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A Taste of Temptation Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2014


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402239823
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402239823
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,284,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Grey's awards include the Booksellers Best and the Aspen Gold, and writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the prestigious Maggie Award. Amelia read her first romance book when she was thirteen and has been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. She is the author of over twenty-five books. Happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years, Amelia lives in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

One

"It is with true love as it is with a ghost; everyone talks about it but few have seen it." As the new Season begins, many lovely young ladies will be looking for love among the ton's of unattached gentlemen. And none will be more sought after than the last remaining bachelor of the once famous Terrible Threesome. Andrew Terwillger, the Earl of Dugdale, is back in Town, but is he looking to make a match?

-Lord Truefitt, Society's Daily Column

Olivia Banning folded the week-old edition of the Daily Reader and handed it back to her aunt. "Lord Truefitt is colorful with his tittle-tattle, Auntie. I wonder if anyone in London's Society ever tries to find out who he is."

Agatha Loudermilk laid the paper on the bed beside her and looked up at Olivia. "I'm sure there have been hundreds over the years who would like to know, but not me. If his identity were discovered, he would no longer have access to the ton and couldn't write any more columns. He's so clever with his quotes and so delicious with his gossip that I don't want him to stop."

Olivia smiled down at her great aunt, who was propped against fluffy pillows having her morning chocolate and toast in bed.

"He does have a way with openings. Remember, last Season he started every column with a quote that had something to do with horses."

"Yes, I do. And the year before that every column of gossip started with a quote from Shakespeare. It looks as if this Season he is starting each daily with a quote about ghosts."

Olivia gave her aunt an indulgent smile. "You are looking much better today. It must be because spring is in the air."

Her aunt's lively green eyes sparkled as she said, "I am much better indeed, but the reason is not the sunshine or the passing of winter. Come and sit beside me, Livy." She patted the bed. "I've been making plans for us and it's time to tell you about them."

Intrigued by the excitement showing on her aunt's aged face, Olivia pushed the newspaper aside and sat down. If Agatha was making plans for a party, it was a sure sign she was over the serious illness that had gripped her for most of the winter.

"I must go to London soon and I need you to go with me."

Surprised by this statement, Olivia said, "Auntie, you were in bed with that terrible cough for weeks. You're not well enough to take a trip to London. Besides that, I'm sure the roads are still boggy and treacherous. It's best you forget about traveling for a while."

"I say nonsense to both your concerns, Livy. I'm feeling better than I have in years, and as far as the condition of the roads, they should be in passable shape by the time we're packed and ready to leave."

Olivia knitted her brows together in bewilderment. "I don't understand. You haven't been back to London since you came to live in Kent and take care of me a dozen years ago. You've always said there is nothing for you in London anymore. Why do you suddenly need to go now?"

Her aunt leaned forward and in a whispery voice said, "Lord Pinkwater wants me to come to him. He has something to tell me."

Obviously her aunt wasn't as healthy in mind as she was in body if she was talking to someone from the afterlife. Olivia eyed her aunt with concern, for Lord Pinkwater had been dead for years.

"I think you're confused about something, Auntie," she said softly, hoping not to upset her aunt's delicate hold on reality. "You do remember that Lord Pinkwater died more than thirty years ago, don't you?"

Agatha laughed softly. Her bright eyes danced with intrigue. She suddenly looked very mischievous for a lady well past her prime.

"Of course he did, my dear. How good of you to point that out. I should have said that his ghost is beckoning me to come to him."

At first Olivia didn't know how to respond to that shocking revelation, so she merely repeated her aunt's words in the form of a question. "A ghost is summoning you to London?"

"Yes." Agatha picked up her warm chocolate and sipped it.

There wasn't even a hint of a tremble or a shake in the blue-veined hand that held the delicate china cup, but something was wrong. Her aunt appeared as lucid as Olivia, but there was no way Agatha could be.

Concern quickly turned to apprehension and a shiver of disquiet stole over Olivia. She wouldn't allow herself to panic-yet. There had to be a logical reason for Agatha to think a ghost had visited her. Perhaps she was taking the opening of Lord Truefitt's column a little too seriously.

Agatha looked better and stronger than she had in months. The luster had returned to her long, silver hair. Her appetite was adequate, and she was taking long walks in the garden each day. Her face, while showing lines of age around her eyes and mouth, was glowing with good health.

But what could have happened to her sound mind?

Olivia cleared her throat and rearranged the folds of her pale blue morning dress while she thought about what to say. She certainly didn't want to upset Agatha, so a calm approach was in order.

