To Catch an Heiress (Lady Danbury's Influence Series #1)

To Catch an Heiress (Lady Danbury's Influence Series #1)

by Julia Quinn

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When Caroline Trent is kidnapped by Blake Ravenscroft, she doesn't even try to elude this dangerously handsome agent of the crown. After all, she's been running from unwanted marriage proposals. Yes, Blake believes she's a notorious spy named Carlotta De Leon, but for six weeks until her twenty-first birthday, when she'll gain control of her fortune, hiding out in the titillating company of a mysterious captor is awfully convenient -- and maybe just a little romantic, too.

Blake Ravenscroft's mission is to bring "Carlotta" to justice, not to fall in love. His heart has been hardened by years of intrigue, but this little temptress proves oddly disarming and thoroughly kissable. And suddenly the unthinkable becomes possible -- that this mismatched Couple might be destined for love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380789351
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/30/2002
Series: Lady Danbury's Influence Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 225,946
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Julia Quinn started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since. The #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than two dozen novels for Avon Books, she is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and is one of only sixteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Please visit her on the web at

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Chapter One

con-tu-ber-nal (noun). One who occupies the same tent, a tent-fellow, comrade.

The thougbt of Percy Prewitt as my contubernal causes me to break out in hives.

-- From the personal dictionary of
Caroline Trent

Hampshire, England
July 3, 1814
Caroline Trent hadn't meant to shoot Percival Prewitt, but she had, and now he was dead.

Or at least she thought he was dead. There was certainly enough blood. It was dripping from the walls, it was splattered on the floor, and the bedclothes were stained quite beyond redemption. Caroline didn't know very much about medicine, but she was fairly certain a body couldn't lose that much blood and still live.

She was in big trouble now.

"Damn," she muttered. Although she was a gentlewoman, she hadn't always been raised in particularly gentle circumstances, and her language occasionally left a bit to be desired.

"You stupid man," she said to the body on the floor. "Why did you have to lunge at me like that? Why couldn't you have left well enough alone? I told your father I wasn't going to marry you. I told him I wouldn't marry you if you were the last idiot in Britain."

She nearly stamped her foot in frustration. Why was it her words never came out quite the way she intended them to? "What I meant to say was that you are an idiot," she said to Perry, who, not surprisingdidn't respond, "and that I wouldn'tmarry you if you were the last man in Britain, and Oh, blast. What am I doing talking to you, anyway? You're quite dead."

Caroline groaned. What the devil was she supposed to do now?Percy's father was due to return in just two short hours, and it didn't require an Oxford degree to deduce that Oliver Prewitt would not be Pleased to find his son dead on the floor.

"Bother your father," she ground out. "This is all his fault, anyway. If he hadn't been so obsessed with catching you an heiress..."

Oliver Prewitt was Caroline's guardian, or at least he would be for the next six weeks, until she reached her twenty-first birthday. She had been counting down the days until August 14,1814, ever since August 14,1813, when she had turned twenty. just forty-two days to go. Forty-two days and she would finally have control of her life and her fortune. She didn't even want to think about how much of her inheritance the Prewitts had already run through.

She tossed her gun onto the bed, planted her hands on her hips, and stared down at Percy.

And then ... his eyes opened.

"Aaaaaaack!" Caroline let out a loud scream, jumped a foot, and grabbed her gun.

"You b -- "Percy started.

"Don't say it," she warned. "I still have a gun."

"You wouldn't use it," he gasped, coughing and clutching at his bloody shoulder.

"I beg your pardon, but the evidence seems to indicate otherwise."

Percy's thin lips clamped into a straight line. He swore viciously, and then lifted his furious gaze to Caroline. "I told my father I didn't want to marry you," he hissed. ",God! Can you imagine? Having to live with you for the rest of my life? I should go bloody insane. If you didn't kill me first, that is."

"If you didn't want to marry me you shouldn't have tried to force yourself upon me."

He shrugged, then howled when the movement sparked pain in his shoulder. He looked quite furious as he said, "You've quite a bit of money, but do you know, I don't think you're worth it."

"Kindly tell that to your father," Caroline snapped

"He said he'd disinherit me if I didn't marry you"

"And you couldn't stand up to him for once in your pathetic life?"

Percy growled at being called pathetic, but in his weakened condition he couldn't do much about the insult "I could go to America," he muttered. "Surely savages have to be a better option than you."

Caroline ignored him. She and Percy had been at odds since she had come to live with the Prewitts a year and a half earlier. Percy was quite under his father's thumb, and the only time he showed any spirit was when Oliver quit the house. Unfortunately, his spirit was usually mean and small and, in Caroline's opinion, rather dull.

