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A Christmas Bride / A Christmas Beau

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A Christmas Bride / A Christmas Beau

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In a pair of classic Regency-era Christmas romance novels from New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh, the holidays herald the greatest gift of all: unexpected, all-consuming love. A CHRISTMAS...
In a pair of classic Regency-era Christmas romance novels from New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh, the holidays herald the greatest gift of all: unexpected, all-consuming love. A CHRISTMAS...
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Description-
  • In a pair of classic Regency-era Christmas romance novels from New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh, the holidays herald the greatest gift of all: unexpected, all-consuming love.

    A CHRISTMAS BRIDE
    The very wealthy Edgar Downes has promised his aging father to finally take a bride--specifically, to wed a titled lady by Christmas. London is full of pretty, proper, and eligible misses, but it's the widow Helena, Lady Stapleton, in a shocking red dress, who captures Edgar's attention. Helena is intrigued by the seductive stranger--but he's simply not in her class. Marriage, of course, would never do. But in a season of miracles, something wondrous is about to happen.

    CHRISTMAS BEAU
    Not even the warm, forgiving Christmas spirit can stop the Marquess of Denbigh from settling his score with Judith Easton: The beautiful young widow injured Denbigh's pride years ago by jilting him for another man. Now that Judith is free from a nightmare marriage, the handsome marquess has her in his sights--and wants her in his arms. But to trust the tender words on his lips, Judith must not only see past the hardness of his heart, but learn once again to trust her own heart's desire.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Mr. Edgar Downes had decided to take a bride.

    Doubtless he should have made up his mind to do so long before he did, since he was six-and-thirty years old and had both a high respect for matrimony and a fondness for family life. But the truth was that he had procrastinated. He had felt caught between two worlds. He was not a gentleman. He was the son of a Bristol merchant who had grown enormously wealthy over the years and had eventually purchased and renovated a grand mansion and estate near Bristol and retired to live there like a gentleman. Edgar had been educated at the best schools, had become a respected and successful lawyer, and then had taken over his father’s business.

    He was hugely wealthy in his own right. He had received a gentleman’s education. He spoke and dressed as a gentleman. He would inherit Mobley Abbey on his father’s death. He was extremely eligible. But he was not a gentleman by birth, and in certain circles that fact made all the difference in the world.

    He had thought about marrying someone of his own kind. At various points during his adulthood he had even singled out a few daughters or sisters of his middle-class acquaintances as possible wives. But he had never felt that he quite belonged in their world--not when it came to something as personal and intimate as marriage. He would have been hard put to it to explain exactly why that was so. There were certain almost puritanical attitudes in the class, perhaps, or a certain vulgar preoccupation with money and possessions for their own sake. Though neither explanation quite accounted for his discomfort.

    He had thought of marrying a lady. But there had been obvious arguments against that. And they all narrowed down to one simple fact--he was not a gentleman. It was true that Cora, his sister and only sibling, had married a younger son of a duke seven years before and had become Lady Francis Kneller as a result. It was true, too, that Edgar got along remarkably well with his exceedingly elegant brother-in-law and with those of their aristocratic friends he had met. But though Cora’s marriage appeared to be bowling along very nicely indeed and had produced four bouncing children, Lord Francis would not in the normal course of events have wed her. It was her disastrous tendency to play heroine without pausing for one hundredth part of a second to consider the wisdom of her actions that had forced him on more than one occasion to her rescue and to compromising circumstances at the same time. Finally, poor fellow, he had had no choice--as a gentleman--but to take on a leg shackle and Cora all at the same time.

    Lord Francis Kneller and his friends--the Earl of Thornhill, for example, or the Marquess of Carew or the Duke of Bridgwater--might be quite prepared to treat Mr. Edgar Downes, Lady Francis’s brother, as a friendly acquaintance. But would they be happy to watch him woo and wed their sisters or cousins if he so chose, and if there were any such females available? It was a question Edgar could not answer with any certainty since he had never posed it to any of the gentlemen concerned, but he could make an educated guess.

    Some lesser gentleman with a daughter difficult to fire off in a more acceptable manner--due to impoverishment or lack of beauty or a shrewish nature, perhaps--might be very willing to ally her to a cit, to a lawyer-turned-merchant who also happened to be as wealthy as all but a few of the bluest-blooded lords in the land and with as much more wealth again to inherit on the death of his father. That lesser gentleman, however, would believe in his heart--and all the genteel world would believe with him--that he...

About the Author-
  • Mary Balogh is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous books, including the acclaimed Slightly and Simply novels, the Mistress novels, and the five titles in her Huxtable series: First Comes Marriage, Then Comes Seduction, At Last Comes Love, Seducing an Angel, and A Secret Affair. A former teacher, she grew up in Wales and now lives in Canada.

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    Random House Publishing Group
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