An Affair Most Wicked

An Affair Most Wicked


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Clara Wilson has come all the way to London to clear her name (after her wilfulness has left her quite unweddable across the ocean). But before she even has a chance to practise her curtsey, she stumbles into the arms of Seger Wolfe, Marquess of Rawdon. Clara has never felt love before, but she has no doubt when she meets the Marquess that this is what it feels like. Too bad love is the last thing on her mind—she's here to find a husband, not a rake.

Every good gossip knows that the notoriously wealthy Marquess loved and lost years ago, and few have missed the way his broken heart drove him from society ballrooms into society ladies' bedrooms. But when he meets the misplaced Clara Wilson at one of the town's ever-so-scandalous secret balls, the desire he feels for her is too strong, and it pulls him back into the swirl of aristocratic London. Now he finds himself competing for the heart of the inappropriate beauty, and risking his own heart in the game.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061738579
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: The American Heiress Series , #2
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 108,179
File size: 525 KB

About the Author

Julianne MacLean fell in love with some of the classic romances—Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice—while completing her degree in English literature. Then she decided that she needed a "real job," but after a brief stint as a government auditor, she realized she just didn't care enough about numbers matching up. So a month before her wedding, she sat down and wrote the first paragraph of a romance. Now fifteen years, a husband, and a daughter later, Julianne is a happy, fulfilled, stay-at-home mom and a devoted romance writer.

Read an Excerpt

Affair Most Wicked, An

Chapter One

The London Season
May 1883

Dearest Adele,

It is finally upon first London ball. You cannot imagine how my hands are trembling, for I fearthat I will not fit in, that everyone will see throughme and know that I am not one of them.

I hope that will not be the case, of course, for I dolong to be a part of the Society here...the daily ridesin Rotten Row, the receptions, luncheons, and eveningsat the theater. It has been an exhausting but gloriousexperience so far, Adele, though I admit most of my acquaintances have been frustratingly superficial.

I realize, of course, that that is to be expected. Iam in England after all, and people are extremelyreserved. I suppose my frustration comes from whatoccurred with Gordon two years ago. I must be anoddity. I crave adventure and my heart wants it, yetI know how dangerous it can be.

Good gracious, listen to me. I must strive to movebeyond that mistake if I wish to live a proper andvirtuous life. I only hope that my heart has not becometoo complicated for this distinguished place.Sometimes I find it difficult to just smile and bepretty, which is what is expected of me. I want somethingdeeper than that. Something more honest.

Indeed, what a challenge this is going to be . . . .

Your loving sister,

Already late for her first ball in London...quite notably the most important ball of her life...Clara Wilson stood in the doorway of her sister's boudoir, watching her chaper-one, Mrs. Gunther, flip through a huge stack of invitations.

"I'm sure it's one of these," Mrs. Gunther said,spilling a few of them over the edge of the silver salver onto the mahogany desk. "It has to be."

Mrs. Gunther was a staunch woman...the only personher mother trusted to act as Clara's chaperone in London.She was a great social matriarch in America and camefrom a very prestigious family with very old money, but unfortunately for Clara, her memory was not as sharp as it once was.

"It was at...or somewhere near...Belgrave Square. I atleast know that. I remember Sophia describing it."

Clara's tiny heels clicked over the marble floor as shecrossed the room to peer over her chaperone's shoulder.There were certain to be a number of balls 'at or somewherenear' Belgrave Square this evening. "Is there anyway I can help you remember, Mrs. Gunther?"

They had to find it soon, for they were already late.

Mrs. Gunther flipped through invitation after invitation. They all looked the same...square, ivory cards with fancy titles in lavish print, and they all belonged to Clara's older sister, Sophia.

Three years ago, Sophia had become the first Americanheiress to marry a duke. She and her husband, James, wereimmensely popular among the Marlborough House set,and there were never any shortages of social engagementsto attend at any given moment. Which made the task offinding the correct invitation all the more difficult now.

"The Wilkshire Ball, the Devonshire, the Berkley . . . "Mrs. Gunther said. "No, no, no. The Allison Ball. Couldthat be . . . ? Wait, Lord and Lady Griffith . . . was that it?"

Mrs. Gunther continued to guess haphazardly at thenames, and Clara's hopes for the evening took a deep,sickening dip and settled uncomfortably in her belly.Everything depended on this one night, and if Clara didnot reach that ball tonight, there might not be a secondchance. For Clara...the latest American heiress to invadearistocratic London...had to pass the test. In order to beaccepted and welcomed into British society like her sisterhad been, Clara had to glide into a London ballroom andwin the approval of the Prince of Wales. Or end up returningto New York, where her position in society was fragile,to say the least.

