Secret Desires of a Gentleman (Girl-Bachelor Series #3)

Secret Desires of a Gentleman (Girl-Bachelor Series #3)

4.2 38
by Laura Lee Guhrke
     
 

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Once Upon a Time . . .

Maria Martingale was going to elope. But Phillip Hawthorne, Marquess of Kayne, put a stop to those plans when he learned his younger brother intended to marry a cook's daughter. Now, twelve years later, Maria discovers that the man who holds her fate in his hands is none other than the haughty gentleman who sent her packing—and he

Overview

Once Upon a Time . . .

Maria Martingale was going to elope. But Phillip Hawthorne, Marquess of Kayne, put a stop to those plans when he learned his younger brother intended to marry a cook's daughter. Now, twelve years later, Maria discovers that the man who holds her fate in his hands is none other than the haughty gentleman who sent her packing—and he's as handsome and arrogant as ever.

Happily Ever After?

Always the proper gentleman, Phillip will do anything to protect his family from scandal, and when Maria dares to move in right next door, he knows scandal will surely follow. She is as tempting as he remembered . . . and the more he sees her, the harder it is for Phillip to keep his own secret desire for her a secret . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061982200
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/06/2009
Series:
Girl-Bachelor Series , #3
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
56,303
File size:
692 KB

Read an Excerpt

Secret Desires of a Gentleman

Chapter One

If there be no bread, let them eat cake.
Anonymous

London, 1895

This couldn't be right. Maria Martingale came to a halt at the intersection of Piccadilly and Half Moon Streets, staring doubtfully at the shop on the corner. It was in an ideal location, appeared to be in excellent condition, and the sign over the doorway declared the premises had formerly been a tea shop. It was perfect—so perfect in fact that Maria was sure there had to be some sort of mistake.

She glanced down at the order to view in her hands, then back up at the engraved brass kick plate of the door to verify the address: 88 Piccadilly. No mistake. She was in the right place.

Just come into the market, the agent had told her as he'd given her the order to view. Just what she was looking for. Clean, he'd hastened to add, handing over the keys, and freshly painted, with a thoroughly modern kitchen.

Maria had not received these assurances with much enthusiasm. For three months now, she'd been combing through the streets of London, looking for the right place for her pâtisserie, and though she'd had little success in her search, she had learned a great deal about property agents and their descriptions. A modern kitchen often meant nothing more than a closed range and a few gaslights, fresh paint covered a multitude of sins, and "clean" was a relative term. Even in the finest neighborhoods, she'd stepped on so many beetle-infested floors and inhaled the noxious odor of bad drains so often, she'd almost given up the whole venture in despair.

But asshe studied the building on this particular corner, Maria felt a spark of hope. The location was first rate. It had frontage on Piccadilly, was within the street's most popular shopping area, and the neighborhood surrounding it was prosperous. Wealthy, influential businessmen lived here with their ambitious, social-climbing wives, wives who would willingly pay to provide their busy cooks with the best in ready-made baked goods. And Maria intended to provide the best. What Fortnum & Mason was to the picnic hamper, Martingale's would be to the tea tray and the dessert plate.

It was all due to Prudence, of course. If her best friend, Prudence Bosworth, hadn't inherited a fortune and married the Duke of St. Cyres, none of this would have been possible. Maria wouldn't have been able to leave her position as pâtissier to the great chef André Chauvin and strike out on her own. But Prudence had pots of money and had been happy to back her dearest friend in the venture of her dreams.

Maria folded the order to view and put it in the pocket of her blue-and-white-striped skirt, then she walked a few steps down Half Moon Street. As she viewed the exterior of the shop, her hopes rose another notch. There were enormous plate-glass windows on both streets, and the entrance, set at an angle to the corner, boasted a door with glass panels. This design would provide plenty of opportunity for those walking past to be tempted by the delightful confections she would have on display. She could see from the window wells set in the concrete of the sidewalk that the kitchen was in the basement. Steps on Half Moon Street led down to it through a tradesmen's entrance door.

Eager to see the interior of the shop, Maria hastened back to the corner, opened her handbag again, and extracted the key given to her by the property agent. She walked up the whitened front steps, unlocked the door, and went inside.

