She adores her hellion brothers, but she wants something safer in a husband
On Sale: July 31, 2012
Featuring: Edward Ailsbury; Lady Angeline Dudley
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Add to Wish List
Hardcover (July 2011)
While Lady Angeline Dudley’s pedigree dictates that she must
land a titled gentleman, the irrepressible beauty longs for
a simple, ordinary suitor. So when Edward Ailsbury, the new
Earl of Heyward, defends her honor with unmatched civility,
Angeline thinks that she has found true love. Persuading the
earl is another matter entirely.
From her unconventional fashion sense to her hoydenish
antics, Angeline is the last woman on earth for Edward. And
yet a stolen kiss awakens something primal within him.
Naturally, being a gentleman, he does the right thing after
compromising a lady: He offers marriage.
The proposal is born of duty, but will Angeline cause Edward
to forget about decorum behind closed doors, where
sensuality and seduction play wicked games? For a proper
wife by day can become a husband’s secret mistress by night,
when delicious desire rules.
THE SECRET MISTRESS completes the trilogy that began with MORE THAN A MISTRESS and continued with NO MAN'S MISTRESS. It is actually a prequel rather than a sequel. Lady Angeline Dudley is married to the Earl of Heyward in her brothers' books. But her flamboyant character and atrocious fashion sense, especially in hats, needed further explanation and development. So did the fact that she was married to a man her brothers referred to as a dry old stick. Could their marriage be a love match? How did they meet? How did they end up marrying? Is Angeline as ditsy as she seems? Is Heyward as dry? I had to go back and write their love story! In its hardcover edition last year it won the Romantic Times award for Regency set historical of the year. I hope you enjoy it.
93 comments posted.
Re: The Secret Mistress
I have no problem with a beta male as a hero. It's a great
way to take a break from the numerous alpha male
(Jan D 1:35am July 31, 2012)
I have always loved the beta male as well as the alpha. Georgette Heyer
I have always loved the alpha male in books but I have adored the beta males in novels such as the Silent Ajax in Georgette Heyer's novel.
(Maria Haile 1:45am July 31, 2012)
I like both alpha and beta heroes. The most important thing is the relationship and compatibility between the hero and the heroine.
(Chelsea Knestrick 2:03am July 31, 2012)
A scared and wounded soul is always appealing and cute geeks too! As long as they need us we love them.
(Barbara Hanson 3:49am July 31, 2012)
I think it's a great idea! I was thinking of Col. Brandon from Sense and Sensibility the whole time I read your blog. I hope your new book is a great success!
(Renee Pajda 6:18am July 31, 2012)
Alpha males usually get my attention the quickest, but betas are sweet. I think I do best when they have been in other books first so you already know them. You fall in love with them slowly.
(LaQuita Parks 7:11am July 31, 2012)
I love the alpha heroes, but I believe betas would be a great change of pace.
(Dotti Jones 8:01am July 31, 2012)
Probably the best Beta Hero ever was Pierre in "War and Peace" I love 'em!
(Dee Kridel 8:15am July 31, 2012)
Alpha heroes are wonderful to read about, but I wonder in real life how it would be to live with one. I think that I will keep my imperfect but wonderful mate.
(Marjorie Carmony 8:54am July 31, 2012)
This sounds like a great book to read and I look forward to it. Thanks so much.
(Bonnie Capuano 8:55am July 31, 2012)
Again a great blob, a great contest, and a great book. You do
it all. I think an alpha male would be hard to live with on a
(Mary Hay 9:21am July 31, 2012)
I am delighted that so far you all agree with me that beta males can make great
heroes. Not all the time, of course--I could not give up creating alpha heroes
like my Duke of Tresham, and I would hate not to be able to read about them
either. But variety is the spice of good romance reading as well as of life. Thank
you for your comments.
(Mary Balogh 9:58am July 31, 2012)
Beta males are not a problem as heroes for me. As long as the heroine is compassionate, as well as strong and intelligent and can appreciate his good traits. They should compliment one another's personalities.
