Highborn country heiress Mallory Edwards was dutifully fulfilling family obligations when she exchanged marriage vows with a dashing gentleman she barely knew. But the charming beast, John Barron, abandoned her on their wedding night. Now years later-evicted from her home and facing prison because of her husband's debtsshe has finally found the blackguard again. And she's not leaving his side until the faithless rogue grants her a divorce!
A groom enchanted
Who is this extraordinary hellion who burst in on John's wild London soiree? Could it be the forgotten rural miss whom his father once forced him to wed? Now that Mallory has reentered his life, John desperately wants her to stay-and not simply because he needs her help to trap the embezzler who is ruining them both.
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August 01, 1997
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Excerpt from Falling in Love Again by Cathy Maxwell
Here is health unto the man, said be, The man they call the groom; Here's health unto the man, said be, Who may enjoy his bride.
"The Green Wedding"
East Anglia, England
He didn't want to marry me," Mallory Edwards Barron said in a low, troubled voice. "I could tell."
Sitting on the bench in front of the vanity table, she took a steadying breath and met her mother's gaze in the mirror, daring--no, hoping--Lady Craige would contradict her.
For the space of a heartbeat, Mallory saw her fears reflected in her mother's eyes before they were quickly blinked away. Lady Craige lowered the brush from Mallory's hair in mid-stroke and gave her daughter's shoulders a reassuring hug. "Of course John Barron wanted to marry you."
They spoke in whispers, conscious of the two maids cleaning up after Mallory's bath. The door leading to the hallway opening and closing behind them let in the hum of conversation, punctuated by laughter, from the wedding guests in the dining room.
"I overheard him arguing with his father last night in the library, Mother. It sounded as if John didn't even know he was going to be married until he arrived here. Can that be possible? Would a man not tell his son he'd contracted a marriage for him until the night before the wedding?"
"Mallory, you are allowing your imagination to run away with your common sense! What does it matter when John discovered he was to be married? What is important is our home, Craige Castle, and that this marriage will make you its future mistress. But first you must consummate your union with John Barron."
Mallory's stomach tightened at the thought. "He barely said two words to me this evening during the wedding feast. . . ."
Her mother's gentle squeeze on her shoulder, reminded Mallory that they were not alone. Sally, a young village girl who'd been hired to serve as Mallory's maid for the evening, had returned and was busily turning down the sheets on the ornately carved Elizabethan tester bed that dominated the room.
Mallory's own parents had consummated their marriage on this bed, and their parents before them, and the generation before that. And now she was expected to lie with a man she barely knew and fulfill the tradition, the tradition that would give her the right to be known as the Lady of Craige Castle.