The Aphrodite Academy 2
Cecilia Lilly has but one grand ambition-to become the mistress of a titled gentleman. But when the Marquess of Longmere becomes her "protector," she learns the truth of the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for." Yet even after suffering a severe beating, she finds it difficult to adjust her basic snobbery when help comes in the form of an alleged lord of London's Underworld. No matter how much Nick Black offers-vengeance, the opportunity to aid orphans and unwed mothers-she cannot see past his guttersnipe origins. Cecilia has a considerable amount of growing up to do before her world comes right.
Note from Blair: I think of the Aphrodite Academy series as "Regency Darkside," novellas that go beyond the usual Regency Historical to explore what might have happened to young women, from ladies to tavern wenches, to whom life has been unkind. Young women with no family or friends willing to help when their lives fall apart. In this series each girl will find the Aphrodite Academy, or it will find them. The headmistress is a widowed baroness, left in charge of a remarkable fortune by a husband whose proclivities were as eclectic as they were enthusiastic. She has, perhaps not surprisingly, barred all males from the grounds of the Academy, where she offers academic classes, arranges suitable positions for some of her students, and offers training in the fine arts of the courtesan to those who wish it.
The lanaguage is saucy, the sex occasionally graphic. But the stories are driven by plot and character, not sexual content, and classic Happily Ever After endings prevail.