Your Wicked Ways (Duchess Quartet Series #4)

Your Wicked Ways (Duchess Quartet Series #4)

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by Eloisa James
     
 

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Helene, the Countess Godwin, knows there is nothing more unbearably tedious than a virtuous woman. After all, she's been one for ten long years while her scoundrel of a husband lives with strumpets and causes scandal after scandal. So she decides it's time for a change -- she styles her hair in the newest, daring mode, puts on a shockingly transparent gown, and

Overview

Helene, the Countess Godwin, knows there is nothing more unbearably tedious than a virtuous woman. After all, she's been one for ten long years while her scoundrel of a husband lives with strumpets and causes scandal after scandal. So she decides it's time for a change -- she styles her hair in the newest, daring mode, puts on a shockingly transparent gown, and goes to a ball like Cinderella, hoping to find a prince charming to sweep her off her feet...and into his bed.

But instead of a prince, she finds only her own volatile, infuriatingly handsome...husband, Rees, the Earl Godwin. They'd eloped to Gretna Green in a fiery passion, but passion can sometimes burn too hot to last.

But now, Rees makes her a brazen offer, and Helene decides to become his wife again...but not in name only. No, this time she decides to be very, very wicked indeed.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Regency favorite Eloisa James adds a delicious wrinkle to the theme of unlikely attraction in this irresistible romance. Her heroine, Helene, the Countess Goodwin, scandalized her family ten years ago by eloping with Rees Holland, but the marriage quickly soured on their disastrous wedding night. Now, after ten years of Rees behaving badly with other women, Helene can't risk a divorce, but she desperately wants a child. She sets off to the ball, determined to step out of the shadows, take a lover, and earn her own scandal. But just when a new suitor seems up to the task, Rees surprisingly steps in, determined that if anyone is to be the father of his wife's child, it will be him. A month's trial is set, and from then on, in a perfect Regency twist, it is up to Rees to persuade Helene to forego her intended wicked ways. Ginger Curwen
Publishers Weekly
Rounding out her quartet of Regency-era romances (A Wild Pursuit, etc.), James delivers the story of Helene, long estranged from her husband, Rees, who pens comic operas and thrives on scandal. The very proper Helene enjoys the solicitude of the rest of Society until she decides that she wants a child and will have one even if she has to go outside her marriage. Shaken out of his self-involvement by Helene's determination, Rees offers a bargain: he'll father Helene's child, making it legitimate, if she agrees to move into his house for a month and help him with his opera. The catch his current mistress will remain in the house. Rees has a secret, however; he's keeping his mistress there only for her skilled voice, not out of love or even interest in the woman. Bit by bit, Helene and Rees come to terms with the disastrous first year of their marriage, including Rees's lack of skill in the marital bed (which is refreshing for a romance hero), and they begin to wonder if their love can be rekindled. James's zingers aren't as plentiful here as in past novels, but she still fires off a quiver full and solidifies her reputation as a top talent in the crowded field of humorous romances. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060560782
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/30/2004
Series:
Duchess Quartet Series, #4
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
256,959
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

Your Wicked Ways

Chapter One

In Strictest Confidence

18 March 1816

The Countess Pandross to Lady Patricia Hamilton

... my dearest, as to what you tell me of the exploits of Earl Godwin, I can only say that nothing will ever surprise me. The former Countess Godwin (who was, as you know, one of my very dearest friends) would turn in her grave if she knew that her son was entertaining opera singers in her house! And I shudder to think that one of these infamous women may actually be living with him. How his poor wife is able to hold her head high, I shall never know. Helene has always showed edifying composure, although I did hear a whisper -- just a whisper -- suggesting that she may request a divorce. I can't imagine how much that would cost, but Godwin must have at least fifteen thousand pounds a year and can probably afford it. At any rate, my dear, what I am truly longing to hear about are your plans for sweet Patricia's debut. Didn't you tell me that you were planning a ball for the weekend of the fifth? Mrs. Elizabeth Fremable tells me ...

21 April 1816

Helene Godwin, Countess Godwin, to her mother, currently residing in Bath

Dear Mother,

I am most sympathetic to your distress over the continuing debacle of my marriage. I fully recognize that my decision to elope with Rees brought scandal into the family, but I would remind you that the elopement was years ago. I am equally aware that a divorce would be far more grievous. But I beg of you, please accept my decision. I simply cannot continue in this fashion. I am heartsick when I think of my life.

