To Tempt a Bride

To Tempt a Bride

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by Edith Layton

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From the moment she first saw tall, dashing Eric Ford, Camille's heart was lost. In her most cherished fantasy she is standing by his side, exchanging sacred wedding vows with her beloved. But Eric seems content to be no more than her unofficial protector, watching over the younger sister of his dear friend—and, despite her every attempt to open his eyes, it

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From the moment she first saw tall, dashing Eric Ford, Camille's heart was lost. In her most cherished fantasy she is standing by his side, exchanging sacred wedding vows with her beloved. But Eric seems content to be no more than her unofficial protector, watching over the younger sister of his dear friend—and, despite her every attempt to open his eyes, it appears Camille's dream of wedded bliss might never come true.

Eric knows a spirited and passionate beauty like Camille deserves much better than him, an ex-military man who has no patience for the games of the ton. Still, he aches each time a potential suitor approaches her, or when he sees her dancing in another man's arms. Eric knows he will never be complete until Camille is his. With each lingering glance and caressing touch he must tempt the lady to be his bride. But when danger and betrayal threaten, will it destroy a secret love…or bind two hearts for all eternity?

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

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To Tempt a Bride

Chapter One

It was the hottest spot in London on the coldest night of the year. The humidity was so high that water dripped down the inside of the closed windows as the outside iced over. The dancers' armpits would have shown damp spots if there'd been room for them to lift their arms, but there was hardly room to move their feet. Still, they kept smiling. Because although it felt like a jungle, they were in a ballroom in the best part of London town, and for all their sweat and panting, they were happy to be there.

But one of the guests felt a chill and knew it was time to go home.

The problem was that he couldn't leave right away any more than he could stay. Eric Ford looked around the crowded room and decided he had a choice: he could remain and embarrass himself or leave and embarrass himself. He shuddered again. That made up his mind. He recognized the signs. He'd hoped it was over and done with, but realized with sinking heart that it was not, and so he had no choice. He'd have to be quick with a glib excuse and leave as soon as he could, because he began to think that this time, however hurt, feelings would mend faster than he would.

Eric scanned the room, seeing more than most men would, if only because he was the tallest there. The woman he was looking for was wearing gold, he remembered.

There. She was with a young officer, romping in a country reel.

Eric knew the tune, heard it winding to a close, and knew the dance would soon be over. No matter whose name she had on her dance card, he'd talk her into letting him have the next one. He had to, for he wasn't sure he could linger longer.

When the music stopped, she raised a flushed face to her partner, and the two of them began to leave the floor. Eric's head began to throb, but he pasted on a smile and went to intercept them.

And the musicians struck up again, this time a waltz.

Eric frowned. She had permission to waltz, but if he tried to whirl around the room now, he was sure his head would go whirling off his shoulders. Soon it would feel as if it had anyway. But he couldn't disappoint her. As he stood wondering what to do, he saw her being approached by another man. Eric grimaced and moved forward. This time, he'd have to be ready when the music ended. He'd given her his word.

"Two dances?" she had cried excitedly when he'd agreed to her teasing suggestion. She'd slewed around in her saddle. "Really? Oh, Eric! That would be wonderful! Won't that open their eyes! To see me, a great gawk of a girl from the country, snaring you for two dances! I'll have a partner for every dance for the rest of the Season, much less the night!" She'd whooped with laughter before he could make a comment to take the sting from her words.

"What a bag of moonshine!" He'd laughed in return, angling his horse closer. "You've been a success since you appeared on the scene. I wonder how many likely lads I'll have the threaten in order to even get my two dances."

"They'll have to deal with me if they try to interfere with you," she'd said immediately and then laughed again, a little shamefacedly, when he grinned at the thought of her having to help him.

Because while Camille was a fine figure of a girl, he was almost a giant, with enough muscles to give his tailor fits. Current fashion wasn't happy with gentlemen built along the lines of Hercules, but Camille obviously was. Still, she was young, and he was her brother's friend, and she adored her brother, so that probably accounted for it. But she was also bright, so Eric was sure that sooner than later she'd see that was the extent of her interest in him and go on to fascinate more suitable beaux. That would be especially true now that she was in London at last. Still, the least he could do was to make her feel comfortable in her new setting, and if two dances would do it, he was happy to oblige.

She had flashed him a brilliant smile that day, nudged her horse forward, and they'd gone galloping down the riding trail, each too pleased with the fine afternoon and their plans to say another word.

When he'd seen her tonight, he'd actually stopped in his tracks, confused, as though he'd seen a familiar face in an unfamiliar setting and couldn't quite place it. His jolly companion on horseback was now a vision, with her hair done up like a lady and the thin gold gown showing how much of a woman she'd become. He was used to seeing her romping with her dogs or riding her horses, always dressed in comfortable old clothes. He didn't know if her new gown was comfortable, but it made him uncomfortable to see the young lady she had suddenly become.

She'd opened her arms to show him all her new splendor and then sank into a deep curtsey. When she rose, she grinned her old familiar grin at him. "I clean up nicely, don't I?" she said with her usual cheeky good humor.

Her brother sighed, her sister-in-law rolled her eyes, and Eric laughed. "You certainly do," he said, and led her into his first promised dance.

But tonight Eric realized his own personal David was in the room with him and he didn't have long before he'd be felled as certainly as Goliath had been ...

To Tempt a Bride. Copyright © by Edith Layton. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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To Tempt a Bride 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is wonderful. Loved each one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent! Thumbs up! A story where the two lovers had to withold their feelings yet show it when need be and when they come together at last its beautiful! such a great book and i do recomend it to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We smile in anticipation of another truly great read by Edith Layton...and she does not disappoint us. ...(purring) .....what can I say...Eric & Camille's tale is definitely worth reading.. Indulge and be delighted..
Guest More than 1 year ago
The malaria fever he first caught in India returns so Eric Ford leaves a London dance he was attending to walk home. Camille Croft, who has loved him since childhood, informs her brother Miles and Eric¿s brother-in-law that before he left he looked very ill. They chase after Eric because they are concerned and want to insure he gets home all right. Near his home, a man offers Nell for a night to Eric. Needing to lie down, he takes out his wallet, but the man hits Eric and steals his money just as Camille and her brother arrive. As Eric recovers, Nell stays with Camille.

Eric knows he is too old and too ill for Camille, but he begins to fall in love with her. Nell¿s cousin attorney Dana Bartlett courts Camille in front of a jealous Eric. When he feels fully recovered, Eric decides to tell Camille he loves her. They agree to marry. At the party where they plan to announce the upcoming nuptials, Nell poisons Eric. She abducts Camille and takes her to Lord Dearborne, a nasty individual seeking revenge against Eric and others for exiling him years ago.

RITA award winner Edith Layton known for her ¿C,¿ Regencies provides her fans with a fine romance focusing on a warm male protagonist falling in love with a caring woman whom he always treated like his little sister. The support characters add depth to understanding how Camille and Eric feel about life and each other. Though the final abduction of the heroine adds unneeded suspense, readers will be glad to have read a wonderful tale.

Harriet Klausner