Sep 4, 2008 · Piatkus · isbn: 0749908807

The United Kingdom
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How to Marry a Marquis

(United Kingdom edition – view American edition)

Book 2 of the Agents of the Crown

Elizabeth Hotchkiss needs to marry a wealthy man, and fast. The oldest child of four well-bred orphans, she has managed to keep the wolf from their door for years, but she’s running out of options. The only marriage prospect in sight is her landlord, Squire Nevins, but his lecherous gaze makes Elizabeth’s skin crawl. So when she discovers the book How to Marry A Marquis in her employer’s library, she impulsively stuffs it into her reticule and takes it home. Encouraged by her insistent sister, Elizabeth reluctantly agrees to learn the book’s rules well enough to catch a monied husband. But first, she must find a man to practice her wiles on. Enter James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale. Posing as the new estate manager per his beloved Aunt Danbury’s instructions, he just happens to arrive at the Danbury estate on the very day that Elizabeth discovers the book. Is it too coincidental that James’s Aunt Danbury needs his assistance in catching a blackmailer at the precise moment that Elizabeth needs a guinea pig? Perhaps, but neither Elizabeth nor James have reason to suspect that they are being lovingly manoeuvred.

James begins to search for a blackmailer, and Elizabeth is high on his list of suspects. While purposely spending time with her to explore her guilt or innocence, however, he’s irresistibly drawn to her beauty and kindness as well as her practicality and sharp tongue. And when he learns that she’s practising to entice a husband, he can’t resist offering to tutor her in courtship. Before long, the two realise their growing feelings for each other. But the course of true love never did run smoothly, and the lovers encounter a few obstacles along the way. Will the evil Squire Nevins easily give up his designs on Elizabeth and her sisters? What about the nefarious blackmailer? And how will Elizabeth react if she discovers that James is not who he pretends to be?