Saturday, December 19, 2015

How to Bewitch an Earl by Ally Broadfield Excerpt


He never expected the clues to lead to her…

Edward Adair, heir to the Duke of Boulstridge, is more interested in finding a missing family heirloom than a wife. But when his parents issue an ultimatum – marry or lose your allowance – he reluctantly agrees to attend a house party to find a bride. Instead, he discovers attractive but infuriating Miss Isabella Winthrop in his library, reading the private family journal that holds clues to the location of the heirloom.

Though Isabella finds Edward haughty and arrogant, she offers to take him to the next clue mentioned in the journal if he will pay her, which will enable her to help her brother restore his estate. Edward counters with an offer of an even larger payment…if she agrees to masquerade as his betrothed to deter the other ladies until the house party ends.

As they work together to solve the mystery their mutual attraction grows, but just when they begin to think they should make their engagement real, a secret is revealed that could destroy everything.


As her breath whispered in and out, he realized there was an immediate intimacy in watching another person sleep. Something stirred inside him. She wasn’t necessarily conventionally beautiful. Her light brown hair was rather ordinary in color, though the flickering fire revealed strands of both red and amber, and her mouth was wider and her lips fuller than normal. They were the sort of lips that were meant to be kissed, to feel trailing along one’s—
Good grief. So she was intriguing. But who was she? The guests for the house party weren’t set to arrive for another week. He took a step closer, and Biscuit trotted over to greet him. He bent down to give him a pat. Wait. What was she holding? He inched closer. Blood surged past his temples. It was the journal. He towered over her, waiting for the weight of his ire to wake her.
The woman’s lids popped open within seconds, and she focused on him immediately, her eyes wide with…terror?
“How dare you,” he practically shouted.
To her credit, she did not panic. After rubbing her eyes and refocusing her gaze on him, she calmly said, “I beg your pardon?”
He crossed his arms. “Who are you, and what are you doing in my library?”
“I could ask you the same question. Well, except for the library, which is most certainly not mine.” She stood and stretched, arching her back in a most tantalizing fashion before continuing. “But it’s not your library, either.” She looked him up and down. “Who are you?”
He forced his gaze away from her breasts, which were more exposed than she probably realized, as her gown had slipped off one shoulder. Perhaps he ought to have told her, but the view was quite appealing. He shook his head and went back to the matter at hand. “I am Lord Kenworth. Who are you?”
“Oh, dear. I am no one of consequence.” She glanced around the settee then continued. “The duchess gave me full access to the library last night, and I’m afraid I must have fallen asleep.” She stood and picked up a stack of novels and moved to pass him. “If you’ll excuse me, I must go tend to Lady Concord.”
He sidestepped to block her exit and noted that one of the books she had chosen was the first volume of The Count of Monte Cristo. “Just a moment, if you please. What are you doing with that journal?”
“Oh.” She turned back and lifted it from the cushion. “I found it between two of the novels on the shelf. It was quite diverting and—”
Ire swirled through his stomach. He crossed his arms. “Are you a simpleton?”
She opened her mouth to respond, but he cut her off.
“You don’t look like one, but you must be to think that you can waltz into someone else’s library and delve into a private journal with no compunction whatsoever.”
She lifted her chin. “Now wait just a moment.” She set the books down and crossed her arms over her chest. “I will thank you not to insult me. I was invited by the Duchess of Boulstridge to read anything I liked from the shelves of her library.”
“Yes, well, my mother can sometimes be overly accommodating to our guests, but that hardly exonerates you.”
“She was very specific that I…your mother?”
“Yes.” He raised his brows and let that sink in for a moment. “In any case, you ought to have known that it was a private family journal and should have had the decency to refrain from reading it.”
“It is more than a century old. Who am I hurting by reading it? And why is it in the library if it is meant to be kept private?”
“I…that is…” He completely lost his train of thought as rapid footsteps sounded in the corridor.

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