Your presence is requested at a wedding deception. After orchestrating a scandalous high-society ruse, Lady Jeannette Brantford is banished from her family's estate in England and sent to live with boring elderly cousins in the Irish countryside. But Jeannette's exile is surprisingly eventful. En route to her dreaded destination, she encounters Darragh O'Brien, a devilishly handsome architect who transforms Jeannette's punishment into a delicious whirlwind of wits, words, and undeniable passion. Although no less than a duke could satisfy a lady of her status, Jeannette is unable to extinguish the burning desire she has for Darragh's smoldering looks and sizzling kisses. Little does she know, her dashing Irishman is no commoner. He's the eleventh Earl of Mulholland-and he's thoroughly enjoying the irresistible game of hard-to-get. But before he reveals his true identity, a little temptation and trickery are in order to teach his fair lady a lesson or two about love. From the Paperback edition.
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April 24, 2006
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Excerpt from The Wife Trap by Tracy Anne Warren
Ireland, June 1817
Lady Jeannette Rose Brantford gently blew her nose on her handkerchief. Neatly refolding the silk square with its pretty row of embroidered lily of the valley, she dabbed at the fresh pair of tears that slid down her cheeks.
I really need to stop crying, she told herself. This unremitting misery simply has to cease.
On the sea voyage over, she'd thought she had her emo- tions firmly under control. Resigned, as it were, to her ignominious fate. But this morning when the coach set off on the overland journey to her cousins' estate, the reality of her situation had crashed upon her like one of the great boulders that lay scattered around the wild Irish countryside.
How could my parents have done this to me? she wailed to herself. How could they have been cruel enough to exile her to this godforsaken wilderness? Dear heavens, even Scotland would have been preferable. At least its landmass had the good sense to still be attached to Mother England. Scotland would have been a long carriage ride from home, but in Ireland, she was separated by an entire sea!
Yet Mama and Papa had remained adamant in their decision to send her here. And for the first time in her twenty-one years, she'd been unable to wheedle or cajole or cry her way into persuading them to change their minds.
She didn't even have her longtime lady's maid, Jacobs, to offer her comfort and consolation in her time of need. Just because she had told Jacobs a little fib about her identity when she and her twin sister, Violet, had decided to exchange places last summer was no cause for desertion. And just because Jeannette's parents were punishing her for the scandal with this intolerable banishment to Ireland was no reason for Jacobs to seek out a new post. A loyal servant would have been eager to follow her mistress into exile!
Jeannette wiped away another tear and gazed across the coach at her new maid, Betsy. Despite being a perfectly sweet, pleasant girl, Betsy was a stranger. Not only that, she was woefully inexperienced, still learning about the proper care of clothing and dressing hair and recognizing the latest fashions. Jacobs had known it all.
Oh, well, she thought, training Betsy would give her new life purpose. At the reminder of her new life, tears welled again into her eyes.
Alone. Oh, she was so dreadfully alone.
Abruptly, the coach jerked to a tooth-rattling halt. She slid forward and nearly toppled to the floor in a cloud of skirts.
Betsy caught her; or rather, they caught each other, and slowly settled themselves back into their seats.