Prologue

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London, 1819

Ella knew, without a doubt, that her life was over.

Exuberant laughter and congenial chatter rippled through the crowd as members of The Ton poured into the garden. They were all dressed to the nines, many of them holding half-full glasses of champagne; not their first of the night, either.

Notorious gossip, Lady Bolingbroke, was holding court at the front of the group, reveling in the attention paid upon her - until she saw them.

Her eyes widened, the corners of her mouth curling into a satisfied grin. She pointed a bony finger at the pair. The crowd's conversation ground to a halt, the laughter dying in their throats as their gaze landed on the scene in front of them.

"Well, well, well. What do we have here?" Lady Bolingbroke asked, planting her hands on her hips.

Ella placed her hands on Montgomery's chest, shoving him away and stumbling backwards as if burned.

"I... I didn't... It wasn't," she sputtered, panic clawing its way up her throat. Her eyes welled with humiliated tears, her gaze raking the crowd for an escape route - though her feet remained traitorously rooted to the floor.

Prominent members of society - several leaders of The House of Lords among them - assessed the scene, their eyebrows crashing together, their jaws dropping open in horrified expressions. Her stepmother leveled her with an apoplectic glare that promised disastrous consequences later.

Ella wished for nothing more in that moment for the ground to open up and swallow her whole.

She knew that word of what they saw here would spread quickly. It did not matter that what they thought they saw was not the truth. It did not matter that Ella had not so much as kissed a man.

There was only a single choice. There was only one course of action that would not entirely destroy her reputation in one fell swoop.

Ella was going to have to marry a man that she had met not ten minutes prior.

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Content Warning

There is a chance that chapters may contain content that is triggering and/or upsetting to some readers. I will give a trigger warning before chapters that contain such content.

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Copyright Notice

© 2021 JasmineTheDreamer

This story and its characters belong to me. I do not give anyone permission to copy my story or repost it anywhere in any form. If you think my story has been copied, please do send me a message.

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| Started: September 2021 |

| Currently Ongoing |

| Currently Ongoing |

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