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Spirited beauty Lilian Loring believes that love is too risky a venture and that marriage is best avoided entirely–even if her unwanted suitor comes as deliciously packaged as Heath Griffin, the Marquess of Claybourne. The charismatic rogue has never met a woman who can discourage his advances, and after a show of resolve Lily too melts under Heath’s ...
Spirited beauty Lilian Loring believes that love is too risky a venture and that marriage is best avoided entirely–even if her unwanted suitor comes as deliciously packaged as Heath Griffin, the Marquess of Claybourne. The charismatic rogue has never met a woman who can discourage his advances, and after a show of resolve Lily too melts under Heath’s sensuous kisses. Perhaps that is why she decides to hide out in the last place a gentleman would look for a lady: a house of scandalous repute.
In bold pursuit, Heath discovers his enchanting spitfire cheerfully instructing the demimonde in the art of deportment. Now the thrill of the chase is exceeded only by his powerful need to possess Lily as his bride. For Heath, victory in their game of passion means nothing less than winning Lily’s elusive heart. . . .
Lady Freemantle’s matchmaking is vexing enough to drive a saint mad, and you know I am no saint.
—Miss Lily Loring to Fanny Irwin
“I cannot understand why he flusters me so,” Lilian Loring mumbled unevenly to the gray cat. “No man has ever unsettled me this way.”
A soft purr was the only reply Lily received to her complaint.
“It is not merely because he is handsome, either. I am not ord’narily attracted to handsome noblemen.” If anything she was highly wary of them. “And I care nothing for his rank and consequence.”
Giving a woozy sigh, Lily stretched out in the straw as she stroked the cat’s fur. She was hard-pressed to explain the deplorable effect that Heath Griffin, Marquess of Claybourne, had on her. Particularly since she had just met him for the first time this morning at her sister’s wedding.
“The trouble is, he is too sharm . . . charming.” And virile. And vital. And powerful.
Whatever his attributes, they made her absurdly breathless and agitated.
“Devil take ’im. . . .”
Lily bit her lip and fell silent upon registering how slurred her words sounded. No doubt the result of drinking three full glasses of champagne—which was at least two glasses too many, given how spirits of any kind went directly to her head. But the events of the evening had been dismaying enough to drive her to imbibe.
She wasn’t completely foxed at the moment, yet it had probably been a mistake to attempt climbing up to the stable loft wearing a ball gown—an exquisite confection of pale rose silk—and dancing slippers. Weaving her way up the ladder in such narrow skirts while carrying a napkinful of tidbits had challenged her usual athleticism. But she had wanted to bring supper for Boots before she left the wedding celebrations.
Boots, the Danvers Hall stable cat, had recently given birth to a litter of kittens. Currently the family of felines was contentedly curled up in the box Lily had arranged in the loft to protect the mother cat and her new offspring from the home-farm dogs. Lily had left her lantern hanging on a peg below so as not to frighten the youngsters, and the muted golden glow contributed to the tranquility of the loft, as did the warmth of the night, since it was nearly summer.
The three kittens were little balls of fluff, their eyes barely open, but they were beginning to show their own unique personalities—much like the Loring sisters, Lily thought. The sight of the baby kittens blinking sleepily up at her roused intensely tender feelings in her chest, since she had a soft spot for the helpless and less fortunate.
If she was honest with herself, however, she would admit that she’d sought refuge in the stable loft as much to escape Lord Claybourne as to feed the estate cat and indulge in a bout of self-pity.
While Boots was nibbling delicately on breast of roast pheasant, Lily carefully reached inside the box and picked up one of the adorable kittens.
“Do you re’lize how precious you are?” she murmured, pressing her nose into its soft ebony fur. The black kitten was the rambunctious one, like Lily herself, and it swatted at her nose playfully.
Lily gave a low laugh, which helped staunch the ache in her throat at the poignant memories she was trying to hold at bay.
It had been a lovely wedding this morning in the village church, where her eldest sister Arabella had married Marcus Pierce, the new Earl of Danvers. An enormous wedding breakfast and ball had followed at Danvers Hall, with nearly six hundred guests in attendance. The celebrations had gone splendidly, due in large part to her middle sister Roslyn’s untiring efforts and hostess skills.
