Lessons in Seduction [NOOK Book]

Overview

What is prim and proper Miss Vivianna Greentree to do when her precious haven for orphans is threatened? She has no choice but to turn to the owner of the property, Sir Oliver Montegomery—yet the heartlessscoundrel refuses to be swayed by reason. So Vivianna must resort to other means of persuasion ...

Under the tutelage of Madame Aphrodite, London's most notorious courtesan, Vivianna is determined to learn the sensuous secrets that will render a man weak with desire, to melt ...

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Lessons in Seduction

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Overview

What is prim and proper Miss Vivianna Greentree to do when her precious haven for orphans is threatened? She has no choice but to turn to the owner of the property, Sir Oliver Montegomery—yet the heartlessscoundrel refuses to be swayed by reason. So Vivianna must resort to other means of persuasion ...

Under the tutelage of Madame Aphrodite, London's most notorious courtesan, Vivianna is determined to learn the sensuous secrets that will render a man weak with desire, to melt Oliver's stony heart with a kiss, a caress and a promise. But as her encounters with Oliver become more intense, Vivianna unexpectedly discovers a fiery passion that leaves her breathless. And soon it becomes unclear exactly who is seducing whom ...

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061748400
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 230,637
  • File size: 497 KB

Meet the Author

Sara Bennett has always had an interest in history, and to survive a series of mind-numbing jobs, she turned to writing historical romance. She lives in an old house, with her husband and animals too numerous to mention, in the state of Victoria, Australia, where she tries to keep the house and garden tidy, but rarely succeeds—she'd rather be writing or reading.

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First Chapter

Lessons in Seduction

Chapter One

Berkeley Square
London
1840
Fourteen years later

Inside the tall, elegant London townhouse, Lord Montegomery was impatiently allowing his valet to put the finishing touches to his evening ensemble. Fitted black coat and tapered black trousers and a fine white linen shirt with a high collar and white cravat. The only splash of color came from his waistcoat; bottle-blue velvet with gold embroidery and large gold buttons.

There was a time when Oliver never would have worn such an item, when black and white were the only accepted colors for evening dress. The waistcoat was unforgivably vulgar and tasteless, but he thought it appropriate; it represented to him the present state of his life. Tonight he was planning to spend a pleasant few hours at Aphrodite's, before moving on to a drinking house affectionately called the Bucket of Blood, where he hoped to see some bare-knuckle fighting and lay a bet or two. In the past, a night like that would occur every month or so, but now it was close to every night. Drinking, gambling, carousing; his standards had slipped. To all inte nts and purposes he was on a downward slide -- everybody said so.

And that was just as he wanted it.

"My lord?"

A glance at the door showed him his butler, looking troubled.

"What is it, Hodge?"

"The young person who called earlier is outside in the square. I can see her lurking by the garden railings. Should I call the constables?"

"Do you mean Miss Vivianna Greentree?"

"Correct, my lord."

Oliver frowned at his own reflection. Here was a complication he had not expected. Miss Greentree from Yorkshire, come to ring a peal over him.

"My lord? Shall it be the constables?"

Oliver picked up his ebony-handled cane. "Efficient as the members of Sir Robert Peel's Metropolitan Police Force are, Hodge, I do not think they are required just yet. Let her be. If she tries to follow me, she will find she has bitten off more than she can chew. Send the carriage around. I am ready."

Hodge bowed and went to do his bidding, while Oliver followed at a more leisurely pace. Miss Greentree might be an unexpected complication, but he did not think she was a particularly dangerous one. In fact, her presence in London might well enhance his wicked reputation even more. Time would tell what part Miss Vivianna Greentree from Yorkshire had to play in this story.

* * *

Miss Vivianna Greentree stood outside the tall, elegant London house, its windows ablaze with light, and felt very small. Beneath the thin soles of her leather half-boots she could feel every bump in the square, and the cold crisp air made her shiver despite her sensible wool gown and her warm cloak with its furtrimmed collar.

