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A Notorious Proposition

( 11 )

Overview

From bed partners . . .

Two years ago, while on assignment for the Crown, darkly handsome Garrett Burke left Lady Ivy Wentworth sleeping naked in his bed as he went in search of the missing Martello diamonds. After apprehending the dastardly thief, he intended to spend the rest of his life in the arms of the auburn-haired beauty. But when the case came to a shocking and dangerous end, Garrett was certain he'd ...

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A Notorious Proposition

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Overview

From bed partners . . .

Two years ago, while on assignment for the Crown, darkly handsome Garrett Burke left Lady Ivy Wentworth sleeping naked in his bed as he went in search of the missing Martello diamonds. After apprehending the dastardly thief, he intended to spend the rest of his life in the arms of the auburn-haired beauty. But when the case came to a shocking and dangerous end, Garrett was certain he'd been betrayed . . .

To partners in crime

Ivy once loved Garrett with a virtuous heart, but these days she can barely stand him. Arriving at a deserted estate on a mysterious errand, she never expected to see him again, nor feel the same ecstasy she once did at his touch. Now, joined with him in the search for the legendary jewels, she is willing to risk everything. Everything, that is, except her heart . . .

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061128585
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/29/2008
  • Series: Avon Romantic Treasure Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 839,945
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

I've always loved to write, but after my first attempt at a novel (nine chapters of Plastic City, the story of underwater-dwelling orphans in the twenty-third century that I wrotein the sixth grade), I took some time to get my bachelor'sdegree and to try my hand at other careers before I returnedto my first passion: creative writing. After lots and lots of perseverance, hard work, and a bit of very good luck, My Darling Caroline went on to win the Romance Writers of America's RITA® Award for Best First Book of 1998.

I live in Texas with my family, exploring history as Idelve into the hearts of my characters.

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Read an Excerpt

A Notorious Proposition

Chapter One

Southern England
January 1852

Lady Ivy Wentworth stood motionless in the shadow of an ominous twilight, feeling the icy January wind scrape her cheeks like bits of blowing sand, thinking little of the frost in the air as she stared at the silent, lifeless house looming in the distance. The coach that brought her from the city pulled away slowly behind her, though she scarcely heard it. Nothing filled her mind now but the same trepidation that had forced her to return to the elite and scandal-ridden town of Winter Garden—and a sharp, sudden fear that she might be too late.

Drawing a deep, cold breath, she closed her eyes and lifted her face to the darkening sky, holding on to what remained of the vision that drew her to fear this moment.

Dark hair, black eyes, cold, bright crystals. Snowflakes. Snowflakes falling around her . . . And then standing on a dirt path, staring up at the figure in the window. A window from her past. A shadow of a man, or a ghost, watching her, waiting, silently begging for help, desperately needing her . . .

She strained to remember the details, the earlier and later moments, but everything else escaped her for now. She couldn't see the face, its features or expression, but she knew who it was, which made the scene so frightening she could hardly contain her emotions, and she knew that hiding them now and in the days to come would be one of the greatest difficulties of her life. Since her visions always came and went like a rolling fog, missing certain elements of importance never bothered her too much—until now. This vision waspersonal, and a sudden wave of apprehension seized her as she once again thought of the life at stake. She had a great deal to do, and very little time.

Grasping her valise with a gloved hand and tightening her woolen pelisse at the neck with the other, she glanced around the village square for the first time, seeing nobody, probably because it was almost dark and the streetlamps were yet to be lit. Swallowing her weariness, she began a direct stride down Farrset Lane, hearing the unmistakable sounds of music and bawdy laughter from the tavern and inn to her left, thankful she wouldn't need to stay in such a noisy place with her nerves so jumpy.

Tonight she would stay at the small cottage owned by her contacts in Winter Garden; tomorrow she would be moving into the manor house on the lake, formerly owned as a summer retreat by Richard Sharon, Baron Rothebury, left vacant but for a handful of servants after his arrest on charges of opium smuggling two years ago. She had the key and had been invited. With her comfortable establishment in the home, she would earnestly begin piecing together the remnants of her vision and correlating it as best she could with the more vital reason that compelled her to take such a risk in coming here. But for this evening, she would meet with Thomas and Madeleine St. James, the Earl of Eastleigh and his half-French wife, to discuss the particulars and uncertainties that awaited her once she let it be known that she'd arrived in Winter Garden and was staying at the Rothebury estate. They were the only two people in the community she knew through her work for the government, and she trusted them with the unusual and rather confidential reason she'dreturned.

