The Marriage Bed (Seduction Series #3)

( 28 )

Overview

Everyone in society knows that the marriage of Lord and Lady Hammond is an unhappy one. Everyone knows they have barely spoken to one another in over nine years. But what no-one in society knows are the reasons why ...

Lady Viola Courtland was a romantic and impulsive young girl when she fell instantly in love with the handsome and dashing Viscount Hammond. Unbeknownst to Viola, John Hammond had already given his heart to the only woman he would ever love—his cousin's wife—but ...

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The Marriage Bed (Seduction Series #3)

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Overview

Everyone in society knows that the marriage of Lord and Lady Hammond is an unhappy one. Everyone knows they have barely spoken to one another in over nine years. But what no-one in society knows are the reasons why ...

Lady Viola Courtland was a romantic and impulsive young girl when she fell instantly in love with the handsome and dashing Viscount Hammond. Unbeknownst to Viola, John Hammond had already given his heart to the only woman he would ever love—his cousin's wife—but he was in dire financial straits and desperately needed to marry a wealthy heiress. In Viola, he thought he had found the perfect woman—beautiful and rich with a sweet nature. But Viola was neither practical nor sensible when it came to marriage, for she fully expected her husband to love her and was determined to settle for nothing less. Soon, however, John's secret was unwittingly revealed, but by then they were married and it was too late. Until one day, John finally came to his senses and prayed it wasn't too late to win back the love of his very own wife.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060774738
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Series: Seduction Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 438,133
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. When she's not tapping away at her keyboard, Laura spends time relearning how to ski, mastering the wakeboard grab, and trying to actually hit a golf ball.

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First Chapter

The Marriage Bed

Chapter One

London, 1833

When those in society talked about Lord and Lady Hammond, there was one conclusion about the viscount and his wife no one bothered to dispute: They couldn't stand each other.

This dictum was mentioned in drawing room conversations with the same unquestioning certainty given to English rain and Irish trouble. Gossips could only speculate about the reasons that had divided the couple only six months after their wedding, but eight years later, Lady Hammond had not provided her husband with the customary heir, the pair lived thoroughly separate lives, and even the greenest hostess alive knew never to invite them to the same dinner party.

Despite the lack of a direct heir to the viscountcy, the marital estrangement of Lord and Lady Hammondshowedno signs ofbeingbreachedby either party. Until the fifteenth of March 1833. That was the day a letter changed everything, at least as far as the viscountwas concerned.

The missive came by express, reaching Hammond's London residence about eleven o'clock in the evening. The viscount, however, was not at home. Since it was the midst of the London season, John Hammond, like most men of his social position, was out about town, engaged in the unholy trinity of male excess: drinking, gambling, and skirt-chasing.

His friends, Lord Damon Hewitt and Sir Robert Jamison, were happily assisting him in these endeavors. After several hours at their favorite gaming hell, they arrived at Brooks's just before midnight. Once there, they proceeded to empty their sixth bottle of port as they discussed where to spend the remainder of their night.

"I say, Hammond, at some point during the evening we have to go to Kettering's ball," Sir Robert said. "Just for an hour or two. Lord Damon and I both promised Lady Kettering we would be there, and you know how she is if you don't show. Makes a terrible fuss. We have to make an appearance at least."

"Then I shall be forced to take leave of you before then," John replied and poured himself a glass of port from the decanter on the table. "Viola was invited to Kettering's ball and accepted the invitation. Therefore, I was impelled to decline. You know my wife and I never appear at the same functions."

"No gentleman appears at the same functions as his own wife, Sir Robert," Lord Damon explained to their younger companion. "Besides, it would be wise if Hammond steered clear. Emma Rawlins will be there, and the fur would surely fly."

John almost wanted to laugh at that. His last mistress was not likely to create any emotion in his wife other than more of the same disdain she had displayed toward him for years. A sad end, given the adoring young woman he'd married. But marriages were seldom happy, and he had long ago given up any stupid notions that his would be one of the few to beat the odds.

"Mrs. Rawlins is a pretty creature," Sir Robert added. "You might see her and regret putting an end to that amour."

John thought of Emma's possessiveness, the smothering possessiveness no mistress had the right to claim, and which had caused him to terminate their arrangement two months before and pay off her contract. "I doubt it. The end was not amicable." He swirled his glass and took a swallow of port. "I believe I am done with women for a while."

