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The Mysterious Miss Lydia

The Mysterious Miss Lydia

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This spy is playing cat and mouse with an unsuspecting wallflower...

Bookish Miss Lydia has been mistaken for many things. A part of the draperies, for example, and once a potted fern. But she's never been mistaken for a spy.

At least, not until a former agent of the crown mistakes her reticence for deceit, and draws her into a game of espionage. It takes several stolen kisses and a midnight rendezvous in the garden before he realizes he may have made a mistake. Perhaps Lydia is not the lady he's after...but maybe she's exactly the woman he needs.

Main Tropes

  • Wallflower & A Charming Lord
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Intrigue & Espionage


A sweet regency romp filled with laughter...

Miss Lydia's excessively shy nature gets her into unexpected trouble when a former agent of the crown catches her hiding in the shadows and mistakes her for the spy he's been after.

Like a plot from one of the adventurous romance novels she so adores, the bookish Lydia finds herself caught in a game of intrigue with her handsome new suitor. Until the truth is revealed, and the cards are on the table. And the question their game the stuff of fiction, or will it lead to a real life happy ending?

Intro Into Chapter 1

If Miss Lydia Baker had been harboring any hopes that her family had summoned her home from her finishing school for the evening because they’d missed her company, the notion was swiftly dashed the moment her father’s protégé arrived.

“Sir Wendell, you made it,” Lydia’s mother cried, with such enthusiasm, Lydia felt a pang of suspicion.

A glance at her elder sister Imogene’s smug smile in her direction made Lydia’s belly turn. 

What was Wendell doing here? But of course...

She could guess.

Her father smiled and strode over to greet the fair-haired man, whose father he’d counted amongst his closest friends. 

“Sir Cedric,” the other man said with a deferential nod of his head. “How good of you and your wife to invite me.”

“Nonsense,” her mother said as she ushered him in to join the small gathering that was almost entirely made up of family. “You know you are always welcome here.” Her mother’s glance slid toward Lydia who was curled up in an armchair in the corner reading. 

That was Lydia’s next clue that her worst suspicions might be proven true.

“Why, you are practically family,” her mother continued.

Lydia dipped her head behind the book as her heart jolted and skittered with alarm. 

But he isn’t family. 

Everyone else here was. Her mother’s brother was in the corner napping, while her cousin and his wife had been contentedly playing cards before the fire. But Wendell was not, despite the fact that their families had spent a good amount of time together when Lydia was young.

She burrowed into her seat farther, sinking lower. It was all that time together as children that made her stomach turn at the sight of him now. 

It was what had a voice in her mind shouting, he is not family!

“Surely you know everyone here,” her mother was saying, and Lydia heard mumbled greetings along with her sister’s pretty words of welcome.

When her mother had insisted that she leave the School of Charm to join them all for dinner, she’d been told it was a family gathering. 

Wendell was not family. 

He will never be family.

The words of protest stayed firmly stuck in her head as she did her best to be invisible. Even if Imogene hadn’t been smirking in her direction a moment ago, there was no way anyone would believe Wendell’s presence here tonight was for Imogene’s sake. 

No, he was here for her. Lydia shut her eyes when the words on the page began to blur. She should have seen it coming. 

The whole reason she’d been sent to the School of Charm was as a last-ditch effort to make her more appealing to men. An effort that her mother was quick to say had failed, even though she hadn’t even been there a full year. 

But apparently, her parents had expected her to learn how to speak to members of the opposite sex without stammering and blushing, and they’d hoped it would happen in a fortnight.

So no, it shouldn’t come as a shock that her parents’ intent in bringing her here tonight had been to form some sort of match.

After all, Imogene might have been slightly older, but her future was secure and everyone knew it. A beauty and a flirt, the girl could have her pick of men. The only reason she wasn’t married already was that she was holding out for a title. Everyone expected her to marry into wealth and status. 

And for Lydia, they expected...

“Wendell,” her father’s voice boomed.

Lydia fumbled with her novel before it fell into her lap. It wasn’t that her father’s voice had been so very loud. Just that he’d approached without her realizing and was now standing directly in front of Lydia. To Wendell, he said, “You remember my daughter Miss Lydia, do you not?”

Wendell’s teeth glinted when he smiled and his boyish, handsome features split with the friendly grin. “Of course! Lydia and I are old friends, aren’t we, Lydia?”

Her lips parted, but her heart slammed dangerously in her chest and any words she might have uttered died in her throat. 

Her father’s smile wavered, and Lydia caught the flicker of disappointment in his eyes.

In Wendell’s she saw...smug satisfaction. A glimmer of amusement at her expense. There and gone so quickly she wasn’t even sure herself if she was being paranoid, and definitely too brief for anyone else to take note of it.

Wendell reached for her hand which lay limp on top of her novel. He held it in his and bowed over it—a gallant, silly, foolish gesture. And she was certain she caught a challenge in his eyes when he said. “How wonderful it is to see you again.”

She couldn’t speak. She could barely breathe for the way her heart was racing and her stomach was churning. Bile rose in the back of her mouth and she tugged her hand out of his just as he released it, so her hand flung back too quickly and she smacked her own chest. 

“Yes, I can see Lydia is quite overwhelmed at this happy reunion,” Wendell said smoothly. 

Her father smiled at that, and it seemed every relative in the room gave an indulgent chuckle. 

Her mother smiled at Wendell like he was some dear creature to take such pity on her mute, awkward daughter. 

Anger sizzled in her veins, but it only rendered her even more speechless. Her hands gripped the novel as her father continued the introductions. Wendell was greeted by all as some sort of returning hero. 

More like a recurring nightmare. The anger that burned in her chest started to sting the back of her eyes. 

Tears of anger. How useless. She let out a sharp exhale of irritation. Useless was exactly how she felt right now, watching the boy who’d bullied her during childhood charm her family. 

“Sir Cedric has been too kind,” he was saying, making her mother’s smile turn doting.

It made Lydia’s stomach turn. Was she the only one who saw that it was all a false pretense? The man might have charm, but he was vile through and through. He’d been cruel as a child, and she had no doubt that trait still remained. 

They couldn’t honestly expect her to marry this man, could they?

She watched her mother laugh as he launched into a tale about his time abroad. Before his father passed and he’d taken on the baronet title, Wendell had gone to the continent to ‘earn his keep,’ her father used to say.

Doing what? No one seemed to know precisely. Something to do with exports or imports. All that mattered was that when his father fell ill and he’d returned home, he’d come with a fortune. 

And when his father died and he was needed at home to care for his mother and sister, he’d gone to work for her father at the Home Office.

Her father approached while the others were being entertained by Wendell’s tales. “Are you all right, my dear?”

She forced a smile because there was genuine worry in his eyes and she didn’t want that. She was tired of being the object of everyone’s pity or concern. 

The concern in her father’s eyes was unbearable now, just as it had been when she’d been young and ill. Her whole childhood had been spent in her sickbed, and she’d seen enough fear and worry in her father’s eyes on those nights when he’d prayed over her, asking that her soul be taken to heaven.

She hated that he still worried about her. Her mother too. And Imogene...

She heard Imogene’s tinkling laughter at Wendell’s story and winced.

Well, Imogene didn’t worry about her so much as resent the fact that she was still alive. 

“I know we took you by surprise,” her father was saying. “And for that I’m sorry. Your mother was worried that if we told you of our plan—”

“That I’d run and hide,” she said softly.

He smiled indulgently. “Something like that.”

She couldn’t argue. Because she would have.

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