Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Saga Series #6)

Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Saga Series #6)

by Mary Balogh

Hardcover(Large Print)

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All of London is abuzz over the imminent arrival of Wulfric Bedwyn, the reclusive, cold-as-ice Duke of Bewcastle, at the most glittering social event of the season. Some whisper of a tragic love affair. Others say he is so aloof and passionless that not even the greatest beauty could capture his attention. But on this dazzling afternoon, one woman did catch the duke’s eye—and she was the only female in the room who wasn’t even trying. Christine Derrick is intrigued by the handsome duke…all the more so when he invites her to become his mistress.

What red-blooded woman wouldn’t enjoy a tumble in the bedsheets with a consummate lover—with no strings and no questions asked. An infuriating lady with very definite views on men, morals, and marriage, Christine confounds Wulfric at every turn. Yet even as the lone wolf of the Bedwyn clan vows to seduce her any way he can, something strange and wonderful is happening. Now for a man who thought he’d never lose his heart, nothing less than love will do.

With her trademark wit, riveting storytelling, and sizzling sexual sparks, Mary Balogh once again brings together two polar opposites: an irresistible, high-and-mighty aristocrat and the impulsive, pleasure-loving woman who shows him what true passion is all about. A man and a woman so wrong for each other, it can result only in the perfect match.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781585474936
Publisher: Center Point Large Print
Publication date: 11/28/2004
Series: Bedwyn Saga Series , #6
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 415
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Mary Balough is the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Slightly novels: Slightly Married, Slightly Wicked, Slightly Scandalous, Slightly Tempted, Slightly Sinful, and Slightly Dangerous, as well as the romances No Man’s Mistress, More than a Mistress, and One Night for Love. She is also the author of Simply Magic, Simply Love, and Simply Unforgettable, the first three books in her dazzling quartet of novels set at Miss Martin’s School for Girls. A former teacher herself, she grew up in Wales and now lives in Canada.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Your cheeks are looking alarmingly flushed, Christine," her mother remarked, setting her embroidery down in her lap the better to observe her daughter. "And your eyes are very bright. I hope you are not coming down with a fever."

Christine laughed. "I have been at the vicarage, playing with the children," she explained. "Alexander wanted to play cricket, but after a few minutes it became clear that Marianne could not catch a ball and Robin could not hit one. We played hide-and-seek instead, though Alexander thought it was somewhat beneath his dignity now that he is nine years old until I asked him how his poor aunt must feel, then, at the age of twenty-nine. I was it all the time, of course. We had great fun until Charles poked his head out of the study window and asked us—rhetorically, I suppose—how he was ever to get his sermon finished with all the noise we were making. So Hazel gave us all a glass of lemonade and shooed the children off to the parlor to read quietly, poor things, and I came home."

"I suppose," her eldest sister, Eleanor, said, looking up from her book and observing Christine over the tops of her spectacles, "you did not wear your bonnet while you frolicked with our niece and nephews. That is not just a flush. It is a sunburn."

"How can one poke one's head into small hiding places if it is swollen to twice its size with a bonnet?" Christine asked reasonably. She began to arrange the flowers she had cut from the garden on her way inside, in a vase of water she had brought with her from the kitchen.

"And your hair looks like a bird's nest," Eleanor added.

"That is soon corrected." Christine rumpled her short curls with both hands and laughed. "There. Is that better?"

Eleanor shook her head before returning her attention to her book—but not before smiling.

There was a comfortable hush in the room again while they all concentrated upon their chosen activities. But the silence—tempered by the chirping of birds and the whirring of insects from beyond the open window—was broken after a few minutes by the sound of horses' hooves clopping along the village street in the direction of Hyacinth Cottage, and the rumble of wheels. There was more than one horse, and the wheels were heavy ones. It must be the carriage from Schofield Park, Baron Renable's country seat, which was a mere two miles away, Christine thought absently.

