June 26, 2012
The Ministry of Marriage, Book 3
St. Martin's Press
Barnes & Noble
For a lady of breeding and wealth, the Ministry of Marriage can always ensure a suitable match. But sometimes, the heart wants what it wants—in spite of the risks…
A PRACTICAL ENGAGEMENT
Lady Cecily Westruther is nothing if not practical. By agreeing to marry an older duke who already has an heir and a mistress, she can assume a wifely role—without the wifely duties. Only one thing stands in her way—a letter that could destroy her betrothal.
Desperate to retrieve that letter, Cecily must match wits with the most dangerously seductive man she’s ever known…
A PASSIONATE MARRIAGE
Disguised as a footman, Cecily gains entry to her adversary’s house—only to be unmasked by London’s most powerful man. Rand, Duke of Ashburn, is accustomed to getting any woman he wants—and he wants Cecily. He will stop at nothing, including seduction, to make her his. But Rand holds a secret more shocking and destructive than that letter could ever be…
“The third volume in Brooke’s Ministry of Marriage series has a perfectly pitched, subtle sense of humor that enhances its poignancy and sensuality. These are Brooke’s hallmarks and what readers have come to expect from a bright new star.” ~ RT Magazine
Read an Excerpt
He wished she’d take down her hair. It looked dark and rich as mahogany, thick and soft and luxuriant. The kind of hair a man dreamed about trailing over his naked body, following the path of those cherry-sweet lips. . .
But she’d scraped her shining tresses back from her face and twisted and pinned them in a fat knot at the crown of her head. Little curling tendrils had fallen free, however, gleaming darkly against the pale, delicate skin at her forehead and temples. He wanted to reach out and twist one of those mad little springs around his finger.
Seeming oblivious to the intensity of his regard, she stepped toward him. “Well, that depends. If you were an ordinary man, perhaps I wouldn’t dare. But you, my lord duke, suffer from the eternal ennui of the pampered aristocrat. You’re intelligent enough to perceive that I am no common housebreaker. I, in fact, am a novelty.”
“You, in fact, are a criminal,” he said.
“But you are curious about me,” she murmured, staring up at him with those big, pansy-brown eyes. “Admit it.”
She was wrong. He was never bored. His interests were wide-ranging and intensive. But. . . he failed to remember a time when he’d felt so enlivened by a woman’s presence. Furthermore, his curiosity about her nearly consumed him.
He could have her hanged twice over for attempting to bribe his servant and breaking into his house. Quite apart from that, he had her here, alone, in circumstances that were entirely to his advantage. Who was this girl? She wasn’t even slightly afraid.
“You are very sure of yourself,” he commented.
She spread her hands. “Why go through all of this if you intend to hand me over to the law? Why not simply order one of your minions to deal with me? You do have minions, don’t you, Your Grace? You look like the sort of man who has minions.”
He favored her with an unpleasant smile. “Perhaps I merely seek to toy with my prey before I devour it—or in this case, hand it over to the magistrate.”
She shook her head decisively. “No, I don’t believe that. You are intrigued.”
“I am,” he admitted, his voice dropping to a low murmur. “Most intrigued. But you do yourself an injustice if you think it is your novelty that excites my interest.”
He moved closer and had the satisfaction of hearing her breathing hitch. One side of his mouth curled upward. He let his gaze sweep down her curvaceous little body in a manner calculated to intimidate and confuse a virginal, gently bred female. Or excite an experienced one.
“In fact…” He reached out to stroke a fingertip down her cheek. “..I can think of several ways we might deepen our acquaintance.”