New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

of Contemporary Women's Fiction, Romantic Comedies, and Historical Romances

 

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"Today's Modern Woman should strive for personal enlightenment, independence, and forthrightness.  The perfect place to begin this quest is in the bedchamber."
A Ladies' Guide to the Pursuit of Personal Happiness and Intimate Fulfillment

The narrow-minded boorishness of the ton made Catherine Ashfield, Viscountess Bickley, only too happy to assist a friend with the publication of A Ladies' Guide -- a scandalously explicit handbook that has taken society by storm.  She'd hoped to set nobility on its ear, but she never dreamed her involvement would place her life in jeopardy...and force her to flee London in the company of a disarmingly attractive protector.

"A gentleman hoping to entice a lady can employ a straightforward, direct approach, or use a more subtle, gentle wooing.  Depending on the circumstances and the lady, either technique could prove effective."
A Ladies' Guide to the Pursuit of Personal Happiness and Intimate Fulfillment

     Andrew Stanton, her new guardian and her brother's best friend has no noble lineage.  Still, he's far too comely to be ignored, causing a beautiful, independent lady who claims no interest in romance to seriously reconsider her position.  However, Andrew's secrets, his passions, and his unspoken love make the man who has promised Catherine's safety perhaps the greatest danger of all...

 

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Today’s Modern Woman needs to recognize that there are times when Society’s restrictive rules should be roundly and soundly ignored.  And the more attractive the gentleman in question, the more roundly and soundly the ignoring should be--discreetly, of course.

        From A Ladies’ Guide to the Pursuit of Personal Happiness and Intimate Fulfillment by Charles Brightmore

 

    “Our last conversations seem to have ended...awkwardly,” Mr. Stanton said,  “and I feel badly about it.  Can we call a truce?”

     Dear Lord, Catherine didn’t want to call a truce at all.  She wanted to summon up the irritation she’d felt toward him, which was far preferable to this heated, almost painful awareness of him.  Of his strength.  And height.  And compelling eyes.  And the sight of him, rumpled from his ride and grooming of Aphrodite, the strong, tanned column of his neck visible where he’d removed his cravat.

     When had their relationship taken this unsettling turn?  She didn’t know, but she dearly wished she could re-travel that road and avoid the disastrous turnoff she’d somehow taken.  “I seem to recall asking you something similar just this morning,” she said.

     “Yes.  Although I suspected you really wanted my complete surrender.”

     “And is that what you want, Mr. Stanton?  My complete surrender?”

     Something flickered in his eyes.  “Are you offering it, Lady Catherine?”

     He hadn’t moved, yet somehow it seemed as if he’d drawn closer to her, and she took an involuntary step backwards.  Then another.  Her back bumped into the rough, wooden wall off the stall.   “Today’s Modern Woman does not surrender, Mr. Stanton.  If the occasion calls for it, she may consider a graceful capitulation.”

     “I see.  But only if the occasion calls for it.”

     “Precisely.”

     “Well then.”  He stepped forward, stopping less than an arm’s length away.  He looked down at her, his eyes filled with something she couldn’t read, along with a hint of unmistakable amusement. 

     Amusement?  Aggravating man.  How dare he be amused when she was so...unamused.  Out of sorts.  And damnation, breathless by his nearness.  She pressed herself harder against the wall, but compensated for her cowardice by raising her chin a notch.

     He reached out and captured her hand in his, and her breath backed up in her throat at the sensation of his skin touching hers.  She detected the roughness of calluses and realized she’d never been touched by hands like his--hands that did not bear the softness of a gentleman’s.  Her hand looked pale and small and fragile against the tanned strength of his, yet his touch, while strong, was infinitely gentle.  She watched, transfixed, as he slowly raised her hand to his mouth.

     “I don’t believe I’ve ever witnessed a graceful capitulation, Lady Catherine.  I shall look forward to it--should the occasion arise.”  The words whispered over her skin, stunning her with a flash of heat.  Then, with his gaze on hers, he pressed a warm kiss to her fingertips.

     Oh my.  The sensation of his mouth touching her fingers sizzled pure pleasure up her arm.  Before she could recover her breath, he lowered her hand and released it, and she pressed her lips together to contain her disappointment.

     His touch was...lovely.  Gentle, yet with an underlying intensity that made her feel as if her skirts had caught fire.  It had been so very long since a man had touched her.  Yet she hadn’t realized that she’d missed it so very much until just now.  And never had a touch inspired such a blaze of heat...

