Can two people hate each other more than these two? 

She has a heart of stone. He is the notorious pirate every lady swoons for.
They have vowed never to meet again.
Captain Timothée Vaughn
Heart: Broken
Face: Gorgeous
Tone: Acidic
Pirate: Yes, he is
Marital Status: Forced into an engagement
Willing to: Break his own arm to escape his wedding tomorrow.
Lady Stella DeWinter:
Heart: Frosted
Face: Angelic but sad
Tone: Silent
Secrets: Many, but one in particular. A very dark one indeed.
Marital Status: Jilted Captain Vaughn right before their wedding, five years ago.
Willing to: Do anything to meet Timothée one last time.
Question: Why? (on earth)
Meeting place: The Frosted Ball.
What follows: Chaos. Noisy ballrooms. Starry skies. White flurries. Hungry kisses. Haughty stares. Frozen lakes. Shaking breaths. The truth. Finally.
Frosted is a heart-wrenching romance about a pirate and an ice-cold lady who seem to have hated each other for years, inspired by winter-themed fairytales like The Snow Queen and The Steadfast Tin Soldier. It is set in a witty, glittering Regency world made up of a little bit of Jane Austen, a little bit of Georgette Heyer, and a lot of a modern heart yearning for romance, passion and a tall gentleman with a smoldering gaze. This is a broken tale of beauty, dark secrets and love lost.
Frosted is the new enemies-to-lovers Regency novel that will melt your heart.
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Read the first chapters for FREE below:


A Regency Retold novel



M.C. Frank



"Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman.

I have loved none but you."

Jane Austen





for all
the survivors like me



Wedding day


The bride was an orphan, which in itself was shocking.

But this fact, well known to the ton, was the least bit of scandal that surrounded the impending nuptials. There were greater and worse rumors to be passed around among the congregation:

Firstly, the bride was the ward of his grace, the duke of Ashton, and thus one of the most popular young ladies in town. Or at least her wedding was a popular event of the season—she had arranged it so, after all.

The bridegroom, standing at the altar in full uniform, wondered if she had snared him into marriage for that specific reason: she had wanted her wedding to be not simply an event of the season, but the event of the season. He had once overheard her say to the gaggle of screeching geese she called ‘her entourage’ that she wanted her wedding to eclipse the Frosted Ball. Incidentally, he had happened to overhear that before there was any wedding on the horizon. Days before his engagement.

Unbeknownst to the bridegroom, the bride had picked him out as her target long before his arrival to town. And he, fool that he was, had fallen into her trap.

And thus we arrive at the second reason why this wedding had a real, juicy scandal at its center: The bridegroom, even though he was a captain, was actually a pirate.

Captain Timothée Vaugh was what was called ‘a privateer’, which was nothing less and nothing more than a pirate with none of the glamour and all of the danger. And yet, Captain Vaughn, otherwise known as L’ Ange Noir, notorious pirate, well known Corinthian, rumored croesus and desired bachelor by every mama in society’s ballrooms, had finally been ensnared into marriage.

The ton had flocked to the church to see him finally wed to a lady wearing the hugest smile and an even bigger gown—a gown that could only be surmised had been stolen from the window of a confectionary shop at Rotten Row. Heaven only knew how many members of the ton would await the unhappy couple afterwards, at the morning breakfast and subsequent ball.

Ashton’s townhouse in Mayfair, even though it was one of the largest buildings in town, would burst at the seams from all the illustrious guests.

But Captain Vaughn, the bridegroom, gazed at his overly decorated bride, and thought that the crowds were the least of his worries. The bride had trapped him into a compromising situation, and had made sure they were discovered, thus forcing him to propose marriage.

Cruel and vulgar as it may sound, this was the truth of it.

And now, mere months later, here he was, waiting for her in a church filled with peers and guests and what few friends he had left in the world, waiting for her at the end of a long carpeted aisle.

Wanting his freedom.

Wanting to die.


He could no longer stop the memories from piercing him. He had resisted them for so long, but it was useless to try to do so now.

Thoughts of her consumed him. No, not of the bride. The bride was nothing more than a spoilt, ruthless girl, with no morals or character and of little birth. But she… How different it would all be if it were she, the woman of his heart, the love of his life, the one who was standing now by his side.

