By Love Undone (Bancroft Brothers Series #1)

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Overview

Madeliene Willits was shunned by London society for a scandal that was no fault of hers, and forced to seek a paid position in the country. So when Quinlan Bancroft, Marquis of Warefield, comes to direct the household during his uncle's illness, Maddie is determined to detest the nobleman on sight. But though the marquis is easy to dislike, the man himself is a different matter. Quinlan's aplomb in the face of mud, demented pigs, and musketwaving villagers is deucedly appealing. Small wonder, then, that Maddie ...
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By Love Undone

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Overview

Madeliene Willits was shunned by London society for a scandal that was no fault of hers, and forced to seek a paid position in the country. So when Quinlan Bancroft, Marquis of Warefield, comes to direct the household during his uncle's illness, Maddie is determined to detest the nobleman on sight. But though the marquis is easy to dislike, the man himself is a different matter. Quinlan's aplomb in the face of mud, demented pigs, and musketwaving villagers is deucedly appealing. Small wonder, then, that Maddie quite forgets to repulse Quinlan when he enfolds her in a sweet embrace. . .

MEETS THE NOBLE LORD. . .

Caught kissing his uncle's lovely young companion, Quinlan feels she should make amends, and use his rank to re-establish Miss Willits in society. Unfortunately, it is soon apparent that Maddie has no idea how to resist importunate young rakes who believe her ripe for the plucking. But Maddie knows there is only one rake whose attentions she truly needs to fear—because only Quinlan Bancroft possesses the power to break her heart.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380798858
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Series: Bancroft Brothers Series , #1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

A native and current resident of Southern California, Suzanne Enoch loves movies almost as much as she loves books. When she is not busily working on her next novel, Suzanne likes to contemplate interesting phenomena, like how the three guppies in her aquarium became 161 guppies in five months.

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Read an Excerpt

Awkwardly he flattened the paper against his chest. "Listen to this, Maddie. And brace yourself." Malcolm cleared his throat and lifted the wrinkled missive. " 'Brother.' " He stopped and looked up at her, obviously waiting for the significance of that single word to sink in.

Maddie's insides jolted unpleasantly, and the last pillow slipped from her fingers onto the floor. "The Duke of Highbarrow has finally answered your letter," she muttered, sinking onto the comfortable chair beside his bed.

"It's been more than a fortnight since we wrote him. He was bound to answer eventually." He looked sideways at her. "I'd actually begun to wonder whether you'd burned the original letter."

Maddie straightened. "I told you I would send it," she said, wondering if he knew just how close she had come to 'accidently' misplacing the missive in her bed chamber fireplace.

"I know you did." Her employer smiled briefly, then returned his attention to the letter. " 'Brother,' " he began again. "'I was away in York on business when news of your poorly timed illness arrived. I have sat to write you immediately upon my return to Highbarrow Castle.' "

"You were right," Maddie noted, as Mr. Bancroft paused to catch his breath. He tired so easily these days. "He always uses the word 'castle,' doesn't he?"

"At every opportunity. To continue, 'Victoria sends her wishes for a complete recovery, though as you know I really don't give a damn one way or the other.' "

"My word, he's awful."

" 'I am planting my crop at Highbarrow Castle at the moment. Otherwise, despite your past errors of judgment, I would make an effort to call upon you at Langley Hall.'

"Of course," Maddie and Mr. Bancroft agreedin skeptical unison.

All she knew of the duke were tales of his monumental stuffiness and arrogance, and Maddie let out her breath in a silent sigh of relief. He wasn't coming. "So that's that, then," she said, rising. "Hardly enough to warrant frightening me half to death, though. Shame on you."

"That's the good news, I'm afraid."

Slowly Maddie sat down again. "Oh."

"Now please remain calm."

She nodded. "Just as you did," she teased.

