Guilty Pleasures (Seduction Series #1)

Guilty Pleasures (Seduction Series #1)

by Laura Lee Guhrke

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One of Daphne Wade's guilty pleasures is to watch the Duke of Tremore as he works, shirtless, on the excavation site of his ducal estate. Anthony Courtland is by far the most exciting and handsome man she has ever known, and she dreams of one day being able to speak with him without getting tongue tied.

Anthony, meanwhile, only sees Daphne as a hard worker on his excavation team. He considers her a plain young lady and says so in a careless remark to a friend, unaware that Daphne is outside the library door, her heart shattering to pieces. So Daphne decides she will not be so silly any longer. She begins to be tutored in the social graces, forcing Anthony to see the beauty who has been right in front of his eyes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060541743
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/27/2004
Series: Seduction Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 471,865
Product dimensions: 6.74(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.05(d)

About the Author

Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun.  A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned over twenty-five historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is a two-time recipient of romance fiction’s highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband and two diva cats. Laura loves hearing from readers, and you can contact her via her website:

Read an Excerpt

Guilty Pleasures Chapter One

Hampshire, 1830

No one who glanced at Daphne Wade would ever imagine that she had a guilty, secret pleasure. Her countenance was plain, made more so by the spectacles perched on her nose. Her hair was light brown and fashioned into a functional bun at the nape of her neck. All her dresses were varying shades of beige, brown, or gray. Her height was average, and her figure was usually concealed beneath a loose-fitting work apron of heavy canvas. Her voice was low and pleasant to the ear, with nothing strident in its tone to evoke anyone's attention.

No one judging her by her appearance would dream that Miss Daphne Wade had the rather salacious habit of staring at her employer's naked chest whenever she had the chance, although most women would have agreed that Anthony Courtland, Duke of Tremore, had a chest worth looking at.

Daphne rested her elbows on the sill of the open window and lifted the brass spyglass. Using the instrument was awkward when she was wearing her spectacles, so she pulled them off. After setting the gold-rimmed pair on the windowsill, she once again raised the spyglass to her eye. Through its lens, she scanned the archaeological site in the distance, searching for Anthony amid the workmen.

She always thought of him by his Christian name. In speech, she called him "your grace," just as everyone else did, but in her mind and her heart, he was always Anthony.

He was talking with Mr. Bennington, the excavation architect, and Sir Edward Fitzhugh, the duke's closest neighbor and quite the amateur antiquarian himself. The three men stood in a huge pit of excavated ground amid thecrumbling stone walls, broken columns, and other remnants of what had once been a Roman villa. At the moment, they appeared to be discussing the mosaic pavements beneath their feet that had been uncovered by the workmen that morning.

The moment she froze the spyglass on Anthony's tall form, she felt that familiar twist of her heart, that addictive mix of pleasure and discomfort. It was a combination that in his presence always tied her tongue and compelled her to withdraw into herself until she seemed part of the furniture, but when she watched him like this, she always longed to be the subject of his full attention. Love, she thought, should be a pleasant thing, warm and tender, not something that hurt one's heart by its intensity.

Daphne felt that intensity now as she watched him. When in residence at Tremore Hall, he was wont to spend two or three hours each day working alongside Mr. Bennington and the men on the excavation. Sometimes, if she was not on the dig and he found the August afternoon exceptionally warm, Anthony was compelled to remove his shirt. Today was a very warm day.

To Daphne, he almost seemed a part of the Roman excavation around him, for Anthony was one of those rare men who looked like a living statue. With his uncommon height of over six feet, with his broad shoulders and sculpted muscles, he could have been a Roman god carved of marble, were it not for his dark brown hair and tanned skin.

She watched him as the three men continued their discussion of the floor, and she felt that odd, melting sensation that came over her every time she saw him this way, a sensation that somehow made breathing difficult and made her heart race as if she had been running.

Sir Edward bent to move a heavy stone urn that was blocking a portion of the mosaic from their view, but Anthony stopped him and lifted the urn himself. Daphne was delighted by this gallantry, which only served to reinforce her high opinion of him. A duke he might be, but he wasn't so over-proud that he would stand by and let a much older man like Sir Edward injure himself.

Anthony carried the urn to the cart nearby, placing it beside a crate filled with broken pieces of wine amphorae, bronze statues, fresco fragments, and other discoveries. At the end of the day, the pieces would be taken to the antika, a building nearby where artifacts were stored, until Daphne could repair, sketch and catalog them for Anthony's collection.

The sound of footsteps coming down the corridor toward the library brought Daphne out of her clandestine observations. She pushed the ends of the spyglass together, collapsing it. As she moved away from the window, she shoved the spyglass into the pocket of her skirt. By the time Ella, one of a dozen maids in the duke's employ at Tremore, entered the library, Daphne was seated at her desk with a text on Romano-British pottery open before her, pretending to be hard at work.

