Luck be a Lady: Rules for the Reckless 4

ISBN 13: 9781472222367

Luck be a Lady: Rules for the Reckless 4

3.91 avg rating
( 1,637 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781472222367: Luck be a Lady: Rules for the Reckless 4
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Romance sizzles between a famous heiress and an infamous crime lord in this fourth sexy novel in the Rules for the Reckless series from the USA TODAY bestselling author of Fool Me Twice.

THE WALLFLOWER
They call her the “Ice Queen.” Catherine Everleigh is London’s loveliest heiress, but a bitter lesson in heartbreak has taught her to keep to herself. All she wants is her birthright—the auction house that was stolen from her. To win this war, she’ll need a powerful ally. Who better than infamous and merciless crime lord Nicholas O’Shea? A marriage of convenience will no doubt serve them both.

THE CRIME LORD
Having conquered the city’s underworld, Nick seeks a new challenge. Marrying Catherine will give him the appearance of legitimacy—and access to her world of the law-abiding elite. No one needs to know he’s coveted Catherine for a year now—their arrangement is strictly business, free from the troubling weaknesses of love. Seduction, however, is a different matter—an enticing game he means to ensure she enjoys, whether she wishes to or not...

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Meredith Duran is the USA TODAY bestselling author of ten previous novels. She blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history (and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after). She enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth-century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Luck Be a Lady

CHAPTER ONE



London, August 1886

His name is William Pilcher,” said Catherine’s brother. “And it’s no wonder if he stares. He has proposed to marry you.”

Catherine choked on her champagne. From her vantage point across the crowded room, William Pilcher made a very poor picture. It was not his looks to which she objected; he had a blandly handsome face, square and straight-boned, and a full head of brown hair. But he hunched in his seat with the gangly laxity of a scarecrow leaking its stuffing.

That posture was probably intended to convey a fashionable insouciance. But it looked distinctly foolish on a man in his forties. Indeed, Mr. Pilcher’s confidence annoyed her. At the beginning of the musicale, she had noticed how fixedly he gazed at her. That was not unusual; men often stared. But by the third aria, Pilcher’s look had grown lecherous. Realizing now that he had finally caught her eye, he offered her a thin, twisting smile. He was congratulating himself, no doubt, on encouraging a spinster’s dreams.

Catherine snorted and turned to her brother. At last, she understood his mood tonight—the high color on his face, the poorly restrained excitement. “Peter.” She spoke in an undertone, as the soprano launched into Verdi’s “O Patria Mia.” “For the final time. You will not choose my husband.”

It was a matter of private regret that she resembled her brother so closely. The cross look that came into his face, and the temper that narrowed his lavender eyes, mirrored her own—as did the fall of blond hair he brusquely hooked behind his ear. “You make no effort to find one,” he said. “And Mr. Pilcher is a fine choice. Assistant chairman in the St. Luke’s vestry, with no small prospects. Besides, he has agreed to your terms.”

Astonished, she opened her mouth—then thought better of it as the soprano descended into a low, soft note that provided no cover for arguments. Instead, she clutched her program very tightly and glared at the small type: “An Evening of Musical Delights from Italy.”

For weeks now, ever since Catherine had broken her engagement to Lord Palmer, Peter had been harassing her to find a new suitor. He claimed to think of her happiness. She was nearly twenty-seven, he pointed out. If she did not marry this year, she would remain a spinster. By the terms of Father’s will, you cannot assume equal governance in the company until you are wed. Isn’t that your wish?

But her happiness did not truly concern him—much less the power she might gain, once she married and became his full partner at Everleigh’s. What he wanted was to marry her to some man who would forbid her to work at all. Then, Peter would have free rein to loot the place. He was already embezzling from the company to fund his political ambitions. He imagined she didn’t notice, that her attention was swallowed wholesale by her duties. But he was wrong.

