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The Misfortunate Miss Farthington

The Misfortunate Miss Farthington

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The scandalous daughter of an Earl has ruined her chances for a good match...

Her reputation tarnished and her prospects all but gone, the School of Charm's headmistress has nothing left to lose. At least, that's what Miss Farthington believed. But now she's being pursued by a man as charming as he is clever, and she's realized that she was wrong.

She still has something very dear left to lose...her heart.

Main Tropes

  • Second Chance Romance
  • Friends to More
  • Forbidden Love


A sweet regency romp filled with laughter and mishaps...

Miss Farthington has made her bed, and now she must lie in it. At least, that's what the Earl's scandalous daughter has been told time and again by her mother.

The least she can do now is marry someone proper, someone wealthy...someone who is not the eccentric scientist she's fallen head over heels for.

But he's fallen for her too, and he's not just clever...he's determined, and he'll stop at nothing to win her hand.

Intro Into Chapter 1

If ever there was a time for Miss Theresa Farthington to make a run for it, this was it.

She tilted her head back to stare up at the knocker, holding her hat in place before another gust of wind could topple it off of her tightly bound brown locks.

Her mother hated it when her hair was untidy.

She tilted her head to the side and studied the knocker. How odd to be a visitor in one’s own home. But this townhome had ceased to be her London residence the moment she’d agreed to be the headmistress for the School of Charm, a finishing school for those girls who needed a little something extra. Some understanding, typically, not to mention encouragement.

With a pang of sadness, she lifted her hand to knock on the door. 

There was no going back now. Even if she ran, where would she go? Back to the empty drawing room at the finishing school?

Theresa, Tessa to her closest friends, folded her hands in front of her waist as she waited, a wry smile tugging at her lips. Perhaps she’d done her job too well because as of last week when her last unmarried student, Lydia, had gone home to prepare for her upcoming wedding to Viscount Galena, she was without a single girl to educate or support or even encourage.

All of her young ladies kept in touch, and Mary and Eloise often stopped by to visit, but they all had husbands to go home to at the end of the day.

And so, when Tessa’s mother had reached out, informing Tessa that she and Tessa’s father, the Viscount Adlemore, were coming to London and opening their townhome early to host a small house party…Tessa had no excuse not to attend.

Nerves and more than a little dread had her shifting from foot to foot as she knocked a second time.

The door swung open almost instantly this time, and she found herself staring up at a very stern, very familiar old man. “Hello, Mr. Barnaby.”

“My lady,” he said, nodding so low it might have been a sort of bow as he held the door open for her.

“Are my parents at home?” she asked. 

“Your father is out, miss,” he said, taking her hat and coat. “But your mother is in the parlor with your aunt and your cousin, Lady Daphne.”


She hadn’t seen her younger cousin in years, but she recalled a small, sweet, quiet girl with a penchant for mischief. Her smile suddenly felt a little more genuine. Perhaps she’d have a friend to keep her company during this dreaded house party. 

“And my brother?” she asked.

“Lord Kendrick will not be joining us, miss. It seems he had other business to attend to.” 

“I see.” Lucky chap. She’d wager her entire allowance that her brother’s ‘other business’ was hunting in the country with his friends.

He was an outdoorsman through and through, and dreaded trips to the city. Though she couldn’t blame him, it still rankled that no one ever tried to force him to do something he didn’t want to do. He was older than her by three years but her parents only occasionally chided him to think about marriage, while Tessa had been hounded on the topic the moment she came of age.

Tessa followed the sound of chattering voices to the parlor, where her mother sat on a settee, holding court with her sister and niece. “Ah, there you are. We were beginning to wonder if you’d ever arrive.”

“You told me to come this morning,” she said as she kissed her mother’s cheek. “It is still the morning.”

“Yes, yes, no need to be so defensive.”

Tessa bit her tongue to keep from retorting. Not one full minute inside her family’s London home, and she was already on the verge of snapping. 

“Aunt Beatrice,” she said, smiling warmly at her aunt, who bore a striking resemblance to her mother. Her cousin rose and crossed the room toward her with a smile.

“Why, Daphne,” Tessa said, embracing her cousin. “You’ve grown into such a fine young lady.”

Daphne held her tight. “I’m so glad you’ve arrived, Cousin.” In a whisper, she added, “But for your sake, I’m sorry.”

“Sorry for what?” she asked.

Before Daphne could respond, her mother cut in with a hurried speech about all the events she had planned for this week that left Tessa’s head spinning. But it was her mother’s final statement that had her belly sinking. “And then there will be the ball, of course, and I have it on good authority that the Earl of Yardley will be there.” She looked pointedly at Tessa. “And he is very eager to find a wife.”

