Reckless in Innocence

for my Historical Romance readers <3

© Jane Lark

Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark, this should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark


Reckless in Innocence


Read the earlier parts one , two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight


Part Nine




Pursing her lips in preparation for battle, Elizabeth cursed her heart for its weakness as she felt the quickening of its beat. She had seen him from the moment he’d entered the room, and watched him approach with a face that looked like a thunder-cloud. Immediately she had known the swell of satisfaction twofold, that she had finally touched his raw nerve and chased him from hiding, and equally the sheer pleasure of the sight of him. Yet when she had imagined this moment she had never expected him to manhandle her across the floor.

“I do not believe that you asked for my permission before you so crudely dragged me aside, Your Grace, and I can see that Lord Percy has now arrived with my lemonade. If you have had your fun, perhaps you would let me go?”

“Are you leading Percy on, as you led me? Do you realize how dangerous that man can be? Have you learned nothing?” His voice was a rough whisper in her ear.

Reaching his destination, away from prying ears, Elizabeth swiftly turned to face him, pulling her arm from his grip, but she was not given the option of responding.

“You are flirting outrageously, Elizabeth, and it has not gone unnoticed.” His fingers folded into fists at his side as he glowered at her. She had rarely seen Marcus do anything but smile before and the sight of his anger was exceptionally diverting, a hint that he was not as immune to her as he had wanted her to believe.

Biting back a smile, she responded. “I would be grateful if you do not refer to me with such familiarity, Your Grace. I must be getting back to my friends.” Elizabeth turned from him then.

It had been a month, in which she had not seen anything of the infamous Duke of Tay. He had become quite the recluse from what she had heard and completely insignificant within the ton’s gossip… Perhaps he was jealous of her new-found notoriety?

“This is not the same game. Do you understand, Elizabeth? This is not the same game at all. Damn it they are betting on who will take your virginity at White’s.” His harsh words were thrown at her in a loud whisper as she stepped away.

She stopped, turning her head just slightly back to speak.


He moved so  he received the full and powerful effect of those amazing turquoise eyes, and felt himself turning to a pillar of salt. Her gaze was acid; it could strip flesh from bone. This was not the mild-mannered debutante whom he had found and cherished until she’d flourished. This was not the same woman at all.

“You were not so concerned, Your Grace, when the gossip involved you. Perhaps you should claim your prize.” With a swish of sheer, white muslin she left him where he stood.

Heavens, she was wearing the bloody dress she had worn that night. Anger rose and sizzled inside him as he turned his back and sought a drink. He had been hearing her name over and over for weeks at White’s, and in the card rooms of the demimonde. Everyone had something to say about the poorly chaperoned debutante who behaved like an artisan. Some people blamed her parents, some blamed the child and others, like Lord Percy, just took advantage. As you did, his conscience yelled. He should never have agreed to go to that bloody conservatory.

He’d had enough.

He had come here only to find her and put an end to the course of self-destruction she had set out upon, certain that the sole responsibility for her reckless behaviour laid at his door.

But this woman was not the girl that he had found hiding behind the potted palms. This woman oozed with self-confidence, and if he had found her attractive before, she was now incredible beyond belief.

No wonder everyone was speaking of her.

He leant his shoulder against a pillar and sipped a glass of champagne he’d snatched from a passing tray. She was striking. Every woman in the room must be jealous, and every man in the room must want her. He wanted her. His thoughts were so wicked it even occurred to him to pull her aside and find a room where he could seduce her all over again. He knew he could persuade her. With a few kisses he could have her begging for him to make love to her, as she had done before. Touch me. The soft words sounded in his head. God help him, he did not really regret that night, only that she’d been an innocent, but his conscience would never let him voice it, and never let him repeat it. He had promised her nothing; would promise her nothing. He had no right to touch her and no right to tell her what to do. He set the empty glass on to another passing tray and left. What she did was her choice not his…


More to come…

Jane Lark Sale Use



If you cannot wait until next week for more of Jane Lark’s writing there’s plenty to read right now :D

and until October the 27th many of the books are on sale in the UK and the USA from $1.99 and 69p

To read the Marlow Intrigues series, you can start anywhere, but this is the actual order

The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel

#1 The Illicit Love of a Courtesan

#1.5 Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ This Free Novella

#2 The Passionate Love of a Rake

#2.5 The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella

#3 The Scandalous Love of a Lord

Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback

and, yes, there are more to come  :-) soon…


Go to the index


  • the story of the real courtesan who inspired                                                 The Illicit Love of a Courtesan,
  • another free short story, about characters from book #2,                              A Lord’s Scandalous Love,
  • the prequel excerpts for book #3                                                                   The Scandalous Love of a Duke

Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more about Jane. Or click  ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook  page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark


CarolinelambThe last time I wrote about Caro, it was to tell you about William Lamb’s proposal, in the middle of a mourning period for his brother at the moment he became heir to his father.

