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Lord Next Door

Lord Next Door

4.0 41
by Gayle Callen

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Victoria must wed . . . and immediately!

To rescue her family from financial ruin, lovely Victoria Shelby has no choice but to marry. Her options for a bridegroom are limited . . . until she remembers the shy servant boy next door. Then she discovers that her childhood friend is actually Viscount Thurlow — ruthless businessman, future earl, and a man whose


Victoria must wed . . . and immediately!

To rescue her family from financial ruin, lovely Victoria Shelby has no choice but to marry. Her options for a bridegroom are limited . . . until she remembers the shy servant boy next door. Then she discovers that her childhood friend is actually Viscount Thurlow — ruthless businessman, future earl, and a man whose family is shrouded in scandal!

After two rejected marriage proposals, David Thurlow needs a wife who will give him an heir, someone who will not only overlook his past but also be above reproach. Victoria is the ideal candidate — quiet, unassuming, and in desperate need of funds. But even as she strives to be the perfect wife, her calm demeanor masks a shocking secret . . . one that is overshadowed by David's slow, heated lessons in the art of seduction that threaten to transform a “convenient” marriage into a torrid and passionate affair.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

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The Lord Next Door

By Gayle Callen

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Gayle Callen
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060784113

Chapter One

London, 1844

Victoria Shelby closed her childhood journal, feeling utterly foolish for writing in it after so many years. As if a servant could help her now, when everything was so bleak. She'd thought of Tom occasionally through the years, wondering if he'd moved away, if he'd married. But for days now, she'd found herself thinking about him frequently, and at the oddest times. It was growing more and more difficult to banish him from her thoughts. And marriage? Desperation must surely be driving her mad.

She looked about her sparse bedchamber, bare of anything of value but her simple furniture. It had once been such a magnificent town house, and now it seemed so empty, just like the sedate future she used to imagine for herself.

She'd been a foolish, naive girl.

With a sigh, Victoria smoothed down her mourning dress and left her room for the uncertainty of the master suite, where her mother now lived alone. She paused in the doorway and met the gaze of Mrs. Wayneflete, their housekeeper and last remaining servant. She wore her usual uniform of black silk dress, lace collar, and close white cap. No matter their situation, Mrs. Wayneflete could always be counted upon to remain unflappable. Together, they turned to stare at Victoria's mother, who clutched a vase to her bosom and stubbornly turned her back on them.

"Victoria, I will not part with this," Mama said, her defiance a hollow, pale sound. Her eyes were now lined with dark shadows and looked at nothing most of the time. Sadness bent her shoulders and strands of gray hair escaped the pins. "Your father gave it to me for our anniversary. He brought it from -- "

"I remember," Victoria interrupted gently. "But Father would understand that we need to eat."

Her mother had a strange tendency to forget their circumstances, and Victoria found herself growing ever more impatient. Didn't she realize that they had all sacrificed? Victoria had sold her beloved piano, and Mrs. Wayneflete had taken no wages in many a month. Mama was waiting for salvation, but there was no one left to save them. Victoria wished she could convince her mother it was better to face the future than wallow in the past. But since Father's death ten months before, her mother's spirits continued to sink, though Victoria's cheerful letters to her sisters did not dwell on that sad fact. There was no need to worry them any more than necessary.

Victoria sighed and turned a brisk smile to her housekeeper. "Mrs. Wayneflete, do you have another suggestion for an item that will keep us in food this week? I do believe that Mr. Tillman quite looks forward to haggling with me over a price."

"You're an easy woman to respect, Miss Victoria," Mrs. Wayneflete said with a fond smile.

"Then there is Mr. Billingsly, the merchant from Cheapside. I could pit the two proprietors against one another for a better price." Victoria's laughter died when she saw her mother staring at her.

"How can you find amusement in this?" Mama whispered. "Your father is dead."

"Oh, Mama, of course I know that. But we are not dead, and we owe it to ourselves to go on living."

Victoria pushed those sad memories away. Since that terrible day, she and her mother had seemed to switch places, as her mother foundered under the knowledge that her own husband had left them penniless. The long overdue mortgage on the town house, their last remaining property, had been bought by a distant cousin, who had agreed to let them remain until he returned to England with his family -- two months from now. Time was running out.

Her sisters were doing what they could, but their earnings barely supported themselves. Meriel had used her logical nature and excellent education to find a position as a governess. Louisa's sweetness and patience had enabled her to become a companion to an elderly lady. Victoria had thought she was doing her share by keeping their meager household running, for she had not her sisters' talents. Lately she'd felt the urge to do more, to prove that she was no longer that shy girl who used to think she deserved so little in life. Had all she ever aspired to be was her mother's companion and caretaker? Yes, it once would have given her the chance to immerse herself in her beloved musical compositions. But that silly girl had come to know firsthand the harsh realities of life without privilege. And it was time to do something more.