And now he’d solicited a stranger to accept her terms? He could only mean the marriage contract she had drawn up with Lord Palmer. But that had been the product of a different moment: Palmer had needed her aid in drawing out a villain, and she, having just discovered Peter’s embezzlement, had felt desperate for a powerful ally who might force her brother into line.

In the end, fate had saved her from the rash plan to marry. Palmer had fallen in love with her assistant, Lilah. Their elopement had left Catherine feeling nothing but relief. She did not want a loveless marriage—or any marriage at all. It was not in her nature to be a wife: to subordinate her own desires and needs to a man’s, and to knit patiently by the fire in expectation of his return from the office. She had her own office, her own work, and a gentleman would never allow that. Better to muddle on independently, then, and find some other way to stem Peter’s thieving.

But how? Unless she married, she had no authority to challenge him.

The aria soared to a crescendo. Peter took the opportunity to speak into her ear. “Only say the word. The contract is signed, the license easily acquired.”

She snorted. “Lovely. I wish him luck in finding a bride.”

“Catherine—”

The sharpness of his voice drew several looks from those nearby. Pasting a smile onto her lips, she rose and walked out of the salon.

In the hallway, Peter caught up to her, his hand closing on her arm. She pulled away and faced him, still careful to smile, mindful of the guests chatting in an adjoining drawing room. “This isn’t the place to discuss this.”

He raked his fingers through his blond hair, then winced and smoothed it down again. Always the peacock, ever mindful of his appearance. “At least meet him.”

“No.” She should have known something was awry when he pleaded so sweetly for her to accompany him tonight. Like husbands, polite society had little use for women who worked. Nor was this crowd known to her from the auction house, for it represented the second tier of political and social lights in London—those who aspired to bid at Everleigh’s but lacked the funds to merit an invitation. The truly rich were summering abroad, or had gone to their country homes for hunting season.

Peter, on the other hand, had every reason to associate with this lot. He nursed dreams of a political career. He had managed to gain a seat on the Municipal Board of Works, but such power meant nothing outside London. Among these minor MPs and political cronies, he hoped to lay the groundwork for his future.

The family business had never held his interest. He was looting it in service of his true ambitions. But for her, Everleigh’s was everything. Their father’s legacy. Her sacred birthright. Everleigh’s made her who she was—which was not merely a spinster, the “Ice Queen” that rude wits had dubbed her. She was a person of business. An expert in the field of fine arts. A learned professional, regardless of her sex.

And she was done looking for common ground with her brother. “I am leaving,” she told him. “Fetch my coat, please.”

“You will meet him.”

She started toward the cloakroom. He caught her wrist, his grip bruising now. “Listen carefully, Catherine. I have practiced patience with you. But you have mistaken it for indulgence. I have given my word to Mr. Pilcher that you will—”

“It will not help your prospects to be seen abusing me.”

Peter’s hand fell away. Far better to quarrel with him in public than in private, in this regard.

“You have given your word,” she said in a fierce ­undertone. “Not me. When he asks where I have gone, simply explain to him the arrogance of your presumption—if indeed you can explain it. For it is perfectly incredible.”

Peter took a breath through clenched teeth. “If you won’t think of yourself, then think of Everleigh’s. Don’t you wish for children to carry forward the company? What is the future of the auction rooms, if not—”

“Stop it.” Anger made her hands fist. If Peter had his way, there would be no auction house for her fictional children to inherit. He was trying to tap into the principal now. Did he truly think Mr. Wattier, their chief accountant, would not have informed her of that attempt?

But she could not confront him before she had devised a way to check him. She had sworn Mr. Wattier to secrecy, for surprise was the only advantage she ­possessed right now. “Think of your own children. Find yourself a spouse. But you will leave me be.”

“I think of your welfare,” he said flatly. “If you do not wish to find yourself homeless and penniless one day, you must marry.”

Now he was speaking nonsense. “I am far from penniless. I will remind you that half of Everleigh’s belongs to me.”