Cold sweat drenched him at the thought.

He had once planned a wedding, much different to this one, with her. God, he couldn’t even think of her name; it was too painful. The planning had given him joy back then, years and years ago, a veritable lifetime. He had shared it with her, every single detail. He hadn’t planned to attend that wedding almost drunk, in order to be able to bear it.

He had counted the minutes until she could be his. The days ahead had seemed like a desert before he could enter a church and wait for her at the end of a long aisle, and then take her hand and lead her to their home. The only true home he had ever dared to dream of having.

He had wanted nothing more.

He had…

He had been left at the altar. Or very near it—just a few weeks before his supposed wedding, actually. And that had been a wedding he had been looking forward to with every fiber of his being. Unlike this one.

“Are you sweating, Vaughn?” a voice whispered in his ear.

One of his closest Eton friends, lord Paxton, was beside him, acting as his best man, damn him. Vaughn was not sweating. But he was close to tears.

“No,” Vaughn answered in a sharp, annoyed whisper. “Now kindly shut up.”

“I will,” Paxton whispered through tight, smiling lips. “However, it behooves me to point out that, although I did not fully realize what was happening to you at the time…”


“I am aware that you had some…tragic, so to speak, experience at the altar some six years ago.”

“Five. And I was jilted,” Vaughn supplied helpfully.

“Just so,” Paxton continued, oblivious to his friend’s acidic tone. “And on that note, I wish to point out, as I said…”

“You said it behooves you.”

“That now is not the time to remember past wrongs or indeed…”

“Past loves,” Vaughn mused.

Next to him, Paxton was so taxed by his efforts to console his friend as well as remain as discreet as possible, that he was turning purple—the same color as the puce silk of Vaughn’s waistcoat. Paxton was a good, honorable man, handsome and eligible to boot, but bless him, he was as discreet as an ox.

“Never you worry,” Vaughn turned around to place a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “I shall take care not to appear shattered, even though I entirely am.”

Paxton began nodding happily, and then Vaughn’s meaning began to sink in. Paxton stopped smiling and talking, and gaped.


It seemed as if hours had gone by, but it was mere moments later when the bride, the Honorable miss Adelina Tallant, stood next to Vaughn in a cloud of white. Beyond her, the priest was droning on and on about the divine gift of love, and Vaughn still wanted to die.

Or at the very least escape.

“On a scale of Byron to Dionysus, how drunk are you?” his accursed friend leaned over to whisper in his ear.

Behind him stood the duke of Ashton, his eyes, cold and inscrutable, fixed on his ward, the bride. Vaughn stole a glance at the woman standing next to him. Adelina was dressed in a white gown with a touch more lace than was pleasing to the eye, and she had a permanent smile plastered on her face, a bit too wide and a bit too forced. To Vaugh, she rather resembled the cat that got the cream.

“Go to hell, Paxton,” Vaughn murmured through clenched teeth.

“Not nearly drunk enough then,” his friend said in a mournful tone.

“If anyone knows of a reason for which these two persons should not be joined in…”

Vaughn closed his eyes tightly and clenched his teeth so that not one single word would escape.

“…holy matrimony, let them speak now…”

He was going to faint. He had never felt like this in his life, as if his entire soul was dripping blood, emptying completely.

“…or forever hold their—”


A cry broke the air.

Someone in the audience gasped.

Vaughn’s eyes flew open.

Everyone turned around to look, with much whispering and ruffling of taffeta and silk. Adelina had insisted on a big wedding, against his wishes, and so there now were more than fifty people present to crane their necks towards the slim figure who stood at the open doors of the church, silhouetted by the morning light.

The silhouette swayed, but steadied itself. Then the cry was heard once more.


Vaughn had started running before he realized that he was moving.





A few hours before the wedding




“Break my arm, do it.”

The words, absurd as they were, were spoken by a man, and not just any man. He was Captain Timothée Vaughn, also known as L’ Ange Noir, the’ black angel’, because of his famous good looks and his ruthlessness in destroying evil. All of London had been abuzz with the news of his arrival for months, and even though she didn’t move in any social circles, she hadn’t been able to avoid hearing all about him.

