Read A Precious Jewel Online

Authors: Mary Balogh

A Precious Jewel

Dear Reader,

A Precious Jewel
is that book of mine that insisted upon being written even though I knew it was quite impossible to write. Sir Gerald Stapleton was a minor character in
The Ideal Wife
, the hero’s best friend, who several times bemoaned the loss of Priss, his longtime mistress, after she had left him to marry another man. I had no intention of writing his story, much less of writing Priscilla’s. I was writing traditional Regencies at the time and could hardly have a working prostitute as a heroine and a beta male as a hero! When I tested the idea on a few fellow authors at a writers’ convention, they agreed with me wholeheartedly.

But I was haunted by those two characters to such a degree that finally I had to write their story anyway. And I couldn’t put it down once I had started. I completed it in two weeks! Then I put it up on a shelf to gather dust for a while, quite certain that my editor would have a fit of the vapors if she read it. At last I sent it in anyway and waited for it to be rejected. And waited…. When I finally called about it, I was told it was in copyediting. No rejection, no revisions!

That book became a great reader favorite in 1993, when it was first published. I hope you will still enjoy it today in this unaltered republication.

Mary Balogh

PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS
OF MARY BALOGH

SEDUCING AN ANGEL

“With her inimitable, brilliantly nuanced sense of characterization, elegantly sensual style, and droll wit, best-seller Balogh continues to set the standard to which all other Regency historical writers aspire while delivering another addictively readable addition to her Huxtable family series.”

Booklist

“One of [Balogh’s] best books to date.”
—A Romance Review

AT LAST COMES LOVE

“Sparkling with sharp wit, lively repartee, and delicious sensuality, the emotionally rewarding
At Last Comes Love
metes out both justice and compassion; totally satisfying.”

Library Journal

“At Last Comes Love
is the epitome of what any great romance should be…. This novel will leave you crying, laughing, cheering, and ready to fight for two characters that any reader will most definitely fall in love with!”
—Coffee Time Romance

THEN COMES SEDUCTION

“Exquisite sexual chemistry permeates this charmingly complex story.”

Library Journal

“Balogh delivers another smartly fashioned love story that will dazzle readers with its captivating combination of nuanced characters, exquisitely sensual romance, and elegant wit.”
—Booklist

“Mary Balogh succeeds shockingly well.”
—Rock Hill
Herald

FIRST COMES MARRIAGE

“Intriguing and romantic … Readers are rewarded with passages they’ll be tempted to dog-ear so they can read them over and over.”
—McAllen
Monitor

“Wonderful characterization [and a] riveting plot … I highly recommend you read
First Comes Marriage
.”
—Romance Reviews Today

“Peppered with brilliant banter, laced with laughter… and tingling with sexual tension, this story of two seemingly mismatched people struggling to make their marriage work tugs at a few heartstrings and skillfully paves the way for the stories to come.”
—Library Journal

“The incomparable Balogh delivers a masterful first in a new trilogy…. Always fresh, intelligent, emotional and sensual, Balogh’s stories reach out to readers, touching heart and mind with their warmth and wit. Prepare for a joyous read.”

Romantic Times

SIMPLY PERFECT

“A warm-hearted and feel-good story … Readers will want to add this wonderful story to their collection.
Simply Perfect
is another must-read from this talented author, and a Perfect Ten.”
—Romance Reader

“With her signature exquisite sense of characterization and subtle wit, Balogh brings her sweetly sensual, thoroughly romantic Simply quartet to a truly triumphant conclusion.”

Booklist

SIMPLY MAGIC

“Absorbing and appealing. This is an unusually subtle approach in a romance, and it works to great effect.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Balogh has once again crafted a sensuous tale of two very real people finding love and making each other’s lives whole and beautiful. Readers will be delighted.”

Booklist

SIMPLY UNFORGETTABLE

“When an author has created a series as beloved to readers as Balogh’s Bedwyn saga, it is hard to believe that she can surpass the delights with the first installment in a new quartet. But Balogh has done just that.”
—Library Journal

“A memorable cast … refresh[es] a classic Regency plot with humor, wit, and the sizzling romantic chemistry that one expects from Balogh. Well-written and emotionally complex.”

