It's here! Jenna Jaxon's HEART OF DESIRE, the second of her Handful of Hearts Regency series launched this week and Jenna's here to give up a glimpse of her latest--and to tell us a bit about the Regency rules of courtship.
The Whirl of Courtship
During the Regency era there were very strict rules for courting couples.
They could never be alone together unless they were chaperoned, were betrothed,
were in an open carriage, or on horseback.
With all these strictures, our
modern sensibilities make us wonder how they ever found time to get to know one
another. There were, however, several outings the couple could indulge in and
not create a scandal.
A gentleman could, in all propriety, accompany a young woman to several
public sightseeing landmarks without censure. Places such as the Tower of
London, Hampton Court, Hyde Park, or the British Museum to see the Elgin
Marbles. As long as the couple were in full view of the public, they could walk
and talk together and preserve the proprieties.
Carriage rides were a very popular way for a couple to indulge in private
time together while courting. The carriage had to be open, but could also be a
sporty curricle or a high-perch phaeton (the sports cars of the Regency
period). Rides were usually taken in Hyde Park during the most fashionable
hours between 4:30pm and 7:30pm, the point being to see and be seen by everyone
else in the ton.
A favorite outing was to go to Gunter’s Tea Shop, one of the most
fashionable light eateries in London. Gunter’s was famous for their ices and
sorbets. Located in Berkley Square in Mayfair, it was another establishment
where the ton came to see and be seen. The Georgian Index reports that it
became popular to eat the ices outside. “Gunter's Tea Shop was the only
establishment where a lady could be seen eating alone with a gentleman who was
not a relative without harming her reputation.
The ladies would remain seated
in the carriages in the shade of the Maples. Their gentlemen escorts would step
down from their equipages and come round to the passenger side of the curricle
or barouche and lean against the Square's railings sharing the lady's company
and the treat.”
Another outing, also very popular and a bit daring, was a trip to the
Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. This was a vast park of several acres of land that
had different kinds of entertainments at night, from musical presentation to
fireworks. Vendors sold various wares and although the best lit place in London
at night, it still boasted several darker pathways down which a couple might
stroll for a bit more private conversation. Usually ladies formed parties to
attend Vauxhall insuring chaperones for a couple until they had agreed to a
These outings were an approved part of courtship during the Regency. In Heart
of Desire, my courting couple make use of many of these excursions as they try
to get to know one another, as did countless real couples of the period. Now here's a glimpse of Jenna's new book.
Follow your heart to find your desire
Miss Katherine Locke is irked to start her third season dancing with
the disagreeable Lord Haversham, her brother’s friend and her own arch enemy.
After three years out, however, she’s finally interested in the dashing Lord
Finley—only to find out her cousin has set her cap for him too. To make the man
jealous, Kate feigns interest in Lord Haversham, only to be shocked to find the
handsome lord apparently falling for her. With time running out, should she
accept his suit and risk falling in love despite herself?
Marcus, Lord Haversham, is in a tight pinch. His estates are failing and
worse, he’s just lost three thousand pounds to his best friend, Lord Ainsley.
Ainsley’s solution: have Marcus marry his shrewish sister and he’ll cancel his
gambling debt plus give him ten thousand more pounds for her dowry. With
nowhere to turn, Marcus agrees, praying he can keep word of the wager from Miss
Locke long enough to charm her into marrying him. But can he avoid falling in
The music had a lively air and Miss Katherine Locke would’ve thought herself
fortunate to be out again in Society after a long, cold, dull winter in
Somerset save that her partner, Lord
Haversham, was the rudest man in London. Well, his lordship was about to
discover that Kate Locke was not one to suffer fools lightly.
“So you refuse to allow your sister to waltz, yet you are quite willing to
stand up with me and dance this, according to you, most scandalous of dances.”
Kate smiled into the odious wretch’s face. “My lord, I should say that smacks
“Indeed.” Lord Haversham turned them skillfully at the end of the floor. “I
would say it showed a want of character in your brother for allowing you to
dance it with me. The waltz should be danced by married couples and no one
else.” He pulled her close against him, so their bodies almost touched.
