Loving the Earl

Loving the Earl

by Sharon Cullen

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Loving the Earl by Sharon Cullen

In USA Today bestselling author Sharon Cullen’s sizzling novel of scandal and seduction, a headstrong beauty is pursued across Europe by London’s most notorious rake.
Having vowed never to wed again, widowed viscountess Claire Hartford is about to do the unthinkable: travel unaccompanied across the continent in search of a lover. Her adventure begins sooner than expected, when she meets a magnificent cloaked stranger on her ship’s gangplank. He is Lord Blythe, a man whispered about in London’s ballrooms and drawing rooms, a scandalous rogue hell-bent on seduction.
Nathan Ferguson curses the day he agreed to look out for his best friend’s wayward sister. The charismatic earl is traveling to Paris to uncover the truth behind his father’s death, but his desire for Claire threatens to be his undoing. From France to Italy, on a journey of passionate discovery and danger, Nathan is honor-bound to protect her—from himself most of all. What can he offer Claire? Only love, as he sets out to prove to the woman of his dreams that she belongs to him—body, heart, and soul.

Look for all of Sharon Cullen’s delightful historical romances:
The All the Queen’s Spies series: WED TO A SPY  | BOUND TO A SPY

Praise for Loving the Earl

Loving the Earl is charming and fast-paced. It’s filled with passion, intrigue, a resourceful heroine you’ll love, and a delicious hero you’ll fall in love with. An absolute delight!”New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jacquie D’Alessandro

“Sharon Cullen is a natural-born storyteller. Her twists and turns will keep you turning the pages.”—Margo Maguire, bestselling author of The Highlander’s Desire

“With its bad-boy hero and spunky heroine, Sharon Cullen’s Loving the Earl is sure to please readers looking for more than the typical Regency come-out story. Intrigue and romance fuse seamlessly in this adventurous romp that takes the reader from Dover to Paris to Venice and finally to a sigh-worthy happily ever after.”—Shana Galen, author of True Spies

“Gripping . . . I stayed up until dawn reading this historical gem.”Romance Junkies
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Mistletoe and Magic, What Not to Bare, and After the Kiss.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345540065
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/11/2013
Series: Secrets & Seduction , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 260
Sales rank: 155,721
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Sharon Cullen is the USA Today bestselling author of the Highland Pride series (Sutherland’s Secret, MacLean’s Passion) as well as many novels of Regency romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. If you’d like to find out more about the author and her books, you can visit her blog or her website. She is addicted to social networking, so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion: books.

Read an Excerpt

Alice’s eyes rounded in terror. Claire motioned for her again, a bit more impatiently this time. If they didn’t hurry, they would miss the ship and she was determined not to miss this particular ship. “Come, Alice.”

Alice shook her head and took a step back. Claire’s heart thudded. “Alice,” she said in her most imperial voice. “Let us go.”

“I can’t . . .” Suddenly Alice turned on her heel and ran away, back toward the shops lining the street and away from the ship.

“Alice!” Claire took a step after her, then looked back at the ship where already the last of the passengers were boarding. She looked toward where Alice had disappeared but the crowd had swallowed her whole.

Oh, dear.

The bell of the Abby Dora began to ring. She needed to be on that ship and away from England now. With a heart heavy with apprehension and a little bit of fear, Claire joined the other passengers on the gangplank.

Trepidation slowed her steps until she halted, forcing the passengers to move around her with grumbles and irritated looks. She turned to look back at Dover, searching for Alice one last time, her gaze sweeping across the landscape.

She squeezed her fingers together, bunching her skirts as an overpowering need to scurry back down that gangplank seized her. Sebastian would be furious when he discovered her gone and Betsy still at home.

Shaking off the need to run back to solid ground, Claire straightened her shoulders and continued onto the ship.
Once on board she fought her way to the railing among the crush of the other passengers, but there she found she was alone in her wish to wave good-bye to England.

As the ship’s sails snapped full with the brisk breeze, her gaze moved to the famous white cliffs of Dover, her last sight of England for a very long time. She could hardly believe she was finally here, after so many years of dreaming. After so many years of living under the iron fist of her abusive husband, of the prying eyes of the ton, of the stifling love of her brothers. After long nights of swearing to herself that someday she would escape it all.
And now she had.

* * *

Nathan leaned against the railing and watched the lights of Calais bob in time with the ship. Frustration roiled through him. It took only a few hours to sail to Calais from Dover but the ship left England late and they missed the high tide that would have taken them straight to Calais’s shore. Now they were stuck offshore for the night while they waited for the morning tide.

