Who Will Take This Man?by Jacquie D'Alessandro
Philip Whitmore, Viscount Greybourne, has been deserted at the altar, and Meredith Chilton-Grizedale, the Matchmaker of Mayfair, is ruined. This was the most anticipated wedding of the Season and would have secured her position. But now the word is out that the groom-to-be is cursed, making him the Most Unmarriageable Man in England. If Meredith is to have any hope… See more details below
Philip Whitmore, Viscount Greybourne, has been deserted at the altar, and Meredith Chilton-Grizedale, the Matchmaker of Mayfair, is ruined. This was the most anticipated wedding of the Season and would have secured her position. But now the word is out that the groom-to-be is cursed, making him the Most Unmarriageable Man in England. If Meredith is to have any hope of a future, she'll need to help him break this curse and marry him off. Unfortunately, the only woman he now wants is Meredith—the Most Unmarriageable Woman in England!
- HarperCollins Publishers
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Who Will Take This Man?
Meredith Chilton-Grizedale pursed her lips and stroked her chin as she slowly circled Lady Sarah Markham, who stood upon the dressmaker's platform. Meredith's gaze critiqued the slender form garbed in the elegant, pale blue wedding gown, noting every detail, from the demure square neckline to the elaborate ruffled flounce. A satisfied smile threatened to curl her lips upward, but she staunchly subdued it. One could not afford to be too effusive when dealing with Madame Renée, Oxford Street's most exclusive milliner. For every compliment Madame received, she clearly felt compelled to increase her already exorbitant prices.
"You look lovely, Lady Sarah," Meredith said. "Lord Greybourne will be besotted the moment he sees you." A tiny flutter of something that felt suspiciously like envy rippled through Meredith, surprising and irritating her. She slapped the feeling aside like a bothersome insect and gazed at the beautiful young woman standing before her. Pride instantly supplanted her errant twinge of envy.
Oh, she had indeed arranged a brilliant match on Lord Greybourne's behalf. Lady Sarah was a diamond of the first water. Sweet, innocent, amenable, possessed of a gentle temperament, lively conversation, a singing voice that could rival the angels, and a formidable talent for the pianoforte. The negotiations, which Meredith had handled between Lady Sarah's father, the Duke of Hedington, and Lord Greybourne's father, the Earl of Ravensly, had proven quite delicate and tricky, even for a matchmaker of her considerable experience. What with the scandal that had ensued three years ago when Lord Greybourne had not returned to England from roaming the wilds of foreign locales to honor the marriage agreement his father had entered into on his behalf, coupled with the fact that he'd incomprehensibly walked away from the comforts of Society to live in uncivilized conditions where heathen traits abounded in order to study artifacts, only Lord Greybourne's title and family connections kept him from being hopelessly unmarriageable. Indeed, it had taken an enormous amount of time, flattery, and diplomacy on Meredith's part to convince the duke that Lord Greybourne was the perfect match for Lady Sarah -- a task made all the more difficult considering the hordes of eligible titled, and unmarked-by-scandal, young men buzzing around her.
But convince Lord Hedington she did. A sigh of immense satisfaction eased past Meredith's lips, and she was hard-pressed not to twist about and physically pat herself on the back. Thanks to her -- if she might say so herself -- inspired efforts, the most anticipated wedding of the Season would take place in two days at St. Paul's Cathedral. A wedding so grand, a marriage so brilliant, so talked-about, that Meredith's reputation as the foremost match-maker in England was assured.
Ever since the betrothal announcement two months past, anxious mamas were courting her attention, inviting her to tea and their musicales and soirees, asking her to whom their darling daughters would most be suited. And which eligible bachelors were serious about choosing a bride this Season.
As she had so many times over the past few months, Meredith again found herself wondering why a man born into the upper echelons of Society, the heir to an earldom, a man who would never have to spend his life doing anything save seek pleasure, would spend a decade living in rustic conditions, digging up artifacts belonging to dead people. Everything practical in Meredith revolted at the very thought. Clearly Lord Greybourne harbored some very unusual beliefs and tendencies, and, she feared, his manners would most certainly need some dusting off. Even his father had hinted that his son might require a bit of "polishing."
Even so, she did not doubt that she could shine him up enough to make a grand showing at the wedding. After all, her reputation, her livelihood depended upon the success of this wedding. She could only hope that after the ceremony he would prove to be an affable and kind husband. Because, based on the enormous gilt-framed painting of him hanging in his father's drawing room, Lord Greybourne had not been blessed with a bounty of physical attractions.
An image of that painting flashed through her mind. Poor Lord Greybourne. Where his father, the earl, was quite handsome, Lord Greybourne was ... not. His painting depicted a pale, pudgy-faced, unsmiling countenance decorated with thick spectacles magnifying unremarkable brown eyes. Definitely not the most attractive of fellows. Of course, the painting had been commissioned fourteen years earlier, when he was but a youth of fifteen. Meredith hoped his years abroad had improved him somewhat, although it did not really matter. In addition to being a Paragon, Lady Sarah did not, like many young women her age, harbor unrealistic romantic notions regarding marriage. Thank goodness. Because the dear girl is taking on more the frog than the prince, I'm afraid.
Yes, Lady Sarah knew it was her duty to marry, and marry well, according to her father's dictates. Meredith blessed the fact that Lady Sarah was not difficult like a growing number of modern young ladies who professed to want their marriages to be love matches. Meredith fought the urge to snicker at such nonsense. Love matches indeed. Love had nothing to do with a successful marriage.
Meredith looked up at Lady Sarah, who, based on her expression, was not as happy as she should be. "Now, don't frown, Lady Sarah," Meredith scolded gently. "You'll wrinkle your forehead. Is something amiss? The dress --"
"The dress is fine," Lady Sarah said. Her huge pansy-blue eyes, reflecting unmistakable distress, met Meredith's in the mirror. "I was just thinking about what you said ... about Lord Greybourne being besotted the moment he sees me. Do you truly think he will be?"Who Will Take This Man?. Copyright © by Jacquie D'Alessandro. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Growing up on Long Island, New York, Jacquie D'Alessandro fell in love with romance at an early age. She dreamed of being swept away by a dashing rogue riding a spirited stallion. When her hero finally showed up, he was dressed in jeans and drove a Volkswagen, but she recognized him anyway. They married after both graduating from Hofstra University and are now living their happily-ever-afters in Atlanta, Georgia. They have one grown son, who is a dashing rogue in the making. The author of more than thirty historical and contemporary romances, Jacquie loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website.
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