"I don't think you're feeling well, Auntie. Perhaps I should take your tray and let you nap. We can continue our conversation later in the day."

"Oh, heaven's angels, Livy, don't make me sound like I'm on my death bed. My cough is gone, my strength has returned. I've been going downstairs for a month now. I am not sick in body nor am I weak in my mind."

Not knowing what else to do, Olivia rose from the bed and plumped the goose feather pillows behind her aunt. If mollycoddling wasn't going to pacify Agatha's fragile hold on reality she'd pursue a different approach and take charge of the situation.

Firmly she said, "And apparently your activities of the past four weeks have been too much of a strain on you. Clearly you are not yourself. You just said a ghost told you he wants you to come to London."

"He does," Agatha said without a hint of embarrassment or doubt. "And my pillows are fine, thank you very much. Listen to me, Livy. I'm not going insane. I know Lord Pinkwater is calling to me and I must go to him."

Olivia let her arms drop to the sides of her muslin skirt. Not willing to give in to Agatha's pronouncement, she said, "But that's absurd, Auntie. Even if Lord Pinkwater's ghost is alive-I mean, if he is real or present or whatever ghosts are-why would he be summoning you to London?"

A faraway expression settled on Agatha's face. Her eyes held an unusual glimmer and her thin lips settled into a wistful smile. Olivia had the feeling her aunt was looking into the past, at days long gone but often remembered.

"You know that Lord Pinkwater was the man who broke my heart all those years ago, and that he is the reason I never married."

"Yes," Olivia answered, wondering what could have happened to trigger Agatha's reflective mood on the past.

"I never gave up hope. I always felt he would come back to me some day. And now he has."

Olivia's breath caught in her throat at the sadness she heard in her aunt's voice. She'd always known that Agatha had never married because the legendary Lord Pinkwater jilted her when she was eighteen and ran off with another young lady more than forty years ago.

In the twelve years Agatha had lived with Olivia she'd seldom mentioned the man. Olivia had assumed that after all these years her aunt had finally gotten over him, but apparently her heartache had only deepened.

"But you knew he was a rogue who had many lovers before you agreed to the betrothal. He didn't even marry the woman he left you for. I don't think he ever loved anyone but himself. Why did you wait for him?"

"I had to. It didn't matter that he never really loved me. I loved him and that was enough. It still is." She turned her gaze to Olivia. "At last, he wants me to come to him."

Suddenly Olivia reached over and put the palm of her hand to her aunt's forehead. Agatha brushed it aside.

"Stop that, silly girl. Don't fuss or worry about me. I don't have a fever, and I've not suddenly gone mad."

"I don't think you're crazy," Olivia said, wondering if she really believed that. "Perhaps you've had too much tonic and you are imagining him calling to you in your dreams."

Olivia needed a logical explanation for her aunt's sudden revelation.

"I haven't had any laudanum in weeks. Ask Susan, she will tell you."

"The maid will say whatever you tell her to," Olivia insisted.

"Then take all the tonics and elixirs in this house and throw them away if you don't believe me." She reached up and took hold of Olivia's hand. Agatha's skin was warm and her grip was as steady and firm as her eyes. "I'm not imagining this. Lord Pinkwater's spirit is as real as you and I. This is very important to me, Livy. I must go to London and find him."

Olivia was moved by her aunt's passion, but all that did was fuel her unease about Agatha's state of mind. Olivia wasn't even sure she believed in ghosts. She'd never had serious reason to think about it. She'd read about them in any number of books and heard stories, but she'd never seen one.

And even putting all that aside, this wasn't a time in her life when she wanted to leave Kent and travel to London. She was looking forward to the spring dances, house parties, and the continued attention of a certain young gentleman who had recently caught her eye.

"If Lord Pinkwater has a ghost, I mean if he is a spirit or whatever he is, why doesn't he just fly through the air and come to you?"

Agatha let go of Olivia's hand. "I don't know the answer to that yet," she said with all conviction. "I suppose he can't. Or, perhaps it's because London is where we met and where we last saw each other. Maybe he wants to tell me why he left me for Lady Veronica. Maybe that's why his soul is not at rest. It doesn't matter. I'll ask him when we find him."

An anxious feeling shimmered down Olivia's spine. "When we find him?"

"Yes. I know he resides at a house in London but not which one."

"Auntie, surely you are...