(Darla Zimmer 10:07am July 31, 2012)
Mary, I wish you would write for beta males more often. Gerald is one of my
(Alicia Murphy 10:12am July 31, 2012)
I really enjoy the 'betas' ... They have their own appeal of the quiet determination and consistency...
(Cate Sparks 10:15am July 31, 2012)
I love all men in novels as long as they have a strong sense
of what they want. I hate men that can't make up their minds.
but other then that I'm all for the Beta! They don't have to
be 100% in control like an Alpha so they tend to be more fun!
(Hilary Wing 10:16am July 31, 2012)
The alpha males always get my attention quickly, but the betas
always stay with me the longest... There's nothing like a
really sweet lovable guy who steals your heart...:) Alphas
though tend to have more adventure surrounding them and
there's nothing like a good adventure :)
(Molly Johnson 10:20am July 31, 2012)
Kindness and love are the ultimate traits of even the alpha males we seek; The beta ones are loaded.
Jeanette Harris 7/31/2012
(Jeanette Harris 10:25am July 31, 2012)
It sometimes depends on the mood I am in when I pick up the book...Alpha males have a way of saying "look at me! Look at me!" an Betas kinda sneak up on you
(Shawna Cramer 10:25am July 31, 2012)
With the prevalence of Alpha-Jerks disguised as Alpha Males, a
kind, caring, loyal, calm, Beta who has had to listen, observe
and work to get what he wants in life has huge appeal. Huge.
(Larisa LaBrant 10:27am July 31, 2012)
Mary, I LOVED this book! I stayed up all night to finish it, and paid for it the next day! (but it was worth it). I signed it out of the library, but I need a copy of my own because I know that I will want to read it again and again.
I personally love a beta hero, I think largely because there aren't very many of them in romance novels. I read a lot of romance novels, and sometimes the alpha heroes can start to feel interchangeable to me. The beta heros are always the ones that I remember.
(Aimee Steininger 10:27am July 31, 2012)
Love the beta male. I feel like they appreciate the love that
they find in their heroines.
(Brenda Soules 10:27am July 31, 2012)
Bring on the betas, without then the alphas would shine.
(Jeni Matthews 10:30am July 31, 2012)
What a beautiful cover
(Alisha Woods 10:32am July 31, 2012)
There is nothing I love better than reading about a socially
awkward character, most men and women aren't all suave and
confident, especially when dealing with someone they have
feelings for. Yay for the Beta Male and Beta Female
(Alyssa Chapin 10:35am July 31, 2012)
I married a beta. He is quiet. Shy. And socially awkward. But he is also
brilliant. And beautiful. He attracts women every where he goes but has no
idea what to with the attention half the time and the other half doesnt notice
the attention. I'd be willing to bet he has Aspergers. I love him in all his beta
glory. He doesn't dance. He doesn't like sports even though he is 6'2 and
has the perfect body for sports. He'd rather run. Alone. My son is a beta
just like his daddy. I wouldn't have it any other way.
(Jessica Martini 10:37am July 31, 2012)
Beta males can be fun. They don't think like the bad boys but
offer realism. I like that. I actually read a book where the
female was the "alpha hero" and the male taking the
traditional female role. It was fun. I liked reading about
him standing behind the female for protection.
(Tanja Haack 10:39am July 31, 2012)
It doesn't matter if the male hero is alpha or beta male. Just
the fact that Mary Balogh wrote this book is enough for me.
(Marian Pankey 10:57am July 31, 2012)
I ADORE beta males. While it is nice to read about alphas on occassion, I
prefer reality to extreme fantasy. I am married to a fabulous beta (he
may think he is an alpha)and compared to the alpha men I have been
with in the past, he is the manliest in all ways. I love reading about men
who have faults like most men just as I prefer reading about imperfect
women.What makes it better is when the other see's them as perfect.
