Tristan Wemyss, Earl of Trentham, never expected he'd need to wed within a year or forfeit his inheritance. But he is not one to bow to the matchmaking mamas of the ton. No, he will marry a lady of his own choosing. And the lady he chooses is the enchanting neighbor living with her family next door. Miss Leonora Carling has beauty, spirit and passion; unfortunately, matrimony is the last thing on her mind . . .To Leonora, Tristan's kisses are oh-so-tempting, but once bitten, forever shy, she has determinedly turned her back on marriage. But Tristan is a seasoned campaigner who will not accept defeat. And when a mysterious man attempts to scare Leonora and her family from their home, Tristan realizes he's been given the perfect excuse to offer his services-as protector, seducer and, ultimately, husband.
"It's a sad day when, having survived everything the French could throw at us, we, England's heroes, return home-only to face an even greater threat," laments Tristan, fourth Earl of Trentham, to his fellow ex-spies after they return from war with Napoleon to discover the sword of matrimony hanging over their heads. In response, the titled gentlemen set up the Bastion Club, a retreat where they can exchange intelligence about the eager-eyed damsels who are their latest challenge. This first installment in Laurens's new series focuses on Tristan, who must wed within a year or support his 14 maiden aunts without his inheritance. Little does he expect to find his future with Leonora Carling, neighbor to the Bastion Club and the victim of several recent home invasions. Intrigued by both Leonora and the suspicious events, Tristan bends his talents to uncovering the mystery burglar and to charming Leonora. Leonora, who has no use for marriage, may be new to the sexual tension vibrating between her and Tristan, but she's willing to explore further, believing that nothing permanent can come of it. When Tristan insists that she marry him, the battle of wills commences. Fans of Laurens's popular Cynster (The Perfect Lover, etc.) romances will expect the high adventure and steamy, sensual love scenes that are her signature, and they won't be disappointed by this solid, if conventional, offering. (Sept.) Forecast: Avon reports that Laurens's previous novels have achieved a 100% sell-through at the major chains. Sales will likely be just as strong for this book and its follow-up, A Gentleman's Honor, which will be published a month later. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
August 31, 2003
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Lady Chosen by Stephanie Laurens
Lust and a virtuous woman-only a fool combined the two.
Tristan Wemyss, fourth Earl of Trentham, reflected that he'd rarely been called a fool, yet here he stood, gazing out of a window at an undoubtedly virtuous lady and indulging in all manner of lustful thoughts.
Understandable, perhaps; the lady was tall, dark-haired, and possessed a willowy, subtly curvaceous figure displayed to advantage as, strolling the back garden of the neighboring house, she paused here and there, bending to examine some foliage or flower in the lush and strangely riotous garden beds.
It was February, the weather as bleak and chill as in that month it was wont to be, yet the garden next door displayed abundant growth, thick leaves in dark greens and bronzes from unusual plants that seemed to thrive despite the frosts. Admittedly, there were trees and shrubs leafless and lifelorn scattered throughout the deep beds, yet the garden exuded an air of winter life quite absent from most London gardens in that season.
Not that he possessed any interest in horticulture; it was the lady who held his interest, with her gliding, graceful walk, with the tilt of her head as she examined a bloom. Her hair, the color of rich mahogany, was coiled in a coronet about her head; he couldn't from this distance divine her expression, yet her face was a pale oval, features delicate and pure.
A wolfhound, shaggy and brindle-coated, snuffled idly at her heels; it usually accompanied her whenever she wandered outside.
His instincts, well honed and reliable, informed him that today the lady's attention was perfunctory, in abeyance, that she was killing time while she waited for something. Or someone.
Tristan turned. He was standing in the bay window of the library on the first floor in the rear corner of the terrace house at Number 12 Montrose Place. He and his six coconspirators, the members of the Bastion Club, had bought the house three weeks ago; they were in the process of equipping it to serve as their private stronghold, their last bastion against the matchmakers of the ton. Situated in this quiet area of Belgravia mere blocks from the southeast corner of the park, beyond which lay Mayfair, where they all possessed houses, the house was perfect for their needs.
The library window overlooked the back garden, and also the back garden of the larger house next door, Number 14, in which the lady lived.
Billings, the carpenter in charge of the renovations, stood in the doorway studying a battered list.
"I think as we've about done all the new work, 'cepting for this set of cupboards in the office." Billings looked up. "If you could take a look and see if we've got the idea right, we'll get it done, then we'll start the painting, polishing, and cleaning up, so's your people can settle in."