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Gilding the Lady

Gilding the Lady by Nicole Byrd
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Clarissa Fallon is not accustomed to fancy parties or the luxuries of wealth. When her widowed mother died after her brother had shipped out to sea, she was sent to an orphanage and then sold into servitude to a tyrannical employer.
 
But when her brother finally tracks Clarissa down, it is now her chance to begin a new life. She must function as a member of a society in which she was once solely an observer. She must learn how to be a lady. Thankfully the powerful Sinclair family offers their help, though they have their own problems. While Lord Gabriel Sinclair continues his search for family secrets, Lady Gabriel lends her support, but Clarissa still feels like an imposter. 

Just when she is ready to give up, she meets Dominic Shay, Earl of Whitby, who has wagered that he can help this former nursery maid acclimate to society. With his assistance, she begins to find her place, but then a nemesis from her past is found dead. And Clarissa is again taken to task, but this time for a murder she did not commit. As Dominic and Clarissa struggle to clear her name, the desire between them mounts, and Clarissa learns it can sometimes be more usefuleven more enjoyableto not always be a lady.
Penguin Publishing Group; August 2005
336 pages; ISBN 9781101205112
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Title: Gilding the Lady
Author: Nicole Byrd