Lady Alice Worthingham never conforms to Society
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Only a Viscount Will Do
By Tamara Gill, Erin Molta
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Tamara Gill
All rights reserved.
Surrey, two years later
Alice met her mother's startled eyes and then turned to look out the carriage window. No one graced the road between home and Ashford, the small village they'd traveled from. Tony, their driver, yelled and the carriage jerked forward at increasing speed. Alice reached for the leather strap and held on as best she could.
"I cannot see anyone, Mama." She sat back and clasped the squabs with her free hand. "And yet I can hear what sounds like a rider coming up hard behind us."
Her mother removed her handkerchief from her lips long enough to answer. "Who do you think —"
"Halt the carriage!" a deep, muffled voice commanded, followed by a loud crack of a gun that sent shivers down Alice's spine. Is Tony being shot at — their horses? Dear God, what is going on?
Again, Alice looked out the carriage window then jumped over to the other seat and opened the portal to speak to Tony. "Are you all right to continue? We're so close to home, I don't want to stop."
Tony kept his eyes on the road but crouched lower on the box. "Right ye are, miss. I'll not let him catch us."
Another shot rang out just as the words flew from Tony's lips. Alice gasped and grabbed her mother's hand, not liking her pale gray color.
"Get down, dearest," her mother tried to shout over the crunch of wheels on the gravel road.
The carriage continued to barrel up the thoroughfare at a blistering speed. Alice sat on the floor and pulled her mama down with her, before turning to look under the seat for the pistol their father used to keep there. She sat back on her haunches as her search turned up nothing more than empty space and a cobweb.
Tony cursed before yelling out that he couldn't continue without putting their lives at risk. Sickening dread pooled in her stomach. Her mother threw her a frightened glance, her lips in a thin line of fear.
"Even under such circumstances I don't believe Tony should say such words, cursing is never acceptable."
Alice beat back the urge to roll her eyes. They had bigger things to worry about than a swear word. Had she been on the box and some idiot was shooting bullets at her, Alice was sure more than a few curse words would fly out of her mouth. "Tony is slowing down, Mama. If anything, that is what you should be worried about."
"Alice, come sit closer to me and don't let go of my hand, under any circumstances."
Alice did as she was told and held on tight to her mother's shaking fingers. "It'll be all right, Mama. I'm sure he only means to rob us, and then he'll be on his way." At least that is what Alice hoped, but who knew with this highwayman. Anything was possible.
Her mother nodded but clasped her hand in a punishing grip as the carriage rolled to a stop. Alice listened to the sounds outside and the carriage when Tony jumped down. He came to stand at their door, his head looking in either direction, no doubt trying to garner the fiend's whereabouts.
They waited like sitting ducks for the elusive fox to attack, but silence reigned.
"Who do you think he is?" her mother asked.
Alice frowned, wondering the same. "Perhaps he is the highwayman who has been terrorizing Surrey for the last year or so." His escapades had London all a titter over the jewels he'd stolen, the wealth he'd amassed from the rich. Now it looked like they, too, would fill his coffers. She took a fortifying breath, not wanting to believe her own words. She had thought it such a lark that the gentleman stole from the rich and left the poor alone. But now, as one of the unfortunates to come under his ire, she didn't think too highly of it, after all.
"What do you want?" Tony shouted toward the trees.
A shiver of unease crawled across her skin as the question was met with a deep masculine chuckle. A laugh that was both cocky and condescending at the same time.
"Get the ladies out. Now!"
Alice shushed her mother's whimpering and nodded to Tony to open the door when he looked back for approval. He helped them down, then stood before them like a knight in shining armor. Alice inwardly smiled at the devotion her mother's coachman had for the family, especially since he was older than England itself.
She looked down the road, bordered by thick dense trees that cast moving shadows everywhere. Her mother's eyes were huge and full of fear as a ghostly apparition of a dark horse and rider stepped from the dark canopy. The horse's ragged and uneven breathing made it seem dangerous, and not of this world.
Alice was sure at that very moment, they were going to die. Nothing that looked so evil could possibly do any good in this world.
"Well, well, well. Look who we have." The rider jerked his mount to a stop, the horse's eyes flaring at the sharp pull of the bit.
"That is none of your concern. Take what you want and be gone with ya," Tony said, throwing them a concerned look over his shoulder.
Alice's eyes narrowed at the tsk, tsk, tsk that sounded from the highwayman. She looked at the horse and wondered how a robber could own such a beast. Or perhaps, stolen would be a better summation. She studied the man, his breeches tight to his well-formed legs. His jacket and shirt, though not the best in quality, were clean and pressed. As for his face, she could not make it out at all, due to the black bandanna covering his nose and mouth. But his eyes, dark as night, were intelligent, calculating, and right at this moment, making a study of them. Thoroughly.
The highwayman bowed low on his horse. "I do believe the Duchess of Penworth is to be my quarry this day. And that lovely brooch you have upon your person will do nicely as my payment. Hand it over and no harm will come to you."
Alice comforted her mother as she gasped, in vain trying to hide the brooch that made the robber's eyes gleam with sickening greed.
"Who gives you the right to take what doesn't belong to you, sir?" Alice raised her chin in defiance. The thought of her mama losing such a treasured family jewel made the blood boil in her veins.
She stilled as the man's attention swung her way, the lift of his eyebrows declaring he had not noticed her, or had been ignoring her. Alice pushed down the sickening nerves that racked her innards when he proceeded to dismount, then walk toward them with a swagger that oozed confidence.
Alice lifted her chin further and refused to look away, even though her mind froze in fear. He was tall, strong, and could break them both in half, if he wished, if the size of his arms were any indication. Oh, dear, please don't hurt us. I'm sorry I spoke. She swallowed as he came to stand before her, much too close for her comfort.
"You are a beauty, my little blond goddess. Perhaps I should steal you, instead of the man-made ornaments." He reached out and flicked her mother's brooch, dismissing it as nothing of value.
Alice gaped and then snapped her mouth shut at the man's impudent gesture. Surely, he had not said what he had? But at the gleam in his eyes, Alice realized he was deadly serious.
"You sir, will leave my daughter alone." Her mother moved in front of her, which pulled Alice from the trance she seemed to have fallen into while looking at him.
He smiled then walked over to Tony, and as quick as a flash, pushed the man to the ground, tying his hands with a well-versed ability that under different circumstances would've been impressive. Dismayed, Alice watched their only means of protection wiggle on the ground, no longer any help. The rogue turned back to them, his eyes darting back and forth.
"This is not the time to throw orders around, Your Grace." He came over to them and unclasped the emerald brooch. Alice clasped her mother's hand as her parent's eyes filled with tears. She looked back at the robber, his eyes not sparing the jewel a second glance as he slipped it into his pocket.
"Your Grace, if you will return to the carriage, I'd be most appreciative. I have something to say to your daughter ... in private."
"You have nothing to say to me, sir. You've got your payment, now it's time for you to leave us alone." Alice held on to her mother, not wanting to hear anything this brute had to say. Fear crept up her spine that he would molest her in some way. Perhaps he wasn't the highwayman Surrey was being harassed by, for she'd never heard of him attacking women while he robbed them of their worldly possessions.
He laughed and held the carriage door open. Then with a yank, pulled them apart and escorted her mama to the door. The pistol appeared again and when her mama hesitated at the door he jabbed it into her spine. Her mother refused to move and Alice read the defiance in her stance, but the last thing she wished was for her mother to be hurt. She had lost one parent, she wasn't ready to lose another.
"Wait in the carriage, Mama. I'll be quite all right. I promise."
Her mother finally conceded, and Alice flinched as the carriage door slammed shut. The fiend walked back to her, though perhaps stalked would be a better word, before pulling her behind the carriage and out of her mother's sight even as she leaned out the window, determined to keep her daughter in view.
He watched Alice for a moment. His eyes, which she'd thought to be black, were in fact, blue with tinges of gray through them. Any other time, Alice would've termed them attractive, but today, they were a window into hell.