He reached into his pocket to retrieve the letter that changed his world and his beliefs but realized that it was in his cabin, drying, because some damn chit had scattered his papers through the mud. He added her to his list of curses and pushed away from the railing to head to his cabin and at least try to sleep.

Damn. He still had to check on Sebastian’s sister. Why the hell he agreed to help Sebastian Addison was beyond him. The bigger question should be why Addison even approached him in the first place. Everyone knew Nathan Ferguson, Lord Blythe, was unreliable. And, of course, he’d proven that again tonight by not searching out Lady Hartford to see if she was faring well on this voyage.

He recalled bits of the conversation he’d had with Addison the morning three days ago when Addison had asked the favor. To be honest, Nathan had still been half in his cups and hadn’t yet gone to bed while most people were nearly finished with their day. The conversation was a blur to him. Addison had told Nathan that Lady Claire was traveling to France with her old nanny.

It had been her nanny, correct?

Yes, Nathan was sure of it.

“Why would your sister not procure passage on one of your ships?” he’d asked, referring to Nicholas Addison’s company that was fast becoming the biggest shipping company in England and the American colonies.

“She did,” Addison said. “Or rather, I secured passage for her, then I discovered through one of Nicholas’s acquaintances that she went behind my back and made her own plans.”

“Why the devil would she do something like that?” Blythe’s head ached, and the noise from the coffeehouse hadn’t helped.

“Claire is headstrong. She has it in her mind to tour the Continent since she missed out on what she terms ‘an adventure.’ I’m willing to allow her a little freedom but I’m damned if I’ll allow her to go flitting about foreign countries without at least some protection. All I ask is that you watch out for her until she reaches France. I don’t want her falling prey to the con artists and thieves that haunt the docks. She has letters of introduction from me and letters from my bank in the event she needs money. Once she reaches Paris, I suspect she’ll attend balls and do a bit of shopping. Betsy will rein her in if need be, and Betsy has been told to inform me of Claire’s whereabouts and actions.”

“Wait a moment,” Nathan said, a memory coming to him. “Claire. Wasn’t she the one who nearly ran away with that rascal? What was his name? The one who owed nearly everyone money.”

Addison had chuckled but the look around his eyes was strained and guarded. “That was long ago. She’s . . . Well, that was long ago.” He leaned forward. “I haven’t told Claire that you will be watching out for her and I prefer to keep it that way.”


