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The Misplaced Miss Eloise

The Misplaced Miss Eloise

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She's run away from her own wedding...and straight into the arms of a rake.

Eloise flees her wedding to a cruel groom in a moment of sheer panic. If she'd given it any thought at all, her plans wouldn't have entailed breaking into the home of the infamous rake, Viscount Wycliffe. And she certainly wouldn't have been caught.

But when he comes upon her in the dark of night, rifling through his desk in search of coin, she discovers that the notorious rogue does have a heart beneath that tarnished reputation. And now that she's under his protection, he'll do anything to keep her safe. Even marry her.

Main Tropes

  • Brother's Best Friend
  • Rake & The Debutante
  • Runaway Bride


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

Miss Eloise runs away the night before her wedding to a lecherous cretin. Not knowing where to go or have any coin to travel, she breaks into the home of her brother's best friend, a notorious rake.

When he catches her robbing his home, he does what any good friend of the family would do. He returns her to her home. But he quickly learns that Miss Eloise might be sweet and kind and beautiful...but she's also gotten a taste for rebellion. And he's the only man who can protect her.

Intro Into Chapter 1

Miss Eloise Haverford’s cheeks ached. 

Clasping her hands before her, she smiled sweetly at the crowd gathered around her and tried her best to ignore the rapid flutter in her chest. 

She truly wished she could blame her racing pulse on dancing or perhaps the tightness of her stays...

However, it was difficult to blame her current discomfort on dancing and stays when she hadn’t yet danced at this evening’s fête, and her stays were tied the same way they always were, and by a maid who knew precisely what she was doing.

It was only Eloise who did not know what she was about.

Her skin prickled uncomfortably and her ribcage felt like it was caving in. Oh goodness. What was wrong with her? A sweat broke out along her hairline and Eloise swiped a hand quickly, hoping no one noticed.

They didn’t. This crowd might have been gathered around her, and she might have been the woman of the hour, considering she was the bride-to-be they were all celebrating this evening...

Yet no one was paying any attention to her. They were all too busy listening to her fiancé, The Earl of Pickington. Lord Pickington.

What a name.

A hysterical giggle threatened as her mind summoned a memory of her younger sister Charlotte’s reaction to his name. 

Charlotte was sweet as could be, but she’d never learned how to hide her emotions, and the title of Pickington had been met with disdain. 

So, you’re to be Lady Pickington for the rest of your days? Her nose had wrinkled. But that doesn’t suit you at all! 

Charlotte, her mother had said in a warning tone. But Charlotte hadn’t seemed to hear. It’s a title better suited to someone covered in scabs or boils or

Charlotte! Their mother had finally gotten her to stop, but not before Eloise and their brother Rodrick had lost the battle with laughter. 

Eloise’s smile faltered now. It had seemed so very silly at the time. Who cared about what one’s title sounded like? What mattered was that she was going to be a countess.

She glanced up at the earl at her side. He was old enough to be her grandfather, another fact Charlotte had felt obligated to point out time and again. Wrinkled and withered, with foul breath that made Eloise’s eyes water...when he deigned to speak to her.

Most of the time, like right now, he seemed to forget that she was by his side.

She’d like to think that was another side effect of old age. But she wasn’t so certain. He was sharp as a whip when it came to talk of politics or gossip or the latest theatrical performance in town.

Perhaps she was just not interesting enough to warrant his attention.

Her insides fell flat as that truth hit the mark. Yes, that was likely it. 

Now if Charlotte were here... That was a girl who demanded attention. She fairly crackled with energy and vitality and—

Oh dear. Now she was battling tears as well as this panicky sensation that would not quit. 

She truly did miss Charlotte. Her gaze roamed over her fiancé’s ornate townhome and all the finely dressed guests. He’d told her it would be an intimate gathering the night before their wedding. A small celebration among close friends and family to mark the occasion. 

As she took in the crush around her, did not feel intimate. And if these were friends, they were not her friends. Her family was here somewhere, though—minus Charlotte, of course, as she was traveling with her new husband.

But she’d spotted her parents talking with some of their acquaintances, her brother Rodrick was here somewhere, and she’d seen her friend Mary at one point, but she could not find her now, and...and...

And Eloise was certain the air was being sucked out of this room. She drew in a sharp inhale, hoping to get some air in her lungs.

“...isn’t that right, my dear?” 

