If You Give a Rake a Ruby

If You Give a Rake a Ruby

by Shana Galen
If You Give a Rake a Ruby

If You Give a Rake a Ruby

by Shana Galen

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Overview

Her Mysterious Past is the Best Revenge... Only He Can Offer Her a Dazzling Future


Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is a celebrated courtesan with her finger on the pulse of high society. She's adored by men, hated by their wives. No one knows anything about her past, and she plans to keep it that way.

Warrick Fitzhugh will do anything to protect his compatriots in the Foreign Office, including seduce Fallon, who he thinks can lead him to the deadliest crime lord in London. He knows he's putting his life on the line.

To Warrick's shock, Fallon is not who he thinks she is, and the secrets she's keeping are exactly what makes her his heart's desire.

The second book in a sparkling Regency romance trilogy from acclaimed author Shana Galen following a glittering trio of celebrated courtesans whose fortunes depend on the ton believing the rumors about their mysterious lives.

Jewels of a Ton Trilogy:

When You Give a Duke a Diamond (Book 1)

If You Give a Rake a Ruby (Book 2)

Sapphires Are an Earl's Best Friend (Book 3)

Praise for Shana Galen:

"A humorous yet touching love story—with original characters who delight and enough sizzle to add heart to a delicious read."—RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars

"A thrilling ride, filled with mystery, intrigue, and romance."—Fresh Fiction


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402269776
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 03/05/2013
Series: Jewels of the Ton , #2
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 356,386
File size: 911 KB

About the Author

Shana Galen is three-time Rita award nominee and the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps, including the RT Reviewers' Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Kirkus says of her books, "The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun," and RT Bookreviews calls her books “lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching." She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She's happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.

Read an Excerpt

One

"Lord Kwirley," Fallon said with a pointed look at the bracket clock on the brass-inlaid drawing-room table. "The hour grows late, and I would like to go to bed."

Kwirley smiled suggestively, and Fallon's upper lip itched to curl in disgust. But she controlled the impulse, as she had been taught, and imagined Lady Sinclair nodding in approval.

"Why, Marchioness, that was my thought exactly." He rose and held out his hand, seemingly unfazed by Fallon's icy stare. Kwirley was not a small man. He was tall, well-built, and handsome in the most conventional way. Fallon could understand why the ton insisted on pairing the two of them. Kwirley with his dark hair, dark eyes, and tanned skin complemented her own dark features perfectly. His height was better suited to Juliette, who was tall and willowy. Fallon was petite, which was Lady Sinclair's polite way of saying she was short. Fallon did not mind her diminutive size. It meant others often underestimated her, and that usually worked to her advantage. Not tonight.

"Why don't you show me to your boudoir, Fallon?"

Fallon raised a brow. "You overstep yourself, my lord. I have not given you leave to use my Christian name. Nor have I expressed any interest in taking you to my bed."

"You're a courtesan," Kwirley said, his eyes narrowing in annoyance, "you're paid to take men to your bed."

Fallon was still sitting, Kwirley still standing, and her neck was beginning to ache from looking up at him. What a boorish lout-or, as her bastard of a father would have said, what a bloody clodpole. How dare Kwirley stand when she, a lady, was seated?

Simple, she supposed. He did not consider her a lady.

Very well, then. She rose. "My lord, you are exceedingly arrogant."

He laughed, which was not unexpected but certainly not the response she'd hoped for. He was going to make this difficult. She rolled her shoulders. Perhaps difficult was not such a bad thing. She needed to keep in good form.

"And you are exceedingly coy," Kwirley said, stepping closer. "I had not expected as much. In fact, I have been led to believe you are quite the tigress in bed. Roar." He lifted his hands to make claws.

"Unfortunately, my lord, you will never know. Shall I ring for my butler to show you out or can you find the way yourself?"

Kwirley lowered his hands. "I don't think you understand, Fallon."

"I've told you not to address me as such, my lord."

"I am the most sought-after man in London. I am doing you a favor by becoming your lover."

"Really? The only woman I know seeking your favor is your wife. And, if I'm not mistaken, she is quite heavy with your child at present. Do you not think you should be home with Lady Kwirley?"

He took a step toward her. "My wife is my business."

"Then I suggest you attend to your business, my lord. Good night."

She turned and strolled toward the drawing room doors. She knew she would not reach them unmolested. She also knew she could ring for Titus.

But that would be too easy.

Kwirley was slower than she'd anticipated, and she had almost gained the towering mahogany doors before he caught her elbow and spun her around. "Not so fast-" he began.

Fallon kicked him in the belly, sending him sprawling backward. He knocked over a pedestal holding a jeweled lamp, and she had a moment's worry because it was one of her favorites. But a quick glance reassured her the lamp was not broken.

The glance also revealed Kwirley was getting up. Blockhead. "Go home, my lord. I don't want to hurt you."

"Really?" He wiped his hands on his breeches. "Because I would like to hurt you. I don't know who you think you are, but you're going to pay for-"

She sidestepped him, spun, and booted him in his lower back. The blow set him off-balance, and she had a moment to grab a book and hurl it at him. Her aim was perfect, and the book's spine hit him in the center of the forehead. "Ow, you little bitch!" He charged her, and Fallon shook her head. He wasn't even thinking, simply acting blindly. She easily sidestepped him again, and he rammed into a settee, knocking it over. While he struggled to rise, Fallon dug her heel into the back of his neck and pressed him down.