Nobody writes a better beta male than Mary Balogh, I love everything
about them. Edward is a fabulous character and I loved the book!I
haven't read one of hers that I haven't loved. I need a copy of this ome
for my library, it is definitely one to reread and never get tired of it.
(Cindie Gee 11:00am July 31, 2012)
I think it's interesting... not all heros have to be alpha...
(May Pau 11:00am July 31, 2012)
I'm okay with the occasional beta male; however, I prefer a good alpha male, like Wulfric Bewcastle.
(Suzanne Shuba 11:13am July 31, 2012)
It's nice to have someone who isn't perfect for a change. It makes it more
(Karen Richardson 11:13am July 31, 2012)
I love a Beta heroes, its like cheering for the underdog. They are just as worthy as Alphas but for some flaw, physical or character, they are not the ladies first choice, and its wonderful when they get the chance they deserve to prove themselves. I also love Beta females, the ones that are overlooked but finally someone gives them a chance and they bloom into a beautiful flower. Much like a morning glory, not much to look at closed but lovely when its open.
(Jana Ferguson 11:14am July 31, 2012)
contest looks great
(Kent Cook 11:20am July 31, 2012)
I really think I prefer beta heroes. I'm not entirely sure whether it's because
alphas are so much more common, or because alphas tend to seem all the
same to me, while the beta men can vary more in their private lives. It is
only outwardly that they seem alike in that they're more reserved. Their
personalities seem more complex and interesting to me, perhaps to
compensate for the instant attraction of the alpha.
(Catherine Roda 11:29am July 31, 2012)
Beta heroes are the bomb! They aren't overbearing or quelling, so the heroine has room to breathe and bloom. They are the rain to a heroine's soul, just as Jana says.
(Pat Henshaw 11:38am July 31, 2012)
I adore your books. As a matter of fact...I am reading one now!! I wold love to win a copy of this one as I haven't read it yet!
I do prefer Alpha heros...however, tortured ones are the best. I like Beta heros also as I am totally hooked on historical romance.
TY for the great contest.
(Betty Hamilton 11:53am July 31, 2012)
I love the idea and find it a nice change. We all need love!
(Deborah Garcia 12:09pm July 31, 2012)
Mary, your beta heroes have warmed my heart. I married a beta hero, a man who was adored by literally hundreds of women who didn't hesitate to remind me how lucky I was! The work he most loved to do took him into frequent contact with the men who became his friends and the women who adored him. How lucky for us both that I wasn't jealous, that he could be trusted. Beta men give us the freedom to BE most fully ourselves. They love us deeply; they need us, and they fulfill us in ways alpha males will never imagine.
(Sue Harrison 12:21pm July 31, 2012)
Mary love your books. I love the Betas too. They aren't always a Beta, there's a lot of Alpha in them too. When you combine them into one character - oh WOW!! Please enter me into your contest
(Pat Moore 12:21pm July 31, 2012)
I think any male, beta or alpha created by Mary Balogh will be a good man. They end up being loving to the loves of their lives...and that is always a good thing.
(Annette Naish 12:24pm July 31, 2012)
I think a beta is often an alpha in sheep's clothing, at least when it comes to the things that matter in a hero: courage, determination, honor, and devotion. The fun part is he often doesn't know he can channel an inner alpha, but the author, and the heroine believe in him enough to convince him.
(Grace Burrowes 12:30pm July 31, 2012)
I tend to love alpha's, but every now and then a nice beta can
quietly slip in and catch my attention.....
(Tari Jewett 12:54pm July 31, 2012)
The appeal of a beta male to me is the fact that they are usually handsome but not just pick your mouth up off the floor handsome, and always seem to have some imperfection or something that appeals to womens sense of our needy and nurturing tendencies.....There is always some personal triumph that they overcome, and its because of the heroine..
(Debbie Fransen 12:56pm July 31, 2012)
I enjoy books where the male is a beta when the book is well
written and the reader can see that the beta is not a just a
pushover. Beta males are smart in that they let the alpha's
have their space...
