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Authors: Linda Jones

DeButy & the Beast

BOOK: DeButy & the Beast
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DeButy the Beast
Linda Jones
Love Spell (2002)
A physician who is uncomfortable with
actual patients, Julian DeButy dreams of a life of isolated research. The
problem is, such research would require funds he doesn't have. The perfect deal
falls into his lap. Marry and tame Anya Seton, a scandalous and beautiful
heiress called the Beast of Rose Hill, and he will be given all he needs for his
research.
Long believed killed in the shipwreck that took her parents,
Anya spent years as a love goddess on a deserted island. Now she is home, but
the life of a Victorian lady doesn't agree with her. Her beloved freedoms have
been taken away, and she's expected to dress in restrictive clothing and not
speak her mind and—worst of all—live a life of chastity.
As Julian
attempts to civilize his wife and turn the beast into a lady, Anya does her best
to release the beast that sleeps inside her husband.

 

 

 

 

 

DeButy and the Beast

 

by

 

Linda Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without limiting the rights under copyright(s) reserved above and below, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

 

Please Note

 

This is a work of fiction.
 
Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

The scanning, uploading, and distributing of this book via the internet or via any other means without the permission of the copyright owner is illegal and punishable by law.
 
Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.
 
Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

Copyright © 2002 by Linda Winstead Jones

 

Cover and eBook design by eBook Prep
www.ebookprep.com

 

Thank You.

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Julian stood, his back ramrod straight and his feet firmly planted, in the center of the Sedley mansion south parlor. His demeanor was purposely nonchalant, his face a mask of propriety. He gave no outward sign that his heart was about to burst through his chest, or that he had never in his twenty-six years seen such opulence.

He'd never expected to see the interior of Rose Hill, or any home like it. The Sedleys were a well-respected and filthy-rich family that had made its fortune in shipping and trade since the days of the American Revolution. They were known not only for their fortune, but for their place in North Carolina society.

Elizabeth Sedley, matriarch of the Sedley clan, paced before a cold fireplace, wringing her hands in an uncharacteristic display of nervousness. She was attractive, still, for an older woman. Her hair was stark white, her face only lightly wrinkled. She stood barely five feet tall, and while she was far from thin, she was not what one would call heavy, either. Healthy, Julian thought as he watched her. She looked extraordinarily healthy.

"You are aware of my situation," she said, keeping her voice low.

"Yes," Julian said simply. Who was not aware? The reappearance six months ago of Mrs. Sedley's granddaughter, who had long been assumed dead, had stirred up much excitement. The girl had been thought lost at sea, along with her parents, nearly twelve years ago. Her mother and father had perished when their ship went down in a storm, but the girl had drifted to the Caribbean island of Puerta Sirena. Mermaid's Gate. The idyllic island was inhabited by a ragtag group of people. A few of the original Hispanic natives coexisted with pirates from around the world who, for the past one hundred and fifty years or so, had made the island their home. Apparently they had made a retired English pirate their king.

"I've tried everything," Mrs. Sedley said in a lowered voice that spoke of desperation and confidence. "In the past six months we have lost eight tutors, three governesses, and five companions. Most do not last a full day. It's not entirely Anya's fault," she said a mite defensively. "On the island where she has lived the past twelve years of her life, she was called a goddess. She was treated like a queen. She is understandably having difficulty adjusting to this new lifestyle."

"Understandably." Julian's nose twitched. He had heard the stories of the heiress's behavior since her homecoming. In muted whispers, the gossips were calling Anya Sedley the Beast of Rose Hill.

"My granddaughter can be difficult." Mrs. Sedley glanced his way, her eyes pleading. "But she is also bright and lovely, and she needs a guiding hand. That's all she needs," the old woman said optimistically. "A firm, guiding hand."

Julian's heart sank a little. He now knew why he had been summoned. He was not a tutor, he was not a companion. And even if he were, he had no desire to take on the Beast of Rose Hill.

"She reads constantly," Mrs. Sedley said, a note of pride in her voice. "And speaks not only English, but quite a bit of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and... some island nonsense. Sometimes all in one sentence, and from the tone of her voice I suspect that much of what she says is inappropriate for a lady, but still... such knowledge is an accomplishment, don't you agree? Why, she's already read everything in my library, and is rereading her favorites. If only she had the proper guiding hand."

"Mrs. Sedley..." Julian began, anxious to cut the elderly lady off before this conversation went any further. The longer he stood there, the more desperately she pleaded, the more difficult it would be to say no.

Apparently she knew his weakness quite well. She did not give him an opportunity to continue. "A tutor is not enough," Mrs. Sedley said quickly. "Anya needs someone to take her well in hand. Someone of high moral character who will dedicate himself twenty-four hours a day to her reformation. Someone who—"

"Mrs. Sedley..." Julian tried again.

"A husband who will take this wild creature and transform her into the lady she should be," the old woman finished, undaunted by the interruption.

"A husband? Mrs. Sedley, surely you don't expect—"

"Your grandfather was a good friend of mine," she interrupted.

"I know."

"He shared your interests," she said, walking unerringly toward him, the gleam in her eyes strong and intelligent. Elizabeth Sedley would soon be sixty-eight years old. Her face might be wrinkled, her hair snow white, but there was youth and vigor in her eyes. "A study of cultures not our own, a dedication to academics."

She played on his weakness. A physician by training, Julian had no tolerance for sick people. He was awkward around his patients and much preferred research. Like his grandfather, he was fascinated by tribal cultures. Their similarities the world round. Their differences. Unfortunately, such study would take years. A lifetime. And it would also take lots of money—money he did not have, thanks to his father's love for and bad luck with games of chance.

BOOK: DeButy & the Beast
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