The Earl of Her Dreams

The Earl of Her Dreams

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by Anne Mallory
     
 

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Facing the choice of flight or a wedding she cannot abide, Kate Simon has chosen to flee. Disguised as a boy, she takes refuge in a roadside inn, and finds herself rooming with intensely secretive Christian Black. Kate is breathless in the presence of this handsome, mysterious rogue whose piercing gaze seems to strip her naked. But neither suspects that a savage

Overview

Facing the choice of flight or a wedding she cannot abide, Kate Simon has chosen to flee. Disguised as a boy, she takes refuge in a roadside inn, and finds herself rooming with intensely secretive Christian Black. Kate is breathless in the presence of this handsome, mysterious rogue whose piercing gaze seems to strip her naked. But neither suspects that a savage storm and a murder will draw them closer together still. But not the passion in their hearts

Christian dares not let anyone learn of his haunted past—or that he is, in truth, the Earl of Canley—especially not a slip of a girl whose masculine attire cannot disguise the exquisite female form beneath. But now that destiny and a dastardly crime have united them, Christian can no longer contain his desire to taste the nectar of Kate's sweet kiss. Danger certainly abounds, but the gravest peril might be resisting a once-in-a-lifetime passion that can heal all wounds.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060872953
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/31/2006
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,239,121
Product dimensions:
6.72(w) x 4.08(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Earl of Her Dreams


By Anne Mallory

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Anne Mallory
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060872950

Chapter One

You're just like your uncle. All you think about is women and pleasure.
The Marquess of Penderdale
to his son Christian, age eighteen

Christian Black strode with long, purposeful steps into the bustling courtyard. The overhead sign proclaiming the Dragon's Tale Inn swayed gently in the cool breeze. Even with a winter storm approaching, the action at the coaching inn refused to still.

Christian ducked. A whiff of leather and a fluttering whisper were his only warnings as a stable boy accidentally tossed the ribbons too far. A quick "Sorry, sir!" and the boy fetched the ribbons and was swallowed by the milling crowd.

Christian smiled. The activity at the coaching inns provided the best entertainment in country towns.

Ostlers jockeyed horses around weaving carriages, and bystanders yelled out encouragement as the drivers displayed their coaches and finery to best advantage.

"Come stay the night here, love. Best service in town."

Christian looked up to see a buxom blonde leaning provocatively over the rail, her assets nearly spilling over the wood as she showed her finery to best advantage as well. He did so love the cold weather when it displayed such bounty so beautifully. Her tight calico bodice strained against her perked breasts, practically begging him to release themfrom their confines. In his twenty-five years he'd never had a problem coaxing any woman from her confines.

He winked at the blonde, and she tossed him a saucy, provocative smile before sashaying inside. His blood flow concentrated in one specific area as he chronicled all he could do with those two luscious offerings. After his business was seen to, of course.

A long-legged, curvaceous diversion was already responsible for his current predicament. He'd have to revisit that curvaceous diversion at some point. He had left far too early. What had she said her name was? Samantha? Sarah? It was something that started with an S.

Not that it mattered. It was his name they always screamed, and not the other way around. He was good at something after all, no matter what his father said.

Christian glanced at the rest of the onlookers leaning against the wooden railing to catch a glimpse of the courtyard spectacles. Guests and workers hung over the inn galleries, even now, in the dead of winter, their breaths released in cold puffs, to watch the fanfare of the entering and exiting carriages.

The audience oohed over the livery colors of the rich, and sympathized with the gaping faces of those relegated to taking their first trip in the -rumble-tumble baskets on the public coaches. They cheered the freshly scrubbed and harnessed horses that were proudly, or impatiently, waiting their turn, aahed over a coachman putting on a dramatic show in his many-caped driving coat, and laughed outright as every once in a while a reckless driver too preoccupied with strutting to his coach stepped in the present a restless horse had left in his path, uncovered or hidden by the fresh straw.

The postman blew his horn and galloped through town, the other horsemen giving him wide berth. The crowd cheered at the sight. Christian tugged at his left glove, paying little heed to the departing coach. Perhaps switching clothes with one of his servants hadn't been such a grand idea after all.

His valet, Bertrand, had nearly had apoplexy as it was, exclaiming the clothes far too coarse for his master to wear. But Bertrand had finally given in, accustomed to Christian's whims, and he was nothing if not steadfastly loyal. It was just a good thing Christian was stubborn; otherwise Bertrand would have resigned him to dandy hell years ago.

He looked up from his examination of the glove and abruptly stopped.

