I researched into Peers and the Peerage when writing my “friends to lovers” story, THE SEDUCTION OF LADY CHARITY.
In the case where there is no son or heir, the heir presumptive succeeds. After the funeral and the executor had dealt with the will, the heir presumptive must then petition the Lord Chancellor for a writ of summons. He has to prove how he is related to the deceased, and that he and his father and all others between him and the deceased were legitimate and were dead. Once the proofs are accepted the new peer is sent a writ of summons.
When another person makes a claim the case must be heard by the Committee on Privilege of the House of Lords. Each claimant must then prove his case by showing his relationship to the deceased and the ancestor they had in common.
Lord Robin Stanberry becomes the Duke of Harwood after a family tragedy, a position he was not prepared for. He leaves all he knows behind for a castle and a vast estate in Northumberland. And it now seems that the woman he believes to be his soul mate will never be his wife.
Lady Charity Baxendale is determined to realize her dream of becoming a renowned portrait artist, and when she paints the portrait of a rakish Scottish baron, Robins suffers paroxysms of jealousy.
As he begins to discover how he can use his newly entrusted power for good, a new claimant on the title appears.
Enjoy an excerpt:
Harwood Castle, Northumberland
Robin walked with Charity along the corridor. She paused to examine a fine tapestry depicting a hunt. “Your new home is magnificent.”
He smiled, pleased. “You haven’t seen much of it, yet.”
“I would very much like to see the gardens; their beauty is renowned.”
“Then you shall.” He directed her into the library, feeling ridiculously delighted to be able to share it with her.
“Oh, this is breathtaking.” Charity turned slowly on the Aubusson carpet, her arm gesture encompassing the rows of bookshelves reaching almost to the high-coffered ceiling.
She strolled across and turned the world globe on its stand. “Have you been well?”
Robin was still reeling from the explosion of feeling he’d suffered at the sight of her in his salon. He walked up behind her and forced himself to stop a few feet away, admiring her elegant back in the cream velvet spencer and the way the blue dress skimmed her hips. Her dark blonde hair was swept up from her tender nape. He could so easily shape her waist with his hands and draw her against him. Wasn’t that why he’d angled to get her alone? “Why, I am the very ‘pinke of curtesie,’” he said, quoting Romeo and Juliet. “And you?”
She turned, and they were almost at kissing distance. Her cheeks grew pink. Did he imagine something passed between them beyond an appreciation for Shakespeare? His blood thudded through his veins. Might he dare hope that she would reconsider his proposal? No, now was not the time to risk his heart again and be rebuffed out of hand. For that would leave him defeated. And it would finish things between them.
She straightened her shoulders. “Now, where are these books?” she said briskly, reminding him of a governess talking to her charge.
He strolled over to a table. “These are some I’ve been perusing. I would have ferreted out more had I known you would call.”
She bent her head, absorbed, flicking through each book. “Look at these wonderful botanical drawings. Breathtaking!” Was she enamored of that annoying Scot or merely grateful? Her recent success might make her even more determined to concentrate on her art. Any move on his part now would be unwise. He would have to woo her—remind her of their interests in common that she was unlikely to share with Gunn. At least the baron was not here in Northumberland. Robin would have her to himself for a while.
She chose two of the books and hugged them to her chest, foiling his view of her rounded breasts. “Thank you for these. I shall enjoy them and have them sent back.”
Sent back? Not on your life, he thought. “No need. I’ll come to you. I’d like to see your parents again.”
I also had to research castles.
There are so many beautiful castles in England and Ireland. Do you have a favorite? Here’s one of mine.Bodiam castle in Sussex was built from 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge.