Mary Balogh has no equal when it comes to capturing the complex, irresistible passions between men and women. Her classic novel, The Secret Pearl, is one of the New York Times bestselling author's finest-a tale of temptation and seduction, of guarded hearts and raw emotion...and of a love so powerful it will take your breath away.... He first spies her in the shadows outside a London theatre, a ravishing creature forced to barter her body to survive. To the woman known simply as Fleur, the well-dressed gentleman with the mesmerizing eyes is an unlikely savior. And when she takes the stranger to her bed, she never expects to see him again. But then Fleur accepts a position as governess to a young girl...and is stunned to discover that her midnight lover is a powerful nobleman. As two wary hearts ignite-and the threat of scandal hovers over them-one question remains: will she be mistress or wife From the Paperback edition.
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November 28, 2005
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Excerpt from The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh
The crowd outside the Drury Lane Theater had dispersed for the night. The last carriage, with its two occupants, was disappearing down the street. Those few theatergoers who had come on foot had long ago set out on their way.
It appeared that only one gentleman was left, a tall man in a dark cloak and hat. He had refused a ride in the last carriage to leave, preferring, he had told his friends, to walk home.
And yet he was not the sole remaining occupant of the street, either. His eyes, as he looked about him, were caught by a figure standing quietly against the building, her cloak a shade lighter than the night shadows--a street prostitute who had been left behind by her more fortunate or alluring peers and who seemed now to have lost all chance of a fashionable customer for the night.
She did not move, and it was impossible to tell in the darkness if she was looking at him. She might have swaggered toward him. She might have moved out of the shadows and smiled at him. She might have hailed him, offered herself in words. She might have hurried away to find a more promising location.