A Regency Short Story
Lydia Bettride has a plan. To capture the attention of Geoffrey Danforth, the man who has stolen her heart but barely notices her, she has engaged the help of Phillip, a friend of her brother’s, to play the love-smitten fool in public, in hopes of piquing the interest of her unnamed love. But when Geoffrey himself shows up to take Phillip’s place, what’s a girl to do?
Note: This is a short story of approximately 10,000 words.
This Book in Candice's Regency World
Follow the links in brackets to learn more about these real Regency references in Candice's book.
- Candice envisioned Geoffrey in full evening dress, with double-breasted tail coat, fancy waistcoat, high collared shirt, and breeches. [ Gentleman’s Full Dress, April 1810 → ]
- Candice envisioned Lydia in a pink and white ball dress with full melon sleeves of white satin, slashed to show pink satin underneath, with a bow of pink ribbon tied round the waist. [ French Ball Dress, April 1808 → ]
- See what else happened in 1810, the year Desperate Measures is set. [ Visit this year in the Regency World Timeline → ]
- "A beautifully written short story of a young woman finding love for the first time." -- Reading During Intermission
- "Short, sweet and straight to the point. This was a delightful read which can be read in one sitting. Of course, you want more. That’s the point. Get a taste of what the author can do and then go buy her novel-length books, because her writing is like a Pringle’s potato chip. You can’t just have one." -- Scribbles on the Back of January
Read an Excerpt
She was going to commit murder. If that scoundrel Philip Hartwell did not show up soon, Lydia Bettridge was going to track him down and rip his heart out. After all, this whole scheme was his idea. If he hadn’t suggested it in the first place, and if he and her brother Daniel had not gleefully concocted the plan, she would not now be waiting on pins and needles to learn whether or not it would work.
Or perhaps all that gleefulness had been at her expense. Had they been making a game of her, playing on her disappointment, poking fun at her unrequited affections?
By God, she would rip out both their hearts. With a rusty blade.
Lydia scanned the ballroom again, maintaining as casual an air as possible as she sought out Philip’s bright red hair among the crowd milling about in groups, waiting for the first set to begin. She was just about to stomp her foot in frustration when she saw him. Not Philip, but … him. Dear heaven, it was Geoffrey Danforth, the secret object of her scheme, and he was at that very moment making his way across the room directly toward her.
Her belly seized up in a knot of panic. What was she to do now? And where the devil was Philip?
“Here comes Danforth, my dear,” her mother said in hushed tones. “And he is smiling at you and looking exceedingly handsome in that gold waistcoat. The color sets off his hair nicely, don’t you think? I hope you will not reject him like all the others. I suspect poor Philip must be delayed. You would certainly be forgiven if you did not wait for him any longer.”
Lydia had claimed a prior commitment for the opening set when asked to dance by three other perfectly suitable gentlemen, causing her mother to cluck and twitter with vexation. She was not pleased that Lydia had promised to be led out for one of the most important dances of the evening by her brother’s best friend Philip, who no had marital intentions toward Lydia or anyone else, and for whom Lydia had no more than a sisterly affection. “Such a waste,” her mother had said more than once.
And here came Geoffrey Danforth, with his flashing blue eyes and a smile to make a girl weak in the knees. Oh dear.