Weekly Serial Fiction: Never Kiss a Toad – Chapters Nine and Eleven

I realized while posting tonight that I posted Chapter Ten last week under the heading of Chapter Nine, so this week, I am giving you the real Chapter Nine, then correct placement of Chapter Ten, which you have probably read, and as a bonus to make up for the confusion, Chapter Eleven.

— Mari


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Chapter Nine

Sally struggled to follow Toad.

“Let me go. Bring him back. Please, Aunt Bella! Mama!”

Mama had wrapped her in the tightest of embraces, and when the sailors came, and she struggled harder to come to Toad’s aid, Aunt Bella had added her own strength, her arms around Sally and Mama both, so Sally had no chance of escape. The dukes kept themselves firmly between the females wrestling Sally, and the men binding and abducting her love on the other side of the room.

To read the rest of Chapter Nine, go to the blog page.


Chapter Ten

Toad stared through the skylight windows set at an angle above his new bed, listening to the night-time street sounds of Paris, ten stories below the pied-a-terre, the top two floors of a building in Saint-Germain-des-Près. He couldn’t stop ruminating about the state of his life now, wishing he hadn’t allowed his parents to force this intolerable trade: an apartment for his entire lifetime of happiness.

To read the rest of Chapter Ten, go to the blog page.


Chapter Eleven

The days blurred. Mama came and talked about clothes, and a date for Sally’s Court presentation and her ball. Sally had been imagining her ball for years. She would dance first with Papa and then with David. But David was gone, and it was Papa’s fault.

She started to weep again, her tears staining the fine silk samples her mother had brought.

To read the rest of Chapter Eleven, go to the blog page.


About this Book

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David “Toad” Northope, heir to the Duke of Wellbridge and rogue in the mold of his infamous father, knows Lady Sarah “Sal” Grenford, daughter of the once-profligate Duke of Haverford, will always hold his heart. But when the two teens are caught in bed together by their horrified parents, he is sent away to finish school on the Continent, and she is thrown into the depths of her first London Season.

Can two reformed rakes keep their children from making the same mistakes they did? The dukes decide keeping them apart will do the trick, so as the children reach their majority, Toad is put to work at sea, learning to manage his mother’s shipping concern, and Sal is taken to the other side of the world, as far from him as possible. How will Toad and Sal’s love withstand long years of separation, not to mention nasty lies, vicious rumors, attractive other suitors, and well-meaning parents who threaten to destroy their future before it has begun?

© 2016 Mariana Gabrielle and Jude Knight

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Weekly Serial Fiction: Never Kiss a Toad – Chapter Nine

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Chapter Nine

Toad stared through the skylight windows set at an angle above his new bed, listening to the night-time street sounds of Paris, ten stories below the pied-a-terre, the top two floors of a building in Saint-Germain-des-Près. He couldn’t stop ruminating about the state of his life now, wishing he hadn’t allowed his parents to force this intolerable trade: an apartment for his entire lifetime of happiness.

But it was rather too late to be thinking now. If he had engaged his brain when it mattered, not just reacted in haste to His Pompous Magnificence and the Duchess of Double-Cross, he would have found a way to escape Captain Hawley’s ship instead of screaming and crying and fighting his captors, banging his head against the confines of the brig until they were halfway across the English Channel.

To read the rest of Chapter Nine, go to the blog page.


About this Book

toad-and-sal-wattpad-cover-draft5

David “Toad” Northope, heir to the Duke of Wellbridge and rogue in the mold of his infamous father, knows Lady Sarah “Sal” Grenford, daughter of the once-profligate Duke of Haverford, will always hold his heart. But when the two teens are caught in bed together by their horrified parents, he is sent away to finish school on the Continent, and she is thrown into the depths of her first London Season.

Can two reformed rakes keep their children from making the same mistakes they did? The dukes decide keeping them apart will do the trick, so as the children reach their majority, Toad is put to work at sea, learning to manage his mother’s shipping concern, and Sal is taken to the other side of the world, as far from him as possible. How will Toad and Sal’s love withstand long years of separation, not to mention nasty lies, vicious rumors, attractive other suitors, and well-meaning parents who threaten to destroy their future before it has begun?