"Hush. 'However,'" he resumed, "'as getting the crop in at Langley is of paramount importance, I have spoken with Quinlan. He has agreed to journey to Somerset to oversee planting and to tend to the estate during your recovery. He follows immediately upon this letter, and should arrive at Langley on the fifteenth of the month. Yours, Lewis.' "

Maddie gazed out the window. The lovely spring morning, the first without rain in three days, had become a disaster. Worse than a disaster. She took a deep breath. "I assume His Grace is referring to Quinlan Ulysses Bancroft?"

Her employer nodded, a sympathetic grimace touching his gaunt face. "Afraid so. The Marquis of Warefield himself."

Maddie cleared her throat. ''I see."

He reached out and squeezed her fingers. "I'm dreadfully sorry, my dear. You are acquainted with him, I suppose?"

She shook her head. "Thankfully not. I believe he was in Spain during my . . . visit to London—if you could call it that." Maddie frowned at the memory.

"It wasn't your fault, my girl," Malcolm soothed.

She eyed him fondly, wondering who was supposed to be comforting whom. "You're the only one who thinks so. None of them—not one of them—saw any thing but that stupid kiss, and that stupid man trying to shove his hand down my dress. They didn't care that I wanted nothing to do with it, or with that awful scoundrel Spenser. And I want nothing to do with London society, ever again."

"Well, Quinlan wasn't there, so don't worry yourself. He wouldn't say anything, anyway. Wouldn't be polite, you know."

"I'm not worried." Maddie sat up straighter, pulling her fingers free from his comforting grip. "Nor am I the least bit faint of heart, Mr. Bancroft."

He chuckled. "I never said you were."

"It's merely that I'm . . . annoyed." Ready to throw a screaming fit would be closer to the truth, but she'd had the feeling lately that her peaceful days were numbered. Once the letter to Highbarrow Castle had gone out, someone had been bound to reply.

And even though she didn't know the Marquis of Warefield, she knew of him. Quinlan Ulysses Bancroft was the very pink of the ton, a favorite of the new king, the bluest of blue bloods, the epitome of propriety and dignity. She loathed him without ever having seen his pampered, spoiled, self-important visage. He was one of then.

"Nobility" might be what society called them, but from her experience, the word had nothing at all to do with their characters. "I thought we informed His Grace that you had someone tending to Langley during your illness."

"You didn't expect him to care about that, did you? He owns Langley Hall, my dear; I only manage it for him. And he will take whatever steps are necessary to preserve his considerable monetary well-being, with or without my consent. You know that."

She sighed. "Yes, I know that. Even so, he might have asked whether you wanted assistance before he foisted his son off on you."

Unexpectedly, Mr. Bancroft laughed again, rare color touching his pale cheeks. "I don't believe Quinlan al lows himself to be 'foisted' on anyone."

"How noble he must be," Maddie said unenthusiastically.

Her employer narrowed his eyes, suspicion touching his expression. "Just remember, my dear, the less trouble you make for him, the shorter and less painful his visit is likely to be."

A flash of guilt ran through her. After all, this deuced marquis was Mr. Bancroft's nephew, and it had been at least four years since they had seen one another. Even though she might detest him and the rest of the damned aristocracy, she knew all too well how lonely Malcolm must feel being cut off from his family.

So, little as she liked Warefield's coming, she had no intention of stamping her feet and throwing a tantrum. Not in front of her employer, anyway. "I shall behave," she assured him.

He smiled. ''I have no doubt that you will."

Copyright ) 1998 by Suzanne Enoch

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 4, 2014

    Delightful!

    this is a romance laced with humor. This story has very real characters doing funny things. Also has some hot sex scenes.

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  • Posted September 26, 2013

    Great characters; great angst ... what more can you want ?

    Great characters; great angst ... what more can you want ?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Loved it

    Could'nt put it down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    Bravo

    Excellent story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Ok book.

    Maddie was very annoying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

    Charming, witty, and fun!

