Book One of The Burgundy Club

The Marquis of Chase is not a reputable man.

He is notorious for his wretched morals and never received in respectable houses. The ladies of the ton would never allow him in their drawing rooms . . . though some of them have welcomed him into their bedchambers. Rejected from his father’s house at the age of sixteen, he now lives a life of wanton pleasure. So what could the Marquis of Chase possibly want with Juliana Merton, a lovely, perfectly upstanding shopkeeper with a mysterious past?

 A moment’s indiscretion?

 A night’s passion?

 Or a lifetime of love?

 Even the wildest rakes have their weaknesses . . .




Juliana Merton sat in the back room of her book shop and counted out the coins for the third time. However often she did it, her conclusion remained the same. She wouldn’t have enough money to buy the Fitterbourne Shakespeares.

Books that should have been hers had ended up in the library of the loathsome Sir Thomas Tarleton. To prevent them being sold to other undeserving collectors, she needed to earn more in the next month than she’d managed in the entire year since Joseph’s death. Customers were scarce at J.C. Merton, Purveyor of Fine and Rare Books.

She reached for the Tarleton catalogue and leafed through it for the hundredth time, torturing herself with contemplation of the rarities Tarleton had acquired by fair means or, more often, foul. Finally she could stand it no longer and drifted off into fantasy.

I intend to make substantial purchases at the Tarleton sale. I’d like you to represent me, Mrs. Merton. For the usual commission, of course.

I’d be honored, Lord Spencer, Juliana replied.

You know my tastes very well. I shall gladly follow your counsel as to the condition and value of the books.

Why, Juliana, wondered, were conversations she imagined so much more satisfactory than any she enjoyed in real life? Sadly Lord Spencer, England’s premier book collector, was not in her shop and never had been. And no one had engaged her to act for him at the Tarleton sale.

With no more lucrative prospect in sight, she might as well tackle the long postponed task of cleaning the shop windows, untouched since she’d had to dismiss her servant. Closing the catalogue with a snap she stood up, knocking over the sad little pile of coins. Still clutching the volume, she chased a precious golden guinea as it fell to the floor and rolled out into the main room of the shop.

“Confound it,” she muttered. The coin wedged itself between a bookcase and the floor. She had to get down on her knees and use both hands to pry it loose. As luck would have it, she was almost prostrate when the door creaked open to admit her first customer of the day.

The first thing she learned about her visitor was that he possessed a fine pair of boots.



Neville brings on the sizzle along with an intriguing and unique Regency backdrop -- a nobleman's "addiction" to rare book collecting -- in the well-crafted start to the Burgundy series. RTBook Reviews

Regency Book Collecting: Historical Background to The Wild Marquis