SIMPLY LOVE

“One of the things that make Ms. Balogh’s books so memorable is the emotion she pours into her stories. The writing is superb, with realistic dialogue, sexual tension, and a wonderful heart-wrenching story.
Simply Love
is a book to savor, and to read again. It is a Perfect Ten. Romance doesn’t get any better than this.”
—Romance Reviews Today

“With more than her usual panache, Balogh returns to Regency England for a satisfying adult love story.”
—Publishers Weekly

SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS

“Slightly Dangerous
is the culmination of Balogh’s wonderfully entertaining Bedwyn series…. Balogh, famous for her believable characters and finely crafted Regency-era settings, forges a relationship that leaps off the page and into the hearts of her readers.”
—Booklist

“With this series, Balogh has created a wonderfully romantic world of Regency culture and society. Readers will miss the honorable Bedwyns and their mates; ending the series with Wulfric’s story is icing on the cake. Highly recommended.”
—Library Journal

SLIGHTLY SINFUL

“Smart, playful, and deliciously satisfying … Balogh once again delivers a clean, sprightly tale rich in both plot and character…. With its irrepressible characters and deft plotting, this polished romance is an ideal summer read.”

Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

SLIGHTLY TEMPTED

“Once again, Balogh has penned an entrancing, unconventional yarn that should expand her following.”

Publishers Weekly

“Balogh is a gifted writer….
Slightly Tempted
invites reflection, a fine quality in romance, and Morgan and Gervase are memorable characters.”
—Contra Costa Times

SLIGHTLY SCANDALOUS

“With its impeccable plotting and memorable characters, Balogh’s book raises the bar for Regency romances.”
—Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

“The sexual tension fairly crackles between this pair of beautifully matched protagonists…. This delightful and exceptionally well-done title nicely demonstrates [Balogh’s] matchless style.”
—Library Journal

“This third book in the Bedwyn series is … highly enjoyable as part of the series or on its own merits.”
—Old Book Barn Gazette

SLIGHTLY WICKED

“Sympathetic characters and scalding sexual tension make the second installment [in the Slightly series] a truly engrossing read…. Balogh’s sure-footed story possesses an abundance of character and class.”
—Publishers Weekly

SLIGHTLY MARRIED

“Slightly Married
is a masterpiece! Mary Balogh has an unparalleled gift for creating complex, compelling characters who come alive on the pages…. A Perfect Ten.”
—Romance Reviews Today

A SUMMER TO REMEMBER

“Balogh outdoes herself with this romantic romp, crafting a truly seamless plot and peopling it with well-rounded, winning characters.”

Publishers Weekly

“The most sensuous romance of the year.”

Booklist

“This one will rise to the top.”

Library Journal

“Filled with vivid descriptions, sharp dialogue, and fantastic characters, this passionate, adventurous tale will remain memorable for readers who love an entertaining read.”
—Rendezvous

WEB OF LOVE

“A beautiful tale of how grief and guilt can lead to love.”
—Library Journal

A
LSO BY
M
ARY
B
ALOGH

The Huxtable Series
F
IRST
C
OMES
M
ARRIAGE
T
HEN
C
OMES
S
EDUCTION
A
T
L
AST
C
OMES
L
OVE
S
EDUCING AN
A
NGEL

The Simply Series
S
IMPLY
U
NFORGETTABLE
S
IMPLY
L
OVE
S
IMPLY
M
AGIC
S
IMPLY
P
ERFECT

The Slightly Series
S
LIGHTLY
M
ARRIED
S
LIGHTLY
W
ICKED
S
LIGHTLY
S
CANDALOUS
S
LIGHTLY
T
EMPTED
S
LIGHTLY
S
INFUL
S
LIGHTLY
D
ANGEROUS

A S
UMMER TO
R
EMEMBER
N
O
M
AN’S
M
ISTRESS
M
ORE
T
HAN A
M
ISTRESS
O
NE
N
IGHT FOR
L
OVE
T
HE
I
DEAL
W
IFE
T
HE
D
EVIL’S
W
EB
W
EB OF
L
OVE
T
HE
G
ILDED
W
EB
T
HE
S
ECRET
P
EARL

“I
AM AFRAID SONIA IS INDISPOSED TODAY, SIR
Gerald,” Miss Katherine Blythe told the young man when he was shown into her private sitting room instead of being admitted to one of the downstairs salons, as usual. “She has taken a chill from walking in the park yesterday without adequate protection from the cold wind. I would scold her roundly if she were not feeling so miserable, poor girl.”

“It was a chilly day yesterday,” Sir Gerald Stapleton agreed. “I am sorry to hear that Sonia is not well, ma’am. Will you give her my regards? May I see her three days from now if she is recovered?”

Miss Blythe sat back in her chair and looked assessingly at the young man who stood before her. He was of average height, slim and well-formed, fashionably dressed. His face was pleasant even if not startlingly handsome. His fair hair curled into no particular
style, but it was soft and clean. She appeared to come to a decision.

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