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Ahlers on December 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The third member of the "Terrible Threesome" is about to finally meet his match and in more ways than one. Andrew Terwillger, Earl of Dugdale has returned to London with full coffers and is ready to hit the town with his friends. Problem is his friends Chandler and John are now happily married and prefer their wives company to hanging out at the club. Andrew loves ladies but he has no plans on jumping into matrimony...in any way shape or form...but, alas, fate has different plans for this rake. Big plans.

Agatha Loudermilk thinks that the ghost of the only man she has ever loved wants her to return to London with her niece Olivia Banning. Livy has no wish to enter society and find a good match with a titled gentleman. Her mother did this, and so did her beloved aunt with sadly disappointing circumstances. She wants to be happy and a Ton marriage is not the answer. So when her aunt insistent she goes to London not to find a match, but instead to find a ghost. Yes, a ghost her aunt is convinced that Lord Pinkwater wants her there. This sets off a whole series of events that no one could imagine. It's at a ball at the townhouse of Earl of Dugdale that Livy enters the lord's bedroom in search of the elusive ghost when she is caught in a compromising situation with the Earl and with the worst gossips as witnesses to her great fall.

The only answer to this bad situation is now a marriage of convenience with both the groom and bride less than thrilled. But, with the help of some otherworld interference and good old chemistry the worst thing to happen to them will turn out to be the best thing. After all love and romance is a wonderful reward.

Andrew and Olivia are strong characters although the love/hate conflict that the author employed did wear after a time.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Zeveney on February 1, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Good grief, this is one of the worst books I have ever read and I had an extremely tough time finishing it. The whole searching for the ghost part was absolutely ridiculous and read more like the Scooby Doo novels that I read to my son with perhaps a couple of poorly written romance scenes thrown in. I prefer to have a building attraction in my stories, not a man punishing the woman during 3/4 of the book and then suddenly realizes that his wife is not so bad after all. I kept reading it hoping that it would get better but by the time they solved the mystery at the end I actually said, "I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for you meddling kids and that dog of yours!". Jinkies! I doubt that I'll be reading Amelia Grey's books again if this is a taste of what she has to offer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RD (Read Daily) on December 27, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Romance, fun and a mysterious ghost- this story has it all. This book was an easy light-hearted read. At her aunt's request, Olivia Banning goes searching for a ghost in the home of Andrew Terwilliger, the Earl of Dugdale. She never expected the Earl would catch her snooping about his bedchamber and she certainly never dreamed three well known ladies of the ton would walk in on the two of them but that's exactly what happens. The fun starts there and doesn't stop as Olivia and Andrew soon discover that everlasting love seems to be just as elusive as the ghost Olivia is searching for.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 6, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Andrew Terwillger feels lonely as the last Terrible Threesome bachelor. His best friends recently married and spend most of their time with their wives. Andrew plans to never wed, but right now his concern is to find his embezzling estate manager.

Aunt Agatha Loudermilk tells her niece Olivia Banning that they should go to London because Lord Pinkwater has asked to see her. Olivia is worried since Pinkwater has been dead for thirty years. Auntie explains they go to talk with Pinkwater's ghost.

In London, Agatha and Olivia attend Andrew's party because that is where her aunt insists Pinkwater waits for her. Olivia sneaks upstairs to search for the ghost, but Andrew catches Olivia in his bedroom. He accuses her of being a thief, but soon they kiss as their aunts and a friend catch them. Andrew and Olivia marry; he seduces her, but stops short of making her his wife. When someone tries to kill Andrew, he learns life is precious so rushes home to make love with his wife; he admits to Olivia that he believes she did not mean to compromise him , but is elated she did even as they work together to stop a wannabe killer.

This superb Regency romantic suspense with a touch of the paranormal closes the Terrible Threesome trilogy with a delightful tale that also brings back characters from A HINT OF SEDUCTION and A DASH OF SCANDAL. The courageous and nurturing heroine will make her a fan favorite while the audience also will scream at Andrew to get it on with her. The ghost and the assassination attempts augment a fine tale though the climax seems too easily resolved.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By AK on December 25, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
To humor her aunt, Olivia Banning investigates Andrew Terwillger's home to see if he is housing the ghost of her aunt's lost love. When he catches her in his bedroom, a chain of events is set in motion that takes the last of the great rakes to the altar. He had never intended to wed, but now, he does, and is unwillingly captivated by his wife. For her part, Olivia is equally unwilling, but then, something begins to happen.

**** This sweet novel has a charm to it that will win over historical fans who may not particularly like Regencies, for this could be termed a long Regency. Though the hero and heroine's story is the main thing, the side story about the possible ghost adds a great deal of fun as well. ****

Amanda Killgore
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