A Loving Scoundrel: A Malory Novel (Malory-Anderson Family)

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9780743456302: A Loving Scoundrel: A Malory Novel (Malory-Anderson Family)

THE MALORYS ARE BACK!
Johanna Lindsey brings to glorious life her beloved aristocratic family of adventurous rogues and spirited ladies as the Malorys confront the shocking news that Jeremy, the rakehell son of gentleman pirate James Malory, has fallen in love.
When Jeremy Malory hires Danny, a young woman who grew up on London's streets disguised as a boy, as his upstairs maid, he secretly intends to make her his mistress. But Danny surprises him with her dreams of becoming a refined lady and a gentleman's wife. As she transforms from urchin to elegant beauty before Jeremy's eyes, she unwittingly captivates the charming scoundrel. Now high society tongues are wagging: Who is this mysterious newcomer, and what is the truth about her past? No matter that a life-long adversary will go to any lengths to ensure Danny's downfall, Jeremy, who vowed never to succumb to matrimony, finds his resolve weakening as he pursues a woman whose strong, passionate nature rivals his own and promises the kind of challenge a Malory man can't resist.

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About the Author:

Johanna Lindsey is world-renowned for her “mastery of historical romance” (Entertainment Weekly), with more than sixty million copies of her novels sold.  She is the author of fifty-two previous national bestselling novels, many of which reached the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Lindsey lives in New Hampshire with her family.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

From A Loving Scoundrel

Jeremy Malory had been in some unsavory taverns before, but this one was likely the worst of the lot. Not surprising, since it was located on the edge of what was quite possibly the worst of London's slums, a neighborhood given over to thieves and cut-throats, prostitutes and wild packs of urchin orphans who were no doubt being groomed into London's next generation of criminals.

He didn't actually dare to enter the heart of that area. To do so would probably be the last his family would ever see of him. But this tavern, on the very edge of that den of thieves, was there for the unsuspecting to stumble upon, have a few drinks, and get their pockets picked, or if they were stupid enough to let a room there for the night, to get completely robbed, clothes and all.

Jeremy had paid for a room. Not only that, he'd spread his coins around freely, buying a round of drinks for the few customers in the tavern and giving a good performance of being quite foxed. He had deliberately set the stage for a robbery -- his own. But then that's why he and his friend Percy were there -- to catch a thief.

Amazingly, Percy Alden was keeping his mouth shut for once. He was a chatterbox by nature, and quite scatterbrained on top of that. Percy's keeping mostly quiet on this unusual outing attested to his nervousness. Understandable. Whereas Jeremy might feel right at home in this element, having been born and raised in a tavern before his father stumbled across him when he was sixteen, Percy was a member of the ton.

Jeremy didn't mind. He was rather fond of Percy after chumming about with him for the last eight years. If he weren't, he certainly wouldn't have volunteered to extricate Percy from his latest folly -- getting royally fleeced by one of Lord Crandle's gambler friends at a house party last weekend. He'd lost three thousand pounds, his coach, and not one but two family heirlooms. He'd been so bloody foxed, he didn't even remember it, until one of the guests commiserated with him the next day and told him all about it.

Percy had been quite done in, and rightly so. Losing the money and coach were no more than he deserved for being so gullible, but the two rings were a different matter entirely. One was so old it was the family signet ring, and the other, quite valuable because of its gemstones, had been passed down in Percy's family for five generations now. Percy would never have thought to use them as betting tender. He had to have been coerced, goaded, or otherwise duped into putting them in the pot.

All of it now belonged to Lord John Heddings, and Percy had been beside himself when Heddings refused to sell the rings back to him. Money the lord didn't need. The coach he didn't need. The rings he must have considered trophies, a testament to his gambling skill. More likely a testament to his cheating skill, but Jeremy could hardly prove it when he hadn't been there to witness it.

Had Heddings been a decent sort, he would have sent Percy off to bed, instead of plying him further with drink and accepting the rings into the pot. Had he been a decent sort, he would have let Percy redeem them for their value. Percy had even been willing to pay more than they were worth. He wasn't poor, after all, as he had already come into his inheritance when his father died.