    I am a fan of Suzanne Enoch's (though have come late to her work). I was delighted to have found "By Love Undone." I devoured the book in two days. The hero was charming and forthright - but had a delightful rougish spirit underneath. The heroine was a true joy. I loved her quips and barbs, yet the underlying vulnerability she tried so hard to mask. The cast of supporting players were gems - I adored Uncle Malcolm and brother Rafe. I delighted in detesting Eloise. Books like this are true gifts to romance fans. My only complaint comes from the E-book version. There were a large number of typos in the text that took me aback; and, some that caused me to re-read entire paragraphs to make sure I had the correct character. Other than that, I loved this book and have started to read the second book in the series "Taming Rafe." My only hope is it can live up to Maddie and Quin's tale.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    First Book by S. Enoch

    This is the first book I've read by Suzanne Enoch. I really liked the characters in this book as they were actually believable. She did a good job with the story and there were no slow parts. I really want to read the book about Rafe!

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  • Posted August 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read!

    I have to say that Suzanne Enoch wrote some very romantic novels. Her characters in this book are both likeable and have great chemistry. They are both strong minded individuals who are not afraid to admit when they are wrong. They are equals and he treats her with respect and admiration. It's very well written. I also loved her Lessons in Love series....London's Perfect Scoundrel is the best. I have to say that she has never regained the magic of those earlier novels where her characters were so well matched and exciting. I could have passed on these latest novels/series...they were disappointing. However, she did write some great ones. Enjoy!

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  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    By Love Undone by Suzanne Enoch

    A fiery romance with a hero and heroine whose sexual tension leaps off the page. They spend their time insulting each other and trading verbal ripostes in some very witty dialogue. I had a blast reading "By Love Undone" by Suzanne Enoch.<BR/><BR/>Madeline was ruined through no fault of her own and at the instigation of her rotten ex-fiance. Rather than stay with the family who didn't support her, she ran--and ended up as the companion to Mr. Malcolm Bancroft, good natured brother to the high and mighty Duke of Highbarrow. When Malcolm suffers an unexpected illness he writes to his brother. Rather than attend himself, the Duke sends his oldest son, Quin. With Maddie's distaste towards the peerage, she has a hard time being nice to Quin. His gorgeous good looks mean nothing to her!<BR/><BR/>Quin's whole life has been planned and programmed by his father the Duke. When he's sent to his Uncle Malcolm, he's a bit irritated that he'll have to put off going to London to spend a week rusticating in the country. But then comes Maddie. He can't quite figure out why she's so hostile towards him. He really shouldn't care, but soon finds himself enchanted with her spirit and lack of awe. When he's caught kissing her, he agrees with his Uncle. He will take to Maddie back to London and see her re-introduced into society. With his family name behind her, she'll soon find a nice man. So why does the thought of Maggie with anyone else make him so angry?<BR/><BR/>What a pair. They bicker and insult each other, but it's never truly mean. In reality they are so attracted to each other it's a bit like the grade school boy who pulls the girls' pigtails to get noticed. I spent quite a bit of time laughing at their antics when I wasn't cheering for Quin to realize that Maddie is the woman for him. "By Love Undone" was great fun to read and now I can't wait for Quin's brother's story!

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  • Posted October 30, 2008

    Delicious Read.. Delicious read...

    This was my first book by this author and I loved her writing style and how she develops characters that readers care about. If a reader loves strong independent women who take bold stands to defend their integrity then they will love this book. I thought the interaction between the hero and heroine is what made this such a great read: feisty, witty and humorous the stuff of a great read. There is nothing cliche about the story and she provides the reader with a plot that takes the conflict up to the final pages to the expected HEA. I have a feeling that this one may have been a re-write or re-issue of a book from her past and I'm looking forward to finding back titles from this author. If you haven't read this one, it should be read by serious romance readers.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome Book!

    I love the way Ms. Enoch writes! There is such great humor in this story. I laughed, cried, and fell in love. My advice is purchase this book, cuddle under a blanket, and read the day away! Maddie is a herione for all independent women who are lucky enough to find true love.

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    Posted January 15, 2010

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    Posted December 29, 2009

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted August 15, 2013

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    Posted May 15, 2013

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    Posted January 21, 2010

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