 

 

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Chapter One

 

“Scandalous, that’s what it is,” came an outraged male whisper.  “My wife has somehow secured a copy of that deuced Ladies’ Guide.”

     “How do you know?” came another, gruff male whisper.

     “Damned obvious, what with the way she’s been acting.  Been spewing out nonsense about ‘today’s modern woman’ and ‘independence’ like a steaming tea kettle.  Just yesterday she marched into my private study, and proceeded to question me regarding my gambling markers and the amount of time I spend at White’s!”

     Sharp intakes of breath followed. “Outrageous,” muttered the gruff whisperer.

     “Precisely what I told her.”

     “What did you do?”

     “Why, I marched her right out of my study, called for a carriage, and sent her to Asprey’s to pick out a new bauble to occupy her mind.”

     “Excellent.  I assume your strategy worked?”   

     “Unfortunately not as well as I’d hoped.  Last night I found her awaiting me in my bedchamber.  Gave me quite a turn, I tell you.  Especially as I’d just left my mistress and was thoroughly worn out.  Bloody hell, a wife’s not supposed to make such demands, or have such expectations.”

     “My wife did the same thing just last week,” came a third aggrieved whisper.  “Entered my bedchamber, bold as you please, pushed me onto the mattress, then...well, I can only describe it as to say she jumped upon me.  Completely deflated my lungs and damn near crushed me.  As I lie there, immobile with shock, fighting for my very breath, she says in a most impatient tone, ‘Bump your arse a bit.’ Can you imagine such undignified goings-on?  Then, just when I thought I couldn’t be more astonished, she demanded to know why I’d never...”

     The voice lowered further and Lady Catherine Ashfield, Viscountess Bickley, leaned closer to the Oriental screen that secreted her presence from the gentlemen on the other side. 

     “...This Charles Brightmore must be stopped,” whispered one of the gentlemen.

     “I agree.  A disaster of gargantuan proportions, that’s what he’s brought upon us.  Why, if my daughter reads that cursed Guide, I’ll never marry off the foolish chit.  Independence, indeed.  Completely insupportable.  This Guide could well prove even worse than the uproar incited by that Wollstonecraft woman’s writings.  Nothing but ridiculous reformists’ balderdash.”

     Murmurs of agreement followed that pronouncement.  Then the whisperer continued, “And as for the bedchamber, women are demanding enough creatures as it is, always wanting a new gown or ear bobs or carriage or the like.  ‘Tis outrageous that their expectations should extend to that.  Especially a woman of my wife’s age, who is the mother of two grown children.  Unseemly, that’s what it is.” 

     “Couldn’t agree more.  Should I ever find myself in the company of this Brightmore bastard, I’ll personally wring his bloody neck.  Tar and feathering is too good for him.  Everyone I’ve spoken to feels certain that ‘Charles Brightmore’ is a pseudonym, and coward that he is, he’s refused to step forward and identify himself.  The betting book at White’s is a frenzy of wagers on the subject of his identity.  Damn it all, what sort of man would think, let alone write, such unseemly ideas?”

     “Well, I stopped at White’s just before coming here, and the latest theory proposes the possibility that Charles Brightmore is in fact a woman.  Indeed, I heard...”

     The gentleman’s low-pitched words were drowned out by a trill of nearby feminine laughter.  Catherine inched closer, all but pressing her ear to the screen.

     “...and if it’s true, it would be the scandal of the century...”  She heard some more unintelligible mumbling, then, “...hired an investigator two days ago to get to the bottom of this.  He comes highly recommended...ruthless, and will ferret out the truth.  In fact--oh, bloody hell, the wife’s caught sight of me.  Hang it, look at her, fluttering her eyelashes at me.  Shocking, that’s what it is.  Appalling.  And all together frightening.”

     Catherine peeked around the edge of the screen.  Lady Markingworth stood at the edge of the dance floor, her rotund proportions ensconced in an unfortunate shade of yellowish green satin that cast her complexion with a distinctly jaundiced hue, her brown hair arranged in a complicated coiffure involving sausage curls, ribbons and peacock feathers.  With her attention fixed on the opposite side of the screen, Lady Markingworth was batting her eyes as one might if caught in a dust-ridden windstorm.  Then, with an air of determination, she marched toward the screen.

     “Egad,” came a horrified, panic-filled whisper that Catherine assumed belonged to Lord Markingworth. “She’s got that damnable gleam in her eye.”

     “And it’s too late to escape, old man.”

     “Bloody hell.  A plague on that bastard Charles Brightmore’s house.  I’m going to find out whom this person is, then kill him--or her.  Slowly.” 