(Jean Ramsay 12:59pm July 31, 2012)
As long as the beta is a man of character and morals, I am happy when he gets his HEA as well!
(E Felder 1:27pm July 31, 2012)
Personally, I don't always like to read the "perfect" love story. My hero doesn't have to have the perfect abs, looks, etc. I like to see what I would call a "slow burn" going up to the climax of the couple finally realizing their love for one another. As long as he has good qualities, and treats his woman with honor, that's good enough for me. Kudos to you for realizing that fact, and writing so many (over 100) books getting that fact out to women. It will start to offset all of the other Authors out there that write books that women need a kleenix to catch the drool when they read about the hero. I am looking forward to reading your book, and although I have heard of you, due to life's circumstances, I got a bit behind with my reading. You have been put on my TBR list.
(Peggy Roberson 1:36pm July 31, 2012)
Alpha or beta makes no difference to me, as long as they hole my intrest and give me that ahhh feeling as I read.
(Sheila True 1:44pm July 31, 2012)
I love the beta males. It's the same in life if we only search out the 'beautiful' we pass up a lot of wonderful people!I love seeing a story where someone people usually pass by without a thought gets attention from someone who can see pass the looks and find the loving heart! I also love it when the alpha male cannot understand why the beta male gets the attention. It makes for great drama and a definite learning experience into human nature.
Thanks so much for your wonderful books!
(Teresa Sullivan 1:47pm July 31, 2012)
I love beta heroes as well as alpha types. One of my favorite beta heroes is Reggie from "The Pursuit of Marriage" by Victoria Alexander. He's a sweetie, good to his family, a loyal friend, and very easy going. After wearing his heart on his sleeve too many times, he invents an alpha alter-ego to try and win him love. His friends help spread stories of his supposed exploits to help him out because they want to help him since he's such a good friend and a good guy. Very funny story. My favorite beta hero.
(Miranda Owen 2:03pm July 31, 2012)
I will always like alpha heroes the best... they are my favorite and it's simply personal choice... but, Mary Balogh has managed to make me aknowledge the beta heroes as a type and also, to wait impatiently for her next beta hero... thanks a lot Mary...
(Ioana Stochita 2:51pm July 31, 2012)
I ALWAYS LOVE A BETA MALE HERO BECAUSE HE ALWAYS GETS THE GIRL
HE LOVES. I WOULDN'T MIND HAVING AN ALPHA BETA HERO FOR
MYSELF. MY BETA MALE HERO WOULD BE THAT HE SEE WHAT HE LIKES
AND GOES AFTER IT TILL HE GETS IT OR HER.
(Shelly Caggiano 3:14pm July 31, 2012)
I enjoy reading about the alpha guys, but I really love it when beta heroes get their HEA in books.
(Winnie Pang 4:09pm July 31, 2012)
I like Beta males because the nice guy deserves a break from time to time.
(Pam Howell 4:18pm July 31, 2012)
As much as I love those alpha's I also like when the nice
guy wins so I enjoy reading about those beta males.
Thanks for the chance
(Pam Brewer 4:19pm July 31, 2012)
I prefer Alphas, but enjoy reading a good Beta story every now and again.
(Jennifer Langford 4:23pm July 31, 2012)
Whether alpha or beta males are the lead characters, please keep on writing.
(Susan Jang 4:37pm July 31, 2012)
Oh, I absolutely adore beta heroes! I think I may even love them more than alpha heroes. *Gasps all around* I know! Scandalous ;-)
(Chelsea Brooks 5:29pm July 31, 2012)
Actually, I prefer beta heroes. You can have a conversation with them. They are in control of themselves. I need not fear being alone with them. I feel I can trust them. I am more at ease with them. They are more likely to respect my own intelligence and atonomy. The alphas may be exciting, but so often they turn out to be bad news. Not in a romance, of course!
