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Excerpt of The Lady is Tempted by Cathy Maxwell

Purchase


Avon
July 2002
Featuring: Deborah Percival; Anthony Aldercy, the Earl of Burnell
374 pages
ISBN: 0380818337
Paperback
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Romance Historical

Also by Cathy Maxwell:

His Lessons on Love, February 2022
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book / audiobook
Her First Desire, May 2021
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book / audiobook
His Secret Mistress, March 2020
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book / audiobook
The Duke That I Marry, December 2018
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
A Match Made in Bed, April 2018
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
If Ever I Should Love You, January 2018
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
A Date at the Altar, November 2016
Paperback / e-Book
The Fairest of Them All, June 2016
Paperback / e-Book
The Match of the Century, December 2015
Paperback / e-Book
A Little Thing Called Love, October 2015
e-Book
The Groom Says Yes, October 2014
Paperback / e-Book
The Bride Says Maybe, February 2014
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
The Bride Says No, January 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Married in Haste, July 2013
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
The Devil's Heart, May 2013
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
The Scottish Witch, November 2012
Paperback / e-Book
In A Moonlit Garden, July 2012
e-Book (reprint)
For Love and Honor, May 2012
e-Book
Lyon's Bride, May 2012
Paperback / e-Book
When Dreams Come True, April 2012
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Because Of You, November 2011
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
The Seduction Of Scandal, September 2011
Paperback / e-Book
His Christmas Pleasure, December 2010
Paperback
The Marriage Ring, March 2010
Mass Market Paperback
The Earl Claims His Wife, October 2009
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Four Dukes and a Devil, July 2009
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
A Seduction At Christmas, November 2008
Paperback / e-Book
In the Highlander's Bed, February 2008
Mass Market Paperback
Bedding the Heiress, April 2007
Paperback
In the Bed of a Duke, April 2006
Paperback
The Price of Indiscretion, August 2005
Paperback
The One That Got Away, October 2004
Paperback
Temptation of a Proper Governess, September 2004
Paperback
Treasured Vows, September 2004
Paperback (reprint)
About All Things Beautiful, August 2004
Paperback (reprint)
Seduction of an English Lady, December 2003
Paperback / e-Book
Adventures of a Scottish Heiress, April 2003
Paperback
The Lady is Tempted, July 2002
Paperback
Wild West Brides, May 2002
Paperback
Tea for Two, April 2002
Paperback
The Wedding Wager, November 2001
Paperback
In Praise of Younger Men, March 2001
Paperback
The Marriage Contract, February 2001
Paperback
A Scandalous Marriage, February 2000
Paperback
Married In Haste, August 1999
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Falling In Love Again, August 1997
Paperback
You And No Other, September 1996
Mass Market Paperback

Excerpt of The Lady is Tempted by Cathy Maxwell

Chapter One

The Peak District
England, 1818

Deborah Percival should have been on her guard from the moment she had first received an invitation to Dame Alodia's Spring Afternoon Soiree.

After all, although her sister was married to the dame's favorite nephew, it had been years since she'd been included in their social circle. However, Deborah had been so pleased to be out of mourning and reinvolved in society, she'd forgotten how Dame Alodia adored using her soirees as an opportunity to arrange the world to her liking.

That is, she forgot until the dame singled her out.

"You're mourning has passed, hasn't it, Mrs. Percival?" The dame's gravelly voice resounded in an unexpected lull in the conversation. She was a tall, rawboned woman with a ruddy complexion, gun metal gray hair, and a love of the color purple. Her pug, Milton, sat on her lap licking his nose.

The magpie chattering of gossip came to a halt. The twenty or so other women guests, the "acceptable" members of Peak District's cloistered society, sat perched in ornate chairs set up in a circle in the center of the dame's cavernous drawing room. They turned as one toward Deborah, their eyes bright with surprise...and interest.

Deborah shifted her cup and saucer from one hand to another. "Well, yes, Dame Alodia, I am three months out of mourning."

