Little Bit Wicked

( 19 )

Overview

Who will be the last unmarried man standing?

No man in his right mind would want to get married, but every duke, earl, and viscount knows that a fellow must do his duty in the end. So four of London's most desirable gentlemen make a wager—the prize going to the one who remains unwed the longest.

Gideon Pearsall, Viscount Warton, thinks he has a fair shot at winning. After all, he's managed to enjoy the favors of many a lady while resisting the ...

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A Little Bit Wicked

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Overview

Who will be the last unmarried man standing?

No man in his right mind would want to get married, but every duke, earl, and viscount knows that a fellow must do his duty in the end. So four of London's most desirable gentlemen make a wager—the prize going to the one who remains unwed the longest.

Gideon Pearsall, Viscount Warton, thinks he has a fair shot at winning. After all, he's managed to enjoy the favors of many a lady while resisting the parson's noose. Even when he's stopped dead in his tracks by the most scandalous woman in all of London—Judith, Lady Chester—he vows to have her bedded but never wedded.

Beautiful, and more than a little bit naughty, Judith has always kept herself within the bounds of respectability, even while playing by her own rules. And the experience has taught her to avoid marriage. She has no desire to resist Warton's hot kisses, and his tempting touch is impossible to ignore.

But soon both Judith and Gideon can't help but wonder . . . is it possible to be a little bit wicked and still follow your heart?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060882624
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/26/2006
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 656,038
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was more fun than real life. She is the author of thirty-one novels, and her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Victoria lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her long-suffering husband and two dogs, in a house under endless renovation and never-ending chaos.

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Read an Excerpt

A Little Bit Wicked


By Victoria Alexander

Avon

Copyright © 2006 Victoria Alexander
All right reserved.




Chapter One

It was far and away the perfect opportunity, and only a fool would let it slip away. Gideon Pearsall, Viscount Warton, was no fool.

He suspected no one else in the overcrowded parlor at Lady Dinsmore's monthly evening of Musical and Literary Entertainments had noted the lovely Lady Chester discreetly leave the room. But then he doubted anyone else had been watching the charming widow with as close an eye as he had. No, all eyes were on the hostess's insipid nephew, who even now, with a spritz or two of something into his mouth and numerous clearings of his throat, prepared to regale the gathering with his poetry of youthful passion and dubious quality. Gideon was confident therefore that no one would notice as well when he followed Lady Chester's example. He sent a quick nod of thanks heavenward that he had had the foresight to plan his own escape and had positioned himself in the back of the room.

He slipped out a side door and glanced down the corridor to catch a flash of blue silk skirt as the lady turned the corner. Access to Lady Dinsmore's terrace lay in that direction, as he, and anyone else who had ever attempted to flee their hostess's endless and not especially talented relations' attempts at music or literature or whatever, well knew. Perhaps Lady Chester was in need of a breath of fresh air; it was extraordinarily stuffy in the parlor. It was possible as well that she could be meeting someone.Lady Dinsmore's terrace was as well known as a trysting spot as it was as a refuge. Still, Gideon doubted it. Widows were not as encumbered by the strictures placed on society as never-married women; therefore Lady Chester had no particular need of secrecy. Beyond that, given everything he had heard about her, he suspected the lady rather liked being the center of gossip. And gossip, usually remarkably accurate, indicated the lady was not currently involved with anyone. Excellent. He grinned to himself. He too could use a bit of fresh air.

Gideon had known Lady Chester for years, although he did not, in truth, know her at all. She was a passing acquaintance, someone to nod a greeting to on the street or exchange idle pleasantries with at a social gathering, nothing more than that. It was not until the Twelfth Night Ball she had hosted more than a month ago that what should have been little more than a few casual words between the two of them had without warning been fraught with something more significant and completely indefinable. It struck him with a force akin to a lightning bolt, an abrupt awareness of sorts, perhaps of a kindred spirit or the possibility of adventure or a heretofore unsuspected and unimagined attraction. One of his friends had said at the time that there was something in the air that night. Something of a magical nature. It was nonsense, of course. Still, the moment had dwelled in the back of Gideon's mind, lingered just beneath the surface of his well-ordered life. Under other circumstances, he would not have hesitated to call on the widow. But there had been something in that moment that had urged caution as well. That too was extremely odd. Gideon was nothing if not cautious, yet he'd never before experienced a sense of caution in connection with a woman, even when he should have. It was damn near irresistible.

