A Well Pleasured Lady (Well Pleasured Series #1)

A Well Pleasured Lady (Well Pleasured Series #1)

3.9 38
by Christina Dodd
     
 

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Prim, plain, desperately virtuous Lady Mary Fairchild stared at the seductive gentleman and wondered -- did he remember the elements of the night they met? Surely not. In the ten years since, she had abandoned her youthful impetuousness and transformed herself into a housekeeper -- disguising her beauty beneath a servant's dour clothing determined to conquer the

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Overview

Prim, plain, desperately virtuous Lady Mary Fairchild stared at the seductive gentleman and wondered -- did he remember the elements of the night they met? Surely not. In the ten years since, she had abandoned her youthful impetuousness and transformed herself into a housekeeper -- disguising her beauty beneath a servant's dour clothing determined to conquer the passions of the past.

But Sebastian Durant, Viscount Whitfield, did recognize her as a Fairchild, one of his family's bitter enemies. When he demanded her help recovering a stolen diary, she dared not refuse him. When he proposed they masquerade as a betrothed couple, loyalty forced her to agree. And when the restraint between them shattered and pleasure became an obsession, Mary had to trust a powerful man who could send her to the gallows ... or love her through eternity.

 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in England and Scotland in 1793, Dodd's (Once a Knight) Georgian romance is bawdy, brainy and ultimately beguiling. The heroine, Mary Fairchild, is a housekeeper who, like the fastidious butler of Kazua Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, strives to follow the code of a good servant: "A competent housekeeper never shows emotion." However, Sebastian Durant, Viscount Whitfield, the wealthy and handsome godson of her employer, tries to (and eventually does) subvert her best intentionsthe source of much of the book's good humor. Using his knowledge of Mary's former days as a flighty member of the aristocracy and suspected murderess, he coerces her into posing as his betrothed while they search for his godmother's potentially damaging stolen diary. Together they confront comical fops and pompous villains in this thoroughly delightful and decidedly erotic romp. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Comfortable in her fugitive life as the efficient housekeeper, Mary Rottenson, Lady Guinevere Mary Fairchild is dragged back to reality when the mesmerizing, but vengeance-driven, Viscount Whitfield blackmails her into posing as his fianceand she is forced to return to the dissolute family she never wanted to see again. The vividly depicted, bawdy Georgian setting is the perfect backdrop for this highly sensual story of intrigue. It features not only a large cast of diverse characters but also a unique heroine who is both heiress and murderess. Dodd (A Knight To Remember, Harper, 1997) lives in Stafford, Texas. [Note: A sequel, A Well Favored Gentleman, will be issued by Avon in 1998.]

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061983832
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/06/2009
Series:
Well Pleasured Series , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
120,355
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

That letter was quite a shock," Lady Valery finished.

"What letter?" Mary asked.

"The blackmail letter." Lady Valery dusted her fingers together as if the mere mention made them feel dirty.

"Does your housekeeper know anything about that" Lord Whitfield doubted Mary in every way. He'd made it clear before; he showed it now with that nasty half smile and his skeptical tone of voice.

"I have free access to everything here!" Mary wanted to convince him of her innocence in this matter, at least. "Why would I have stolen a diary when I could have had jewels?"

"The diary is worth more than the crown jewels." He stood, and Mary shrank back. He observed and found her guilty, she was sure, but he did no more than remove his jacket. Such informality was his right, of course. This was his godmother's home, and he remained decently covered by a double-breasted waistcoat. His white shirtsleeves covered his arms, but somewhere during the journey he'd untied his cravat, which hung in limp strands around his neck. Slowly he pulled it away and tossed it over an ottoman with his jacket.

Mary's fingers itched to pick up his apparel and hang it on a hook, but she subdued her housekeeperly instincts.

He sat once more, sideways in the chair, and hooked one knee over the wooden arm.

To Mary, schooled to rigidity, his sprawl bespoke a lack of respect, almost...intimacy. She glanced at Lady Valery, but Lady Valery seemed affectionately amused at his discourtesy.

"There's to be a house party at Fairchild Manor," he said.

She took a long breath and with a courtesy born of desperation, said, "There is always a house party at Fairchild Manor."

"I haven't been invited," he said.

"Do you think I have?"

"Of course not. The Fairchilds don't know where you are." He observed her closely. "I wonder why."

Panic writhed in the pit of her stomach. She'd trained herself to listen when the occasional guests visited, and never had she heard the name of Guinevere Mary Fairchild mentioned as a fugitive from justice. But this man seemed to be demanding that she revive Mary's vanished spirit, and with it, the specter of disgrace, imprisonment, and death. She scarcely unclenched her jaw as she replied, "I can be no help to you. When my father died, we begged my grandfather for help and he refused us. There's no reason for the family to welcome us now."

"Us?"

Funny. She was usually more discreet. "Hadden and me. My brother and me."

"So Charlie had an heir."

He made a statement, but it sounded as if he were musing, or worse, remembering, and she didn't want that. Not if he truly didn't remember that night. "As I said, the Fairchilds would not welcome me."

Clearly he realized her discomfort, but this was a man who liked to have the upper hand. He relaxed back into the upholstered Chippendale chair.

She comprehended his scheme. Thinking her uncowed by the threat of arrest, he threatened her with himself. Beneath the thin white linen of his shirt, she could see a thatch of dark hair over a well-muscled chest, and his shoulders resembled a prize-fighter's more than a nobleman's. His hands, she'd already noted, and his face ... well, she'd seen executioners less austere.

Yes, he was threatening her.

"I can't help you."

"But you must, my dear. Half of the town has been invited, including some very powerful men. I have no doubt the exchange of diary for money will occur during the party."

Mary winced.

"I'll use you as a distraction while I search for the diary, and that distraction will be a pervasive one."

Oh, she would be a distraction, all right. Especially if one of the nobles at the house party recognized her.

"I assure you, I've anticipated every possible obstacle."

"Every obstacle?"

"You see" -- he leaned forward, his eyes as gray and cold as the night fog she feared -- "you are going to be my betrothed."

Copyright © 1997 by Christina Dodd. Reproduced in arrangement with Avon Books and the author. All rights reserved.

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