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Courting Claudia

Courting Claudia

3.8 11
by Robyn DeHart

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A dutiful woman, a desirable man ...

An artist with a keen eye for the beauty surrounding her — yet none for her own — duty-bound Claudia is resigned to marrying the man of her domineering father's choosing. First, though, she must resign the job she has held in secret as society illustrator "C. J. Prattley." But dashing newspaper owner Derrick


A dutiful woman, a desirable man ...

An artist with a keen eye for the beauty surrounding her — yet none for her own — duty-bound Claudia is resigned to marrying the man of her domineering father's choosing. First, though, she must resign the job she has held in secret as society illustrator "C. J. Prattley." But dashing newspaper owner Derrick Middleton is instantly captivated by Claudia's talent, wit, and sweet nature — and the passionate inner fire she unknowingly possesses. He has other plans for this extraordinary woman.

Until Claudia first entered his London office, Derrick cared for only his paper and the wild bachelor life he has long enjoyed. Now saving Claudia from a dismal marriage — and winning her for himself — becomes his main concern. But courting a woman like Claudia will not be an easy undertaking for a handsome cynic who has always believed true love is not for him — especially after they succumb to an indiscretion that could lead two hearts to ruin ... of a most delicious variety.

Editorial Reviews

Madeline Hunter
“A touching love story, full of charm and honest emotions.”
Pamela Morsi
“Robyn DeHart writes top notch historical romance, sure to be a winner with readers. I loved it!”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Avon Historical Romance Series
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

Courting Claudia

By Robyn DeHart

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Robyn DeHart
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060782153

Chapter One

London, 1848

Claudia inhaled three deep breaths, hoping to calm her addled insides, but her stomach still churned. If this was the right decision, why did she not feel relaxed and assured? Whether her body believed this to be the right decision was of no consequence. No lady of good breeding and any shred of propriety would continue to hold a paying position, especially with a marriage proposal on the horizon.

Which was why she currently sat in a carriage just outside the office of London's Illustrated Times, resignation letter in hand. Of course, learning that her father despised Derrick Middleton and all his paper stood for had aided her decision to resign. Her father would view her employment with the paper as a betrayal. Emerson Prattley expected his daughter to be loyal at any cost, and she was nothing if not loyal. So with feigned confidence, she opened the carriage door.

Derrick Middleton stared at his office door, muttering to himself. One more interruption today and he might fire everyone. Of course, that would only serve to prove to the Conservatives that he was the bastard they thought him to be. Which was not true, at least concerning his employees. His workers regarded him highly--they enjoyed their positions here, they smiled, they came to work every day.

But today had been a bloody mess. All day, one thing after another. One of his journalists broke his leg, and his assignments had to be handed off to another. His wood carvers sat idle, waiting for the delayed shipment of boxwood to arrive before they began next week's woodcuts. They could substitute another wood, but boxwood worked best for the illustrations.

And now last month's books were not reconciling perfectly. The paper still had money--plenty of it--but Derrick wanted his books perfect, down to the last shilling.

He would have to rewrite all the entries and do the calculations himself. Pressure nagged at his temples. He pinched the bridge of his nose to relieve the strain--to no avail.

He poked the quill back into the well, then went to stand at the window. The street below him bustled with activity. People milled about and went in and out of the shops. Awell-dressed lady with an enormous hat decorated with at least a dozen flowers exited a carriage, stopped to smooth her skirts, then looked up as if she knew he stood in the window above her. He took a step back.

The pain in his head drummed against his scalp. Perhaps he should tell Mason he was taking the rest of the afternoon off. He could go home and . . . and what? Worry about the goings on from home. No, he needed to get back to the books and figure out the problem. Perhaps his day would get better. No sooner had he taken a seat than Mason opened the door.

"Mr. Middleton, there is a lady here to see you." The lady from the carriage. "Who is she, and what does she want?" "She didn't say. Although she did say it was most important she meet with you." "She didn't say? I believe it is your job as my assistant to ask such questions." Mason just stood there.

He wasn't a very good assistant, but he was literate and came to work every day. Most days he spoke politely to visitors. And Derrick trusted him--that was the main reason he hadn't fired Mason. Trustworthy employees were hard to come by.

"Very well, send her in." He continued to stand behind his desk until she breached the doorway in a flurry of pale blue ruffles and bows. It was indeed the lady from the carriage, and her hat was even larger this close up. Perplexing how a woman of her stature could hold it up, as she couldn't have been much over five feet tall.

