An Unexpected Husband Against her better judgment, Lady Gillian Marley needs to find herself a husband -- and quickly. To claim her uncle's unexpected bequest she must marry by her next birthday, which leaves only two months to find a malleable mate. Topping her list of eligible candidates is the honorable Earl of Shelbrooke, yet one look at the very handsome but enigmatic nobleman and Gillian knows that cajoling him into a marriage of convenience will be hardly convenient at all. A Marriage of Inconvenience Far from immune to Gillian's entrancing charms, the last thing Richard Shelton is about to bind himself into is a chaste marriage. Though the inheritance is more than and tempting, Richard knows the lady herself is the real prize and isn't about to allow Gillian to deny the burning fervor that sparks between them. Now he has only two months to convince her to be his wife in full ... before his mysterious secret is revealed and their lives explode irrevocably into scandal.
Alexander (The Wedding Bargain) has a marvelous ear for witty dialogue and creates winning characters. Unfortunately, the plot of this otherwise terrific Regency rides includes twin clichs: a will with an outrageous stipulation and a hero masquerading as another man (think Scarlet Pimpernel). Widowed Lady Gillian Marley persuades friends to draw up a list of bachelors so she can fulfill the condition of her uncle's will that she marry before her 30th birthday to inherit 600,000. The money would augment her small income and enable her to fund a home for deserving female artists. Topping the list is the impoverished Earl of Shelbrooke, Richard Shelton, once a rake, now living a double life (he's an oil painter, a shocking calling for an aristocrat), trying to shore up the little that's left of the family fortune and provide dowries for four sisters. Will the earl lower himself for cold, hard cash Will the lovely Gillian settle for a loveless marriage of convenience The sex gets hot and heavy before the final answer in this delightful read. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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July 31, 2000
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Excerpt from The Husband List by Victoria Alexander
Where on earth was the blasted man
Lady Gillian Marley resisted the urge to stalk to her front door, throw it open, and scour the streets of London for him herself.
What if he wasn't coming at all
The thought tightened the muscles in her shoulders, but she refused to let her well-practiced smile so much as twitch. Instead, she surveyed the room with the air of serene confidence worn only by a hostess who has accomplished the difficult task of melding a diverse group of people into a cohesive gathering.
There were perhaps twenty in attendance at her salon tonight. In one corner, several members of Parliament argued amicably about some obscure issue. Another grouping dissected the latest work of a rising poet, while the merits of a new exhibit of paintings held the attention of yet another duster of guests.
Gillian's skill as a hostess in such a setting was unrivaled, her reputation for gatherings of this nature unequaled. The picture she presented to the world was, as always, cool and controlled and competent.
Not a single guest here would suspect every nerve in her body was stretched as taut as a piano wire. Not even the most astute observer would imagine the upheaval in her stomach. And absolutely no one would ever dream it took every ounce of self-discipline she possessed not to scream aloud in sheer frustration.
Where was Shelbrooke
Gillian glanced at the doorway once again, just as she had every few minutes since her guests had begun arriving. He should have been here half an hour ago. Oh, certainly it was not unusual for attendees to arrive late. But tonight the only guest whose presence she wished for, the only guest who mattered, was the only guest who had not yet seen fit to cross her threshold.