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The Seduction of Lady X
 
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The Seduction of Lady X [Format Kindle]

Julia London

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CHAPTER ONE

Harrison Tolly, the steward of the Carey family holdings, was known around the village of Everdon for his affable demeanor and his willingness to help friends in need. Which was why his friend Marcus Dembly, the proprietor of Dembly’s Goods, believed Harrison would help him with the problem of having one too many horses for his stable.

He’d brought the horse down to Everdon Court to show Harrison and was working very hard to convince him he ought to give the mount a go.

“I do not intend to buy your horse, Dembly,” Harrison said as he openly admired the roan gelding. “You realize that, do you not?”

“I cannot see why not,” Dembly said. “Why rely on the Everdon Court stables when you could have your own horse? There is a perfectly good stable here at the dowager house. I should think you would want your own, so that you might call on your Lady X whenever it pleases you.” He grinned and cuffed Harrison on the shoulder.

Lady X was how Harrison’s friends referred to the woman he adored from afar. Or rather, they did not know he adored her from afar—they’d drawn their own conclusions because Harrison had refused to name her.

He never would have mentioned her at all had there not been a movement afoot for the last few years to provide him with a wife. It sometimes seemed to him that half of Everdon was desperate to see him wed, and the other half just as desperate he not marry into their family, given the circumstances of his birth, which was completely lacking in paternity.

“Your powers of persuasion are quite good,” Harrison said congenially. “But I will not purchase horseflesh I do not need and cannot feed. Which, I suspect, is the reason you are so eager to sell.”

“Bloody hell, Harry, just try the horse, will you?” Dembly begged, clearly annoyed now. “I’ve come all this way. You might at least humor me.”

“Very well,” Harrison said with a shrug. “Give the horse over for the day and I shall humor you properly. By what name do you call this gelding?”

“Lightning,” Dembly said.

“How terribly original,” Harrison drawled. “Go on, then,” he said, shooing his friend away. “I’ll not have you breathing down my neck, hoping for a miracle.”

He put his foot in the horse’s stirrup—Dembly had put a premium saddle on him, Harrison noted—and swung up. The horse felt good beneath him, strong and sturdy. And big. So big that Harrison could only guess that the beast would require an entire pasture and a bushel of carrots each week.

He spurred the horse on to appease his friend and rode out through the gates to the park behind Everdon Court, en route to Mr. Fortaine’s cottage, the tenant he had intended to call on today. He took the forest path that led to the river road, and as he emerged from the forest, he came upon Lady Carey in the grassy clearing beside the river.

She was standing before an easel. She wore a wide-brimmed hat and held a palette in one hand. She was dressed in a white muslin gown and a rose-colored spencer. A footman was sitting on a rock on the river’s edge, a fishing pole in his hand.

Harrison trotted up to her. Lady Carey turned her head; when she saw it was him, she smiled beatifically.

That smile drifted through Harrison like stardust. “Mr. Tolly!” she said, her voice full of delight. “What a pleasant surprise! You are just the person to give me an honest opinion of my painting. Will you have a look?”

“I wasn’t aware that you were an artist,” he said as he hopped down from the gelding.

“No?” she asked, smiling coyly.

He walked over to have a look at her handiwork. He had to cock his head to one side and squint a little, but after careful consideration, he determined that the painting was of a goat eating daisies in a field. And the goat had a man’s face. A vaguely familiar face at that. It rather looked like the marquis.

“What do you think?” she asked brightly. “Do you like it?”

“Well . . . it is very colorful,” he said.

“Colorful! How kind.”

He gave her a sidelong look; she had a playful smile on her lips as she casually studied her work. “My skill at interpreting works of art is lacking,” he said, “but if I am not mistaken, you have painted a goat with a familiar face.”

Her smile brightened. “I have, indeed! Are you impressed with my skill?”

“Ah . . .” He looked at the painting again. “I am impressed. But not with your skill.”