The ball would continue for at least another hour or two, until after midnight, but Lily and Roslyn had said farewell to Arabella in private a short while ago, sharing tears of happiness and sadness.
It was extremely hard for Lily to bear, losing Arabella to marriage, but the evening had been made even more difficult by the meddlesome matchmaking efforts of their kindly patron, Winifred, Lady Freemantle. Several years ago, when the Loring sisters had been penniless and in desperate need of earning their own livings, Winifred had supplied the funds to start their Academy for Young Ladies for the daughters of the wealthy merchant class. All during the ball, Winifred had kept pushing Lily in the path of Marcus’s close friend, the Marquess of Claybourne.
Eventually, much to her chagrin and dismay, Winifred cornered her and practically forced his lordship to dance with her.
“You will be delighted to have so desirable a dance partner as Miss Lilian, my lord, no mistake,” the middle-aged matron assured him.
“Delighted and honored,” Claybourne replied, smiling lazily down at Lily.
She felt color heat her cheeks. As her traitorous friend turned away, beaming with sly glee, Lily stared back at Claybourne, vexed and tongue-tied.
The marquess was tall and powerful, with an air of breathtaking virility that commanded attention. His hair was a tawny brown, his eyes a gold-flecked hazel, and he had an utterly masculine face that made countless feminine hearts flutter.
Lily discovered that she was no different. Deplorably aware of her quickening pulse and heightened senses, she stood there feeling awkward and fuming at Winifred’s machinations. It was mortifying, being paraded before the very wealthy, very eligible marquess like a heifer at a fair.
She remained mute as she accepted Lord Claybourne’s hand and let him lead her onto the ballroom floor. And when the orchestra struck up the opening bars of a waltz, she reluctantly moved into his arms. She did not like being so close to him, to his heat and vitality. Nor was she pleased at how conscious she was of his body, of his natural grace, his easy sensuality as he guided her to the lilting rhythm of the music. She had never observed such things about a man before. Normally she only noticed a man’s potential for brutality, the size of his fists—
“Do you dislike dancing in general, Miss Loring?” Claybourne finally asked to break the silence between them. “Or do you object to dancing with me in particular?”
Lily was taken aback by his perceptiveness. “Why would you think I object, my lord?” she hedged.
“Perhaps because of that fearsome scowl you are wearing.”
Feeling a fresh flush tinge her cheeks, she forced a polite smile. “I beg your pardon. Dancing is not my favorite pastime.”
Those jeweled eyes glinted down from beneath heavy brows. “You do it quite well. I confess that surprises me.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Why should it surprise you?”
“Because Marcus claims you are a spitfire and a hoyden. I understand you would rather enjoy a good gallop across a field than be caught dead in a ballroom.”
That honest observation won a reluctant laugh from Lily. “Most decidedly I prefer riding to waltzing, my lord, although ‘spitfire’ is a bit harsh. Marcus thinks I am one because I frequently quarreled with him about Arabella when he was courting her. But I am fairly even-tempered. However, I freely admit to being a hoyden—except when I play teacher at our Academy and must set a good example. Or upon occasions such as this, when I am required to endure the social niceties for my sisters’ sakes. In truth, I find a certain pleasure in defying the dictates of the ton.”
“I can admire a rebel,” he said, his tone edged with amusement. “You are very different from your sisters, are you not?”
His observation earned a sharp look from Lily. She regarded Claybourne suspiciously, unable to tell if he considered the difference favorable or not.
Not that she minded if his judgment of her was unfavorable. Nor did it bother her that she always fell short in comparisons with her sisters. Both Arabella and Roslyn were remarkable beauties with fair hair, creamy complexions, and tall, elegant figures.
Lily couldn’t match their height or aristocratic bearing—in addition to having dark hair and eyes and a rosy coloring that made her seem a changeling in her blond, blue-eyed family. Moreover, her sisters were the epitome of grace and ladylike gentility, while her own high spirits and stubborn aversion to conforming to the absurdly stuffy precepts of the ruling elite regularly led her into trouble.
