Married to the Viscount (Swanlea Spinster Series #5)

Married to the Viscount (Swanlea Spinster Series #5)

by Sabrina Jeffries

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060092146
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/28/2014
Series: Swanlea Spinster Series , #5
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 350,548
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

At the tender age of twelve, Sabrina Jeffries decided she wanted to be a romance writer. It took her eighteen more years and a boring stint in graduate school before she sold her first book, but now her sexy and humorous historical romances routinely land on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists and have won several awards. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son, where she writes full-time and is working on her next novel.

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Married to the Viscount

Chapter One

Even the finest butler may blunder when announcing a surprise guest, but he should use the occasion to learn the correct styling. One never knows when a surprise guest may become important in his employer's household.

Suggestions for the Stoic Servant,
by the Butler to a Very Important Gentleman

London
April 15, 1822

The bride-to-be was here. The groom-to-be was two hours late. As betrothal dinners went, this one qualified for fiasco of the season. Spencer, reluctant host of the fiasco, surveyed the immaculately appointed dining table in his London town house and sighed. How soon could he call an end to this painful ordeal and retreat to his study and his cognac? Probably not for at least another hour. Anything less would rouse suspicion among his twenty-six guests.

Thanks to his quick thinking and talent for lying, they didn't even know the dinner was a fiasco. And until he found out why Nat had disappeared, he had no intention of letting them in on the secret.

He glanced over at Lady Evelina, the bride-to-be. Thank God she'd apparently accepted his far-fetched tale. Like a china doll, she perched on her chair in cultivated perfection, blond ringlets framing her flawless brow, her cheeks pink but not rouged, and her gown the ideal hue for her porcelain skin. Only her sparkling eyes hinted at the sweet-natured girl Nat and Spencer had teased while she was growing up.

Catching his eye, Evelina dabbed daintily at her cupid-bow lips with a damask napkin. "I do hope they don't detain poor Nathaniel at the police offices all night. Did his note say how long it might be?"

That damned fictitious note. "No, but they'll probably keep him awhile," Spencer lied with all the practiced ease of a former spymaster. "He'll have to give testimony against the ruffian he caught snatching that woman's reticule."

"It was so brave of him to run off after the villain all alone," she said. "And then to insist on carrying that man to the police himself -- how noble of him!"

"Yes, Nat is nothing if not noble." That lie came harder in the face of young Evelina's starry-eyed loyalty.

Not that Spencer had any other choice. Engaging in a manly pursuit of justice was an acceptable excuse for not attending one's betrothal dinner; abandoning one's bride-to-be was not. Until Spencer knew the reason for Nat's apparent defection, he had to keep lying. Otherwise, Evelina and her widowed mother, Lady Tyndale, would suffer public humiliation. Which Spencer refused to allow.

Where the hell was he? When Spencer had last seen Nat an hour before dinner, his brother hadn't mentioned any plans to dash out. And although Spencer's butler McFee had seen Nat receive a message shortly after that, no one had seen the man leave. But no one could find him, either, not in the house or at any of his favorite London haunts.

Nat had simply vanished, and it looked deliberate. After all, how much trouble could one man get into in only a few hours?

Spencer sighed. Nat had acted strangely ever since his return from America a month ago -- he was inordinately interested in the mail, came and went at all hours, had mysterious meetings, and in general acted like a man still sowing wild oats instead of preparing to marry.

Now this. For God's sake, where was he?

"Well, I for one am surprised Nathaniel even had the presence of mind to send a note at all," Evelina's mother commented. "But the man is always so considerate."

"And noble, too," the woman sitting next to her added with a hint of sarcasm. "Let's not forget 'noble.'"

Wonderful. Now Lady Brumley was putting her nose in it. Why in hell had Evelina's mother invited a woman popularly known as the Galleon of Gossip? He should have paid closer attention to the guest list.

But with England's chaotic political situation occupying him, he'd had no time to plan the betrothal dinner Lady Tyndale had expected him to host. So he'd unwisely given that to her, his designated hostess for the evening. Somehow the intimate little affair he'd suggested had exploded into this assembly of London society's most prestigious -- and chatty—members. That's what he got for trusting a woman with the intelligence of a pea.

And there was still a betrothal ball to get through two nights from now. Fortunately, Lady Tyndale was hosting that at her home. Spencer shuddered to think what sort of production it would be. She'd probably invited half the ton to her ball.

If there was a ball. Given Nat's disappearance tonight, that was no longer certain.

He scowled. He wanted to see Nat settled, damn it. Twenty-nine was a good age for marrying, and twenty-year-old Evelina was perfect for him. Insane as it seemed, she'd apparently been in love with the idiot from girlhood, which was all a man could ask for.