She gasped at her proximity to the rogue. How dare he make a spectacle of
them on this crowded dance floor?
“You see?” he whispered, peering into her face, his gaze intent upon her
All she could see were his cool gray eyes, as the crisp scent of his
sandalwood cologne filled her nose.
“Ainsley should be horsewhipped for allowing it.”
“I’ll see to it he horsewhips you if you don’t let me go.” Kate gave a
hopping step and smashed her foot down on top of his.
Lord Haversham lurched forward, actually falling onto her.
For the briefest moment, they stood pressed together in a warm embrace that
made Kate tingle all over. Then outrage swept through her, and she pushed him
away. “How dare you,” she seethed, trying to pull away from him.
“That was your fault, and you know it. And if you make a scene that results
in me having to marry you, I swear I will lock you in the tower at my grandfather’s
castle and throw away the key.” Lord Haversham righted himself and smiled at
her with clenched teeth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jenna Jaxon is a best-selling, multi-published author of historical romance
in periods ranging from medieval to Victorian. She has been reading and
writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself,
she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a
surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own
stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and two rambunctious cats,
Marmalade and Suger. When not reading or writing, she indulges her
passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She
often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and is very active in
Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA.
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she
starts she just can’t stop.
Happy Friday! Today we've a special treat. J. L. Sheppard is announcing a special sale for AWAITING FATE. Her latest FATE FORGOTTEN, Fated Immortals 2, will be released August 26. So this is your chance to buy AWAITING FATE, Fated Immortals 1, for just 99 cents! I was so taken by the excerpts that I included two, presenting touching views of the heroine's and hero's point of view in a scene. Have a great weekend, everyone.
lived more than four hundred years fighting rogue immortals, avenging
the family he’d lost. It’s all he’s needed, all he’s wanted. That
changes the fateful day he lays eyes on his fated mate. Olivia Waden,
a werewolf princess, is nothing like him. Unwilling to give her up, he
sets a plan into motion: ignoring his need to claim her, he befriends
Cain's best efforts at friendship, Olivia has fallen hard for him. It
is him she dreams of, him she wants as her fated mate. But she is sure
he doesn't feel the same way. In way over her head, she has no option
but to run away from the only man she's ever loved.
Will Cain find Olivia before it's too late or will their differences tear them apart?
She lifted her head and admired the stars. From the corner of her eye, she realized he’d done the same.
“What do you want most in the world?” he asked, surprising her.
Shifting her attention to him, her eyes sought his.
in time, he turned looking her way, waiting for her response. With that
one somber look, she realized the glimmer always present had dimmed.
You, she thought in response to his question, but left the word unsaid, wondering exactly what to say.
away from him, she whispered, “To be loved, truly loved by a man.”
Before he could comment on it, she turned the tables on him. “What do
you want most in the world?”
“What do you want most in the world?”
You, he thought but left the truth unsaid.
could he say? He wanted to seek shelter in her arms and comfort in her
touch. He wanted to come home to her face, her smile—her. He wanted her
barefoot and pregnant with life they created growing inside her. He
wanted her to love him so much she couldn’t fathom living and breathing
without him. He was already there.
“I want a lot of things, too many,” he finally said.
cop-out, so the moment he’d spoken the words, he regretted them. He
needed her to trust him, but his situation made it difficult. He
couldn’t tell her the truth, only a version of it without revealing too
“I want my fated to love me,” he said it so simply.
hoped she would respond. More than anything he wanted her to ask him if
he’d found his. Because he knew if she did, he’d never be able to lie
and, finally, she’d know. He waited for her to say something, but she
never did, so he found himself gazing at the stars praying he could
magically cure her sadness.
He didn’t get his wish, but he did
sit with her for hours. He didn’t speak, only listened to the sounds of
their breaths, wishing for more
It was inevitable to want more, more of her, all of her, but for now, sitting in the dark, gazing at the stars was enough.