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It Happened One Autumn (Wallflower Series) by Lisa Kleypas - Romance>Historical Regency
Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.
When Marcus shockingly -- and dangerously-swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed...thank goodness they weren't caught very nearly in the act!
Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly unsuitable...as his bride?
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Stony Cross Park, Hampshire
"The Bowmans have arrived," Lady Olivia Shaw announced from the doorway of the study, where her older brother sat at his desk amid stacks of account books. The late afternoon sun streamed through the long, rectangular stained-glass windows, which were the only ornamentation in the austere, rosewood-paneled room.
Marcus, Lord Westcliff, glanced up from his work with a scowl that drew his dark brows together over his coffee-black eyes. "Let the mayhem begin," he muttered.
Livia laughed. "I assume you're referring to the daughters? They're not as bad as all that, are they?"
"Worse," Marcus said succinctly, his scowl deepening as he saw that the temporarily forgotten pen in his fingers had left a large blot of ink on the otherwise immaculate row of figures. "Two more ill-mannered young women I have yet to meet. The older one, particularly."
"Well, they are Americans," Livia pointed out. "It's only fair that one should give them a certain latitude, isn't it? One can hardly expect them to know every elaborate detail of our endless list of social rules -- "
"I can allow them latitude on details," Marcus interrupted curtly. "As you know, I am not the kind to fault the angle of Miss Bowman's pinkie finger as she holds her teacup. What I do take exception to are certain behaviors that would be found objectionable in every corner of the civilized world."
Behaviors? thought Livia. Now, this was getting interesting. Livia advanced farther into the study, a room that she usually disliked, because it reminded her so strongly of their deceased father.
Any recollection of the eighth Earl of Westcliff was not a happy one. Their father had been an unloving and cruel man, who had seemed to suck all the oxygen from the room when he entered it. Everything and everyone in his life had disappointed the earl. Of his three offspring, only Marcus had come close to meeting his exacting standards, for no matter what punishments the earl had meted out, no matter how impossible his requirements or unfair his judgments, Marcus had never complained.
Livia and her sister, Aline, had been in awe of their older brother, whose constant striving for excellence led him to get the highest marks in school, to break all records in his chosen sports, and to judge himself far more harshly than anyone else ever could. Marcus was a man who could break a horse, dance a quadrille, give a lecture on mathematical theory, bandage a wound, and fix a carriage wheel. None of his vast array of accomplishments, however, had ever earned a word of praise from their father.
In retrospect, Livia realized that it must have been the old earl's intent to drive every lingering touch of softness or compassion out of his only son. And it had seemed for a while that he had succeeded. However, upon the old earl's death five years ago, Marcus had proved himself to be a very different man from the one he had been reared to be. Livia and Aline had discovered that their older brother was never too busy to listen to them, and that no matter how insignificant their problems seemed, he was always ready to help. He was sympathetic, affectionate, and understanding -- miraculous, really, when once realized that for most of his life, none of those qualities had ever been shown to him.
That being said, Marcus was also a bit domineering. Well . . . very domineering. When it came to those he loved, Marcus showed no compunction about manipulating them into doing what he thought was best. This was not one of his more charming attributes. And if Livia were to dwell on his faults, she would also have to admit that Marcus had an annoying belief in his own infallibility.
It Happened One AutumnBy: Lisa Kleypas