In My Wildest Fantasies: Pembroke Palace Series, Book One

In My Wildest Fantasies: Pembroke Palace Series, Book One

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by Julianne MacLean

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She was just a girl when the future duke saved her from certain tragedy.

But his search for a suitable bride will end with a swift seduction that makes her every inch a woman.

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She was just a girl when the future duke saved her from certain tragedy.

But his search for a suitable bride will end with a swift seduction that makes her every inch a woman.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Pembroke Palace Series , #1
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In My Wildest Fantasies

By Julianne MacLean

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Julianne MacLean
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060819491

Chapter One

August, 1870

A thick, gray mist moved through the darkening forest, creeping low along the ground like a twisting, rolling phantom. Rebecca Newland, dressed in black and seated beside her sleeping father in the dark confines of his carriage, was in a place somewhere between dreams and reality, her head tipped back upon the deeply buttoned leather upholstery, her eyelids falling closed briefly, then fluttering open again as the coach rumbled and bumped along the narrow, winding road.

They were on their way home from her uncle's funeral in London. Regrettably, he was an uncle she had never met before, but that was the story of her quiet life, she supposed. She knew very few people, cloistered away as she was in her father's secluded country house, built of old stone and cloaked in thick, leafy ivy, which hindered even the company of the sunlight.

The only thing that kept her from going completely mad in her isolation was the fact that she was seventeen now, and her first London Season was drawing near—next year perhaps? If she closed her eyes she could see the glitter and the gowns she read about in books, the sparkling jewels and hair combs; she could anticipate the balls and stimulatingconversations. She longed for it, all of it, everything she had been missing in her father's somber home for as long as she could remember.

Oh, she prayed he would let her go next year. Surely he would say yes. It was not as if he relished her presence at home. They were hardly close. And her aunt had offered at least a dozen times to be the one to introduce her to society. . .

She was just beginning to imagine herself curtseying to a handsome duke, when suddenly, the coach swerved, and her belly lurched with panic. She sat forward, gripping the windowsill, then heard a heavy thump.

"Father, wake up," she said, sweeping her idle daydreams aside.

He stirred groggily, sat up and looked around, as if he weren't quite sure where he was. "What is it?"

"Did you hear that noise?" she asked. "The coach swerved, and there was a thump."

They were rolling along quite smoothly now, however, and her father sat back, unalarmed but annoyed with the interruption. "For pity's sake, Rebecca. One of the bags probably tipped over on the roof." He folded his arms and closed his eyes again.

She touched her forehead to the cool windowpane and tried to peer down at the ground passing beneath them, wondering if one of the bags might have fallen off when they'd swerved. Then slowly, the coach began to decrease speed, slower and slower until they were traveling at a snail's pace, then they stopped, and the horses whinnied and jangled the harness.

Her father opened his eyes and sat forward again. "Have we arrived?"

Rebecca was still peering out the window. "No, Father. We're surrounded by sycamores."

He frowned and leaned closer to the window on his own side. "Why the blazes are we stopped here? We're in the middle of nowhere."

"I think you were right. We might have lost a bag."

Growing impatient, he reached for his walking stick and folded his gnarled, rheumatic fingers over the ivory knob, waiting for the driver to appear at the door and inform them of the problem. But there was not even the sound of movement from outside the coach.

"Maybe he's already gone back along the road to retrieve it," Rebecca said.

"Well, he could have told us, instead of leaving us sitting here like a couple of ducks, wondering what the devil is going on."

Rebecca peered out the window again, glanced up at the sky under the mist-shrouded canopy of leaves, and took note of the fading light. "I hope he is quick about it," she said, "or he won't be able to find it—or us—in the dark."

They continued to sit and wait in silence for something to happen, but nothing did. Rebecca watched the mist blow past the window, and felt rather uneasy. "May I get out to see what's going on?" she asked.

Her father grunted his displeasure and reached for the door handle on his own side, while she wrapped her shawl around her shoulders and did the same. The step had not been lowered, so she hopped the distance to the ground. She landed with a thud and turned to lower the step.

As she did so, a chill enveloped her and seeped like icy water through the sleeves of her black serge gown. She looked around. The forest was as silent and still as the grave, except for the mist drifting between the trees. She could smell dampness and moss and tree bark, but heard nothing. No wind, no birds, nothing.