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Loving the Earl 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Romantic and fun, an enjoyable historical romance.
KimP65 More than 1 year ago
I loved every single part of this book. I have not read the others in the series but this was fine as a stand alone. The characters were wonderfully laid out, explained, examined. The chemistry between the two main characters was unmistakable and beautiful. This wasn't just an historical romance. This was full of intrigue and suspense as well. The story was just fantastic and the characters memorable.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Sharon Cullen has created a lovely road trip story here, far deeper than the initial headstrong woman convinced of her capabilities and unaware of potential censure meets brother’s friend, who suddenly sees her as a woman, and not a little sister to be protected.  Claire is heading to the continent after the death of her husband: feeling frustrated with the men in her life assuming what is best for her, rather than asking, she sets out with her maid and an itinerary that will grant her some of the much desired freedom from males.  Nathan, while acquainted with Claire’s family is a bit of a rake and not possessed of a wonderful reputation.  His father has just recently died, leaving him conflicted and in need of some answers and time.   When he encounters Claire, as she has impulsively changed her plans, lost her maid and her travel documents and money, Nathan is a welcome, yet unwelcome sight.  Claire, we come to learn, is not only often foolishly demonstrating her lack of concern for her situation, but her insistence on fending for herself is confusing until further on in the story.  Nathan is, understandably, attracted to Claire’s beauty, yet he doesn’t discount her conversation or find her revelations off-putting, he comes to hold great regard for her as a person, not just an object of desire.  These two characters were masterfully developed: as they start to develop a trust for one another and reveal their innermost selves, we find so many qualities to enjoy: Claire’s resilience and logical approach to Nathan’s problems.  Nathan is frustrated with his life, his acceptance of Claire and his approach in enforcing her self-esteem.  We learn that these two people are far deeper and have much more in common than one would think, and they are also highly compatible.  But, neither is looking for a happy ever after, or are they? This book is a fun read and easy to follow, even though there is some frustration with Claire and her behavior in the early chapters, you are able to see the reasons and even come to admire her strength despite her early foolhardiness.  Nathan is less developed early on, with most of his character being examined in hindsight and through comments, but he is no less enjoyable.  Far more to overcome than in most historical romances: this was a wonderful example of the reason why I am addicted to these stories.  I received an eBook from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review for Tasty Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility, 
celticmaggie More than 1 year ago
This is a very busy book. Sharon did a good job developing these story lines and making them make sense. Nathan's father paupered his family when he died. Nathan was cut when he became a gambler to save his family. Claire was stuck with an abusive marriage and had to put on a brave face. She is finally free to own life when her husband dies. She decides to have an European adventure alone when she meets Nathan, her brother's friend. Sharon made a story that had me wishing I was with them. The side stories kept me guessing up to the end of the book. Great Job!I hope you like this book as much as I have.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very fun read with a little bit of everything.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truly glad i read this story highly recommend
MsChris1161 More than 1 year ago
This was a fun read! Claire Hartford a spunky heroine tired of the strictures of her times and living under the thumb of the men in her life. She sets out to prove her independence by having a solo adventure in France and Italy. Problem is her oldest brother Sebastian is on to her and asks his good friend, Nathaniel Ferguson, Lord Blythe to discreetly look after her. Nathan is a rogue, a gambler, a drunk and a shameless womanizer and the last one who should be asked to look after the safety of a lone woman. Yet, because Sebastian may be the one man in England Nathan actually cares what he thinks of him, he agrees to watch out for Claire. Claire wants nothing to do with Nathan, or any man, getting in the way of her long deserved freedom and is constantly trying (and failing) to escape him. He ends up not only seeing her safely to Calais as her brother asked of him, but on to Paris and then Venice. There journey together is filled with the adventure Claire was looking for as they encounter thieves, highwaymen, a peasant uprising, a blizzard, and all while battling their intense attraction to each other. Neither wants to conform to the rules of society by ever considering an accepted relationship and neither likes the other all that much, but the sexual chemistry and tension between them is off the charts. I loved Nathan and his honest approach to what he was, what he wanted and what he could offer. And that includes when they finally got down to it he was quite the dirty talker *fans herself*. Claire was on a determined mission to prove to herself she didn't need a man yet planning to do so by seeking out a man to find affirmation? She was a hot mess who constantly found herself in a bad situation due to her naiveté, but was actually very creative at rescuing herself. Claire was an admirable heroine because she came from a dark situation with a determination to take charge of her own future. A very progressive woman for her time and as frustrating as she could be for Nathan he could not help but like her for her strength, okay and the fact that he found her beautiful didn't hurt. All in all LOVING THE EARL was a fun read with well great plotting, witty banter, great sexual chemistry between the H/H, a hot hero, and a sassy heroine that I highly recommend! *I Received this ebook free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
kydirtgirl68 More than 1 year ago
