Barbara Cartland

A Virgin Bride

Scandal, adultery and an angry husband has to be avoided if the Duke of Rockinston, one of the most handsome and charming bachelors in London, is to keep his family honour and his preserve his place at the centre of Society.
With the furious Earl of Darran hot on his heels, the Duke narrowly escapes complete social ruin after being discovered leaving the home of the lovely Countess at three o'clock in the morning. Unable to convince the Earl that their liaison was nothing more than innocent friendship, the only way the Duke can save his family from scandal, and the Countess from an unpleasant divorce, is by announcing his engagement to someone else as quickly as possible.
Aware that any number of London's debutants would jump at the opportunity, but already bored by their vacuous company, the Duke decides to approach his great friend the Duke of Lynbrook to ask for the hand of his beautiful daughter, Venetia. She has everything he is looking for in a wife – renowned beauty, a good family and most importantly having spent the last three years in a Convent school in Paris she will be completely ignorant of his reputation as a rake.
There is just one flaw to his magnificent plan. Venetia and he have never met, and are most certainly not in love with each other.
Undeterred by this minor detail, Venetia is summoned home by her father, the newspapers are informed and the wedding date set for two weeks time. But neither man has considered how Venetia might feel about their master plan. The Duke of Rockinston may be a charming, wealthy adventurer, but Venetia has always assumed that the man she marries will be her perfect match and is astounded to discover that she is expected to marry a complete stranger.
With the Earl still seeking revenge and the elusive Duke away in Scotland until the day of his wedding, will Venetia comply? And if she does, can this marriage of convenience possibly make either the husband or wife happy? With only a fortnight to the big day, Venetia must use all of her exceptional intelligence to work out a way to make a marriage, conceived in desperation, become a love story with a happy ending for everyone.
149 printed pages
Original publication

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    islagibhas quoted6 years ago
    “They may well be! But they are so clever and they know so much that I have enjoyed every second of being with them.”
    “I know, and they have enjoyed teaching you. Now go and start packing, my child. I will send Sister Marie Barnard with you as she has more experience in travelling than the majority of the nuns.”
    “I would just love to have her with me. She is a walking mine of information and will doubtless instruct me during the journey. I will now go to pack, but I shall feel, ma’am, like crying because I have to leave you.”
    She did not wait for the Mother Superior to reply, but gave her a little curtsy and left the room.
    The Mother Superior sighed.
    She was very fond of Venetia and she had been a credit to the school, but at the same time she was well aware that Venetia was too old to be shut up with a lot of younger girls.
    She should be taking her place in the Social world that was waiting for her in London.
    Venetia herself, however, was not looking forward to arriving in London.
    She said ‘goodbye’ to Paris as the train carried her and Sister Marie to the English Channel.
    They had a courier to look after them to make sure that Venetia had the best cabin once they reached the ferry.
    He had been wise enough to arrange for them to travel on a ferry to the Tower of London rather than one that berthed at Dover.
    The ferry was somewhat crowded, but the cabin was comfortable enough for her and Sister Marie.
    They arrived in London at ten o’clock the following morning.
    And as soon as they had descended the gangway, Venetia saw one of her father’s servants in the Lynbrook livery waiting for her.
    “It be good to see you back, my Lady,” he said and Venetia smiled at him.
    As he collected all her luggage from the courier, she bade farewell to Sister Marie.
    “It was so kind of you to come with me, Sister. I only wish I was coming back with you. I shall miss you all so much and all my marvellous lessons.”
    “And we shall miss you, but I am sure that now you will shine in the Social world, just as you shone in ours!”
    “I think it most unlikely! Please give my love to everybody and
    Esther Keslerhas quoted3 months ago
    As her father still did not speak, Venetia piped up,

    “I am waiting, Papa, to hear why you sent for me in such a hurry. I didn’t even have time to say ‘goodbye’ to my friends.

    “My packing was done in such a rush that I warn you I shall need quite a number of the things I was forced to leave behind!”

    She was talking impulsively simply to relieve the tension mounting between her and her father.

    Yet instinctively she knew that he was finding it difficult to say what was on his mind.

    He was looking at her in a strange way that was disconcerting. What she could not know was that he was thinking that she was even more beautiful than her mother had been at the same age.

    Finally he began rather slowly,

    “I have asked you, Venetia, to come here for a very important and special reason.”

    “I am excited to hear it, Papa, I am sure it must be important as you made me leave the Convent so quickly.”

    “It is essential you should be in London tomorrow morning, because your engagement is being announced in The London Gazette to the Duke of Rockinston.”
    Ashley Iman Izzattihas quoted2 years ago
    I think you yourself must tell the members of the clan that your engagement has been announced in London.

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