Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
<br> New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh weaves a sensuous spell of romance that brings together the unlikeliest pair of lovers in the unlikeliest place of all-an infamous London house of pleasure.<br> <br> She was unlike any woman he'd ever met in the ton or the demimonde. But Sir Gerald Stapleton frequented Mrs. Blyth's euphemistically dubbed "finishing school" for pure, uncomplicated pleasure-and nothing else. So why was this confirmed bachelor so thoroughly captivated by one woman in particular? Why did he find himself wondering how such a rare jewel of grace, beauty, and refinement as Priss had ended up a courtesan? And when she needed protection, why did Gerald, who'd sworn he'd never get entangled in affairs of the heart, hasten to set her up as his own pampered mistress to ensure her safety-and have her all to himself?<br> <br> For Priscilla Wentworth, the path leading to Sir Gerald's bed had been as filled with misfortune as it suddenly seemed charmed. But Priss couldn't allow herself to believe she'd ever be more to a man like Sir Gerald than a well-cared-for object of pleasure. Now, despite Gerald's deep distrust of marriage, neither scandal nor society's censure can keep them apart-only the fear of trusting their hearts.
$7.99 prolam 12-2009 (db)
Originally published: New York : Signet, 1993.
Excerpt provided by Syndetics
<anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">Chapter One "I am afraid Sonia is indisposed today, Sir Gerald," Miss Katherine Blythe told the young man when he was shown into her private sitting room instead of being admitted to one of the downstairs salons, as usual. "She has taken a chill from walking in the park yesterday without adequate protection from the cold wind. I would scold her roundly if she were not feeling so miserable, poor girl." "It was a chilly day yesterday," Sir Gerald Stapleton agreed. "I am sorry to hear that Sonia is not well, ma'am. Will you give her my regards? May I see her three days from now if she is recovered?" Miss Blythe sat back in her chair and looked assessingly at the young man who stood before her. He was of average height, slim and well-formed, fashionably dressed. His face was pleasant even if not startlingly handsome. His fair hair curled into no particular style, but it was soft and clean. She appeared to come to a decision. "I have one girl who is unexpectedly free for the next hour," she said. "Prissy has been with me for almost two months and is proving to be very satisfactory. Would you care to see her instead of Sonia for this evening, Sir Gerald?" The young gentleman pursed his lips and considered for a moment. "I am afraid I am a creature of habit, ma'am," he said. "I have been seeing Sonia for three months." "As you wish, sir," she said. "I am sure Sonia will be recovered in three days' time. I shall make the appointment for your usual time?" He bowed. But he hesitated as he turned to leave. "Of course," he said, "I have no other plans for this evening." Miss Blythe smiled at him. "Why don't you go down to the blue salon, Sir Gerald?" she said. "I shall send Prissy to you there and you may talk with her for a while. If you do not wish to stay after seeing her, you need not feel obliged to do so. If you do, well then, she is free." He bowed again after nodding an assent, left the sitting room, and went downstairs to the blue salon, where a cheerful fire crackled in the hearth and took the chill from the March evening. He held his hands out to the blaze. Perhaps it was time he tried someone new, he thought. He was indeed a creature of habit--he had told the truth in saying that. But he was also a man who feared commitment or obligation. He had avoided long-term relationships for all of his twenty-nine years and intended to do so for the rest of his life. Even his family relationships had never lasted long. Self-reliance was the only safe way to live, he had concluded long ago. Yes, perhaps it was as well that Sonia was ill. Three months was quite long enough. Too long, perhaps. And when he thought carefully about the girl, he had to admit that there was nothing about her that he would miss. He turned when the salon door opened. The young lady who stepped inside and closed the door quietly behind her seemed strangely out of place in Kit's house. She was small and dainty and dressed in a pretty green muslin dress, the neckline in a high frill beneath her chin, the sleeves puffed at the shoulders and then extending straight to the wrists. Her face beneath her short dark brown curls was pleasant and smiling, her gray eyes candid. She was pretty in a wholesome way. Her skin was creamy with a blush of color high on her cheekbones. She wore no cosmetics. "Sir Gerald Stapleton?" she said. Her voice was light and musical, another discordant detail in the house. "I am sorry for your disappointment, sir, but Sonia really is dreadfully ill. Would you like me to entertain you for this evening?" "Prissy?" he said, bowing to her. He did not usually think of bowing to any of Kit's girls. ̶ Excerpted from A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon>