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Engaging Sir Isaac

Engaging Sir Isaac

Narrated by Marian Hussey

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In a daring plan to reclaim her position in society, Millicent Wedgwood aims to win the heart of a baronet, intending to break it. Little did she expect to fall in love herself. Sir Isaac Fox, burdened by war and newfound responsibilities, shuns romance and prefers solitude. Despite his resistance, he can't deny Millie's enchantment. As their hearts become entangled, Millie risks losing everything she desired to regain, and Isaac must confront the choice between love and his hard-won peace. Can they mend their hearts or will Millie's deception bring ruin to them both?

Main Tropes

  • Fake Relationship
  • Wounded Hero
  • Enemies-to-Lovers


Millicent Wedgwood will never obtain her rightful place in the society, which means she will never have an advantageous reputation, marriage, or fortune. All because Millie's sister eloped, years before.

But there is a chance to rise above that disgrace if Millie will take part in a dare. If she can win the baronet who insulted Lady Olivia and then shatter his heart, she will earn back her position in the society with Lady Olivia’s sponsorship.

Sir Isaac Fox returned from war with one less arm and a weight upon his soul. Where once he easily charmed the society, he now prefers to remain quietly alone at home. With a failing estate to manage, Isaac is determined to be more responsible and less foolhardy, which leaves no time for romance. Certainly no time for the infuriatingly enchanting Miss Wedgwood.

When Millie realizes her game has put her own heart in jeopardy, she risks losing everything she has so desperately sought to replace in her life. And though Isaac refuses Millie's advances, he cannot deny her charm. But falling for Miss Wedgwood would mean reentering society and losing the peace he has found since the war.

Can they find a way to heal their hearts together? Or, will Millie's deception ruin them both?

Intro to Chapter One

The cream of London Society never played fair. Despite years of trying to adhere to the rules, both those spoken and unspoken, Millicent Wedgwood had given in at last to her mother’s demands to stop following the rules.

“Your sister ruined your chances when she ruined her reputation,” Mother had snapped angrily only that morning. Lady Mildred—Mrs. Wedgewood to everyone who knew her well—had given her customary lecture to Millie. “It will take drastic measures to restore the family, to find a suitable match. My father was an earl, my mother’s father a duke, and you have every right to a title of your own.”

Father hadn’t said anything, as usual, from his place near the fire. Though Mother never stated it directly, Millie and her father both knew Mother regretted marrying a mere gentleman when she could have had a husband from the nobility. But her family had needed funds, and Father had offered a well-feathered nest.

At least, mostly well-feathered. Things had changed somewhat in the years since Emmeline ran off.

“You have a dowry large enough to tempt any man willing to overlook your sister’s unfortunate marriage.” Mother never mentioned Emmeline by name anymore. Not since the eldest Wedgwood daughter had absconded with a lowly Welsh barrister on the eve of her betrothal to the grandson of a duke. “Millicent, you have only to form a connection with the right young ladies and they will see you back into Society’s good graces. You ought to be grateful Lady Olivia will take the time to meet you in the park.”

Millie remembered her mother’s words, and the chilly glare with which they were delivered, well enough to shudder as she walked through Hyde Park on a warm May morning.

She held her head high, her bonnet festooned with bright green feathers. The green feathers were meant to distract from her unfashionable shade of auburn hair and lend color to her mud-brown eyes. Best foot forward for one of Lady Olivia’s pedigree. She was the daughter of the powerful Marquess of Alderton. Compared to her, Millie was practically a scullery-maid. 

At one-and-twenty years of age, she was no longer expected to simper and bat her lashes like a girl in her first season. No, Millicent was sophisticated, self-assured, and ready to do her mother’s bidding. Even if I am not the picture of English beauty. Not like Emmeline, the golden-haired sister who could do no wrong, who was perfect in every way—until she’d betrayed the family.

Fortunately, Millie had a plan to fix all of the damage dealt by Emmeline’s selfish decisions. 

“Sarah, are you sure this is the right place?” she asked in a low murmur, waving a fan languidly before her. Despite trying to convey a careless attitude, Millie could hear the tremble in her voice. How had her mother arranged this meeting with one of Society’s darlings?

“Yes, miss.” Her maid, loyal even if disapproving of their errand, said from a pace behind her. Sarah knew as well as Millie did that Lady Olivia was not a sympathetic soul. “Just over there, I believe.”

Millicent kept her chin tilted upward while her eyes swept the walking paths before her. Whatever her mother had done to arrange this meeting on neutral territory, Millie doubted it had been easy. 

Everything, all her mother’s hopes, hinged on Lady Olivia’s perception of Millie. The young, unwed woman controlled half of Society with naught but a few well-placed words in the right ears.

