To seduce an English lady, a gentleman must always remember to... Gaze longingly into her eyes while declaring her beauty... Colonel Colin Mandland has wealth, power...everything but a bride. But although there is no mistress of his newly purchased manor, Maiden Hill, there is certainly a resident maiden: Lady Rosalyn Wellborne, a stubborn beauty who steadfastly refuses to leave the place she has always called home. Hold her hand just a fraction longer than necessary...
Buoyed by breezy, humorous details and lively banter, this lighthearted Regency-era romance from Maxwell (Adventures of a Scottish Heiress, etc.) sustains a chipper tone even through its protagonists' most despairing moments. Lady Rosalyn, who's the daughter of an earl but impoverished both romantically and materially, has her world set unpleasantly on its head when her debt-ridden cousin sells the cottage she's living in to Colonel Colin Mandland, ambitious local boy made good. To keep Rosalyn in the only home she's ever considered her own and to give Colin's social connections an extra shine, friends of both suggest that they marry. It seems an easy solution to the attraction sizzling between them, but their relationship is fraught with stumbling blocks, such as Colin's anti-aristocrat political stance, which threatens to turn all of the local gentry against him, and Rosalyn's unbending pride, which masks her fear of falling in love. Maxwell's conventional marriage-of-convenience story line holds few surprises, but Rosalyn and Colin will charm readers with their sincere if often wrongheaded attempts to do the right thing. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 22, 2004
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Excerpt from The Seduction of an English Lady by Cathy Maxwell
The faint scratch at the front-door keyhole caught Lady Rosalyn's attention as she passed through the center hall on the way to her front parlor. She paused, listening.
There it was again... as if someone were trying to unlock the door, which was not locked.
Rosalyn had just left her companion, Covey, as she was finishing her breakfast in the back morning room. Cook was in the kitchen and Bridget, the maid, was upstairs gathering the laundry. The other member of their small household, Old John, Cook's husband and the gardener, never used the front door, nor did any of them, Rosalyn herself included. The front door was for company, and she wasn't expecting any.
She put her hand around the brass candlestick sitting on a table by the door.
Whoever was there realized the door was unlocked. The handle turned.
She lifted the candlestick over her head. The stub of the candle in the stick fell out, bouncing off her shoulder and onto the floor. She would usually chase it down -- there wasn't enough money to waste anything, including candle stubs, in her household -- but this time, she had other concerns.
The door started to open. A swirl of damp, chilly air swept around her skirts. She mustered her courage, held her breath, ready to swing -- and stopped.
It was no disreputable rogue who stood in her doorway, rather a well-dressed gentleman. He had to remove his hat and duck to come in her narrow door without bumping his head. His shoulders were so broad that he temporarily blocked out the light of the first good sunny spring day they'd had in April.
The gentleman looked startled to see her. There was a day's growth of stubble on his jaw. Buff leather breeches hugged horseman's thighs, and his marine blue coat was cut to perfection. He was a Corinthian, a Fashionable.
What was he doing at Maiden Hill?
His gaze followed up her arms to the candlestick she wielded with wicked intent. He held up a hand, warding her off. "I'm sorry. I see I've startled you."