Merely Married

Overview

Life for Adrian Devereau, the sixth duke of Raven, was flawless, but for one nagging detail. Try as he did to live down to his reputation as the Wicked Lord Raven, the ladies persisted in viewing him as desirable husband material. So he conceived a bold solution to foil them once and for all—he would marry a woman on her deathbed and adopt the role of grieving widower. He even found a most suitable wife: Leah Stretton, overtaken by a sudden illness while journeying to London. But with Leah's "miraculous" ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (45) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $58.77   
  • Used (44) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$58.77
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(213)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Life for Adrian Devereau, the sixth duke of Raven, was flawless, but for one nagging detail. Try as he did to live down to his reputation as the Wicked Lord Raven, the ladies persisted in viewing him as desirable husband material. So he conceived a bold solution to foil them once and for all—he would marry a woman on her deathbed and adopt the role of grieving widower. He even found a most suitable wife: Leah Stretton, overtaken by a sudden illness while journeying to London. But with Leah's "miraculous" recovery, Adrian found himself properly wedded to a beauty as headstrong as she was healthy. Now his only chance at freedom was playing her game. More adept at writing about romance and adventure than living it, Leah could not permit a new family scandal to ruin her sister's launch into society. If Adrian played her devoted husband, she would grant him an annulment later. There was only one rule: neither of them could fall in love. Of course, rules were made to be broken.

Winner of the 1999 RITA award for Best Romance -- Short Historical.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Two outrageous and original characters lock horns, with unpredictable results right up to the happy ending, as Coughlin (Lord Savage) scores with another delightful Regency romance. When a drunken libertine, the Duke of Raven, comes across a well-bred young lady fallen deathly ill en route to London, he impulsively seizes on a scheme suggested by a friend. By marrying her and becoming a widower, he can use his feigned grief to free him from the annoying demands of society. He has no scruples about tricking a semi-conscious woman into marrying him, but fate, naturally, has his comeuppance in store. Leah not only recovers, she decides to take advantage of her unexpected rise in society to further a scheme of her own, and from there on, it's a game of point-counterpoint. Although the marriage of convenience is a convention of the genre, Coughlin manages to surprise the reader at every turn while keeping her protagonists both believable and appealing. (Oct.)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553575217
  • Publisher: Bantam Books
  • Publication date: 10/6/1998
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 327
  • Product dimensions: 4.23 (w) x 6.89 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Adrian was still savoring the praise being heaped on him by his guests when the crusty manservant who managed his household appeared by his side.

"What is it, Thorne?" he asked.

Thorne bent to whisper close to his ear. "A problem, sir. You ought--"

"You handle it," ordered Adrian, reluctant to have his amusement interrupted.

"Yes, sir. But you really ought to--"

"Not now, Thorne."

The servant set his jaw and glared at Adrian.

Adrian glared back. He understood that formal entertaining was a rarity in Raven House and a bloody strain on everyone, but Snake, the former infantryman who passed for a cook, had turned out an edible meal and a pair of feckless footmen had managed to relay it to the table with a minimum of mishaps. The least the old crank could do was pretend to be proper and heedful.

Instead he continued to glare. "What I am trying to say to you, Y'Grace, is--"

"Raven? Darling?" a woman's voice called from somewhere outside the dining room.

Darling?

Adrian registered the gleam of smug satisfaction in Thorne's squinty eyes just before the same intriguing female voice spoke again, this time from just inside the dining room.

"There you are." The woman threw open her arms and smiled at him as if they were alone. "Surprise, darling, I'm home."

Adrian gaped at her, frozen in his seat even as the other gentlemen at the table leapt to their feet. It was she. Leah. His wife.

Oh sweet Lord.

What was she doing standing in his dining room?

Hell, what was she doing standing anywhere?

She was supposed to be . . . well,dead.

He placed his palms flat on the table and pushed himself upright on leaden legs, only distantly aware of the expectant hush all around him.

This woman was most definitely not dead.

She was breathtakingly alive. With hair the color of blazing chestnuts and eyes like fields of clover. My God, his wife was a beauty.

His wife.

Oh sweet Lord, what the bloody hell was he going to do now?

He squared his shoulders, his usually quick wits slowed by shock. Instinct made him certain of only two things. First, if Leah Stretton was standing there calling him "darling" and apparently presenting herself as his wife, he'd damn well better start acting like a husband in a hurry. And second, when he got his hands on Will Grantley, England was going to be minus one inept, disloyal botchbag of a rector.