But Lily had no intention of apologizing to his lordship for her subversive tendencies. Indeed, to her mind, the less conversation she had with him the better.
He, however, did not appear inclined to take her hint and keep silent. “Did you enjoy the wedding ceremony this morning, Miss Loring?”
That topic was an extreme sore point with her also, although she managed to hide her wince. “Arabella made a beautiful bride,” she said carefully.
“But you don’t approve of your sister marrying my friend.”
Lily’s frown returned as she scanned the ballroom for the bridal couple and found Arabella and Marcus laughing together as they waltzed. “I fear she may be making a mistake, wedding so suddenly. They have known each other for barely two months.”
Wow, was she irritating! I liked the other two books in the series (especially the second), but even in those I'd found Lily to be obnoxious. I was hoping to warm up to her in "her" novel, but it was everything I'd feared. The writing was lively and sparkling (Ms. Jordan COULD use a thesaurus-there were so many "dry" tones I kept wanting to offer the speaker a glass of water), Heath was charming and wonderfully heroic, but I just do not know any woman over the age of 17 as obtuse and needlessly rebellious as this girl. At least none that I like. I couldn't even finish. I was getting too annoyed, wanting to tell that girl to take off her Doc Martens, shave her legs, and join the real world. I guess she wasn't really bad, but she came off more as an adolescent than a grown woman. I did not believe for one minute that the character was capable of a true love match. Sorry, this was just not happening for me.
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2010
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This one was actually not as good as the other two. It started out promising but went downhill from there. This book didn't have nearly enough content to make it into a full book....short story maybe.
2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2008
Stay far away from the books in this series if you want good vocabulary, a coherent story and demand more than sloppily written repetitive and artificial sexual encounters. This book is a serious disappointment if you are looking for more than bad porn. This author was a major surprise in the worst sense, after all the good reviews.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 15, 2014
Posted April 6, 2012
Posted November 3, 2011
Heath was wonderful, heroic, and everything a woman could want and he had to pick the most iritating woman to fall in love with. For me there was no basis for him to fall in love with her she was so horrible and cold. This book was the least favorite of the three sister for sure. I am hoping the rest of the series picks up again and is better. Lillian was someone that did not endear anyone to love her. Nicole Jordan has a way to make you want to read about someone else and to continue the story usually. I am sure glad this was not the first book or I would never had continued the on.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 31, 2011
Posted January 16, 2011
This was the only book that I did not like in the series. Lilian was obnoxious and very aggravating to read about. Heath was very likable. It would have been better if Heath left her alone and looked for someone else. I almost skipped to the end to get through it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 1, 2010
While I did enjoy the book it was extremely exhausting and aggravating to have to keep reading about how much Lily detests the idea of marriage. I understand that's what her characters story is all about, but it got to a point where I just wanted to shout "COME ON!". It was too drawn out. I agree with a fellow reviewer that it started out great and promising, but then kind of dwindled away as the story progressed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 7, 2008
I was thinking I'd perhaps not care for this book as much, just based on the fact that Lily goes sooo much against the grain of society (she really doesn't give a fig for any of the balls and soirees in the ton, etc.)... but I ended up loving this one best of all, and believe me, I really enjoyed the first two books immensely (To Pleasure a Lady and To Bed a Beauty) ! Heath, the Marquess of Claybourne, has to pursue Lily through much of the book. She is clearly falling for him, but feels panicked because she simply does not want marriage. She knows that marriages don't work out-- her parents fought constantly, and her father flaunted his mistresses, sometimes even beating Lily's mother -- to the point where Lily's mother left England with a lover, to escape the misery. Lily wants none of this and has no faith that real love exists, but Heath is determined to show her tenderness, caring, even devotion.. not to mention large doses of incredible sensuality. A few times, I wanted to shake Lily, she was so stubborn, but I could understand her fears. She wants to love Heath, for he is the kindest man she has ever known, but she cannot trust. And so he has to prove it to her, page by page... and prove it, he does! It's worth all of his hard work! Speaking of pages... I do believe that page 215 in this book is one of the most beautiful examples of romance writing that I have EVER read, and I've read a ton of good romances. Writing like this is so lovely that it just makes you sigh. Another superb story from Nicole Jordan! I eagerly await her next novels.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 29, 2008