None of them took any particular notice of the carriage's approach. Lady Renable often used it when she went visiting, even though a gig would have served her purpose just as well, or a horse—or her feet. Eleanor often described Lady Renable as frivolous and ostentatious, and it was not an inaccurate description. She was also Christine's friend.

And then it became obvious that the horses were slowing. The carriage wheels squeaked in protest. All three ladies looked up.

"I do believe," Eleanor said, peering out the window over her spectacles again, "Lady Renable must be coming here. To what do we owe the honor, I wonder. Were you expecting her, Christine?"

"I knew I should have changed my cap after luncheon," their mother said. "Send Mrs. Skinner running upstairs for a clean one if you will, Christine."

"The one you are wearing is quite becoming enough, Mama," Christine assured her, finishing the flower arrangement quickly and crossing the room to kiss her mother's forehead. "It is only Melanie."

"Of course it is only Lady Renable. That is the whole point," her mother said, exasperated. But she did not renew her plea for a different cap to be sent for.

It did not take a genius to guess why Melanie was coming here either.

"I daresay she is coming to ask why you refused her invitation," Eleanor said, echoing her thought. "And I daresay she will not take no for an answer now that she has come in person. Poor Christine. Do you want to run up to your room and have me tell her that you seem to have come down with a touch of smallpox?"

Christine laughed while their mother threw up her hands in horror.

Indeed Melanie was not famed for taking no for an answer. Whatever Christine was doing, and she was almost always busy with something—teaching at the village school several times a week, visiting and helping the elderly and infirm or a new mother or a sick child or a friend, calling at the vicarage to amuse and play with the children, since in her estimation Charles and her sister Hazel neglected them altogether too much with the excuse that children did not need adults to play with them when they had one another—no matter what Christine was doing, Melanie always chose to believe that she must be simply languishing in the hope that someone would appear with a frivolous diversion.

Of course, Melanie was a friend, and Christine really did enjoy spending time with her—and with her children. But there were limits. She surely was coming here to renew in person the invitation that a servant had brought in writing yesterday. Christine had written back with a tactfully worded but firm refusal. Indeed, she had refused just as firmly a whole month ago when first asked.

The carriage drew to a halt before the garden gate with a great deal of noise and fuss, doubtless drawing the attention of every villager to the fact that the baroness was condescending to call upon Mrs. Thompson and her daughters at Hyacinth Cottage. There were the sounds of opening doors and slamming doors, and then someone—probably the coachman, since it certainly would not be Melanie herself—knocked imperiously on the house door.

Christine sighed and seated herself at the table, her mother put away her embroidery and adjusted her cap, and Eleanor, with a smirk, looked down at her book.

A few moments later Melanie, Lady Renable, swept into the room past Mrs. Skinner, the housekeeper, who had opened the door to announce her. She was, as usual, dressed absurdly for the country. She looked as elaborately turned out as if she were planning a promenade in Hyde Park in London. Bright plumes waved high above the large, stiff poke of her bonnet, giving the illusion of height. A lorgnette was clutched in one of her gloved hands. She seemed to half fill the room.

Christine smiled at her with amused affection.

"Ah, there you are, Christine," she said grandly after inclining her head graciously to the other ladies and asking how they did.

"Here I am," Christine agreed. "How do you do, Melanie? Do take the chair across from Mama's."

But her ladyship waved away the invitation with her lorgnette.

"I have not a moment to spare," she said. "I do not doubt I will bring on one of my migraines before the day is over. I regret that you have made this visit necessary, Christine. My written invitation ought to have sufficed, you know. I cannot imagine why you wrote back with a refusal. Bertie believes you are being coy and declares that it would serve you right if I did not come in person to persuade you. He often says ridiculous things. I know why you refused, and I have come here to tell you that you are sometimes ridiculous too. It is because Basil and Hermione are coming, is it not, and for some reason you quarreled with them after Oscar died. But that was a long time ago, and you have as much right to come as they do. Oscar was, after all, Basil's brother, and though he is gone, poor man, you are still and always will be connected by marriage to our family. Christine, you must not be stubborn. Or modest. You must remember that you are the widow of a viscount's brother."

