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Darcy Burke

Zealous Quill Press



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6


Also by Darcy Burke

About the Author


Copyright © 2021 Darcy Burke

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 9781637260067

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Book design: © Darcy Burke.

Book Cover Design: © Erin Dameron Hill.

Cover image: © Period Images.

Editing: Lindsey Faber.

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.

Created with Vellum

For everyone who didn’t get an invitation and wanted one.

Invitation A Phoenix Club Short Story

Society’s most exclusive invitation...

Welcome to the Phoenix Club, where London’s most audacious, disreputable, and intriguing ladies and gentlemen find scandal, redemption, and second chances.

When Tobias Powell, the Viscount Deane, loses the young lady who’s stolen his heart to a pompous heir to a dukedom, all of Society is abuzz with his failure. When a scandal further blackens his reputation, he decides to become the rogue everyone believes him to be.

When courtesan Mirabelle Renault’s older sister marries her protector and is given the cut direct by the very Society who demands respectability, Mirabelle loses hope for her own future. Knowing she can no longer serve as a man’s paramour, she is determined to forge a new path—until she realizes that most doors are closed to her.

Carefree bachelor Lord Lucien Westbrook has lost his mistress and gained his autocratic father’s scrutiny now that his older brother is about to wed. Challenged to do something worthwhile, he launches an exclusive club, where Lucien helps those in need, no matter who they are or where they come from. One never knows who they will meet at the Phoenix Club…

Don’t miss your next Regency obsession, THE PHOENIX CLUB!

Love romance? Have a free book (or two or three) on me!

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Darcy’s Duchesses for historical readers

Burke’s Book Lovers for contemporary readers

Chapter 1

April 1813, London

At the height of the London Season, nowhere was more rife with opportunity, scandal, and machination than Hyde Park. From the highest members of the ton to the lowliest footpad, there was something for everyone in this gathering place. Today, on this most glorious of afternoons, the colors of spring seemed more vibrant, the birdsong more melodious, and the smells of flowers, grass, and sunshine filled the air.

Tobias Powell, the Viscount Deane, grinned broadly at everyone he saw as he made his way into the park through the Grosvenor Gate. He didn’t stop to speak with anyone as he was singularly focused on finding one particular person: his wife.

Rather, his soon-to-be wife.

People inclined their heads as Tobias walked past. Finding the dainty form of his beloved often proved difficult given her diminutive stature, but her face and figure were stamped indelibly in Tobias’s mind. As were her sparkling laugh and keen interest in subjects ranging from art to birds to horses. She was the first and only young woman he’d met in Society who enjoyed discussing things beyond fashion, flowers, or food. She’d also demonstrated a fervent interest in something else—him. He had to admit that being with her was a heady drug, for she made him feel like the most important person in the world.

In front of him, people moved off the path and turned their backs. Tobias stopped short, frowning, wondering what the devil was going on. A couple walked toward him, the man’s face tight and the woman… Well, the woman looked as if she were a breath away from bursting into tears. Her face was pale and her lower lip was drawn inward, as if she were biting the interior to keep her emotions in check.

Tobias suddenly realized what was happening. Everyone on the path was giving them the cut direct. Why? He had no idea who they were. No, wait, the gentleman looked vaguely familiar. In his early thirties, with thinning brown hair and sharp, sherry-colored eyes, he was a member at Brooks’s. Despite that, he currently found himself on the nastier side of Society’s capriciousness.

“Good afternoon,” Tobias said warmly. He was in far too pleasant a mood to engage in such rude behavior, not that he would in any case.

“Afternoon, my lord,” the gentleman said as a flicker of relief passed over his features. He patted the woman’s hand where it rested on his sleeve, and they went along their way.

As Tobias continued along the path, two ladies who’d stepped to the side stared at him, their gazes holding a shadow of condescension. Oh, now they would disdain him—the heir to an earldom—for not being as judgmental as they were? He supposed that just went to show that no one was immune to the ton’s whims.

He flashed them a wide grin. “Good afternoon, ladies. It’s a rather lovely day, isn’t it?”

One of them had the grace to look surprised before dipping her gaze to the ground. “Good afternoon, my lord.”

Satisfied that he’d hopefully made at least one person rethink her behavior, he turned left onto another path toward the Serpentine. Lady Priscilla loved the water. She particularly enjoyed watching the waterfowl, for she enjoyed drawing them. He’d likely find her there.

Tobias quickened his pace, rehearsing what he planned to say in his head. He would declare his intent to call tomorrow morning in order to speak with her father. But first, he would obtain her answer—that was the most important thing. She would, of course,

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