Published: March 2010
Never say never…
With her mother’s passing, Alexandra Bolton gave up on love to take care of her family. Now, with the Bolton name in disgrace due to her father’s profligate ways, marrying an elderly squire might be the only way to save her family from absolute ruin. But when she meets the infamous Duke of Clarewood, old dreams—and old passions—are awakened as never before. Yet she cannot accept his shocking proposition!
He is the wealthiest, most powerful peer in the realm, and having witnessed the cold horror of marriage as a child, he has vowed never to wed. But Alexandra Bolton inflames him as no woman has ever done, and she also serves him his first rejection! Now Clarewood—who always gets what he wants—will choose which rules to play by. But when passion finally brings them together, a terrible secret threatens to tear them apart…
When passion collides…
“Dramatic emotions and wrenching choices keep the pages turning in this satisfying historical novel..”
“An Impossible Attraction resonates with the stirring storytelling and the affecting characters that readers have come to love and treasure from Brenda Joyce over the years, infused with fresh new characters making the offering not only about the timeless triumph of love, but also a celebration of the family in its most basic and touching form.”
—The Mystic Castle
“Reading a Brenda Joyce historical is like slowly eating warm, melted chocolate. You dip the spoon slowly, twirl it around, and then grab a bite and sigh.”
“Ms. Joyce shines in her latest de Warenne novel. She has a flair for delivering dramatic scenes and vivid characters that fully engage readers. The secondary characters and storylines add richness to this thoroughly enjoyable tale.”
“In her inimitable style Joyce presents her unforgettable de Warrenes in a mesmerizing new romance. Her marvelous storytelling, combined with the high level of emotion, makes for a non-stop delight of a read.”
“The intensity of emotion is beyond description in this seventh installment in the de Warenne Dynasty series. From the blissful heights of passion to the crushing depths of cruel betrayal, Joyce crafts an unforgettable tale. The characters are a wonderful assortment of ton and trash, and there’s never been a gossip mill more vindictive. Alexandra’s plight is heart-stopping and Stephen’s inner conflict practically radiates off the page. Prepare to lose sleep over this one.”
—Reader To Reader
The next day, Alexandra arrived at Clarewood fifteen minutes early. Guillermo showed her into the blue and gold salon where she’d become reacquainted with Elysse de Warenne and Lady St Xavier. “Luncheon is at one,” he told her, unblinkingly. “His Grace is in a meeting, but he will be through shortly.”
“Thank you,” Alexandra managed, hoping he hadn’t noticed that she was trembling. Her nerves were out of control.
It was almost impossible to believe that she was embarking on an affair with the duke of Clarewood. Alexandra paced. She was breathless, of course she was. In a few hours, she might be upstairs, in his bed.
She wasn’t ashamed now, or mortified, she wasn’t anything except anxious. And he would be a good lover, she was certain. She knew he could be kind; he’d been kind to her the moment they’d met—and more than one time.
She needed him to be kind now.
And if he didn’t truly care for her—and how could he? They barely knew one another—she needed him to pretend affection. But he was very experienced; he’d been rumored to be attached to various beautiful women for years. Alexandra was certain that he would put her at ease. In spite of his illicit affairs, he was obviously a gentleman.
Guillermo had left the blue and gold doors open. She heard voices, one of which was his. Her heart jumped. She turned and her eyes widened when she saw him pause before the threshold with Randolph. His gaze was direct, his smile suggestive. His eyes were unusually bright. Then he turned to the younger man. “Please make sure I have the answers I am expecting, preferably by tomorrow.”
“Yes, Your Grace.” Randolph then smiled at Alexandra. “Good afternoon, Miss Bolton. I hope you are enjoying Ebony.”
She was too aghast to smile. “I am.”
He nodded and sauntered off.
As Clarewood strolled into the room, carrying papers, she cried, “We agreed on discretion.”
He was amused. “Randolph is discreet.”
“Having him see me here is not discretion!” Unthinkingly she started for the door.
He barred her way and caught her shoulders. “You are beautiful today.”
She froze, looking up into his smoking eyes. “I have been anticipating our rendezvous. I hope you have, too,” he murmured.
She found herself staring at his mouth. She slowly looked back into his eyes. “I am somewhat nervous, Your Grace.”
His smile deepened, revealing a dimple. “You have no reason to be nervous,” he said. He slid his thumb along the high curve of her cheek. Alexandra shuddered. Sensation went through her entire body.
“I pray you are right about Randolph,” she whispered. “And what about Guillermo?”
He was as amused. “If Guillermo wished to betray me, he could have done so a thousand times.”
What did that mean? She wondered, thinking of Lady Witte.
He released her, sliding one hand down her arm in a casual caress as he did so. Her insides tightened anew. “He would never betray me.”
“Do you know Lady Witte?” she heard herself ask.
“Frankly, I know her very well.”
Alexandra stiffened. They were lovers. “She is a new customer.”
He started, becoming annoyed. “You do not need customers, Alexandra. You need to heed me and carefully. Once we have agreed to this arrangement, I will take proper care of you.”
She gaped. “What does that mean?”
“It means you need a wardrobe and some spending money, at the least.” His stare intensified. “I said I was a generous benefactor.”
She flushed, shaken. Was he kind and considerate? It seemed so. Maybe she had misjudged him on every score. On the other hand, there his relationship with Lady Witte.
“Please, finish,” he said softly.
She found her courage. “Is she your lover…even now?”