Whirlwind Wedding [NOOK Book]

Overview

Austin Randolph Jamison, Ninth Duke of Bradford, met the uncanny beauty at the ball at Bradford Hall. And from that first moment, he was stunned. How could this unsophisticated female, who climbed trees in a ball gown to rescue a kitten, know secrets that could ruin his family and speak of danger that threatened them all? Who was she, this American bluestocking who knew too much, whose innocence shone in her eyes even as her full lips tempted ...
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Whirlwind Wedding

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Overview

Austin Randolph Jamison, Ninth Duke of Bradford, met the uncanny beauty at the ball at Bradford Hall. And from that first moment, he was stunned. How could this unsophisticated female, who climbed trees in a ball gown to rescue a kitten, know secrets that could ruin his family and speak of danger that threatened them all? Who was she, this American bluestocking who knew too much, whose innocence shone in her eyes even as her full lips tempted sin? Suddenly the duke knew he could not afford to let her go.

Some called it a gift. To Elizabeth Matthews, however, her visions were a responsibility that bound her to protect others from danger, no matter that the gossipmongers whispered she was chasing the duke to the altar. She vowed to use her powers to protect Austin at any cost, reckless of the passions that drove her into his arms, the need that made her his bride, never expecting her marriage to turn into a love match that would become the ton's most delicious scandal.

From the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Kathe Robin
Warmth and humor, love and passion fill the pages of this charming book. Ms. D’Alessandro builds the suspense with each of Elizabeth’s visions, and then tempers the tension with laugh-out-loud humor. Her second historical romance, secures her place among new and noteworthy writers.
Romantic Times
From the Publisher
Don't miss Jacquie D'alessandro's previous novel
Red Roses Mean Love

"A triumph!"
-- Rendezvous
Available from Dell

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307493095
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/10/2008
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 133,007
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jacquie D'Alessandro

Chris Marie Green writes as Crystal Green for Harlequin and Silhouette. She loves to travel: some of her favorite destinations include Great Britain, New Orleans, Italy and Japan.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

England, 1816

Austin Randolph Jamison, ninth Duke of Bradford, stood in a shadowed alcove and surveyed his guests. Couples swirled on the dance floor, a colorful rainbow of expensively gowned and jeweled women escorted by perfectly turned out gentlemen. Hundreds of beeswax candles twinkled in the overhead chandeliers, casting a warm glow over the festivities. Over two hundred of Society's elite had gathered in his home, and he had only to reach out his hand to touch any one of a dozen people.

He'd never felt so alone in his life.

Emerging from the shadows, he plucked a brandy from a passing footman's silver tray and raised the snifter to his lips.

"There you are, Bradford. Been looking for you everywhere."

Austin froze, smothering a vicious oath. He wasn't sure who the speaker was, but it didn't matter. He knew why whoever stood behind him had been looking for him, and his stomach tightened into a knot. Well, there was no escaping now. Tossing back half his brandy, he braced himself, then turned around.

Lord Digby stood before him. "I just visited the gallery, Bradford," Digby said. "The new portrait of William in his military uniform is magnificent. A fitting tribute." His round face collapsed into a frown and he shook his head. "Deuced tragedy, passing on during his final mission."

Austin forced himself to nod politely. "I agree."

"Still, it's an honor to die a war hero."

Pressure built in Austin's chest. War hero. If only that were true. But the letter locked in his desk drawer confirmed his suspicions that it was not.

A vivid picture of William flashed through his mind--that last gut-wrenching image that nothing could erase. Guilt and regret slammed into him, and his fist tightened around his brandy snifter.

Air. He desperately needed air to clear his mind. Excusing himself, he headed toward the French windows.

Caroline caught sight of him and smiled, and he forced himself to smile at his sister in response. As much as he dreaded social functions, he was pleased to see Caroline looking so happy. It had been too long since that gleam of carefree joy had lit her lovely face, and if hosting this damn ball was what was necessary to make her happy, then host it he would. Still, he wished Robert were here instead of traveling on the Continent. His jovial younger brother was much more at ease in the role of host.

Ignoring the curious gazes cast in his direction, Austin exited the ballroom and made his way to the gardens. Neither the sweet fragrant roses scenting the warm summer air nor the full moon casting a silvery luster over the landscape improved his mood or relaxed the tension clenching his muscles. Couples strolled together, talking quietly, but Austin ignored them, determined to find a few minutes of peace.

