Lady Margaret Reading

Lady Margaret “Megs” Reading is the youngest sister in the Reading Family. She knows she must make a suitable match—but can’t she find love as well?

Heroine of Lord of Darkness.

Also appears in Duke of Midnight, Dearest Rogue, Sweetest Scoundrel, and Duke of Pleasure.

Read order for Lady Margaret’s story arc: Notorious Pleasures » Scandalous Desires » Thief of Shadows » Lord of Darkness

* * *

Griffin caught sight of Megs, lovely in a yellow frock with black and red embroidery, but looking a bit like a wilted buttercup.

“Oh, Griffin,” she sighed when she saw him.

He raised his eyebrows. “Oh, Megs.”

She plucked limply at her skirts. “Do you think I’m the sort of lady a gentleman would think of kissing?”

“Not if I’m about, I hope,” Griffin growled.

She rolled her eyes. “I cannot remain a virgin forever, Griffin. I’d hope to someday have children without it being a divine miracle. That is”—her brief show of spirit suddenly flew away again—”if any man ever shows enough passion to take me to wife.”

Griffin straightened, his eyes narrowing. “What has that ass Bollinger done?”

“It’s rather more what he hasn’t done,” Megs moaned. “He’s refused to take me into the garden.”

“And a good thing too,” Griffin said with vast disapproval. Good God, anything could happen in a garden at a ball—and he should know.

“No, really, Griffin,” Megs said soberly. “I know you have all those big brother feelings to overcome, but try for a moment. How can I contemplate marriage to a man who looks appalled at the mere notion of kissing me?”

“How do you know he was even thinking of kissing you?” Griffin pointed out. “Perhaps he was worried about the cold, or Good God, Megs, your reputation. He may—”

“Because I asked him,” she interrupted.

“To…?”

“Kiss me,” she confirmed. “And he looked like I’d asked him to lick an octopus. A live octopus.”

Griffin wondered if he could punch a man for not kissing his sister.

“Oh,” he said, which was an entirely inadequate response.

But oddly Megs seemed content with it. “Yes. You see the problem? If he’s not even tempted, if he’s even disgusted by the thought, well, what hope can there be for a satisfactory union?”

“I don’t know.” Griffin shook his head trying for something better. “You know people of our rank don’t marry for love, Meggie. That’s just the way it is.” 

The thought depressed him unaccountably.

“Don’t you think I know that?” she said. “I’m well aware that I’m expected to make a good marriage in which if I’m lucky my husband won’t have half a dozen mistresses and give me the pox.”

“Megs,” Griffin protested, truly shocked. When had his little sister become so jaded?

She waved away his male outrage. “But I can at least find some kind of-of friendship, don’t you think? A common understanding, a desire to do more in the bedchamber than produce an heir?”

–from Notorious Pleasures