     “There you are, Ephraim,” said Lady Markingworth, her greeting followed by a girlish giggle. “I’ve been searching for you everywhere.  The waltz is about to start.  And how fortunate that Lords Whitly and Carweather are with you.  Your wives anxiously await you near the dance floor, my lords.”

     Throat clearing and several harrumphs followed this announcement, then the scuffle of shoes upon the parquet floor as the group moved away.  

     Catherine leaned against the oak paneled wall and drew a shaky breath, pressing her hands to her midsection. Slipping behind the screen in search of a moment of sanctuary from the hordes of party guests had taken a very unexpected turn.  All she’d wanted was to avoid the approaching Lords Avenbury and Ferrymoth, both of whom had dogged her footsteps since the moment she’d arrived at her father’s birthday party and separately attempted to maneuver her into a tête-à-tête.  Lords Avenbury and Ferrymoth had been followed closely by Sir Percy Whitenall and several others whose names escaped her, all of whom bore unmistakable--and unwanted--gleams of interest in their eyes.  Good heavens, her official mourning period for her husband had ended only days ago.  She could almost hear her dear friend Genevieve’s voice warning her just last week, The men will come out of every nook and crevice.  Such is the fate of a single heiress.  

     Damnation, she wasn’t single--she was a widow.  With a nearly grown child.  She had not believed she would generate such male...enthusiasm so quickly.  If she’d suspected, she might well have been tempted to continue wearing her widow’s weeds.

     Yet by avoiding her unexpected suitors, she’d inadvertently eavesdropped upon a conversation far more disturbing than the male attention.  Lord Markingworth’s angry words echoed through her mind.  The possibility that Charles Brightmore is a woman...if it’s true, it would be the scandal of the century.

     What had he said that she’d missed?  And what of this ruthless investigator hired to ferret out the details?  Who was he?  And how close was he to discovering the truth?

     ...I’m going to find out whom this person is and kill him--or her.  Slowly.

     A foreboding chill snaked down her spine.  Good Lord, what had she done?

I hope that whets your appetite!

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Reviews

 

Publishers’ Weekly

Stuffed to the brim with D’Alessandro’s trademark laugh-out-loud humor, this crowd-pleasing Regency-era romance gallops along in winning style, keeping readers in suspense until the exhilarating finish.


Suan Wilson, The Best Reviews

Engrossing romance with an undercurrent of danger…keeps readers glued from the very first page.  Catherine and Andrew’s chemistry gives added joy, as do the chapter excerpts from the sinful advice book.  LOVE AND THE SINGLE HEIRESS belongs on the keeper shelf! 


Sandra Brill,  Romance Reviews Today

Highly recommended…I was delightfully amused by the premise right from the opening pages…completely heartwarming.  The things Andrew does to woo Catherine melted my heart.  His ultra romantic gestures and considerate nature, coupled with his strong, masculine allure make him quite the irresistible hero.  A well-written tale, delivering humor, emotion, and ample romance.  Don't let it go by! 


DOLLY MOISEEFF - Press Assistant Managing Editor/ The Oakland Press

D'Alessandro writes a refreshing tale about a man and a woman working their way through their assumptions and finding common ground. Andrew is a great hero - he's not your typical alpha-male, ordering and fuming his way through the book. He is considerate and tender and patient - goodness knows he has to be patient with Catherine, whose view of marriage is understandably bankrupt after her husband's cruelty. Romance readers will appreciate the considerate Andrew and root for him every step of the way. It's a first-rate read.


Cheryl Sneed, Rakehell.com

…this is a great read. I ripped through this very quickly and sighed at Andrew's romanticism more than once. What a guy!


Detra Fitch - Huntress Reviews

Chalk up another best seller from renowned author Jacquie D'Alessandro! This author has yet to disappoint me in her enthralling romances! In fact, she seems to get better and better with every title she publishes. Every time I believe she can get no better, she proves me wrong. Highly recommended!


Reviewed by Cheryl Jeffries – Heartstrings Reviews

Jacquie D’Alessandro is in fine form with this regal, heart-touching Regency-era romance; I would even go so far as to say Love and the Single Heiress is one of the author’s best books to date. Certainly, Andrew is one of Ms. D’Alessandro’s more exceptional heroes.  While there are dark secrets in his past, he doesn’t let these painful memories rob from the beauty of the present. He’s willing to put his heart on the line for Catherine, in fact; to put all of his cards on the table, so to speak, and thus, make himself excruciatingly vulnerable to disappointment and the possibility of rejection. Is there anything sexier than that? Andrew is also wonderfully rugged, self-possessed, and charmingly direct in the elimination of his so-called competition.