Christine was not likely to forget, though sometimes she wished she could. She had been married for seven years to Oscar Derrick, brother of Basil, Viscount Elrick, and cousin of Lady Renable. They had met at Schofield Park at the very first house party Melanie hosted there after her marriage to Bertie, Baron Renable. It had been a brilliant match for Christine, the daughter of a gentleman of such slender means that he had been obliged to augment his income by becoming the village schoolmaster.

Now Melanie wanted her friend to attend another of her house parties.

"It is truly kind of you to ask me," Christine said. "But I would really rather not come, you know."

"Nonsense!" Melanie raised the lorgnette to her eyes and looked about the room with it, an affectation that always amused both Christine and Eleanor, who dipped her head behind her book now to hide her smile. "Of course you want to come. Whoever would not? Mama will be there with Audrey and Sir Lewis Wiseman—the party is in honor of their betrothal, though it has, of course, already been announced. Even Hector has been talked into coming, though you know he can never be persuaded to enjoy himself unless one of us forces him into it."

"And Justin too?" Christine asked. Audrey was Melanie's young sister, Hector and Justin, her brothers. Justin had been Christine's friend since their first acquaintance at that long-ago house party—almost her only friend, it had seemed during the last few years of her marriage.

"Of course Justin is coming too," Melanie said. "Does he not go everywhere—and does he not spend more time with me than with anyone else? You have always got along famously with my family. But even apart from them, we are expecting a large crowd of distinguished, agreeable guests, and we have any number of pleasurable activities planned for everyone's amusement, morning, noon, and night. You must come. I absolutely insist upon it."

"Oh, Melanie," Christine began, "I would really—"

"You ought to go, Christine," her mother urged her, "and enjoy yourself. You are always so busy on other people's behalf."

"You might as well say yes now," Eleanor added, peering over her spectacles again rather than removing them until their visitor had left and she could return her undivided attention to her book. "You know Lady Renable will not leave here until she has talked you into it."

Christine looked at her, exasperated, but her sister's eyes merely twinkled back into her own. Why did no one ever invite Eleanor to entertainments like this? But Christine knew the answer. At the age of thirty-four, her eldest sister had settled into middle age and a placid spinsterhood as their mother's prop and stay without any regretful glance back at her youth. It was a course she had chosen quite deliberately after the only beau she had ever had was killed in the Peninsular Wars years ago, and no man had changed her mind since then, though a few had tried.

"You are quite right, Miss Thompson," Melanie said, her bonnet plumes nodding approvingly in Eleanor's direction. "The most provoking thing has happened. Hector has been his usual impulsive self."

Hector Magnus, Viscount Mowbury, was a bookish semirecluse. Christine could not imagine him doing anything impulsive.

Melanie drummed her gloved fingers on the tabletop. "He has absolutely no idea how to go on, the poor dear," she said. "He has had the audacity to invite a friend of his to come here with him, assuring the man that the invitation came from me. And he very obligingly informed me of this turn of events only two days ago—far too late for me to invite another willing lady to make numbers even again."

Ah! All was suddenly clear. Christine's written invitation had come yesterday morning, the day after social disaster had loomed on the horizon of Melanie's world.

"You must come," Melanie said again. "Dear Christine, you absolutely must. It would be an unthinkable disgrace to be forced to host a house party at which the numbers are not even. You could not possibly wish such a thing upon me—especially when it is in your power to save me."

"It would be a dreadful shame," Christine's mother agreed, "when Christine is here with nothing particular to do for the next two weeks."

"Mama!" Christine protested. Eleanor's eyes were still twinkling at her over the tops of her spectacles.