Impotent anger stirred inside her, a dark, smothering sense of frustration that had been building since she left the Greentree estate all those days ago in response to a frantic letter from the Beatty sisters concerning the fate of the Shelter for Poor Orphans.

Before her, on the west side of Berkeley Square, the elegant Queen Anne home of Lord Montegomery rose up like an accusation. The Montegomerys were an old, proud, and aristocratic family, and Oliver was the last of them. What would a gentleman of his privileged background know of poverty and abandonment? Vivianna's fingers tightened upon the riding crop she held in one hand -- protection, in case she needed to go into streets that were less than suitable for a woman of her class and refinement.

Vivianna had already been up to Lord Montegomery's door to ask that he speak with her on a matter of urgency. The supercilious-looking butler who answered her brisk use of the knocker had informed her that Lord Montegomery was about to go out to his club, and besides, he did not allow unaccompanied female persons into his dwelling.

As if, Vivianna thought furiously, it was her reputation in doubt rather than his!

Again her gloved fingers tightened upon the riding crop. Well, he would soon realize that Miss Vivianna Greentree from Yorkshire was not so easily thrown off the scent. She was determined that the Shelter for Poor Orphans would not close down because of one selfish gentleman.

A rattle of wheels and clatter of hooves heralded the approach of a carriage from the far end of the square. It drew to a halt outside Montegomery's house. His lordship, it appeared, was preparing to go out to his club just as his butler had said.

This was the moment Vivianna had been waiting for. Even she, country bumpkin that she was, knew that fashionable London gentlemen were wont to go out in the evening. And from what she had learned of Lord Montegomery, he was a very fashionable gentleman indeed.

Quickly, she moved into the shadows by the iron railings that protected the garden and the plane trees in the middle of the square. One of the passengers on the mail coach, with whom she had shared the long journey south, had been very informative when it came to London gentlemen of Lord Montegomery's ilk, and with an eye to the future, Vivianna had encouraged him to talk of such creatures in general.

"Gaming and drinking clubs, night houses, and disorderly women! My goodness, miss, you mind yourself in London, a sweet innocent little thing like yourself."

Vivianna did not consider herself "sweet," and although she was "innocent" in the physical sense, she was very well read and informed. Nor did she believe herself to be in any danger from Montegomery. A man like that would prefer all the superficial womanly virtues -- sweet and biddable, and certainly beautiful, in a wan and helpless sort of way. Vivianna knew herself to be none of these things; certainly she was not beautiful in the current fashion ...

Lessons in Seduction. Copyright © by Sara Bennett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 8 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    enticing Victorian romantic suspense

    In 1840 Vivianna Slater stalks Lord Oliver Montgomery as she wants him to reconsider tearing down Candlewood Estate because the Shelter for Poor Orphans is located there. She follows him to a brothel where unable to resist Oliver kisses Vivianna and finds he wants more; so does she. Owner Aphrodite tells Vivianna to use her feminine wiles to get what she wants from Oliver. Vivianna learns that Oliver¿s older brother Anthony committed suicide at Candlewood after seeing his almost fiancée kissing him. Oliver believes that Lord Lawson, the next Prime Minister, killed Anthony because his brother found incriminating documents. Oliver feels the papers are in a hidden room at Candlewood that he plans to find even if he needs to tear down the place.--- Vivianna realizes she must seduce Oliver to get him to change his mind, but needs a teacher. She asks Aphrodite for lessons. The madam agrees on the condition that Vivianna explain her passion for the orphanage. She tells her that she and her sisters were abandoned as children; Aphrodite is stunned. Oliver tells Vivianna he has fixed up another of his properties for the orphans. That night they make love. Afterward he tells her that Lawson killed Anthony and that a confrontation is coming.--- This enticing Victorian romantic suspense stars a strong lead couple with the secondary characters enhancing the look at the motivations of the prime duet. Most interesting to sub-genre fans is how cleverly and effortlessly Sara Bennett establishes two sequels without intruding on this fine story line. Though some readers will think the final confrontation was too anticlimactic (this reviewer thought it was perfect), fans will enjoy this terrific historical.--- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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