"Had enough?" she asked. "Or would you prefer to go another round?" Because she was tired and wanted to go to bed, she ground her heel into his neck.

"Enough," he mumbled.

"Good." Without lifting her heel, she reached for a little silver bell and rang it. The sound tinkled softly in the room, and the drawing room doors opened immediately to reveal Titus.

Titus was close to seven feet tall and easily twenty-five stone. He had a thick head of bright red hair, shocking blue eyes, and a mouth full of crooked teeth. His hands were as big as puppies and his legs tree trunks. He did not walk so much as lumber, and Kwirley began protesting the moment Titus entered the room.

"There's been some sort of mistake. I didn't intend any disrespect."

Fallon sighed. "Titus, I might have known you would be standing right outside."

The giant shrugged, his shoulders small mountains. "I like to make sure there's no trouble, my lady."

Fallon had told him a hundred times she was no lady, but he insisted on referring to her as such anyway. Who was she to protest? It wasn't as though anyone else was clamoring to call her a lady.

She pressed her foot into Kwirley's neck for good measure then lifted it and stepped away. "Would you be so kind as to show Lord Kwirley out?"

"I'll show 'im out," Titus said. "But I won't be kind about it."

Kwirley gave her a panicked look, and Fallon was sorely tempted to shrug helplessly. But at the last moment, she took pity on the man. "Titus, be nice. Don't throw Lord Kwirley farther than the lamppost."

She strode out of the drawing room, listening to Kwirley sputter and then plead for mercy. Titus was a gentle giant to anyone he loved. He was an ogre to anyone who but looked askance at someone he loved. But she couldn't feel too sorry for Kwirley. Her father-she hoped he burned in hell-always said when you started feeling sorry for those who want to take advantage of you, then you've gone soft and deserve what you get.

Of course, he hadn't said it quite that politely.

She lifted her skirts and climbed the stairs, nodded to Mary, one of the chamber maids, and blew out a long sigh. She was exhausted.

The past few days had been grueling. She'd been to one social event after another-balls, routs, masquerades, soirées, musicales. At this point, if she never saw another ballroom, theater, or pleasure garden, she would not mourn the loss. Normally she enjoyed the whirl of the Season, but without Juliette, everything seemed different.

Juliette, Lily, and Fallon were no longer The Three Diamonds. Now it was only Lily and Fallon, and they both missed Juliette terribly.

And, if Fallon was honest, she envied Juliette. Who wouldn't envy a woman married to a wealthy duke who obviously adored her? Fallon had never really believed in love. Her father hadn't loved her mother. He'd used her charms to run scams or make ends meet. And her mother hadn't loved her father. She'd been a dim woman who needed a man to tell her what to do.

Fallon hadn't loved either of her parents. She thought she'd fallen in love once, but the experience had taught her she'd been right all long.

There was no such thing as love.

Except... when she looked at Juliette and her Dangerous Duke, Fallon wondered.

She strode down the corridor toward her boudoir. Her booted feet made shushing sounds on the thick rug, and even though she was now quite used to living surrounded by opulence, she paused a moment to savor the plush rug, the paintings on the walls, the expensive upholstery on the Sheraton chair she'd just passed, and the fine silk of her gown.

She had no illusions as to how fortunate she was. Unlike the daughters of duchesses and earls Fallon often glimpsed at the theater or a ball, she had not grown up in such privileged circumstances. She had been lucky to have something to eat and shoes on her feet.

She did not take any of this for granted. It could all be taken away from her with the snap of a finger if anyone ever found out who she really was. There was a reason the Prince Regent had dubbed her the Marchioness of Mystery. No one-save Lady Sinclair, Juliette, and Lily-knew the truth about her. The ton was greatly diverted by conjecturing as to her true identity.

Some said she was the daughter of a maharaja. Little did they know, Fallon had been obliged to ask Lady Sinclair for the definition of maharaja. Other rumors hinted she was a gypsy queen or a princess from a secret kingdom. Fallon wished there was a tiny kernel of truth in but one of the rumors. Anything was better than the reality.

She opened the door of her boudoir and stepped inside. Strange. Usually Anne had the fire roaring and several candles lit. But the room was dark and cold. Fallon shivered, crossed to her bed, and pulled the cord to summon her lady's maid. She reached out and felt the edge of her bed-the soft silk of her counterpane felt light and inviting as a cloud. Fallon rolled her neck, then sank down onto her bed.

"Ouch!"

She bolted upright and stifled a scream. There was a man in her bed.

An uninvited man.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The writing is excellent and the characters are captivating. Ms. Galen delivers a steamy romance between a determined hero and a reluctant heroine. Night Owl Reviewer Top Pick, 5 Stars" - Night Owl Reviews

"An incredibly addicting read, and a pretty steamy romance. " - Book Whore

"Galen is at the top of her game... Galen is a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre. 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month!" - RT Book Reviews

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