But even as he struck out along a well-manicured path, he knew in his heart that peace was too much to ask for.

Would anyone guess the truth? No, he decided. Everyone--Caroline, Robert, his mother, the entire bloody country--all believed William died a hero, and it was an illusion Austin would pay any price to maintain. Anything to keep his family and his brother's memory safe from ruin.

He soon arrived at his destination, a private area surrounded by tall hedges at the perimeter of the gardens. The unoccupied curved stone bench was the most welcome sight he'd beheld all evening. Sanctuary.

Heaving a sigh of relief, he sat on the bench and stretched out his legs, ready to enjoy this peaceful haven. He reached into his pocket to extract his gold cigar case, but paused when he heard a rustling in the hedges.

The bushes parted and a young woman attempted to scramble through them. Panting and muttering under her breath, she tried unsuccessfully to free herself from the branches tearing at her hair and pulling at her gown.

Austin gritted his teeth and stifled an obscenity. He knew it was pointless to pray for her to go away. His prayers hadn't been answered very often lately.

The thrashing and muttering in the bushes continued. No doubt some chit sneaking about to indulge in a clandestine meeting with a lover. Or perhaps she was but yet another senseless female in search of a title and hoping to trap him into marriage. For all he knew, she might have followed him into the garden. Frustration shot through him and he arose to leave.

"Damnation!"

The exasperated cry exploded from the young woman's lips. She tugged impatiently on her gown to free it from the thicket, but it refused to budge. Grabbing her skirt with both hands, she gave a mighty heave. The unmistakable sound of fabric tearing cut the air.

Suddenly freed from the constraining hold of the bushes, she pitched forward, landing facedown in the damp grass. The air rushed from her lungs in a loud whoosh.

"Blasted ball gowns," she mumbled, shaking her head as if to clear her vision. "They're going to be the absolute death of me."

Austin clenched his hands. His first instinct was to escape before she caught sight of him, but as she remained lying there, motionless, he hesitated. Perhaps she was injured. He couldn't very well leave the foolish baggage here to rot, tempting though the idea was. If Caroline were injured, he'd want someone to help her--not that his sister would ever find herself in such a ridiculous situation.

Cursing his inability to simply walk away, he asked, "Are you all right?"

She gasped and jerked her head up. Her gaze locked on his black formal breeches for several seconds, then she lowered her head back onto the grass. "Why, oh why did someone have to see this?"

"Are you all right?" he repeated, fighting his growing impatience.

"Yes, of course I am. My health has always been of a most robust nature. Thank you for inquiring."

"May I offer you some assistance?"

"No, thank you. Pride demands I extricate myself from this, my latest in an endless series of embarrassments." She didn't move. A heavy pause filled the air.

"Are you going to get up?"

"No, I don't think I shall. But thank you again for asking."

Austin clenched his teeth until his jaw ached, and he wondered how much champagne the chit had swallowed. "Are you foxed?"

She raised her head several inches. "I don't know. I suppose it is possible. What does foxed mean?"

Her distinctive accent pierced through his annoyance. Closing his eyes, he barely suppressed a groan. "American?"

"Oh, for the love of heaven! I swear if one more person asks me that--" She broke off and glared at his knees. "Obviously I'm American. Everyone knows that an Englishwoman would never be caught dead sprawled on the grass in such an undignified fashion. Heaven forbid."

From the Paperback edition.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2005

    GOOD READ

    REALLY A DIFFERENT STORY LINE FOR THIS WRITER. UTILIZES PSYCHIC POWERS IN HER FEMALE HEROINE CHARACTER. STORY LINE ADAQUATE WITH PARTIAL PREDICTABILITY AND PART SURPRISE. ANY BOOK WORTH THE READ FROM THIS AUTHOR

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2002

    Entertaining...