© 2016 Mariana Gabrielle and Jude Knight

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Weekly Serial Fiction: Never Kiss a Toad – Chapter Eight

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Chapter Eight

Ten minutes later, Toad surveyed the guards patrolling beneath Sal’s bedchamber window, but the two dukes were clearly far too enamoured of their own consequence. Wellbridge must have told Haverford he would keep Toad under lock and key, and Haverford, bless him, believed it. Their guards were watching Sal’s balcony for signs of escape, not looking for a man trying to break in.

He waited until they turned the corner to the other side of the mansion. With luck, they would circle the whole house, but he could not count on it. He crouched down, stole across the garden, and shimmied up a pillar to her balcony. Keeping low behind the wall of her terrace, he tapped quietly on the door. He heard the guards return below him, but they hadn’t seen him. He waited until their voices drifted away again, then tapped a bit harder.

To read the rest of Chapter Eight, go to the blog page.


About this Book

toad-and-sal-wattpad-cover-draft5

David “Toad” Northope, heir to the Duke of Wellbridge and rogue in the mold of his infamous father, knows Lady Sarah “Sal” Grenford, daughter of the once-profligate Duke of Haverford, will always hold his heart. But when the two teens are caught in bed together by their horrified parents, he is sent away to finish school on the Continent, and she is thrown into the depths of her first London Season.

Can two reformed rakes keep their children from making the same mistakes they did? The dukes decide keeping them apart will do the trick, so as the children reach their majority, Toad is put to work at sea, learning to manage his mother’s shipping concern, and Sal is taken to the other side of the world, as far from him as possible. How will Toad and Sal’s love withstand long years of separation, not to mention nasty lies, vicious rumors, attractive other suitors, and well-meaning parents who threaten to destroy their future before it has begun?

© 2016 Mariana Gabrielle and Jude Knight

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Weekly Serial Fiction: Never Kiss a Toad – Chapter Seven

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Chapter Seven

Toad paced in his bedchamber, his steps muffled in the thick Persian carpet at the end of his bed. His mother had signalled him in her sitting room; he was sure of it. He just wasn’t sure what she meant, and he was locked in his room with no means of finding out.

Toad’s father was clearly losing his reason, and his mother had followed along in a manner entirely unlike her—irrational like a female—which was wholly inconvenient at a time like this. The sensible, logical, ducal thing to do was to compel Sal to marry him. Their parents should be toasting the new Marchioness of Abersham and fulfilling a promise they had made amongst themselves years ago.

To read the rest of Chapter Seven, go to the blog page.


About this Book

toad-and-sal-wattpad-cover-draft5

David “Toad” Northope, heir to the Duke of Wellbridge and rogue in the mold of his infamous father, knows Lady Sarah “Sal” Grenford, daughter of the once-profligate Duke of Haverford, will always hold his heart. But when the two teens are caught in bed together by their horrified parents, he is sent away to finish school on the Continent, and she is thrown into the depths of her first London Season.

Can two reformed rakes keep their children from making the same mistakes they did? The dukes decide keeping them apart will do the trick, so as the children reach their majority, Toad is put to work at sea, learning to manage his mother’s shipping concern, and Sal is taken to the other side of the world, as far from him as possible. How will Toad and Sal’s love withstand long years of separation, not to mention nasty lies, vicious rumors, attractive other suitors, and well-meaning parents who threaten to destroy their future before it has begun?

© 2016 Mariana Gabrielle and Jude Knight

Weekly Serial Fiction: Never Kiss a Toad – Chapter Six

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Chapter Six

Sally followed her father’s instructions to the letter, and dressed in last year’s clothes, so as not to remind him she was marriageable. Not out of respect, but because she could not get her own way if he were too angry to comply, she changed into a white schoolgirl dress, short enough for ease of walking, and to show off the tops of her high-top boots. She directed her maid to plait her hair in two long braids, one over each shoulder, their green ribbons bouncing as she walked. She looked as if she was still in leading strings, which offended her, but pretending to be her daddy’s little girl would serve her purpose better than defiance. At least to start.

Sally paused just outside the drawing room. The door was shut, but if one held the handle just so, one could ease it open just a little, and observe without being detected.

To read the rest of Chapter Six, go to the blog page.


