The Most Eligible Viscount in London (The Lords of London #2) - Ella Quinn

Chapter One

Featherton House, Mayfair, London, October 1818

Miss Georgiana Featherton—or more properly Miss Featherton since her elder sister had wed—remained standing as Gavin, Viscount Turley, possessed himself of one of her hands and knelt on one knee. He looked so solemn she repressed the smile that fought to appear. For months, since last Season, he had courted her. And ever since the beginning of the autumn Season, she had been expecting to receive a proposal of marriage from him. Now. Finally. It was happening.

As he gazed up at her with his light blue eyes, her heart fluttered as if butterflies had taken residence. His fingers on the hand he held sent tingles up her arm. As far as Georgie was concerned, Lord Turley with his golden curls and broad shoulders was the handsomest gentleman in all of London and soon they would be married. Then they would belong to each other for the rest of their lives. Just the thought of it made her want to hurry him along. She knew some ladies liked grand proposals, but as long as two people loved each other, what did it matter how one proposed? The purpose was to wed. To create a new family. A new life together.

He swallowed and still did not speak. Why was this taking him so long? All he had to say was that he loved her and wanted her as his wife. As she had stopped the smile, she stopped the frown wanting to form. Perhaps he had memorized a speech and had forgotten it. That could throw anyone off.

Finally, he opened his wonderfully sculpted lips then closed them again.

Just when she thought she would go mad with impatience, he cleared his throat. “Miss Featherton, as you probably are aware, I admire you greatly. We get on exceedingly well. You are the only lady I have met who possesses every quality that a gentleman, a peer like myself, could wish for in a wife.” Georgie almost interrupted him to tell him she would love to marry him. But that would be rude. Lord Turley had obviously spent time preparing his proposal, and, despite her impatience, she must allow him to complete it. “I am not the wealthiest man in England, nor am I the poorest. I am fortunate to have several estates all of which are in good repair. I also have other holdings, and I will be able to provide you and any children we have with the elegancies of life.” He cleared his throat. Perhaps she should have had tea brought. “The Turley lineage dates back to King William I. We were barons at first, but the viscountcy dates back to King Henry III. Therefore, you have nothing to be embarrassed about there.” Why did he feel as if he needed to tell her any of this? His lineage was in Debrett’s for anyone to read. “As my wife you would have complete control over all the houses and domestic staff at all my estates. When I spoke with your father I assured him you will have a generous allowance.” The thrill Georgie had initially felt was fading rapidly and being replaced by dread. This was not going at all the way she expected it would. “I assure you that I am a responsible landlord, and, from our conversations and letters over the summer, I know that you will be interested in not only the estates and the dependents, but will enjoy an involvement in politics that being my viscountess will allow you.” He swallowed. Tea would have been a good idea. “Would you do me the honor of being my viscountess and wife?”

That was it? It sounded more like he was presenting his qualifications for a position than a marriage proposal. Georgie stared at Turley for several long moments. Other than the actual asking for her hand, there was only one thing she had wanted to hear from him, and he had not said it.

She bit the inside of her bottom lip, afraid now of the answer to the question she was about to ask. “Do you love me?”

His eyes widened and he stilled like a deer ready to run for its life. The lips she had so looked forward to kissing moved but emitted no words. She closed her eyes and did the hardest thing she had ever had to do. “Thank you for your kind offer, my lord. However, I am unable to accept the honor of being your wife. Benson will show you