Claire want to have an adventure after her horrible husband dies. She wants to go abroad to find a lover with no strings attached and no worries about it ruining her reputation in society. She runs across Lord Blythe on the ship and is immediately  is attracted to him. Nathan didn't want to watch out for his friend's sister and was expecting her to be easy to watch. She seems to be getting into all kinds of trouble. He is on another mission and that is to find out the truth about his fathers death. The two can't fight what is between them and soon begin a passionate journey. One not without danger. Can a woman vowing never to love again and a man who never expected to marry work things out or will something come between them. Claire has been broken down and never let anyone know about her problems. She is beautiful and doesn't see that. She is very good at getting out of jams. She doesn't want to be ruled by anyone again. Nathan is not the most reputable man but he has built up what he has from nothing. He just has to know what happened to his father and won't give up his mission for anything. He is a very truthful man and hates when he has to hide anything.  I really enjoyed reading about both these characters and their journey. It is a look into a fascinating time with two people who don't like to live by the set rules. You get to see several different place as they make their way and it is wonderful to see them all. I have to say I wouldn't mind being in a carriage with Nathan. There is danger as Claire doesn't think before she does some things and trust people to easy. I hated her husband and bad to say  I was glad he was dead. He was a horrible person. Nathan makes quite a few discoveries on hos trip about his father and his self. The more he gets to know Claire the more he will do anything to protect her. I love how hot this book is as well. They have lots of chemistry between them. If you like historical romance with a great plot be sure to pick this one up.
PrissP More than 1 year ago
This book was entertaining! I like how strong-willed and independent Lady Claire is, but boy does trouble find her! I really enjoyed this story and the author's writing style. I feel that sometimes historical works can be bogged down in details, making it boring. Not this one! The author wrote this with enough detail to be believable, but not so much that I wanted to put it down.
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
Sweeping scenery and lovely romance come together for this fantastic book. Loving the Earl was a wonderful historical romance. I absolutely loved reading it. One of my favorite parts of this book was the setting. The author did a great job creating expansive scenery as the characters traveled across Europe. It was vivid and wonderfully done.  Claire was a heroine who desperately wanted independence. She was coddled as a child, courtesy of her overprotective brother and her marriage trapped her in a gilded cage. Her husband hurt her, controlled her, and, when he died, she wasn't having it anymore. Hence, the trek across Europe in defiance of her brother. I really liked her. She wasn't one of those heroines that wanted independence in a way that made her kind of mean and determined to push others away. Instead, she just wanted to have options, to be able to choose rather than have someone else choose for her. She wasn't a perfect heroine. It was clear that she really shouldn't have been travelling alone, since it all went downhill within a couple of days with her on her own and she was smart enough to accept help...eventually. But, with her flaws, she became a more realistic character, and a very likable one. I thought she was a lovely character. Nathan was also great. Like Claire, he was a flawed character. He was a bit of a rake, somewhat overbearing, very stubborn, and occasionally a jerk. But, he was also very loyal, determined, and clever. And, he could be so sweet when he wanted to be. I adored him. He was a wonderfully flawed hero. The romance was lovely. Claire and Nathan were so sweet together. I appreciated that, while they were reluctant to talk about love or start a relationship, they didn't bother wallowing in denial. They were honest with each other and where their feelings were headed. And, the chemistry between them was hot. There were certainly some steamy moments along the way. I thought they were perfect together. The plot was fast paced. I was  hooked the entire way though. There was a huge surprise at the end that had to do with how Nathan's father really died. It started to suspect it early on, but I didn't suspect the full extent of it and it took me by surprise. That element added some thrills to make this book even better. I really enjoyed the story and I thought the ending was perfect. Loving the Earl was a fantastic historical romance. I absolutely loved it and I really enjoyed reading it. Lovers of romance, this book is one you'll definitely want to read. *I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why are u so mean
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JBTN More than 1 year ago
Very well written, kept your attention and good characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Forget about the famous Seasons in Historical Romance stories. This one has well defined characters; fun situations; tenderness, pride; love; passion....well, I'm positive you won't want to stop reading until the last page and even wish the story would move on. Don't miss it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The end was predictable, but still recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh nice.....well to bad you arent together now.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moans whimpering wanting u inside me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Takes out his cock
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Celvia More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have the privilege of reading from this author. It was an exquisitely surprise. Lady Claire Hartford, Viscountess Chesterman want to be free. To have her freedom from men controlling her life. Free to make her own decisions. No matter how bad they might be. Lady Claire embarked off for a carefree vacation to Paris and then a stop in Italy. From day one, she has bad situations to the next. It was amusing how she would get herself in these perilous positions. Nathan Ferguson, Lord Blythe was asked by his only friend, Sebastian to keep an eye on his sister while she made the same journey. From the start, Nathan had his hands full. First of all, he is trying to solve his father murder, observe a close eye on Lady Claire and fighting the growing attraction and affection with Lady Claire while jumping from one hot hazard to other. I enjoyed every page. I did not want to stop. I have to read Sharon Cullen's other books. Thank you for the chance to read this marvelous book. I received a complimentary copy from NetGalley for an honest review.
historic_romance_junkie More than 1 year ago
After reading mixed reviews I decided to take a chance on this book. It was a good deal. The heroine was a bit of a 'act before I think' and it did get a bit annoying for a practical person, but you can come to understand why she acts like that and appreciate it. The hero was fun and flirty. I enjoyed this book it was a very fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This author's stories are exciting, witty page-turners, bringing the reader close to the emotions and nature of the characters. I wish she would skip the lude, debased language and stick to intelligently conveying the transformation of the heroes as they fall in love. It reduces the quality of the work to something less appealing when vulgar descriptions are used. I am interested to know whether it is the author, the editor, the publisher or all three who decide to add this content to a story that easily could stand alone without the smut. It robs the reader of reading a worthy romance by reducing it to rubbish.