When hardened gamester Marcus Revington wins Horngate Manor in a card game, he’s delighted to finally own property, and undeterred when he learns he must marry the heiress of the estate to claim it.
The heiress, Penny Montgomery, is happy with her life raising horses at Horngate and has no desire to wed anyone. When she discovers what her guardian has done, she comes up with a scheme to convince Marcus she’s unsuitable as a wife so he’ll give up his plan to marry her.
Who will win in this battle of wits and wills? Or will they both discover the name of the game is love?
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He might have known she’d take hours, Marcus thought with irritation as he waited in the drawing room. Offer to take a woman somewhere, and she fussed and fiddled half the day. He’d thought Penny was more practical than that, but it appeared she was as tardy as other members of her sex. A pity if she’d already been corrupted by Madame Dubonet and lost that ingenuous charm of hers. He rather liked the grubby hoyden he’d met in the drive of Horngate. She’d been a delightful change from the coy, manipulative women of the ton.
He paced across to the window to check on the phaeton and team. Hearing a faint sound, he turned.
For a moment, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. His gaze moved down Penny’s slender form, then returned to the expanse of lush creamy flesh exposed by the low neckline of her dress. He swallowed hard, then choked out, “What the devil are you wearing?”
She gave him an innocent smile. “It’s my new daydress. Do you like it?”
Gone was the sweetly pretty young miss he’d brought to London. She’d been transformed into a sensual, sophisticated, breathtaking… goddess. It wasn’t just the lush décolletage the gown revealed, but the color of the fabric. Some subtle shade of pink that made her look edible. He longed to kiss and lick and nibble every inch of the silken, creamy skin the garment exposed. And then move on to the parts concealed by the soft, shimmery fabric. The very thought made him instantly aroused.
He took a deep breath and tried to focus on Penny’s face. “The dress is very fashionable, I’m certain. But if you don’t want to catch a chill, you’d best put on your pelisse.”
Penny hurried to do as he suggested. Despite having carefully planned this moment, when it actually came time to appear before Revington in the skimpy gown, she’d experienced an attack of nerves. It had taken all her willpower to walk boldly into the drawing room, despite feeling half-naked.
Revington’s expression had turned quite strange, almost savage. But then a moment later, his normal reserve had
prevailed and he’d carried on in his usual impatient style.
She put on her pelisse and started for the door. Then she remembered the other part of her plan. Turning, she said, “I wondered if rather than driving today, you could have footman take the reins and sit in the carriage with me. That way you’ll be able to tell me about the sights as we travel through the city.”
Seeing a muscle twitch in his jaw, she wondered whether he disliked the thought of spending time with her. Too bad, she thought stubbornly. For her plan to work, she needed to force him into close proximity.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Gillgannon is the author of fifteen novels, mostly romances set in the dark age, medieval and English Regency time periods. She’s married and has two children. Now that they’re grown, she indulges her nurturing tendencies on four very spoiled cats and a moderately spoiled dog. When not writing or working—she’s been employed at the local public library for twenty-five years—she enjoys gardening, reading and travel.