He pushed open the glass door to the terrace, and his breath hitched at the cold of the February night. Still, it scarcely mattered at the moment. The night was unusually clear given the season, and Lady Chester's figure was silhouetted against the star-laden sky. She stood a scant dozen feet or so away, gazing into the night. He started toward her, then paused, for the first time in years not entirely certain of himself.

"Did you find it as stifling as I did or do you simply dislike poorly written poetry as much as I do?" Lady Chester said without turning around, a definite note of amusement in her voice.

"Both I should think." Gideon chuckled. "But is it wise to comment on either the atmosphere or the entertainment without first looking to see who has joined you? For all you know I could be Lady Dinsmore come to herd you back into the fold."

She laughed, a lovely rich sound as clear as the night itself. "I knew precisely who had joined me, my lord."

"Did you?" He stepped toward her, the beat of his heart quickening with his step. "How?"

"Anyone who stations himself near the most discreet exit instead of sitting by the side of his aunt, who has probably insisted on his accompaniment to begin with, is obviously waiting to escape at the first opportunity. Beyond that-she turned toward him-you have been watching me all evening."

"Have I?"

"Indeed you have."

"And you were aware of my perusal?"

"Very much so."

"Because you were watching me as well?"

"Absolutely." She laughed. "But I think I was much more subtle."

"Oh?"

"You did not notice me watching you whereas I-

He laughed. "Your point is well taken."

She studied him for a moment, the features of her face faintly illuminated by the light from the door and windows behind him. "Why have you not called on me?"

His grin widened. "Did you expect me to do so?"

"I did."

"Alas, I found I did not have the courage." He adopted a mournful air. "I am not nearly as daring as I appear."

"I doubt that. Am I so intimidating then?"

"Yes." The word was out of his mouth before he knew it. He shook his head. "Intimidating is not the right word."

She tilted her head and gazed up at him. "What is the right word?"

"Intriguing. Enticing. Fascinating. Terrifying." He paused. "Mysterious."

"Mysterious?" She laughed. "I shall let terrifying pass for the moment, but do tell me why I am mysterious. It seems to me my life is very much an open book that no one has hesitated to read. I daresay, everyone knows virtually everything about me."

"Everything?"

"Perhaps not everything but nearly so. I do have some secrets; every woman should, you know. Come now, my lord, I have been discreet in the decade of my widowhood but I have not spent those years-she searched for the right word-alone, as it were."

"I am aware of that," he said simply. He was indeed aware that Lady Chester's life since the death of her husband had not been lived in a despondent state of celibacy. One of his oldest friends had had a liaison with her several years ago and, to his credit or hers, even now considered her a friend.

"I would wager so is everyone else in London. As I said, my life is a well-read book." She spread her hands wide before her. "Why then would you call me mysterious?"

"Perhaps because I have never met a woman I would call terrifying before either."

His words hung in the air between them, abruptly fraught with far more significance than he had intended. As well as entirely too much honesty.

She drew a deep breath. "May I confess something to you?"

"Is it something I wish to hear?" He stepped toward her. "Or will it put me firmly in my place? Send me packing to nurse the remains of my shattered heart?" He forced a light note to his voice.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from A Little Bit Wicked by Victoria Alexander Copyright © 2006 by Victoria Alexander. 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2014

    A little Bit Wicked is another great book by Mrs. Victoria Alexa

    A little Bit Wicked is another great book by Mrs. Victoria Alexander. Endearing characters , delightful and fun dialogues that keep me smiling while reading the story. Thank you Mrs. Alexandra

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  • Posted December 8, 2012

    Really like this book.  I like that Judith is smart & more t

    Really like this book.  I like that Judith is smart & more than capable of making it through life on her own, and that she keeps Gideon on his toes.  I've read this book 4 or 5 times, and will certainly read it again.

