Seduction of a Proper Gentleman

Seduction of a Proper Gentleman

by Victoria Alexander

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Seduction of a Proper Gentleman by Victoria Alexander

To break a centuries-old curse, beautiful, headstrong Lady Kathleen MacDavid knows she must ignore every rule of propriety by seducing—and marrying—the Earl of Norcroft. So she sets off for London, braving scandal and ruin to achieve her goal . . . until a crazy bump on the head makes her forget nearly everything.

The thrill of winning a bet—that he'd be the last of his set to wed—hasn't eased the earl's pain of losing his friends to marriage. Still, he'd be willing to settle down if he could meet someone worthy of his love—and desire. But he has met no such woman, until Kathleen is brought to him. Suspicious of her motives, he's determined to resist her seductive ways. But sometimes even the most proper gentleman finds it expedient to act improperly . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061449468
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/26/2008
Series: Last Man Standing Series , #4
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 383,933
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was more fun than real life. She is the author of thirty-one novels, and her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Victoria lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her long-suffering husband and two dogs, in a house under endless renovation and never-ending chaos.

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Seduction of a Proper Gentleman

By Victoria Alexander
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008

Victoria Alexander
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061449468

Chapter One

He thought she was a beggar? Kathleen Mac David, granddaughter of the Countess of Dumleavy, stared at the coins in her hand. Indignation swept through her. A beggar? The arrogance of the man. No, the stupidity!

"I beg your par—" She looked up, the words died in her throat. The earl was already climbing into his carriage.

She watched it pull away and her annoyance faded. To be fair, and Kathleen was nothing if not fair, in the deepening shadows of the approaching night, and wrapped in the hooded cloak her grandmother had insisted she wear for luck—it had been passed down from grandmother to granddaughter for generations and therefore had a certain inherent power—perhaps it might be possible, if one were paying scant attention, to mistake a lady of quality for a beggar. And perhaps, if one incorrectly assumed a woman in an overly large, faded, well-used cloak was not a lady of quality, then the apparent lack of any kind of feminine accompaniment in the form of a forbidding chaperone might confirm that mistaken impression. Very well then. Kathleen started toward her carriage a scant few yards from where the Earl of Norcroft's vehicle had been parked no more than a minute ago. Perhaps the man wasn't an idiot, which was rather nice to know, all things considered.

Sheinstructed the driver of her carriage to return to the hotel, then climbed in and settled in the seat across from her aunt and alleged chaperone Lady Hannah Fitzgivens. If truth were told, it was often difficult to tell just who was chaperoning whom. Not that, as widows, either really needed a chaperone. Necessity aside, Hannah had insisted on accompanying Kathleen because, as she had said before they had left Scotland, it might be an interesting adventure.

"Well?" Hannah raised a brow. "Did you see him?"

"I did," Kathleen said slowly.

"And?" An eager note sounded in Hannah's voice.

"I didn't say a word."

"Oh." Hannah's expression fell, then brightened. "Are we following him then?"

"No, of course not. We're returning to the hotel. My intention was not to accost him, you know." "Not to accost him yet, you mean."

"I don't mean that at all. I simply wanted to get a good look at the man." Kathleen shrugged as if that was truly all that she had intended. Of course, they both knew better. Indeed, when he had stopped before her, Kathleen had been perilously close to throwing caution to the winds and introducing herself. Even in that brief moment, there had been the hint of something inevitable about the man. Utter nonsense really and attributable to nothing more significant than her grandmother's never-ending pronouncements and her own newfound belief in destiny and the absurd. Regardless, such a first meeting might be awkward and would be highly improper although she had never been overly concerned with propriety unless it suited her.

But he was a British lord with a long and distinguished title and it would not do to get off on the wrong foot with him. Still, Kathleen doubted there was a right foot. She sighed and settled back in her seat. Nothing about this venture was going to be even remotely less than awkward.

"But I thought you had a photograph?"

"An image captured in that excruciatingly long time one has to remain motionless for the camera to do its work has always struck me as being somewhat less than lifelike. Oh certainly it is exact, but it fails to capture . . ." Kathleen thought for a moment. "The humanity of a subject, if you will. The subject of a photograph might as well be an apple for all the life expressed in the resulting image." She shook her head. "It is not at all like a living, breathing person."

"And you found the living, breathing person . . ." Hannah paused in an annoyingly pointed manner. "Acceptable?"

"Yes, Aunt Hannah, I did." More than acceptable but she wasn't at all sure she wished to confess that yet. While his eyes had never met hers, even in the deepening twilight she had seen they were a rich blue and she had wondered in that instant what they would look like when he laughed. Or when he was angered. Or in the throes of passion, although that was not something it would be wise to dwell on at the moment and certainly not something she would tell her aunt. While the photograph allowed her to recognize his features anywhere, the lack of color coupled with the firm, unyielding expression that was mandatory for a photograph did not do justice to the Earl of Norcroft in the flesh.

His hair was not as dark as she had thought given the photograph, more a rich brown than a black. He was taller than she had expected as well, his shoulders broader, his stride determined. Oh yes, he would do.

"I assume, given your reluctance to do so before now, you were simply waiting to see the gentleman in person before proceeding with a plan. You do need a plan, my dear."

"Yes, you've mentioned that," Kathleen said under her breath.

Aunt Hannah was a firm believer in plans. She said most of the ills of the world could be laid at the foot of poor planning and claimed her first marriage to a wealthy Scottish lord was the direct result of a well-laid plan. That she had loved him with a passion that had lingered far beyond his death at a tragically young age had not been part of her plan. In the nearly quarter of a century since his demise, she had had any number of lovers but not another love. When pressed, she would say that was part of a grander plan which was not, on a divine level, especially well thought out.


