Over 200 years ago, what we call today dating was a different animal all together. There was no online dating sites, no texting, no phones, nothing really of what we use today. We hope and expect to marry for love, nothing less. But what about back then? How different was it?

During the time of the Regency, there were strict rules for courtship. First, men simply couldn’t walk up to a lady they found attractive, intriguing or frankly available for a chat without a proper introduction. Exactly what does that mean? At parties or a dance or soiree of any type, the gentleman looked for a person he knew who knew the lady to introduce them. The introducer, announcing the gentleman, could be expected to vouch for the man, that he was of good character because if he were a cad or gambler or other vices, the one who made the introductions would refuse. The lady could either accept the man or not and if not, her denial was echoed throughout the affair, making it very uncomfortable for him.

Courtship then also required the couple to be chaperoned. Rules were simple – until he offered for her hand in marriage, being alone with him could damage her virtue. More than fifteen minutes alone could ruin her, by their standards. Chaperons were family members, friends or servants that the girl’s parent’s trusted, not ones the couple could bribe to “look the other way.”

Was love the reason for marriage? No. While parents no longer ‘arranged’ marriages, they often guided and protected her to look for a man of position, one who’s rank in society elevated her and her family by the marriage. Property gained could be an attraction point but more often it was the rank. If they tolerated each other, liked even better, it was hoped love would follow but few put much hope for that. Men of class looked for the woman who’d grace his arm and give him the ‘heir and a spare,’ hopefully she’d bring a dowry but if not, a child would suffice. Basic requirement he wanted of her was her dowry and mostly, her virginity because he wanted to make sure any children coming was his and not someone else’s.

Marriage is the life goal for both sexes. Living alone, doing a profession was not English upper classes c. 1815. Divorce was difficult, if not impossible to achieve. So if they didn’t get along, they might fight within the house walls but not in public. Many times he lived on another floor from her in their house or he lived at his club.  But to the public and court, they met and went as a happily married couple. While gossip might rage, speculating of their possible separation, often times, no one questioned what went on behind marriage-doors (bedroom).

When a man took a mistress and left his wife left alone, what if they could have a male courtesan?

What if indeed…

Gina Danna

The Wicked Bargain  – available June 19, 2014



London 1816  

Haunted by a past as a sex slave, nobleman Ethan Warth returns to England as a male courtesan for rich matrons and runs a brothel for wealthy lords. Arabella Covington appears on his door, trained in the medical arts but unable to practice because of her gender. He hires her to care for his ladies but her inquisitive nature and beauty make him desire to teach her the world of seduction.  

Ethan, however, never counted on falling in love…


Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gina Danna has spent the better part of her life reading. History has been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, dreaming of writing one of her own. Years later, after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, writing academic research papers and writing for museum programs and events, she finally found the time to write her own stories of historical romantic fiction.

Now, under the supervision of her three dogs and three cats, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.