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The Beggarmaid
by Lesley-Anne McLeod
ISBN 978-1-60174-002-1 ...... © 2007 ....... Purchase from Amazon.com

Reviews

From The Romance Studio:
Lesley-Anne McLeod writes with a thorough knowledge of the Regency era and her characters, with their different personalities mix into THE BEGGARMAID to perfection. Her writing is fast paced, and the reader becomes involved with the storyline immediately. It is a fast easy read and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys the old fashioned romance of the regency period.
--Mariah

From Fallen Angel Reviews:
A great book to read for its precise scenes and descriptive interactions, but most of all, the way the author has brought two adamant people to learn about love.
--Melinda

From A Romance Review:
The Beggarmaid...is a charming tale about two members of the ton. One well respected, the other considered scandalous. Normally in these stories, it's the heroine who is above reproach and the gentleman who's is need of rehabilitation, but not this time. That's the twist Ms. McLeod has written, and it works just fine.
--Kris

From Romance Junkies:
Lesley-Anne McLeod has written a winner of a Regency with THE BEGGARMAID.  This story has a little bit of everything that makes a Regency a wonderful read.  We have all kinds of misunderstandings going on, humor, an evil brother, beautiful clothing, balls, the ton and love.  The characters are all richly endowed so we feel everything we’re supposed to about them, right down to Austin and how we feel he’s a little misguided, but basically good underneath.  The setting is very realistic for the Regency period.  If you enjoy a good traditional Regency, this is one I highly recommend.
-- Chere

EXCERPT

The theatre was thronged with playgoers of all ranks although as they ascended the stairs to the boxes the crowds thinned. Boningale made a display of ushering her within his box, and when he closed the door, the click of the latch caused Genia's nerves to jump. Her misgivings were justified; within the box sat four of Boningale's cronies leering at her. It was immediately evident that they regarded her as something less than a lady.

Genia was relieved when the play began within minutes. Her relief was short-lived. Neither the performance on the stage nor the disapproval of nearby playgoers silenced the antics of her companions. Their lewd jests and indecorous behaviour brought a wash of colour to her cheeks, and temper sparked her eyes. Within the half-hour, she demanded of Boningale that he take her home. He ignored her request. He had never before behaved with such a degree of impertinence. She could only assume he was emboldened by his friends' presence. His talk was loose and his hands were free. Even a cold reserve on her part could not quell his ribald comments and lascivious regard.

She could pay scant attention to the stage in the first act of the performance. She was busy fending off Boningale's familiarities and planning for escape during the interval. She would not admit to worry, but she grieved that the remains of her reputation would be in shreds. As the act ended however, there was a firm rap on the box door.

It opened before any of the occupants moved, to admit the Marquess of Wessington.

Genia laughed outright, in nervous relief. "Wessington!" she exclaimed with unfeigned delight.
He said nothing at first, only stared blightingly at Boningale who had his chubby hand on Genia's silk-covered knee. When the hand was removed, he turned his hard black stare on each of the other young men in turn. To Genia, light-headed with relief, it seemed the men blanched. The marquess had an air of menace about him.

When he spoke, it was very quietly, his deep voice devoid of civility. "You will all vacate this box now. You may return in the next act. You will not discuss this matter with anyone and you will not approach this lady again...ever."

He looked for the first time at Genia. She coloured deeply as he regarded. He did not turn his head as the younger men filed sullenly out of the box. Genia's relief faded as she was left with him, for his expression remained very cold. Many faces were turned toward the box avid with curiosity, some reflecting disdain, some disapproval.

"You were in the country," she said, flicking her curls into place with nervous fingers. She stood, drawing up her peach gauze scarf, and moved into the shadows at the back of the box. She could bear the curious stares no longer.

"I am returned," he said, joining her out of the flaring lamplight. His broad shoulders completed the protection that the shadows offered.

Genia stared up into his face, searching for some emotion that she could understand, some feeling to which she could respond. There was nothing to be read in his still, cold features. She hurried into speech. "I wished to see the play so very much. I thought my only companion was to be Boningale. I did not think...it was only that some of them were new to town. They thought..."

"They thought you were of a class of woman who could be treated with little respect, and no honour. They had as well likely heard of your stroll down St. James, and your gambling excursions. A touch of exclusivity would enhance your charms," he concluded with a snap.

Guilt fired Genia's temper and she blazed up at him despite her shame and regret. "Do not dare to speak to me as if I were a...a Cyprian!"