"You always say that!" Damon laughed. "It never lasts for long. When it comes to women, you are a Turk, Hammond. You should have a harem."

"One woman at a time is enough, Lord Damon! My last two mistresses have given me reason enough to be soured on romance."

His mistress prior to Emma, the opera singer Maria Allen, had gotten him shot in a duel two years earlier by her husband. Allen, after years of neglecting his wife, had suddenly decided her affairs with other men bothered him. The two men had each put a bullet into the shoulder of the other and honor had been satisfied. The reconciliation of the Allens had not been happy. He had eventually taken off for America, and she was now Lord Dewhurst's mistress.

Emma Rawlins, however, did not seem inclined to finding herself a new protector. She had been writing to him at weekly intervals from the cottage he had given her in Sussex, letters chiding him, scolding him, and begging him to come back to her. His replies of polite refusal had not satis- fied her, however, and she had followed him to London, but he had no intention of seeing her.

In fact, since breaking from Emma, John found himself at loose ends. He was not inclined toward a new mistress, and his reason was difficult to de- fine. Aman's relationship with his mistress, to his way of thinking, ought to be simple, straightforward, and purely physical. It so seldom turned out that way, and perhaps that was the reason for his reluctance. He had no desire to become involved in another imbroglio, for he hated emotional scenes. Always had.

John did not express these feelings to his friends, however, and his friends, being gentlemen, did not inquire. If they had, he would have sidestepped their questions with a witty remark or a change of subject.

"No, my friends," he said, shaking his head. "Women are charming, intriguing creatures, but they are also expensive in many different ways. I intend to go without a mistress this year."

"The entire year?" Lord Damon made a sound of disbelief. "And it is only March. This has to be another one of your jokes. You love the ladies too much to do without a mistress for the entire year."

The Marriage Bed. Copyright © by Laura Lee Guhrke. 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
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2005

    Disappointing

    The basis for this book was really solid, and I was excited about the possibilities for this story. I ended up being very disappointed. While the couple is estranged, the husband, John, has numerous relationships with other women. I felt like the heroine, Viola, was more of a doormat than a herione for accepting this behavior for years. I had no respect for her or him which made it hard to enjoy the book. Also, the ending was horrible with John's former mistress giving up their baby to the reunited couple. Reduce the number of liasions during separation and do not create children with mistresses!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not Recommended

    I could barely make it through this book. I've liked several of Laura Lee Guhrke's books, which is why I picked up "The Marriage Bed," but it was really disappointing. I couldn't like the main character, John Hammond, no matter how much I tried. The fact that he kept multiple mistresses during their marriage kind of made me sick. I didn't care that he felt Viola's neglect permitted him to do it. One month of totally justified coldness just doesn't equate to years of adultery, no matter how I try to look at it. This is one book where I actually wished the heroine would abandon her supposed "hero." If I were her, I would of left without looking back.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a delightfully sweet historical romance

    In 1833, Lord John and Lady Viola Hammond remain the talk of the Ton as they continue to remain estranged for eight years with no heir, but he never cared because his solid best friend cousin Percy is next in line. That changes when John receives a letter from John¿s widow Constance that he died along with their son. Grieving for his loss, John needs an heir because he will not allow the estate to be destroyed by his next in line, a wastrel................ John visits Viola, informing her of the deaths and that he expects them to share a conjugal bed once he returns from the funeral. Viola says she will not sleep with him; John says he is within his legal right and she will or else he will take her to the House of Commons where even her ducal brother knows he will win............... Following the funeral, John returns to London to get Viola. He admits that he wed her for her money, but liked her. She asks for more time and they begin seeing one another for he courts his wife who he is beginning to fall in love with while she always loved him................ The strong lead couple and fine support cast including a former mistress with his child make for a delightfully sweet historical romance. The story line is well written staying within the battle of the sexes as no major threat to either John or Viola occurs except what they have done to themselves. Thus suspense readers should look elsewhere, but fans of a fine gender war tale will want to peruse this pleasant 1830s love story between two estranged likable people................. Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2012

    "WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN" IS THE SONG, NOW READ THE

    "WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN" IS THE SONG, NOW READ THE BOOK!!! OUTSTANDING!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Loved this book...