The front room was large, with enough space for the display cases and tea tables necessary to a pâtisserie. The fresh paint extolled by the property agent, however, would have to be redone, for it was that peculiar shade known as yallery-greenery, quite fashionable nowadays but most unsuitable for a bakery.

Maria scrutinized the floor and took several deep breaths. No bad drains, and not a blackbeetle to be seen. Perhaps this time the property agents had got it right.

There was only one way to be sure. She tucked her handbag under her arm and crossed the room, the heels of her high button shoes tapping decisively on the black–and-white-tile floor. Upon opening the door to the back rooms of the shop, she found the arrangements typical of a thousand other London establishments. There was an office and storeroom, and one set of stairs led up to sleeping quarters while another led down to the kitchen and scullery. Maria knew she could hardly expect anything below stairs other than the damp, depressing hole that usually passed for a kitchen in London, but when she reached the bottom of the steps, she stopped in her tracks and stared into the most perfect kitchen she had ever seen.

There were oak cupboards, two full walls of them, with shelves, drawers and bins of every imaginable shape and size. Iron pot racks hung from the heavy oak beams that crossed the ceiling. Above the cupboards, the windows she'd spied from the sidewalk above not only let in some natural light, but they also opened at the top for ventilation—something that would be most welcome in the heat of summer.

Maria moved forward into the room, studying her surroundings in amazement. The concrete walls had been sheathed in a fresh coat of white plaster, and the linoleum floor beneath her feet was a soft, cheery yellow. To her right were four coal-fired ranges, each one fitted with burners, a boiler, and a tap. Above them hung a decorative hood of hammered copper.

The back kitchen was equally modern. The scullery had two sinks, a dual water tap, and a long, tin drain board, and the larder was generous, with shelves to the ceiling. There was even an ice room for cold storage.

Secret Desires of a Gentleman. Copyright © by Laura Lee Guhrke. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned more than twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction's highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave.

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Secret Desires of a Gentleman (Girl-Bachelor Series #3) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1883 Lawrence Hawthorne and Maria Martingale were attracted to one another although she was the daughter of the cook and he was the second son of the lord. She especially dreamed of marrying him one day and Lawrence wanted that as much as she did. However, Lawrence¿s older brother Phillip the Marquess ended this fantasy. Maria went into exile in France where she became a famous pastry chef while Lawrence behaved like an aristocrat (in the image of his dominating sibling).---------- In 1895, Maria comes home to open a shop near Phillip's home. He fears she has returned to win Lawrence¿s hand in marriage although his younger brother is engaged to a wealthy American. He will not allow her to cause a scandal there is only one problem with his intervention, he is falling love with the stubborn Maria----------- Victorian romance fans will appreciate this fun Girl-Bachelor Chronicles saga starring a wonderful working class heroine and the haughty aristocrat who kicked her across the Channel a dozen years earlier and still has strong control of her life except this time she fights back. Filled with lighthearted humor, SECRET DESIRES OF A GENTLEMAN is an entertaining late nineteenth century historical as Laura Lee Guhrke bakes a fun tale of love and class warfare.----------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could have given it 5 stars. 4 because of the following: 1. Keeps going back to the times they grew up and when it started. Philip and Maria are kind of childhood pseudo sweethearts that got nipped in the bud. This was already conveyed effectively but kept referring to it repeatedly. 2. Hero kept a token from heroine since they were young unbeknowns to her. Creepy when he tried to get her essence from it after so many years. 3. Awkward marriage proposal 4. Hero did a 180 on his views of social status and then story abruptly ends. Author developed the characters well They only slept once but still the book managed to keep me on my toes. That is a sign of a good plot and good phasing.
jpf More than 1 year ago
Unlike a lot of the people who previously reviewed this book the best part was the fact that he didn't do a total turnabout in the first few chapters. In my opinion that would have totally ruined the book. I love the conflict between the characters and the personal conflict that the main characters have within themselves. I won't reveal the ending but I felt it was an appropriate end for Philip being who he is and all inner turmoil he went through to arrive at that moment. This was a great read and I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't require instant gratification in order for a romance novel to considered good.
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