Two stately carriages were lined up for departure, and he recognized the coat of arms on the second as that of a lesser family of the ton. He discreetly donned his hat, tugging it lower until a few dark strands obscured his face. It had been arrogant to remove the hat in the first place. Not that arrogance had ever stopped him before.

Slipping into the crowd, Christian waited for both carriages to process out before tipping his hat back up and sauntering into the inn. The din of the raucous crowd was replaced by muffled noise from the adjoining taproom, and the smell of straw and animal droppings swapped for that of baked chicken and ale.

"Good afternoon, sir. Be with you in a thrice," the cheery innkeeper said. He turned to give last-minute instructions to the buxom blonde maid from the gallery, who sent Christian a lascivious wink before exiting the room.

"Now then, how may we be of service? Post or travel?"

Christian slipped on a charming smile. "Actually, I would like a room for the night."

The innkeeper tugged his bushy auburn mustache, which was at odds with his balding pate. "My apologies, good sir, but we are full for the evening. Perhaps the Green Toad on the other side of town?" He grimaced, obviously chagrined at having to turn away business.

Full? That wouldn't do at all. Christian increased his smile from amiable to charming. "That's most unfortunate. My good friend Anthony told me how excellent the service is here, and that the Dragon's Tale is a much finer establishment than the Green Toad."

The innkeeper's chest puffed out. "Too true, too true." He looked down at a logbook. "But all our rooms are full. The traffic is especially good around the holy days, and we see a fair number of visitors on the post road. Coaching traffic continues to increase our load."

The innkeeper eagerly rubbed his hands together. "Thinking about adding a third section to the Dragon. Possibly making it into a triple gallery like the Four Swans in Bishopsgate. Could hold plays and the like. Would have to move the stables of course, seeing as we only have the two sides currently. And the--"



Continues...

Excerpted from The Earl of Her Dreams by Anne Mallory Copyright © 2006 by Anne Mallory. 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.

Meet the Author

Anne Mallory is a lifelong romance reader who soldher first novel to Avon Books after becoming a finalistin RWA’s Golden Heart contest. In Total Surrender isher eleventh book. A native Michigander, Anne currentlylives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Earl of Her Dreams 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
After an afternoon tryst, Christian Black stops at night at the Dragon¿s Tale Inn only to be told by the proprietor that all the rooms are taken. Not wanting to go on, he persuades the owner to allow him to share a room occupied by an orphaned tailor¿s apprentice Mr. Kaden on his way to London to find work. However, Christian, who enjoys solving puzzles, realizes his night¿s roommate is female. Kate Simon fled the odious machinations of her brother Teddy, who wants her fortune and is willing to do anything to gain control of it including a forced disgusting marriage. Christian immediately asks ¿Miss Kaden¿ her real name. Besides hiding from her sibling until she can reach her solicitor, she finds she must hide her desire for her new roommate. Unable to resist assisting the damsel in distress, Christian fails to inform her he is an earl. As they fall in love, a storm strands them and others at the inn with one of the guests being a killer. --- THE EARL OF HER DREAMS is a wonderful brisk Regency romantic suspense thriller with a delightful investigative subplot into the homicide. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action from the moment that Christian challenges Mr. Kaden¿s masculinity and never slows down until Teddy is put in his place. Fans will appreciate this fine historical as the sleuthing augments a fine romance so much so that readers will demand more cases by the newly formed Canley Investigations perhaps with a secondary player Anthony as the lead sleuth. --- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the book dull. The hero and the herione are interesting though. This book is for ppl who like who dunt stories. The whole story takes place in an inn. I felt like i was playing Clue and i don't care why, where, and how!
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Enjoyed it
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WantonWoman More than 1 year ago
I first started reading Anne Mallory's "What Isabella Desires" and was instantly spellbound by her writing style, plots and amazing seductive characters. Since then I have read all of her romances and find myself reading them over and over again! I loved this book immensely and found the characters, Christian, an adonis with with a remarkable personality and entirely seductive; while I found Kate to be a stubborn sweetheart with also a seductive innocence. I truly loved the "murder" plot and how it brought the two of them together. I look forward to any new romances from Anne Mallory in the future! I recommend this book and all of her's to the highest degree!!
SusanDayH More than 1 year ago
This book took time for me to get into...the plot seems weak and the characters aren't that believable. I'm a bit disappointed in this Anne Mallory novel, but it is readable and fairly enjoyable. I expected more depth and couldn't connect to the characters very well. I am kind of bored of "My father hated me because my mother died in childbirth..." I didn't feel the sympathy.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. You really don't want to put it down. Perfect for a rainy day.
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