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Substitute Bride

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Substitute Bride

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Substitute Bride, my Regency Romance, is now available from  in print and download. 

When Miss Emma Napier helped her friend, Abby, escape a forced marriage, she little thought she would meet the dashing Marquis of Desborough. His lordship was looking for  a wife so he could gain control of his inheritance. Emma seemed the perfect choice. 

A gay and frothy Regency romance, packed with lively incidents and dramatic situations.


Emma was about to rise to her feet and go to where Lady Matilda sat with several other dowagers who were enjoying a gossip together when the master of ceremonies appeared before her. “Miss Emma Napier,“ he said in a portentous voice. “May I have permission to present his lordship, the Marquis of Desborough?” 

Emma trembled with fright. Her face burnt and her heart thumped madly. Through her confusion, she heard his lordship say, “How do you do, Miss Napier.“ She couldn’t look at him and mumbled some reply, scarcely aware of the master of ceremonies bow before he departed. “May I have the pleasure of the waltz, Miss Napier?“ his lordship asked. 

Emma swallowed hard and managed to gasp. “I’m sorry, it’s already been asked for.“ She didn’t have the dance engaged. She was a novice at the waltz and refused all her willing partners. She expected his lordship to leave, but after a moment’s hesitation, he sat on the vacant chair beside her. 

“I have a feeling we’ve met before, Miss Napier?“ 

She was forced to look at him. He gazed at her in expectance. “No, we haven’t.“ Her voice was firm though she felt hot and faint. There was a roaring in her ears and she had difficulty breathing. She had to find an excuse to leave, but she doubted her ability to walk away from him.  

There was a hard look in his dark eyes. “Are you sure?“ 

“Of, course, I am.” He can’t prove it was you, she thought feverishly. He saw you in candlelight and he was drunk. She glanced at him, seeing him properly for the first time. Dressed formally in black trousers, black coat, white waistcoat and elaborately tied neck cloth, his lordship was one of the most attractive men in the ballroom. “I’m sure I’d remember if I’d met you before, my lord.“ She smiled, trying to sound the coquette like some of the debutantes she had met.

He looked surprised. For a moment it seemed, he didn’t know how to answer her. He rose to his feet. She was relieved he was leaving, but instead he took her arm and drew her to her feet. “It appears your partner isn’t going to honour his commitment so will you give me the pleasure of dancing the waltz with you.”

“Oh, no, I couldn’t,” she protested and tried to pull away, but he placed an arm firmly about her waist and swept her among the dancers. The waltz wasn’t danced in Little Gosford and she had to keep her mind on her feet, counting the beats to the music as a former dancing master had instructed her.

“Have you been in London long, Miss Napier?“ his lordship asked.

“Only a few weeks.“ She missed a step and stumbled. His arm held her firmly. “I’m sorry,“ she said, breathless. “I can’t make conversation. I must keep my mind on the dance. I’m not familiar with the waltz.“ 

He looked surprised, then laughed, saying he would do his best to guide her. “It’s easy once you become used to the rhythm. Relax. It will come naturally.“

They circled the ballroom several times. In her concentration, Emma forgot her apprehension of him. “You’re doing well,“ he said.

Her green eyes showed pleasure, and then she remembered who he was and her smile vanished. The orchestra paused for an interlude. They stood silently together. Beyond them was a set of wide doors opening into the garden. The Chinese lanterns, hanging from the trees, made it look a fairyland. Emma could see couples walking together and thought it would be pleasantly cool among the trees after the warmth of the ballroom, but Lady Matilda had warned on no account were they to allow any gentleman to escort them into the garden without a chaperon. Desborough followed her gaze. “Would you care to take a stroll in the garden, Miss Napier?“ 

She wished she dared act the flirt and accept his offer just to shock him, but instead she said primly, “I’ve been warned by my aunt it’s not thought seemly for young ladies to wander in the gardens without a chaperon for fear their reputations would be bandied about the tea tables.“

His look was searching. “I’m glad you have a respect for the social mores.“ 

She couldn’t stop herself from adding with some asperity. “I think it’s a silly convention. It’s nearly as well lit out there as it is in the ballroom and decidedly cooler.“ 

He laughed, and taking her into his arms when the music began, asked, “Who is your aunt?“ 

“Lady Matilda Langridge,“ she answered, once more concentrating on the waltz steps.

“I didn’t know Lady Matilda had a niece?“ he said after a moment’s pause.

“I’m her great niece.“ She stumbled against him.

He held her close. Immediately she pulled away. When the dance ended, he escorted her to her seat. She thanked him and expected him to leave, but he sat beside her and took her dance card before she could prevent him. “Allow me to place my name against another waltz. You’re improving, but you need more tutoring.“

“You wouldn’t want to dance with me again,“ she said, wishing she dared snatch the card from him.