To sum it all up, Jacquie D’Alessandro’s second release for Avon Books is a beautifully choreographed love story. Witty, romantic, and charmingly characterized, it will charm and disarm fans of the subgenre, and make one fall in love -- deeply, madly, truly -- with a perfectly splendid hero.


Harriet Klausner – The Best Reviews

This tongue in cheek Regency amateur sleuth romance is a strong tale due to the lead couple. Catherine has no plans to marry again while Andrew has made it goal in life to wed her. The reaction of the Ton to the self help book is amusing as the men are outraged and the women are assertive. 

Jacquie D’Alessandro provides a fine tale that sort of stands Lysistrata on its head.


Kathe Robin – Romantic Times Magazine

D'Alessandro's tales are finely tuned to Regency sensibilities, and nuances complete with the ton's tantalizing secrets. She's taken a charming theme, the unmasking of the writer of a salacious book, and added marvelous characters that readers will take to their hearts. Romance, suspense and passion are perfectly combined.


RL Dazzle - Romance Fiction

Author Jacquie D'Alessandro has written a witty book with a unique heroine, who is sometimes shocked at her own increasingly "modern" thoughts. The existence of the scandalous Ladies' Guide, and the fact that Catherine is a widow, give the author a context in which to have a Regency heroine explore her sexuality and independence. In a reversal of the usual romance novel pattern, Catherine has no intention of marrying again. It is Andrew who is looking for a traditional family and a true love that he is not certain he deserves. But Catherine is not the only one with secrets. The layers of secrets, Andrew's and Catherine's, add depth to the plot.

In this lively romance, readers will enjoy reading about friendship and passion between an intriguing hero and a fledgling feminist. LOVE AND THE SINGLE HEIRESS is an entertaining blend of wit, sensuality, and tenderness. You won't want to miss a single word!

 

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I just finished Love and the Single Heiress not long ago & it was a wonderful story, very hard to put down, I didn't want the story to finish.  As you can imagine I'm really looking forward to the next installment. Thank you for writing about such lovely characters & clever storylines.  Again, I can't wait for the next story in the series.

Please tell me you will give Spencer his very special romance.  He deserves to grow and be a capable man, with the help of Andrew, of course and find a special lady that will over look his disability... hopeful in Las Vegas


Jacquie, just wanted to drop you a quick note and tell you how much I'm enjoying Love and the Single Heiress.  It's FANTASTIC.  It's my treat for finishing my chapter each day, and you have no idea how hard it is to put it down. <g>  Great job!


Just a quick note to let you know how much I enjoyed "Love and the Single Heiress."  The love that Mr. Stanton felt for Catherine for all those years....well what can I say.  One question will Geneive(sp) have her own story?


Stand up and take a bow...me standing up giving you a standing ovation.


Thank you for this wonderful story!  I read a lot, which means I read a lot of mediocre books, but I found "Love and the Single Heiress" exceptional.  It's rare for a book to make me smile or cry -- and this one did both. What I liked the best was Andrew's vulnerability -- you let us see into his heart, which is so appealing.  Combine that with great writing, two smart, interesting lead characters, great sex, and a really touching secondary character (her son), and it's the best "read" I've had in quite some time.Thanks for a great time!


I just finished reading Love and the Single Heiress and wanted to say that you are a great writer. I look forward to reading other of your novels.


I just wanted to tell you, that this is the first of your books I've read, and I loved it! I read it in one day, and I couldn't stop thinking about it.


I'm the fourth person in our office to read it, and everyone read it very quickly, hard to put down.  I haven't really been into reading since my kids, but it was a nice change from the everyday routine. I really enjoyed it, and can't wait to read another one of your books, though I can't think of what could be better than the one I just read.


Hi, all that I want to say is: THANK YOU! Thanks for your books that make me dream and get lose in a fantasy world. Thanks for make me believe in love and thanks for the laugh and passion that your books inspire. Please, continue writing. I wish you the best, bye!


Hi , I just really enjoy reading your book and have been doing so for 10 years and will continue reading them in the future.


I think you have a wonderful sense of humor and I can always count on laughing out loud when I read your books.


Have written to you before to tell you how much I enjoy your books!! I am the one who complained about having withdrawal!!!! Can't wait for the next one.!!!!


I keep hearing good stuff about this book. I've got to get myself a copy. Can't wait to read it!!