(Janice Jacobson 6:09pm July 31, 2012)
I love both Alpha and Beta males. Alpha males are your typical heroes, but Beta males are the underdogs and I enjoy cheering them on.
(Lisa White 6:29pm July 31, 2012)
I adore beta heroes!! Sometimes Alphas get boring!
(Ashley Applebee 7:01pm July 31, 2012)
I love them both. The Alpha for the obvious reason. The Beta's aren't so common, so it's a nice change when you get to read their story. I think I actually like them a smidge more. I can't really explain why, but when I finish a Beta male's story, I feel a greater loss than I do upon finishing others.
(Harriet Lavoie 7:05pm July 31, 2012)
Mary, to me the beta male is the hero. He is the one in the
background pushing the lead into his role to make him a
better man an lover, husband etc. I will say this for your
books I always go back to your beta romances when I what to
laught aloud or shed a tear. Thanks You Again for your
stories. Debra Weaver
(Deborah Weaver 7:29pm July 31, 2012)
Love those beta males. Thank you for giving me a chance to win your book.
(Linda Hall 8:42pm July 31, 2012)
I think that our perception of men can be skewed by how we
each see them from our own perception whether in our
personal life of while reading a book.
How many alpha male heros that are featured in romance turn
around to become that perfect caring husband and the beta
male who steps up and becomes the hero of not only the
heroine but the people of his community.
When I'm reading I wonder how much I'm influenced by my own
experience and personal situation and how much by the
writers ability to project a certain characteristic into a
I remember reading a book review once and then following it
up with an interview by the author who said that the
reviewer didn't come close to what the author had been
thinking and what he had actually written.
My favorite saying is from a Latin class I had way, way back
in High School - "De gustibus non est disputandum" -(forgive
the spelling, it really was a very long time ago when I was
in High School!) which loosely translares to "Everyone to
their fancy said Nancy as she kissed the cow"!
(Jeanne Miro 8:43pm July 31, 2012)
Hi Mary! I'm a huge beta fan. Who wants to leader of the pack. I'll take the 2nd in command any day!
(Molly Wilsbacher 9:16pm July 31, 2012)
I prefer the Alpha male in books and Beta males in real life.
(Renee Grandinetti 10:40pm July 31, 2012)
I enjoy a Beta hero, for one thing it's probably a lot more
realistic; and they are a bit of the underdog, so it's fun to
see them win in the end.
(Diane Sallans 10:45pm July 31, 2012)
My personal preference is for a beta male. Hey, I loved Daniel in Stargate!
(Janie McGaugh 10:50pm July 31, 2012)
Betas can brighten my life any time if they win my heart and
(Susan Jeffers 10:54pm July 31, 2012)
I actually prefer the beta males--they seem more real to me--and I get tired of all the swagger from the alphas.
(Sue Farrell 11:29pm July 31, 2012)
Beta Heroes do hold a lot of appeal and are a great change of pace from the typical Alpha Male Heroes usually found in books.
(Tina Knestrick 11:33pm July 31, 2012)
I like beta males. They seem to have more substance than many of the alphas. I like that they aren't afraid to show their sensitivity, practicality, etc.
(Kelli Rolvaag 11:49pm July 31, 2012)
I enjoy a good alpha male, but in some ways I prefer a beta.
They seem to have more depth and character.
(Holly Hochmuth 12:57pm August 1, 2012)
The beta heroes are my favourite - there's something about
an imperfect hero that catches my attention so much more
than the more common perfect, gorgeous, ripped, sexy, etc,
etc alpha male. I think a heroine is so much more 'real'
when she can see beyond the exterior to the beauty of the
interior. Sydnam and Hartley are two of my favourite heros,
simply because they are not perfect.
(Myella Sharman 4:39am August 1, 2012)
I think some girls may want the alpha male while they are young and getting chased by boys, but when it comes time to settle down and build a stable home, they realise a more beta man is perfect for that. Apart from anything else, an alpha might cheat on them but a beta will value them more. Good work in expressing what many women are thinkng.