The captain had made his fortune in the Navy, where he had been decorated for bravery and ruined his leg. And after that, once he had been released from his service with a title and a lapel full of medals, he had made another, even bigger fortune as a privateer. No one cared that he was lame, as long as he was rumored to be richer than Midas.

They also said that his one arm wasn’t as agile as it should be, and that he was never seen to hold a drink in his right hand, or lead a lady in a dance by it. However, it was not said that he was not seen dancing, often and with alacrity.

And why should all enjoyment stop just because he had been wounded in battle? If he could walk, he could dance, couldn’t he? He was an extremely wealthy man, prodigiously young, only six and twenty, and quite unfairly good-looking. And even more important than all of that, he was somehow, inexplicably, single. Or he had been when he had arrived in town.

All of this society knew and whispered to each other over and over like folklore. But no one had ever said anything about him being stark, raving mad.

Which he must be, given what she had just heard him say.

“Your good arm?” another man’s voice, incredulous, asked.

Stella did not know the speaker; she had only recognized Vaughn’s voice.

“I quite literally do not care,” Vaughn’s voice replied. “What use is either arm to me if I’m in prison?”

“That’s a bit too dramatic, Tim,” the second voice said. “Marriage is not the exact same thing as prison.”

“Isn’t it?” Vaughn’s voice dripped bitterness.

“Oh, please,” the other voice replied. “These words coming from the lips of a pirate are droll, to say the least. If anyone knows what a real prison is, it’s you, Tim. And calling this a prison…is coming it much too brown, my friend.”

“Except that it’s the truth.”

The second voice laughed.

Vaughn had called him ‘his friend’, and he did sound like a real one. A very close one, too, seeing as L’ Ange Noir was prone to murder anyone who even attempted to use his Christian name, let alone a shortened version of it. It was French, like his mother, and the source of endless teasing during his childhood years. That was why he had abandoned it growing up, and had reserved its use only for his very close personal friends.

Stella herself had been asked, begged, ordered to call him by it once.

‘If I cannot be Timothée on your lips,’ he had told her, ‘then I don’t know what I should be.’

‘You should be yourself, silly,’ she had replied, but he had not been able to let it go until she called him by his name.

That had happened a lifetime ago.

But now that she thought about it, his friend was right. Vaughn did have a tendency for dramatics. Then again, one didn’t simply become a millionaire pirate within five short years unless he quite an original type of man. And if anything else, Captain Vaughn was an original type of man. To say the least.

Not to mention the only man she had ever loved.

“It is the truth,” Vaughn’s voice insisted, becoming more impassioned by the minute. Stella shrank further back into the shadows. There would be no way to interrupt this very intelligent dialogue now. When Vaughn became impassioned, there was just no turning back. “Marriage to the…to this would be pure hell and you know it, Paxton.”

Oh, so that was his friend. The notorious Lord Paxton, he of the heartbreaker fame and Greek-godlike beauty. That was the gossip, anyway. He was also said to have a tongue sharper than his wit. She had once known Lord Paxton, and he had been none of these things, but people changed. She had changed. Vaughn had—he had become a madman, apparently. Anyway, she doubted that he would remember her now, except as the girl who had destroyed his friend’s life.  And she had chanced upon them together. That is going to make this even harder. Why oh why did I ever venture out of the safety of my home?

But that building wasn’t home; it was a prison.

And she was here exactly because of that. She knew what it meant to be a slave, with no hope of ever earning one’s freedom. If she couldn’t find it for herself, she would fight for others to get it. She gritted her teeth. I can do this.

“She is a pretty-looking girl, your fiancée,” Lord Paxton was trying to convince the captain, but his voice sounded unsure of itself. “Can’t be that bad.”

“Oh, but it can.” Vaughn’s voice cracked. “She forced this on me, did you know that? I have no desire to spend five minutes in her company, never mind my whole life. But I’m being held hostage. She designed it all, and I fell into her trap like an imbecile.”

“I had guessed something suspicious was afoot,” Lord Paxton’s voice replied. “I had no idea that you felt so strongly and yet still went on with it.”