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  • Posted December 7, 2011

    Highly Recommen

    Great read, she is a clever author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2008

    Very Yawn

    Gideon Pearsall is your typical blustering I'll-never-marry blah blah blah type male lead. He makes a wager with three of his closest friends on which of them will be the 'last man standing' in terms of marriage. Of course all three of these gents have their own books as well. Anyway, not long after he makes this bet he meets Judith, a wealthy widow of great esteem who is known for taking lovers, as well as her intelligent views on life. Anyway, these two begin an affair filled with the very predictable Do I love him? Do I love her? Does he love me? Does she love me? debacles. Things are made worse by yet another typical romance novel ploy. An old mistress of Gideon's whispers lies into Judith's ear and drives a wedge between the two lovers. All in all......boring. There is nothing interesting or creative in this book. The characters lack any real depth or intrigue and the love scenes were devoid of heat or passion. Don't waste your shelf space.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2007

    A Deliciously Wicked Romantic Tale!

    In her latest novel, A LITTLE BIT WICKED, supremely talented writer and storyteller Victoria Alexander captivates her readers with an audacious, provocative and deliciously wicked romantic tale of two refreshing and magnetic personalities¿lovers¿who discover DESIRE and LUST can be just the ¿stepping stones¿ they need as they begin their journey on that rocky road to the grandest adventure of all¿TRUE LOVE.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ten years after the passing of the husband she impetuously married in her youth¿the mature and radiantly lovely widow, Lady Judith Chester, is a delightfully charming, self-reliant, intelligent and completely independent woman of means. And while Judith enjoys a gentleman¿s company, and has occasionally (making no apologies for it) indulged herself in the pleasures associated with the taking of a discreet lover, or two¿all are brief affaires and always on her terms. She won¿t be subservient to any man and therefore, has no intention of ever remarrying, but¿ What is it about this man? Why does just the thought of being with Gideon¿of seeing his handsome face and wickedly seductive smile¿cause the oddest sensation of geese fluttering in her stomach? And¿ why does the thought of a future with him seem so intriguing?~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Suave, sophisticated and wealthy, Gideon Pearsall, Viscount Warton is well-known for his wry sarcastic wit and proud, arrogant demeanor¿enticing attributes that combined with his virile, dark good looks make him a tempting catch for any marriage minded lady. Still a bachelor at 32, Gideon concedes he must eventually marry, but only to fulfill the obligations of his title to sire an heir. All he thinks he¿ll need is a proper and virtuous young woman of good family, who is hopefully¿tame and submissive. Being burned by love once before has left Gideon rather cynical and he¿s certain he¿ll never again make the mistake of offering a woman his heart, but¿ What is it about this woman? Gideon hardly knew her at all, but surprisingly¿from the moment he¿d looked deep into Judith¿s eyes¿it seemed as though he¿d known her forever or that he would.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I absolutely loved this heartwarming and compelling tale of two endearing characters who must let go of the past¿to learn to trust, and love again. I loved that Ms. Alexander wasn¿t afraid to make Judith a confident ¿real¿ woman with needs and desires¿allowing her to be passionate to want sex with Gideon and to enjoy it. Yet, she also slowly revealed, Judith¿s innermost insecurities¿anguish over her husband¿s death, fear of losing her freedom, of being dominated again, and of growing old alone. I also thought Gideon was splendidly illustrated¿he¿s my kind of hero. At first he was only interested in a little affaire with the lovely Judith so he was willing to abide by her rules, but when his heart becomes involved¿I loved his confusion and uncertainty. And the jealousy and possessiveness he struggles with while trying to accept there were other men in Judith¿s life. Until he realizes the past can¿t be changed and she¿s the only woman he wants to share the future with. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In the world of historical romance, author Victoria Alexander is a ¿bright and shining star¿ with a delightfully unique and dynamic voice. In A LITTLE BIT WICKED, she again dazzles her readers with her seemingly effortless flair for writing fluent-razor-sharp-clever-dialogue¿with shrewd sophistication and all the titillating little nuances that make her character¿s conversations realistic, intelligent and mature. This, along with the marvelous way she composes her characters, and her sparkling wit¿always makes her stories such a pleasure to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2007

