In The Prince's Bed
An impoverished Earl romances an heiress.
Alexander Black is the illegitimate son of a prince. The Earl of Iversley, Alec?s mother?s husband, resented the fact that his only child bore a striking resemblance to another man, royal or not. The old Earl neglected his duties, gambled, drank and made merry for years. By the time Alec took over the title, the Iversley fortune was gone and the estates were in shambles.
Alec has two older half brothers, also illegitimate sons of the prince. The three of them have formed an alliance and promised to aid each other in any way possible. Alec?s oldest brother, Viscount Draker, offers tips on estate management. His other brother, Gavin Byrne, suggests that Alec marry an heiress. A likely candidate is Katherine Merivale, who inherits a fortune after she gets married.
Alec does not have much experience courting respectable young maidens; so, he asks his brothers for advice. Draker tells him to be honest; most aristocrats marry for convenience rather than love. Byrne refers him to the Rake?s Rhetoric, an instruction manual for rascals, rogues and renegades. The manual contains many helpful hints on the fine art of seduction. Alec decides to follow the step by step surprisingly detailed instructions in the book.
Katherine Merivale wants to marry her next door neighbor, Sir Sidney Lovelace, a mild mannered poet. Unfortunately, Sidney thinks of Kate as a friend rather than a lover. A girl can never have too many friends; but Kate needs a husband to gain access to her trust fund. She intends to marry a responsible man who will be faithful, honest and trustworthy. After years of watching her mother make excuses for her father?s inappropriate behavior; Kate has vowed not to fall for a rake. Then along comes Alexander Black, Earl of Iversley.
Unfortunately for Alec, an unabridged, illustrated edition of the Rake?s Rhetoric was the only book Kate?s father ever gave her.