But Heddings wasn't interested in doing what was decent. Instead he'd gotten annoyed at Percy's insistence and downright nasty in the end, threatening Percy with bodily harm if he didn't stop bothering him. Which is what had annoyed Jeremy enough to suggest this alternative. Percy was quite convinced, after all, that his mother was going to disown him over this. He'd been avoiding her ever since, so she wouldn't notice the rings were missing from his fingers.

Since they'd retired to the tavern's upstairs room several hours ago, there had been three attempts to rob them. Bungled attempts each, and after the last, Percy was beginning to despair of finding a thief to carry out their mission. Jeremy was more confident. Three attempts in two hours meant there would be many more before the night was over.

The door opened again. There was no light in the room. There was no light out in the corridor either. If this new thief was any good, he wouldn't need light, he would have waited long enough for his eyes to adjust to the dark. Footsteps, a bit too loud. A match flicked.

Jeremy sighed and, in one fluid movement, left the chair near the door where he was keeping vigil. He was quieter about it than the thief had been upon entering the room and was suddenly there blocking his path, a mountain of a man, well, in comparison to the short thief, but big enough to scare the daylights out of the urchin, who immediately bolted back the way he'd come.

Jeremy slammed the door shut behind the fellow. He still wasn't disheartened. The night was young. The thieves hadn't gotten desperate yet. And if it came down to it, he'd just keep one of them until they agreed to bring him their best.

Jeremy almost missed the shadow moving stealthily across the room toward the bed. He hadn't heard the door open this time, hadn't heard it close either, hadn't heard a bloody thing for that matter. If the occupants of the room really had been asleep, as was to be expected, they certainly wouldn't have been awakened by this intruder.

Jeremy smiled to himself just before he lit a match of his own and moved it over the candle on the table he'd placed next to his chair. The thief's eyes had been drawn to him instantly. Jeremy hadn't moved otherwise, was sitting there quite relaxed. The thief wouldn't know how quickly he could move to prevent his escape if he had to. But the thief wasn't moving either yet, as he was apparently frozen in his surprise at being caught.

"Oh, I say." Percy raised his head. "Did we finally get lucky?"

"I'd say so," Jeremy replied. "Didn't hear him a'tall. He's our man, or boy as the case may be."

The thief was starting to shake off his surprise and probably didn't like what he was hearing, to go by the narrowed, suspicious look Jeremy was now getting. Jeremy ignored it. He looked for a weapon first, but didn't see the thief carrying one. Of course, Jeremy had his own hidden in his coat pockets, a pistol in each, so just because he didn't see one didn't mean the lad didn't have one.

Much taller than the previous miscreants who'd tried their hand at robbing them, and lanky besides, this thief was probably no more than fifteen or sixteen, to go by those smooth cheeks. Ash blond hair so light it was more white than blond, naturally curly, worn short. A misshapen black hat several centuries out of fashion. He wore a gentleman's coat of dark green velvet, stolen no doubt, and quite grubby-looking now, as if it got slept in a lot. A discolored white shirt was under it with a few ruffles at the neck, black trousers of the long variety, and no shoes. Smart fellow, no wonder he hadn't made a single sound yet.

Very flamboyant looking for a thief, but probably because he was such a handsome young lad. And he was definitely recovered from his surprise. Jeremy knew to the second when he would bolt and was there at the door before him, leaning back against it, crossing his arms across his chest.

He offered a lazy smile. "You don't want to leave yet, dear boy. You haven't heard our proposal."

The thief was gaping again. It could have been Jeremy's smile, but was more likely his speed in getting to the door first. But Percy noticed it this time and complained, "Damn me, he's staring at you the way the wenches do. It's a man we're in need of, not a child."

"Age is irrelevant, old man," Jeremy replied. "It's skill we're in need of, so the package it comes in doesn't matter all that much."

The lad, blushing now, was insulted, apparently, and with a glower toward Percy spoke for the first time. "Ain't never seen a nabob so pretty is all."

The word pretty started Percy laughing. Jeremy was no longer amused. The last man who'd called him pretty had lost a few teeth because of it.

"Look who's talking, when you've got the face of a girl," Jeremy said.

"He does, don't he?" Percy agreed. "You should grow some hair on those cheeks, at least until your voice drops an octave or two."

Yet another blush from the boy and a distinct grumble: "It won't grow -- yet. I'm only fifteen -- I think. Just tall for m'age, I am."

