The Marriage Duel
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by Maureen Mackey
Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: Everyone in London knows that the lovely Clarinda Humphreys cannot be married before her sister, Jane. But no man dares to court the sharp-tongued spinster, despite the large dowry her desperate father is willing to provide. Randolph Masters, army captain and a viscount, finds Jane unusual and refreshing. Intrigued, he decides to take on the challenge of wooing her. As a last resort, Jane tries to dissuade him by disguising herself as a man and engaging him in a duel. Though she manages to wound him, Masters wins the duel, unmasks her and claims her hand in victory. Then he discovers that his real task has just begun. Winning her hand turns out to be much easier than winning her affection, as their marriage duel continues.
eBook Publisher: Awe-Struck E-Books, 2005
eBookwise Release Date: June 2005
63 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [269 KB]
Reading time: 179-250 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
"The Marriage Duel is a funny, poignant, and spirited romp showing both the amusing and heart-wrenching sides of the old English custom of marrying for position and wealth. Jane is a spoiled chit who has been overly indulged by her father; Rand is the man who will make a woman out of her. They must learn to respect and support each other as they meet with resistance at his family home. Practical and clueless Rand makes several missteps, never realizing that what Jane really wants from him is his love. I really enjoyed this book; The Marriage Duel was a delightful and entertaining read!"--Michelle, Fallen Angel Reviews
"Oh, cruel fate! I am sunk in despair."
The young man burst into the room, creating a small furor in the staid men's club. He clutched his perfectly manicured fingers into a fist and struck his breast.
The man in the Moroccan leather chair by the hearth opened his slightly bloodshot eyes.
"Really, Nigel, even if you have no care for my comfort at least consider the feelings of your tailor. I am certain the unfortunate man didn't labor over the stitching of your waistcoat merely to have you batter it about as though you were in Gentleman Jackson's boxing saloon."
"Ah, you jest, and mock my pain. You, who have never felt the sharp prick of Cupid's arrow."
"No, thank God, I have not. I cannot imagine a more uncomfortable predicament than being moonstruck over some female, at the expense of my reason."
"Such sweet pain! Delightful torment! Delicious agony!"
"You really must desist, Osgood. I plan to sup eventually, and you will ruin whatever appetite I might be able to muster."
Nigel flung himself into a chair opposite his friend's. "I do not expect you to sympathize with my plight, Masters. But I am at my wit's end. I do not know where to turn. You are my last hope."
"I am amazed that you would see in me any sort of hope at all, dear boy. Just because I am your cousin, and you have been accustomed all your life to turning to me when you get into scrapes, does not mean I have miraculous powers. If I did, I would have arranged a better fate for myself in last night's faro game."
"Cleaned out, are you?" said Nigel, momentarily distracted. "Rotten luck." He recollected himself. "But if you knew my circumstances, you would think yourself fortunate in comparison."
"Is that so? All right, young whelp. I concede you have piqued my curiosity. What has robbed you of your customary equanimity?"
Nigel leaned forward eagerly. "I have met the most beautiful, charming, delightful girl in all the world! Her eyes are like brilliant sapphires, her mouth a perfect rosebud, and her hair is dark and glorious, so black it is almost blue, like a midnight lake. Though the graces have endowed her with such a pleasing aspect, her demeanor surpasses it. Clarinda is all things amiable and beautiful."
Masters examined his cuticles. "In love again, are we?"
"Not 'again'! This is the first time I have ever known true love. The rest were mere infatuations."
"I see. And how does this paragon view you?"
Nigel puffed himself up. "She loves me, unworthy though I am."
"As a single man of good reputation, unencumbered by debt and possessing a respectable fortune, you are not that unworthy, pup. Are there any objections to your suit from her family?"
Copyright © 2005 Maureen Mackey