The Lady Tamed
The Saints and Sinners Series
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A lady possessed of a fortune. A poor actor with a shady past. It's the role of a lifetime…but their contract said nothing about falling in love.
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Fortune hunters and fools. Those are the gentlemen Fanny Rivers has endured since her husband’s passing. Men who believe women too feeble-brained to manage a fortune, much less help it grow. So for her sister’s upcoming wedding festivities, she’s combined her business acumen with her habit of collecting strays—hiring an actor to play her besotted beau. And it’s working marvelously. Too marvelously. Before long, her attraction to Jeremy makes it difficult to discern fact from fiction, and Fanny herself is in danger of falling for her own scheme.
Jeremy Dawes can scarcely believe his luck when Fanny Rivers agrees to be his patroness. Despite learning he’s the latest in a long line of charity cases, he willingly takes on the most complicated role of his fledgling career—that of a proper gentleman. She’ll never need know of his unsavory beginnings, though the closer they become, the more Jeremy wishes he could be what she deserves. It’s only after a thrilling moment of intimacy—and a regrettable decision by Fanny—that Jeremy finds unexpected allies in the negotiation for his savvy lady’s heart.
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The Saints and Sinners Series
The Duke and I
A Gentleman’s Vow
An Earl of Her Own
The Lady Tamed
THE LADY TAMED
Copyright © 2021 by Heather Boyd
Editing by Kelli Collins
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used facetiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Fanny Rivers fixed a diamond necklace about her throat and then dropped her hands to consider the effect in the mirror. The style was perfect for the gown she wore but perhaps not so for the coming gathering. “A little too much for a luncheon, I think.”
“Any would be my choice,” declared Mrs. Jessica Whitfield, Fanny’s younger sister.
“No.” Fanny removed the necklace and chose instead a long gold chain with a teardrop pearl hanging from it. She fastened the chain about her neck and settled the pearl between her breasts. She smiled. Perfection.
“Come on, Fanny. There’s got to be steam coming out of her ears by now,” Jessica warned with growing impatience from the doorway of Fanny’s old chambers at Stapleton Manor, her father’s home.
Fanny was visiting her father’s country estate for the second time this year, to attend the wedding of her younger sister. Her first visit had been for Jessica’s wedding to neighbor Gideon Whitfield in June. The second wedding would be for Rebecca’s marriage to Lord Rafferty a week from now—and that announcement had come as quite a shock.
“We’re not late, and besides, it doesn’t hurt to make the man Rebecca is marrying a little anxious for her whereabouts,” Fanny promised.
Jessica uttered a wicked chuckle. “He’s anxious for the wedding night.”
“And all the ones after, too,” Fanny promised and then laughed along with her sister. Rebecca and Adam, Earl of Rafferty, made an unlikely pair. But having come across them together in an unguarded moment Fanny should never have witnessed, she understood. Her sister had finally been swept up in a grand passion. “Have you ever seen a more smitten man?”
Jessica grinned. “Yes, my husband looks at me like that every morning.”
Gideon Whitfield, Jessica’s husband, at least tried to keep his passionate regard for his wife off his face at mealtimes. “And are we not all happy about his constancy. Rivers was much the same, too.”
“I hardly remember your late husband now,” Jessica admitted.
Fanny missed Rivers still, especially at family gatherings. “Well, he adored you. Thought you would grow up and break hearts.”
Jessica blushed a little.
Fanny, deciding she was as ready as she’d ever be, collected her shawl and reticule and swept toward the door. She did not dislike the institution of marriage. She had enjoyed a happy, if brief, one herself. But the urge to take the plunge a second time was not appealing. She had been left with a vast fortune when her husband had died. Fortune hunters had come out of the woodwork the day she’d cast her mourning aside. And that was five long years ago now. She had learned to do without a husband, if not a man in her bed from time to time.
She tweaked Jessica’s nose. “Are you ready?”
“An hour ago.”
“Come on, we’re very late,” Fanny murmured.
“You made us late,” Jessica grumbled as she darted out to wait for Fanny to secure her bedchamber door and pocket the key. There were many guests staying at Stapleton Manor for the wedding, and Fanny liked knowing her papers and possessions were always secure.
She strolled along the hall at an unhurried pace, despite Jessica’s attempt to hurry her along. At the top of the stairs, she paused to look down. Rebecca was standing at the foot of the stairs sixteen feet below, arms crossed under her breasts. “Good morning, sister,” Fanny called as she started down the grand mahogany staircase to meet her.
Rebecca punched her hands to her hips and glared. “I was about to leave without you.”
“You would not dare,” Fanny murmured soothingly. Rebecca and Jessica