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To Marry an Heiress
     

To Marry an Heiress

4.2 56
by Lorraine Heath
 

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The USA Today bestselling author returns with an unforgettable tale of a marriage of convenience that becomes a love match.

Overview

The USA Today bestselling author returns with an unforgettable tale of a marriage of convenience that becomes a love match.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Often in Heath's novels (A Rogue in Texas, etc.), English aristocrats head to the Wild West to find love and make a fresh start, but this time around, an American heiress heads to Victorian London and winds up getting married. Devon Sheridan, a widowed earl and father with a deteriorating estate, seeks to replenish his empty coffers by marrying Georgina Pierce, the plain, stubborn daughter of wealthy American Nathaniel Pierce. In exchange for unlimited access to Nathaniel's funds, Devon agrees to woo Georgina and provide her with the one thing she desires most children. Georgina quickly sees through the charade but marries him to please her father, who dies shortly after the wedding, having gambled away his fortune. With the help of his unconventional wife, however, Devon comes to realize that he can be wealthy without riches. The clash between Georgina's lack of inhibitions and Devon's strict adherence to society's rules serves as a source of comedy, but Devon is an unlikely character for the period despite his English starchiness. Not only does he work his own fields (a "no-no" for the aristocracy), but he fails to make a proper marriage settlement before entering into the union. Still, Heath's vivacious heroine shines, and she plays well off her proud and proper counterpart. (Sept. 3) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380817429
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/2002
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
746,735
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

To Marry an Heiress

Chapter One

London

1878

"Huntingdon, I do think it would be prudent for you to reconsider this nefarious scheme of yours."

Sitting in the lavishly decorated library, Devon Sheridan, the seventh Earl of Huntingdon, was amazed to discover himself capable of sipping his cousin′s port without smashing the delicate crystal glass held within his grasp. He damned well wanted to destroy something.

But he had learned at an early age to always project a veneer of civilization, regardless of his true feelings, particularly when his emotions bordered on the barbaric. As they so often did of late.

Slowly he lifted his gaze to the man seated in the leather chair behind the immense mahogany desk.

"I′m not the first nobleman to marry an heiress in order to refresh the family coffers," he reminded Christopher Montgomery, the Earl of Ravenleigh. "Nor do I expect that I shall be the last. Marrying money, after all, is considered a perfectly acceptable and reputable undertaking."

Unlike his endeavors of recent years, which would be perceived as dreadfully appalling by those of his acquaintance should they hear of them. Even his cousin would be horrified if he learned the depths to which Devon had plunged in an attempt to save all he held dear.

His ancestral estate was deteriorating, and the land that had once supported tenants was becoming barren. For some time now hopelessness had gnawed unmercifully at him, while he′d gradually slipped off the mantle of a gentleman to become little more than a common laborer.

Then nearly a fortnight ago possible salvation had arrived in the form of Miss Georgina Pierce -- a reputed American heiress who seemed blessedly naIve regarding her worth.

He′d learned of her family′s riches quite by chance when he′d encountered Ravenleigh at White′s. His cousin had mentioned he′d welcomed Miss Pierce and her father into his London home. Their roots were strongly embedded in Fortune, a small town in Texas where Ravenleigh had met his present wife and her brood of daughters. Her eldest, Lauren, and Miss Pierce had been childhood friends.

Devon′s circumspect investigation into Nathaniel Pierce′s financial situation had revealed he′d amassed a small fortune during America′s civil war. That he had done so by defying the blockades didn′t matter. Following the war, he′d sold much-sought-after items at what some people considered exorbitant prices. He′d also dabbled in land speculation, and it was rumored he′d recently taken an interest in railroads. Apparently he was a jack of all trades with a golden touch.

"But American women, especially those from Texas, particularly those from Fortune, are not always ... malleable," Ravenleigh stated.

Devon quirked a dark brow. "Had a bit of trouble taming the little wife, did you?"

His cousin narrowed his pale blue eyes in warning. Devon knew it was a foolish man who taunted his benefactor. As a rule he tended not to be foolish. Proud, yes. Beyond measure. But foolish, no.

Pride was a dominant family trait, and true to form, Ravenleigh would not add sparks to the dying embers of gossip. Although Devon readily admitted Ravenleigh seemed more than content now, he had heard the rumors bandied about that his cousin′s Texas bride had not initially adjusted well to life in her new country.