“I am forced to,” Vaugh sounded as if he was having trouble breathing. “There is no way to extricate myself from this situation without ruining her reputation as well. And she knew that I would not allow that to happen to a lady, any lady, no matter how…distasteful her actions, and has therefore secured her match.”

Stella inhaled sharply.

She had known that the captain was getting married soon; she didn’t know exactly when, but that was part of the reason why she was here, after all.

But she hadn’t known that this marriage was against his will. It tore her heart apart to think of him being forced to marry a girl he wouldn’t even call by name, but instead referred to as ‘that’. Something inside her screamed that this wasn’t the Vaughn she knew, he would never have allowed himself to be thus duped. Something inside her screamed that a man had to have been quite broken indeed in order to find himself in such a situation, unable to fight back. Passive. Defeated.

She would do well to stomp that something inside her dead.

She thought she had; but she hadn’t. In her head, he was still the slender, tall young man he had been four years ago, brown-blond head full of dreams, full lips stretching in a dimpled smile full, and that stubborn shining light in his green eyes.

If she were honest with herself, Stella would prefer to keep his image this way inside her head. But then again, she hadn’t had any choice in the matter: She hadn’t seen him after the day she had broken their engagement, and her own heart.

Not for five years.

And now here she was, overhearing him ask his friend to break his arm.

I should make my presence known before this takes a turn for the even more bizarre. Although how that would be possible, I’m sure I don’t know.

She tried to clear her throat, but it had gone dry.

“Fine,” Vaughn was saying, his voice thin, exasperated. “I’ll challenge you to a duel then.”

“I won’t bite,” his friend’s voice replied.

“I shall hit you with my glove.”

“I shall forgive you.”

Silence for a bit.

“What if I happen to have hidden a horseshoe in the glove with which I hit you?” Vaughn asked sweetly.

“And killing one of the few men who can tolerate you in England would help you how exactly?”

Stella decided that she liked this Paxton fellow.

“I have excellent aim,” the captain replied, the sound of his voice moving briefly away, as if he were pacing in agitation. “I shall simply make you furious enough to break my nose in retaliation. Or to fight me. Hopefully you’ll break a bone or two of mine, or at least stab me in the stomach.”

His friend gave an unearthly cry, as if he wanted to tear out his own hair. Stella shared the sentiment entirely.

“For God’s sake, Vaughn,” the gentleman said, “is there no way out of this wedding that doesn’t involve broken bones or bleeding intestines?”

“Sure there is,” the captain replied. “Throw me in the Thames.”

“That in no way guarantees that you will catch a chill, you know,” the other gentleman replied with a touch of a sneer. “You could always jilt the chit, Vaughn, if the idea of marriage to her is so repugnant to you that you would maim yourself to avoid it. Be a man, don’t you know?”

Something in the matter-of-fact way lord Paxton spoke to the captain pierced Stella’s heart. Was Vaughn really trapped by the woman? Or was he so hardened by life that he didn’t even want to commit to marriage to his own fiancée?

“No,” the captain answered quickly. “It will ruin her. It’s already gotten about that she was the one who made advances…” Just when it was beginning to get interesting, Vaughn stopped himself abruptly.

“Well, then.” His companion’s voice sounded sad. “Any other intelligent ideas?”

Stella couldn’t imagine what L’ Ange Noir would reply to that, but unfortunately, she never had a chance to find out. A dead branch crunched underneath her shoe, making what seemed like a deafening ‘crack’ in the silence of hushed voices and chilly night.

At once, she could feel both men freeze on the other side of the bushes. She couldn’t see them, hidden as they were from her by the thick shrubbery of one of Vauxhall Gardens’ endless mazes and the cloak of night, but this was the kind of silence that one could hear.

“Who’s there?” Vaughn cried out in a hard, unfamiliar voice, and suddenly she could very well imagine him as the black angel everyone talked about, brandishing a knife at his enemies, blood dripping from his clothes.

Stella cowered in her corner, but she did not dare move, because the maze was so vast and complicated, one false move and she would get lost in it forever.

“What on earth is going on here?”

*end of free sample*

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