"I suppose I'm going to have to save you now," she grumbled. "You're certainly not worth the gallows."

"'You're too kind."

Caroline shook a pillow out of its case, wadded up the cloth -- the highest quality linen, she noted, probably purchased with her money -- and pressed it against Percy's wound. "We have to stop the bleeding," she said.

"It appears to have slowed down," Percy admitted.

"Did the bullet go straight through?"

"I don't know. Hurts like the devil, but I don't know if it's supposed to hurt more if it goes through or gets stuck in the muscle."

"I imagine they're both quite painful," Caroline said, lifting the wadded pillowcase and examining the wound. She turned him gently and looked at his back. "I think it went through. You've a hole in the back of your shoulder as well."

"Trust you to injure me twice."

"You lured me into your room under the pretense of needing a cup of tea for a head cold," she snapped, "and then you tried to rape me! What did you expect?"

"Why the hell did you bring a gun?"

"I always carry a gun," she replied. "I have since ... well, never you mind."

"I wouldn't have gone through with it," he muttered.

"How was I to know that?"

"Well, you know I've never liked you."

To Catch an Heiress. Copyright © by Julia Quinn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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To Catch an Heiress (Lady Danbury's Influence Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 94 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did like this book, but it's not my favorite of Julia Quinn. I would recommend reading Quinn's Bridgerton Series over this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't know how she does it but her books suck me in every time. I pick up another of her books thinking this is the one where she will fail (it's safe to say that I'm a skeptic in most things) but she never does. I always fall in love with her characters, and the plot of her stories. I proudly call her a GENIUS, and I can recommend her books with a confidence that you would not be disappointed. In fact, I would kill to be able to see some of her books made into a movie, especially her Bridgerton series!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
To Catch An Heiress is by far one of the best books i have ever read. It was my first Julia Quinn novel, and i was hooked from page one. I was with Caroline every step of the way, as well as Blake, and James Riverdale made it all the better. Excellent Job julia!!!! This book wins my vote for best Romantic Comedy!!!
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This, I felt, was less a believable historical romance and more a vehicle for an almost overwhelming amount of cheery witty banter. Look, I like banter as much as the next person--but when the banter goes the way of implausibility, I start to cringe. I would've bashed both Caroline's and Blake's heads if *I* were their partner during their spy missions! Just stop talking already, the two of you! You're loud and distracting and draw attention to yourself when you absolutely cannot afford to do so! Aside from that major quibble, I liked Caroline. She has modern sensibilities and appeal. Read this if you want a historical romance that never stops being witty and quippy.
halo776 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Caroline is within 6 weeks of her 21st birthday and subsequently, her freedom, when her guardian seeks to ruin her in an effort to keep her fortune in his family. Her only choice is to run away, putting her in the path of Blake Ravenscroft. In a case of mistaken identity, Blake believes Caroline to be a treasonous spy. He imprisons her in his home and summons his partner, James, to assist in the interrogation. Thus begins "To Catch an Heiress." I don't think it's any great secret that Blake and Caroline find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other, despite the fact that he at first believes her to be a dangerous traitor. Although the plot is sometimes ridiculously simplistic and predictable, the laugh-out-loud funny antics, witty dialogue, and tender love scenes save the novel from an obscure fate. It is a rather pleasant and enjoyable read. Blake and Caroline are both wounded in different ways, and they both have to learn to trust each other. Don't expect it to be realistic, but more like a fairy tale, and you will be delighted. I really enjoy the other characters, especially the servants. I can't wait until James finds his happily-ever-after in the next book.
January_F on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a really fun read. The dialog between all the characters was smart and funny.
Anniik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is completely adorable. Witty, charming, funny and well written, this book is the essence of Julia Quinn. While not as developed or well-written perhaps as her later books (the Bridgertons, for instance), it is a wonderful book with endearing characters and a fast-paced story. I especially like the part where Caroline foils Blake by coughing herself into losing her voice - and then can't write because Blake assumes she's left handed - very cutely done. This book is a charming and heartwarming read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goodness, this is a darling book. Very funny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book and romance!
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
A delightful, light and witty romantic tale. I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed all of this author's other novels, but this one is slow, boring and ridiculous.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters were too much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thats all. just really hated her and wanted unpleasant things to happen to her. Julia quinn is great though.
skelley55 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. Ravenscott thinking Caroline was a spy was a stretch but the book provides a light escape with witty dialogue.
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This was yet another amazing book by Julia Q!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love so many of this authors books. Great start to a new series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was so much fun to read. The characters were superb and the story was great.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She made me laugh hysterically. Iwas at work and had to keep my laughter down to nearly quiet tears.