Miss Prim and the Duke of Wylde (Paperback)
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens explores what happens when Fate tosses two people who had no intention of marrying each other into the hothouse of a noble betrothal under the avid eyes of the ton.A gentleman seeking a suitable wife is forced by Fate and unhelpful circumstance to become engaged to a lady who had no idea that in selflessly assisting him she was auditioning for that part.
In the leadup to her tenth Season, Meg Cynster-known to the ton's eligible bachelors as Miss Prim-takes to the country to ponder the question: If not marriage, then what? She has yet to find an answer when she comes upon a supremely elegant curricle, drawn by a pair of high-spirited horses presided over by an unconscious gentleman. Others present know where he's staying, but can't manage the horses. With no real choice, Meg accepts the responsibility and drives the gentleman home. Unfortunately, he's too inebriated to just leave, so she rouses him enough to help him inside.
But then others arrive, and Meg learns the gentleman is none other than Drago Helmsford, the notorious Duke of Wylde-and in order to protect her reputation, she and Drago are forced to declare that they are engaged.
Although a shocking surprise for everyone, by all measures, the match is highly desirable. Meg and Drago have no option but to allow the engagement to stand until the end of the Season, when they can quietly call it off. Consequently, they have to keep the fact that their engagement is a sham an absolute secret from everyone, including all members of their families.
Through the ensuing whirl of the Season, with all eyes focused avidly on them, they duly pretend to be an affianced couple-roles that, to their surprise, come to them remarkably easily. With every member of their families and all the powerful in society being unrelentingly encouraging, both Meg and Drago, with eyes wide open, start to consider the possibility that marrying the other might just be the answer they'd each been seeking when they'd first met.
Then accidents start happening and quickly escalate to attacks, and it becomes clear that someone is intent on preventing Meg from marrying Drago. Why is unclear, but with the threat hanging over them, the Cynsters and Helmsfords rally around to ensure Meg makes it to the altar. But even after the wedding, when Drago and Meg retreat to his estate, the attacks continue until, with their hearts and future on the line, Drago and Meg risk all in a gamble to expose the faceless villain and bring the ever-present danger to an end.
A classic historical romance laced with intrigue set in the ton's ballrooms and drawing rooms and in the green depths of the English countryside. A Cynster Next Generation novel. A full-length historical romance of 113,000 words.