    This is my first book of Jacquie D' Alessandro and certainly not the last. In fact, I am now in the process of reading RED ROSES MEAN LOVE. Elizabeth and Austin are lovely couple. I did enjoy their character as well as their romantic story. The mystery/action twist of this book is intriguing. The secondary character's are also an added spice. Overall, Whirlwind Wedding is fast paced, filled with humor, romance and exciting turns. The reason why I didn't rate this book a five stars is cu'z of a small personal preferences. Every now and then, I do enjoy seers, visions, magics and etc on my books especially if the time setting is in the medieval ages. However, I am not much of paranormal regencies (18th century). I didn't particularly favor the heroine's gift of vision. I guess you can say in this instance, I prefer the element of surprise. I didn't appreciate Elizabeth knowing what Austin's thinking. There are cute moments but I still prefer surprises. I wanted more excitement and tension between them. Also, the ending was a wee bit lacking for me. Perhaps it's cuz I was looking forward to read William's homecoming. The added surprise of Josette and Claudine to the family would have been a grand and heart warming ending. Also, I wanted so much to read a bit more of Miles and Caroline. Oh well, like I said, these are just small niggle of my own preferences. Overall, this book is entertaining and a charming read. I would love to read Robert's story, if Jacquie D' Alessandro would create a novel just for him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2001

    American beauty meets dutiful Duke.......

    Setting: England 1816 Austin Randolph Jamison, ninth Duke of Bradford had to protect his family's good name but he has been receiving blackmail letters telling of his brother William, a deceased war hero, betrayed his country. During a ball for his sister Caroline at his country estate he stumbles into a charming American, Elizabeth Matthews. When she touches his hand she tells him two things, his brother isn't dead and that he wanted to kiss her. Austin is intrigued by Elizabeth and decides to keep a close watch on her while she is a guest in his home. Elizabeth Matthews has a gift, she can see visions when she touches people and objects. When she touched the Duke she could tell he wanted to kiss her and he was upset about the death of his brother, whom she see as alive. She is taller and a bit clumsier than the normal petite lady in society and she was raised by her British parents in America, which labels her a 'Colonial Upstart' to members of the Ton. When Elizabeth warns Austin, after one of her visions, not to ride out in a storm because he will be in danger, he ignores her warning. Elizabeth wakens shaken from a vision of Austin laying hurt and bleeding. She finds him then nurses his wounds but falls asleep in his arms and is later found in a compromising position that forces them to marry. After they marry they become a very close and passion couple until a vision of the future frightens Elizabeth into lying to Austin about her true feelings for him. WHIRLWIND WEDDING has some of the best dialogue between a hero and heroine that I've read in a long while. They had a mud fight that was hilarious and when returning to the house Austin's sister ask, 'Had an accident?' And the prim and proper Duke of Bradford replies 'No thank you. We've already had one.' There was a tiny misunderstanding and a short separation but with the paranormal to help solve the mystery this was a great read. The only thing I was disappointed with was the rush romance of Miles and Caroline, I would have love to see them in a future book. Elizabeth is fun, witty, and intelligent while Austin is romantic and sexy. This book is on my keeper shelf. Debbie Gilbert

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2000

    Wonderful Read!

    I thouroughly enjoyed this book! It is a wonderful sweet love story and exciting thriller. The characters are all well-rounded and interesting. We have a dashing hero and a delightfully quirky heroine (with a propensity for seeing the future)! It is nice to see a different, fun relationship develop and grow, change and be challenged. It also has an intriguing mystery to be solved. I look forward to more from this new author!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Exciting Regency romance

    In 1816 England, Austin Jamison, the Duke of Bradford, feels very alone in spite of hosting an event attended by over two hundred aristocrats. All Austin can think of is hiding the truth behind the death of his brother William, an alleged war hero at Waterloo, from his family and the Ton. William apparently was dealing with the French. He suddenly feels the weight of the world upon him and goes out to the gardens for air where he meets outspoken American expatriate Elizabeth Matthews, the niece of the Countess of Penbroke. <P>Suddenly, Elizabeth tells him that his sibling still lives as she has just seen a vision of him. Austin thinks Elizabeth is a charlatan, but wonders if his sibling could have been a traitor and therefore not even contacted his family. As she and her aunt are his houseguests for the next few weeks, Austin plans to learn the truth from her. Though he suspects her duplicity, he falls in love with her even as her visions place them in danger from unknown but perilous enemies. <P>WHIRLWIND WEDDING is an enchanting Regency romance with a touch of otherworldly elements that actually blends into the action-packed story line. The lead characters are a warm duet carrying baggage that leaves little room for love. The suspense grows with each foretelling that Elizabeth provides. Fans of the sub-genre will gain much pleasure from Jacquie D¿Alessandro¿s exciting historical romance that has a bit of a twist. <P>Harriet Klausner

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