Millie spotted the lady seated upon a bench. Lady Olivia’s distinctive height and blonde curls set her apart, as did her willow-thin frame. Accompanying the marquess’s daughter was Mrs. Vanderby, the daughter of an earl, not as tall as her friend but certainly as beautiful. The third woman seated with them was unexpected. Lady Sophie, daughter of a duke. The three women together had the ability to cut nearly anyone they chose and still be hailed as women of fashion and distinction. 

Taking in a deep breath to fortify her nerves, Millie glided across the grass to the three women. They were in animated conversation with each other, and none of them even bothered looking up when Millie approached. 

“…dreadful man. Boorish. I cannot believe he would dare humiliate you,” Mrs. Vanderby was saying, patting Lady Olivia’s hand consolingly. “He ought to be ousted from Society.”

“He is never in Society,” Lady Olivia responded, tone as cold as frost. “But I do wish there was some way to make him sorry for it.”

“We all have had our share of intolerable experiences with men.” Lady Sophie flipped her fan open and waved it sharply, agitation evident in the lines of her posture. 

Lady Olivia finally seemed to notice Millie from the corner of her eye. “Which is one of the reasons Miss Wedgewood has been invited to meet with us today.” Her words were a slow purr. 

Despite the cold uneasiness in her breast, Millie dipped into the lowest, most graceful curtsy of her life. “Good afternoon. I should like to introduce myself. I am Miss Millicent Wedgewood, daughter of Mr. Anthony Wedgewood. Thank you for inviting me to meet with you today, Lady Olivia.”

“Common,” Lady Sophie muttered, her fan beating the air rapidly. 

“Perhaps. But unlikely to draw attention,” Lady Olivia countered, her green eyes flashing with interest. “Your mother made quite a plea on your behalf, Miss Wedgewood. She also insisted you would be a worthwhile companion to me, should we suit one another.”

Millie had carefully rehearsed simpering speeches of admiration, but given the predatory smile Lady Olivia wore she decided to play the game differently. “My mother admires you greatly, Lady Olivia. Though I confess, I know I am not the most sought-after friend by members of your set.”

Mrs. Vanderby chuckled. “That is putting it mildly. Olivia, you cannot be serious. I know you like your pets, but this one is a mouse.”

Lady Olivia’s eyes narrowed as she studied Millie from head to toe. “That remains to be seen.”

Millie looked from Lady Olivia’s accessing expression to Mrs. Vanderby. “I will do my best to prove myself to you. Those who know my family’s name are aware that we have been relegated to the fringes of the elite. Our family name was rather besmirched by a certain man I do not deign to name.” She cast her gaze to the ground, distressed. But Lady Olivia must know, surely, of the stain upon her family. If the marquess’s daughter did not, and found out later, it could cause Millie even greater harm. 

“Really.” Mrs. Vanderby stood from the bench. “That men have all the power and say in such matters is utterly ridiculous. You poor thing.” The smile curling her lips was not sympathetic at all. It was calculating. 

“Most unfortunate circumstances,” Lady Sophie muttered, sounding entirely unconcerned. “I suppose we should give her a test. Olivia?”

“A test?” Millie’s eyes widened. Her mother had said nothing of a test.

“Of course.” Dry amusement colored Lady Olivia’s tone. “Are you under the impression that we befriend fallen women as part of our charity work?” All three women laughed, their voices airy, their noses turned up in haughtiness. They trilled their unkind humor as beautifully as birds. 

For a brief moment, panic seized Millie. Though familiar with Society’s coldness, she hadn’t been openly mocked before. Rather than wilting, as her maid seemed to do, Millie tilted her chin upward. She did not deserve to be laughed at, whatever the case.

“My mother led me to believe you were in search of a companion for the summer, Lady Olivia. If coming into your good graces requires a test, I stand ready to attempt it. Everyone knows your friendship elevates ladies into Society faster than marriage to the right man.”

Mrs. Vanderby’s gaze swept Millie from the top of her feathered bonnet down to the tip of her walking boots. “Oh, there is a touch of boldness to your mouse, Olivia.”

“We are often bold when we are out of other options,” Lady Olivia stated. “Very well. Miss Wedgewood. We have a task to set for you. Three tasks, actually. You will earn your place as my companion for the summer, if you can complete the first task.”

Though Millie’s heart trembled and warned her to walk away, Lady Olivia was right. Millie was out of options. “Name it, my lady.” 

All three women stopped laughing. In fact, their serious masks were only broken by the gleam in their eyes.

Mrs. Vanderby and Lady Sophie looked to Lady Olivia. 

Lady Olivia rose; her place as the leader of the little group was obvious in the way the other two watched her. If Millie won over Lady Olivia and no one else, it would be enough. The woman had a reputation not just for her cold beauty, but for a shrewd mind, not to mention a cutting wit. 

“It will not come as a surprise to you, given your history, that there are men in Society who take great pleasure in holding all the power. Even someone such as me, and as my friends here, have been wronged. Your task, Miss Wedgewood, is to gain our revenge on the men who humiliated us.” Lady Olivia came closer, her beautiful eyes narrowing dangerously. “What do you think of that, little mouse?”

