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The Miseducation of Miss Delilah

The Miseducation of Miss Delilah

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Is he her kidnapper...or her hero?

Delilah always knew she'd marry someone rich and powerful, but she never imagined she'd be engaged to the man her friends call 'Lord Evil.'

She's certain they're exaggerating the danger she's in...until she slips away during her engagement party and finds herself held captive by a terrifying brute. Trembling in terror in his arms, she tells the stranger to take whatever he wants, just let her go. But the beast growls in her ear, "I'm not here for your jewels, princess. I'm here for you."

Main Tropes

  • Runaway bride
  • On the run together
  • Falling for the bad boy


A sweet regency bad boy romance...

Miss Delilah is certain her friends are exaggerating when they refer to her fiancé as Lord Evil. Surely their imaginations have run wild.

But when a gruff ne'er-do-well comes along and saves Delilah from a suspicious accident, she does not know who to believe—the perfectly polite gentleman her family expects her to marry...or the rough and tumble beast who's always there when she's in danger.

Intro Into Chapter 1

Miss Delilah Clemmons held her teacup to her lips for a moment longer than necessary as she took a deep, fortifying breath.

The scent of tea leaves and sugar, she’d found, was far superior to the stench of illness that had permeated her family home for as long as she could remember. 

“How is father?” she asked once she’d lowered her cup.

Her stepmother’s voice was cold and even. “The same.”

Delilah nodded. The same. That was the response she always got. She couldn’t quite recall at what point her father’s health had fallen into decline, but it often seemed as though he had been plummeting toward death for as long as she’d known him. 

His mental faculties were still there and her father, the baron, still ruled over this small family and his estate with an iron fist. Metaphorically, of course. In reality, he was confined to his bed day and night, and sent orders through his wife.

His wife who despised Delilah. 

Perhaps that was unfair. Maybe despised was too strong of a word. What the Baroness of Linden felt for her stepdaughter could hardly be said—not even by Delilah. The older woman was difficult to read, but her interactions with Delilah had always been cold. There was no heat of anger, just a general sense of disdain and disapproval.

Even as a small child, Delilah had sensed it, and she had known better than to take offense. It was well understood that Delilah had failed her father horribly by not being born a boy. She supposed she’d failed her stepmother even more so. 

With the estate entailed, she and her stepmother would be in a precarious position when her father passed. 

Unless Delilah married well, of course.

Which she would. After all, it was the least she could do.

Besides, her father had set aside a small fortune and the one unentailed property he owned along the coast to ensure it. Whatever was not going to his heir had been tied to her dowry to ensure that she land a gentleman of means and power.

Delilah took another small sip and stole another breath of tea-scented air as a clock ticked loudly behind her. 

She’d always hated this drawing room. So stiff, so dreary. Her stepmother’s cloying perfume mixed with the smells of medicine and the stale scent of a house that hadn’t seen sunlight or fresh air in far too long. 

Altogether it made Delilah’s stomach churn with unease. 

From the moment Miss Grayson had informed her she’d been summoned home for a visit, she’d felt it—the clawing sensation of panic barely suppressed. At the finishing school, where she lived amongst her friends, she could ignore it. Sometimes she even managed to convince herself it was gone altogether, this unpleasant mix of fear and anticipation. The sensation that her life was about to take a turn. That she was hovering on a precipice just waiting for a good shove.

Her stepmother set down her teacup with a rattle that seemed to shake the room. “Your father has found you a husband.”

And there it was.

The air left Delilah’s lungs so suddenly she felt lightheaded. A deep breath of that heavy, noxious air only made her head spin more. “Oh yes?” she said, taking another sip of tea.

It was through sheer habit that she managed to sound so cool and unemotional. 

It had always been this way between Delilah and the baroness. A battle to see who could be the most contained. Which of the two beauties in this house had the most decorum.

Delilah would hardly give her stepmother the pleasure of stumbling now. She’d been training all her life for this.

The free-falling sensation that had her stomach plummeting was disguised beneath a haughty sniff and pursed lips. “And who might I be marrying?”

There. Not even Miss Grayson at the School of Charm could find fault with that delivery. She was practically the epitome of grace and nobility. She was—

“John Faring, the Baron of Everley.”

For the first time since she was six, Delilah forgot to don her façade. Horror shot through her, making her blood curdle and her stomach heave. “Lord Everley.”

She whispered his name, but it was the nickname her friends at school had given the man that clanged in her head like a bell. Lord Evil.

Silly nickname—no doubt Louisa had thought of it. The girl lived for melodrama. And yet…

Much as she tried to tell herself it was ridiculous, the nickname echoed in her skull.


A man they called Evil.

This was who she was to marry.

Her stepmother’s lips quirked up a bit at the corners. “I see you are familiar with the man.”

Delilah stared at the baroness with lips frozen in shock. Familiar with him? The man had threatened to financially ruin Louisa’s family. He’d suggested Addie’s cousin should kill her little brother.

In jest, one might hope, but even so…

Her stepmother’s eyes glinted with malice. Or maybe amusement.

