As an Earl Desires

As an Earl Desires

3.6 25
by Lorraine Heath
     
 

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USA Today bestselling and Rita Award-winning author Lorraine Heath has created a lush, emotional love story.

Camilla Hutchenson, countess, sponsor, darling of the ton, has reached a staggering level of social power. But one man has managed to distract her attention from her schedule of charity endeavours and teas—and not just because he holds the deed

Overview

USA Today bestselling and Rita Award-winning author Lorraine Heath has created a lush, emotional love story.

Camilla Hutchenson, countess, sponsor, darling of the ton, has reached a staggering level of social power. But one man has managed to distract her attention from her schedule of charity endeavours and teas—and not just because he holds the deed to her estate.

The man in question, Archibald Warner, is the new Earl of Sachse. Though at first meeting he suspects his new ward of being nothing more than a social bit of fluff, the more time passes, the more he finds himself drawn to her. But there is something she is hiding from him, and she hesitates to show him her real heart, even though she wishes she could learn to trust him with it. For somehow she knows . . . if only she can give him the chance, he will teach her everything she could hope to learn about love.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060529475
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/29/2005
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
562,863
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

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As an Earl Desires

Chapter One

London
1879

"Honestly, Sachse, I don't know how you expect to find a suitable wife if you refuse to be fitted for new clothing."

Archibald Warner, the seventh Earl of Sachse, watched as Camilla Warner, his predecessor's widow, paced before him, clearly agitated, wringing her delicate hands, furrowing her youthful brow. While the previous earl had been older than any man Arch had ever known-not that he'd ever met the fellow, and based upon what he'd learned so far he was rather glad that he hadn't-his widow was two years Arch's junior. And the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen.

Today she wore a fashionable dress of the palest pink silk, which accentuated her trim figure and complemented her alabaster skin. She was quite at home in his residence-it had been part of her husband's holdings-and had removed her decorative hat upon entering his library. The sunlight pouring through the windows glinted off her upswept brown hair, touching upon it and causing it to glisten, making it appear that many of the strands had been spun from gold.

All Season, she'd been an exemplary hostess, accompanying him on most of his outings, introducing him to this duke and that earl, this marquess, that viscount. She knew the history of every aristocratic family and details about their lives that some might prefer she didn't know. Without looking in Debrett's, she could advise on the proper hierarchy and where one should be seated based on rank so as not to give offense to anyone else at the table.

He was truly amazed that she'd mastered all the etiquette and protocol, which he tended to bumble. He couldn'thave been more grateful for her assistance ... usually.

This afternoon being a rare exception.

She'd arrived at his residence only moments ago and before he could even offer a proper greet-ing, she promptly began to scold him because he had no desire to be fitted with new clothing. Rather he preferred to sit in his library-the only advantage he'd found so far to being the earl was the abundance of books at his disposal-and finish reading the novel he'd begun yesterday. He often wondered if he should advise Camilla when she went off on one of her tirades that he'd served for a time in Her Majesty's army and was quite skilled with a rifle.

"Sachse, have you listened to a single word I've spoken?"

He looked into her earnest brown eyes. She cared so much about things for which he cared nothing. And yet the intensity with which she cared intrigued him.

"Perhaps I should simply marry you; then I would not have to be concerned with a new wardrobe." Or a good many other things come to think of it. The notion did have some merit.

Although judging by the exaggerated rolling of her eyes, she disagreed. "You cannot marry me. I am barren. You must marry a woman who can provide you with an heir."

She spoke with practicality, but as always, he heard her hesitation and her slight quiver over the word barren. She tried so hard to appear unfeeling, but he'd long ago deduced that it was simply a well rehearsed act. Much of her behavior was a performance, which more often than not irritated him because she did not trust him enough to reveal her true self.

Whatever had the old earl done to make her think that she was naught but an actress upon his stage?

"Therefore," she continued, "you must see your tailor when he arrives this afternoon and not find yet another excuse to leave the house before he gets here."

"I have very little interest in securing a woman who places such high regard on the cut of my jacket."

"It is not your jacket that will impress her, but rather what it tells her about you."

"Which would be what exactly?"

"You care not only about the latest fashions, but you have the means to purchase them. You are modern. You take great pride in your appearance. You will make an excellent husband."

"A woman can determine all that from a bit of clothing?" he asked, incredulously.

"One should never underestimate how loudly one's attire speaks to the world. Of course, in addition I will be touting the strength of your character, and it will make my calculated whisperings more believable if you are well turned out."

He set his book aside and rose to his full height. She took a step back. She always did. Kept her distance when he would like nothing more than to close the space separating them-the physical as well as the emotional. She intrigued him because she appeared to live within a tower of her own building, much as Rapunzel, and he wondered if he removed the pins from her hair if the golden brown tresses would fall to the ground.