“Why not?“ There was a mocking expression in his dark eyes. “You are one of the loveliest women in the ballroom. Give me a reason why I wouldn’t want to dance with you?“ He smiled when he handed the card back. “I found our waltz most entertaining.“  

 She glanced at the card and found to her chagrin he had written his name against all the remaining waltzes of the evening.  



From time to time in our modern world where a woman is supposed to be “Jill of all trades and GOOD at all”, Regency novels are a dose of delightful medicine for gaining one’s balance again. I love them!

SUBSITUTE BRIDE by Laura Lamperd takes the reader to a time when women were valued for their appearance and social graces and considered of little value in other areas. Emma Napier manages to circumvent many limitations of the regency era as she proves her loyalty to her life-long friend Abby Derries.

Abby, afraid her uncle with whom she lives will force her to marry a man she hardly knows and who is much older than she is, seeks Emma’s help to escape her situation. Thus begins the adventure for two young women who have been reared in the country, far away from the intrigues of both the “high-born” and the “low-born” of London.

On their way to London, Emma is forced into a compromising position by the Marquis of Desborough who is known for his womanizing and wicked ways. Since her brother with whom she had planned to stay in London is out of the country, she goes to her great-aunt Matilda and asked if she and Abby may stay with her a few days.

Lady Matilda Langridge, delighted to have Emma and Abby for the season, arranges a social life that takes the two young women into a society they have only heard about. The reader gets to experience colorful balls, elaborate tea parties set in discreet parlors, and all the things wealth and privilege offered in the regency period.

Along the way, the squalid side of London comes into play for short intervals adding to the tension Ms. Lamperd creates as she shepherds not only Emma and the Marquis through a maze of intrigue and obstacles but also brings a happy-ever-after to secondary characters whom this reader found absolutely delightful.

SUBSTITUTE BRIDE is refreshing and laced with humor—a story to enjoy.

Review by Camellia

Substitute Bride is a fun read, with great unexpected twists, and a good portion of humor and irony. Lamperd brings alive the England of the 19th century through her colorful characters, a spirited heroine and strong-headed rake to be tamed. Both are set against a society either clinging to conventions at all cost or frivolously defying them. Emma and Nick find their own unconventional way to happiness. So what if he needs to bite a bullet to win her heart? A man's got to have his priorities.

You're feeling low? Bored? It's raining? Read the Substitute Bride and you'll smile all day, if not laugh out loud.

Edith Parzefall

Miss Emma Napier accompanies her friend Abby on a hair brained scheme to London to avoid Abby being married off to a man she does not wish to be with. On their trip they make a stop for the night, and Emma finds herself forced into a marriage to help a man gain his inheritance. She keeps the marriage a secret and waits for the promised annulment.

Nicholas Anthony William Sefton, Eighth Marquis of Desborough, has to gain control of his fortune before his bumbling cousin sends the family estate into ruin. So he comes up with a scheme to gain control; he will marry a poor woman for a few weeks get his inheritance, then have the marriage annulled.

To Nicks surprise and Emma’s great disappointment, they once again run into each other a few weeks after the wedding at a party. Nick cannot believe his luck in discovering the woman he thought was a servant is actually a respectable choice for marriage, and so begins the merry chase to keep Emma for his wife. But Emma has her own plans, and none of them involve Nick. Can Nick show Emma there is more to him that meets the eye before her brother comes back to London and rescues her from this so called marriage?

The lengths that Emma makes Nick go through to gain her love are amusing, and makes the whole story a fun read. You lose yourself in the battle of wills between these two characters. Ms. Lamperd did a wonderful job creating this world and these two characters; they are both charming and a little mischievous. Substitute Bride is a wonderful story about circumstances you can not control and how sometimes these events become more than you ever dreamed you deserved. I really enjoyed this book.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

 In the process of helping her friend escape a forced marriage, Emma Napier meets the urbane Desborough who is himself seeking a wife to gain control of his inheritance. Emma appears a suitable choice, but if Desborough thinks she will meekly go along with his plans he soon discovers he is very much mistaken. In Substitute Bride, Laurel Lamperd weaves a delightful Regency romance with a fiery and extremely likeable heroine and a fabulous hero with just the right amount of roguish arrogance about him. The plot is fast-paced and fun, and the sparkling interplay between Emma and Desborough is excellent. The romance between the secondary characters is also well drawn and very sweet. A thoroughly enjoyable read.  

Tricia Jones, romance author


Laurel Lamperd did a fabulous job in bringing her Regency Romance, Substitute Bride to life with its charming and interesting characters, witty dialogue, vivid descriptions and extensive vocabulary.  It was well written and refreshing to read.  The plot moved along very quickly and smoothly.  Substitute Bride held my interest from start to finish.  It was an excellent read!  I recommend it highly to anyone who loves Regency Romance readerswill also find it extremely delightful and wonderfully entertaining.  

