A sleeping beauty tale, where the beauty’s sexuality has been asleep ever since she ruined herself at fifteen after encountering a little pri–dancing tutor! I love frustrated, agonized Rafe, and I love Phoebe’s unwise, undeniable, unending passion for him!
DESPERATELY SEEKING A DUKE
(Heiress Brides # 1)
Only a Duke will do.
The only way for vicar’s daughter Phoebe Millbury
to inherit a family fortune is to find herself a duke–
just as her late grandfather demanded in his will.
But Phoebe, who’s still trying to make good after a
romantic scandal, also has her two cousins to
contend with. They’re all competing for the same
money, maybe even the same men…until Phoebe
meets her match in the terribly handsome and
charming Rafe Marbrook.
But will it be “I do” — or adieu?
When she receives a proposal from the Marquis of
Brookhaven, Phoebe is thrilled to learn that Rafe
is headed for dukedom…and accepts his offer.
There’s only one problem: It’s from Rafe’s older,
less captivating brother, Calder. Now Phoebe
finds herself on the verge of yet another scandal
as she faces a desperate choice: Marry Calder for
his money and status–or follow her own heart?
Either way can only lead to trouble…
“What can Bradley come up with after The Liars Club
and the Royal Four? The answer is a humorous
romp of marriage mayhem that’s a love and
laughter treat, tinged with heated sensuality
and tenderness. This winning combination
ensures Bradley’s Heiress Brides series will
climb the bestseller charts.”
—Romantic Times Bookreviews
Under the covers:
When I was young, I found the most fascinating part of the story of “Sleeping Beauty” to be the tangle of thorns that grew up around the castle of the sleeping princess and the fates of all the princes who died there, trying to fight their way past it. I always felt as though they deserved the princess more than the guy who just happened to ride up the day the hundred years had passed and the thorns fell away.
When a man earns a woman’s trust and love through trial and self-sacrifice–and a great set of buns!–it is always more satisfying to me. In DESPERATELY SEEKING A DUKE, Rafe Marbrook has to earn what he most desires. He must put away his rakish ways and grow to be the man that Phoebe most needs, a man who will protect the tender heart she offers, not trample it or lock it away unused.
I found Phoebe to be one of the most intricate characters I’ve ever written. Imagine the very real conflict a woman would feel even now
between choosing a respectable man–a good and handsome man–who would give her all the security she would ever need and is known to honor his commitments–not to mention that her father thinks he invented sliced bread!–or choosing a man with a very bad reputation, no visible means of support, a real problem with
commitment yet makes your knees weak to watch him walk across a room!
Be honest–wouldn’t you have to think about that one for a while? Phoebe literally must choose between love and life itself–for if she
chooses the rake, she will most definitely lose the life she knows.
Phoebe emerged from the most romantic side of me–from the girl inside who cries when Heathcliff shouts Cathy’s name into the wind,
when Darcy walks away from Elizabeth after being refused, and when no one can reach the princess sleeping inside the thorns.
Portraits of our lovers:
Miss Phoebe Millbury is a proper vicar’s daughter from an insignificant village. How is she supposed to secure a proposal from a duke to win an inheritance?
Poor Phoebe has a problem. A brief, doomed infatuation with her dancing master at the age of fifteen resulted in Phoebe’s total suppression by her righteous father. Her wild sensual nature was doomed to sleep forever after encountering a little prick—oh, wait, that was the princess in the story.
Yet like a certain fairy tale princess, Phoebe’s erotic
nature will wake to a prince’s kiss. Well, he isn’t really a prince. Handsome, dashing Rafe isn’t really a duke, either, but when Phoebe receives a proposal of marriage the next day, she accepts before she understands one tiny, insignificant detail– that the duke in question is actually Rafe’s stuffy elder brother.
What’s a proper vicar’s daughter to do? How can she resist her highly flammable desire for Rafe while fulfilling her father’s dream of her wedding a duke? How can she live with her own broken heart if she does?
Bad boys don’t get good girls, not to keep anyway. When bad-ass rebel Lord Raphael Marbrook meets sweet country girl Phoebe, he can’t help hoping that isn’t true. Maybe a love like hers could turn him from his wicked ways. Maybe he should marry her quick before she finds out about his unsavory reputation—
Too late. Rafe’s upright, uptight older brother beat him to it. Now Rafe must watch the girl of his dreams announce her engagement to the brother who has always gotten everything Rafe truly wanted, from the estate itself to their late father’s trust and approval.
Now as Rafe is forced to keep his feelings to himself, he falls more and more in love with Phoebe—while his brother begins to love her as well. Ironic, that the woman who might have saved Rafe is now the one who will most certainly break his heart forever.