    A Liitle Bit Wicked ..INDEED..!!

    Is it possible to be a little bit wicked ??? Of course it is, and this tale proves it !! Victoria Alexander is one of those writers I buy without needing to read a review, and know I will never be disappointed. In 1854 London, four friends, all seriously opposed to marriage, form a tontine investing one shilling each and a bottle of cognac. The winner is the last man to marry. Who will be the last to fall? And who will be the first? The first novel of the 'Last Unmarried Man' Series is a truly great start . Gideon, Viscount Warton and Judith, Lady Chester are well matched for naughtiness,and slightly scandalous behaviour and you will, more than , enjoy the antics betwix the two. Who will be the last man standing?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2007

    Wickedly Good Start!

    The first of four books in Victoria Alexander's new 'Last Man Standing' Series begins with this first of four books about four of the ton's most eligible bachelors determined not to be snared into the trap of love and marriage. A little bit wicked and a little bit sexy, in this first installment we meet the handsome Gideon Pearsall, Viscount Wharton, who is attracted to the beautiful widow Judith, Lady Chester. She is scandalous enough for his tastes, as she chooses a particular gentleman for a companion, is not interested in marriage, and always ends up friends with each gentleman after each liason. What could be better for Gideon who is determined to be the 'Last Man Standing,' than to have this alluring beauty? He chases and teases her to be the next pick. Little did he count on falling in love with Judith, who is frightened of her growing feelings for Gideon and the loss of control she always has had in her relationships with gentlemen. Judith has her secret reason for wanting to remain single, even though on the surface it appears her first marriage was a love match. She fights her desire for Gideon as scandal builds that she cannot control. In the end these two passionate people who started out just wanting desire and passion realize they have also found love. In the style of Stephanie Lauren's Bastian Club, this book is sexy and fun a real delight for romance fans who enjoy the regency period filled with rakes, rogues, beauties, gossip and like to read a romance that is just a little bit wicked.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fun Victorian romance

    In 1854 at a London wedding, Lords Norcroft, Cavendish, and Warton and the American Sinclair bet on who would be the last man standing defined as unmarried. Each antes up a shilling and a quarter share of the cost of a rare bottle Cognac to toast the losers after the other three are in bondage. All expect to win as none plan to marry. Gideon Warton figures he is a sure shot to drink to the others because he has tasted marriage having been wedded for a single day to Violet he vowed then and now to never make that blunder again though he knows he must marry one day to sire an heir. When she was eighteen Lady Judith Chester married, but her husband died a dozen years ago. She is wealthy enough to not need a man and has vowed to never marry again though she enjoys male company. Before Judith and Gideon hit the sheets for their first tryst, she informs that they will enjoy their time together, but nothing beyond friendship is acceptable he agrees to her terms. As they keep the boudoir steamy, they fall in love, but the widow Violet returns claiming she always loved Gideon not her late spouse who inconveniently died. --- This is a fun Victorian romance starring two likable protagonists and a fabulous support cast especially the other betters, who are so good in their minimal appearances sub-genre fans will have plenty to look forward to in the near future. The story line is fast-paced as each of the lead couple has reasons not to form a permanent relationship having had failed ones in the past. This reviewer knows a sure bet when she reads one, which in this case is that Victoria Alexander will receive plenty of accolades for this lively mid nineteenth century romance. --- Harriet Klausner

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