Tammy Riviere, Author of Figure 8 – Romantic Suspense Wings Press, Inc.

This story is quite a fun read. Little twists and turns make it a page-turner,

and I’m so glad I read it. I would recommend Substitute Bride to anyone who is a fan of historical romance and wish to read a delightful tale.

Laura Hogg (author of historical romance)



“My aunt tells me marriage to you is the aim of every young and not so young spinster in society,” Emma said.

Desborough sounded bland when he answered, “I remember telling you that at The Three Feathers.”

She gritted her teeth. “You’d best look out I don’t hold you to your promises, my lord.”

“Would you like to be a marchioness?”

She glared at him. “You missed my meaning.”

“Did I? How dull of me. Now, what are you saying? Are you warning me if I don’t have the marriage annulled immediately, you may wish to stay married?”

“I didn’t mean that at all. You know I didn’t.” She found her voice had risen. She whispered fiercely. “You promised it would take three weeks to have the marriage annulled.”

He looked contrite. “I don’t know if I promised an exact time. If I did, I’m sorry, but it isn’t really my fault.”

She wanted to accuse him it was entirely his fault. She fumbled in her reticule and held out his signet ring.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Your ring,” she hissed.

“Give it to me when the annulment is finalized.”

She still held the ring, but he refused to take it. He was laughing, the laughter creasing his eyes.

He sounded bland when he answered, “I remember telling you that at The Three Feathers.”

She gritted her teeth. “You’d best look out I don’t hold you to your promises, my lord.”


Laurel Lamperd did a fabulous job in bringing her Regency Romance, Substitute Bride to life with its charming and interesting characters, witty dialogue, vivid descriptions and extensive vocabulary.  It was well written and refreshing to read.  The plot moved along very quickly and smoothly.  Substitute Bride held my interest from start to finish.  It was an excellent read!  I recommend it highly to anyone who loves Regency Romance readerswill also find it extremely delightful and wonderfully entertaining.  

Tammy Riviere, Author of Figure 8 – Romantic Suspense Wings Press, Inc.



Thanks to Janet Woods for the review of my book, Substitute Bride. Information about Janet's new books are below.
THE COAL GATHERER Severn House-August 07 - EDGE OF REGRET Severn House-March 08


Substitute Bride

By Laurel Lamperd


Review by Wendy Laharnar


Beautiful Emma Napier, an innocent though wilful young woman from Little Gosford, is draw into London society when she accompanies her runaway friend. On the way, in a dilapidated inn, a dangerous encounter changes her life.


Her friends and the other colourful characters with full intriguing lives, embrace that of the dignified, compassionate Emma, but only the dark, mysterious Marquis of Desborough from the 'tomb-like' Desborough House shares her scandalous secret.  As she deals with the troubles and distresses of her companions, as well as the delighted expectations of her aunt when gentlemen call, Emma must fight against her own fears and her growing attraction for the man who could ruin her.


The author clearly understands romance and the Regency period, and with the ease of a skilled storyteller, Laurel Lamperd transports us to a fascinating age of carriage rides and high tea, of ornate drawings rooms, grand balls and matchmaking matrons. She also allows us to experience the bleaker side where disreputable women draw young men into seedy gaming houses and into their boudoirs.


 Substitute Bride is sparkling, fast past and suspenseful; a novel of intrigue, deception and revenge and above all of friendship and blossoming love.




Wendy Laharnar

author- The Unhewn Stone

Laurel Lamperd did a fabulous job in bringing her Regency Romance, Substitute Bride Substitute Bride

Laurel Lamperd
Historical romance
Available from Wings ePress
ISBN: 978-1-59705-301-3
January 2008

When Emma Napier helps her friend Abby to escape an unwanted marriage, the only adventure she thought she was going to experience was the coach ride to London and her Aunt Matilda. Her friend’s illness forces them to stop at an unsavory inn. There circumstances got worse and a drunken lord assists them at a price. She marries Lord Desborough, who thinks she is a maid, with the assurance that the marriage will be annulled within weeks. She does not expect to meet him again in London and she certainly does not expect him to want the impromptu marriage to stand. His very beautiful mistress, for one, refuses to let him go.

This story started out a little slowly, but the pace rapidly picked up as did my interest in the story. Emma is a very strong, if na´ve character and Desborough is anything but. The author makes this story of rake and untried country girl fresh again. I enjoyed reading about his lordship’s manipulation of Emma without her realizing it. The subplots of her friend Abby’s and Florence’s romances and Gerald’s gambling add much to the tale. There is quite a bit of excitement near the end which finally makes up Emma’s mind. The first incident could have used a little more explaining, but the second was a very clever and dramatic way to tie up all the loose ends in the story. This is a fine regency and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Overall rating:
Sensuality rating: Explicit

Reviewer: Maura Frankman
April 7, 2008







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