Or perhaps with her stepmother they were one and the same. It was difficult to say. The baroness had a sort of cruel beauty about her. Half the age of the baron, she’d come from a good family and embodied excellent breeding. Fair hair and unmarked skin. Blue eyes and a spine of steel. She’d taught Delilah well in the art of gentility and manners.

Delilah called on those lessons now as she steeled herself, forcing her shoulders to lower, her lips to snap shut, and her brow to clear. “Indeed,” she said, her voice pleasantly even. “I have made his acquaintance.”

“Excellent,” the baroness said. “He will host an engagement ball in a fortnight and the banns will be read.”

“But—” The protest died on her lips as she met her stepmother’s cold, malicious gaze. 

But he is a monster. But they call him Lord Evil. But…what if I don’t wish to marry him?

Nothing she said would change matters. If anything, it would only add to her stepmother’s pleasure.

She set her cup down gently. It was not as though this was a surprise. She’d always known this day would come. This was her price to pay. After eighteen years of receiving everything a girl could wish—everything of material value, at least—it was now time to see through her duty. 

“You shall be pleased to hear that Lord Everley is exceedingly wealthy,” her stepmother said, all brisk business as though Delilah’s life was not crashing down around her ears. 

Indeed, Delilah had no doubt her stepmother was relishing this moment. 

Delilah’s mother had died during childbirth. Young and fragile, by all accounts, her mother had suffered numerous miscarriages and Delilah did not doubt that she suffered mightily from her father’s displeasure at being left heirless. 

Delilah often suspected that her mother was blessed to have died when she did, not knowing that her last act on this earth had been the greatest disappointment of all. 

She’d at last delivered a child, and it had been a useless girl. 

Her stepmother had been glad of it, no doubt. It gave her the chance to provide the son her father so desperately desired. 

But fate was not so kind to this family. 

And so it was that Delilah was given everything she wished. She was spoiled, she would be the first to admit it. Her father and stepmother handed her over to a steady stream of nursemaids, governesses, and tutors, until she’d grown old enough to attend finishing school.

All of that learning, the skills and the manners, the jewels, the balls, and the best gowns money could buy—it had all been for this.

So that she might snare a husband of great fortune.

“A baron,” she mused, as though she were referring to someone else’s future husband and not her own. “I thought Father had his sights set higher.”

The slight twitch of the baroness’s lips might have been a smile, if she were capable of such a thing. “Are you disappointed?” She eyed Delilah as though just seeing her now for the first time. “Did you expect to marry an earl?” She laughed without humor. “My, someone thinks well of herself.”

She ignored the jab. Sharp words that used to prick her sensitive skin as a child, now bounced off of her skin, thanks to a thick layer of scars. “I merely meant that Father had always said—”

“Your father wished for a marriage that would ensure his family had nothing to fear financially. Lord Everley can and will provide that comfort.”

She nodded. “Of course.”

“Are you disappointed?” Her stepmother’s voice was mild. Distantly curious, at best, as she eyed Delilah over the edge of her teacup.

Was she disappointed? That her father had just sold her to the highest bidder? No. That was to be expected. Was she horrified at the idea of spending the rest of her days with a man who might be more cruel than her own family?


She met her stepmother’s gaze evenly. “Of course not.”

That horror, the sinking sensation, the heartache that made her chest feel too small…

She held her stepmother’s gaze as she forced that all aside. She pushed it down—far, far down. So deep inside her that she was finally able to tilt her lips up in the small, satisfied smile she’d so expertly perfected when she was nine years old. “I am certain this marriage will be quite satisfactory.”

A little while later, when the carriage was to be drawn ‘round to return her to the school, she found she could not do it. She could not go back to the school and her friends and their kind concern. 

Here in this house, facing her stepmother, she could actually believe her own words. The marriage would be satisfactory. After all, Everley was a man of means. Her father had chosen him. He might not be kind, but he was nothing she could not handle.

Delilah pushed her shoulders back and tilted her chin up. This was what she was meant for. This was her purpose, and she would make it work. 

She would build the perfect life, even if her husband wasn’t the man of her choosing. 

“You must be eager to return,” her stepmother said. “You will wish to share your good news with your friends, I am certain.”

Whether her stepmother was in earnest or taunting her was difficult to determine. Either way, it did not matter because she found she was quite incapable of moving toward the door.

After an hour of wishing to flee, she could not do it. 

The thought of their reactions… The way Addie would look at her with alarm, how Prudence would scowl and pester, how Miss Grayson’s eyes would fill with sympathy, how Louisa would… Well, Louisa would be Louisa. 

No. She could not face their questions nor their censure.

Most of all, she could not face their pity.

“Do you know…” she started slowly. “With all the preparations that will need to be made before the wedding. Might it not be best if I stay here at home until the wedding?”

If her stepmother was surprised, she did not let on. “If that is what you wish.”

It was not what her stepmother wished, that much was clear.

Delilah didn’t much relish the idea of being under this roof again, either. But the alternative was so much worse so she said, “That is what I wish.”

Her stepmother sniffed. “Then so be it.”

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