The wonderful thing is that unlike the majority of Caro’s and William’s family, they were in love. His proposal letter made his feelings very clear to Caroline, and many years later William is recorded as telling none other than Queen Victoria that “I do believe if I had been refused, I should have died of it; it would have killed me...”

Likewise Lady Caroline’s family recorded how smitten Caroline was and how torn they were. Lady Bessborough, Caro’s mother, Harriet, saw William as hedonistic, (as if she could talk) but he promised to reform and abide by the will of his potential future mother-in-law. Harriet consulted her sister Georgiana, who described in a letter to Lady Spencer, their mother, how upset Harriet was over Caroline’s choice… and yet Caroline was adamant that she loved William Lamb… “such evidence of the most boundless attachment, that I really believe-so does the Duke, that any check would be productive of madness or death…”

So William and Caro were equally obsessed, and madly in love….

But before I go on, for people new to my blog, here is a little background to this series of posts, and for my followers, just skip to the end of the italics where I have, as usual, marked it in bold ;)

I was drawn to Lady Caroline Lamb, who lived in the Regency era, because Harriette Wilson the courtesan who wrote her memoirs in 1825, mentions the Ponsonby and the Lamb family frequently. Also the story of Caroline’s affair with Lord Byron captured my imagination. Caroline was also a writer, she wrote poems, and novels in her later life. I have read Glenarvon.

Her life story and her letters sucked me further into the reality of the Regency world which is rarely found in modern-day books. Jane Austen wrote fictional, ‘country’ life as she called it, and I want to write fictional ‘Regency’ life rather than simply romance. But what I love when I discover gems in my research like Caroline’s story is sharing the real story behind my fiction here too.

Lady Caroline Lamb was born Caroline Ponsonby, on the 13th November 1785. She was the daughter of Frederick Ponsonby, Viscount Duncannon, and Henrietta (known as Harriet), the sister of the infamous Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.

Caroline became an official lady when her grandfather died, and her father became Earl of Bessborough earning her the honorific title ‘Lady’ and she grew up in a world of luxury, even Marie Antoinette was a family friend. Caroline was always renowned as being lively, and now it is suspected she had a condition called bipolar. As a child she earned herself a title as a ‘brat’, by such things as telling her aunt Georgiana that Edward Gibbon’s (the author of The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire) face was ‘so ugly it had frightened her puppy’.

And when she grew up Byron once described Caroline as “the cleverest most agreeable, absurd, amiable, perplexing, dangerous fascinating little being that lives now or ought to have lived 2000 years ago.”

When Caro and William obtained the final agreement, there is another little true life tale which is a brilliant story to reflect on when I write. Instead of encouraging William to come to the Bessborough’s house to press his suit, Caro asked him to meet her and her family at a performance of Hamlet in Drury Lane. A visit to the Theatre then was not as it is now, and I have written about that before, people met friends there and talked through entire performances, so this is not an odd request from Caro. William would have probably knocked on the door of her family’s Theatre box, and from the descriptions, I imagine him sitting next to Lady Bessborough,who was the one to be persuaded, whispering about his affection for Caro, and making promises of faithfulness, and promising he had the funds to keep her well. His conversation and manner were described as “warm and animated.” You can imagine him using hand gestures and leaning forward expressing his commitment and strength of feeling, and his eyes and his tone of voice probably showed the level of his affection for Caro.

Harriet felt pressured to say yes, and yet the final thing that clinched it was that Caro and William had chosen a public place for what was obviously a very personal and very emotional conversation to any onlooker, and with Lady Bessboroughs, and the Duchess of Devonshire’s reputations for infidelity, and the Lambs reputations for rakishness, it was assumed by some that Caro and William were in the middle of an affair… and so Harriet immediately declared that they were engaged…

That night when Harriet and Georgiana returned to the Devonshire’s town house, they shared Caroline’s news with the Marquess of Hartingdon, ‘Hart’, Georgiana’s only son, who had always believed he would marry Caroline, he was so distressed that she’d  chosen someone else he had to be sedated.