(Clare O'Beara 6:02am August 1, 2012)
I took this book out from the library & Edward is a great character & definately lovable! Another beta hero that comes to mind is Jeremy in Stephanie Laurens' "In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster", who is also a great character. And yummy Carter in Nora Roberts' "Vision in White". I love Alpha or Beta hero's, as long as there is romance!
(Sharlene Wegner 7:58am August 1, 2012)
I think I often perfer the Beta hero. For me they are so much more reliable and loveable and they are very steady in their love.
(Jo Jones 8:45am August 1, 2012)
Love knows no bounds!
(Rita Selesner 8:51am August 1, 2012)
Thank you for creating such wonderful models for the Beta hero. I've read them all and while an Alpha hero may shake my world, it's the Beta who keeps it secure.
(Dolores Feagin 9:32am August 1, 2012)
I believe that some authors, myself included, are moving from the fairy tale, but still wonderful Alpha male, to Beta in an effort to 'keep it real'. Maybe that is a reflection of society as we finally, and thank God for that, realize that 'perfection' is beauty,and owns flaws and that beauty truly comes from the inside. Physical perfection is too simple and can be boring. We feel for, understand better and know the Beta male. In my humble opinion.
(Linda Parsons Mills 10:20am August 1, 2012)
I love the story of the beta hero because it is more realistic. The betas are normally the underdog that we all end up cheering for through out the story. The story of a beta's journey to love is a lot deeper than that of the alpha most of the time. Betas will always have to work harder to land the heroine but in the end we are all certain that it is a forever love. Where as the story of the alpha can come off as shallow and superficial. The story is so much more realistic when we can see the heroine will have to look beyond the exterior to the beauty of the interior and find true love.
(Dania Thomas 11:51am August 1, 2012)
Mary, I married a Beta male. There are moments that the Alpha comes out in him. I wouldn't trade him for the world. We recently celebrated our 45th anniversary. Says alot for those betas. He can be the most wonderful person on earth but the alpha shows up whenever he thinks he has to stand up for his family - the beware - it doesn't show it often but believe me its there under the surface
(Pat Moore 2:16pm August 1, 2012)
I think that it is refreshing every once in a while to have a beta hero. Love your books Mary!
(Cathy Phillips 3:27pm August 1, 2012)
Hartley Wade and Edward Ailsbury are two of my favorite characters. Beta males make more believable heroes, although I love the alphas too!
(Lois Boehl 6:35pm August 1, 2012)
I love a beta male hero, once in a while, since there aren't as many as there are alphas written into romance novels. Like the imperfections, as well as the good, sensitive, and charming qualities. Would be thrilled to win a copy, since I haven't read this book or any of your others yet and am loving the great reviews from your readers!
(Linda Luinstra 6:36pm August 1, 2012)
Love Betas - slow and steady works for me.
(Mary C 8:59pm August 1, 2012)
no problem for me, as long as the story is intriguing :)
(Sienny Octora 10:02am August 2, 2012)
I'm more than happy for the Beta Male to be the hero. They deserve to find love too.
(Mary Preston 9:45pm August 5, 2012)
I love the beta males more than the alpha males. Perhaps it is
because I consider myself a "beta female."
(Nancy Welshman 10:05pm August 6, 2012)
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(Ponting Samith 6:53am August 23, 2012)
Beta males can be just as lovable as alphas, sometimes more if you consider that your life may be somewhat less contentious than with the alphas who always want their way.
(Sigrun Schulz 3:39am August 30, 2012)
I am a Beta male so I prefer them as heroes. I think about Alpha males as adding variety to my reading, not the other way around. I also prefer Beta females: Intellectual, flawed in some way, compassionate, unsure of herself and not drop dead gorgeous. Their stories are more interesting to me than the stories of Alphas.
(Bill Bee 7:13pm January 6, 2013)
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