Upon a Midnight Dream (London Fairy Tales #1)

Upon a Midnight Dream (London Fairy Tales #1)

Rachel Van Dyken

To my prince, my love, and my daily inspiration… my husband.


That, if then I had waked after a long sleep, will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming, the clouds me thought would open and show riches ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked I cried to dream again—William Shakespeare

London, England

Stefan made the grave mistake of looking into her chocolate brown eyes and cursed himself all over again for having such fanciful feelings. She wasn’t his to fawn over; but someone else’s entirely. Despite the obvious, he was in love, or at least it had felt that way ever since he first set eyes on the girl the year before. But what good was his love when her heart fully belonged to someone else?

She was betrothed to his brother, and Stefan hated himself for it, because it meant that for the rest of his eternity he had to watch them laugh and smile together. And all the while a part of him would die each time her eyes gazed at his little brother instead of him.

There were three of them. Three brothers in all, and their father, “The King”, as they always referred to him, spoiled them greatly.

His youngest brother had set eyes on Elaina at a dinner party and fallen madly in love. Just as the rest of the family had. With long golden hair and deep brown eyes, she was every man's dream. And the youngest son—the one without the title, the one who was to be a vicar—had won the ultimate prize. The one thing that money and a title could not buy—love.

Stefan looked away. How much pain could a heart take before it was ripped in two? Could unrequited love kill a person’s soul with one breath?

His body tensed when she breathed; his breath hitched when she spoke, and his passion ignited when she laughed.

Curse her, and curse his brother Fitz.

It was in moments like this he wished he were more like the second son, James Gregory, without a care in the world. But no, Stefan was too blasted serious for that. He was the heir—the marquess, living in his own version of Purgatory.

“I will be touring India,” Stefan suddenly announced knowing it was poor timing but needing it to be said, nonetheless. His father had made arrangements after seeing Stefan mope around for the last year. It was easily decided upon that a tour of India was just the thing—though at times, Stefan wondered if his father hoped to be rid of him if only to push away the heartache at seeing his eldest son so depressed.

The room went dead silent; his father turned a knowing eye to him. Always perceptive, his brother Fitz gave a brief nod. “Is that what you think is best considering your position, Stefan?”

“I do.” Short, clipped tones fell out of his mouth.

Elaina tilted her head and smiled. “What are you about Stefan? You aren’t the type to go around seeking adventure. Wouldn’t you be much happier here? Where it is safe? And you can live a quiet happy life?”

If he hadn’t already made up his mind, her insulting assessment of his character would have done it for him. “I’ve made arrangements.”

His brother Fitz squinted through his looking glass. “Stefan, this isn’t like you. By Jove,” he laughed. “You’re afraid of your own shadow!”

The room erupted into laughter. All save, his brother James, who with a gleam in his eye said, “I hope you find what you’re looking for, brother. And do try to make it back in one piece. You wouldn’t want the title passed down to someone such as I.”

Stefan Hudson, Marquess of Whitmore and future Duke of Montmouth left that following week and never looked back.


Rosalind Hartwell felt like she was up for auction to the highest bidder. One minute she was engaged to the most ridiculous dandy she had ever laid eyes on and the next thing she knew, a man with darkened skin and sandy blonde hair announced he was the rightful Marquess of Whitmore. Her head was spinning as she grabbed for champagne and winced when she saw the display of male beauty standing before her.

Whoever this stranger was, he made every other male specimen in the room appear gaunt and sick. His skin was dark, his teeth fairly glowing against the set of his square jaw. How had her life come to this?

She looked from side to side; surely someone would step forward and help her? The ton, it seemed, had lost their tongues at a very inappropriate time for Rosalind. The only help came from the infamous Lord Rawlings who only moments before had nearly punched the younger brother—James, her former fiancé—square in the face.

Abby, her dearest friend and now Lady Rawlings, looked in her direction. Rosalind shook her head. No, she would stay put. Let the man get his bearings before he realizes he’s betrothed. Saints alive! He just came back from the dead. The last thing any shipwrecked man would appreciate had to be the thought of being chained to a woman not of his choosing. Heavens! He probably hadn’t a clue as to his bleak future!

Rosalind adjusted her gloves and waited. The man laughed; the music started. And she continued to wait. That is until the Dowager Duchess of Barlowe looked in her direction, even though Rosalind could have sworn the plant had hidden her.

The bronze man walked towards her. She gulped, and for the life of her, was not able to put anything close to a smile on her face, so stunned was she.

“Lady Rosalind?” He reached for her hand and planted a kiss on her knuckles. Shivers ran down her spine. Fear. That was it. She was afraid. Surely she wasn’t attracted to this barbarian!

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