Money can buy anything, can’t it? Those brash Americans—their dollars and charms work wonders. Until they learn that money can buy anything…but love.
Lily Hanniford has all the qualities an impoverished nobleman could want in a wife. She’s beautiful, educated and funny. Too bad, she has a penchant for riding astride like a man. Too bad, she’s an American with a shrewd, wily father. But she’s unwilling to be sold to the highest-ranking nobleman. She wants a purpose in life…other than presiding over a drafty castle and a loveless marriage bed. Then she accidentally meets a man she can’t resist.
Julian Ash, Marquess of Chelton, doesn’t need a wife. He needs luck at cards…or a way to persuade Killian Hanniford to pay more for his family’s shipping line. But Lily is charming and her wild streak appeals to Julian who has always followed the society’s rules. Now he discovers that being wild with Lily is not only fun, it’s necessary to his life. And so is she.
They struggle to throw convention to the wind. But can they be wildly happy together if they can’t heal old wounds?
About the Author
What's a gal to do to if she lives deep in the heart of Texas, travels often everywhere, and adores Paris, Florence, London, Tokyo and all points east and west?
She becomes an author who can write about those romantic places. With a passion for cowboys, spies, rakes, knights in shining armor and their gutsy women, Cerise DeLand is an author who adores an alpha male with a tender heart and a need for a smoldering erotic love affair with the right woman!
Cerise is a Top 20 Best Selling author on Amazon with more than three dozen works published in erotic romance, and she is also an award-winning author of mystery, mainstream and romance with St. Martin's Press, Pocket Books and Kensington. Her books are on numerous book clubs, including Featured Selections of The Mystery Guild, Doubleday and Rhapsody. And when she isn't dreaming up fiction or traveling? Cerise is a fabulous cook and an avid history buff.
Busy lady. Happy writer.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Cerise DeLand 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
September 12, 1877
“Be quiet as a mouse,” Lily whispered to her cousin Marianne as they took the first step down the central staircase toward the foyer. “Papa arrived home a few minutes ago. I bet he’s in his study and maybe he hasn’t seen that scandal sheet.”
“And never does,” said Marianne, holding her hat on her head as she ran. “Hopefully, the comtesse should be here for our appointment.”
“So we might get past Papa’s study easily if—”
“Oh, no.” Marianne halted mid-stride. “Foster.”
The Hanniford family butler here in Paris appeared at the bottom of the stairs. His wispy white hair fell was combed back in perfection and he focused on Lily and Marianne with droopy eyes like a sad bloodhound. He’d unlocked the front door to them both at midnight with his usual silence. Lily had asked him not to mention to her father what time they arrived home, but she was certain the man, referred to tycoon Killian Hanniford by another American millionaire, would not withhold such information if asked.
She descended the steps, her hope of concealing last night’s escapade from her father, fleeing on a sigh.
“Miss Hanniford,” he said, directing his gaze at her, “and Mrs. Roland, please follow me.”
“Foster,” Lily said, wishing for a clue as she tried to keep pace with the servant’s crisp walk. “Does he know?”
The man turned his head and considered her, dare she say, with pity. “He does, Miss. The tabloid is in his possession.”
Marianne clutched her arm. “I thought the footman said the one he brought to us this morning was the only copy on the doorstep?”
Lily’s heart skipped a beat. “He did.”
“Mr. Hanniford,” said Foster, “brought home his own copy when he arrived minutes ago.”
“Oh, dear.” Lily might have guessed her father, who prided himself on up-to-the-minute knowledge of any importance to his family or his businesses, would learn of her and Marianne’s escape to Montmartre last night. “Not good.”
“Precisely,” said the butler as he knocked on the door to his employer’s study and opened it for the two women. “Sir, Miss Hanniford and Mrs. Roland.”
Lily and Marianne advanced on the carpet in front of the forty-four-year-old millionaire whom many in America feared, envied and even admired. He stood tall and imperious, hands clasped behind his back, still in his evening clothes. The sleek black wool was a match for his thick hair and his large ebony eyes, while the ivory scarf and shirt, the gold waistcoat, were rich counterbalances to his ruddy complexion and the commanding demeanor that beguiled women and intimidated adversaries. In his hand was a copy of the broadsheet that the family footman had given to Lily’s maid this morning.
This interview would not be pleasant. Lily girded herself for the coming storm.
“I understand from Foster and Thomas, the downstairs footman, that you’ve already seen this.”
He leaned toward her. “What’s that?”
“Yes, sir. I have.”
“Perhaps you’d like to learn, too, that I sent Thomas out and he has returned, confirming that local Parisian kiosks have hundreds of copies for sale on every corner.”
Oh, a disaster. She clasped her hands together, even as she understood that one did not show weakness in front of a man like her father. “I am sorry for this, Papa.”
“Sorry,” he said as if he considered one who had spilled tea on the expensive Aubusson rug. “Intriguing word.”
“Wouldn’t you like to choose another?”
“Such as ‘appalled’?”
“Regret. That’s a better word.”
“It is. But it does not match my sentiment.”
“No, sir.” She was certain it didn’t.
He stared at her. “I won’t debate this with you any longer, Lily.” Her father threw the scandal sheet on top of his desk and peered at her over his wire-rimmed glasses. “I want only a good marriage for you. Last week it was riding in the Bois de Boulougne without an escort. The week before, trying a bicycle on the sidewalk. Now this. Why must you fight me with these escapades?”
Yes, she’d gone to the Montmartre café and watched those women throw up their skirts in the cancan. Shocking as that was, her night had been thrilling. But she did have two defenses. “I didn’t go to embarrass you, Papa.”
“You did, anyway.”
Still. What was she? His to dispense with? Order about? She was his daughter, almost of age. Almost. And she countered him with her other weapon. “No business dealing of yours depends on my behavior.”
He arched a black brow. “You are not so naïve as that.”
She wasn’t. But she’d gone for another reason. One her father repeatedly refused to accept. “I don’t want a husband—”
“Eventually, every young woman has one,” he countered. “And I have the money to ensure you—”
“Get one. Any one!” She flourished a hand.
“Not true. I would not marry you off to any man unworthy of you.”
“I hope not.”