“That’s one reason I’m sorry for you,” Daphne said under her breath. 

Tessa just barely held back a laugh at Daphne’s dry tone, hidden so well by her sweet expression. 

“They’ve been talking this past hour about your prospects,” Daphne added. “I hate to inform you that your plight is even more dire than mine.”

“But you haven’t even made your debut yet,” Tessa felt compelled to point out.

“Doesn’t matter.” Daphne lifted a shoulder. “It seems my inability to make inane small talk with the gentlemen of our acquaintance has doomed me to spinsterhood before I’ve even begun.” Her lips quivered with the start of a smile. “At least, that is Mother’s fear.”

“Oh dear,” Tessa said, joining in her cousin’s teasing tone. “How sad for us.”

“Isn’t it though?”

Her aunt’s voice cut through their conversation. “It’s high time you found yourself a good match, Tessa, after doing such an excellent job securing matches for those pitiable young ladies at your school.”

“Oh, they were never pitiable and I didn’t have anything to do with—”

“Past time, if you ask me,” her mother cut in with a far less cheerful tone. “I had no choice but to let you take that position after the dreadful scandal you caused calling off your engagement to Captain Lorimer, but the whispers have subsided now. And for good measure, I’ve invited the captain and his wife to be our guests this week.”

Tessa brightened. “Truly? That’s wonderful news.”

Her mother sighed. “You don’t have to act so very happy for them. It’s one thing to be a gracious loser, but we all know you looked like the veriest fool at the way those two carried on until you were forced to call off the engagement.”

Tessa opened her mouth to protest—again. But her mother and aunt kept talking amongst themselves, and she’d already talked herself blue in the face trying to convince her mother that wasn’t at all what had happened. But her mother refused to believe that Tessa had been relieved to end the engagement. She’d liked Anthony. As a friend. But there was something sad about their engagement from the very start.

She’d known as his friend that he’d been in love with the girl next door since he was a child. He’d given up any hope of marrying her when he’d heard about the plan for her to marry a duke. 

Truly, Tessa had considered herself lucky to be marrying a man she respected and admired, but some part of her had grieved the lack of romance. The lack of passionate love she’d always dreamt of.

So, when his beautiful beloved arrived for their wedding and Tessa had seen the bond that was so very apparent between them, it wasn’t with sadness that she’d ended their engagement, but with relief. Watching them together and exchanging letters with them in the months since…it was as if an upside-down picture had been flipped right side up.

Anthony was with his beloved Marian, Tessa had found her calling helping the girls at the school, and all was right with the world. 

Except for the fact that she didn’t have a husband, much to her mother’s chagrin.

“I spoke to Miss Lydia’s mother the other day,” her aunt was saying. “By all accounts you worked miracles on all those girls.”

“Oh, I definitely wouldn’t say—”

“Which is why I am so glad you and Daphne will have time together during our stay,” her aunt continued uninterrupted.

Daphne’s sigh was soft and nearly inaudible, but Tessa caught it. “This was the other reason I apologized,” she murmured. “I’m afraid you’re stuck trying to make me…what was it mother called it?”

“We need to make her appealing, don’t you see,” her aunt said.

“Appealing,” Daphne muttered the word like it was a curse. “That was it.”

“She’s already appealing,” Tessa said stoutly.

Her cousin gave a little snort of amusement. 

“There, hear that? That was not ladylike, Daphne,” Aunt Beatrice said.

“Yes, Mother.”

“And that’s not the worst of it,” Aunt Beatrice went on, as if Daphne had just caused some long litany of offenses while standing there quietly. “The girl never speaks.”

“I do too,” Daphne started.

“And when she does it’s entirely wrong.”

“Wrong how?” Tessa’s mother asked. 

“She sounds far too…” Aunt Beatrice floundered for the word she was looking for.

“Intelligent?” Daphne offered.

“Yes.” Her mother pointed a finger at her in an accusatory fashion. “That’s it exactly.”

“Oh dear, how terrible,” Tessa murmured. The only person who seemed to sense that her mild comment was facetious was Daphne, who snickered beside her.

Tessa squelched a laugh. 

“She doesn’t know how to speak about the right things,” her mother said.

“By that she means, I don’t know how to speak about nothing,” Daphne added under her breath.

“I see,” Tessa murmured.

“Yes, well…” Tessa’s mother cut off the conversation with a chastening look for her sister. “Before we worry about Daphne, we need to concentrate on getting my daughter wed. She’s not getting any younger.”

“Of course, of course.” Aunt Beatrice sniffed. “One problem at a time.”

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