The Seduction: Daisy - Eloisa James

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The Seduction: Daisy

Book 4 in the Seduction Series

The Seduction, Daisy is Series 4 of Eloisa’s serialized novella on the Amazon Vella website. Learn more over at

When a surprise lands on Daisy’s doorstep, she blurts out a lie that leads to marriage…And then realizes her wedding night looms! A new hilarious, sexy convenient marriage story by bestselling author Eloisa James.

Miss Daisy Wharton had grown accustomed to thinking of Lord Miles Devin as a man who can solve any problem, so when her half-sister Belle is left in a basket at her door, she turns to Miles, hoping he can save Belle from an orphanage.

Miles has decided to marry, but impetuous Daisy is out of question—until he is forced to propose. After her lie unravels, Daisy promises to be an honorable, virtuous, and perfect wife in every way. When she isn’t, their marriage breaks down.

Miles loathes falsehoods. What can make him admit the most significant lie is his own:

Pretending that he doesn’t love his wife just as she is?

Note: This novella will have a new title, Two Lies and a Lord, and be published in ebook, print, and audio in 2024.

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The Seduction: Daisy

Book 4 in the Seduction Series

The Seduction: Daisy

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Chapter One

April 18, 1816
Lord Rothingale’s Masquerade

The Right Honorable Lord Devin—who thought of himself as Miles, though only his sisters addressed him as such—strolled into Lord Rothingale’s masquerade planning to stay for ten minutes. At most, fifteen.

Earlier in the day, at their club, Rothingale had announced that the most beautiful ladies in London would attend, although his wink promised ladybirds. Sure enough, courtesans were swarming the ballroom, eagerly looking for their next benefactor.

Miles didn’t have a mistress.

He didn’t want one.

He felt like that absurd Shakespeare character who moaned about losing his mirth. The lines had been drilled into him at Eton, so they jumped into his head, willy-nilly: I have of late, (but wherefore I know not) lost all my mirth.

Oh Christ, he was quoting Hamlet, the ultimate dreary prince. That had to be a sign of mental deterioration.

Hamlet’s malaise had dramatic origins—father murdered, mother remarried, etc.—but Miles’s complaint was mundane. He was lonely. Mirth had gone out the window a couple of years ago, after his best friend Jonah fell in love and moved to Suffolk with his wife.

Not that Miles begrudged Jonah the lovely Bea, but he missed his friendship. And damn it, he was jealous. Jonah and Bea didn’t coo at each other like doves; they squabbled just as often as they laughed. Their bond was so deep that they were happier together than apart.

These days Miles spent most of his time in the House of Lords, serving as the head investigator for charges of murder and depravity amongst the aristocracy. Filling the hours didn’t help his malaise, perhaps because the cases were so beastly—and the criminals so infrequently punished. The House reeked of inequitable treatment and double standards. He found it hard to shake off the stench after talking to a lady who’d been egregiously abused, knowing that her husband would almost certainly walk free.

Miles skirted an over-rouged ladybird whose mask didn’t conceal her avaricious eyes.

Years ago, he would have relished the seductive impropriety of this masquerade, but no longer. Glancing at a couple leaning against the wall, the man’s hips pumping rhythmically, he felt only distaste for such vulgarity.

So far he had resisted his family’s insistence that he find a wife, but it seemed the time had finally arrived. He was almost thirty, and he’d have nothing else to do while roaming between society events this Season, given that his sister Clementine was already betrothed, and his two younger sisters wouldn’t debut until next year.

Obviously Lord Rothingale’s house was no place to find a respectable woman to marry. Hell, the man had tried to entice Clementine into eloping with him, and if Miles hadn’t known Rothingale all his life, he wouldn’t have darkened his door. But the man was a nobleman, if a degenerate one, and paying respect to those of rank by attending their various events was a gentlemanly pastime, regardless of the host’s reputation.

He was turning to leave when his eye was caught by a tumble of white-blonde hair, almost silver under candlelight. The woman in question wore a mask topped by a masquerade hat ringed in violets, her face concealed by the veil that ended just above her plump lips.