"Leah. My sweet," he said, forcing his facial muscles to form a smile. "You have taken me totally by surprise."

"Good." She captured his gaze and held it. "That was my intent."

The look she gave him left no doubt that she had meant to ambush him with her sudden appearance and was enjoying his discomfiture to the hilt.

But why?

Why indeed, he thought, recovering his senses. He should probably count himself lucky she'd come alone--and unarmed. Belatedly it occurred to him to wonder if the woman had brothers. Large brothers. Belatedly it occurred to him to wonder any number of things he should have considered a fortnight ago.

At the moment however, his first order of business was to wipe the increasingly speculative looks from the faces of their audience.

Striding across the room, he grasped Leah by her shoulders. "God, how I've missed you. When you first walked in I thought I must be seeing things . . . that loneliness had driven me mad and you were but an apparition. But now . . ." He ran his hands down her arms, then up, finally sliding them around to her back to draw her closer and press her stiff body tightly to his. She blinked rapidly, signaling a crack in her composure.

Good, thought Adrian. Spring herself on him, would she?

"Now that I am convinced you are real, my own flesh-and-blood Leah," he went on, "I must do what I have been dreaming of doing since I left you in Devon what seems like years ago."

Their gazes remained locked as he lowered his head. He saw resistance flash in her eyes and felt it in her tensed muscles, but she didn't flinch or try to pull away. Had she, his urge to conquer might have been satisfied and he might have gone easy on her. As it was, he tightened his grip and opened his mouth, using his tongue to claim her the way any randy bridegroom would want to, but would doubtless restrain himself from doing before onlookers.

Adrian seldom restrained himself, and he certainly wasn't about to start now and give this presumptuous chit the notion that she had the upper hand. He kissed her hard and long, nearly forgetting that they were not alone and that it was merely a performance. His blood heated rapidly and one of his hands moved to rest on the pleasing curve of her hip, as naturally as if he had every right in the world to put it there.

When he finally remembered himself, he lifted his head slowly, watching her long, dark lashes flutter and open.

"Westerham," she said, her tone steady and audible enough for everyone in the room to hear.

Adrian frowned. "What did you say?"

"I said you left me in Westerham, not Devon. Have you forgotten already?"

Westerham. Saint Anne's. The rectory. Of course. Devon was where her fictional sister lived. But she had no way of knowing that, or the countless other details about her life that he had fabricated that evening. That could be a problem.

Could be a problem? He nearly laughed out loud at his own absurdity. This entire affair was turning into a debacle right before his eyes.

"No, no, of course I haven't forgotten," he assured her gently. "Though when you are close to me, it is a wonder I can even remember to breathe."

"Don't worry, darling. If necessary, I'll prompt you. I happen to be a most accomplished breather."

"Yes, I can see that," he murmured, aware of the impudent glint in her eyes as she gazed up at him with seeming adoration. He released her and turned to his guests. "Please forgive my lapse in manners. I totally forgot myself for a moment."

Sir Arthur raised his hand. "Perfectly understandable under the circumstances, Raven. Think nothing of it."

"Yes, allowances must be made for newlyweds," his wife chimed in, her eyes as bright as those of a hound circling a meaty bone. "Especially when they have been separated for so long. But now, Raven, I insist you make us acquainted with this surprise addition to our party."

"Of course." He handled the introductions as succinctly as possible. Try as his overtaxed brain did, it could not come up with any way to avoid using the words my wife in presenting her. Though the phrases long-lost sister and recently acquired ward did flit through his mind.

The damage was done now. The best he could hope for was to limit the repercussions as much as possible. To that end he proceeded to push the chairs nearest him back to the table before any of his guests could resettle themselves.

"I know you'll understand if I beg to end the evening prematurely," he said when they persisted in lingering, inquiring about Leah's health and her journey to town, precisely the things he intended to inquire about the instant he had her alone. "I fear if sh . . . Le . . . my wife overtaxes herself she will suffer a relapse."

His wife slipped her arm through his. "Your concern is touching, darling, but altogether unnecessary. The doctor assures me that kidney stones rarely afflict women my age and a recurrence is unlikely."

Stones? thought Adrian.

"Stones?" exclaimed Lady Hockliffe. "Is that what ailed you? Why you poor dear, that is a horror." She swiped at Raven with her closed fan. "You beastly man. If I were your bride I should never forgive you for abandoning me in my hour of need."

"I shall spend the rest of my life making amends," vowed Adrian, kissing the back of Leah's hand before tucking it inside his arm once more. Gently. There would be time later to squeeze the truth out of her.



Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)