Love and the Single Heiress

( 7 )

Overview

An anonymous author has turned English society upside down, and only one man can protect her identity from being revealed, and her life from being destroyed, in this sexy new romance from reader favourite Jacquie D’Alessandro.

The scandalous book, A Ladies’ Guide to the Pursuit of Personal Happiness and Marital Fulfilment has taken English society by storm. The slim but erotically explicit volume was penned by an unknown author, and now all of London is trying to discover the ...

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Love and the Single Heiress

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Overview

An anonymous author has turned English society upside down, and only one man can protect her identity from being revealed, and her life from being destroyed, in this sexy new romance from reader favourite Jacquie D’Alessandro.

The scandalous book, A Ladies’ Guide to the Pursuit of Personal Happiness and Marital Fulfilment has taken English society by storm. The slim but erotically explicit volume was penned by an unknown author, and now all of London is trying to discover the mysterious writer’s true identity. But the search doesn’t scare Catherine Ashfield, Viscountess Bickley, the proper woman who transcribed the book for her dear friend, a very elderly and experienced widow. Disgusted by the shallow values and morals of the town, Catherine was excited to help her friend and set the uppity nobility on its ear. And maybe by giving women a little more knowledge they could finally have happier marriages, instead of loveless unions as she had her with her own late husband.

But Catherine didn’t anticipate the violent backlash against the book. With threats being made against the unknown author, Catherine fears for her safety and that of her son. When she is the victim of a near fatal accident, she wonders how hidden her identity truly is.

Knowing she needs protection, she turns to her brother’s best friend, an accomplished pugilist and fencer. She invites him to stay at her country estate under the guise of a simple visit, not realizing that she has invited a fugitive with a dangerous past into her home—a man she soon finds herself powerfully attracted to...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What's a man to do when he discovers the woman he's loved from afar for six years is more...headstrong than he supposed? Andrew Stanton has patiently waited for widowed Lady Catherine to emerge from mourning before pressing his suit, only to discover that in the meantime she's filled her head with the nonsense found in A Ladies' Guide to Personal Happiness and Intimate Fulfillment by Charles Brightmore, a man whose identity Andrew has been hired to expose by some of society's outraged husbands. But the path of true love is never smooth, and the large bumps in this couple's road include Lady Catherine's secret identity as the cowriter of the ladies' guide and a madman who lurks nearby. When Catherine is wounded by a gunshot and retires to the country with Andrew as her protection, Andrew seizes his opportunity to woo the reluctant heiress, whose heart was scorched by a bad first marriage, and to uncover unexpected information that may hold the key to his and Catherine's future happiness. Stuffed to the brim with D'Alessandro's (Who Will Take This Man?, etc.) trademark laugh-out-loud humor, this crowd-pleasing Regency-era romance gallops along in winning style, keeping readers in suspense until the exhilarating finish. Agent, Damaris Rowland. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060536718
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/31/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 826,687
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Growing up on Long Island, New York, Jacquie D'Alessandro fell in love with romance at an early age. She dreamed of being swept away by a dashing rogue riding a spirited stallion. When her hero finally showed up, he was dressed in jeans and drove a Volkswagen, but she recognized him anyway. They married after both graduating from Hofstra University and are now living their happily-ever-afters in Atlanta, Georgia. They have one grown son, who is a dashing rogue in the making. The author of more than thirty historical and contemporary romances, Jacquie loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website.

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First Chapter

Love and the Single Heiress

Chapter One

Today's Modern Woman should strive for personal enlightenment, independence, and forthrightness. The perfect place to begin this quest for assertiveness is in the bedchamber ...

A Ladies' Guide to the Pursuit of
Personal Happiness and Intimate Fulfillment

by Charles Brightmore

"Scandalous, that's what it is," came an outraged male whisper. "My wife has somehow secured a copy of that deuced Ladies' Guide."

"How do you know?" came another gruff male whisper.