"Then isn't it time you should be thinking about a new husband?" the formidable dowager said.

For a second, Deborah couldn't breathe, let alone answer. Eleven years ago, shortly after her father's untimely death and at exactly such a Spring Afternoon Soiree, Dame Alodia and the others had decided a too-young, too-naƏve Deborah should marry Mr. Richard Percival, a man almost thirty-three years her senior. He had been feuding with his adult children. He had asked for Deborah's hand with the intention of starting a new family and putting their noses out of joint.

Like any sensible young woman, Deborah had shuddered at the thought of being wed to a man so much older, but the women of the Valley, these women, had insisted her duty was to marry in order to support her widowed stepmother and two half sisters.

Her duty. Deborah always did what was expected of her. Her overdeveloped sense of responsibility had been honed to a keen edge over the years, sharpened by the knowledge that, even all these years after her death, her mother was still considered an interloper. Some even considered her immoral. First, because she'd been French, and second, because she'd upset the village's plans for their favored bachelor.

In turn, Deborah had learned early on she must walk the straight and narrow lest she be accused of her mother's perceived sins.

Now, she glanced around the room. Every one of them waited, eager to hear her reply -- all, that is, save for her sister Rachel. Seated next to Deborah, she had acquired a sudden fascination in the curve of her teacup.

Since Mr. Percival's death, Deborah had been forced to live with Rachel and her husband Henry. Her widow's portion had been a pittance, which Henry found humiliating and a blow to the family pride. The fact Deborah worked harder than his wife and servants held no sway in the face of his resentment, and she couldn't help wonder if Henry now played a part in his aunt Alodia's questioning.

"Have you naught to say for yourself?" Dame Alodia demanded, with a haughty lift of her brows. She sniffed to the others. "I ask a question and don't receive an answer. Do young women not use their ears anymore?"

Oh, Deborah had an answer: Ambushed by the Dowagers of Ilam. Again!

As her late husband would have said, double damn.

But she couldn't speak in such a manner in front of the cream of Ilam society.

Instead, she cleared her throat self-consciously, and admitted, "I had not thought on the matter, ma'am."

"No thought on marriage?" Dame Alodia emphasized the last word to show her astonishment. "Every woman should be married."

Deborah could have pointed out that Dame Alodia was a widow and happy for it, but she bit her tongue. "It is still too soon--"

"Nonsense!" Dame Alodia interrupted. The purple ribbons and lace of her cap bobbed with her enthusiasm for her topic. "You've done your mourning. How old are you? Eight- and-twenty? Almost thirty? No longer in your prime breeding years and no children."

"No, no children," Mrs. Hemmings reiterated. She was Dame Alodia's constant companion, a colorless, nondescript woman and a warning to Deborah of what might become of her. Life was not pleasant for a genteel woman forced to depend on the mercy of relatives.

"Actually, I'm seven-and-twenty," Deborah corrected, feeling hot color stain her cheeks. She did not like confrontation.

"Twenty-eight, seven-and-twenty, what difference?" Dame Alodia said with a dismissive wave. She picked Milton off her lap and unceremoniously handed him to Mrs. Hemmings. The dog growled at being moved from his comfortable position. "Take him out of the room for his walkie-walk, Hemmy," Dame Alodia ordered "while the rest of us talk sense into Mrs. Percival."'

"Yes, sense," Mrs. Hemmings echoed, and left the room.

As soon as the door shut, Dame Alodia came directly to the point. "Every woman needs a husband and children unless she is barren, and then she is not fit for a thing. Whatever your age, Mrs. Percival, you are not growing younger. Furthermore, those dark looks of yours are not in fashion. Blond hair and blue eyes, like your sisters have, is the style. Black hair and black eyes are too foreign- looking. Too Continental, and no one likes the Continent anymore. Not after the war."

Deborah felt the heat of scrutiny as the...

Excerpt from The Lady is Tempted by Cathy Maxwell
All rights reserved by publisher and author

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