The Lady Chosen (Bastion Club Series)

The Lady Chosen (Bastion Club Series)

4.1 57
by Stephanie Laurens
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Tristan Wemyss, Earl of Trentham, never expected he'd need to wed within a year or forfeit his inheritance. But he is not one to bow to the matchmaking mamas of the ton. No, he will marry a lady of his own choosing. And the lady he chooses is the enchanting neighbor living with her family next door. Miss Leonora Carling has beauty, spirit and passion; unfortunately

See more details below

Overview

Tristan Wemyss, Earl of Trentham, never expected he'd need to wed within a year or forfeit his inheritance. But he is not one to bow to the matchmaking mamas of the ton. No, he will marry a lady of his own choosing. And the lady he chooses is the enchanting neighbor living with her family next door. Miss Leonora Carling has beauty, spirit and passion; unfortunately, matrimony is the last thing on her mind . . .

To Leonora, Tristan's kisses are oh-so-tempting, but once bitten, forever shy, she has determinedly turned her back on marriage. But Tristan is a seasoned campaigner who will not accept defeat. And when a mysterious man attempts to scare Leonora and her family from their home, Tristan realizes he's been given the perfect excuse to offer his services—as protector, seducer and, ultimately, husband.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"It's a sad day when, having survived everything the French could throw at us, we, England's heroes, return home-only to face an even greater threat," laments Tristan, fourth Earl of Trentham, to his fellow ex-spies after they return from war with Napoleon to discover the sword of matrimony hanging over their heads. In response, the titled gentlemen set up the Bastion Club, a retreat where they can exchange intelligence about the eager-eyed damsels who are their latest challenge. This first installment in Laurens's new series focuses on Tristan, who must wed within a year or support his 14 maiden aunts without his inheritance. Little does he expect to find his future with Leonora Carling, neighbor to the Bastion Club and the victim of several recent home invasions. Intrigued by both Leonora and the suspicious events, Tristan bends his talents to uncovering the mystery burglar and to charming Leonora. Leonora, who has no use for marriage, may be new to the sexual tension vibrating between her and Tristan, but she's willing to explore further, believing that nothing permanent can come of it. When Tristan insists that she marry him, the battle of wills commences. Fans of Laurens's popular Cynster (The Perfect Lover, etc.) romances will expect the high adventure and steamy, sensual love scenes that are her signature, and they won't be disappointed by this solid, if conventional, offering. (Sept.) Forecast: Avon reports that Laurens's previous novels have achieved a 100% sell-through at the major chains. Sales will likely be just as strong for this book and its follow-up, A Gentleman's Honor, which will be published a month later. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060002060
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/06/2003
Series:
Bastion Club Series, #1
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
285,439
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.16(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Lady Chosen


By Stephanie Laurens

Harper Collins Publishers

Copyright © 2003 Stephanie Laurens All right reserved. ISBN: 0060002069

Chapter One

Lust and a virtuous woman - only a fool combined the two.

Tristan Wemyss, fourth Earl of Trentham, reflected that he'd rarely been called a fool, yet here he stood, gazing out of a window at an undoubtedly virtuous lady and indulging in all manner of lustful thoughts.

Understandable, perhaps; the lady was tall, dark-haired, and possessed a willowy, subtly curvaceous figure displayed to advantage as, strolling the back garden of the neighboring house, she paused here and there, bending to examine some foliage or flower in the lush and strangely riotous garden beds.

It was February, the weather as bleak and chill as in that month it was wont to be, yet the garden next door displayed abundant growth, thick leaves in dark greens and bronzes from unusual plants that seemed to thrive despite the frosts. Admittedly, there were trees and shrubs leafless and lifelorn scattered throughout the deep beds, yet the garden exuded an air of winter life quite absent from most London gardens in that season.

