The Ideal Bride (Cynster Novels)
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New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens has created some of romance's most unforgettable novels. Now she has created her most provocative love story—and amazing hero—to date. This is the book that dares to ask the question: Who is this man's ideal bride?
Michael Anstruther-Wetherby is a rising member of Parliament—a man destined for power. Aristocratic, elegant, and effortlessly charming, he is just arrogant enough to capture the interest of the ladies of the ton. And with his connections to the wealthy and influential Cynster family—his sister is married to Devil Cynster, the Duke of St. Ives—his future appears assured.
Except that Michael lacks the single most important element of success: a wife.
Political pressure sends him searching for his ideal bride, a gently bred, malleable young lady, preferably one with a political background. Michael discovers such a paragon but finds a formidable obstacle in his path—the young lady's beautiful, strong-minded aunt—Caroline Sutcliffe.
One of London's foremost diplomatic hostesses, Caro has style and status but, having lived through an unhappy political marriage, wants nothing of the sort for her niece, who has already lost her heart to another.
So Caro and the younger woman hatch a plot—Caro will demonstrate why an inexperienced young lady is not the bride for Michael. She succeeds in convincing him that what he really needs is a lady of experience by his side.
And the perfect candidate is right under his nose—Caro herself. Then it is Michael's turn to be persuasive, a task that requires every ounce of his seductive charm as he tempts and tantalizes Caro, seeking to convince her that becoming his bride will bring her all her heart desires . . . and more.
But then a series of mysterious, and dangerous, accidents befall Caro—an assailant has stepped in with their own idea for Caro's future—one that could involve murder. Before Caro can become Michael's ideal bride, they must race to uncover the unknown's identity before all hope of what they long for, and wish for, is destroyed.
can see that everything fits…but it seemed to fit the last time, too.” He was feeling his way. Glancing at her face, he judged her calm enough to ask, “You’re not imagining—not about to suggest—I look elsewhere for a wife?” Her lips set. For a long moment, she didn’t answer, then said, “I should.” “But you won’t?” She blew out a breath. Still not looking at him, she quietly stated, “I don’t want you to marry anyone else.” Relief washed through him. So far, so good— “But that’s not the
back as she gained the terrace, Caro saw Edward explaining something to Ferdinand. She’d been surprised Ferdinand hadn’t sought her attention—clearly he’d remembered Edward had been Camden’s aide. Cynically amused, she followed the countess. Tables and chairs had been set to allow the guests to enjoy the pleasant vista of the semiformal rear garden ringed by the deeper green of Eyeworth Wood. She sat with the countess; Elizabeth and Lady Kleber joined them. The general emerged from the house;
simply styled, his waistcoat an understated brown velvet, his breeches tight-fitting buckskins that disppeared into gleaming topboots. He looked the part he was there to play, the part he wished to project to this audience, that of a gentleman accustomed to moving in the highest circles, but who also was one of them, approachable, not above riding through their lanes, a man who appreciated their country pleasures as they did. Had Muriel really thought he’d falter? More, that if he had, that
aware that Ferdinand Leponte followed her, claiming the position by her side. Other than exchanging greetings, Ferdinand, unlike his countrymen, had evinced not the smallest interest in him. Ferdinand looked to be around thirty years old; he was black-haired, olive-skinned, and outrageously handsome, with a brilliant smile and large dark eyes. A womanizer almost certainly—there was something about him that left little room for doubt. He was typical of many foreign embassy “aides”; relatives of
large hand curved about her bottom, as his fingers stroked, evocatively caressed; she realized how hot her skin already was, how flushed, how tight with anticipation her flickering nerves had become. Rightly so, it seemed; as she wrestled the leather laces undone, his fingers reached further, found her softness, boldly delved. Her lungs locked; bent over her raised leg, she felt increasingly giddy as he probed, as he made free with all, courtesy of the position, she offered. She had to battle