"Thank you for seeing me, Mr. Middleton. I apologize for not making an appointment ahead of time, but I didn't think you would see me if you knew who I was."

"I see. Why did you think I wouldn't see you?"

"Because I am a woman."

He let his eyes roam the short length of her. "Yes, I can see that."

She stared at him as if that was the complete answer--she was a woman--as if that explained everything. He shook his head. "Exactly who are you?"


Excerpted from Courting Claudia by Robyn DeHart Copyright © 2005 by Robyn DeHart. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Madeline Hunter
“A touching love story, full of charm and honest emotions.”

Meet the Author

Robyn DeHart always knew she wanted to be a writer, but it took a while to discover precisely what she wanted to write. Reading Kathleen Woodiwiss's A Rose in Winter sealed the deal, and she's been reading and writing romance ever since. She should have realized she was destined for this career when her Barbies insisted on hosting elaborate masquerade parties, complete with stolen kisses in the moonlight. Researching her novels is always exciting, but when it involves eating chocolate, it's especially sweet. She lives in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, with her incredibly supportive husband and two very spoiled cats. She loves to hear from readers.

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Courting Claudia 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1848 Claudia J. Prattley visits London¿s Illustrated Times editor owner Derrick Middleton to inform him that she will no longer illustrate the Society Fashion Report. He stays calm over her gender deception as he thought C.J. Prattley was male, but cannot afford to lose her as her pictures has brought in a lot of new aristocratic customers. Claudia explains that her father the Viscount expects her to marry soon though she does not want his choice. --- Derrick¿s Aunt Chloe tells him to court the girl so that he can be her husband. Though he knows her father openly hates him, Derrick agrees as not only is CJ intelligent but also pretty besides which she can save his paper. Derrick deceives CJ into thinking he desires her and tricks her into marriage. As they work together on a nasty case involving death and blackmail amidst the Ton including her father, Derrick needs to tell his wife the truth about his ruse because secrets can destroy a relationship even between loved ones. --- COURTING CLAUDIA is a fabulous Victorian romance because of how easily Derrick accepts a female illustrator and the need he has to have her continue to work for him though courting and marriage seems an extreme solution. The story line is fun to follow as Derrick woos Claudia while her father objects to him and tears into paper every chance he gets. A final twist will surprise the audience as Robyn Dehart writes a solid historical tale that reminded this reviewer of the classic play/movie Front Page except a romantic relationship between the stars in the middle of the nineteenth century London. --- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
Claudia Prattley And in Victorian times, working as an illustrator for the fashion page of the newspaper is not it. Her father is pressuring her to marry Richard Foxmore, who has been courting her for a year with no proposal because he¿s waiting for the right time. Claudia decides to put her energy into finding that right time. She goes to the newspaper office to resign in person, though everything else has been done through the post, thus keeping her identity, and her gender, a secret. Derrick Middleton, the owner of the paper, is surprised that his star illustrator is a woman. He¿s even more surprised that she¿s quitting to get married when she¿s not even betrothed. She¿s increased his sales greatly among Society with her skill and the mystery surrounding her identity. Selling his paper to Society is important to Derrick since the death of his father. He knows he can¿t replace Claudia, so he decides the best way to keep her on the job is to court her himself. Claudia doesn¿t have much confidence in herself. She hides her plump figure in ruffled dresses. She bows to her father¿s wishes, especially in regard to Richard. The only thing she¿s secure in is her talent for drawing. So when Derrick declares his intention to court her, she¿d wary. Why would Derrick, the most handsome man in London, want her? What is wonderful about this book is that, in spite of Derrick¿s selfish motivation, he DOES want Claudia. And he lets Claudia know it. He admires the form she finds too fleshy. He kisses her, awakening her desire. But most of all, he gets her. He gets her talent, inviting her to an art show. He talks to her. And despite his vow never to love again, he falls for her. I love how Derrick loves her (despite his vows to the contrary), and how Claudia blossoms under his adoration. Every time they¿re on the page together, the tension vibrates between them. She begins the story thinking Derrick is the worst thing that can happen to her, and even though some of her fears come to light, she grows into a confident woman. Derrick, who survived a loveless marriage, learns he can trust his heart to Claudia. Rich secondary characters (I love Poppy!), sparkling dialogue and an intriguing scandal round out this novel, a luminous debut.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good read:) The only thing negative id say is claudia the heroine was always low on her self the hole book, making her sound like a fat toad!! And her father was pure evil. Overall good plot and mystery and id read it again and again ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to result two plz.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cute story
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