His smile made her uneasy, for it smacked of some secret satisfaction. “But you are not a partner in its directorship,” he said. “Not until you are married.”

That fact never failed to burn her. No doubt Papa had anticipated that she would marry long before the age of twenty-six. But he should have foreseen that Peter would abuse the authority granted to him in the interim.

What she needed, Catherine thought bitterly, was a puppet husband—somebody she could control, or somebody so indifferent that he permitted her to do as she pleased. But Mr. Pilcher would not suit. He was Peter’s creature. What she needed was a creature all her own. “Regardless,” she said. “Your threats hold no water.”

“I have made no threats,” Peter said softly. “But I will tell you a fact. If you do not marry, you leave me no choice but to safeguard your future through other means.”

She stared at him. “What means that, precisely?”

He shrugged. “I have been thinking of selling the auction rooms.”

The breath escaped her in a hoarse gasp.

“Naturally,” he went on, “half the profits would go to you.”

Had he struck her, here in public, he could not have stunned her more completely. “You . . . you’re lying. This is a ruse to make me entertain Mr. Pilcher.”

As though her words had summoned him, the scarecrow came into the hall. “Ah!” Pilcher manufactured a look of surprise. “Mr. Everleigh, how good to find you here tonight. And this lovely lady must be—”

“I fear I am no one to you, sir.” Catherine kept her eyes on her brother, who must be bluffing. But he looked so pleased with himself. Rage roughened her voice. “My brother, however, has an apology to make.” She inclined her head the slightest degree to Pilcher—the only courtesy she could bring herself to pay him—then turned on her heel for the cloakroom.

Peter’s voice reached her as she rounded the corner. “She is shy,” he said. “Only give me a little time to persuade her.”

“For such a vision,” said the scarecrow, “I will gladly grant as much time as it requires.”

A chill went through her, followed by a surge of panic. She needed a method to deter Peter from this mad course. There was no time to waste.

An idea seized her. Perfect madness—but what other recourse did she have? She knew just the man to bring Peter to heel. All it would require of her was a great deal of money . . . and a reckless disregard for decency and the law.

*    *   *

“Sad sight, to see a grown man weep.” Nicholas O’Shea lifted away his blade, then motioned to his man by the door.

Johnson hurried over with the flask. Alas, a single mouthful of ale wasn’t going to wash this bitter taste from Nick’s mouth. Nasty work, torturing a pig. He tipped back the flagon, drinking long and deep. Would have drained it to the dregs, had a single word not interrupted him.

“Please.”

He lowered the flask. “Please, what?”

“I’ll thell ’oo. Honeshly, I will!”

There was all he’d been wanting: a spot of truth amid the lies. He handed the flask back to Johnson, then crouched down.

The man on the floor was called Dixon. He’d looked much prettier two hours ago, very spiffy with his fine wool trousers flapping at his ankles. Nick had interrupted him in the middle of a poke-and-cuddle with a girl barely old enough to sport a bosom. Why did swine always have a taste for children? It never failed to baffle him, these patterns to which evil so regularly inclined.

But they were handy in their own way. Kept his conscience from troubling him now as he yanked up the bastard’s head, and saw what his own fists had wrought. Dixon’s face wasn’t pretty any longer. No more little girls for him. Now they would spot him at first glance for a monster. “You’ll be needing dentures to eat,” he said. “I’ll spot you the coin, if you make this quick.”

Dixon sniveled. There was no other word for the way his face crumpled, nor the sound that came from his bloody, foaming mouth. “Jes’ know ’afore I tell you, sir. The buildings, they weren’t safe! I was within my rights to condemn them!”

Scoffing, Nick sat back on his heels. Here was the greatest lie yet. “You idiot. You haven’t put it together yet. Those properties are in Whitechapel. I own them.”

“What?” Dixon blinked. “No, you’re . . .”