"I do believe there is a clock in Meriel's room," Mrs. Wayneflete said. "Quite an old, fancy piece. Would that do?"

"Of course." Victoria nodded briskly, having long since accepted that she was the one to make all the family decisions. "Mama, you can have the vase for a while longer."

"Something will happen, Victoria," her mother said, a look of shining hope in her dull eyes. "You'll see."

Victoria's thoughts were tinged with sarcasm that was uncalled for. It was so easy for her to lose patience with her mother these days, though good breeding kept her from expressing her opinions. Mama had once aspired to the highest reaches of society, as if riches could make the ton forget that Mr. Shelby had been their trusted banker, not their equal. It had frustrated her mother terribly that wealth had allowed her to live in the same exclusive neighborhood as the nobility, but not to mingle with them.

That unrealistic hope shining from her mother's eyes made Victoria even more determined. There had to be a solution.

She thought of Tom again, that boy she'd never met, but with whom she'd shared the intimacy of her every thought. She had to stop such silly daydreaming and get on with the day. She wrote the clock into her household journal, where she kept lists of the items they'd had to sell.


Excerpted from The Lord Next Door by Gayle Callen Copyright © 2005 by Gayle Callen. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, Gayle Callen found the life she'd always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than twenty historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion, the Laurel Wreath Award, the Booksellers' Best Award, and been translated into eleven different languages. The mother of three grown children, an avid crafter, singer, and outdoor enthusiast, Gayle lives in Central New York with her dog, Uma, and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero. She also writes contemporary romances as Emma Cane.

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Lord Next Door 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1828 London, ten years old Tom steals a journal from his ten years old neighbor Veronica and writes to her. They become pen pals though they never meet as she is the daughter of a banker who cannot play with the son of the earl¿s cook. In 1834, Tom abruptly stops writing............... Ten years later, Veronica¿s dad committed suicide leaving her, her two younger sisters and their mom to fend for themselves. The siblings move on while Veronica has to find a home for her distraught mom before they are dispossessed. She asks her Tom to marry her though she has not heard from him in sixteen years only to learn that he is Viscount David Thurlow. He wonders if she could be the answer to problems his father¿s scandal caused him no one in the Ton will accept him as a suitor in spite of his rank................ David proposes explaining he needs a wife to produce an heir. His only condition is there will be no scandal. Veronica hides her father¿s suicide from him and accepts. She tells her mom and he his dad both are dismayed. They marry, but Veronica vows to herself to leave if necessary is he is in danger of causing a scandal that will hurt David¿s position in Polite Society............... The robust lead couple and fully-developed support cast make for a fine historical romance though there is no major conflict. Readers fully understand what motivates Tom and Veronica and why his father behaved as he did after his wife died. Gayle Callen provides a wonderful nineteenth century romance in which the hero is NO ORDINARY GROOM and his beloved gives him much more than A WOMAN¿S INNOCENCE.............. Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Lord Next Door is one of my favorite books. It isn't one of your typical fast paced love stories, and in all honesty it probably won't be winning any awards, and okay.... it also isn't as exciting as some other romances out there that seem to keep you on the edge of your seat. However.... what it has to offer it's reader's is a very sweet and yes sometimes slow... approach at love. The main character's of David and Victoria come together as a couple at first out of sheer need. Both knew each other in an unconventional way as children, but knows nothing about one another as adult's Victoria didn't even know David's real name!! But now Victoria needs a husband and David needs a wife so what better way to solve both of there problems then by marrying each other, sounds simple right? but as with all things in life nothing is ever as simple as it seems. I enjoyed this story and was not bored at all by it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you want a read where the hero is a quiet sort, the heroine is trying to save the family from starving so she marries the quiet sort of a hero, then this is a good read. The only interesting storyline is that quiet hero refuses to bed his new wife until she is ready. He readies her by coming to her bedchamber each night and by stages, seduces her. It was like reading a strip poker instruction book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to skip over pages to keep from yawning. No major plot line and the whole book felt forced. It was like reading an instruction booklet! I like her other books (like 'The Duke in Disguise') 100% better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the book in a few days. I did get frustrated with a couple of areas, but it still makes you believe in that kind of forever love.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was kind of blah. I didnt really care about the characters and the climax was a huge let down...with the plot and the love scenes. I was sadly dissapointed. But i did finish it, so it wasn't horrible, just a little boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a bad read. Enjoyed it.
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Great romantic read
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh so boring. The other 2 books in the series are ok, but this one is not worth the time or money