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Excerpt: To Covet a Lady's Heart by Ingrid Hahn

About the Book

One good blackmail deserves another.

After a lifetime of rakish behavior, Lord Maxfeld must pretend he’s reformed and find a fake wife. And, with the perfect blend of family scandal and tenuous acceptance in Society, there is nobody more suitable than Lady Phoebe. Trouble is, Phoebe will not agree to a false engagement, forcing Max to blackmail her into his scheme.

Phoebe will go to great lengths to avoid anything remotely dishonorable. Unwilling to bear the scandal of a broken engagement, she blackmails Max right back—directly to the altar.

Once married, though, Phoebe wants much more than Max’s ring. She wants his heart. But he will never give it. For better or worse may just be words but Phoebe cannot stay with Max if he thinks love is the worst thing that can happen.


Phoebe was still becoming accustomed to this mad whirl of parties and finery that was her life. Her sister’s wealthy husband afforded them a number of previously unthinkable luxuries beyond beautiful gowns. Like use of his London house for the Season…and all the trappings deemed necessary therein.

Privately, Phoebe suspected her new brother to be willing to pay any price to pry them out of his estate, Corbeau Park. Anything to buy time alone with his new bride. Who could blame him?

Lady Bennington gripped her arm, making no effort to speak over the noise. “Don’t look to your left, my dear.”

“Why ever not?” Phoebe strained to see anything she could in her peripheral vision, but there was nothing but scads upon scads of people.

“You don’t want to work to catch any man’s attention. Even his.” She paused. “Especially his.”

At that moment, regret hooked itself into Phoebe’s heart. She wasn’t up to making herself pleasant to men, not when she was so undecided what she wanted her ultimate fate to be.

She should have feigned illness tonight. She could be home by the fire in her chamber, feet curled under her. Her nose would be stuck so far into some lurid and entirely inappropriate novel, she’d not be able to set it free again until dawn. And she knew just from where she’d pilfer such a book, too. Her mother’s bedside table.

Then again, it would have been a shame not to come tonight, for she did like her gown. But there would be other nights, other balls, other chances.

“Who’s ‘him’?” Phoebe wasn’t desperate for anyone to join them, but she couldn’t say so where there was a chance at being easily overheard.

“Oh!” Clutching a fist against her breast, her mother’s eyes went big. “He’s coming this way.”

“Mama, you tell me not to look, and yet you make a spectacle of yourself.”

“No.” Her mother’s voice flattened. “No, he’s not coming here. He’s turned away. He’s—oh! He’s coming back this way, after all.”

“It’s impossible to tell whether you want him to come or to stay away.”

“Truth be told…” Her mother frowned, seeming to think the better of whatever the truth might have been. “Never mind, he’s still the son of my dear friend, and we shall treat him accordingly.”

Phoebe turned just in time to catch the eye of the man in question and prickled in that horrid way she did when she was aware he was close.

“Oh no. Not him.” Lord Maxfeld? Here? Tonight? Of all the ballrooms in all of London, why did he have to be in this one?

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About the Author

Ingrid Hahn is a failed administrative assistant with a B.A. in Art History. Her love of reading has turned her mortgage payment into a book storage fee, which makes her the friend who you never want to ask you for help moving. Though originally from Seattle, she now lives in the metropolitan DC area with her ship-nerd husband, small son, and four opinionated cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves knitting, theater, nature walks, travel, history, and is a hopelessly devoted fan of Jane Austen. She loves to connect with her readers


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