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The Proposition
     

The Proposition

3.8 34
by Judith Ivory
 

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No man, gentleman or otherwise, has ever looked at Lady Edwina Bollash the way the brash, handsome man standing before her is doing now. Edwina has accepted the challenge to transform incorrigible Mick Tremore into a gentleman in just six weeks. And although the linguist is sure she can rise to the task, she isn't at all certain she won't swoon under his frankly

Overview

No man, gentleman or otherwise, has ever looked at Lady Edwina Bollash the way the brash, handsome man standing before her is doing now. Edwina has accepted the challenge to transform incorrigible Mick Tremore into a gentleman in just six weeks. And although the linguist is sure she can rise to the task, she isn't at all certain she won't swoon under his frankly sensuous gaze before her job is done.

Mick has lived outside of London society long enough to know that appearances can be deceiving. Edwina might look all buttoned up-the perfect English lady-but there is unleashed passion existing just below her placid facade (not to mention a great pair of legs!). And as she prepares him to take his place in society, Mick prepares Edwina to take her place in his heart...and in his bed.

Editorial Reviews

Romantic Times
Judith Ivory's polished writing carries the story along with aplomb and will appeal to those who wish a luch, artistic romance.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Ivory's writing is exceptional.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When her father dies, Lady Edwina Bollash is ousted from her ancestral home in Regency London by her greedy cousin, the new Duke of Arles. To support herself, Edwina gives elocution and deportment classes to country folk and foreigners eager to enter polite society. She becomes so successful that twin lords Emile and Jeremy Lamont challenge her to turn Mick Tremore, an ill-mannered, uncouth Cornish rat catcher, into a gentleman and pass him off as a viscount at her cousin's annual society ball. Intrigued by the subject's accent and eager to exact some personal revenge, Edwina agrees to the wager. Little does she know that her life is about to be turned inside out: she discovers that Mick is a virile, handsome, incorrigible man. His wicked propositions boggle her virginal heart but stir her womanly passions. Through skillful writing, Ivory (Beast) captures the subtle sensual pleasures of her colorful characters, creating a sexy varitation on My Fair Lady. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In a creative reversal of the traditional Pygmalion plot, Ivory takes aristocratic linguistic tutor Edwina Bollash, pairs her with street-wise rat-catcher Mick Tremore, and gives them a seemingly impossible challenge--to turn the unpolished but oh-so-charming Mick into a gentleman in just six weeks and pass him off as a viscount at an upcoming ball. They succeed beautifully--but in the process fall totally, and inappropriately, in love. Well-done protagonists who become more endearing with each chapter; several memorable secondary characters, including a ferret named Freddie; and shimmering sexual tension and page-singeing love scenes recommend this beautifully written romance, which gently but effectively points out some of the inequities women faced during the late Victorian era. Although the social dilemma is too conveniently resolved, this fairy-tale ending does not detract from the book's overall appeal and should not disappoint Ivory's growing list of fans. Ivory's Sleeping Beauty was just named one of the ten favorite romances of the year by a popular vote of the members of the Romance Writers of America; she lives in Miami. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061995996
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/26/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
130,851
File size:
483 KB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The most highborn lady Mick had ever been withthe wife of a sitting member of the House of Lords, as it turned out -- told him that the French had a name for what she felt for him, a name that put words to her wanting his "lionhearted virility" -- he liked the phrase and. remembered. it.

"'A yearning for the mud,'" she told him. "That's what the French, call it."

Mud. He hadn't much liked the comparison. Still, from the moment he heard it, he hadn't doubted the phrase's clear sight or wisdom. Posh ladies who took a fancy to him had to make some sort of excuse to themselves, and this was as good as any.He was a novelty at best.At worst, a bit of mud to play in for ladies whose lives'd been scrubbed clean of good, earthy fun.

He lay now on the floor, dirtier than usual, truth be told, his palm and belly flat to the floorboards of a dress shop in Kensington. Three silky ladies stood over him -- they stood very far over him, one on a chair seat, one on a countertop, and one on the last inch or so left of a shelf taken up mostly by bolts of fabric.These three watched him, breathless, while Mick, his ear turned to the floor, listened.

