- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Her sister had fared much better on the voyage from America. Miss Prudence Waverly's eyes still sparkled like enormous emeralds. Her shiny, jet black hair was arranged in soft curls, and her skin was like milk and roses. In her royal blue cloak and silk-covered bonnet, she bore a striking resemblance to the Parisian fashion plate she had so meticulously copied.
Now no one would ever have guessed that Patience and Prudence were sisters, let alone identical twins.
Sleek and healthy, even a little on the plump side, Pru Waverly stretched her arms over her head in the yellow hackney coach and yawned ferociously. "Can't you do this tomorrow, Pay?" she said plaintively. "There are some very nice hotels here in London. I'm sleepy!"
"Hotels are a waste of money," Patience replied, sounding very brusque as she fought back another wave of nausea. "I asked the attorney to find us a small house in a quiet, respectable neighborhood, assuming there is such a neighborhood in London," she added darkly.
One heard such unpleasant tales of the fleshpots of Europe.
"It's only one night," said Pru.
"No," Patience said firmly. "It's foolish to pay for a hotel room when we are renting a perfectly good house. At least, I hope it is a perfectly good house," she added. "For what we are paying, it ought to be!"
Distracted by the view from her window as they passed a row of shops, Pru gave up the argument, and the chaise continued on to the offices of Bracegirdle, Bracegirdle, and Pym, in Chancery Lane.
Upon hearing that the Miss Waverlys had come to see him, Mr. Horace Bracegirdle first exclaimed, "At this hour?" for it was nine o'clock in the evening. While it was by no means unusual for attorneys to keep such late hours in the city, they did not usually receive clients—and most especially not female clients—after dark. Despite his misgivings, however, Mr. Bracegirdle tugged his best wig over his shaved skull and hurried out to the lobby to meet the two young ladies from America.
Pru greeted him, smiling, and swiftly introduced herself and her sister. To her surprise, the attorney gave all his attention to Patience.
"But you are ill, my lady," he exclaimed in dismay, hurrying to support her frail body. "Smithers, fetch the brandy!"
"I'm perfectly all right," Patience said faintly, fending off Smithers. "I was seasick on the journey—and no better now that I am on land, it seems. But I shall be all right in a day or two, I daresay."
Murmuring his sympathies, Mr. Bracegirdle ushered Patience into his gloomy, paneled office, gently helping her to a chair of oxblood leather near the fireplace. Not at all pleased to be so completely ignored, Pru followed in consternation.
"Really, my lady! You are very pale," Mr. Bracegirdle fussed, hovering over Patience like a devoted nurse. "If you will not take brandy, perhaps you will take a little water?"
"There's nothing really wrong with me," Patience insisted. "I was in excellent health when we left Philadelphia. I'm a little tired, that's all."
Pru, unused to being relegated to the background, said resentfully, "We're both tired. It was a very long journey. You may have been sick, Patience, but I had to nurse you."
"The sooner we take possession of our house, the sooner we can rest," said Patience. "Shall we get down to business, Mr. Bracegirdle?"
The attorney seated himself at his desk. "Of course," he said, taking up a document. "As you know, your uncle, Lord Waverly, died very suddenly six months ago."
"You mean he committed suicide," Patience said bluntly.
He blinked at her, surprised and a little offended.
Patience smiled briefly. "We Americans are deplorably forthright, I know. Never mind the spoonful of sugar, Mr. Bracegirdle. Just give us the medicine. My uncle committed suicide. Bankrupt and hounded by creditors, he jumped off a bridge and drowned himself."
Mr. Bracegirdle looked shocked. "Quite," he murmured in dismay.
"We don't pretend to mourn his passing," Patience went on. "We never even knew of his existence until we received your letter."
"I think we should pretend to mourn him," Pru protested. "After all, Pay, he was our father's brother. Our father never spoke of his native land, Mr. Bracegirdle, but somehow I always knew, deep in my heart, that we were descended of royalty. Father had such an elegant profile."
"Oh. Did he?" Mr. Bracegirdle said rather helplessly, venturing into the silence that followed Pru's disclosure.
"I understand there is no will to be read," Patience prompted him.
"His lordship does not appear to have had the time to make out his will before his unfortunate demise," Mr. Bracegirdle said, stubbornly clinging to his euphemisms. "Your father, Mr. Arthur Waverly, being dead, the two of you represent his lordship's only living relatives. As the eldest, Miss Patience Waverly is next in line. Therefore, she inherits. Congratulations, my lady."
"You mean Patience gets everything?" Pru said, frowning. "I get nothing?"
"I'm afraid so, Miss Waverly."
"Not fair!" Pru exclaimed. "When our grandfather died, we each got half of his money. I'm just as much Lord Waverly's niece as she is."
"The European system is inherently unfair and corrupt," Patience explained. "That's why we got rid of it in America. Don't worry, Pru! I'll sell off all the assets and split everything with you, fifty-fifty. Assuming there's anything left after the debts are paid."
"Split?" Mr. Bracegirdle repeated in astonishment. "I'm afraid you do not understand, my lady. One does not split a barony."
"Of course not," Patience said brusquely. "Try to keep up, Mr. Bracegirdle. I mean to sell the land, and split the money with my sister. I understand there's an estate of about twenty-six thousand acres. I can sell those acres, can't I?"
"The property is not entailed," he admitted. "But, my lady! You would not sell Wildings, surely? It has been in your family for generations. I believe it was the prospect of having to sell his beloved home in order to pay his debts that drove Lord Waverly to despair."
"Well, it won't drive me to despair," said Patience. "It's only dirt, Mr. Bracegirdle. I'm not sentimental."
"Well, I am," said Pru. "I'm extremely sentimental. I'd like to see the place where our father was born. Then we can sell it."
"Of course we must see it," said Patience. "I'd be a fool to sell it before I know what it's worth, and I won't know that until I see it. Do you have any idea what it's worth, Mr. Bracegirdle?"
"Some might say it is priceless, my lady," he said, in a rather reproachful tone.
"Nothing is priceless," Patience replied. "You must have some idea."
"Perhaps ten thousand," he said very reluctantly.
"Pounds or dollars?"
"Pounds, of course," he said stiffly.
"So ... about forty thousand dollars?" Patience said, rubbing her temples. "I haven't checked the rate of exchange since I left Philadelphia, but I don't suppose it's changed all that much in two months. And what is the debt against the estate?"
Mr. Bracegirdle consulted some figures. "Five thousand, seven hundred, sixty pounds, four shillings, and thruppence."
Patience was obliged to rub her temples a bit longer. "Let's see ... That's about twenty-four thousand dollars. Forty thousand, less twenty-four thousand—that's sixteen thousand dollars. Not bad, Pru."
"No, indeed," said Pru.
"But, surely, my lady," Mr. Bracegirdle interposed, "with your maternal grandfather's fortune at your disposal, there can be no need to sell Wildings."
"But my grandfather's fortune is not at my disposal," Patience told him. "We are his heirs, of course, but I'm afraid the money has been placed in trust. We can't touch the principal until we are thirty."
"Thirty!" Pru repeated with bitter emphasis.
"I am aware of the terms of your grandfather's will, my lady," said Mr. Bracegirdle. "I have been in communication with your American trustee."
"Oh, Mr. Gordon!" Pru exclaimed. "How I hate him! I once asked him for an advance on my allowance, and all he gave me was a very stern lecture. I desperately needed new stockings, but he would not budge!"
"You never learned to darn properly," Patience said, shaking her head.
Pru rolled her eyes. "Darn! One does not darn silk stockings from Paris!"
"Er, yes," said Mr. Bracegirdle, looking a little flustered. "Quite. However! Notwithstanding the excellent Mr. Gordon, there is nothing, my lady, in your grandfather's will to prevent you from borrowing against your expectations."
"I beg your pardon?" said Patience.
He smiled, showing his yellow teeth. "Indeed! I've taken the liberty of drawing up the papers for you. With a stroke of the pen, your uncle's debt can be cleared away and, with it, all your embarrassment. So you see, my lady, there is no need to sell the estate. You can borrow as much as you like now, and pay it back in ten years, when you come into the fullness of your inheritance."
"It is not my ambition to live beyond my means, sir," Patience said coldly. "I prefer to sell the estate."
"What does he mean, Pay?" Pru whispered to her. "Can he really get us as much money as we want? Give me the papers, Mr. Bracegirdle. I'll sign!"
"I'm afraid we must have your sister's signature," Mr. Bracegirdle told her regretfully. "You are not yet twenty-one, Miss Prudence."
"Neither is she!" Pru said indignantly. "We're the same age."
"Yes, but she is Baroness Waverly of Wildings," Mr. Bracegirdle explained, "and, as such, she is your legal guardian, Miss Prudence."
"What?" Pru gasped.
"It is unusual for a female to assume a peerage in her own right, and not at all desirable, to be sure, but, in this case, I'm afraid it could not be prevented," Mr. Bracegirdle apologized. "Your uncle's title is as ancient as it is noble, but, sadly, when the papers were drawn up in the twelfth century, no one thought to exclude the female line! A shocking oversight, it seems to us now, but, in those days, they did not perceive the danger, perhaps, of modern women putting themselves forward as the equals of men."
"Never mind all that!" Pru cried impatiently. "What do you mean she is my guardian? We're twins! We came into the world together."
"As I said before, one cannot split a barony, Miss Prudence. My lady preceded you from the womb by some twenty-seven minutes."
"My lady!" Pru exclaimed, outraged. "What is she? A duchess? I thought you were just being English with your 'my lady' this and your 'my lady' that. Are you telling me she is royalty?"
"Oh, no," Mr. Bracegirdle assured her. "Some royalty are nobility, of course, but not all nobility are royalty, you understand."
"No," Pru said, frowning.
"Your sister is a baroness, Miss Prudence, a Peeress of the Realm. But she is not a member of the royal family."
"What about me?" Pru demanded.
He smiled. "Rejoice, Miss Prudence, for you are the younger sister of a Peeress of the Realm."
Pru scowled at him.
"The title is of no consequence, Pru," Patience said quickly. "I didn't come here to claim the title. I came here to claim the estate. The estate is what matters."
"You knew about this!" Pru accused her. "Why didn't you tell me? My lady!" she added spitefully.
"Pru, these silly European titles don't mean anything," Patience declared, oblivious to Mr. Bracegirdle's reddening face. "There is no substance to them. They are obsolete, like the monarchy itself. People of sense and education are perfectly capable of ruling themselves. America has proved that to the world. We don't need a rigid class system to maintain order."
"If titles and royalty are so obsolete, Your Majesty," Pru shot back, "why don't you abscond?"
"I think you mean abdicate," Patience calmly replied. "If I were to refuse the title, everything would go to you, and then you would be my guardian. That, of course, would be ridiculous."
"This is ridiculous! I don't need a guardian."
Patience winced as her sister's voice became shrill. "It's just a title, Pru. It doesn't mean anything. It's just business. As for being your guardian, I have always given you the benefit of my advice, and, in any event, you'll be twenty-one next year, and no longer a minor."
"Then can I sign the papers?" said Pru. "And get as much money as I want?"
Patience flinched. "Well, yes," she admitted. "When you are twenty-one, you'll be free to enter into any contract you choose. Just remember, the bank will want its money back, plus interest, when you are thirty. Don't come crying to me if there's no money left in ten years."
"Thank you for the vote of confidence, Your Majesty!"
Patience turned back to the attorney. "I'm sorry you went to the trouble of drawing up papers, sir," she said crisply. "But I won't be borrowing against one inheritance to pay off the debts of another! Wildings will have to be sold, along with any other assets my uncle left behind."
"It shall be as Your Ladyship commands, of course, but selling the estate will take time."
"Yes, Mr. Bracegirdle," said Patience. "I'm in no hurry to cross the Atlantic again any time soon, believe me! We are prepared to stay for a year. That is why I instructed you to find us a house in London. You did so, I believe?"
"Yes, my lady," he replied. "In Clarges Street. I think you will find the rent very reasonable."
"Ha!" said Patience, looking over the lease.
"Your American trustee has already approved the amount," said Mr. Bracegirdle, producing another document. "London, Your Ladyship must understand, is an expensive place. Your Ladyship would not want to be in a questionable part of town. Mayfair is very quiet and respectable, very safe, and, of course, fashionable."
After looking over the documents very carefully, Patience signed, but muttered, under her breath, "Highway robbery."
Mr. Bracegirdle gave her the latchkey to the house, and Patience tucked it into her reticule. "As your attorney, my lady, I must beg you to reconsider. At the very least, if Your Ladyship would consent to pay off Lord Waverly's debts of honor ... ? Tradesmen, of course, may be put off for months, but—"
Patience snorted. "Debts of honor? Gambling debts, you mean?"
"It is one thing to make a shopkeeper wait for his money, my lady. But it is quite another to delay payment to a gentleman with an IOU!"
Patience climbed to her feet. "You're quite right," she said. "The shopkeepers will be paid as soon as I can manage it. The gentlemen with IOUs can wait."
"My lady!" he protested, quite shocked.
"Is that everything?" she asked.
"Heavens, no, my lady," he said, rising from his desk. "There is a great deal more to go over. I have a great many papers for Your Ladyship to sign."
"Then I'm afraid it will have to wait," said Patience. "I'm much too tired to read any more documents tonight."
"But there is no need for Your Ladyship to read any documents," he protested. "Here at Bracegirdle, Bracegirdle, and Pym, we read the documents for you. All that is required is your signature."
"Thank you, but I never sign anything without reading it," Patience said firmly. "My grandfather taught me that. It served him well."
"I trust you, Mr. Bracegirdle," said Pru. "When I am twenty-one, I'll sign anything you put in front of me."
"No, you won't," Patience said. "You're just needling me! You may call on me in a day or two when I have caught up on my rest," she went on, turning to Mr. Bracegirdle. "You know the address, of course."