Not that he possessed any interest in horticulture; it was the lady who held his interest, with her gliding, graceful walk, with the tilt of her head as she examined a bloom. Her hair, the color of rich mahogany, was coiled in a coronet about her head; hecouldn't from this distance divine her expression, yet her face was a pale oval, features delicate and pure.

A wolfhound, shaggy and brindle-coated, snuffled idly at her heels; it usually accompanied her whenever she wandered outside.

His instincts, well honed and reliable, informed him that today the lady's attention was perfunctory, in abeyance, that she was killing time while she waited for something. Or someone.

"M'lord?"

Tristan turned. He was standing in the bay window of the library on the first floor in the rear corner of the terrace house at Number 12 Montrose Place. He and his six coconspirators, the members of the Bastion Club, had bought the house three weeks ago; they were in the process of equipping it to serve as their private stronghold, their last bastion against the matchmakers of the ton. Situated in this quiet area of Belgravia mere blocks from the southeast corner of the park, beyond which lay Mayfair, where they all possessed houses, the house was perfect for their needs.

The library window overlooked the back garden, and also the back garden of the larger house next door, Number 14, in which the lady lived.

Billings, the carpenter in charge of the renovations, stood in the doorway studying a battered list.

"I think as we've about done all the new work, 'cepting for this set of cupboards in the office." Billings looked up. "If you could take a look and see if we've got the idea right, we'll get it done, then we'll start the painting, polishing, and cleaning up, so's your people can settle in."

"Very good." Tristan stirred. "I'll come now." He cast a last glance at the garden next door, and saw a tow-headed boy racing across the lawn toward the lady. Saw her turn, see, wait expectantly ... clearly the news she'd been anticipating.

Quite why he found her fascinating he had no idea; he preferred blonds of more buxom charms and despite his desperate need of a wife, the lady was too old to be still on the marriage mart; she would certainly already be wed.

He drew his gaze from her. "How long do you think it will be before the house is habitable?"

"Few more days, p'raps a week. Belowstairs is close to done."

Waving Billings ahead, Tristan followed him out of the door.

"Miss, miss! The gentl'man's here!"

At last! Leonora Carling drew in a breath. She straightened, spine stiffening in anticipation, then unbent to smile at the bootboy. "Thank you, Toby. Is it the same gentleman as before?"

Toby nodded. "The one as Quiggs said is one of the owners."

Quiggs was a journeyman-carpenter working on the house next door; Toby, always curious, had befriended him. Through that route Leonora had learned enough of the gentlemen-owners' plans for next door to decide she needed to learn more. A lot more.

Toby, tousle-haired, bright color in his cheeks where the wind had nipped, jigged from foot to foot. "You'll need to look sharpish if'n you want to catch 'im though - Quiggs said as Billings was having a last word, and then the gentl'man'd likely leave."

"Thank you." Leonora patted Toby's shoulder, drawing him with her as she walked quickly toward the back door. Henrietta, her wolfhound, loped at their heels. "I'll go around right now. You've been most helpful - let's see if we can persuade Cook that you deserve a jam tart."

"Cor!" Toby's eyes grew round; Cook's jam tarts were legendary.

Harriet, Leonora's maid, who'd been with the household for many years, a comfortable but shrewd female with a mass of curling red hair, was waiting in the hall just inside the back door. Leonora sent Toby to request his reward; Harriet waited only until the boy was out of earshot before demanding, "You're not going to do anything rash, are you?"

"Of course not." Leonora glanced down at her gown; she tweaked the bodice. "But I must learn whether the gentlemen next door were those who previously wanted this house."

"And if they are?"

"If they are, then either they were behind the incidents, in which case the incidents will cease, or alternatively they know nothing of our attempted burglaries, or the other happenings, in which case ... "She frowned, then pushed past Harriet. "I must go. Toby said the man would be leaving soon."

Ignoring Harriet's worried look, Leonora hurried through the kitchen ...

(Continues...)


Excerpted from The Lady Chosen by Stephanie Laurens
Copyright © 2003 by Stephanie Laurens
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >