Mouse

Mouse is the little terrier dog belonging to the heroine of To Seduce a Sinner, Melisande Fleming. Lapdogs were quite popular ladies’ pets in Georgian England, but they usually were pugs or toy spaniels. Mouse, in contrast, is a short-haired white, brown, and black terrier who Melisande found as a puppy in the stable yard. He probably came from lower clase ratting stock and thus is rather out of place as a lady’s pet.

Not that Mouse—or Sir Mouse, as Melisande fondly calls him—considers himself lower class!

In To Seduce a Sinner, Melisande marries Jasper Renshaw, Viscount Vale. Melisande has informed Vale about her pedigree and her substantial dowry, but she’s failed to mention her dog. Here’s the scene where Vale first meets Mouse:

Melisande rose and walked unhurriedly to the breakfast room where she found the makings of a pantomime drama. Sprat stood gaping, Oaks’s beautiful white wig was askew, and he was talking rapidly, but unfortunately in a voice that couldn’t be heard. Meanwhile, her husband of only one day was waving his arms and shouting as if impersonating a particularly angry windmill. The object of his ire stood resolute only inches from Lord Vale’s toes, barking and growling.

“Where did this mongrel come from?” Vale was demanding. “Who let it in? Can’t a man have breakfast without having to defend his bacon from vermin?”

“Mouse,” Melisande said quietly, but it was loud enough for the terrier. With one last triumphant arf!Mouse came trotting over to sit on her slippers and pant.

“Do you know this mongrel?” Lord Vale asked, wild-eyed. “Where did it come from?”

Oaks was straightening his wig, muttering under his breath, while Sprat stood on one leg.

Melisande’s eyes narrowed. Really! After making her wait an hour. “Mouse is my dog.”

Lord Vale blinked, and she couldn’t help noticing that even confused and out of sorts, his blue eyes were startling in their beauty. He lay on me last night, she thought, feeling the heat pool low in her belly. His body became one with mine. He is my husband at last.

“But it ate my bacon.”

Melisande looked down at Mouse, who panted up at her adoringly, his mouth curved as if in a grin. “He.”

Lord Vale ran a hand through his hair, dislodging his tie. “What?”

“He,” Melisande enunciated clearly, then smiled. “Sir Mouse is a gentleman dog. And he’s particularly found of bacon, so really you ought not to tempt him with it.”

She snapped her fingers and sailed from the breakfast room, Mouse on her heels.