Excerpted from The Pleasure Of Bedding A Baroness by Tamara Lejeune Copyright © 2011 by Tamara Lejeune. Excerpted by permission of ZEBRA BOOKS. 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.
Posted March 14, 2012
Posted December 7, 2011
Set in Regency times, 20-year-old identical twins Patience and Prudence Waverly sail from Philadelphia to London to claim their inheritance when their last relative dies. As the elder, Patience is now a Baroness and legal guardian to her sister. A stalwart American, Patience wants nothing to do with her title. She wants to get the paperwork settled, sell the estate and head back to America. Prudence has other plans.
This was an amusing story told successfully from several viewpoints as the sisters find their feet in England, so far from home, in such a very different way of life and unwittingly involved in several plots against them and a man named Purefoy, heir to the Sutherland Dukedom. Well, except for Prudence who knowingly plots selfish mayhem. Jeez, how many times did I want to smack that bratty twit? Many. However, she makes a good foil for Patience.
This is the first book I¿ve read by Tamara Lejeune, but it won¿t be the last!
Posted October 30, 2011
Regency Era comedy of errors tale of 20 year old American identical twins set loose in English society. The twins are visiting England in order to claim their inheritance from their deceased uncle. The eldest twin, Patience, will inherit the title of Baroness along with the property of the estate. Unfortunately she dislikes everything English including the titled aristocracy. Patience is the "good twin" who unerringly and unbelievably defends her sisters' nasty plots and plans.
Prudence, the younger of the two, takes on the role of the narcissistic "evil twin". She is not the most likeable of characters but if she were, the story would not have been as much fun.
The story has many interesting and unexpected twists and turns as the twins make their way in English society and vie for the rakish hero, Max Purefoy, a future duke. The book is well written and I enjoyed the double entendres that Max was so good at. A fun and unique take on the Regency Romance genre.
Posted October 25, 2011
Patience and Prudence Waverly have arrived in London from Philadelphia. The twin sisters are here to inherit their uncle's estate. Well at least Patience is, being the oldest of the girls. Patience is level headed and smart. She is prepared for London life and is determined to not allow their ways to intrude on her American heart. Prudence is another story. She is the lighthearted, trusting sister. Her head is filled with grandeur and plans to fully enjoy the ton. Max Purfoy is the nephew and heir to the Duke of Sunderland, one of the highest posts in England. He is also carefree, arrogant, and enjoys the highlife to the fullest, that is until he meets Patience. One bad experience and he is bound to change his ways, well most of them anyways. The Pleasure of Bedding a Baroness is a whirlwind! The plot is non-stop with misunderstandings and intrigue. While it is written so you don't lose the gist of the storyline, it is in constant motion and changing continually. I'm very impressed with the maze of scheming and maneuvering that Ms. Lejeune has written. She kept it well paced and flowing. I do have to say at times it was too much though. The story was easy to follow along, even with everything going on, but it just seemed too much at times. I enjoyed Patience's headstrong ways and how Prudence almost seemed childish compared to her. There were times even I wanted to bend Prudence over my knee. It was fun to watch Max grow as a man. He improved so much during the story and I enjoyed their meeting when Patience discovers who he really is and how he decides that she is the woman for him. It was lovely and cringe worthy at the same time. I will also have to say there was little or no predictability with this book. Yes, you knew there was going to be some sort of problem or yet another hurdle, but all in all there were many surprises for me. Very nicely done! This is most definitely not your normal historical romance. So if you would like something a little bit different and a whole lot of fun then be sure to pick up The Pleasure of Bedding a Baroness today. It's a fast and furious romp into the uptight and always devious world of the London ton.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 10, 2011
Twenty year old American twins Patience and Prudence Waverly inherit titles and estates in England. They leave Philadelphia for London to see what they own. Although Patience has become Lady Waverly, she has no patience for the aloof inanity of the Ton. Her title-less sister Prudence has even less prudence willing to battle the entrenched aristocracy who seek scandals of others to titter over.
Intoxicated Lord Max Purefoy assaults Patience the baroness, but ignores her when he is sober though he likes her bodacious outspoken manner. Meanwhile Prudence on the other hand wants a title like her sister has. She decides she will marry debauched Max although Patience to her chagrin is attracted to the rogue. However, Prudence's marriage trap sends Max to her sister demanding she marry him.
This screwball Regency romance is a jocular comedy of errors as the twins manage to land in one mess after another. Purposely using character-traits hyperbole, the tale lampoons the rigid public ethical code and its amoral private code of the Ton, but the satire loses some of its sting because the humor never fully takes enough serious relief moments. Still fans who enjoy a zany over the top tale of siblings, suitors, switches, and suspense will want to read Tamara Lejuene's comedy of romantic errors.
Posted December 7, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted September 6, 2013
No text was provided for this review.