She started when he leaned toward her. "You are a beauty, Lady Alice." The whispered words against her ear spread a peculiar warmth through her bones. Alice put it down to her fear and the knowledge that she didn't know who this man was, nor what he was capable of. She stood still and waited, refusing to say or react in any way, lest it stimulate him to do worse.
"A shame that a woman like you will enter a marriage of convenience. Such delectable flesh should be loved a great deal and pleasurably so." His hand clasped her shoulder and pushed her against the multitude of parcels tied to the back of the carriage. He leaned in closer than she'd ever allowed a man to do. "It's been a long time since I've had a woman like you under me. Oh how I'd love to partake in mutual pleasure that would ruin you for anyone else."
Alice swallowed, hating the fact that deep down, her body was reacting to his absurd, scandalous words. She shouldn't allow him to say such things. She should knock him in the head, but at this moment she didn't have anything to do the job with, so it was a moot point.
"How do you know me, sir?" she managed to ask, her breath stuck in her lungs, her nerves frayed by the thought of this man atop her, pleasuring her as his words promised. There was something seriously wrong, if such thoughts, instead of being vile, left her wondering what it would feel like. Other than his occupation as a felon, he seemed healthy, the whites of his eyes were clear, not bloodshot or yellow in color. But probably the oddest thing of all was that, although he was robbing them, had already stolen a brooch, and shot at their equipage, he didn't frighten her.
Not one little bit.
He chuckled, his eyes stealing over her flesh. "I always learn about the people I plan to relieve of their possessions. You are not too angry at me, I hope," he asked.
Alice raised her brow, knowing by the gleam in his eyes that he was smiling, laughing even.
"Perhaps you will grant me a boon if I do not steal those lovely earbobs you have on."
"If I give you the earbobs, will you return the brooch?"
"What about," he said, stepping closer, "you give me a kiss and I'll think about the trade?"
Alice swallowed as the highwayman's hand clasped her hip, his fingers flexing against her body. Their eyes met and she was surprised to see his darken with some emotion she didn't want to delve too deeply in. Who is he? And how did she know, no matter his words, that he would not force her into anything she did not wish to partake in? It was very perplexing.
"Will you not kiss me, my lady?" he mocked, challenging her.
Alice ran her hands over his shoulders and into the dark locks at the nape of his neck. His hair was soft and the scent of lemons wafted in the air. How bizarre for such a man to be clean and fresh smelling. She played into his mocking and gave him the best saucy look she could muster.
"Sir, you don't know how long I have waited to meet the famous Surrey Bandit, if that is who you are. And if your lips are as tempting as your voice, I would be honored to grant you my favor, but you'll have to remove the bandanna to do so."
Alice stepped into him with all the supposed desire she could muster. She suppressed the fear that rose within her that she was playing with the wrong kind of man. For all his desirable eyes and clean body and clothes, he was a highwayman. Ruthless and possibly more dangerous than one supposed. She prayed she'd not mistaken her insight and was not heading down a road of no return.
His lean muscled body touched all the way down the front of hers, and Alice blamed the lack of air entering her lungs on trepidation over what she was about to do, not what he made her feel after only knowing him a few minutes. A thief, no less. Her hands ran down his neck and settled on his shoulders. She leaned forward, so much so, that the man's breath through the bandanna warmed her lips.
Her attention snapped to his lips when he lifted the cloth away to give him the ability to kiss her. She swallowed, her mouth going dry at the sight of a mouth made for sin. His lips were too perfectly formed to be fair for the opposite sex. How she'd always wanted lips as full as his, if not a little more red in color to tempt the opposite sex to kiss her, which unfortunately had never happened. And now, it looked as if her first kiss would be with a man who was robbing her.
Alice licked her lips and realized her mistake the moment his blue orbs darkened with hunger. Her breath increased and she tried to calm her beating heart, which threatened to jump out of her chest. She wasn't supposed to want his kiss, but some scandalous part of her wanted it more than anything in her life.
"Kiss me, beautiful."
Had she been able to, she would melt on the spot, like snow under a summer sun. Oh, that deep, masculine voice was temptation incarnate; it beckoned something wild within her to kiss him and be damned her manners and the expectations foisted on her, due to her heritage. Alice would never know how she tore her attention from his lips.
Instead of leaning forward and taking what they both desperately wanted, she mentally shook herself. She did not want to kiss him. It was the blood rushing through her veins that was making her feel giddy and ... whatever else it was that flowed throughout her body. Not the man or the pleasure he tempted her with. Alice steeled herself to do what she must and so, just before their lips met, and with all the might she could yield, Alice lifted her leg and kneed him firmly in the groin.
He fell to the ground, his howls of pain loud in the quiet forest. Alice watched him for all of a second before she turned and ran to the front of the carriage, welcoming the sight of Tony staggering to his feet.
"Tony, get in the coach. I'll drive."
"But, my lady —" he stammered.
"No buts. Do as you're told and now." Alice climbed quickly up to the box and grabbed the reins. The highwayman was still on the ground clutching himself, and Tony still stared at her with widened eyes. "We haven't much time. Move! Now, man," she yelled.
He did as she bid, and she whipped the horses to an immediate canter just as the carriage door slammed shut. With a cloud of dust, she left the fiend where he belonged, on the ground and alone. She cracked the whip over the horse's ears and frowned as the realization of what she'd done hit her with as much force as she'd hit him. The knee to his groin had been quite hard, perhaps harder than she ought to have done, and a small part of her hoped she hadn't hurt him too much, for all her anger at his robbing them.
Robber he may be, but he had smelled very nice, like summertime fruits or something. And his breath, when he'd spoken, had not reeked of stale beer or yesterday's meals, but of mint, fresh and tempting. Had he been a gentleman at a masquerade ball, he would have received the kiss he so willingly wanted to bestow. And no doubt it would have been an enjoyable, delectable few minutes. Her sister Beth had told her of a man's kiss and Alice had longed to have one, but she drew the line at kissing a highwayman. She would not do it, no matter how much she may have wanted to rile against expectations and live for the moment. Rakes and libertines, such as the fiend on the road behind her, were always good at seduction, but were not to be trusted or enjoyed. Ever.
She inwardly sighed. Her life of late seemed one drama after another. Perhaps, she should do as her mother wanted and find a husband of her own.
Excerpted from Only a Viscount Will Do by Tamara Gill, Erin Molta. Copyright © 2017 Tamara Gill. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved, loved, loved this book! I don't like to give away a lot of the story when I write a review. I will say this books lead female Lady Alice is pleasantly surprising and refreshing in the best way in my opinion. Tamara Gill did not write a timid damsel in distress, and it is absolutely fantastic! I could not put this book down and found myself rooting for Lady Alice and Lord Ardnel the entire time. Give this beautifully written historical romance a chance, you will not be disappointed.
I really enjoyed Alice and Callum's story. Can you imagine having to steal from your friends to pay off the debt of someone else? And to make it worse, you have to take something from the woman you are falling for? So many ups and downs in this story! This was a great conclusion to the To Marry a Rogue series!
Lady Alice Worthington likes a good adventure, but when a highwayman robs her of her heirloom pearls, it’s a bit much. Callum Edwards, Viscount Arndel, is being blackmailed into stealing from his new peers, thanks to his late cousin. Now that he’s about done with his debt, he will have to eventually think about finding a bride and mother for his daughter. I thought I was going to really like this book from the plot, but I had some issues with it. I really liked Callum and understood what he was going through. My problem was with Alice and her mother and occasionally her brother. They seemed to randomly correct about things at odd times that had me scratching my head. I found that I just didn’t like her. It made it hard for me to get through the book. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
This is the third story in this great Regency romance series about the Worthingham sisters. This story features Lady Alice Worthingham as the main female character - though her younger sister also has significant roles to play in the ensuing adventure. It starts with blackmail before moving on to a highway robbery, an investigation and revenge with romance sprinkled liberally throughout. Callum Edwards, Viscount Arndel, inherited the horrendous debts along with the title and is blackmailed into repaying it by stealing jewels to order or risk the moneylender harming Callum’s much loved young daughter. He’s hating what he has to do but has no idea how to protect his daughter other than following their demands. Lady Alice is a brilliant, strong character, a determined young lady who gets her young sister involved in her escapades! The story is well paced, with plenty of mystery, action, suspense and romance to keep the reader entertained. The characters are well developed and there are surprises along the way. For anyone who enjoys historical romantic suspense, this - and the earlier two books in this series - should certainly be ones to look out for! I requested and was gifted a copy of this book via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion after choosing to read it.
Only a Viscount Will Do (To Marry a Rogue) by Tamara Gill is entertaining and explosive. #3 in this exciting series, but can be read as a stand alone. Lady Alice Worthingham, is sassy, unpredictable and never follows the rules of society. Callum Edwards, Viscount Arndel, is proud, charming and forced into the life of a highwayman, in order to protect his young daughter. There is much to recommend this story! A mixture of danger, romance, adventure, mystery, suspense, a bit of humor and the chemistry between Alice and Callum is explosive. I have truly enjoyed this series, but I believe Alice and Callum's story is my favorite thus far. The reader will find themselves entranced and enticed into a world where a charming Viscount meets a feisty young lady. But can they defeat the secrets and danger that is fixated to the Viscount? Can they're love survive the turmoil and danger that surrounds them? A must read Regency. Ms. Gill is a talented storyteller, who pulls the reader into her stories, grabs their hearts and won't let go. I enjoy how she mixes chemistry, mystery, a touch of humor and an explosive romance. A romance and mystery that explosive as well as entertaining. Another hit for Tamara Gill! Great job delivering another must read Regency Romance! I received a complimentary copy. Rating: 4.5 Heat rating: Mild Reviewed by: AprilR
I received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. Callum and Alice were first attracted to each other the night Callum robbed Alice's mother of her emerald brooch. Alice quickly guessed who he was and over time the attraction developed into love. The story was a little slow in the beginning but it is still a well written book. I would recommend thus book to anyone who loves historical romances.
Who knew that while unlikely highwayman Callum was busy stealing a costly and irreplaceable brooch belonging to Lady Alice's mother, that the unconventional Lady Alice's kissable lips would be, in return, stealing his heart? And, thus began a man's journey to save his daughter by pilfering jewels from his own friends while falling for a feisty lady and fearing, at the same time, that she will identify and out him as the perpetrator of the robberies. This was a great third installment in the To Marry A Rogue series. Gill has penned another winner full of romance, suspense, entertaining banter, poignant moments and sizzling chemistry. *I received a complimentary ARC of this book from NetGalley & Entangled Publishing, LLC in order to read and provide a voluntary, unbiased and honest review, should I choose to do so.
I received a free book and voluntarily chose to review it. My strong woman is definitely in this book. Her language is not totally clean and she does things that the average woman of this period would do. The only problem with this book is the main male character. He seems to be like an extra. About 90% of the book is about my strong woman and the things she does or has done to her. Still a very enjoyable book.
Only a Viscount Will Do is Book 3 of the To Marry a Rogue Series. While this is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. Each book centers around one particular child of the Duke of Penworth and is their own story. Explosive! This is a smashing follow-up to Book 2 of the series. I lurveeeeee Ms. Gill and her amazing writing style; smooth as silk with a flawless delivery has me grabbing up all her book as soon as they become available and her captivating characters really bring her original storylines to life. A must-read! Please note that an ARC was generously provided in exchange for an honest review of which this is both honest and completely voluntary.