Posted September 9, 2008
Nicole Jordan¿s TO SEDUCE A BRIDE gives readers the unforgettable story of a Marquess who is determined to win the heart of a young woman known for her stubborn independence ¿ a spirited chase is guaranteed!***** Lily Loring has sworn off marriage, even having witnessed her sisters¿ bliss after falling in love and marrying. The youngest of three sisters, she is the most deeply affected by their father¿s infidelities and their parents¿ miserable marriage. She wants no part of having a man own her in the name of marriage, despite what society dictates as being proper. When Lily realizes that she has caught the eye of Heath Griffin, Marquess of Claybourne, she secretly flees to a boardinghouse run by her scandalous friend, Fanny. What she doesn¿t expect is Heath¿s immediate pursuit or his determination to court her, not at all put off by her position of teaching proper behavior to the demimonde.***** Heath knows the minute he finds Lily Loring in the barn after her sister¿s wedding, more than a little foxed on champagne and talking to kittens, that she is different. Lily, with her brilliant mind, her unashamed willingness to use it and her propensity for saying precisely what is on her mind, is stimulating and intriguing and has him more interested than he has ever been in any other woman. When Heath learns of Lily¿s determination to remain unmarried, he sets out to change her mind with tender, passionate persuasion. Painful discouragement eventually begins to take the place of hopeful anticipation when it appears that Lily¿s stubborn defenses just might be impenetrable.***** Nicole Jordan can take readers back in time as few authors can. Characters and settings come to life with lively conversations and lush descriptions. Heath¿s patient pursuit of the headstrong Lily leads them on a passion-filled road to romance, fueled by his desire to settle for nothing less than Lily¿s heart. While Heath is frustrated by her resistance, it was so well written that her continued hesitation isn¿t monotonous or tiresome to the reader. I¿ve long thought that Ms. Jordan sets the bar when it comes to historical romance and I maintain that opinion after reading this most recent series by her. I give this book the highest of recommendations for all readers who appreciate excellent historical romance. COURTESY LAURIE/ROMANCE JUNKIESWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 8, 2008
Posted April 14, 2008
This book was so great, I love how no matter where Lily goes her pursuer follows,this story will keep you going up until the last page. I would love to meet Lily and Heath.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 1, 2008
Miss Jordan is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I loved to bed a beauty and rushed to get the story of her sister Lilian. Lilian makes things hard for her heroine and I LOVED his persistence. I also liked that Lilian was far from perfect. This is an over the top romance that will leave you breathless!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 3, 2008
Nicole Jordon's #3 is, imo, the best of all. I just love her writing, the story, the depth of the characters. I would love to meet Heath Griffin. Get the book. It's another good one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
Unlike her two sisters who recently said I do (see TO BED A BEAUTY and TO PLEASURE A LADY) Lily Loring vows to never marry as she assumes men and abuse go hand in hand. However Lord Heath ¿Heartbreaker¿ Griffin meets and falls in love with her. She likes him, but rejects his courtship. To elude her ardent pursuer, Lily takes a room in a boardinghouse run by former courtesans including her friend Fanny Irwin. They hire her to teach the demimonde proper behavior amidst the Ton.--------------- The former ladies of the night suggest Lily play with Heath¿s affection by allowing him a chance to court her. However, as Lily aids a friend in trouble and assists another lady, she takes up the concept of wooing with Heath, but his sword play proves masterful as she falls in love with her devoted suitor.---------------- The third Courtship Wars is an appealing Regency romance in which the third Loring sibling lines up some interesting allies in her gender battle with Lord Heartbreaker. The lead couple¿s kissing and fighting make for a fun tale, but it¿s the women in Lily¿s corner that brings freshness to this winning tale TO SEDUCE A BRIDE.-------------- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 29, 2008
Wow! I can't help it this one is better than the 1st. If Mrs. Jordan keeps this up the third will be out of this world. Excellent character and steamy scenes and passionate love. Can't wait for the next one. ThanksWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 14, 2012
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Posted January 8, 2010
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