She was peering about as if she had lost someone—presumably not the young lout standing beside her, trying to get her attention.

It occurred to Miles that he might have been too hasty in dismissing the idea of a mistress. Or if not that, a mutually enjoyable evening.

Acting from pure instinct, he strode directly to her and smiled. “Good evening.”

She tilted her head and blinked at him from behind her veil.

Miles’s whole being stilled. He knew those lips.

He had met this lady at her debut ball. He had danced with her, talked to her, eaten with her—before she was exiled from polite society due to her uncle’s trial for treason.

Anger surged in his veins. What in the hell was Miss Daisy Wharton doing at one of the most disreputable parties in all London? He had judged her something of a nitwit with a penchant for mischief—albeit a strikingly beautiful one.

But this was more than mischief.

If anyone recognized her in this den of iniquity, she would be exiled from polite society forever, no matter the outcome of her uncle’s trial.

Moreover, the last thing Captain Sir Tyron needed was for his niece’s disgraceful behavior to cause another scandal in the family. The captain was currently imprisoned in the Tower of London; the Lord High Steward had accepted the case for adjudication in the House of Lords, which meant it would soon be handed to Miles to investigate.

The man standing on Daisy’s other side said aggressively, “You’ll have to wait your turn. I already asked this lady to dance, so I’ve claimed her. She’s mine for the evening.”

Miles leveled an icy stare that made the ruffian pale and fall back a step. “She is dancing with me.” He caught Daisy by the arm and drew her deep onto the dancefloor until a crowd of inebriated dancers blocked her admirer’s view.

“Sir!” she protested, pulling back.

“Don’t you mean ‘my lord’?” Miles asked grimly, snatching her right hand as the strains of a waltz began. Naturally, Rothingale’s orchestra was playing the scandalous new dance that required a man to hold a woman in his embrace. “You know perfectly well who I am, Miss Wharton.” He placed his left hand on her back and began dancing, hoping that no one would notice them in the mass of people.

She gracefully matched his steps, for all she was scowling at him from behind her mask. “Anyone could recognize you, Lord Devin, since you have made no attempt to disguise your identity. You are not wearing a mask, and you’re taller than most.”

“More to the point, what if someone recognizes you? No proper young lady would enter Rothingale’s house. The man is a well-known degenerate.”

“I was just starting to realize… But how could I have known? My mother received an invitation!”

“Lady Wharton was invited to this event? Impossible.” He said it flatly because Rothingale would never make a mistake of that nature. The only women invited would be from the demi-monde, on the fringes of respectable society, if not below.

Her brow pleated. “I suppose it might have been addressed to my father. I didn’t notice.”

“I suggest that you do not open Lord Wharton’s mail.”

“’Twas in a pile of invitations!” she protested. “Why would my father receive an invitation to such a disgraceful event? He spends most of his time in the country.”

Miles had no intention of answering any questions about Lord Wharton “Given that you are here without a chaperone, you would be courting scandal even if this were a respectable event. I surmise that you stole out of the house like a schoolboy avoiding chapel.”

She didn’t answer; she was looking about with bright curiosity, not looking repentant in the least.

“Surely you don’t need me to tell you that your reputation will be ruined if you are recognized here,” Miles added in his most autocratic tones, ones that cowed everyone except his sisters.

Rather than burst into tears, she curled her lip. “You are here as well, Lord Devin, unmasked and known to all.”


“I think not.”

“You are an unmarried young lady, and—”

“So no one will want to marry me based on this evening? What of you? You’re an unmarried man!”

“The comparison is pointless.”

“Granted, you’re not precisely an unmarried young man!” she retorted. “My presence here is due to a simple mistake. Your presence indicates that you welcome distasteful attachments that have nothing to do with marriage.”

Miles prided himself on having an even temperament. When other men raged and stormed, he maintained equanimity. Yet now he found himself so angry that his heart was thumping in his chest. “I’m not yet thirty,” he pointed out, avoiding her second point.

“As I said, old!” She tossed her head and more platinum hair spilled down her back. “I suppose you came here hoping to make a…connection, shall we say?” She turned her head from left to right, her plump lower lip curling as she surveyed the crowd. “I am loath to offend you by questioning your judgement—or your taste.”