"Thought you'd like some tea, Miss Wade," Ella said, setting the teacup and its saucer on the edge of Daphne's large rosewood desk, beside the stacks of books on Roman antiquities and Latin.

"Thank you, Ella," she answered, trying to sound absorbed in her book as she turned a page.

The maid turned to leave, saying over her shoulder, "Didn't think you could see a thing, miss, without them spectacles. Seems t'me they don't do you much good sitting over on the windowsill."

The maid disappeared into the hall and Daphne lowered her flushed face into the open book before her. Caught again.

Still, could anyone blame a plain, quiet, self-contained young woman who spent most of her time buried in ancient artifacts and Latin lexicons for being in love with her employer when he was so utterly splendid?

Daphne straightened in her chair with a sigh and rested one elbow on the desk ...

Guilty Pleasures. Copyright © by Laura Lee Guhrke. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Guilty Pleasures (Seduction Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1830 Hampshire, when her father, a renowned antiquarian dies, Daphne Wade replaces him at the Roman excavation of Trimoire, England. She will repair the artifacts and sketch the items for a catalogue. Her employer, Duke Anthony Courtland finds her work exemplary, but does not see her beyond that of an artistic drone and definitely not as a woman. On the other hand Daphne dreams of Anthony as her GUILTY PLEASURES. However, when Daphne overhears Anthony disparage her as a woman to his sister, she decides to resign and accept his sibling¿s offer of a season. Anthony obtains Daphne¿s agreement to remain as his archivist for one more month, but also informs her that he plans to change her mind about leaving. However, soon he wants her beyond a dig as he falls in love with his formerly mousy employee. Though she has doubts about his feelings, she has loved him since she first saw him shirtless at the excavation site.

The cast makes the story line hum as this is a delightful group especially the lead couple and his sister. Though the change in Daphne seems unreal, readers will root for her new found feistiness that soon has Anthony reconsidering the mouse that roared as a desirable woman. Regency romance readers will find GUILTY PLEASURES quite pleasurable.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
doxiemomx2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very enjoyable story. I really liked Anthony and Daphne. I teared up at the ending (always a very good thing). Looking forward to the next in the series.
lina_em on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
very strong female. enjoyed its quiet deep sensual passion.
theshadowknows on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of an ugly duckling, Daphne Wade, who has, appropriately enough, a "guilty pleasure." She is head over heels in love with her employer, Anthony, the Duke of Tremore, who is excavating a dig on his estate for a museum he plans to open in a few months. She helps with the restoration and cataloging of the artifacts, and he doesn't know she exists. After I got over some initial difficulty actually getting into the story (it seemed so derivative at first, and I really didn't like the duke's matchmaking sister, but thankfully she soon bows out of the story,) this romance hit all the right notes with me. Even if it isn't that original, I loved watching Daphne and Anthony spar and fall in love, and it was great to see Daphne transform from a self-effacing, shy, infatuated girl into a woman who is honest with herself and knows what she wants. Though her transformation is rather abrupt - it literally happens over night - it was still believable, given the catalyst for her awakening. I liked that Anthony wasn't a typical rake - he's serious and responsible, but so sexy and fun at the same time. The only problem with Daphne is that she isn't *really* an ugly duckling at all. She just hides her beauty and true self with the magical uglifying power of spectacles and a "functional bun." Such a stereotype. So sigh worthy. Other than that, everything about this romance rang true for me, and I enjoyed every word of it.
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of an orphan woman, Daphne Wade, who presents herself to the Duke of Tremore in place of her father to catalog and repair ancient artifacts that are being unearthed on his estate. Daphne falls in love at first sight but the Duke doesn't even register that he is a woman. The story is a typical romance and proceeds as the reader would expect. Nothing to write home about but entertaining in the normal romance genre way.
phyllisd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nerdy girl gets the hunky duke with a twist: he hurts her before he realizes that she exists so she doesn't want him. I like this author. She is quicly becoming one of my favorite romance writers.
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Very enjoyable. I looked for other books by this author...the true test if one likes gets more
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ZebraNookReader More than 1 year ago
The story line was very "Harrison Ford and Raiders of the Lost Ark" - ish. There were actually people who sifted through all of the historic pieces that are in our treasured museums and many of them did it in the time frame of this book. I grew up in similar places to where Daphe was, although I was a school girl and my father was the one traipsing about in the desert, so her experiences were commonplace to me. I thought the coming together of this staunch man and this wordly travelled woman were a perfect melding of the love of history they shared and the discipline it took to create their own "history."
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