The Secret MistressBook
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.
Includes Mary Balogh's "Now a Bride," featuring extra scenes from her Mistress series.
From the critics
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This is the prequel to More Than a Mistress and No Man's Mistress.
It is Angeline and Heyward's story, for which a number of readers have asked. They are already married in the other two Mistress books, but they seem a mismatched pair though her brothers do admit to each other, in some disgust, that they seem besotted with each other. I decided that it was time to discover for myself exactly how these two came together.
Lady Angeline Dudley is nineteen years old and wildly excited to be making her come-out at last. She is eager to find a husband, but she does not want a rake like her brothers or her father, much as she adores them. She wants someone far more steady. And she thinks she has found him when she is caught alone in an inn taproom on her way to London (very scandalously) and one man accosts her while another defends her and insists that the first apologize. She promptly falls in love with her rescuer, Edward Ailsbury, Earl of Heyward, without even knowing who he is, and decides that she will marry him even without knowing that she will see him ever again. That is the kind of woman she is!
Edward meanwhile is appalled by the indiscreet behavior of the woman he is forced to defend in the taproom, as well as by the shocking pink of her dress. He hopes fervently that he will never set eyes upon her again. He too is on his way to London for the Season. It is time to choose a bride, and he had his mind set upon an old friend, the very staid and sensible Eunice Goddard. Little does he know that his female relatives are lining up a bride for him—Lady Angeline Dudley, in fact, sister of the Duke of Tresham. Even less does he realize that Lady Angeline and the pink lady at the inn are one and the same.
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