For the sake of his daughter, Callum Edwards, has taken on the land, title, and debts of his cousin, the late Viscount Arndel. A shady moneylender informs Callum that he must payback the eighteen thousand pounds his cousin, Robert, still owed upon his death. To do so, Callum is forced to steal jewels and deliver them to the moneylender under the guise of The Surrey Bandit. His final score after two years is to steal from his neighbors, the Worthingham’s. Lady Alice Worthingham is only a little frightened when The Surrey Bandit hits her family carriage carrying herself and her mother. A fire ignites inside her as the charming bandit relieves her mother of one of her most precious jewels. Alice is intrigued by a stranger who tempts her like only one other man has ever done, Callum Edwards. Through a lot of detective work and perseverance, Alice discovers Callum’s secret. Alice’s response to the news took me by surprise. The verbal sparring and sexual tension between the pair could’ve set the pages on fire! Gill once again gives us a story full of suspense, intrigue, lust, and love. The quick pace and intricate plot had me reading it in only two days. Alice and Callum are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. I loved every word and can’t wait to read more from Tamara Gill! I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
only a viscount will do is the third book in the to marry a rogue series. lady alice worthingham may be a duke's daughter, but she believes that she can do more than play the role society would box her into. she wants to make people's lives better and she isn't above using her own inheritance to ensure that she does good. when she and her mother are accosted by the surrey bandit one evening, alice is appalled and curiously attracted to the villain. her attraction makes sense when she eventually figures out that callum, lord ardnel is the surrey bandit. she's been attracted to lord ardnel for over a season. she keeps trying to forget him because he's been nothing but a jerk to her, but even so, she finds him compelling. the thing about callum is, he's not a typical society gentleman. he didn't grow up expecting the title. and the one he has inherited is facing crippling debt to moneylenders. the reason he resorted to being a highwayman was because the moneylenders insisted that the jewels were the only form of payment they would accept. and they threatened the life of callum's daughter, amelia. when alice confronts callum about his thievery he admits the truth, although he hesitates at giving her the full story. as alice spends more time with neil she forgives him for his transgressions, and their chemistry continues to grow. but given everything that callum has done, and the desperate state of his finances, the way forward for them is not clear. and because callum hasn't been completely honest with alice, there is still a sliver of distrust between them. and alice will need to risk everything to prove that she can put callum's past behind them in order to ensure they have a future. **only a viscount will do will publish may 22, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangleld publishing (select: historical) in exchange for my honest review.
'Only a Viscount Will Do' by Tamara Gill is book Three in the "To Marry a Rogue" series. This is the story of Lady Alice Worthingham and Callum Edwards, Viscount Arndel. I have read the other books in this series (all great books!!) but feel this can easily be a standalone book. Callum inherited the estate and Title of Viscount Arndel from his cousin when he past. But Callum quickly learned there was an outstanding debt from a Moneylender that his cousin has ...and now the moneylender is expecting him to pay it. The debt is too high to pay and the lender gives him the option to become a Highway Man and rob people of a list of jewelry he wants that will pay off the debt. Callum has no choice but to do what he is asked because if not they will hurt his daughter. But now Callum in almost completed his mission with just one more thing to steal. Which leads him to rob Alice's mother and her. Alice is Callum neighbor and also someone he has feelings for. When he pulls them over to rob them, Callum can't help but tease Alice. But Alice takes action against him and gets away...but no before he takes her mother's beloved broach. I really felt for Callum being put in a hard place to take items from his fellow towns people. Alice was a pretty strong main character. I enjoyed 'watching' these two interact and them getting together. I am a big Fan of Ms. Gill's writing and all her books are ones I can't put down. Once I start I cannot stop until I know the end. This one was another one that I couldn't put down...loved it! "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
This was the first book I read of this series and though I felt a little out of the loop it was still great. Horrible circumstances but beautifully written.
Ms. Gill has delivered another winner! I loved this one. Lady Alice is a great heroine. She is strong, innovative and has a heart of gold. It was wonderful to see how she really cared about others and did all she could to make their lives better. Callum has inherited a mess. To protect his daughter, he makes a deal with the devil. Lucky for him, he discovers an angel in the process. Callum and Alice's relationship is feisty and smoldering. Founded on an unlawful act, the heat continues with each meeting leading to some other interesting acts. There were some twists and turns that I didn't see coming. Alice handled everything remarkably well for being so young. What a delight. I encourage you to download this book and sit back and enjoy. Once I started it, I just kept on reading until a very satisfying The End.