The Once-a-Mistress Wife [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Katherine Garbera
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: High-Society Scandal! Mary Duvall came back to Eastwick to claim her inheritance--not to rekindle a romantic relationship with millionaire Kane Brentwood! Years ago, she'd been content as the English lord's mistress. But when he took another woman as his wife, she swore she'd never surrender to him again. And now she has no choice but to resist his attempts at seduction: to gain her millions, she must avoid any hint of scandal. Kane may be used to getting what he wants, but Mary has no intention of giving in and facing the truth about her past--or the lies she once told....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Desire
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2006
39 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure eReader - What's this?]: SECURE EREADER (RECOMMENDED) FORMAT [109 KB]
All formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
Microsoft Reader ISBN: 9781552545973
Adobe Reader ISBN: 9781552545973
Mobipocket Reader ISBN: 1552545970
eReader ISBN: 9781552545973
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Mary Duvall stood over the open casket of her grandfather, David Duvall. Tears burned the back of her eyes, but she kept them in check, very conscious that Grandfather David had always wanted her to be composed in public. That's why she'd closed the doors to the viewing room and entered it alone.
The old Mary would have wept loudly and cried her grief with sobs and moans, doing everything in her power to get those emotions out. But now she buttoned them down. Ignored everything but the need to touch his face one last time.
She touched his cold, makeup-covered skin and shivered inside. She felt so alone. She was all alone now. Her parents had died years ago in a car accident—not that they'd ever been close. And her younger brother, their perfect child, had been in the car with them—also gone.
She liked the new life she was carving for herself in Eastwick, Connecticut, at her grandfather's behest. She'd returned from Paris when she'd learned his health was failing. He'd offered to make her his heir if she proved she was no longer the rebellious wild child he remembered.
"I'm going to make you proud, Grandfather. No more embarrassment over my behavior."
She leaned down, brushing her lips over his dry forehead and wishing for just one second that he could embrace her. Her childhood had been difficult to say the least and Grandfather David had been as disapproving as everyone else in the Duvall clan, but he'd always hugged her as she left.
He was the only one to ever do anything like that. She would miss him more than she'd realized.
A knock on the door interrupted her farewell.
She glanced at her watch. Damn, it was almost time for the public viewing. No doubt her cousins would be outside demanding some private time with a man they cared about only for his money.
Mary wanted to use the Duvall estate to benefit others. She intended to establish a trust that would be used to create neonatal units at hospitals in lower-income areas. She also hoped to sponsor an art-focused summer camp for underprivileged children. She had never been encouraged to paint as a child, even though her earliest memories were of having a paintbrush in her hand. She loved to create new worlds on canvas.
Her work was garnering attention in Europe and she enjoyed the money she'd made selling the serial rights to several of her pieces for a print series.
But for now, she had the viewing to get through. Before opening the door, she tucked the short note she'd written last night into the breast pocket of his suit, under his handkerchief, right over his heart.
Then she wiped the moisture from beneath her eyes and confronted her second cousins. Channing and Lorette Moorehead were the children of her grandfather's sister.
"How touching. I almost believe you cared for the old man," Channing said, escorting his sister Lorette to the casket.
"I did care for him," Mary said.
"Then why did you spend so many years breaking his heart?" Lorette asked.
Mary swallowed hard, biting back a retort that wouldn't be ladylike. Wouldn't fit the image that Grandfather wanted her to portray.
"We made our peace, Grandfather and I."
"You may have fooled Uncle David, but we aren't convinced you've changed. I will be keeping an eye on you," Channing said.
He was almost ten years older than she was, and from her earliest memories he'd always been a pompous ass. She had no fondness for Channing, but Lorette, who was only two years older than Mary, had been a close friend when they were younger. They'd roamed all over Grandfather's mansion playing games and getting into trouble. It had all ended when Lorette had turned ten and declared herself too old for childish pursuits.
"I'll leave you two to your private grieving."
The anteroom was almost empty except for a few of her friends. Their long history and regular luncheons had garnered them the name the Debs Club.
Everyone in their group seemed to be getting engaged or married; something Mary had no desire to do herself. She'd been deeply in love with a man once, and when he'd left her to marry the "right" kind of woman, she'd promised herself she'd never live with that kind of pain again.
Yet another example of how her wild lifestyle—which wasn't really that wild—had resulted in her being alone. The problem was that for most of her life Mary had never wanted to follow the rules. Almost in contradiction to the plain name—and possibly plain aspirations—her parents had given her at birth, Mary had come out of the womb a rebel.
But not any longer. She'd paid a high price for her rebelliousness, and her deathbed promise to Grandfather David meant she'd toe the line from now on.
Mary started toward her friends. They all wore black for mourning, and Mary appreciated having them here. Maybe she wasn't completely alone. She did have her friends, and they'd proven to be a solid support to her in a way that she'd never experienced before.
The outer door opened before she reached her friends, and she turned to greet the newcomer. The blood rushed to her head and she heard the pounding of her own heartbeat in her ears as she recognized the one man she'd never thought to see again.
Kane Brentwood—English lord and her ex-lover.
"Mary," he said. Just her name in that deep voice of his never failed to send shivers coursing through her body.
Copyright © 2006 by Harlequin Books S.A.