"Double Deception" by Patricia Oliver August 1997
Athena fell in love with John Standish but his father would not approve of the marriage. Confident the father would change his mind, John and Athena were married. When John's father cut off his allowance, John joined the army to fight Napoleon. At this same time Athena's father remarried and his new wife didn't want Athena to live with them so Athena went with John to the Peninsula and while there had a little girl, Penelope. John was killed at Talavera and now she finds herself with a small pension living with her Aunt, Mrs Mary Easton in London.
Mrs. Easton and Athena received an invitation for Lady Hereford's alfresco breakfast at her home outside London beside the Thames. She really didn't want to go but did so to please her Aunt.
Athena felt like an ancient beside all the giggling innocents so she took herself off for a walk by the river hoping it would be cooler. As she stood by the river a swan trailed by a fleet of half grown cygnets came straight toward her hissing imperiously. She was saved by a young man (about 19 or 20) who carried a plate of delicacies. He told her food was the only thing to keep the beasts at bay.
Peregrine Steele, Viscount Fairmont, was the only son and heir to the Earl of St. Aubyn. After speaking to Athena and finding out she was the widow of one of England's heroes he became totally infatuated with Athena. He also came to love her daughter, Penny. He bought them clothes, took them for rides in the park and started begging Athena to marry him. He promised security and a future for her daughter so although he was so young she finally accepted. He wanted to get his father's permission and knew his father would love Athena as much as he did.
Sylvester Steele, Earl of Aubyn was not happy when Perry came with Mrs. Standish and her daughter telling him about his future bride and Sylvester called Athena a fortune hunter and tried to bribe her to leave Perry alone.
What does Sylvester do when Athena refuses his bribe and what can he do to discourage Athena from marrying Perry now? Him as a distraction? But does Sylvester learn to love Athena as much as Perry or More?
This is a another fun story so to all my friends and readers...Happy Reading!
Patricia Oliver is one of my favorite Regency authors!