Jeremy might have felt sorry for the lad because of that "I think," which implied he wasn't sure what year he'd been born, which was usually the case with orphans. But he'd noted two things simultaneously. The boy's voice had started out high-pitched, then lowered before he'd finished his speech, as if he were going through that awkward time in a boy's life when his voice started changing to the deeper tones of manhood. And yet, Jeremy didn't think it was a natural slip, it had sounded much too contrived.

But the second thing he noticed upon closer examination was the lad wasn't just handsome, he was downright beautiful. Now, the same thing might have been said about Jeremy at that age, except Jeremy's handsomeness was decidedly male, while this lad's handsomeness was decidedly female. The soft cheeks, the lush lips, the pert little nose -- yet there was much more. The chin was too weak, the neck too narrow, even the stance was a dead giveaway, at least to a man who knew women as well as Jeremy did.

Still, Jeremy might not have drawn the conclusion he did, at least not quite so soon, if his own stepmother hadn't used the same sort of disguise when she'd first met his father. She'd been desperate to get back to America, and signing on as James's cabin boy had seemed to be her only option. Of course, James had known from the start that she wasn't a lad, and to hear him tell it, he'd had a great deal of fun pretending to believe she was a boy.

Jeremy could be wrong in this case. There was that slim possibility. And yet he was rarely wrong where women were concerned.

But there was no need to expose her. Whatever reason she had for hiding he...

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Descrizione libro SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. THE MALORYS ARE BACK! Johanna Lindsey brings to glorious life her beloved aristocratic family of adventurous rogues and spirited ladies as the Malorys confront the shocking news that Jeremy, the rakehell son of gentleman pirate James Malory, has fallen in love. When Jeremy Malory hires Danny, a young woman who grew up on London s streets disguised as a boy, as his upstairs maid, he secretly intends to make her his mistress. But Danny surprises him with her dreams of becoming a refined lady and a gentleman s wife. As she transforms from urchin to elegant beauty before Jeremy s eyes, she unwittingly captivates the charming scoundrel. Now high society tongues are wagging: Who is this mysterious newcomer, and what is the truth about her past? No matter that a life-long adversary will go to any lengths to ensure Danny s downfall, Jeremy, who vowed never to succumb to matrimony, finds his resolve weakening as he pursues a woman whose strong, passionate nature rivals his own and promises the kind of challenge a Malory man can t resist. Codice libro della libreria ABZ9780743456302

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Descrizione libro SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. THE MALORYS ARE BACK! Johanna Lindsey brings to glorious life her beloved aristocratic family of adventurous rogues and spirited ladies as the Malorys confront the shocking news that Jeremy, the rakehell son of gentleman pirate James Malory, has fallen in love. When Jeremy Malory hires Danny, a young woman who grew up on London s streets disguised as a boy, as his upstairs maid, he secretly intends to make her his mistress. But Danny surprises him with her dreams of becoming a refined lady and a gentleman s wife. As she transforms from urchin to elegant beauty before Jeremy s eyes, she unwittingly captivates the charming scoundrel. Now high society tongues are wagging: Who is this mysterious newcomer, and what is the truth about her past? No matter that a life-long adversary will go to any lengths to ensure Danny s downfall, Jeremy, who vowed never to succumb to matrimony, finds his resolve weakening as he pursues a woman whose strong, passionate nature rivals his own and promises the kind of challenge a Malory man can t resist. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780743456302

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Descrizione libro SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. THE MALORYS ARE BACK! Johanna Lindsey brings to glorious life her beloved aristocratic family of adventurous rogues and spirited ladies as the Malorys confront the shocking news that Jeremy, the rakehell son of gentleman pirate James Malory, has fallen in love. When Jeremy Malory hires Danny, a young woman who grew up on London s streets disguised as a boy, as his upstairs maid, he secretly intends to make her his mistress. But Danny surprises him with her dreams of becoming a refined lady and a gentleman s wife. As she transforms from urchin to elegant beauty before Jeremy s eyes, she unwittingly captivates the charming scoundrel. Now high society tongues are wagging: Who is this mysterious newcomer, and what is the truth about her past? No matter that a life-long adversary will go to any lengths to ensure Danny s downfall, Jeremy, who vowed never to succumb to matrimony, finds his resolve weakening as he pursues a woman whose strong, passionate nature rivals his own and promises the kind of challenge a Malory man can t resist. Codice libro della libreria ABZ9780743456302

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