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It was late morning when Simon and Josephine Basset arrived at Lady Danbury's estate. Eager to greet the woman, the two opened the carriage doors.

"Well, if this is not a sight for my sore eyes! My have you two grown into fine young things." Josephine always loved the woman as much as one would love a mother and her kind smile brought joy to her heart. "My condolences,for your father." Josephine returned the woman's smile as she held her brothers arm.

"Very kind of you." Simon politely replied, although Josephine felt him tense at the mention of their late father.

"Kind of me? You both hated the man." The woman exclaimed and the two siblings chuckled as the overall tone of conversation lightened significantly.

"It is so wonderful to see you, Lady Danbury." Josephine exclaimed as she linked arms with the woman.

"Words I do not hear often enough." Lady Danbury exclaimed as she led the pair through the courtyard to the house entrance. "You must excuse the, uh, disorderliness. As you know,
I'm to host a ball this evening."

Simon glanced over to his sister giving her a look as if to say, 'you tell her not me' but Josephine shot one back with equal force.

The two were brought back to their current conversation as Lady Danbury continued on. "I have managed to keep the details of your return quiet.
But when those vulgar mamas and yearning suitors discover that there is an eligible duke and woman present at tonight's fete,I shall be able to keep such a secret no longer."

Josephine glanced to her brother as she responded. "I would be delighted to attend tonight's gathering however I do believe my brother will not be so eager to attend." Simon looked guiltily at the floor and Lady Danbury turned to him for further elaboration.

"I have only returned to London
to deal with my late father's affairs.
I'm afraid it leaves me no time to... socialise. My sister however as you can see is beyond excited to attend." Simon stated trying to redirect attention elsewhere. "And so, whilst I appreciate your most gracious invitation, Lady Danbury, I must ask you to accept my regrets."

"Your regrets...are denied." Josephine tried to hide her smile as she was entirely unsurprised with the woman's response. She did however feel for her brother as she understood his eagerness to avoid such events.
"You may leave that flask you carry at home." At that Josephine giggled, as she frequently scolded him for consuming so much alcohol.

"Serves you right brother there was no chance Lady Danbury was to excuse you from her very own occasion. Perhaps you will find a wife dear Simon." Josephine laughed as she teased her brother fondly.

"Josie have you not a dress to try on or a flower to pick in the gardens?leave me alone." Simon retorted with equal fondness.

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The season's opening ball at Danbury House is a most highly sought-after invitation, indeed, for every darling debutante from Park Lane to Regent Street will be on display. Titled, chaste, and innocent, this is what they have been raised and trained for since birth. Tonight, we shall discover which young ladies might succeed at securing a match, thereby avoiding the dreadful, dismal condition known as "the spinster."

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Simon and Josephine set foot, arm in arm into the ball and took a last breath of air before the unavoidable attention of tonight's guests would occur. Josephine's elegant white dress with red trim matched that of her brothers coat and the pair looked like the epitome of perfection.

At once the pair where bombarded by mamas and their daughters fighting for the attention of her brother. And where the young ladies eagerness was shown through fawning over her brother, the suitors within the room all looked straight at Josephine with just as much fervour.

Josephine only gripped her brothers arm tighter as she began to feel slightly claustrophobic with the whole commotion and it didn't help that she was being shoved about from every direction.

"I am quite parched your grace would you accompany me for a beverage." Josephine asked hoping to save not only herself but her brother from the attention.

"Of course Josephine right this way." And the two wandered off without a second glance back to the mamas and daughters behind them, much to their dismay.

A mere meter from the refreshments a young lady who appeared to be around the same age as Josephine bumped, rather ran into her brother causing him to pull back.

"Oh! Pardon me!" The girl exclaimed as she turned around. Josephine thought she was quite pretty and she stole a glance at her brother to see if he thought the same. Josephine stood behind Simon and was clearly blocked by the strangers view as she proceeded to acknowledge only her brother. "Tell me your name....Your name, sir?" The girl exclaimed, it was clear to Josephine that she was avoiding something or perhaps someone behind her as she engaged with Simon.

"Am I honestly to believe you do not already know my name?" Josephine rolled her eyes at her brothers bluntness, he had such a way with women. "If you desired an introduction, madam, I do believe accosting me to be the least civilized of ways." Josephine thought to interject into the conversation and scold her brother when they where interrupted by an all too familiar voice.

"Basset! Basset!" Anthony Bridgerton was the last person on earth Josephine wished to be in a room with. Josephine stepped out from behind her brother hoping to speak to the new girl who was left interrupted.

"Josie my god." Josephine turned her head to meet Anthony's eyes, for a second she thought she could see sadness behind his eyes but the pair were shook out of each others gaze.

"Bridgerton! Come here, old friend!" She always had admired the two's boys friendship as it only strengthened over the many years spent together.

"You are no longer Basset, but Hastings now! The Duke of Hastings now known for evermore!" Anthony exclaimed while looking at the two. Josephine couldn't shake the feeling that there was something the Viscount wanted to say to her but she pushed it off as make believe.

It had been a long time since she'd spoken properly to the eldest Bridgerton and she did not plan on breaking that silence.

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How good is Bridgerton!

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter in my Bridgerton series, Let me know what you think!

I think Anthony will be the main suitor in this book however I'm open to see how it turns out.

In the Gardens ~ Bridgerton Where stories live. Discover now