Weekly Serial Fiction: Never Kiss a Toad – Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen

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Sally was in her favourite part of her favourite room in the house, the conservatory, a grand space that opened out on to the terrace that led to the lawn. Her little corner had been marooned by the extensions and alterations planned by past duchesses, and the planting schemes of past gardeners. She and Toad had discovered it when he was seven and she six, wandering away from their mamas and nursemaids, who were admiring Jonny when he was the brand-new Marquis of Aldridge, heir to the Haverford duchy, in the main part of the conservatory.

To read the rest of Chapter Sixteen, 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 Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen

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Dear Toad,

Today’s letter must perforce be short, for we were delayed at a dress fitting. Now that we are home, Mama has sent for me to come to meet my callers, which I will not do until I have penned a quick note to my dearest friend.

Sally was tempted to underline the last three words, since her father would read this letter before Toad ever saw it. But she would not give Toad the satisfaction. She had overheard her parents and cousins talking about his exploits at different times—and in very different tones—though they all hushed the moment they knew she was listening. She had heard frustratingly little, but it seemed he had lost no time in seeking his own pleasures among the artists and dancers of Paris.

To read the rest of Chapter Fifteen, 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 Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen

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When it chimed at five, Toad looked up at the clock from the head of his table for thirty, chewing on the end of his pen. His Accountancy textbook and stacks of reference books and papers covered four place settings on both sides of the host’s chair: geography and history, writing, accountancy, international trade regulations, and by his mother’s request direct to the administration, diplomacy. A table-top globe took up the space usually occupied by one of his mother’s three candelabra.

He had but one more week to study before his exams. He had hoped to meet his friends later this evening, his first night out in days, but until he mastered double-entry bookkeeping, he would not be able to enjoy the opera, the view of the opera dancers, or the rest of the evening. He would have had to make an early night of it anyway, since Bey would want to get home to his new mistress, and Toad needed to get through six more chapters before the morning.

He tugged at the hair now standing on end, his back straightening at the sound of footsteps coming up the building’s endless flights of stairs, then a knock. He made no move. Blakeley would take care of it.

Moments later, the butler cleared his throat at the dining room door, but before he could get a word out, “Clear the way, Blakeley. He should know better than to send regrets on a night like this.”

To read the rest of Chapter Fourteen, 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 Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen

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“Ready?” Papa said, his gloved hand patting hers where it rested in the crook of his elbow.

Sally smiled up at him. “Ready, Papa.”

She had been furious with him for weeks, but tonight, the last of her resentment had melted away as she looked into his anxious eyes. Had he grown years older in a scant two months? And surely he was thinner than before the– before everything changed?

To read the rest of Chapter Thirteen, 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 Twelve

Chapter Twelve

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Toad’s hand shook as he fastened a new steel nib to the pen, preparing to write the first letter to Sal that he knew would make it to her, For Haverford had relented! Toad had sent half a dozen before she sent word, but four had been returned at Haverford’s direction, his bold hand crossing the front of the missive in block letters: Return to Sender. There had been no response at all to the other two.

For the first time in months, this afternoon, he had received a letter from Sally in her own hand. Seeing her copperplate calligraphy on the envelope had brought tears to his eyes. The short note had been stilted, not referencing his letters, not even utilizing their code, but rather, the most banal and uninteresting small talk he had ever read. Just the tone of the thing was evidence Haverford was reading every word. How Toad was to write a similarly insipid note without gagging at the deception, he did not know. How could he write a letter to his Sally and not bare his soul to her?

To read the rest of Chapter Twelve, 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 – 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

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 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