"That note from your brother," Lady Brumley commented. "Might we see it for ourselves, Ravenswood? I shall have to write about the event for the paper, and I want all the details of Mr. Law's noble act."

What the nosy woman wanted was to uncover scandal. Clearly she hadn't believed his tale. Just what he needed -- the shrewd Lady Brumley voicing her suspicions in that infamous column of hers.

"I thought you had your own sources." Spencer sipped his claret with a carefully cultivated air of boredom. "Or have you grown tired of checking your facts?"

The woman answered his sarcasm in kind. "I suspect that if I wait until tomorrow for that, I'll hear only the official story. Since the London magistrates report directly to you at the Home Office ...

Married to the Viscount. Copyright © by Sabrina Jeffries. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Married to the Viscount (Swanlea Spinster Series #5) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
gypsydi72 More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful novel by Sabrina Jeffries. In this this story we are introduced to Abigail Mercer and Spencer Law.  Abigail met Spencer when he accompanied his brother on a business trip to the States. Immediately taken in by the dashing Viscount that treats her as an equal and respects her opinion, even though she is a female, how can she help but fall in love with him. When she is approached by his brother after Spencer's departure professing a deep affection and offering to marry her by proxy, she jumps at the offer. Little does she know that Spencer has no clue what his brother has done. Spencer thinks that Miss Mercer is everything he would want in a wife. She is intelligent, smart, and beautiful. If he had any intentions of marrying ever, he would hope to marry someone like her. He has decided he will never marry and that any heirs to be produced will come from his brother. So while he still thinks about Abigail once he has returned to England he knows that he will not see her again. Or will he? When Abigail shows up on his doorstep with papers in hand proving they have been wed by proxy, Spencer must figure out how he can solve his dilemma. He does not wish to be married and yet how can he resist Abigail now that she is his wife. And where has his brother disappeared to, as he is the one with all the answers and Miss Mercer's dowry?  Meanwhile, can Abigail convince Spencer that a marriage between them is what they both need and desire? She has a hard time seeing the caring gentleman in Spencer as he is now the unfeeling Viscount. As they both fall deeper in love, can Spencer give himself the opportunity to find happiness with Abigail? She will accept no less and deserves no less than his full commitment. And will Abigail be able to be the wife that Spencer needs? A wonderful tale of two individuals who are perfect for each other. They both need to accept themselves for great individuals they are to truly be happy with one another.
spiritroz More than 1 year ago
I loved it, as usual Sabrina Jefferies hit this out of the park, I loved Abbey and Spencer and the butlet and maid were great, they should how protective they were to there employer,I also loved the small commedy parts..
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1821 Viscount Spencer Law accompanied his brother Nat to Philadelphia where he meets attractive Abigail Mercer and her ailing father, owner of Mercer Medicinal Company. Nat wants to own half of Mercer Medicinal, but Spencer has some doubts yet promises to fund the venture. However, the Home office calls Spencer back to England so he leaves Nat behind in the states................................ A year later, Spencer waits for the arrival of Nat, who is late to his own engagement party to lady Evelina. However, instead of Nat¿s grand entrance, Abigail, in mourning due to her beloved father¿s death enters claiming to be Spencer¿s wife by proxy. Apparently, Nat forged documents, stole Abigail¿s dowry, and sat in for Spencer at a ceremony. Spencer, who had no plans to marry due to a war injury leaving him unable to produce children, sells Abigail with the idea of a marriage of convenience until they find his wastrel brother who is in hiding.................................... Before readers draw negative conclusions about Nat, he paid for Abigail to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Thus he is much more complex than just the first brush con artist that he seems. Spencer is an intriguing lead protagonist firmly believing he has no future and that the heir must come from Nat. Abigail is a charmer who makes Spencer feels whole. Regency romance fans will have good feelings towards author Sabrina Jeffries for this enjoyable historical............................... Harriet Klausner
dmwmtgal on LibraryThing 5 days ago
Spencer and Abby's story was adorable. I loved watching his change from the uptight viscount to simply a man in love with his wife. Definitely a recommended read.
theshadowknows on LibraryThing 5 days ago
Married to the Viscount is, besides After the Abduction, the weakest of the Swanlea Spinsters books. The plot is overly contrived, its convolutions exacerbated by the hero's ridiculous hang-ups - which create some misunderstandings that are decidedly irksome. Thanks to his meddlesome brother, Spencer Law finds himself married to Abby Mercer, a girl from Philadelphia he had met months earlier when he and his brother had visited to look into buying her father's ailing medicine business. Without Spencer knowing, his brother marries Abby for him by proxy, and then disappears when Abby shows up in England thinking to be welcomed by her new husband. She and Spencer had gotten along nicely in America and so she thinks he's nice and wonderful and is half in love with him already. In England though, he¿s a cold, remote viscount, and so she¿s hurt and confused. Spencer likes her a lot too, but, because of the