    I just loved this book...kept me on the edge of my seat! Great author!

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    Liked it better the second time around

    Okay i will admit that the first time i tried to get through this book i found it tedious and the hero not at all likeable, so i speed through it with furious zeal just to get it over with. However i could not bring myself to get rid of the story just yet, which by the way is usually my automatic reaction in being disappointed with a book.I usually just give it away to someone else in the hopes that they will appreciate the story in a way that i couldn't. But i kept this one for some reason and i was glad i did. What i missed on my first try of the book i picked up on the second read and i found that there was indeed a story there, that the characters deserved notice and their story some patience from its perspective reader to watch it build, and it does grow on you in time if you have the patience to get past the hero's title of the philandering husband. The characters were human i felt for them, they were full of faults and doubts like anyone else. They also made mistakes and were imperfect. i think a reader should know this from the beginning that this is definitely not the average romantic love story. The characters needed to grow up in many ways to get past old wounds and the like. They also needed to work through all their issues to repair their cold non-existent relationship first before they could even think about rebuilding their empty marriage. It took effort on both their parts to establish trust and work through their problems one step at a time.It wasn't easy and sometimes you will be detested by the hero and his previous actions but however they both do indeed have some redeeming qualities. I found that i enjoyed this story more the second time around, emotions are there, human qualities are there and so is the redeeming aspects. This story is different and i enjoyed it.

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  • Posted January 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    liked it but not loved it.

    i liked this book. i did not love it because i did not like the way that the hero feels after all he did, as if everything he did was right. but i liked the heroine, she was strong and stobborn maybe a little to much but i liked her.

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  • Posted December 17, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a great book if you want a story that is a little more realistic when it comes to gentlemen having mistresses and wifes considering themselves in the position of victim.

    This was the first book that I read from Laura Lee Guhrke. I am a huge fan of Judith McNaught's historical romance books, so every book I read is compared to those books based on the story, the intensity between the characters and love scenes.<BR/><BR/>The thing that I loved most about this book was the story. I had not read a book where the gentlemen was having affairs even after being married. That shocked me because cheating is not suppose to be romantic. But as the story unfolded and you learn that yes he was cheating but it was primarily due to Lady Viola Hammond(wife) rejecting him because she found out that he didn't marry her for love but for money.<BR/><BR/>But when John Hammond's cousin and heir dies suddenly. He is need of an heir and therefore wants to reconcile with his wife. This is where Lady Viola shows her power. I loved that she didn't give in easily. I really enjoyed the power struggle and the fighting between the characters. It created drama that made it hard for me to put the book down. Sunday, my only day off that week, I spent it curled up on my bed engrossed in this book.<BR/><BR/>I found John to be a true romantic and I loved the way he would remember all the things that she liked to do and the things she like to eat. And it surprised her that he had paid attention.<BR/><BR/>The ending of the book was different as well. I found it fascinating that Viola who hated the thought of her husband's mistresses would so easily be able to accept a child from one of his affairs. I loved the twist, but would have loved to see it happen early in the book. I think the author good have created more drama around that situation fueling the fight, and intensifying the reconciliation making their love that much stronger. Because let's be real, it is difficult to overcome an affair but when that affair results in a child, that's a lot for a couple to over come.<BR/><BR/>I really like Guhrke's writng style, her books are easy to read and she doesn't spend a lot of time with descriptions about the settings. Here characters have a lot of dialogue. I am much more interested in the content between the "quotation marks" . <BR/><BR/>Finally, this book has prompted me to read more of her books. So far I have read His Every Kiss, Secret Dreams of a Gentleman, Guilty Pleasures and I am currently reading And Then He Kissed Her. Sometimes when reading many books from the same author, you learn what to expect in the story lines. In the books that I have read from Guhrke, the love scenes don't happen until you are about 3/4 into the book. Maybe the author might want to change that and have it happen a little sooner.:) <BR/><BR/>Overall this was a great book. Very refreshing story line, intense characters, romance and steamy love scenes. What more can you ask for? <BR/>If you like The Marriage Bed, I recommend reading Guilty Pleasures, its great read as well!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 31, 2010

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    Posted October 28, 2009

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    Posted April 6, 2011

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