The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

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In passionate love stories from four of romance's most prominent authors, meet women who've spent years thinking they've missed their shot at Mr Right – only to discover that fate is handing them one more win back the love of the one who got away!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060540265
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 10/26/2004
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 256,246
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was more fun than real life. She is the author of thirty-one novels, and her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Victoria lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her long-suffering husband and two dogs, in a house under endless renovation and never-ending chaos.

Eloisa James is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature, who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight.

Cathy Maxwell spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram at maxwellcathy. She is a world class procrastinator so, if you yak at her, she usually yaks back.

A lifelong Anglophile, Liz Carlyle cut her teeth reading gothic novels under the bedcovers by flashlight. She is the author of over twenty historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina.

Read an Excerpt

The One That Got Away

The Trouble With Charlotte

Victoria Alexander

One month earlier ...

It was past time she wed again. Everyone said so. Worse, she knew it herself.

Charlotte Robb, the widow of Captain Hugh Robb, who'd met his demise at the battle of Albuera six years ago this spring but who had, in truth, left her life long before his death, smiled with feigned interest at the gathering of friends in her salon and pretended to follow the ongoing debate over whether or not Keats was as brilliant as Shelley and if indeed Lord Byron should even be included in their company. The women were firmly in support of Lord Byron, as women generally tended to be. Still, it was a frivolous discussion, and Charlotte was rather grateful for that at the moment. She did love these gatherings, but today she was simply not in the mood for talk of a more serious nature than quibbling over the talents of poets. She had far too much on her mind.

It was an especially small group today, her guests only six in number. Her two dearest friends were in attendance, of course: Eunice, Lady Blackwell, and Isobel, Lady Hazelwood. All three women had been friends since their first season eight years ago, and all three now shared their respective widowhood. Eunice's state was not unexpected, as she'd wed a man more than twice her age. Indeed, the real surprise was that Lord Blackwell had lasted as long as he had, expiring a mere four years ago. While Eunice still swore she'd had genuine affection for him, her recovery from her grief at his passing had been relatively swift, helped, as she freely admitted, by the tidy fortune he'd left in her grateful hands.

Isobel was an entirely different story. She'd known her husband since childhood and had loved him nearly that long. When his death came three years ago, the result of a swift and unexpected illness, she was devastated. Without the support and love of her friends and family, the dear creature never would have survived at all. Fortunately, Isobel had a great number of relations and an equally large number of friends. Still, it was only in the past few months that Isobel had begun to show any interest at all in resuming her own life.

As for Charlotte, her own marriage had been a tempestuous mix of high passion and heady emotions and a disastrous error in judgment, on Hugh's part as well as her own. They'd been married, or rather had done battle, scarcely more than a year when Hugh had decided to remove himself from all responsibilities of wife and wedlock and had purchased a commission in the army. One might say, and Charlotte suspected many indeed did say, that he had been well prepared for war, given the state of their marriage. Even so, he had obviously not been prepared enough, as barely a year later he was dead. The deep, shocking sorrow she'd had at the news was mixed, even now, six long years later, with a fury she was hard-pressed to ignore or understand. Still, it was over and done with, and Isobel wasn't the only one who needed to get on with her own life.

At least one of the four gentlemen here today was an intriguing candidate for helping Charlotte do just that, and all present were those she included in her list of friends. There was LordWarren, who was devilishly handsome, with far too much free time, money, and charm. Charlotte was probably only immune to him because she'd known him for much of her life and thought of him with the fondness one has for an unrepentant brother. Mr. Addison had become a friend as well in recent years. The man was a brilliant critic of art, in the process of making a rather distinguished name for himself and great fun to debate on almost any subject imaginable. Then there was Mr. Manning. The younger son of an earl, he fancied himself a writer of plays, although one had yet to be produced, or even, to Charlotte's knowledge, finished. Still, he was of clever character, financially sound, from a good family, and he'd been head over heels for Isobel since the moment he'd met her. Not that Isobel had noticed. Not yet.

And last, but certainly not least among their number, was the Earl of Pennington. Marcus Holcroft. Charlotte had met him at a party in the country, and they had continued their acquaintance upon their return to London. He was charming and witty, with a dry way of looking at the world that was most amusing. With every passing day Charlotte found his company more and more enjoyable. Indeed, she had recently admitted, if only to herself, that she might be somewhat taken with him and was fairly certain, given the look in his eyes whenever her gaze would meet his, that he might be taken with her as well. It could even be love, although Charlotte wasn't at all sure she would recognize love. Not real love.

She'd once thought she'd known real love, but with the clarity of years and distance, noww ondered if what she'd had with Hugh had been nothing more than a concoction of forbidden lust and high passion stirred and flavored with the impulsiveness of youth and the lure of excitement. The fact that they'd wed at all was only due to the dishonorable circumstances they'd found themselves in. To give Hugh a modicum of credit, no one had known of their liaison and he could easily have escaped any responsibility. But he had insisted on marriage, and that alone had been enough to convince her of love on both their parts, although neither had ever said so aloud. Besides, her head had been too full of stars and romantic dreams about eternal devotion and fate and all sorts of other nonsense to realize that she and Hugh simply did not suit outside of a bedroom or a battlefield ...

The One That Got Away. Copyright © by Victoria Alexander. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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