aforementioned ridiculous hang-ups, he's sworn never to marry ¿ if his marriage phobia/martyrdom is clichéd, his reasons are a little different at least. But he goes about trying to extricate himself from this unwanted marriage in the stupidest manner possible ¿ always going back and forth and putting Abby through the wringer. He wants her, he doesn't want her. He treats her like crap. He shags her. He tries to get rid of her. He needs her so desperately he blackmails her (more than once) to stay. The stupid man doesn't know what he wants and Abby suffers for it. For more than half the book she labors under the misapprehension that the hero doesn't like her, that he disparages her and is ashamed of her because she's a lowly gauche American. So she tries to become the perfect English lady for him. She presents a bit of a quandary, because you would think her sad efforts to please him would mean she has no backbone. But she does, more through words than actions I guess. And when she finally understands the nature of Spencer's overblown trust issues, she sticks to her guns and won't let him dictate everything. I find myself smiling through their flirting and their fighting. At times they're like randy teenagers and are too cute for words. At other times Spencer's treatment of Abby borders on the dark and twisted, if you can believe it. I feel like Marriage to the Viscount can't decide what kind of book it wants to be. The plot is all over the place. And it's obsessed with children - the desire for children is the deal breaker of their marriage. Which is all well and good, but the way it's handled turns the issue into another one of Spencer's stupid hang ups - and they are stupid. The book admits it and tells us so. It gets worse when we find out at the end, thanks to some simple explanations that would have spared us this silly story, that Spencer had nothing to worry about in the first place. He duped himself, and the reader in the process, and, even though it's pretty obvious where the story is going from the beginning, I don't take kindly to the attempted duping. Married to the Viscount has some nice moments interspersed throughout, but the hero's actions, the heroine's passivity and lack of character, and the contrived, overly elaborate plot overwhelmed those few enjoyable scenes. And what a bizarre cover! Especially considering there's never any episode like it that I can recall.
Anniik on LibraryThing 5 days ago
This book, while enjoyable, is not one of Sabrina Jeffries' best. The plot is good enough, and the characters are not cardboard cut-outs, but there just wasn't very much from this book that stayed with me. Abigail is supposedly half Native American - this is introduced but then she does very little with it, which was a bit dissapointing. Spencer is a good enough hero - and I like when the heroes of books are actually involved in politics - but I'm not really sure his "dark secret" is dark enough to be the basis for the conflict in the book. Anyway, it's a good enough read, and enjoyable.
phyllisd on LibraryThing 5 days ago
The fourth book in a series, The Swanlea Spinsters. The book really stands alone as really loosely related to the other books in the set. A unique story, however, and Sabrina Jeffries is always excellent.
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Viscount Spencer Ravenswood was smitten with the American lass Abigale Mercer while visiting the colonies with his brother. However, he would have never admitted such a thing either to himself, or to anyone else, unless he were thoroughly foxed and he left without ever giving hint of his interest. So, when Abby showed up at his English manor claiming to be his wife married by proxy it was a bit of a shock. After discovering his brother Nat's plan to trick the young American out of her dowry and knowing the scandal it would cause his family, Spencer felt he had not alternative than to offer Abby a deal. Pretend temporarily to go along with the fake marriage until he could find his conniving brother and he would bring her back to America with her dowry returned to dissolve the union. What Spence didn't count on was becoming so attached that soon he was unwilling to part with his faux wife, even though he was determined never to marry.Although I've heard much about Sabrina Jeffries's stories, this is the first I've read. I thought this book was well written, fast paced and very engrossing. I enjoyed it very much. Abby was quite a charming character and I couldn't help but have a soft spot for Spence. It did remind me quite a bit of Lisa Kleypas' writing and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to those who enjoy Ms. Kleypas' books as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
McM0mmy-PW More than 1 year ago
I adored how much common sense Abby displayed in this book! Abby and Spenser met while he was visiting in America as he came to check out his brothers (Nat) plans to buy her fathers company. Before Spenser leaves America to get back to England, he gets drunk and spills to his brother his interest in Abby. Nat takes it into his head to marry to have Abby and Spencer marry using him as proxy and not tell Spenser. The fun and mayhem ensues when Abby arrives in England with Nat disappearing from the scene, leaving her and Spenser to work everything out. The way Abby handled herself in the situations that Spenser kept putting her in showed how strong she was and how much she thought through her situation. Spenser just couldn't keep himself away from her. The ending brought tears to my eyes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lord Ravenswood met his perfect match. I loved that he had to be brought down to his knees, metaphorically, before he could accept Abby because as he was, the relationship would never have worked. So I am glad that for once, he didn't get to control everything. And Abby was just too cute!
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