She sighed—aloud. She had been quite determined to resist. She had married into the ton nine years ago. At the time she had been thrilled beyond words. Even apart from the fact that she had been head over ears in love with Oscar, she had been elated at the prospect of moving upward into more exalted social circles. And all had been well for a few years—with both her marriage and the ton. And then everything had started to go wrong—everything. She still felt bewildered and hurt when she remembered. And when she remembered the end . . . Well, she had blocked it quite effectively as the only way to save her sanity and regain her spirits, and she needed no reminder now. She really did not want to see Hermione and Basil ever again.

But she had a weakness where people in trouble were concerned. And Melanie really did seem to be in a bit of a bind. She set such great store by her reputation as a hostess who did everything with meticulous correctness. And, when all was said and done, they were friends.

"Perhaps," she suggested hopefully, "I can remain here and come over to Schofield a few times to join the party."

"But Bertie would have to call out the carriage to take you home every night and send it to bring you every morning," Melanie said. "It would be just too inconvenient, Christine."

"I could walk over," Christine suggested.

Melanie set one hand to her bosom as if to still her palpitating heart.

"And arrive each day with a dusty or muddy hem and rosy cheeks and windblown hair?" she said. "That would be quite as bad as not having you at all. You must come to stay. That is all there is to it. All our guests will be arriving the day after tomorrow. I will have the carriage sent during the morning so that you may settle in early."

Christine realized that the moment for a firm refusal had passed. She was doomed to attend one of Melanie's house parties, it seemed. But gracious heaven, she had nothing to wear and no money with which to rush out to buy a new wardrobe—not that there was anywhere to rush to, within fifty miles anyway. Melanie had recently returned from a Season in London, where she had gone to help sponsor her sister's come-out and presentation to the queen. All her guests—except Christine!—were probably coming from there too, bringing their London finery and their London manners with them. This was the stuff of nightmares.

