Victoria must wed . . . and immediately!
To rescue her family from financial ruin, lovely Victoria Shelby has no choice but to marry. Her options for a bridegroom are limited . . . until she remembers the shy servant boy next door. Then she discovers that her childhood friend is actually Viscount Thurlow -- ruthless businessman, future earl, and a man whose family is shrouded in scandal!
After two rejected marriage proposals, David Thurlow needs a wife who will give him an heir, someone who will not only overlook his past but also be above reproach. Victoria is the ideal candidate -- quiet, unassuming, and in desperate need of funds. But even as she strives to be the perfect wife, her calm demeanor masks a shocking secret . . . one that is overshadowed by David's slow, heated lessons in the art of seduction that threaten to transform a "convenient" marriage into a torrid and passionate affair.
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1 . Good read
Posted August 23, 2009 by Donna , Stacy, MNWhile this was not my favorite by this author it was still a good read and could have been the first in the series of Viscount in Her Bedroom and Duke in Disguise which I like both better than this one. Characters were still interesting but not much action and story line as in the previous two. Still a good read and it fills in some of the holes from the previous two books.
November 30, 2005
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Excerpt from The Lord Next Door by Gayle Callen
Victoria Shelby closed her childhood journal, feeling utterly foolish for writing in it after so many years. As if a servant could help her now, when everything was so bleak. She'd thought of Tom occasionally through the years, wondering if he'd moved away, if he'd married. But for days now, she'd found herself thinking about him frequently, and at the oddest times. It was growing more and more difficult to banish him from her thoughts. And marriage? Desperation must surely be driving her mad.
She looked about her sparse bedchamber, bare of anything of value but her simple furniture. It had once been such a magnificent town house, and now it seemed so empty, just like the sedate future she used to imagine for herself.
She'd been a foolish, naive girl.
With a sigh, Victoria smoothed down her mourning dress and left her room for the uncertainty of the master suite, where her mother now lived alone. She paused in the doorway and met the gaze of Mrs. Wayneflete, their housekeeper and last remaining servant. She wore her usual uniform of black silk dress, lace collar, and close white cap. No matter their situation, Mrs. Wayneflete could always be counted upon to remain unflappable. Together, they turned to stare at Victoria's mother, who clutched a vase to her bosom and stubbornly turned her back on them.
"Victoria, I will not part with this," Mama said, her defiance a hollow, pale sound. Her eyes were now lined with dark shadows and looked at nothing most of the time. Sadness bent her shoulders and strands of gray hair escaped the pins. "Your father gave it to me for our anniversary. He brought it from -- "
"I remember," Victoria interrupted gently. "But Father would understand that we need to eat."
Her mother had a strange tendency to forget their circumstances, and Victoria found herself growing ever more impatient. Didn't she realize that they had all sacrificed? Victoria had sold her beloved piano, and Mrs. Wayneflete had taken no wages in many a month. Mama was waiting for salvation, but there was no one left to save them. Victoria wished she could convince her mother it was better to face the future than wallow in the past. But since Father's death ten months before, her mother's spirits continued to sink, though Victoria's cheerful letters to her sisters did not dwell on that sad fact. There was no need to worry them any more than necessary.
Victoria sighed and turned a brisk smile to her housekeeper. "Mrs. Wayneflete, do you have another suggestion for an item that will keep us in food this week? I do believe that Mr. Tillman quite looks forward to haggling with me over a price."
"You're an easy woman to respect, Miss Victoria," Mrs. Wayneflete said with a fond smile.
"Then there is Mr. Billingsly, the merchant from Cheapside. I could pit the two proprietors against one another for a better price." Victoria's laughter died when she saw her mother staring at her.
"How can you find amusement in this?" Mama whispered. "Your father is dead."
"Oh, Mama, of course I know that. But we are not dead, and we owe it to ourselves to go on living."
Victoria pushed those sad memories away. Since that terrible day, she and her mother had seemed to switch places, as her mother foundered under the knowledge that her own husband had left them penniless. The long overdue mortgage on the town house, their last remaining property, had been bought by a distant cousin, who had agreed to let them remain until he returned to England with his family -- two months from now. Time was running out.