Congratulations on your new book. I look forward to getting my hands on it and enjoying an evening of good reading.


Hi, Many regards to you from Finland! I have read some of your books and really loved what I read! So I would be very happy to get your newsletter. Warm regards from Tessa from Finland


I have enjoyed your novels very much! Can't wait for the next one!


I really enjoy your historical romance books! They are wonderful!! keep up the great work you are doing!


Jacquie Thank you for the best read, your books are fabulous.


I love your books. I had a stroke not too long ago and spend a lot of time reading. Your books have brought me much relaxation and comfort. Thank You...Pam


I love happy endings and you write breathtaking stories, with magical love that keeps one reading without end.I re- read books till they fall apart. thank you for you books


Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent that you have been blessed with. For those of us avid readers, there just is no such thing as too many great books.


I must admit I picked up your book solely because of your last name which is the same as my maiden name with the exception of an additional "s". However, I enjoyed "Love and the Single Heiress" and look forward to reading more of your stuff. I'll be anxiously waiting to see if you write a book based on the character Spenser. You don't by any chance have distant relatives in Pacentro, Italy?????


I'm always looking for historical romance novels of untouchable heros and overlooked heroines. And i've found everyone of your books doing just that. And oh yeah, thanks for making it funny too.


Thanks for yours books. Their histories have obtained that, in a while of little love in my life, return to feel the spark of hope. God blesses to you! I´m spanish woman, 50 years old and I would like very much to can read one of your books in English! Thanks again. Charo


I love your books. Please keep up the good work.


I was pleasantly surprised to find an abundance of humor in a romance novel! Different from what I've read before and very enjoyable.  I Love your books, you're a wonderful writer.


I have every one of your books. Keep up the outstanding books coming. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and may it be very prosperous! Hugs, Donna


I can't wait to read more of your books!!


I am enjoying Love and the Single Heiress. Can't wait to go home and finish the book


Hi! I think a great book idea is a novel with Spencer, Catherine's son from Love and the Single Heiress as a grown up male lead. I like to see male leads with physical imperfections who have to overcome them and insecurities in some way.


Just got thru reading Love and the Single Heiress. And it was great.


Keep up the great work. All of your books are WONDERFUL. Thank You


Your books are the greatest. I am really looking forward to your newest book, 'Love and the single heiress!' it is not out in Australia yet, so I am keeping a look out for it! Keep writing!


Just wanted to say thanks so much for signing books yesterday in Norcross! It was awesome to meet you, and I look forward to reading the two books I got. :) They both sound fantastic (and the covers are great!)


Hello; I love your books! You are one of my all time favorite authors, I have to say!!!


I loved this book and the previous one about Philip and Meredith. Your stories are fantastic and I always eagerly await each one you write. Thank you!


Your books are fabulous!!! Once I start reading one, nothing gets done until I finish the book!! Great job!!


As always, I could not put your book down. Dinner was late. Oh, well! Please find a love story for Spencer when he grows up.


Loved the book - funny.


Hello - I just wanted to say I am soon in the process of reading my Jacquie D. collection over again. I love them all, & keep up the great work! :) Thank you sooooo much!


LOVE your books - more! More!


Hello! I've just discovered your work recently. I'm really enjoying it and please keep up the good work!


I am really enjoying Love and the Single Heiress. This is the first book I have read that is written by you, but it will not be my last. Thanks! Sincerely, Mary


You are an automatic buy for me. Love your books.


I enjoy your books. I loved reading Love and the Single Heiress. I was quite taken with your character Andrew Stanton. I also wanted to know more about the character Genevieve. Hopefully you will plan on writing a book about her.


Your work is awesome, and winning a prize package would be even more amazing. I love books that draw me in so far that I cry with the characters... your work does that for me. Thanks!


I couldn't put Love and the Single Heiress down!


Love your writing style! Just started "Single Heiress", but am already caught up in the characters. Can't wait for the workday to end so I can get back to my reading! Thanks for the great read! CR


Great book. Lots of humor and true feels.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write to me.
I love hearing from Readers!

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Excerpt

Chapter One

Reviews

Reader Comments

Awards

Buy Online


Awards

USA Today Bestseller

Waldenbooks Best Seller

Barnes & Noble Bestseller

Named one of the Best Romances of 2004
by the Oakland Press

 

Top of Page

Excerpt

Chapter One

Reviews

Reader Comments

Awards

Buy Online

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging with the Whine Sisters -- stop by and say hi!

         

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