. More money than they could afford to spend twice. And so the two girls were forced to make their debuts in the same year. It had been decided that the most logical time would be when Edwina was just seventeen and Kate almost twenty-one. Mary would have liked to have waited until Edwina was eighteen, and a bit more mature, but that would have made Kate nearly twenty-two, and heavens, but who would have married her then?

Kate smiled wryly. But Mary would have none of that. And so here she was —sitting in a somewhat faded drawing room in a rented house in a section of London that was almost fashionable, and… She looked about mischievously. And if I did, I would probably run in the opposite direction. He is exactly the sort of man the two of us should avoid at all costs. He could probably seduce an iceberg.

Kate grimaced. There was little less appealing than being decisively contradicted while one was trying to make a grand point. Kate shot Mary the most sarcastic of glances. They all knew that if the viscount chose to court a Sheffield, it would not be Kate. She has certainly been correct in her assessment of all the people I have met thus far in London. Whistledown was, without a doubt, the most interesting reading material in all London.

Whoever Lady Whistledown was and no one really knew who she was she was a well-connected member of the ton. She had to be. No interloper could ever uncover all the gossip she printed in her columns every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If getting insulted in a gossip column was to be her only sign of success, well, then, so be it. Kate would take her triumphs where she may. She has managed to keep her secret for over a year now. She jabbed her embroidery with her needle, pulling a long strand of yellow thread through the fabric.


The Viscount Who Loved Me

Prologue Anthony Bridgerton had always known he would die young. Oh, not as a child. Young Anthony had never had cause to ponder his own mortality. And so there were no parties, no fetes, no celebration other than that of mother and father staring in wonderment at their new son.




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