The earl and his countess were secretly employed as spies for the British, though they were now mostly retired. Ivy had met them both in her own service for the Home Office, through their immediate superior, Sir Riley Liddle, though she'd never worked directly with them. She wasn't a spy, and her work had never involved deception. It had, in fact, been just the opposite, as her unconventional exploits in the field of smuggling and the missing and murdered usually found their way to print, for all of London to relish and discuss at parties, sometimes in excruciating detail. Nevertheless, she very much enjoyed what she did, helping investigators with details nobody could see or know save she, only mildly irritated when she'd be asked to some social gathering or another simply as an "amusement," as if she could entertain the gossips with her mere presence. Such stunts rarely came to pass, however, for although she possessed certain gifts for knowing the unknown, she was, in the end, the respectable twin sister of the Earl of Stamford, and as such, most members of the peerage simply referred to her as "colorful . . . but delightful." Still, helping the government had been her choice, and she'd not regretted it for a moment.

The winter wind swept her skirts out in front of her as she reached the gated fence that enclosed the cottage. Shivering, she lifted the latch and moved quickly along the stone path toward the front door, which remained partially hidden by a trellis dripping with winter greenery. They were expecting her. She'd sent a note a few days prior to her departure from London, only briefly explaining her reason for the trip, and she'd beeninvited to stay the night in the guest room. Now lights from within shone through the beveled windows, speaking silently of a warmth inside, both in feel and hospitality. She needed that now.

Removing a glove, she rapped lightly with the brass knocker. She expected a servant to greet her, but within moments the door was opened by none other than Madeleine St. James, Countess of Eastleigh herself, one of the most beautiful women Ivy had ever known and one of the few people in the world she could honestly count as a friend.

"Ivy, it's so wonderful to see you!" Madeleine said brightly, reaching for the handle on her valise and fairly pulling her inside the foyer. "Come in, come in before you catch your death. My goodness, but it's freezing," she added, closing the door tightly and bolting it.

A Notorious Proposition. Copyright ? by Adele Ashworth. 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
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2008

    Notoriously Sensual!

    When it comes to reading an Adele Ashworth romance, readers can expect an excellent story, in-depth characters, and a sensuality that oozes from the pages, keeping a reader riveted to the book. It is no different with this new title ¿A Notorious Proposition.' Revisiting a place called Winter Garden from a previous book of that name back in 2000, we find two people who left an intense emotional and physical love behind two years ago due to undercover government intrigue, mystery of missing Martello diamonds and amnesia. The handsome Garrett Burke, who is the mysterious Winter Garden¿s Marquis of Rye, left the beautiful Lady Ivy Wentworth in his warm bed after an intense night of love to finish this mysterious business with the intentions of returning and asking for her hand in marriage. But then it seemed everything went wrong and to make matters worse, due to an injury he received that evening while trying to retrieve the famous Martello diamonds, he is left with no knowledge about what actually happened that night and the aspects of his relationship with Ivy. He is so confused that he actually suspects she may actually be involved in the nefarious plot especially because her brother is missing since that fateful night. Now it is two years later and the diamonds and other individuals besides Ivy¿s brother, involved in the original mystery are missing. Everyone seems suspect, but most of all, it is Ivy that is the one deeply hurt at Garrett¿s treatment of her, past and present, and his suspicion toward her. Her reputation is at stake, together with her fear for her brother¿s life and his possible involvement in the original theft and current mystery. Garrett and Ivy find themselves thrown together at Winter Garden, at the invitation of the Marquis of Rye, who Ivy does not know is actually Garrett, while walking a fine line of suspicion, love and hate. Will Garrett find the diamonds and who is responsible for their theft and his injury, while at the same time will his memory return so he can remember just how important Ivy is to him? Will Ivy help Garrett by using her famous talent as a seer, to find her brother and somehow rediscover the diamonds and the love she once had for Garrett, while fighting the continuous sensual desire she discovers she cannot put behind her since that fateful night two years ago when Garrett left her in his bed? Adele Ashworth is a superb talent that seems to get better with each book that is a definite keeper. Crime, mystery, and sensuality combine with excellent storylines and interesting characters to keep readers patiently awaiting a next release.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2008

