The Wanton Bride. Mary Brendan

The Wanton Bride - Mary Brendan

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      “Miss Beaumont…what are you doing?”

      “I’m avoiding someone, sir.”

      “Avoiding someone?” Mark prompted easily, as though the incongruity of conversing with her in a musty office in the City rather than in an elegant drawing room in Mayfair had not occurred to him.

      “Yes,” Emily breathed. “The door was open and I just quickly darted in, as I didn’t want to speak to him anymore.”

      “If he’s making a nuisance of himself I’m sure I can persuade him to desist.” As Mark drew level to her, a frisson of something akin to excitement jolted through her. The corridor was narrow and shadowy, and a musky sandalwood scent seemed to emanate from the warmth of his body.

      Mark felt blood thicken his veins. He had an almost undeniable urge to trap her against the wall and kiss her senseless. She was the most unbelievably desirable little minx, even garbed in a voluminous cloak that disguised all her sweet curves. Miss Emily Beaumont might not like him, but he feared he might like her…a little too much….

      The Wanton Bride

      Harlequin®Historical #894—April 2008

      MILLS & BOON

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      Praise for Mary Brendan

      A Practical Mistress

      “Brendan has created a heroine to root for, and the indignities she suffers will pull at readers’ sympathies.”

      —Romantic Times BOOKreviews

      The Silver Squire

      “Mary Brendan delivers a lively tale with unconventional lovers and good characterization.”

      —Romantic Times BOOKreviews

      A Kind and Decent Man

      “Accomplished talent Mary Brendan is very adept at telling both sides of a love story, which easily doubles the readers’ pleasure.”

      —Romantic Times BOOKreviews

      The Wanton Bride


      Author Note

      During the Regency period, genteel ladies hoping to find a husband were expected to be of impeccable reputation. In writing THE HUNTER BROTHERS duet of books, I have created heroines who don’t quite fit Polite Society’s view of an ideal wife.

      In the first novel, A Practical Mistress, Sir Jason Hunter is captivated by a young widow brazen enough to proposition him.

      The subsequent novel, The Wanton Bride, features Mark Hunter and his pursuit of a woman with a guilty secret in her past.

      I hope you enjoy reading about two eligible gentlemen who are prepared to fight for the unique women they love.

      Available from Harlequin®Historical and MARY BRENDAN

      *Wedding Night Revenge #203

      *The Unknown Wife #205

      *A Scandalous Marriage #210

      *The Rake and the Rebel #211

      **A Practical Mistress #865

      **The Wanton Bride #894


      Chapter One

      Chapter Two

      Chapter Three

      Chapter Four

      Chapter Five

      Chapter Six

      Chapter Seven

      Chapter Eight

      Chapter Nine

      Chapter Ten

      Chapter Eleven

      Chapter Twelve

      Chapter Thirteen

      Chapter Fourteen

      Chapter Fifteen

      Chapter Sixteen

      Chapter Seventeen

      Chapter Eighteen

      Chapter One

      ‘Nonsense, my dear! There is nothing sinister in it. Boys like to go off gallivanting once in a while. You’re worrying unnecessarily, I tell you!’ Mr Cecil Beaumont gave his beautiful blonde daughter a beaming smile. ‘Don’t look so glum. He’ll turn up when he’s good and ready.’

      ‘Tarquin is not a boy, Papa,’ Emily Beaumont pointed out quietly. ‘He is a man of twenty-seven and I suspect he has got himself into one scrape too many. Perhaps he has not succeeded in stalling his creditors and is in trouble.’ Her silver-blue eyes took on a faraway look as she pondered on instances when her older brother had brought himself close to ruination through gaming and wild ways. But he had never yet disappeared for more than a few days before turning up, like the proverbial bad penny, sober and remorseful. ‘Perhaps we ought to check with the authorities in case he is again in the Fleet.’

      Mr Beaumont waved a dismissive hand. ‘No need…no need, my dear.’ He picked up his pen, idle on a page of his ledger, and set about using it.

      His daughter was not so easily put off. Emily paced to the window of her father’s den, stared out sightlessly, before wandering back into the room, deep in thought. With a sigh she sank into an old armchair.

      Tarquin had been due to come to their parents’ home in Callison Crescent and take their brother Robert to the outfitters. But he had failed to arrive at the appointed hour five days ago and had not contacted his family to make his excuses or his apologies. Emily thought it highly irregular behaviour, even for someone as self-centred as her brother.

      Mrs Beaumont’s reaction on that afternoon was to mutter about the inconsiderate knave before she got her husband’s valet to take Robert to the tailors instead. When Emily had earlier today approached her mother about Tarquin’s lengthy silence, she showed herself no more concerned over her eldest son’s whereabouts than did her husband.

      Mr Beaumont raised an indulgent paternal eye to his daughter. He tossed his quill on to the blotter and clucked his tongue. ‘Come, my dear, no long face, I beg you. If Tarquin had been threatened with prison, he would have by now summoned my help, you may take my word on it.’ Cecil gave a cynical little laugh. ‘I’ll not go looking for him to sort out his troubles—if troubles he has—for they always find me soon

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