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Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Family Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 154 reviews.
Reid20 More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! Sometimes, you can get yourself in trouble by anticipating a book too much. While reading the Bedwyn family series, I was constantly intrigued by the Duke of Bewcastle. I also had read that this was the best book of the series. However, I wanted to read the series in order and so waited to read this book last. Fortunately, my expectations of this book were not let down. I loved it. The Duke is a closed off man. He does not let anyone in including his family. When he meets Christine Derrick, she is very different from him and he is fascinated with her. Christine Derrick, a widow, has decided to put her past life of society behind her and lead a simple life. She has been hurt in the past and is not looking for love. When she meets the Duke, she continuelly embarasses herself in front of him. The chemistry of these two is evident from the beginning. It is a classic case of opposites attracting. Christine helps to bring the Duke's softer side out and he helps her to see her worth. I really liked their romance. I liked the humorous scenes. I liked touching bases with the other brothers and sisters from previous books. The book has been critized for being another 'Pride and Prejudice'. Yeah, it is. But who cares. It was still great and I found myself smiling while reading Christine and the Duke's story. That is exactly how I like to feel while reading a good romance - Happy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having read all the books before it in this series it was a perfect culmination. I hated to see the series end as all the books were good, this one in my opinion was the best. I will very likely read the whole series once more even though I have already read this one again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite of the series all of which I loved. Mary Balogh is a sensitive romantic writer and she never disappoints me. Read the series in order to better enjoy Wulfric's story. I am hooked on the family series so many romance novelists are writing now. Mary Balogh's series are the best. It's fun to see how all the characters we meet in abook live their own stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it loved it and loved it more!!! Best book in whole series!!!! A must READ!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A worth-while read. In MBs attempt to balance out two polar opposites, she not only even dares to merge these two people, but allows their personalities to stay perfectly intact. I thought Wulfric and Christines reluctance to change anything about them selves and try to make an already strained relationship work, was the master-piece for this book. Very interesting to read a love story where no one has to yeild or give into the other, a novelty indeed. Diversity, with two equally valid explanations to be as they are.
SesameG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The final novel in the Bedwyn series, Slightly Dangerous tells the story of the seemingly cold, authoritarian eldest brother, Wulfric, the Duke of Bewcastle and the widowed Christine Derrick, a lively schoolteacher with a talent for calamity. Wulfric is that peculiarly affecting kind of hero who isn't overt in his emotions, but shows them, almost inadvertently through his uncharacteristic actions around the most unsuitable Mrs. Derrick. Well worth reading (and re-reading).
sivancat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was somewhat concerned that I would be unable to like Wulfric Bedwyn in his own story after finding him so cold and arrogant in the rest of the series. Fortunately, I was wrong. I liked getting inside of his head and understanding what motivated him, and I liked seeing him as a human being, rather than just an aristocrat. This is my favorite book of the series, and the only one that I have kept for re-reading.
dschander on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Balogh's definitely cribbing from "Pride and Prejudice" in this one (the haughty aristo* and the poor but captivating woman) but it was actually kind of fun to see familiar characters in a slightly different setting. Quick, light and enjoyable. What's not to like?* He's Mr. Darcy crossed with pre-reconciliation Sir Percy, basically.
debs4jc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Christine doesn't care for society, or to be re-entered onto the marriage market, after her first marriage ended with her being accused of scandal and even implicated in the death of her first husband. So when she is forced to attend a 'house party' she is determined to just stay on the side lines and attract as little notice as possible. Fate seems to have other plans in store for her, however, as a serious of riotous episodes keep throwing her together with Wulfric Bedwyn, a cold as ice Duke who seems to be the complete opposite to her bubbly personality. Will these two find that they have much to teach each other about love, despite their differences?This was a well done period romance, a bit too spicy for my taste in places, but with several lighthearted scenes that will amuse those that love romance.
Lethe20 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The last of the "Slightly" series on the Bedwyns, led by Wulfric, Duke of Bewcastle. This is his happy ending with Christine Derrick.The series actually started with "A Summer to Remember", the story that introduced the Bedwyns and the Butlers. This first book also leads into her subsequent "Simply" series, linking the school started by Freyja's former governess Claudia Martin, to the Butlers and thus by propinquity, back with the Bedwyns and Bewcastle.
Anniik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Slightly Dangerous" is the last book in the "Slightly" series. This book follows the eldest son, Wulfric Bedwyn, the Duke of Bewcastle. The story opens with an introduction to Mrs. Christine Derrick, a widow who is living with her mother and her spinster sister. She is invited to a house party by a friend, Melanie, to balance the horror of having too many men and not enough women. The imbalance had been caused by Melanie's brother Hector inviting a friend - the Duke of Bewcastle. Christine is reluctant to go, but eventually gives in. After an auspicious beginning to her acquaintance with Wulfric, Christine plans to stay in the background of the party, but finds this impossible. As Wulfric finds himself fascinated with her despite himself, a passion develops between them and despite the great differences between them, Wulfric finds it impossible to get her out of his mind...A plot synopsis does not do this book justice. A completely character-driven story, Wulfric is the perfect romantic hero. Cold, haughty, seemingly emotionless, the Bedwyn in him is drawn to Christine's light and joy. The more he tries to deny his attraction to her, the stronger it becomes. Christine, on the other hand, is clumsy, laughs too much, and does not possess the cool, bored hauteur expected in ladies of the upper classes. She is the antithesis of what a duchess should be. Their love-story, which has similarities to "Pride and Prejudice," is a heart-rendingly poignant blending of two souls. In Wulfric, Christine finds the solid, confident man she did not have in Oscar, and in Christine, Wulfric finds the light and joy that had been missing from his life since the death of his father.I simply cannot reccomend this book enough.