She shivered, then one of the horses whinnied and shook the harness again. Turning and gathering her shawl more tightly around her shoulders, she looked up. The coachman's seat was empty. It was as if he had simply vanished.

Was this a haunted forest? she wondered ridiculously. Was there a troll who plucked coachmen from their seats and feasted on their tasty bones?

Her father came around the back of the coach and stopped to stare down the road they'd already traveled. "I'll have his hide."

Rebecca sighed, wishing her father's nap had not been interrupted. Now he would be irritable the rest of the day, and she would be the one to bear the brunt of it inside the coach.

"Smith!" he shouted, his voice swallowed instantly by the thick chill in the forest. "Did we lose something?"

No reply. Not even an echo.

Rebecca moved closer to him. "Should we go and look for him?"

Her father leaned his frail form upon his cane, but before he could answer, a noise from somewhere ahead caused them both to turn. It was the heavy, thunderous rumble of hoofbeats.

Rebecca's heart began to tremble. Someone was coming.


Excerpted from In My Wildest Fantasies by Julianne MacLean Copyright © 2007 by Julianne MacLean. 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.

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Meet the Author

Julianne MacLean fell in love with some of the classic romances—Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice—while completing her degree in English literature. Then she decided that she needed a "real job," but after a brief stint as a government auditor, she realized she just didn't care enough about numbers matching up. So a month before her wedding, she sat down and wrote the first paragraph of a romance. Now fifteen years, a husband, and a daughter later, Julianne is a happy, fulfilled, stay-at-home mom and a devoted romance writer.

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In My Wildest Fantasies 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In My Wildest Dreams was a delightful story full of sympathetic and interesting characters and sweet and unexpected surprises. For example Rebecca,the heroine, manages to be both curious innocent and sultry wanton at the same time thanks to an ingenious plot device I've never seen used before. Both she and the slightly flawed hero carry some emotional baggage and have to deal with somewhat dysfunctional families but Ms MacLean draws her characters with such skill and compassion that it's impossible not to care for and root for them. Though their appearances are brief, Devon's parents and his brother Vincent are vividly drawn characters, memorable for their strengths as well as their weakness, and each intriguing and mysterious in a way that tugged at my imagination. I'd really like to know more about these people. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and devoured it in one sitting. Without giving too much away, I'd have to say that there's a BIG surprise on the last page that left me eager for book two. There's just something about Vincent... Anyway...highly enjoyable...highly recommended...a five star read. Hope the wait's not too long to find out what happens next.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1870 heiress Rebecca Newland refuses to marry the man chosen by her family. She decides to find her dream lover Devon Sinclair, the heir to a dukedom as she has never forgotten him although she has not seen her hero in four years since he saved her life in a runaway coach.-------------- Devon¿s father the duke is irate with his hedonistic ways he demands his son marry by Christmas or lose everything. He searches for a biddable bride when Rebecca finds him. He knows she hero-worships him so figures he can bully her to do his bidding in bed and with her money. However, he soon admires her and falls in love with his new wife she has loved him for four years but recognizes her hero has flaws.----------------- The first Pembroke Palace Victorian romance is a warm charmer starring a likable lead couple although readers will need time to warm up to devious delectable Devon and realize that Rebecca is not a worshipping bonehead. The story line is simply fun with the hero beginning to understand the treasure he obtained when he married is not his wife¿s wealth, but is her. Julienne MacLean provides an enjoyable late nineteenth century romp.--------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoying the series.
LindaTownsend More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book! From the very 1st chapter, I was hooked and the story remained exciting until the very end. It's an adventurous sexy romp set in Victorian England. Devon is an aristocratic Lord who makes women swoon; Lovely blue-blood Rebecca has led a sheltered life with her father. Interspersed thru-out and an intriging part of this story is the explicit tale of another couple's love story many years before in an old diary Rebecca found. I highly recommend this book. I love Julianne's writing and didn't want to put it down.
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skelley55 More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because of the reviews but did no love the book.  It was just okay to me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where can i buy those ebooks in spanish? thanks
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Loved this book!!!! Loved the main characters!!!! Highly recommend!!!
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