Tuesday, September 15, 2015

In need of a wife…

Christian Villiers, the Marquess of St. Cyr, despises the role he's been cast into as fortune hunter but requires the funds to keep his marquisate solvent. Yet, the sins of his past cloud his future, preventing him from seeing beyond his fateful actions at the Battle of Toulouse. For he knows inevitably it will catch up with him, and everyone will remember his actions on the battlefield that cost so many so much—particularly his best friend.

In want of a husband…

Lady Prudence Tidemore's life is plagued by familial scandals, which makes her own marital prospects rather grim. Surely there is one gentleman of the ton who can look past her family and see just her and all she has to offer?

When Prudence runs into Christian on a London street, the charming, roguish gentleman immediately captures her attention. But then a chance meeting becomes a waltz, and now...

A Perfect Match…

All she must do is convince Christian to forget the cold requirements he has for his future marchioness. But the demons in his past prevent him from turning himself over to love. One thing is certain--Prudence wants the marquess and is determined to have him in her life, now and forever. It's just a matter of convincing Christian he wants the same.


“Look at me,” Christian commanded.

Prudence shocked him once more with her directness. She raised her head and tipped her chin back in bold defiance. Something stirred within him. He blamed it on the cold, sucking the breath from his lungs, or the flakes landing on his cheeks, but in this moment, he wanted to draw her into his arms and forever lose himself in the purity of her soul. The assurance that he’d intended to give, the words affirming that despite her uncertainty, she’d moved him in ways that no other woman had ever impacted him, died on his lips. “You should not be here,” he said, his voice deliberately devoid of emotion.

She cocked her head.

Prudence no more belonged here than he, a notorious rogue with a black reputation belonged in the hallowed halls of Almack’s. “If you were discovered, you would be ruined.” Or perhaps that was the lady’s game? She’d spoken of her remarkable lack of prospects. But surely even with that, she knew she could easily find a man more deserving than Christian.

As though she’d followed the cynical direction his thoughts had wandered, her slender frame went taut. She cast a glance past his shoulder toward the door that represented safety and security. And then, she glanced at him once more. “I am already ruined.” Spoken in that sad, almost wistful quality, the lady took those words as fact.

His fingers ached with the need to stroke the satin smoothness of her cheek. “You clearly believe that,” he said quietly. “But that is not true.”

She folded her arms against her chest and he hungered with the need to take her in his arms and drive back the winter chill. “But it is.”

He scoffed. “Why, because of your sister?”

At that, Prudence squared her shoulders. A dark frown he’d not believed her capable of settled on her well-kissed mouth. “You know my circumstances.” There was a faintly accusatory edge to her words which were more statement than anything else.

“I know what you have told me.” He also knew the brief pieces imparted by Maxwell; those pieces he’d sworn he’d not wanted for one reason, only now knowing he’d wished he’d never heard them because in hearing them he was no worse than those gossips. “Do you know what I believe?”

She shook her head once. “What is that, Christian?”

“I believe you deserve more than the shoddy treatment you’ve been given by the damned dandies who are too fool enough to see who is before them. I believe you deserve to dance every bloody set until your feet ache.” Christian took another step toward her, closing the space between them again. He spoke in hushed tones. “And do you know what else I believe?”

In a bid to hold his gaze, Prudence tilted her chin. “What is that?”

“I believe it is a crime you are out here, hiding on my balustrade when you should be surrounded by suitors.”

The wind howled around them so that her skirts danced in the air. The moments ticked by and as time lengthened the silence, a hot flush heated his neck at his revealing words. He felt exposed before her, this woman who’d slipped into his world several months ago and then disappeared, only to reemerge in this horrible world of Polite Society.

“I don’t want to be surrounded by suitors,” she said softly.

She did not want suitors? He scoffed. “All ladies desire those attentions.” Except, his throwaway statement roused an image of her with a sea of undeserving swains before her and he fisted his hands at his side. Even in his imagined scenario, he wanted to bloody every last one of those undeserving bastards.

“Some ladies, yes,” Prudence conceded. She held up a long finger, encased in its white glove.

Christian stared transfixed at that single digit.

“But I am not most ladies. I do not want a swarm of gentleman. I just want a single, honorable, good man.”

Her words sliced through him with the same vicious intensity of the bayonet cutting into his person. For with her admission, she’d merely served to remind him of all the reasons he had no place being around someone who’d not been jaded and destroyed by life. He retreated several steps and then sketched a deep bow. “Then, I suggest you return to the ballroom so you might find that man.”

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******* REVIEW: As always, Christi Caldwell gives us characters with depth, who are real, and who make us feel all the emotions you're supposed to feel when reading a fabulous romance novel. Christian is a fortune hunter who's trying his hardest to not be one. And Pru just happens to have the fortune he needs. And try as he might to do the honorable thing, life works out the way it's supposed to. Which means love gets in the way. Wonderful characters and a beautiful love story. Which is why Christi Caldwell is an auto buy for me! *********

USA TODAY Bestselling author CHRISTI CALDWELL blames Judith McNaught's "Whitney, My Love!" for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and pick up her laptop to try her hand at romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections, and she rather enjoys torturing them before crafting them a well deserved happily ever after!

Christi makes her home in southern Connecticut where she spends her time writing her own enchanting historical romances, chasing around her feisty six-year-old son and caring for her twin princesses in training!

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