abrbookbag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Haughty Wulfric Bedwyn meets Christine Derrick at a house party. Christine dislikes the icy Duke of Bewcastle on sight. He however finds himself oddly attracted to the lively widow who gets herself into embarrasing situations. This wonderful conclusion to the Slightly series pays tribute to Pride and Prejudice.
dmurphy277 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved the series of Mary Balogh books that began with Slightly ..... I believe this is the last in a series of six books. These books are a must read. They are funny and sweet. It was this series that made me begin reading Mary Balogh books. Share in the fun of meeting the Bedwyn family.
rocalisa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Balogh's fans have longed to see Wulfric, the imperturbable duke of Bewcastle, fall in love, and Balogh has created the perfect heroine to fell him¿Christine Derrick, a lively but lowborn young widow who has a habit of getting herself into very improper situations. The two meet at a sedate house party, where Christine accidentally spills lemonade on the duke and then dares to laugh at him. Wulfric disapproves of Christine's working-class background and unladylike manners, but he can't help being enchanted by her effervescent personality. For her part, Christine disdains Wulf's icy, superior attitude, but she's drawn to him physically. As fans of the genre will anticipate, opposites attract no matter how hard the hero and heroine fight against it, and an unplanned sexual encounter complicates their feelings even further. Although the story lacks some of the dramatic tension of its predecessors, particularly Slightly Sinful, this book rings with humor and delightful echoes of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.Not feeling up to reading any of my more "serious" books, I went looking for a nice, light-hearted romance to read instead. With the next Julia Quinn book still on reserve at the library, I remembered that a friend had recommended this one and tracked it down. I don't think I enjoyed it as much as she did, but I did enjoy it.This is my second Mary Balogh book. The first was The Secret Pearl, which I did like (I rated it 7/10), but I found the pace to be very slow. That wasn't the case here, and the story moved along nicely, making it a much easier read. This was a good thing, since it was an easy read that I was looking for.It is also the sixth and final book in a series about six siblings. This is one case where I didn't feel the urge to start at the beginning of the series, and I was delighted to find that I didn't need to have done so to enjoy this entry in the series. The other siblings (and their various spouses and children) did all turn up, but there was a quick paragraph on relevant details where any were required and the story carried on nicely with them there as a pleasant and fun set of characters. Maybe I would have got more from their presence if I had read their books, but it didn't worry me in the least that I hadn't.Christine was a lovely character; vivid and bright if somewhat accident prone. This was the point of course, as she attracts the attention of her apparent polar opposite in Wulfric. I liked getting to see her in different settings, both in society and at home with her family and I loved the way she was with the children.I liked Wulfric too, but I felt that I had the advantage of knowing more about him than the people he met, including Christine. For one thing, I knew he was the hero of the book and therefore he had to be a decent person and have more to him than could be seen on the surface. In fact, he was probably my main issue with the book, as I felt that although I knew he was changing into a less restrained individual, the author didn't manage to show me this in a satisfactory manner. She went on a little too much about his icy eyes and inscrutable manner and not enough about the fact he had learned to unbend enough to climb trees. He spent time thinking about how he wanted to laugh with Christine, but if he didn't actually do it, how was she supposed to know this?All the same, they were a nice couple and I do believe they will do very nicely together.The villain of the piece was unexpected - I didn't even realise there was a villain until he was unmasked - and I found that to be very clever and applaud Balogh for fooling me the same way he fooled the other characters.Yes, there were Pride and Prejudice parallels, most notable when Wulfric proposes by telling Christine all the reasons why he shouldn't marry her, but that was really the only time they hit me between the eyes. After that, I just concentrated on this
DebDiem More than 1 year ago
Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh is a fantastic historical romance. Ms Balogh has delivered a well-written book furnished with amazing, lovable characters. Wulfric and Christine's story is loaded with drama, sizzle and humor. I totally loved this book and look forward to reading more from Mary Balogh in the future. Slightly Dangerous is book 6 in the Bedwyn Saga but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I read a print copy of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story leaves you captivated from start to finish with a wonderful hero and heroine who you can't help but love.
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CarBear More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite Historical Romance novel of all times. Wulfric and Christine are perfect for each other. I have this book in paperback as well as on my nook. I have read this book easily 10 times, and I am not one to re-read books.
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Five star series with Wulfric and Christine being the best! The charaters in this series were exprertly brought together in each book as only Mary can do!
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