“I was just leaving.”

She raised an eyebrow, so he growled begrudgingly, “No, I do not have a mistress, nor was I looking for one. You are remarkably blunt. I would be greatly offended if my sisters brought up this topic.”

“Then you should be comforted by the thought that they probably haven’t the knowledge to do so. Ladylike ignorance makes it easier for gentlemen to indulge in extramarital activities without their wife’s knowledge.”

Daisy said it evenly, without bitterness or sarcasm, but Miles winced inwardly. Even leaving her own familial situation aside, she was right about the inequitable treatment of the sexes. His disagreeable work in the House of Lords had taught him that most ladies were horrified when to encounter garden-variety debauchery, let alone more esoteric practices.

He whirled her around just in time to avoid the drunken lurch of a giggling couple. “You waltz very well.”

“You also dance well,” Daisy replied with the air of someone forced into civility. “Unfortunately, the scandal surrounding my uncle’s charge of treason means that I shan’t have a chance to waltz again until next Season, after I’m approved by Almack’s patronesses.”

“If anyone recognizes you here, Almack’s will be the least of your problems,” Miles said. “As soon as this dance concludes, we will slip away, hopefully without notice.”

“I shouldn’t have made such a personal remark about your reasons for attending this masquerade,” Daisy said suddenly. “I apologize. We genuinely thought the event would be akin to that given annually by the Duchess of—”

Miles interrupted her. “We?”

She looked surprised. “My cousin Livie and I.”

Of course Daisy wouldn’t have snuck out alone. He should have known that Olive Tyron would have accompanied her; they had grown up together and were obviously as close as sisters. He took a breath and controlled his temper. “Where is Miss Tyron?”

“Livie is here somewhere,” Daisy said, glancing about. “She was just behind me, but a press of people entered with us, and I lost her in the crowd. I was looking for her when you pulled me into this waltz. I think she must have gone right when I went left, so likely she’s in that room.” She nodded toward an archway.

Miles’s temper slipped its leash entirely. “You are a pair of idiots,” he said scathingly. “Don’t you know that a group in the House of Lords will be investigating your uncle’s supposed treason—an investigation that I will be running? Believe me when I say that Captain Sir Tyron’s case would be negatively impacted by his daughter creating another scandal. He must keep the sympathy and loyalty of his fellow aristocrats in order to beat this charge.”

Daisy missed a step, her mouth rounding with horror. “I had no idea.”

“Not to mention the fact that your cousin might have been accosted by a lecher like the one back there who ‘claimed’ you for the evening.”

She raised her chin. “Livie would never allow herself to be taken advantage of.”

“You have no idea what you’re talking about. A man could jerk you into his arms and kiss you—or worse—and no one here would bat an eyelash. We must find her immediately.”

“Livie can defend herself,” Daisy snapped.

Thankfully the waltz was ending so Miles wrapped his arm around her waist and drew her to the side of the room.

“You are holding me improperly. I am contemplating whether to kick you sharply in the shins or stick you with a hatpin,” Daisy informed him. She pulled a pin from her masquerade hat and waved it proudly.

She was an extraordinary mixture of sophisticated and naïve, old and young. Irritatingly, she fit perfectly in the shelter of his arm. “The next time a man embraces you in appropriately, I suggest that you act rather than air your options.”

She rolled her eyes at him. “It’s only you.”

Miles wasn’t sure how to take that. “What is Miss Tyron wearing?” he asked, as they walked through the archway into the other chamber.

Daisy cleared her throat. He glanced down at her.

“My cousin…” Her voice faltered.


“She’s there…over there on that settee.”

Miles looked.

A woman wearing a scarlet domino and a masquerade hat was sitting in a young army officer’s lap, her arms wound around his neck, kissing him enthusiastically.

“Bloody hell,” he growled.

Daisy looked up at him, eyes wide. “Of the two of us, I’m the naughty one.”

What he said next was unrepeatable.

end of excerpt

The Seduction: Daisy

is available in the following formats:

Dec 19, 2023



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