Millie curled her hands into fists, her mind turning, as it had, to the man who had destroyed her family and tried to crush her in the process. Her sister’s former intended. A thousand times, she had thought out how to do to him what he had done to her. A thousand times, she had planned out in her mind how to go about it. But she never would. Never could. He was untouchable, especially since his marriage into an equally powerful family.

But could she even dream of doing for these women what she hadn’t the courage or ability to do for herself? And what were they asking, precisely?

“What do you mean, revenge?” The lovely May sunlight dimmed as clouds crept across the sky. 

“Humiliate them,” Lady Olivia said softly. “Hurt them where it matters most. Each man will prove a different sort of challenge, of course.”

Millie cleared her throat. Was she a mouse? Perhaps her mother was right. Millie could not even picture herself doing something so underhanded, so unkind. Then she blinked. Mother had told her to stop playing by the rules. Had she known Lady Olivia would put this challenge to Millie?

“How would I manage that?” She hated the submissiveness in her tone.

Lady Olivia’s teeth flashed in her smile. “No one gives someone like you much notice. You are practically invisible. You can go where others would be seen and spoken of, but none will even mark your presence. You will find the weakness in these men. The chink in their armor. You will report to us.” Lady Olivia waved a hand to indicate the other two ladies, now silent. “And we will expose their flaws to all of Society. Hurting them. Humiliating them.”

“I doubt she can do it.” Lady Sophie shrugged, lowering her lashes. 

“But a mouse is perfect for this sort of thing. Creeping about.” Lady Olivia’s smile warmed, though Millie did not trust it any more than she had a moment ago. If Millie was a mouse, this woman was a cat, toying with her before deigning to pounce.

“I think we ought to give her the first task.” Mrs. Vanderby sat upon the bench again. 

“I agree. Very well, Miss Wedgewood.” Lady Olivia’s false-friendliness chilled the air between them. “We will tell you of these men. If you can solve Lady Sophie’s difficulty, I will trust you with mine.”

“And I with mine,” Mrs. Vanderby added. 

Millie’s heart beat rapidly within her breast. What choice did she have? Her mother had sent her here, had to have known there would be a price to pay for Lady Olivia’s favor.

“What are the parameters of this test?” The women would be conniving. Vicious. Clever. No one rose to such importance in the world of fashion and social politics as they did without those traits. No one. And that included Millie now, too. 

“Lady Sophie’s enemy resides here, in London. The other two will be present in the country, near my family’s home.” Lady Olivia smiled, languidly, showing her teeth again. “Bring Lady Sophie something she can use to her advantage. Knowledge. Evidence. Whatever you can find that would truly humiliate her Mr. Burton.” 

Millie nodded rapidly. “I will.” Though she did not know how, precisely. It would take some study.

“If you succeed, I will invite you to my family’s house party,” Lady Olivia continued. “And give you a reintroduction to Society, on a small, manageable level. Should you prove capable, and fulfill your end of the bargain, I will make a pet of you next Season and do all in my power to restore you to popularity. Does this suit you?”

Agreeing to such underhanded schemes did not sit right with Millie. But these women claimed the men they would set her upon had hurt them. Humiliated them. As one on the receiving end of such actions, Millie could easily believe their accusations. She would do as they asked. Do what she could not do for herself.

She raised her chin. “Yes, my lady. It suits me. Point me to your first target, and I will not fail.” Mrs. Wedgewood would be so proud of her daughter, of the lack of quaver in her voice.

Lady Olivia’s predatory smile preceded her detailed explanations, and by the time Millie left the park, she knew the difficulty of the road before her. 

Sarah remained quiet during the long walk home, to a less-fashionable street than Lady Olivia had likely ever visited. The maid’s fear and disapproval were obvious, though. 

“It is no use looking at me like that,” Millie finally said, stopping before the door to her family’s town home. She turned slowly, meeting her maid’s sorrowful eyes. “I am doing this for my family, and for me. We cannot go on like this. Mother suffers. Father is no longer respected. All because of Emmeline.”

The maid lowered her eyes. “Yes, miss.”

“We do what we must to get what we want,” Millie said under her breath. She would confide everything to her mother. She needed guidance. Her mind had already turned upon several ideas to placate Lady Sophie and impress Lady Olivia, but what did she know of their sort?

“I am hurting no one but those who deserve it,” Millie added as she stepped into the house. She lifted her head to a regal angle, removing her hat and gloves. Looking into the mirror that hung above the entry table, she studied her reflection, cringing when she saw nothing but guilt in her eyes. 

Millie drew herself up and glared fiercely at her mirror image. Mother was always saying that Millie needed to be stronger. Fiercer. More of just about everything Millie was not. If Millie did not manage it now, her hopes for a better future were dim.

I deserve a chance at happiness. No matter what Emmeline did with her life. I must protect mine.

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