"Why do you care so much that I marry?" he asked.

"I care that you have an heir, that you do not lose all that you've gained from the old Sachse-may he rest in hell."

Arch chuckled at the answer, which he suspected only touched upon the truth. She gained nothing if he gained an heir, and he'd learned that she never took an interest in anything that offered her no gain. If she wished to pretend her motives were as she'd indicated, he'd allow it for now. In time, though, he would discern her true reasons.

"Camilla, I will not lose any of this until I die, at which point, I will not care what happens to any of it."

She turned away from him, and the temperature in the room seemed to drop, causing a shiver to race along his spine. He didn't know how she managed so effectively to show her irritation with him, yet she did.

As an Earl Desires. Copyright (c) by Lorraine Heath . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She's been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA's prestigious RITA®. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.

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As an Earl Desires 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe if you do not care for or like your female character, then the book fails immediately. This character was unlikable to me. The male character was better. I wanted this book to end so I could read something better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
CAMILLA COMES ACROSS AS A NOBILITY SNOB WHEN IN REALITY SHE IS JUST PLAIN IGNORANT OF WHAT A MAN WOULD CONSIDER A 'TERRIBLE SECRET.' SHE IS SO WISHY-WASHY ON HER FEELINGS FOR ARCHIBALD (HORRID NAME FOR A HUNK) THE BOOK SHOULD HAVE BEEN CALLED 'YES-NO-MAYBE-POSSIBLY-I DON'T KNOW.' AS TO THE SECOND 'SECRET'--IT WASN'T HARD TO FIGURE OUT WHAT IT WOULD BE AND AGAIN CAMILLA SOLD ARCH SHORT IN THE 'IT WOULDN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE DEPARTMENT.' A 2 ON THE 1-10 SENSUAL SCALE BUT BY THE TIME ANY REAL ROMANCE CAME ABOUT--I WAS COUNTING THE PAGES TO THE END OF THE BOOK.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heath never disappoints and although I struggled to like the heroine in the beginning, she finally grew on me as I started to view her through Archie's eyes. This is an engaging story with an interesting hero. I am hoping the author will also tell Thomas Warner's story!
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Though not a complicated plot, it was a good read.
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:-)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. Lorraine Heath is an excelent writer!
willaful More than 1 year ago
Although this is the first in the "Lost Lords" series, it is also a direct sequel to _Love With a Scandalous Lord_, which is third in the "Daughters of Fortune" series. Confusing! But many of Heath's books are connected in some way. Anyway, after reading that book, I was very curious about how Heath would turn the secondary characters into hero and heroine: Archie came across as so mild-mannered as to be a bit of a doof and Camilla is not only cold and selfish but does some quite morally repuganant things. Archie comes out beautifully. Although definitely a "beta" hero, kind and gentle, he has hidden depths of will he hides behind an easy-going facade. He is the perfect hero for a lost, wounded heroine needing great tenderness, which Camilla is. Unfortunately, Camilla's "rehabilitation" is lacking: Heath gives her a tragic past and some tremendous strength in overcoming it, which makes her quite admirable, but then gilds the lily by making her a secret do-gooder, which doesn't gibe with her previous character. And as for the unpleasant things she did in the previous book, those are almost completely glossed over, which is such a cop-out. So I started out finding this story a bit of a let-down. But as it got more involved, I started to appreciate it for what it did have rather than being annoyed at what it didn't, and got caught up in the sad, sweet romance. I could even forgive the inevitable uber-happy-epilogue, because Heath pulls it off so well and with a few surprises.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1879 Archibald Warner struggles with the pomp and circumstance of being the new Earl of Sacshe although his predecessor¿s widow Camilla offers plenty of help and advice on etiquette. Camilla makes it clear to Arch that she will find him a proper wife and in the process plans to marry a duke. Arch does not want any acceptable spouse; he wants Camilla, who is two years younger than him. She refuses to consider being his spouse as she is barren and he needs an heir.--- As Camilla pushes respect over love, Arch showers her with kindness even telling his solicitor to back off on how she spends his money and occasionally steals a kiss that always jolts her. He plans to marry Camilla or no one, but he knows how difficult that will be to achieve as she is stubborn and her late spouse his predecessor scarred her mentally, hopefully not for life.--- Victorian romance readers will enjoy Lorraine Heath¿s latest historical starring a wonderful male protagonist. Fans at first will dislike Camilla as being a snob, but change their tune as they get to really know her especially what she does with her ¿excesses¿ and how her past (childhood poverty and the previous Earl) shaped her present. It is the change in attitude by the audience towards the female lead that makes this a fine tale while showcasing Ms. Heath¿s storytelling skills.--- Harriet Klausner