Lady Carey burst out laughing—a deep laugh that made her eyes shine. “I share your opinion,” she said laughingly, and touched her brush to the goat’s tail. “However, my husband believes ladies of leisure should paint. And therefore, I paint,” she said, and dabbed at the palette. “I have an affinity for wildlife,” she continued, and began to touch up the daisies that were sticking out of the goat’s mouth. “You know, horses and birds. Goats. Even donkeys.” She winked.

Harrison couldn’t help his chuckle. “You are perhaps the finest painter of goats I have ever seen.”

Lady Carey laughed warmly.

“Is your sister about?” he asked, looking around them as Lady Carey added a few more daisies to her field.

“Unfortunately, no. Alexa is a bit under the weather.”

Harrison thought that Miss Hastings was a bit of a problem. Certainly the marquis did not care for her. “She’s a light-skirt, that one,” he’d said one day for no apparent reason. “A disgusting lack of decorum.” Harrison had no idea why the marquis felt that way—he’d never heard any such thing about Miss Hastings. He rather thought the marquis simply did not care for her.

“I am distressed to hear it,” he said to Lady Carey.

Lady Carey smiled prettily at him, but her eye caught something behind him. “Is that a new horse, Mr. Tolly?” she asked, leaning to her right to see around him.

“In a manner of speaking,” Harrison said. “My friend Mr. Dembly would like me to purchase him. He does not care that I have no need for a horse.”

“Haven’t you? For this one looks as if he would be a good runner.”

Harrison looked at the horse, then at her. “Would you care to ride him?”

She gasped with delight. “May I?” she asked, already putting her palette aside.

“Of course you may. However, the horse is not saddled properly for a lady—”

“Oh, that’s quite all right,” she said with a casual flick of her wrist. “I shall make do.”

She moved around to the side of the gelding, and Harrison cupped his hands for her, as the stirrup was too high for her to reach. She slipped her foot into his fingers and leapt up as he lifted her. She landed squarely in the saddle and hooked her knee around the pommel. Her other leg was exposed from the calf down, and though she wore white stockings, Harrison could see the line of her shapely leg.

“Oh, he is indeed a fine horse!” she said, and leaned forward to stroke its neck. “And quite strong.”

Her breasts strained against her spencer jacket as she reached for the horse, and Harrison unwisely imagined those breasts pressed against him.

“Perhaps you might give him a bit of encouragement?” she asked.

Harrison obliged her by slapping the horse’s rump. The horse started off in a slow canter. Lady Carey rode him expertly, leading him to trot around the clearing, making a big circle around her easel and Harrison, who stood with his legs braced apart, his hands on his hips. Her bonnet toppled off her head, but her footman was quick to retrieve it.

“Do you recall the race between Mr. Williams and Mr. Janus a few years ago?” she called out to Harrison as she trotted by.

As if Harrison could forget any moment he’d spent in her company. On that particular day she’d convinced him, with her winsome smile and charming laugh, to make a few wagers on her behalf. “My husband will not allow any wagering, you know,” she’d whispered. “He thinks it quite unladylike. What do you think, Mr. Tolly?”

“I think you are mad to wager on Mr. Janus,” he’d said low. “He is a stone heavier than Mr. Williams and cannot possibly outrun him on that steed.”

“I have faith in Mr. Janus,” she’d insisted pertly, and had pressed some coins into his palm. “Would you care to wager with me?”

Harrison would do anything to prolong his time in her company. “What do you have mind, madam?”

“If Mr. Janus wins by a length, you shall give me ten pounds.”

“Ten pounds?” he’d said, cocking one brow high with amusement.

“I beg your pardon, is that too rich for you?” she’d teased him.

“I think it is too confident for you.”

“So you say,” she’d said coyly. “If Mr. Janus wins by less than a length, I shall give you ten pounds.”

“And what if,” he’d said, his gaze locked on her sparkling blue eyes, “he doesn’t win at all?”

She’d shrugged. “Then I shall give you twenty pounds.”

He’d laughed. But he’d taken her bet.

Mr. Janus had won handily that afternoon, putting fourteen pounds in Lady Carey’s pocket. But he’d won only ...