    Fantastic romance from Adele Ashworth

    Two years ago, while on assignment for the Crown, Lady Ivy Wentworth gave her heart to Garrett Burke, also on assignment for the Crown, only to have it broken. Garrett left her asleep in bed to search for the missing Martello diamonds . . . and didn't return. So, when Ivy, a known seer, comes to Winter Garden at the request of the mysterious Marquess of Rye to rid his new house of ghosts two years later and sees Garrett once again, at first, she is anything but thrilled. They are both after the Martello diamonds and eventually work together to look for them while trying to outrun a villain. ****** Reunited lovers is one of my favorite romance themes and this story is one of the best I've ever read. While some people consider this a sequel to Ms. Ashworth's WINTER GARDEN, it certainly stands just fine on its own. Garrett and Ivy are very well written characters who practically leap off the pages. Ivy is an intelligent heroine who doesn't overreact or do something stupid when Garrett reveals a secret. Garrett is a sexy hero who is also incredibly sincere. Because of their past, there is a tremendous amount of underlying sexual tension when they are together which makes for a beautiful love story. The scenes when Garrett and Ivy are searching for the diamonds through secret corridors and passageways was very reminiscent of my first book love, Nancy Drew. And it is during those scenes that they rediscover their passion for one another. This book is brilliantly written and I will wholeheartedly admit that I enjoyed it even more than I did WINTER GARDEN. I highly recommend it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    engaging Victorian romantic mystery

    In 1850 at Winter Garden Garrett Burke was investigating for the Crown the theft of the Martello Diamonds when he met and fell in love with Lady Ivy Wentworth. She reciprocated his feelings. However, after making love with her and planning to ask her to marry him, he went out on his assignment that ended badly he blamed Ivy, whom he believed betrayed him. --- Two years later Garrett and Ivy are together at Winter Garden seeking to uncover secrets long buried there. As they begin to find clues of a treasure in the mansion¿s secret corridors, their love surfaces as neither stopped wanting the other. However, he does not trust her and she knows how he feels making her angry that her love was not strong enough to persuade him otherwise. ---- This is an engaging Victorian romantic mystery starring two likable protagonists whose short history together includes making love, falling in love, and distrusting love. Readers will enjoy this amusing suspense tale that takes place in WINTER GARDEN (previous book written in 2000 not read by me) as Adele Ashworth writes another engaging historical as few authors consistently bring to life the 1850s-1860s as consistently vivid as this writer does. --- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2013

    So so

    She has better books than this

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    Good

    OMG very, very good!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2008

    Notoriously Sensual!

    When it comes to reading an Adele Ashworth romance, readers can expect an excellent story, in-depth characters, and a sensuality that oozes from the pages, keeping a reader riveted to the book. It is no different with this new title ¿A Notorious Proposition.¿ Revisiting a place called Winter Garden from a previous book of that name back in 2000, we find two people who left an intense emotional and physical love behind two years ago due to undercover government intrigue, mystery of missing Martello diamonds and amnesia. The handsome Garrett Burke, who is the mysterious Winter Garden¿s Marquis of Rye, left the beautiful Lady Ivy Wentworth in his warm bed after an intense night of love to finish this mysterious business with the intentions of returning and asking for her hand in marriage. But then it seemed everything went wrong and to make matters worse, due to an injury he received that evening while trying to retrieve the famous Martello diamonds, he is left with no knowledge about what actually happened that night and the aspects of his relationship with Ivy. He is so confused that he actually suspects she may actually be involved in the nefarious plot especially because her brother is missing since that fateful night. Now it is two years later and the diamonds and other individuals besides Ivy¿s brother, involved in the original mystery are missing. Everyone seems suspect, but most of all, it is Ivy that is the one deeply hurt at Garrett¿s treatment of her, past and present, and his suspicion toward her. Her reputation is at stake, together with her fear for her brother¿s life and his possible involvement in the original theft and current mystery. Garrett and Ivy find themselves thrown together at Winter Garden, at the invitation of the Marquis of Rye, who Ivy does not know is actually Garrett, while walking a fine line of suspicion, love and hate. Will Garrett find the diamonds and who is responsible for their theft and his injury, while at the same time will his memory return so he can remember just how important Ivy is to him? Will Ivy help Garrett by using her famous talent as a seer, to find her brother and somehow rediscover the diamonds and the love she once had for Garrett, while fighting the continuous sensual desire she discovers she cannot put behind her since that fateful night two years ago when Garrett left her in his bed? Adele Ashworth is a superb talent that seems to get better with each book that is a definite keeper. Crime, mystery, and sensuality combine with excellent storylines and interesting characters to keep readers patiently awaiting a next release.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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