She shook away the shiver, for she could not afford tohave her mind congested with misgivings tonight. Thepast was in the past. It was time to move forward.

"Ah." Mrs. Gunther turned to face Clara and handed herthe invitation. "Here it is. The Livingstons on Upper BelgraveStreet. I'm certain this is it. We can go now, mydear."

Releasing a deep breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, Clara smoothed a gloved hand over the antiquelace on her French silk gown, and touched the glitteringdiamond-and-pearl choker at her neck. She led the wayout of her sister's boudoir, the precious ivory invitationsafe in her hand.

A moment later, they were stepping out of the brilliantlylit manor and into the dark, still night. Mantlesbuttoned at their bare necks, ivory fans dangling fromtheir wrists, they walked down the stone steps to thecoach.

As soon as Clara stepped onto the sidewalk, however,her heel imposed upon a crack and she stumbled. The invitationwent sailing out of her gloved hand, and she toppledsideways into a tall, extravagantly liveried footmanwho caught her and righted her before she even had achance to notice him there.

Clara collected herself. "My word. Thank you! What adecidedly convenient place for you to be standing justthen!"

Without a hint of a smile, the young man nodded.

Clara gazed at him for a moment, but he stood like apalace guard, his face made of stone.

Clara sighed hopelessly. The English.

Pray, the people she would meet tonight would have alittle more personality. A sense of humor at least.

Clara picked up the invitation. She looked at it moreclosely, and pointed a finger. "What's that symbol in thecorner?"

Mrs. Gunther squinted at the small triangular medallionprinted on the card . . .

Affair Most Wicked, An
. Copyright © by Julianne MacLean. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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What People are Saying About This

Jo Beverley

“TO MARRY THE DUKE sparkles with life and emotion. Julianne MacLean is a delightful new voice in the genre.”

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Affair Most Wicked 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
QueenerJE More than 1 year ago
This book is for someone that loves historical romance over in London. It talks about this girl from America, Clara, who came over to London to find love. She is swept away by a masked man at a ball she shouldn't be attending. She must see him again & find out who this masked man is. Her sister helps her & together they find out that his name is "Seger" a man with a title. Clara & her sister invite him & his family to ball at their house & instantly an attraction is begun. There is also a twist at the end & things keep getting in the way of things. This is the second book of the series & I finished it in 2 days. It was great! Can't wait to read the 3rd! I would definitely read more books by this author!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a totally fresh look at London¿s marriage mart. Everything in this book takes the old and makes it fresh and exciting. An Affair most Wicked has intense romance, wit, sizzle and redemption! Not to mention at least a few scenes worth reading over and over!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1883, American Clara Wilton notices how happy her sister Sophia is with her ducal spouse of three years. She wants the same thing that her sibling has so watch out Ton the Wilton sisters are back in vogue. Marquess Seger Wolfe is the Ton¿s number one lover because he gives more to his women than he receives back from them. He knows he will never find love again as he lost his one and only when she died eight years ago. Now he seeks superficial sex, but still tries to make it nice for his companion. Clara¿s chaperone misplaces the invitation to a ball so they attend the wrong one. Instead of a high society event, Clara sees masks, sexy waltzes, and other scandalous behavior. Seger meets Clara and kisses her, but soon realizes she is in the wrong place. He helps Clara and her chaperone so that they are directed to the right ball two houses over. However, even the next morning he can smell her strawberry perfume and she wants more kisses from her mystery man as these two strangers in the night fall into a potentially scandalous love.

This is a delightfully humorous Victorian romantic sequel starring a delightfully outrageous lead duo and a wonderful support cast who bring out the best (and worst) in Seger and Clara. The story line is fun to follow as Clara breaks convention while Seger finds lightning strikes for the second time as he dreams of strawberry fields forever. Historical romance readers will enjoy this lighthearted late nineteenth century romp.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good fun read. Story was nice and had positive vibes. This is a keeper.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the first book to marry a duke it was great. an affair most wicked it not the right title for this book. It was boring and the sister was an idiot. I wasted my good money for this book. I hope the third book will be a great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nor can it stand on its own. This book was a real disappointment to me; having enjoyed 'To Marry The Duke', the story of heroine Clara's older sister Sophia. Clara is frankly a pale carbon-copy of Sophia, & this hero is just a typical stock romance-novel-type figure with no life to him. Except that he was described, over and over and over again in great detail, as being incredibly handsome & sensual. I never bought it; these characters just didn't wake me up. I suggest reading 'To Marry The Duke' and giving this one a pass. It was such a drag that I didn't even finish it! (That's rare for me; I can almost always finish a book, even a boring one, especially when I've shelled out money for it!)