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Enchanting Pleasuresby Eloisa James
Synopses & Reviews
St. James's Square, London
Fate had just dealt Viscount Dewland a blow that would have felled a weaker — or more sympathetic — man. He gaped silently at his eldest son for a moment, ignoring his wife's twittering commentary. But a happy thought revived him. That same wife had, after all, provided him with two male offspring.
Without further ado he spun on his heel and barked at his younger son, "If your brother can't do his duty in bed, then you'll do it. You can act like a man for once in your life."
Peter Dewland was caught unawares by his father's sudden attack. He had risen to adjust his neckcloth in the drawing-room mirror, thereby avoiding his brother's eyes. Really, what does a man say to that sort of confession? But like his father, Peter recovered quickly from unpredictable assaults.
He walked around the end of the divan and sat down. "I gather you are suggesting that I marry Jerningham's daughter?"
"Of course I am " the viscount snapped. "Someone has to marry her, and your brother has just declared himself ineligible."
"I beg to differ," Peter remarked with a look of cool distaste. "I have no plans to marry at your whim."
"What in the bloody hell do you mean? Of course you'll marry the girl if I instruct you to do so "
"I do not plan to marry, Father. Not at your instigation nor at anyone else's."
"Rubbish Every man marries."
Peter sighed. "Not true."
"You've squired about every beautiful gal that came on the market in the last six years. If you had formed a true attachment, I would not stand in your way. But since you haven't made a move to attach yourself, you will marry Jerningham's girl.
"You shall do as I say, boy," the viscount bellowed. "Your brother can't take on the job, and so you have to do it. I've been lenient with you. You might be in the Seventh Foot at this very moment. Have you thought of that?"
"I'd rather take a pair of colors than a wife," Peter retorted.
"Absolutely not," his father said, reversing himself. "Your brother's been at the point of death for years."
Inside the drawing room, the silence swelled ominously. Peter grimaced at his elder brother, whose muscled body proclaimed his general fitness to the world at large.
Erskine Dewland, who had been staring meditatively at the polished surface of his Hessians, raised his heavy-lidded eyes from his boots to his father's face. "If Peter is determined not to marry, I could take her on." His deep voice fell into the silent room.
"And what's the point of that? You can't do the job properly, and I'm not wedding Jerningham's daughter to ... to ... in that case. I've got principles. The girl's got a right to expect a sound husband, for God's sake."
Quill, as Erskine was known to his intimates, opened his mouth again. And then thought better of it. He could certainly consummate the marriage, but it wouldn't be a very pleasant experience. Any woman deserved more from marriage than he could offer. While he had come to terms with his injuries, especially now that they had ceased to bother his movement, the three-day migraines that followed
Disabled in a riding accident, Erskine Dewland, the eldest son of a marquis, falls in love with Gabrielle Jerningham, an heiress raised in India and the destined bride of his younger brother, Peter, and discovers that true love can heal anything. Reprint.
Eloisa James is also the author of the acclaimed novels Potent Pleasures and Midnight Pleasures. She is a professor of English literature who lives with her family in New Jersey.
From the Hardcover edition.
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