He was a big man -- he took up a long length of floor. He had wide shoulders, a hard, muscular chest, long, weighty limbs. Handsomely made, he didn't doubt it. Vigorous. Five minutes ago, he'd been out back, using this, very fact to flirt with the seamstress's assistant. He'd made her laugh, his first triumph, and ,had just stepped a little closer, when the seamstress and her customer inside the shop had begun screaming, "Mouse! Mouse!" The only man nearby. he'd been pressed into service.

Now, whenscared, mice had a nasty habit. They'd run up anything, including a person's leg. The nightmare for a lady was that a mouse'd scamper into the understructure of her dress -- her petticoats, dressimprovers, and half-hoops -- where it could run, around indefinitely in a maze of horsehair and steel wires.

Hoping to avoid a mouse circus inside their dresses, the seamstress, a patron, and now herassistant had climbed as high as they could in the room, pressing their dresses to themselves, frightened out of their wits. Mick could've told them it wouldn't do them no good. Mice could get onto tables and chairs easy. But he didn't mention it. He didn't want to frighten them more.

He lay quiet, scanning the floorboards, palms flat, elbows up, toes curled to support some of his weight, ready to spring up if a mouse came into sight. Then he spied it, and it was sort of a letdown. A little thing, it was more scared than the ladies, shaking over in a comer at the base of a sewing machine in the shadow of a press-iron. Barely more than a baby. He could catch it in his hand. There were no others, no noise under the floor, no activity.

"Is there a nest?" whispered the seamstress, her voice hushed with worry. "Are there more?"

Now, right here, Mick should've said no and stood UP. But he didn't. He got distracted.

He turnedhis head, to use the other ear, to listen again and make sure. And there, through a doorway into a back room, under a painted screen, in a mirror he saw a pair of legs, a second customer. There were four women, not three. This one'd been trying on dresses, he guessed, when the commotion broke out. She was trapped in the dressing room.. In the mirror he could see she'd leaped on top of something, maybe a trunk. Anyway, with his position, her having moved up and out of the protection of the screen, and what with the angle of the mirror, he' was looking right at. a pair of devilish long legs. Bloody gorgeous, they were.

He lay there, caught in his own admiration. She was on her toes, dancing a little, nervous, the long muscles of her legs flexing beneath pink stockings with a hole at the knee. Long. Hell, long wasn't the word for these legs. They went for yards and yards -- she had to be a tall one, this one. And shapely-her legs were poetry. Balance, muscle, motion. They gave new meaning to fine.

Now, normally, Mick was a polite man. He would've protected a woman caught off guard by turning his head. Or at least he thought maybe he would've. But these were the damnedest legs. "Sh-h-h," he said in answer

the ladies above him drew in their breaths, trying to calm themselves, to allow him to hear any skittering or chewing or other nasty mouse sounds. One, of them murmured, "This is so heroic of you, Mr. -- " She was asking for a name.

"Tremore. Sh-h-h."

Oh, yes, heroic. The hero lay on his belly, getting his eyes as low as he could so as to stare- across the floor into a mirror at -the prettiest legs he'd yet seen in thirty years of living. If he'd been standing up, he'd've seen to maybe just above the ankles-the screen in front of her came within a foot of the ground. That alone would've been an eyeful, since her ankles were narrow, her foot pretty with a high arch and instep, the Anklebone showing -against the soft leather of her shoe.

But when he got his head just right, he could see in the mirror: from the toes of high-buttoned shoes I up long,neat shins, plenty of curvy calf, past the, knee...

The Proposition. Copyright © by Judith Ivory. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Amanda Quick
Lush, lyrical romance.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
A perfect fairy tale for grown-ups. I loved it!

Meet the Author

Judith Ivory's work has won many honors, including the Romance Writers of America's RITA and Top Ten Favorite Books of the Year awards and Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award.

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Proposition 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Sherkeekie More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Mick is a REAL man! He's earthy, smart, witty, clever, handsome and just plain wonderful. Winnie is a sweetheart and I loved it that she was a beauty only in Micks eyes. She was also smart, kind and so innocent. I NEVER read a book more than once but this one, is a keeper. Thanks Judith Ivory for really good read.
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It made me cry and laugh!
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