"Damned obvious, what with the way she's been acting. Been spewing out nonsense about 'today's modern woman' and 'independence' like a steaming teakettle. Just yesterday she marched into my private study and proceeded to question me regarding my gambling markers and the amount of time I spend at White's!"

Sharp intakes of breath followed. "Outrageous," muttered the gruff whisperer.

"Precisely what I told her."

"What did you do?"

"Why, I marched her right out of my study, called for a carriage, and sent her to Asprey's to pick out a new bauble to occupy her mind."

"Excellent. I assume your strategy worked?"

"Unfortunately not as well as I'd hoped. Last night I found her awaiting me in my bedchamber. Gave me quite a turn, I tell you. Especially as I'd just left my mistress and was thoroughly worn-out. Bloody hell, a wife's not supposed to make such demands, or have such expectations."

"My wife did the same thing just last week," came a third aggrieved whisper. "Entered my bedchamber, bold as you please, pushed me onto the mattress, then ... well, I can only describe it as to say she jumped upon me. Completely deflated my lungs and damn near crushed me. As I lie there, immobile with shock, fighting for my very breath, she says in a most impatient tone, 'Bump your arse a bit.' Can you imagine such undignified goings-on? Then, just when I thought I couldn't be more astonished, she demanded to know why I'd never... "

The voice lowered further and Lady Catherine Ashfield, Viscountess Bickley, leaned closer to the Oriental screen that secreted her presence from the gentlemen on the other side.

" ... This Charles Brightmore must be stopped," whispered one of the gentlemen.

"I agree. A disaster of gargantuan proportions, that's what he's brought upon us. Why, if my daughter reads that cursed Guide, I'll never marry off the foolish chit. Independence, indeed. Completely insupportable. This Guide could well prove even worse than the uproar incited by that Wollstonecraft woman's writings. Nothing but ridiculous reformists' balderdash."

Murmurs of agreement followed that pronouncement. Then the whisperer continued, "And as for the bedchamber, women are demanding enough creatures as it is, always wanting a new gown or earbobs or carriage or the like. 'Tis outrageous that their expectations should extend to that. Especially a woman of my wife's age, who is the mother of two grown children. Unseemly, that's what it is."

"Couldn't agree more. Should I ever find myself in the company of this Brightmore bastard, I'll personally wring his bloody neck. Tarring and feathering is too good for him. Everyone I've spoken to feels certain that 'Charles Brightmore' is a pseudonym, and coward that he is, he's refused to step forward and identify himself. The betting book at White's is a frenzy of wagers on the subject of his identity. Damn it all, what sort of man would think, let alone write, such unseemly ideas?"

"Well, I stopped at White's just before coming here, and the latest theory proposes the possibility that Charles Brightmore is in fact a woman. Indeed, I heard ... "

The gentleman's low-pitched words were drowned out by a trill of nearby feminine laughter. Catherine inched closer, all but pressing her ear to the screen.

" ... and if it's true, it would be the scandal of the century ... " She heard some more unintelligible mumbling, then, " ... hired an investigator two days ago to get to the bottom of this. He comes highly recommended ... ruthless, and will ferret out the truth. In fact -- oh, bloody hell, my wife's caught sight of me. Hang it, look at her, fluttering her eyelashes at me. Shocking, that's what it is. Appalling. And altogether frightening."

Catherine peeked around the edge of the screen. Lady Markingworth stood at the edge of the dance floor, her rotund proportions ensconced in an unfortunate shade of yellowish green satin that cast her complexion with a distinctly jaundiced hue, her brown hair arranged in a complicated coiffure involving sausage curls, ribbons, and peacock feathers. With her attention fixed on the opposite side of the screen, Lady Markingworth was batting her eyes as one might if caught in a dust-ridden windstorm. Then, with an air of determination, she marched toward the screen.

"Egad," came a horrified, panic-filled whisper that Catherine assumed belonged to Lord Markingworth. "She's got that damnable gleam in her eye."

"And it's too late to escape, old man."

