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Authors: Sherry Thomas

Tags: #Romance, #General, #Historical, #Fiction

Tempting the Bride

BOOK: Tempting the Bride
11.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


—Library Journal


“Ravishingly sinful, intelligent, and addictive. An amazing debut.”

—Eloisa James,
New York Times
bestselling author

“Enchanting…An extraordinary, unputdownable love story.”

—Jane Feather,
New York Times
bestselling author

“Sublime…An irresistible literary treat.”

Chicago Tribune

“Sherry Thomas’s captivating debut novel will leave readers breathless. Intelligent, witty, sexy, and peopled with wonderful characters…and sharp, clever dialogue.”

The Romance Reader

“Thomas makes a dazzling debut with a beautifully written, sizzling, captivating love story…Her compelling tale of love betrayed and then reborn will make you sigh with pleasure.”

RT Book Reviews

“Deft plotting and sparkling characters…Steamy and smart.”

Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

“Thomas tantalizes readers…An enchanting, thought-provoking story of love lost and ultimately reclaimed. Lively banter, electric sexual tension, and an unusual premise make this stunning debut all the more refreshing.”

Library Journal
(starred review)

“Historical romance the way I love it.”

All About Romance

“Big, dramatic, and romantic.”

Dear Author

Berkley Sensation Titles by Sherry Thomas








Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author


Berkley Sensation mass-market edition / October 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Sherry Thomas.

Excerpt from
Beguiling the Beauty
by Sherry Thomas copyright © 2012 by Sherry Thomas.

Cover art by Gregg Gulbronson. Hand lettering by Ron Zinn.

Cover design by George Long.

Interior text design by Laura K. Corless.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-61148-7


Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

The “B” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”



To Ivy Adams,
for your limitless generosity and awesomeness


Wendy McCurdy, for her patience and insight.

Katherine Pelz, for making everything easier.

Kristin Nelson and everyone at the Nelson Literary Agency, for their unparalleled dedication and competence.

Janine Ballard, for boldly going where all great critique partners do—right to the crux of the problem.

Shellee Roberts, for her concurring opinion that kicked my ass back into gear.

Tiffany Yates Martin of FoxPrint Editorial, for always helping me out when I really need it.

Margaret Toscano, for generously sharing her knowledge of Latin and the classics.

My family, especially my husband, for shouldering nearly the entirety of our move while I was hunched over my laptop, desperately trying to figure out what to do, and my mother, for all the food, which is nothing but love.

And as always, if you are reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17


Author’s Note

Beguiling the Beauty


January 1896

avid Hillsborough, Viscount Hastings, had never been in love. And he had most certainly never been in
love. Why, his was a heart buoyantly and blissfully unattached, while he devoted himself to sampling all the charms life had to offer a young, wealthy, and handsome bachelor.

This was, in any case, his official position.

He suspected that several of those closest to him had guessed the truth—possibly a long time ago, as his particular instance of unrequited love had lasted nearly half of his life. But he took comfort in the fact that
hadn’t the slightest idea. And, God willing, she never would.

For he would be in hell if she ever learned.

Not that he was very far from it at the moment, watching the girl of his dreams, Miss Helena Fitzhugh, gazing at another man with adoration. Her elder sister was the
acknowledged Great Beauty of their time, but it was always Miss Fitzhugh from whom he couldn’t look away. Her flame-bright hair, her luminous skin, her clever, wicked eyes.

He did not begrudge her falling in love with another. After all, if he refused to participate in the contest, he could not complain when someone else won the prize. But he did mind, very much, that this man on whom she lavished her attention did not deserve it in the least.

Years ago, Andrew Martin had had the opportunity to marry her. But his mother had expected him to marry someone else in order to unite two adjacent properties. Lacking the courage to defy the elder Mrs. Martin, he’d married that someone else.

Even in a land full of cold, formal marriages, Mr. Martin’s marriage stood out for its coldness and formality. Husband and wife dined at different times, moved in different circles, and communicated almost entirely via written notices.

None of it mattered. Happy or otherwise, a married man was a married man, and a respectable young lady ought to search elsewhere for fulfillment.

Miss Fitzhugh was a rule breaker. Until now, however, those she’d trampled had not been so much rules as recommendations. When she became the only one of her siblings to pursue a university education, it was looked upon as an eccentricity. And when, upon coming into her small inheritance, she’d used the funds as capital for a publishing firm that she ran herself, the venture was dismissed as simply another idiosyncrasy in the family—after all, her brother, Earl Fitzhugh, managed the tinneries his heiress wife had inherited.

But indulging in a close friendship with a married man pushed the boundaries of acceptable behavior. She needed not commit any actual sins; the
of impropriety would be quite enough to wound her.

The drawing room at Lord Wrenworth’s country estate was awash in laughter and good cheer. Mrs. Denbigh, Miss Fitzhugh’s married friend who was her chaperone at the Wrenworth house party, was all too busy amusing herself. Hastings waited for a natural pause in the conversation in which he’d been taking part, excused himself, and crossed the room to where Miss Fitzhugh and Martin sat on a chaise longue, their bodies turned toward each other, effectively blocking anyone else from joining their tête-à-tête.

“Mr. Martin, what are you still doing here?” Hastings asked. “Haven’t you your new great tome to write?”

Miss Fitzhugh answered for Martin. “But he
working. He is conferring with his publisher.”

“And he has been conferring with his publisher since morning, if I’m not mistaken. A cook can confer with the mistress of the house all day long, but that doesn’t put dinner on the table. Mr. Martin would quite deprive his readers of his next excellent volume of history were he to spend all his hours talking about it and none setting the actual words to paper.”

Martin reddened. “You have a point, Lord Hastings.”

“I always have a point. I understand that you are here to work and that you’ve asked Lord Wrenworth to put a nice, quiet room at your disposal. You haven’t put that room to use, have you?”

Martin reddened further. “Ah—”

“I personally cannot wait for the next appearance of Offa of Mercia.”

“You’ve read the book?”

“Of course. Why do you look so surprised? Did I not display a ferocious intelligence and a wide-ranging curiosity when I was at university?”

“Well, yes.”

“Then consider yourself honored to count me among your readership. Now off you go. Write deep into the night. And stop monopolizing Miss Fitzhugh. You are a married man, remember?”

BOOK: Tempting the Bride
11.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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