Excerpted from Seduction of a Proper Gentleman by Victoria Alexander
Copyright © 2008 by Victoria Alexander. Excerpted by permission.
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Seduction of a Proper Gentleman 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seduction of a proper gentleman is a must read. This review, perhpas not as eloquent as those before me, I must agree with all the accolades this book has garnered. I am truly in love with the characters of this artfully written story. A grand romance and history reader I am, with Victorian ambiance to add such torrid accents to an already spicy tale. I found myself immeresed from page one, and came up for air only when absolutely necessary. Story line an sublines, no doubt, already available, I will simply share my word of appreciation and excitement for this beautiful work of Historian Romance. You will not be disappointed. I highly recommend Seduction Of A Proper Gentleman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For most people falling in love and trusting your heart to another can be a somewhat risky thing to do, though usually well worth the gamble. For Lady Kathleen MacDavid falling in love can be a hazardous venture, or to be more precise, a truly perilous one for the gentleman she falls in love with. But then, most people don¿t have fate, destiny AND a 500 year old curse hanging over their heads. Now, the lovely Lady Kathleen considered herself to be an intelligent, responsible and reasonably sensible woman¿no simple thing when you were raised in a family of rather impractical women who dabbled in the mystic arts and believed in things like spells, charms, superstitions and magic¿Oh, and of course, the family CURSE.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ According to old family legend, it all started hundreds of years ago with two feuding border families¿an English one and Kathleen¿s Scottish ancestors, who, in order to end the hostility and violence were to be joined thru marriage. But somehow the marriage never took place and an old woman who¿d lost most of her family in the warfare had put a curse on both families¿declaring they be united in marriage¿or terrible, dreadful things would happen and both family lines would die out. They¿d had 500 years to break the curse, but apparently no one had and the deadline¿autumn of 1854¿was fast approaching.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ At first Kathleen thought the whole thing was utter nonsense, but after years of untimely deaths, a string inexplicable tragedies and the peculiar inability of perfectly healthy members of her family to reproduce¿leaving Kathleen as the last of her line¿had forced her to become a believer. So to break the curse and save her family, she was willing to travel to England and sacrifice herself on the alter of matrimony to¿the last male descendent of the English family¿Oliver Leighton, 12th Earl of Norcroft. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now, would it be too much to hope that Lord Norcroft believed in magic as well??? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I¿m thrilled to say that I thought SEDUCTION OF A PROPER GENTLEMAN was an absolutely PERFECT ending to Victoria Alexander¿s excellent ¿Last Man Standing¿ quartet. From the charming and ¿magically¿ mysterious prologue, to the incredibly fitting conclusion of the ¿tontine¿, and the utterly delightful glimpse into the HEA of the characters that I¿ve come to love¿thirty years into their future¿in a wonderful epilogue ¿ I loved-loved-loved Oliver and Kate¿s enchanting, funny and romantic tale. It was pure MAGIC!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I thought Kate was the ideal heroine for Oliver they had great chemistry together and both were kindhearted, amiable, affectionate and ¿family oriented¿. I had loved Oliver throughout the series he was a dependable and honorable man¿the most sensible of all the ¿guys¿¿and just an all around nice fellow who very much deserved to find love. Though I definitely enjoyed the irony of Oliver winning the bet¿he was unashamedly a romantic and the only one not running away from love, so of course, he would be the last to find it. And I was very happy with how Oliver¿s character evolved in the story, the author allowed him to be more lighthearted, playful, charmingly flirtatious and sexy. And he was made to endure some unpredictable and hilarious mishaps as well.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Though, aside from the terrific humor and delightful absurdity of the ¿curse¿ I felt there was a much deeper¿dare I say profound¿theme running below the lighthearted surface of the story¿ Reminding us that BAD things do happen to GOOD people and usually with no rhyme or reason to them. And to survive the sorrowful times of your life, or make the terrible times bearable, you need to trust in your inner strength¿and you absolutely must have HOPE in your heart. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I felt Kate was that kind of person. She was a strong, co
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1854 although he won the bet against his three opponents on who will be the last man standing single, Earl Oliver Leighton thinks it is ironic because even he thought he would be first as he was the only one when they wagered who believed in love. However, he toasts his compatriots because in his mind they won and he is the loser of the tontine.------------------ Needing to escape London, Oliver decides to rusticate at his country estate. He is taken aback when he finds an injured woman suffering from amnesia at his door. He takes her in and his staff calls her 'Kate'. Oliver is attracted to the newcomer, but wonders whether she is hiding something ugly from him he is ignorant that his beggar is Kathleen Mac David, a Contessa¿s granddaughter. As they fall in love, she begins to regain her memory in bits and pieces but remains unaware that her Aunt Lady Hannah Fitzgivens magically sent her to Oliver to break a family curse that only love can sever.------------- Readers will toast with thirty year old cognac this tremendous historical romantic saga, the Last Man Standing. Each tale contains humor, action and love. The finish is excellent with amnesia and the paranormal playing key ¿matchmaking¿ mechanisms that bring love to the only tontine believer before the bet. Living up to her first name, Ms. Alexander affirms once again she is royalty when it comes to exciting entertaining Victorians. ------------------------- Harriet Klausner
MaurieMac More than 1 year ago
Excellent book to cuddle up with. As per Victoria Alexander's other books, this tale of Lady Kathleen McDavid and Oliver, The Earl of Norcroft hits the spot. !
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NavyWave62 More than 1 year ago
Great Read! I almost didn't buy this book because of the "curse" part, but I am so glad I did. This is a great story, with many twists, suspense, great main character's and secondary ones too. It will keep you wondering until the end about the "curse." I also loved Oliver from previous stories and he didn't disappoint in this one. Do yourself a favor and get lost in Oliver and Kate's story.
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