"These women were forged in the fires of a difficult life. They are accustomed to independence," Ravenleigh informed him in a tightly controlled voice.

"My next wife shall have all the independence she craves. All I desire is her wealth, in exchange for which she will become my countess. I understand these Americans long for the respectability our titles afford them."

Although he′d yet to be introduced to Miss Pierce, he could not help but wonder if she was aware that her father had let it be known that he was eager to purchase a titled husband for her.

"Although our society is fraught with marriages of convenience and political alliances, I can imagine nothing lonelier than being married to someone you do not love," Ravenleigh said.

Not wishing to crush his glass as the dark emotions roiling through him took a firmer hold, Devon carefully placed it on the polished marble table beside the chair and stood. "Then you possess a deplorable lack of imagination, Cousin."

He strode to the window and gazed out on the well-manicured garden.

Loneliness was watching respectability stripped away bit by agonizing bit. Isolating himself so others would not witness his fall from grace. Projecting aimage to the world so no one would know his true sorrow, his immense fears, his incredible woes. To face everything alone. To desperately want to weep only to discover he no longer possessed the comfort of tears.

Now he was precariously balanced on the precipice of losing all he loved. His family′s estate. The dwindling respect of his peers. His own self respect and his damnable pride. Seeking Ravenleigh′s help in his quest for deliverance had gouged his vanity, and the wound continued to fester.

"Huntingdon, I could see my way clear to loan -- "

"Don′t!" Devon clenched his hands until his forearms ached with the effort to restrain himself. He wanted neither pity nor magnanimity from the man. "I refuse to become a charity case as long as I possess the means by which to avoid it. I have but one thing left to barter: my title, in exchange for an heiress. It will have to suffice."

Closing his eyes, he imagined Huntingdon as it should have been: grand, bold, majestic. Not as his father had left it: strongly resembling an aging dowager who spent far too much time drinking.

To Marry an Heiress. Copyright © by Lorraine Heath. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She's been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA's prestigious RITA®. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.

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To Marry an Heiress 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
kronan1 More than 1 year ago
Fun story..................................................................................................................................................... An English Lord marries a Texas girl for her money . The next day her father drops dead and they find out he gambled away his fortune. Devon is so incensed he tells her he'll stay married to her but never sleep with her again. Words he learns to regret big time. Another great Lorraine Heath story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Lorraine Heath she is an excellent writter and her novels are wonderful. The first novel that I read of Lorraine Heath was Texas Destiny, I was hook. Her stories are always very romantic and most of the time the characters are always very independent and different. In this story you will fall in love with Devon and Georgina and you will be cheering for them from the beginning. Wonderful story.
harstan More than 1 year ago
By 1878 the Huntington estate is rapidly deteriorating. The Earl Devon Sheridan needs cash fast and decides visiting Texan Georgina Pierce, daughter of a wealthy former Civil War blockade runner, fits the bill or at least her money does. His friend Montgomery, based on first hand knowledge, warns him that marriage to a Fortune, Texas woman is different, as these ladies are independent. Ignoring the caution, Devon pursues Georgina.

To meet her dad¿s expectations, Georgina agrees to marry Devon though he is a widower with two children. They share a passionate first night, but her father dies just afterward and they learn she inherits nothing. Devon feels he has been conned by the Americans though he reluctantly admits to himself she brings love and joy into his home. Georgina wants a real marriage with her Earl that includes mothering his two children as well as future kids, but the latter requires a cooperation from an irate aristocrat.

Though similar in characterizations especially the lead couple with the previous tales in this series, TO MARRY AN HEIRESS is an irresistible Victorian romance. The novel enthralls the reader as the outspoken Texan is determined to make her connubiality work while helping raise his children. Meanwhile her immovable spouse tries to resist the irresistible force of love she emits so well written sub-genre fans will feel fortunate to have read the latest entry.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not finish it. The hero was unappealing. And the plot was poorly done. Marries her for her money and withholds sex when he discovers she has none. Ick. Who cares if he changes his mind. She is a doormat and he is without character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a truly good book! I've read so many of Heath's books and they are all keepers. Many thanks, Lorraine, for the all of the wonderful "movies in my head."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved everything about this love story from beginning to end. Wonderfully satisfying period romance. One of heaths best. Phyl p
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1VAReader More than 1 year ago
Good book with a rich girl and a poor harding working aristocrat falling in love without realizing it. I enjoyed it very much!
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