Daryl Devore's Blog

Daryl Devore's Blog

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The fabulous Jenna Jaxon and her latest - Only A Mistress Will Do #regency #newrelease #mustread

“I Don’t”: The True Story of the Broken Betrothal
From the 18th century, through the Regency, and well into the Victorian period, betrothals were sacrosanct. If you accepted someone’s proposal, you broke the engagement only at grave peril to both your reputation and your pocketbook. Something we today take very much for granted, the couples of the Gerogian era and the Regency made a serious commitment. Could it lead to misery? Absolutely, but there were many men and women who, having accepted someone and found them later unsuitable, simply sucked it up and went through with the wedding.

Why would a broken engagement spell ruin for either party? The answer lies in the strict courtship couples had to go through before they became betrothed. While courting, couples were stringently chaperoned, to protect the girl’s reputation. Couples could not dance more than once or twice at a ball, they could converse only in the presence of a chaperone, they could not drive out together unless it was in an open carriage, and all physical contact (outside of dancing) was forbidden.

Once a couple agreed to marry, these strict rules were somewhat relaxed. Couples could converse alone. They could dance more than two dances together. They could ride in a closed carriage together. And many found their way to other activities not approved at all for courting couples, which lead to a fairly high proportion of babies being born less than nine months after their parents’ weddings.

Which is why a broken engagement was anathema to a woman’s reputation. Since she had accepted a man, it could be assumed that he had “had his way with her,” thus taking her virtue and making her unmarriageable. In Only A Mistress Will Do, the hero runs slap up against this problem throughout most of the book because when the book opens, he has already betrothed himself, in an arranged marriage to gain him a piece of property, to a woman he doesn’t love. So when he meets the love of his life, he is all but powerless to marry her. If he jilts his fiancée, he will be a social outcast for ruining the girl’s reputation. The circumstances in the book may have been a bit heightened, but not by much. The consequences for breaking a betrothal were quite often dire. As a result, men and women often stuck it out and married to save their reputations. Hopefully, many were rewarded for keeping their honor with a long, happy marriage.

The man of her dreams . . . belongs to another woman.

Destitute and without friends, Violet Carlton is forced to seek employment at the House of Pleasure in London. She steels herself for her first customer and is shocked when the man rescues her instead of ravishing her. A grateful Violet cannot help but admire the handsome Viscount Trevor. But she must curb her desire for the dashing nobleman she can never have because he is already betrothed to another . . .

Tristan had gone to the House of Pleasure for a last bit of fun before he became a faithful married man. But when he recognizes the woman in his bed, he becomes determined to save her instead. Now, his heart wars with his head as he falls for the vulnerable courtesan. Unable to break his betrothal without a scandal, Tris resolves to find Violet proper employment or a husband of her own. Still, his arms ache for Violet, urging him to abandon propriety and sacrifice everything to be with the woman he loves. . . .