About this Book

toad-and-sal-wattpad-cover-draft5

David “Toad” Northope, heir to the Duke of Wellbridge and rogue in the mold of his infamous father, knows Lady Sarah “Sal” Grenford, daughter of the once-profligate Duke of Haverford, will always hold his heart. But when the two teens are caught in bed together by their horrified parents, he is sent away to finish school on the Continent, and she is thrown into the depths of her first London Season.

Can two reformed rakes keep their children from making the same mistakes they did? The dukes decide keeping them apart will do the trick, so as the children reach their majority, Toad is put to work at sea, learning to manage his mother’s shipping concern, and Sal is taken to the other side of the world, as far from him as possible. How will Toad and Sal’s love withstand long years of separation, not to mention nasty lies, vicious rumors, attractive other suitors, and well-meaning parents who threaten to destroy their future before it has begun?

© 2016 Mariana Gabrielle and Jude Knight

Weekly Serial Fiction: Never Kiss a Toad – Chapter Five

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Chapter Five

Toad had stripped down to his shirt sleeves, after a miserable coach ride from Haverford House listening to his father scream until Toad’s ears were ringing. He hadn’t been forced to explain himself to his mother, for his father had not let up the diatribe from the moment the carriage door closed until he was thrown unceremoniously into his rooms at Dalrymple House and the doors locked.

Now pacing his two-room suite from end to end, sipping his third brandy in a quarter-hour, he was plotting what his next move might be. He could not allow Haverford’s edict to stand. He could not allow Sal to be married to some jackanapes whose only recommendation was not being the Marquess of Abersham.

To read the rest of Chapter Five, go to the blog page.


About this Book

toad-and-sal-wattpad-cover-draft5

David “Toad” Northope, heir to the Duke of Wellbridge and rogue in the mold of his infamous father, knows Lady Sarah “Sal” Grenford, daughter of the once-profligate Duke of Haverford, will always hold his heart. But when the two teens are caught in bed together by their horrified parents, he is sent away to finish school on the Continent, and she is thrown into the depths of her first London Season.

Can two reformed rakes keep their children from making the same mistakes they did? The dukes decide keeping them apart will do the trick, so as the children reach their majority, Toad is put to work at sea, learning to manage his mother’s shipping concern, and Sal is taken to the other side of the world, as far from him as possible. How will Toad and Sal’s love withstand long years of separation, not to mention nasty lies, vicious rumors, attractive other suitors, and well-meaning parents who threaten to destroy their future before it has begun?

© 2016 Mariana Gabrielle and Jude Knight

Weekly Serial Fiction: Never Kiss a Toad – Chapter Four

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Chapter Four

“Did you hear that?” Toad whispered.

“Yes, it is the outside door,” Sal whispered. “Did you not lock it when you came in?”

“I…” He could not remember anything he had done before he had tasted her. “I think I did.”

The footsteps grew closer and closer; whoever was coming made no effort to remain unnoticed. As the steps drew nearer, Toad twisted his shoulders and wrapped his arms protectively around Sal, covering her face from anyone who might see her. He shifted even further and pushed her behind him when the intruder pushed the bedroom door open and showed himself.

To read the rest of Chapter Four, go to the blog page.


About this Book

toad-and-sal-wattpad-cover-draft5

David “Toad” Northope, heir to the Duke of Wellbridge and rogue in the mold of his infamous father, knows Lady Sarah “Sal” Grenford, daughter of the once-profligate Duke of Haverford, will always hold his heart. But when the two teens are caught in bed together by their horrified parents, he is sent away to finish school on the Continent, and she is thrown into the depths of her first London Season.

Can two reformed rakes keep their children from making the same mistakes they did? The dukes decide keeping them apart will do the trick, so as the children reach their majority, Toad is put to work at sea, learning to manage his mother’s shipping concern, and Sal is taken to the other side of the world, as far from him as possible. How will Toad and Sal’s love withstand long years of separation, not to mention nasty lies, vicious rumors, attractive other suitors, and well-meaning parents who threaten to destroy their future before it has begun?