"Bloody hell. A plague on that bastard Charles Brightmore's house. I'm going to find out who this person is, then kill him -- or her. Slowly."

"There you are, Ephraim," said Lady Markingworth, her greeting followed by a girlish giggle. "I've been searching for you everywhere. The waltz is about to start. And how fortunate that Lords Whitly and Carweather are with you. Your wives anxiously await you near the dance floor, my lords."

Throat clearing and several harrumphs followed this announcement, then the scuffle of shoes upon the parquet floor as the group moved away.

Catherine leaned against the oak-paneled wall and drew a shaky breath, pressing her hands to her midsection. Slipping behind the screen in search of a moment of sanctuary from the hordes of party guests had taken a very unexpected turn. All she'd wanted was to avoid the approaching Lords Avenbury and Ferrymouth, both of whom had dogged her footsteps since the moment she'd arrived at her father's birthday party and separately attempted to maneuver her into a tête-à-tête ...

Love and the Single Heiress. Copyright © by Jacquie D'Alessandro. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A charmer

    The male members of the Ton are outraged by the impact of the scandalous ¿A Ladies Guide to the Pursuit of Personal Happiness and Marital Fulfillment by some traitor calling himself Charles Brightmore. Wives are literally jumping the bones of their stunned husbands, who feel that the women need to display more decorum so that they can play with their mistresses instead. Feeling civilization is in peril of collapse, several lords hire Andrew Starter to uncover the identity of this rogue; some even go so far as threaten to kill the scoundrel........................ Andrew has been in love with wealthy widow Catherine Ashfield long before she even married, but did nothing because of their respective stations. He has decided to pursue the merry widow with a passion that he does not feel in his inquiries into who is Brightmore. As he begins to court his beloved, he also gets closer to finding Brightmore not realizing yet that if he identifies the author he places his Catherine in peril from the angry male aristocracy............................ This tongue in cheek Regency amateur sleuth romance is a strong tale due to the lead couple. Catherine has no plans to marry again while Andrew has made it goal in life to wed her. The reaction of the Ton to the self help book is amusing as the men are outraged and the women are assertive taking what they now feel is their right. Jacquie D¿Alessandro provides a fine tale that sort of stands Lysistrata on its head........................ Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2004

    Excellent read!

    Catherine Ashfield, Viscountess Bickley, is a widow just out of mourning. When a close friend asked her, Lady Catherine was only too happy to assist with the publication of 'A Ladies' Guide'. She saw it as a quiet way to get a bit of revenge on a society which had turned its cruel back on her son, Spencer, due to his club foot. It was published under the name Charles Brightmore. Soon it seems as though every female has a copy of the scandalous book and the men are NOT happy at the changes in their women. But Lady Catherine never dreamed her involvement could put her life in jeopardy and force her to flee London in the company of a disarmingly attractive protector. ....................................... Andrew Stanton knew Catherine was hiding something from him, but playing the role of protector and friend helps him keep her close by. Andrew has no noble lineage. He is the best friend of Catherine's brother, but wishes only to court Catherine now that she is FINALLY out of mourning. But Catherine's marriage had been far from happy and she is determined never to remarry. Worse yet, she seemed to live by the crazy book that has all of town abuzz. Andrew is determined to subtly court her while playing his guardian role. And not only has Catherine captured his heart, but her twelve-year-old son has too. ..................................... ***** Chalk up another best seller from renowned author Jacquie D'Alessandro! This author has yet to disappoint me in her enthralling romances! In fact, she seems to get better and better with every title she publishes. Every time I believe she can get no better, she proves me wrong. Highly recommended! *****

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    So romantic!

    I loved this book and have half a mind to start reading it all over again. Romantic and funny, just the right book to help me escape my life for a few hours.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved!

    I love anything by Jacquie D. and this book was no exception. The relationship between the two main characters is great to read about as it develops. Andrews secret love for Catherine was so sweet to read about. The only issues I had were with Catherine's issues regarding marriage. But other than that it was an all around great read!

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