“Tricky things, parish borders. Whitechapel’s poke like”—he jammed his finger into Dixon’s forehead—“this into St. Luke’s. Those neighboring lots aren’t mine. But the two buildings you condemned, they’re out of your jurisdiction. Whitechapel’s mine.”

Dixon’s jaw sagged. He looked properly sick now. “I didn’t—”

“Didn’t know,” Nick finished. He’d imagined as much. For three years, Dixon had been trotting about the edge of Nick’s territories, exercising his authority under the Torrens and Cross Acts to condemn hazardous buildings.

Speculators liked nothing better than those acts, for they gave a man a chance to buy property on the cheap. The law required the new owners to replace the condemned buildings with decent housing for the poor. But speculators rarely followed through on that part. What buildings they constructed charged rents no ordinary man could afford. Thanks to Dixon, the displaced had been flooding into Nick’s territory, placing a mighty strain on the parish of Whitechapel.

Still, Nick might have tolerated it, had Dixon’s work remained honest. Recently, however, Dixon had taken to condemning buildings that were perfectly sound. Peculiar business for a surveyor. Downright irritating when the properties he condemned belonged to Nick.

“I will ask you one last time,” Nick said. “Who paid you to condemn them? And no more rubbish about a corporation. There’s a man behind it, and I’ll have his name.”

“He’ll . . .” Dixon swallowed. “Look here, sir—I’ll go to the board. I’ll explain the mistake, tell them that I didn’t realize—”

“Somebody realized,” Nick said flatly. “And I’ll have his name.”

“He’ll kill me for telling you!”

Probably so. “Got to watch who you mix with in the future.” He raised his knife again. “Assuming you’ve got one.”

Dixon began to cry, big, fat tears that mixed with his bloody snot. “William Pilcher.”

The name rang a bell. “St. Luke’s man?”

“Yes,” Dixon said. “And . . . he’s the vestry representative to the Municipal Board of Works.”

Brilliant. The very board that approved petitions under the Torrens and Cross Acts.

Nick snorted as he rose to his full height. Corruption was a rich man’s game, with the poor always paying the price for it.

Dixon grabbed his ankles. “Please, sir, I’ll do anything. Only protect me from him! I promise, I’ll serve you well—”

Nick kicked free. “This is Whitechapel, lad. We’ve got standards hereabouts.” He nodded to Johnson, who pulled open the door.

“What should I do with him?” Johnson asked.

Nick paused. Alas, in this part of town, men kept their word. “Let him go, with a coin for the dentist.”

The stairs held steady as Nick descended them by twos. The balustrade felt solid as rock beneath his hand. He’d no objection to the improvement acts, in principle. Once, this building had deserved condemnation, too. A broken skeleton with eight people to a room, it had trembled in the breeze and flooded at each rainfall. Only the desperate had lived here, knowing it was just a matter of time before the building collapsed and became their grave.

But Nick had fixed that with no interference from meddling lawmen. He’d won the deed in a card game, then rebuilt the place himself. He’d started by knocking down the subdivisions by which the former owner had extracted maximum rent for minimum space. Built new rooms, and allotted two or three to each family. That small trick had turned t...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781476741369: Luck Be a Lady (Rules for the Reckless)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1476741360 ISBN 13:  9781476741369
Publisher: Pocket Books, 2015
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Meredith Duran
Published by Headline Publishing Group, United Kingdom (2015)
ISBN 10: 1472222369 ISBN 13: 9781472222367
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Headline Publishing Group, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Meredith Duran returns with another witty, humorous and smart romance in the fourth book of her Rules for the Reckless series. Fans of Julia Quinn, Jane Feather and Eloisa James will delight in Meredith s trademark headstrong heroine, cunning hero and tale of deep emotional intensity!Enter Eveleigh s Auction Rooms at your own risk. Prepare to part with your fortune.and lose your heart.They call her the Ice Queen. Catherine Everleigh is London s loveliest heiress, but a bitter lesson in heartbreak has taught her to keep to herself. All she desires is her birthright - the auction house that was mercilessly stolen from her. To win this war, she ll need a powerful ally. Who better than infamous crime lord Nicholas O Shea? A marriage of convenience will serve them both.Having conquered the city s underworld, Nick seeks a new challenge. Marrying Catherine will give him the guise of legitimacy and access to her elite world - no one need know he s coveted her for a year now. Their arrangement is strictly business, free from the weakness of love. Seduction, however, is an altogether different matter - an enticing game that he s determined she ll play, and what s more, enjoy. Want more Rules for the Reckless? Don t miss Your Wicked Heart or Fool Me Twice. Seller Inventory # AA69781472222367

