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Yours Until Dawn (Distinguished Rogues series #19)

Yours Until Dawn (Distinguished Rogues series #19)

Lord Sullivan, returned to London for one purpose only—to find a second bride and live happily ever after again. But, under pressure from his family, he turns to a past confidant for advice—only to become thoroughly distracted by his maddening mentor. 

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Main Tropes

  • Friends to Lovers
  • Emotional Scars
  • Afraid to Commit


Lord Sullivan loved and lost and has returned to London for one purpose only—to find a second bride and have another chance to live happily ever after. But, the widowed earl foolishly promised to marry this season or allow his family to choose his new bride. When the right woman, from the right family, with the right level of appeal, proves utterly elusive, he turns to a discreet matchmaker for help.

Aurora Hillcrest loves the thrill of new romance, but, as she tells the handsome Lord Sullivan, she does not believe love is vital for his future marriage. His heart still belongs to his late first wife anyway. She’s eager to get him to the altar by any means possible—short of marrying him herself, of course.

With Lord Sullivan satisfactorily wed, her new venture as a matchmaker will earn a valuable letter of recommendation to show future clients. Indeed, what could be simpler than matching an outwardly proper—and privately lusty—earl with…well, she’ll think of someone to take him on. Even if that eventuality begins to bother her more than it should.

Intro to Chapter One

“Ah, at last,” Drew Finch, Lord Sullivan, murmured as Lady Alicia McKenzie-Wellborne appeared in the Castlereagh’s London ballroom looking lovely in a white silk and lace gown.

The woman was tall and had a willowy figure but was not exactly as fresh to the marriage market as some. She had caught his eye this past week at another party, and the more he considered her, the more he thought he should know her better.

And not because of some giggle or squeak she’d uttered like the rest of the marriage hopefuls were prone to do. If not for catching sight of Lady Alicia just now, he might have considered leaving the ball already. There was no one else of interest, and that frustrated him.

Drew moved to a better position to see the lady from head to toe. She might just do for him. Not too young, not too short, and quite bright by all reports. Unfortunately, he had not been introduced to the lady yet and only had secondhand information to rely upon about her character. Indeed, they had no connections in common save their host for this evening, but that problem would be easily solved once he found her.

He glanced around, looking for Lady Castlereagh. The matron was nowhere to be found unfortunately at that precise moment to perform any introductions. So, he strolled the perimeter of the dance floor, looking out toward the card room and other places, nodding to women he’d already considered and discarded as potential brides since last season, and drawing ever closer to his quarry.

Lady Alicia’s face suddenly turned his way and lit up with a bright smile of welcome. Drew paused, startled that she’d noticed him at all, though pleased, too. He was again hoping for a whisper of a thrill when their eyes met and held. That was all any widow with marriage on his mind could hope for when pursuing a wife. He doubted he could fall as deeply a second time in his lifetime.

A gentleman stepped around him and the connection was lost. Although he tried to catch her eye again, her attention was now diverted to the guests milling about between them.

No matter. Drew would have a better chance once the proper introductions had been made and they spoke. He would ask her to dance immediately.

“Try to smile,” Lord Brandestock murmured, stumbling into him. “Your face suggests you’ve a giant turd wedged up your arse.”

“Mind your language,” Drew warned, looking to his right where young Brandestock now stood. Perhaps it was a mistake to have encouraged an acquaintance with Brandestock. They were members of the same clubs—White’s and Bradshaw’s, too—and frequently attended the same tonnish events. But the man’s language was as colorful as his taste in garish waistcoats.

“All I’m saying is smile and let the women come to you like I do,” Brandestock murmured, smiling widely at a widow of questionable morals as she passed them by. “You’re an earl and wealthy and moderately handsome for your age.”

“Why thank you,” he said dryly.

Brandestock grinned widely. “Nothing more needs to be offered but a little encouragement to enjoy a fine night in some lonely lady’s bed.”

Drew would have pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation if he were anywhere else but a ballroom. Brandestock was years younger than him, a bachelor still, but seemed to think Drew needed his advice on courting women. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Drew knew exactly how to please a lady, in and out of bed, better than he did.

“Excuse me. But I can tell when I’m desperately needed elsewhere,” Brandestock murmured before following after the pretty widow who was beckoning him with just her eyes.

The widow and Brandestock disappeared behind a curtained alcove—as likely a venue for scandalous trysts in any house.

Drew shook his head and shrugged. One of these days Brandestock was going to come undone in the worst ways and pay a heavy price. Like Drew, he had the looks and money to attract dozens of title-hungry women to claim the position of his bride, whether he wanted the woman or not. Not that Brandestock claimed to need a bride yet. Not like Drew seemed to. However, Drew’s own vetting of potential spouses seemed to have dismissed a legion of women from contention. Too timid, too talkative, or simply too silly.

He’d no idea he’d become so particular about who he could live with.

But it seemed he had high standards. His approach to his first marriage had been far different from this. He’d not been looking for a bride when he’d first met Clare but had fallen in love with her at first sight. Marrying her was all he thought about from the moment they’d spoken. She’d been graceful, charming, loving, and irreplaceable it seemed. Clare had been the light and love of his life. Drew had looked around society enough now to realize she’d been one of a kind and had set a very high bar for her successor to reach.

Certainly, too high for anyone he’d met so far in London, and every day a little more of his hope of meeting that one special lady whose presence would change his life in an instant faded.

But surely there had to be someone out there for him.

Everyone claimed there was.

He’d been very patient and thorough in his attendance in society’s ballrooms and other amusements. Unfortunately, she hadn’t made herself known to him yet, and he was growing impatient with the endless waiting.

Drew glanced across the room again and saw Lady Alicia on the arm of a slender gentleman. When the fellow leaned down and boldly placed a kiss on her pink lips right there in view of all, no one around them complained. In fact, they damn well near cheered him on.

Lady Alicia blushed and hugged the man’s arm a little harder, her smile revealing a distinct partiality, the ring on her finger sparkling in the candlelight.

Drew’s heart sank. Clearly, another man had claimed her affections already.

He turned away, acutely disappointed that he’d missed another chance, but thankful he’d not found the hostess to ask her to perform an introduction to an engaged woman. That would have been awkward to say the least.

As he lifted his head, he spotted his father, the Duke of Northport, across the room. Drew scowled that the old man was out in public yet again. That was the third time this month they’d attended the same ball. His father did not usually attend this sort of thing. But there was no mistaking the duke’s reasons for moving about in society so much this season.

Drew studied the duke as he moved in that direction. Northport had a long-term mistress, but she was not here tonight. He was engaged in conversation with a young woman, but he kept looking about the chamber. Most likely he was looking for Drew, so he’d be forced to talk to the woman. Father was eager to have Drew wed again.

Drew pasted a smile on his face when he recognized the young woman before he got too close to turn away. It was Lady Eloise Barclay again—Northport’s friend’s youngest daughter.

Unmarried, of course.

Drew would be expected to dance with her, as he had been every other night they’d met at one event or another. He had done so on several prior occasions with no complaint on his part. The Barclays were old friends of the family. Certain courtesies were required, and it was better to get his duty over with now than be berated by the duke for rudeness later.

Lady Eloise was an adequate partner for one dance—but never more than that. As he watched, a gentleman attempted to speak with the young lady, but Father turned her away from the fellow, monopolizing Lady Eloise’s attention so the gentleman had no choice but to back away, unspoken to and embarrassed.

Drew groaned under his breath. Was Father attempting to keep Lady Eloise from other men now? Not that Drew would marry her. She was so much younger than himself.

He strolled across to his father, feigning delight to see him.

Drew resembled his sire in many ways. Similar height, same dark hair that curled in the rain, same blue eyes that many said were remarkably changeable. But the similarity ended there. Drew was much quieter and more circumspect than his father. But then, Drew wasn’t a duke yet with designs to control the destiny of members of his family, especially his eldest son.

“Ah, here is Sullivan, too,” Father boomed loud enough to be heard in all corners of the ballroom. The Duke of Northport leaned down toward the woman at his side. “I told you he couldn’t stay away. My son is as handsome as you remember, isn’t he Lady Eloise?”

Drew felt his face grow warm as he extended his hand toward the embarrassed young woman his father had been pushing at him for months. Lady Eloise ranked high on the list created by his family as a potential bride for Drew. Only just eighteen and newly presented to the queen, she had impressed many during her first season. Even him, to a small degree. But there was no thrill, no spark of anticipation, to be felt around her when they met. None at all.

And that lack of attraction was specifically why he could not marry her, or anyone he felt similarly unaffected by.

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Distinguished Rogues Series

The Distinguished Rogues have the world at their feet, but they may have met their match in this ongoing steamy series.
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