Revue de presse

Julia London writes vibrant, emotional stories and sexy, richly-drawn characters.”
-New York Times Bestselling author Madeline Hunter

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 814 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 404 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1439175470
  • Editeur : Pocket Books (27 mars 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B005GG0NBE
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°178.764 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  22 commentaires
12 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 I really think she should've stopped at book 2 7 avril 2012
Par kenalouise - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
I was really disappointed by the whole series. In this book the most, it wasn't well thought out.The main characters lacked strength in their relatioship. I wanted to slap her sister Alexa. She made me think of most teens today,she's pregnant and refuses help and to face reality. Olivia's husband was a well written jerk,but things were better for the most part when he was alive because everyone became stupid when he died. The ending was rushed, literally her sister waited til the last second to do the right thing. My main problems are as follows: The series was supposedly built around the jewels but now their unimportant? They went to some pawn shop and who cares? The old earl mysteriously vanished to who knows but how are we sure he won't crawl out of some gutter? Did her aunt kill herself or did the old earl stage her death, probably suicide.Where are the answers to the mysteries or secrets of Hadley Green, Julia London forgot to tell you.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A change to the usual tale 6 septembre 2012
Par llbaker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Here's a story where from the first page, we realize our "hero" is madly in love...quite the opposite of the usual run where the female has to capture her guy. I found myself cheering this guy on, and hoping something nasty would happen to Lady X's hubby so she'd be free to be with her secret admirer. A fun read.
5 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful conclusion to a great series 21 avril 2012
Par Jackie - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Harrison Tally fell in love with Olivia the first time he saw her, but she was married to Marquis Carey . . . it was not a love match. Carey was a cruel man who was drunk daily. When Olivia's 18 year old sister came home from a tour of Spain unmarried and pregnant Carey refused to lend his support. To give the child a name Harrison volunteered to marry her and she accepted after she found out Harrison was going to be an Earl.

This book was good. It was filled with drama and suspense; I kept turning the pages because I could not wait to find out what was going to happen next. If you have read the other books in The Secrets of Hadley Green series you will be happy to know at last we find out were the rubies are.
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Awful 5 mai 2012
Par Alphalover - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
This was awful. This review contains spoilers. The hero, 29 year old Harrison Tolly, is the steward for Edward Carey. Twenty-six year old Olivia is stuck in an unhappy and abusive marriage with Edward, has been for six years. She's physically, sexually (raped) and verbally abused by her husband.

They find out that her younger sister Alexa (she's eight years younger) is pregnant. Out of nowhere, Harrison offers to marry Olivia when he barely knows her. He has absolutely nothing to gain by doing so. He just doesn't want her child to be a `bastard' like he was so out of pity, he offers marriage. Literally, the entire plot revolves around that. He's in love with Olivia but she doesn't know until much later, after he's offered to marry Alexa. Alexa is a selfish immature character and I didn't like her at all.

Olivia has a young maid named Rue. She's slow mentally and boy, does the author keep reminding us of it. Almost every time the poor girl is mentioned it's because she's doing something wrong. It's clear her character was created to provide comic relief for the author but I didn't find it to be funny.

Olivia and Harrison get their happily ever after and so does Alexa. An unbelievable reunion of sorts happens involving her right at the end that made me roll my eyes. This was not a good story by any stretch of the imagination.

This was my first Julia London book and I don't think I'd read her again.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
6 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A Dissapointing Read 4 avril 2012
Par ~M.K~ - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Julia London has set a precedent of great storytelling that wraps around you and displaces you to another time and place. I didn't feel that with this book. It was muddled with more reminiscing than present day events. Mr. Tolly, although created with enough redeaming qualities, i.e. the desire to help those less fortunate, was not a strong and commanding male lead. Olivia's character was no better developed.

I enjoy a book that allows us to become privy to the development of feelings between the two characters. Where you feel almost voyeuristic taking peeks at their most intimate thoughts and feelings. Where love comes slowly and is a revelation to all. Unfortunately, this book begins with each of the characters already in love and yearning for a relationship that neither can possess. This yearning was punctuated with the whiny and selfish inclusion of Olivia's sister.

Because my standards have been set to incredibly high by Ms. London, this book fell very short for me. I hope to find her next work as stimulating and engrossing as her previous books.
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