The Aphrodite Academy 3
Holly Hammond, an independent, sharp-tongued former tavern wench, has reached the pinnacle of her ambition, flying high as a sparkling London courtesan-until she finds herself out on the street, pregnant with twins. Her choices are few: live the false life of a widow in some distant corner of the realm or give up her children. And then, an offer out of the blue. For what might be the highest price ever placed on a courtesan, she is bartered into marriage with a stranger.
Royce Kincade is a stalwart, upright border Scot who fixes his sight on the prize at the end of the rainbow, giving little thought to such pitfalls as his wife's determined independence, the possible outrage of his relatives, or the reappearance of the babies' natural father. Not surprisingly, Holly and Royce are left to wonder if theirs is a marriage made in Heaven or in Hell.
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.