She jerked away out of instinct as Lord Pickington’s hand came to the small of her back. All eyes were on her and she caught herself before she could recoil completely. She didn’t so much as blink when a wave of rancid heat hit her square in the face as Lord Pickington breathed down on her.

What had he asked? Didn’t matter.

She smiled brightly and nodded. “Yes, of course, my lord.”

And then he turned back to the others and she was once more ignored as the conversation continued without her.

She was never needed for these sorts of interludes. They’d been engaged for months now so she’d grown accustomed to Lord Pickington’s ways. And his expectations. Of which there were few.

He expected her to smile on command and to agree to whatever he said. That was about it. Oh, and look pretty. He’d outright told her that once. Your job is to look pretty, my dear. He’d said this with a scowl as they’d taken a turn about her family’s drawing room one evening before dinner. 

Her mother had informed him that she’d been ill, but he’d insisted on calling upon her, and then had scolded her for not looking her best.

She shoved that memory aside.

Looking pretty she could do. It was really all her mother had ever expected of her as well, so she ought to be used to it. 

Her mother. Maybe she could help. She cast a glance in her mother’s direction, hoping to catch her eye. Not that she’d be much help, but she might come over and check on her, at least. Or maybe Eloise could find some way to slip off to the private quarters for some air.

That was all she needed. A little air so she could breathe.

But her mother didn’t seem to notice her stares, and Eloise’s heart slammed harder and harder with each passing second at Lord Pickington’s side. Her limbs were twitching with tension and no amount of telling herself to calm down was helping.

Honestly, what was the matter with her?

She normally glided through evenings such as this one without trouble. She’d long ago mastered the art of smiling sweetly and nodding agreeably, even when her mind wandered.

In fact, it was moments like this one that she typically looked forward to the most. These times when she wasn’t expected to participate, and so her mind could roam free. She could take in the party guests around her and conjure up entertaining stories about them.

But this evening, her mind couldn’t seem to escape. It was trapped. 

She was trapped.

Her heart tripped and raced, beating harder and faster until her pulse was all she could hear.

She needed a moment to catch her breath. Just one.

And then she spotted him. Rodrick. Her older brother was in the corner talking to his friends. Relief washed through her. He would help her find some space. He’d buy her some time, come up with an excuse to cover for her absence so she could...

So she could...what? Sit? Walk? 


She didn’t know. All she knew was that this wretched night was passing too slowly and too quickly all at once. There seemed to be a clock ticking in the back of her mind. 

By this time tomorrow she’d be wed.

A line of sweat trickled down the back of her neck, but it was a chill that made her shiver.

She waited until there was a pause in the conversation before leaning close to Lord Pickington. “Pardon me, my lord. I see my brother and wish to speak with him.”

She needn’t have even finished. Lord Pickington gave her a muttered assent, seemingly irritated that she’d interrupted him at all.

She slid away from him, and the farther she got, the better able she was to breathe. 

Truly, this was problematic. They’d be married in the early afternoon. She shouldn’t be so discomfited by her own husband. 

She certainly couldn’t have this panicky reaction every time he was near.

She fixed her gaze on her brother. He was a tall gentleman, but he looked slight in the midst of his aggressively masculine friends. She recognized them all, though she was not well acquainted with his crowd.

She might have been if things had been different. But from the moment Eloise had come out in society, she’d known she was to marry Lord Pickington. Even before the engagement was official, her future had been laid out for her. They’d only been waiting for Lord Pickington’s period of mourning for his late wife to come to an end before making it official.

Because of this, Eloise hadn’t had the sort of Season the other girls her age had experienced. Everyone knew she was spoken for and so none of the young eligible gentlemen paid her much notice. They never danced with her or tried to flirt with her or...

Oh what did it matter? So she’d never had the chance to flirt. So what? But as she approached Rodrick and his friends, she was acutely aware that these were the sort of men she would have spent time with if her situation had been different.

As it was, they only knew her as Rodrick’s sister. Most likely didn’t even remember her name.

Two of the gentlemen seemed to be saying their goodbyes as she drew near. Not surprisingly. The young and handsome Duke of Carver and his cousin, the Marquess of Kalvin, were notoriously dismissive of stodgy formal events such as this one.

But one of Rodrick’s friends remained. The Viscount Wycliffe. Her insides twisted and turned with nerves. Which was ridiculous. The man might have a reputation for being arrogant and dismissive, but he was still a gentleman. And her brother’s friend.

There was nothing to be afraid of.

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