“You heard me playing?” She didn’t know whether to be excited or terrified.
“I came in about halfway through. Just before you broke free.” Straightening, he handed her the sheets of parchment. “It was like watching a bird leave the ground and soar.” His fingers brushed her palm as he passed the music to her.
The spark that leaped from him to her sent her reeling. She stumbled back and he caught her wrist, scalding her, making her tremble inside.
“I do beg pardon. I shouldn’t have startled you so. Come, sit down here.” He escorted her to a chair before the fire. “Let me get Mrs. Parker. She had brought the tea tray while you were playing, but I selfishly sent it back.” His eyes were warm and dark. “I didn’t want you to stop.” He disappeared into the passageway, calling for the cook.
Torn between the elation of playing music again and the shock of Tristan’s touch, Violet sat in the chair, allowing the warmth of the fire to soothe her for a moment or two, until he reappeared. At least he had liked her playing, although she was mortified he’d heard her stumble so badly at the end. She would practice hard so when he heard her again he would be even more pleased. And she did want to please him. A small repayment for his numerous kindnesses, but something within her power to do.
Tristan entered bearing the tea tray himself and she rose, holding out her hands to take it from him.
“No, my dear. Please sit.” He nodded to her chair and she sank down again. “You’ve given me a treat after a long and taxing day, so indulge me by allowing me to serve you.” Once he had settled the tray on the music chest, he pulled a small flute-edged table in front of her. “Mrs. Parker assures me the shortbread came out of the oven not ten minutes ago.”
Violet inhaled aromas of fragrant tea and sweet pastry and her stomach gave a growl. She clamped her hands over the offending organ as heat rushed to her face. Curse it. Just when she might have become comfortable with him.
“You are ready for tea, I see.” He grinned, taking some of the embarrassment out of the moment. “Well, I could tell you have worked hard for it. That is why you are so accomplished.”
“Not very accomplished now,” she said, accepting a napkin from him.
“Nonsense. I’ve no musical ability myself, but I recognize true talent when I hear it. Sugar? Milk?” He poured a cup, then hovered over the bowl of sugar with a pair of tongs.
“One lump and a splash of milk, please. I have not played for a very long time. And even longer since I had the opportunity to practice regularly.” She sipped the tea, deliciously hot and sweet, and took a bite of the still warm petticoat tail. “Ummm.” Violet couldn’t hold back the sigh of contentment. The confection all but melted on her tongue.
“Mrs. Parker’s shortbread would rival Mrs. McLintock’s I’m sure.” He leaned back in his chair opposite her and crunched into a wedge. It disappeared in two bites and he reached for another one.
“Who is Mrs. McLintock?”
“The Scottish woman who apparently invented shortbread about thirty years ago.” When he laughed, his face turned boyish. “At least she gets the credit for writing it down in a recipe book before anyone else. Mrs. Parker told me the first time she baked them for me.” His laughter died as he looked at her, his gaze traveling from her head to her feet. “I see you met with Madame Angelique.”
“Yes, I did. It was quite a surprise.” Completely aware of his scrutiny, Violet sat straighter and smoothed out her skirt. “I cannot thank you enough, my lord.”
He glared at her over the shortbread. “My lord?”
“Tristan. Tris.” She blushed and could do absolutely nothing about it. “You have been more than generous to me. I cannot think how I shall ever repay you.” There. She had given him the opportunity to issue the suggestion she still half expected. Better to get it out in the open and be done with it.
He raised his eyebrows as he lifted his teacup to his lips.
Those very full, very sensual lips she could still feel kissing her body.
“Can you not, my dear? Perhaps I can think of a way you could repay me that will be to our mutual satisfaction.” Tris set his cup down and took her hands.
Her pulse raced and her mouth dried to dust.
“Will you become my mistress?”


Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical in all time periods because passion is timeless.  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’s a theatre director when she’s not writing and lives in Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as Vice-President of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has three series currently available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France.
She currently writes to support her chocolate habit.

Find Jenna Jaxon online:

What's Happening on Romance - Sweet to Heat
7- Author Spotlight – Adriana Kraft- The Painter is a Lady 
8- Author Spotlight – Lucy Felthouse – An Interesting Find 
9- Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday
10- Author Spotlight – Melissa Foster - Truly, Madly, Whiskey
11- Author Spotlight – M.B. Feeney - The Exchange Series
12- Book Hooks #MFRWhooks #MFRWAuthor
13 – Thursday #Yoga
14 - Friday Snippets  #FridaySnippets
15- My Sexy Saturday #MySexySaturday
16- Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday
17- Author Spotlight – S. Nano – Mistress of the Air   
18- Author Spotlight – Kryssie Fortune – Marriage, Mobsters and a Marine
19- Book Hooks #MFRWhooks #MFRWAuthor
20- Thursday #Yoga
21- Friday Snippets  #FridaySnippets
22 – Blog Available
23 – Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday
24 – Author Spotlight – Laura Strickland - Words and Dreams
25 - Author Spotlight – Kryssie Fortune – Sex, Scandal and the Sheriff
26 – Book Hooks #MFRWhooks #MFRWAuthor
27 – Thursday #Yoga
28 - Friday Snippets  #FridaySnippets
29 – My Sexy Saturday #MySexySaturday
30 – Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today, Daryl! :)

    1. Always a pleasure Jenna. When does the next book come out??? I'll reserve a spot.

  2. Great post, Lady Jenna! Congrats on your latest release!!! ;)

  3. Thank you, Captain Kathy! :)

  4. I married my husband because my mother threw a fit when I tried to back out of the marriage. So I married him. I then divorced him after he tried to kill me three times, using the strike three and I'm out of here rule. I may have failed to mention it at all to my mother.

    Now to your book. I LOVED IT! I thought it very well done. You weren't over the top at all, but I may be in my upcoming Regency.... we'll have to see.

    1. Thank you so much, Liza! I am thrilled you loved Mistress. It's ranking right up there with Scandal as to the one I like best. I'll bet you're not over the top on your upcoming historical--unless you're going on with Lydia's story. She was born over the top! LOL

  5. The betrothal rules back then certainly do seem odd to our society now! Enjoyed the post. Best of luck with the release, Jenna.

    1. Thank you so much, Barbara! They were very strict about what you could and could not do and remain respectable. Of course, if you didn't care about that, it was pretty wild and crazy! LOL

  6. What a lovely book cover! Hey - better to break the engagement than to despise the one you married, eh?