© 2016 Mariana Gabrielle and Jude Knight

Weekly Serial Fiction: Never Kiss a Toad – Chapter Three

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Chapter Three

So deep was the ache of his unrelieved arousal, Toad’s stride was uneven all the way from the bed to the dressing room, trying to subtly adjust himself in his tight pantaloons without being so obvious as to take his bollocks in hand in front of Sal.

To read the rest of Chapter Three, go to the blog page.


About this Book

toad-and-sal-wattpad-cover-draft5

David “Toad” Northope, heir to the Duke of Wellbridge and rogue in the mold of his infamous father, knows Lady Sarah “Sal” Grenford, daughter of the once-profligate Duke of Haverford, will always hold his heart. But when the two teens are caught in bed together by their horrified parents, he is sent away to finish school on the Continent, and she is thrown into the depths of her first London Season.

Can two reformed rakes keep their children from making the same mistakes they did? The dukes decide keeping them apart will do the trick, so as the children reach their majority, Toad is put to work at sea, learning to manage his mother’s shipping concern, and Sal is taken to the other side of the world, as far from him as possible. How will Toad and Sal’s love withstand long years of separation, not to mention nasty lies, vicious rumors, attractive other suitors, and well-meaning parents who threaten to destroy their future before it has begun?

© 2016 Mariana Gabrielle and Jude Knight

Weekly Serial Fiction: Never Kiss a Toad – Chapter Two

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Chapter Two

Lady Sarah Grenford made her way down the abandoned servants’ passage to the heir’s wing of Haverford House, holding the skirts of her dress out of the dust that had accumulated since the last monthly clean. Once, these apartments had been witness to carnal excesses such as London had never seen or heard, when her father was young, still the Merry Marquis of Aldridge, before he married Mama. Or so the gossip columns said.

Now that Sally was approaching seventeen, she knew more than she used to about the ways of the world, in part because her parents overlooked her advancing age and never considered that a child would understand their conversations.

She often dined with her parents now, even when they had guests, especially family friends, as was the case tonight. Aunt Bella and Uncle Wellbridge exclaimed over the grown-up gown, newly arrived from the modiste, and the way Maud had dressed her hair high on her head, with just a few curls cascading down her neck to touch her white shoulders.

To read the rest of Chapter Two, go to the blog page.


About this Book

toad-and-sal-wattpad-cover-draft5

David “Toad” Northope, heir to the Duke of Wellbridge and rogue in the mold of his infamous father, knows Lady Sarah “Sal” Grenford, daughter of the once-profligate Duke of Haverford, will always hold his heart. But when the two teens are caught in bed together by their horrified parents, he is sent away to finish school on the Continent, and she is thrown into the depths of her first London Season.

Can two reformed rakes keep their children from making the same mistakes they did? The dukes decide keeping them apart will do the trick, so as the children reach their majority, Toad is put to work at sea, learning to manage his mother’s shipping concern, and Sal is taken to the other side of the world, as far from him as possible. How will Toad and Sal’s love withstand long years of separation, not to mention nasty lies, vicious rumors, attractive other suitors, and well-meaning parents who threaten to destroy their future before it has begun?

© 2016 Mariana Gabrielle and Jude Knight

Weekly Serial Fiction: Never Kiss a Toad – Chapter One

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Chapter One

October 1841
Dalrymple House
Town House of the Duke and Duchess of Wellbridge
London, England

Toad Northope, Marquess of Abersham, leaned his head back against the tub, adjusting a towel behind his neck. He shut his eyes against the dim light of the oil lamp in his dressing room and willed away the headache that threatened. He had drunk enough brandy to feel mildly ill, but not enough to be thoroughly sotted. Not nearly enough to be the friendly, charming, dissolute rogue he knew himself to be. He was hungover before the evening even started.

Pathetic.

And unacceptable. Only one more night to enjoy himself before he was called to account for being sent down from school—again—and after that, he would surely be confined to Dalrymple House until his father, the Duke of Wellbridge, decided how to punish him this time. He might as well make the most of his freedom. Toad rather hoped that as a college man, he was getting too old to be disciplined like a schoolboy, but he wasn’t sure His Ducal Highhandedness would see it that way. The situation was so very like the one that had seen him sent home from Eton two years ago, and sent off to university early. Only twice as bad.

He groaned. God, I hope no one tells my mother.

To read the rest of Chapter One, go to the blog page.