"I don't care about your conscience. All I want is for you to kiss me again."Lady Madeline Matthews would rather shame herself than sacrifice her freedom. To avoid marrying an aging, lecherous lord, she seeks out the company of Logan Scott,for a torrid affair with the notorious womanizerwould surely condemn her in the eyes of good society.In truth, Logan is an intensely private man tormentedby past betrayals. Now a forward little minx, completelyat sea in London's sophisticated whirl, is disruptinghis life with her vibrant charm and unspoiled beauty.But when what begins with a kiss threatens to blossominto something more rapturous and real, will Loganand Madeline have the courage to drop the masksthey hide behind in the name of love?
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February 08, 2005
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Excerpt from Because You're Mine by Lisa Kleypas
Gripping the leather handle of her valise, Madeline paused at the back entrance of the Capital Theatre. It had been frightening and yet exhilarating to make her way through London alone. Her ears were assaulted with the noise of carriages, horses, and street sellers, while her nostrils were filled with a confusing mixture of the aromas of manure, animals, and garbage; the yeasty scent of a nearby bakery, and the hot waxen odor of a candle-maker's shop.
Earlier in the day Madeline had pawned the ring Lord Clifton had given her, and the pocket of her dress was filled with the satisfying weight of coins. Wary of pickpockets, she had kept her plain gray cloak wrapped tightly around herself, but no one had seemed inclined to approach her. Now she had arrived at the Capital, and her adventure was about to begin.
The theater appeared to comprise four or five buildings that must house workshops and storage facilities. Entering the main building, where the stage was located, Madeline walked through a maze of hallways and rehearsal rooms. She could hear people talking, singing, playing instruments, and arguing, and the temptation to peek through the half-open doors was nearly overwhelming.
She reached a large room filled with worn furniture, including a table of drying sandwiches and wilted cheese and fruit. Actors and actresses of varying ages lounged in the room, talking and drinking cups of tea. Apparently accustomed to frequent comings and goings, they took little notice of Madeline. However, a shopboy paused and stared at her inquiringly, his eyes friendly in a foxlike face. "Is there something you want, miss?" he asked.
She smiled, trying to cover her nervousness. "I'm looking for Mr. Scott."
"Oh." He looked at her speculatively and jerked his head toward the far door. "He's rehearsing now. The stage is that way."
"He doesn't like to be interrupted," the boy advised as Madeline walked toward the stage door.
"Oh, I won't bother him," she replied cheerfully, gripping her valise handle with one hand as she opened the door with the other. She pushed her way past set pieces and flats, and found herself standing in the right wing of the stage. Setting her valise on the floor, she drew close to the edge of a green velvet curtain and looked across the stage.
With its seating capacity of fifteen hundred, the Capital Theatre was a grand and spacious building. Massive gold columns inlaid with emerald glass lined the walls. Tiers of boxes and seats filled the auditorium in velvet splendor. Crystal chandeliers shed brilliant light on delicately painted scenes that adorned the ceiling.
The floor of the stage was built at a slant, so that actors downstage could be seen as well as those in the front, The heavy boards were scarred from thousands of performances, boots and shoes and scenery leaving indelible marks. There was a rehearsal in progress; two men were walking around the stage with foils in hand, discussing the choreography of a fight scene. One of them was fair and blond, with the slender, springy build of a cat. ". . . not certain what you want . . ." he was saying earnestly, tapping the rubber-tipped foil against the side of his shoe.