Your loving daughter,
Helene, Countess Godwin

22 April 1816

Rees Holland, Earl Godwin, to his brother, a vicar in the North Country

Dear Tom,

Things are all right here. Yes, I know that you are fretting over my infamous reputation, but you will simply have to overlook my slurs on the family name. I assure you that my sins are even more plenteous than your pious correspondents have told you. Women dance on top of the table in the dining room daily.

Yours with all proper sentiment,
Rees

22 April 1816

Miss Patricia Hamilton to Miss Prunella Forbes- Shacklett

Dear Prunes,

It is too bad of your mama to bury you in the country! When is she planning to bring you to town? I assure you that it is already very crowded here, and if one does not make an appointment, it is impossible to find a mantua maker who will even discuss a court gown. But Prunes, I met the most absolutely fascinating man yesterday. He is apparently quite, quite notorious—a veritable rake! I am not going to put his name here, in case my abominable little brother obtains this letter before I mail it, but he is an earl and his initials are RH. You can look him up in Debrett's. Apparently he threw his wife out of the house some years ago, and now lives with an opera singer! My mother (as you can imagine) was in a flurry of anxiety and told me later not to even think of dancing with him, as there is talk of a divorce. Imagine: me dancing with a divorced man! Naturally I shall do it if the opportunity ever presents itself ...

23 May 1816

Rees Holland, Earl Godwin, to Helene Holland, Countess Godwin

Helene,

If you'd like to see me, you'll have to come to the house, as I'm trying to finish a score that's needed in rehearsal directly. To what do I owe this charming, if unexpected, pleasure? I trust you are not going to request a divorce again, as my answer will be the same as the last. I'll tell Sims to wait for a reply as I think it doubtful that you will find the backbone to enter this den of iniquity.

Rees (should I say,Your Darling Husband?)

23 May 1816

Mr. Ned Suffle, Manager of the Royal Italian Opera House, to Rees Holland, Earl Godwin

Without putting undue pressure on you, my lord, I must have the score of The Quaker Girl by the end of this month latest.

23 May 1816

Helene Holland, Countess Godwin to Rees Holland, Earl Godwin

I shall visit you this afternoon at two of the clock. I trust you will be alone.

Your Wicked Ways. Copyright © by Eloisa James. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Eloisa James is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature, who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at www.eloisajames.com.

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Your Wicked Ways 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The main characters lacked principles and I couldn't get to like or even respect them. Helene (the heroine) should have self-respect and not tolerate all the rubbish Rees commits, even to get a baby. I was not convinced Rees redemmed himself to Helene considering that kept many mistrisses and forced Helene to live with his current one. I doubt this book conveys any love since the foundation of love is trust and respect, none of which I could find in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though normally I love stories by James this story fell completely flat for me. Helene was a likeable character in the previous novels and I felt she deserved so much more than what James gave her. Not for one second did I enjoy the interractions between Reese and Helene, and their "love" felt forced and awkward because they "had" to stay together because they were all ready married and Helene desperetely wanted a child. Overall this was an extremely disappointing story in which a woman changes everything for a man and he disrespects her at every turn. Don't waste your money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although my initial desire to read the book came from reading online reviews, such a the ones found on this website, I have to say that I was quite upset after having read this novel. The description on the back of the book (which I assume is its synopsis)is quite misleading. This book may IDEALLY center around Helene Godwin and her mischievous husband, Rees, but in truth, their relationship is given a superficial presentation. This book contains so many different characters and their own stories, that these subplots take the focus away from Helene and Rees. Additionally, Eloise's description of Helene and Rees is...well...lacking. Helene's main goal seems to be to have a child, but I as a reader really didn't get a firm understanding of who Helene actually was. This is doubly true for Rees. The author seems to spend more time discussing the pair's musical talents rather than individual characteristics. All in all, I did not like this novel. I applaud Ms. James for her attempt to present Helene and Rees's relationship as authentic. But I just didn't buy it. Their relationship seems fraudulous and unrealistic, from start to finish. I was very disappointed. If you would like to read very excellently written romance novels, please read any book by Lisa Kleypas.
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afaye More than 1 year ago
A fun read
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Witty fun sexy romantic. My fav ej book. Read other Duchess books first. Save this for last.
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jacobi More than 1 year ago
although rees was a major ass sometimes he really loved helen. this book is original.
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