The next morning William arrived at Cavendish Square, sure of his success and the family’s agreement, and made his formal request to Lord Bessborough – see again – so much in Romance novel’s is not written as it is in true life  – most of us have the call on the father coming first… This is why I love researching through letters and memoirs, you obtain such a rich, real perspective, and you will see this slipping into my books more and more. Caro’s and William’s life has loads of influence on my next historical, but back to Caro.

Her mother’s, her aunt’s,  The Duke of Devonshire, and her father’s consent achieved, there was one more person to persuade, ‘I listen for the postman’s knock (who knew the postman knocked in the 1800s ;) ) with cold hands, and indescribable anxiety. Your peace of mind is I know so connected with yr. dear gdmama’s happiness‘ (that is his abbreviations not mine, the Victorian’s introduced absolute adherence to consistent grammar and spelling ;) ) The Georgriana’s wrote as they wished – love those people – so much simpler for those of us with dyslexia.

But anyway, of course Caro wished for Lady Spencer’s approval, she had brought Caro up as much as her mother, and Caro was very fond of her.

Clearly William had written and was awaiting an answer, but the family came to Caro’s and William’s assistance. Caro’s brother John (the John who later was the man Harriett Wilson the courtesan fell in love with – society was really not that large), Caro’s uncle Lord Spencer, and Lord Morpeth (Little G’s new husband) all called to add their voice to praise William as Caro’s choice. “The are all wonderfully afraid of my sentiments.” recorded Lady Spencer, describing this barrage of persuasion to a friend.

Finally Caroline visited herself, with a now resigned Hart. “The Dr child was on her knees the tears streaming from her eyes & repeating that she wd not marry without my consent.”

Her grandmother was not convinced, and said she would not approve the match, and challenged the requirement for her consent, saying it was hardly necessary anyway as it was settled.

Caro then read her a letter from William, promising to devote his life to making Caro happy. Lady Spencer conceded only to accept the marriage, and only to accept William once he had proved his affection for Caro.

The Queen and the Prince of Wales approval was given then, and then the special licence was acquired from Archbishop of Canterbury and as all the preparations rushed forward, for fear of another war with France, Caro stayed with her mother at Holywell House, while William lived at Brocket Hall and road the half hour between the two daily to visit Caro.

The night before the wedding the Devonshire’s held a party honouring Caroline, and she received gifts from her family, a burnt-topaz cross from Harryo, bracelets from Hartington, a pearl cross from her Uncle’s paramour, Bess, and Little G (now nine months pregnant) gave Caro an aquamarine clasp  and some wrought gold amulets and cameos… While William took an opportunity to give her grandmother a portrait of Caro to dig a little into her affections, which earned him some credit.

Then it was the day of the wedding. They were married in the Bessborough’s residence, No. 12 Cavendish Square, on the 3rd of June 1805, and Caro’s wedding dress was beautifully described by her aunt Georgiana. It had fine lace sleeves, and lace high-up around her neck, giving it an Eastern appearance. She wore one strand of pearls, and under her veil the aquamarine clasp that Little G had given her at the party. Caro is described as looking ‘light and beautifull’ as she walked steadily to join William, and exchanged her vows without hesitation. (A scene directly from a romance novel, but TRUE, how wonderful).

But after the wedding the emotion of the day became too much for Caroline. She loved her family just as much as she loved William, and then to add a beautifully romantic real scene to the end of today’s post, how did William react when the day became too much for her – he is described as walking through the noisy crowd surrounding her and simply picking her up. Then he carried his prize, his petite little Caro whom he loved, and had waited to claim for four years, out to their waiting carriage…

:D  <3

And so next week the stories of their married life begin…

But if you can’t wait for Regency stories, then grab one of my books many of them are currently on offer in the UK from 69p and in the USA from $1.99 and there are couple of little extras for free… 



Go to the index


  • the story of the real courtesan who inspired                                                 The Illicit Love of a Courtesan,

Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more about Jane. Or click  ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook  page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark

Jane’s books can be ordered from amazon by clicking on the covers in the sidebar,  and are available from most booksellers.



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