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 10.16
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Meredith Duran
Published by Headline Publishing Group
ISBN 10: 1472222369 ISBN 13: 9781472222367
New Paperback Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Headline Publishing Group. Paperback. Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Seller Inventory # B9781472222367

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 6.39
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.28
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Meredith Duran
Published by Headline Publishing Group, United Kingdom (2015)
ISBN 10: 1472222369 ISBN 13: 9781472222367
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Headline Publishing Group, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Meredith Duran returns with another witty, humorous and smart romance in the fourth book of her Rules for the Reckless series. Fans of Julia Quinn, Jane Feather and Eloisa James will delight in Meredith s trademark headstrong heroine, cunning hero and tale of deep emotional intensity!Enter Eveleigh s Auction Rooms at your own risk. Prepare to part with your fortune.and lose your heart.They call her the Ice Queen. Catherine Everleigh is London s loveliest heiress, but a bitter lesson in heartbreak has taught her to keep to herself. All she desires is her birthright - the auction house that was mercilessly stolen from her. To win this war, she ll need a powerful ally. Who better than infamous crime lord Nicholas O Shea? A marriage of convenience will serve them both.Having conquered the city s underworld, Nick seeks a new challenge. Marrying Catherine will give him the guise of legitimacy and access to her elite world - no one need know he s coveted her for a year now. Their arrangement is strictly business, free from the weakness of love. Seduction, however, is an altogether different matter - an enticing game that he s determined she ll play, and what s more, enjoy. Want more Rules for the Reckless? Don t miss Your Wicked Heart or Fool Me Twice. Seller Inventory # AA69781472222367

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 15.72
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Meredith Duran
ISBN 10: 1472222369 ISBN 13: 9781472222367
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Grand Eagle Retail
(Wilmington, DE, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Paperback. Meredith Duran returns with another witty, humorous and smart romance in the fourth book of her Rules for the Reckless series. Fans of Julia Quinn, Jane Feather and Eloisa James will delig.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 368 pages. 0.260. Seller Inventory # 9781472222367

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.04
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Meredith Duran
Published by Headline Publishing Group (2015)
ISBN 10: 1472222369 ISBN 13: 9781472222367
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Headline Publishing Group, 2015. PAP. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # FH-9781472222367

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 6.58
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 12.03
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Duran, Meredith
Published by Headline (2015)
ISBN 10: 1472222369 ISBN 13: 9781472222367
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Headline, 2015. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 7.80x5.16x0.91 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # __1472222369

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 11.87
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 8.01
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Published by Headline Eternal
ISBN 10: 1472222369 ISBN 13: 9781472222367
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Headline Eternal. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1472222369

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 48.65
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Meredith Duran
ISBN 10: 1472222369 ISBN 13: 9781472222367
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
AussieBookSeller
(SILVERWATER, NSW, Australia)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Paperback. Meredith Duran returns with another witty, humorous and smart romance in the fourth book of her Rules for the Reckless series. Fans of Julia Quinn, Jane Feather and Eloisa Jam.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 368 pages. 0.260. Seller Inventory # 9781472222367

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 18.28
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 37.00
From Australia to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds