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Author's Message

Never a Lady

T ake one dangerous, disdainful duke. Pair him with a rabble-rousing rustic who can never be a lady. Compel them to join forces in a scandalous ruse. Never a Lady tells of a duke who falls in love with the wrong woman.

When I started writing this story, I wanted to create a hero who embraces the rigid class structure of 19th century England. Put bluntly, Adam Brentwell, the duke of St. Chaldon, is a snob. He's rich. He's handsome. He's powerful. He can have any lady he chooses. So who does he have the misfortune to lust after? A mousy, irksome commoner named Mary Sheppard.

Oh, the mighty have the farthest to fall!

To complicate matters, when Mary's identical twin vanishes after being accused of shooting Adam's brother, prudish Mary must catch the real culprit by posing as her sexy sister. Tutored by Adam, of course!

A stranger loomed in the doorway to the bedroom. A greatcoat framed the breadth of his shoulders, though Mary could see the elegance of the attire beneath, the white cravat against a burgundy coat, the fawn breeches, the black, knee-high boots. His hair was as dark as the shadows behind him and his face was harshly handsome, thin-lipped and threatening.

They stood staring at each other for what seemed an eternity. His hostile presence unnerved Mary. She parted her lips to scream, but only a dry croak emerged.

Abruptly the stranger lunged at her.

Gasping, she ran. He blocked her escape to the door. When she tried to dash around him, he caught her by the arm and flung her onto the bed. In a haze of terror, she struggled to sit up. His body came down on hers and his gloved hand clamped over her mouth. His black eyes glowed in a face so sinister it looked like Satan himself. "Murderess!" he snarled. "I'll see you swing for shooting my brother."

Merciful God. He was Adam Brentwell. The duke of St. Chaldon.

She managed to turn her head to the side. "I'm Mary. N-not Jo." Her voice sounded weak and unsteady, and she was filled with shame at her helplessness. "Jo is m-my sister."

For a moment, he lay immobile. She felt the furious beating of his heart. "I underestimated your cleverness," the duke said, his breath heavy and moist against her ear. The pressure of his gloved hand met her stockinged ankle and slowly moved up her leg. "This is what you like, isn't it? This from any man willing to pay your price."

Look in the back of Never a Lady for a photo of me and my own little ladies. For a bookmark and newsletter, send an SASE to P.O. Box 691705, Houston, TX 77269-1705.

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