The Importance of Being Alice: A Matchmaker in Wonderland Romance

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9780451471376: The Importance of Being Alice: A Matchmaker in Wonderland Romance

First in a new series!

From New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister comes a series about finding your own wonderland—through one roadblock at a time....


Nothing about Alice Wood’s life is normal right now. Her fiancé, Patrick, called off their wedding and relationship only days before their nonrefundable wedding trip. And though a luxurious European river cruise for one is just what she needs, it’s not what she gets....

Due to a horrible misunderstanding, Alice is now cramped in her “romantic” suite with one of Patrick’s friends. Instead of cruising along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers sipping champagne with the love of her life, she’s navigating the waters with a strange—yet mysteriously handsome—British aristocrat.

A baron of dubious wealth—and not-so-dubious debt—Elliot Ainslie is just looking forsome alone time to write the books that keep his large family afloat. But his stodgy, serious self is about to be sidetracked by a woman who seems to have jumped out of the pages of a fairy tale, one who is determined to shake up his life...and include him in her own happily ever after.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Ever the romantic, Katie MacAlister decided one day to write a story that included all her favorite literary elements—dishy guys, strong women, steamy love scenes, and lots and lots of humor. She’s been blessed to write more than forty books since that first one, and is always madly in love with her latest hero. 

She is also the author of It's All Greek to Me and the Time Thief, Light Dragons, and Dark Ones series.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

Expense Account

Item one: ten pounds

Remarks: Brothers are the bane of my existence.

“El-eeee-uuut.”

“Oh lord, not that again.”

“El-eeee-uuut. Phone home, El-eeee-uuut.”

“There is nothing else on this earth that you can be doing at this exact moment but that?”

“El-eeee-uuut.”

Elliott Edmond Richard Ainslie, eighth Baron Ainslie, and eldest brother to eleven mostly adopted siblings—mostly brothers, due to his mother’s belief that boys were easier to raise than girls—donned a long-suffering expression and leaned back in his office chair. “Very funny, Bertie. Almost as funny as the first one thousand, two hundred and thirty-two times you blighted me with that movie quote, although I feel honor-bound to point out yet again that it was E.T. who wanted to phone home, and not the young lad who found him.”

“Dude, you always say that, and I still don’t see that it matters. I mean, Elliott would have wanted to phone home if he went up in the mother ship with E.T., wouldn’t he?” Bertie, the youngest of his brothers, slumped into the armchair nearest Elliott’s desk with the boneless grace of young men of seventeen.

“You’re getting your alien movies mixed up again; the mother ship was in Close Encounters. What’s set you off on this eighties movie binge anyway? I thought you were studying for your exams.” Elliott eyed his laptop with longing. He really needed to get this book started if he was going to have it finished in time to join the family on their annual trek to visit the orphanage and school his mother endowed in Kenya.

“Whatev.”

“Really, Bertie? Whatev? You can’t even be bothered to add the last syllable?” Elliott shook his head. “If this is what time in America has done to you, I shall have to speak to Mum about letting you return there in the autumn.”

Bertie clicked his tongue dismissively, swiveling in the chair until his legs hung over one arm. “Mum’ll let me go no matter what you say. My family is there. It’s my crib, you know?”

“Your family is from a small village two hundred miles outside of Nairobi,” Elliott corrected him. “At least that’s what the people at the orphanage told Mum when she adopted you, and I see no reason why they would confuse a small village in Africa with Brooklyn, New York. But never mind all that. Did you want something in particular, or have you just come to blight me on a whim?”

“Elliott!” a voice said sharply from the door.

Elliott sighed to himself. This was all he needed to utterly destroy the morning’s chance at work.

“You will not be cruel to your brother! He is needful of our love and understanding in order to help him integrate into this family. If you abuse him like that, you will end up making him feel that he is a stranger in a strange land.” Lady Ainslie bustled into the room, clutched Bertie to her substantial bosom, and shot a potent glare over his head at her eldest son.

“He’s been a part of the family since he was two months old, Mum. If he feels like a stranger, it’s because he’s cultivating that emotion, and not due to any ill will on my part,” Elliott couldn’t help but point out.

“You must love all your brothers and sisters,” his mother went on, smooshing poor Bertie’s face into the aforementioned bosom. Elliott winced in sympathy when Bertie’s arms flailed, indicating a lack of oxygen. “No matter what their origins, color, or cultural roots.”

“I do love all my siblings, although I will admit to preferring those you and Papa adopted rather than the two related by blood.”

“Yes, well, that’s because your dear papa and I were first cousins,” Lady Ainslie admitted, utterly ignoring the fact that she was smothering one of her beloved sons. “To be honest, we’re lucky that your sister Jane’s webbed toes are the worst that came out of that. But I digress. You must not pick on dear Bertie, or he will get a complex.”

Elliott gave consideration to the fact that Bertie’s wild gestures were now more feeble twitches than anything else. “I don’t think that will be a problem if you continue to asphyxiate him like that.”

“What? Oh.” Lady Ainslie looked down, and with an annoyed click of her tongue released Bertie. He collapsed to the floor, gasping for air, his face, already dark due to his ancestry, now strangely mottled. “Silly boy should have said something. Now, what did I come to see you about?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea. Is it something to do with the builders? They haven’t rescheduled again, have they?”

“No, no, they’re still coming on Monday as planned. It will be terribly inconvenient having them underfoot for the monthly Mothers Without Borders meeting, but I suppose it is necessary to have the work done.”

“If you wish for the walls to remain upright, then yes,” Elliott said mildly.

He’d worked and saved and scrimped until he had, after seven years, managed to accrue enough money to start the restoration of the seventeenth-century house he had inherited. Along with a lot of debts, he thought sourly to himself, not the least of which was a nearly crippling inheritance tax.

If only his father hadn’t been such a poor financial planner. If only his mother hadn’t spent her own modest fortune on endowing any number of charities in her late husband’s name. It wasn’t that Elliott was against supporting such worthy causes—he was as charitable as the next man, doing his part to end child hunger and abuse to animals and to provide homes for needy hedgehogs—but he couldn’t help but wish that supporting his large family and money-sucking estate hadn’t fallen so squarely on his shoulders.

He had to get this book done. Hell, he had to get the damned thing started. Without the money the book contracts brought in, he’d be sunk. They all would be in desperate straits, everyone from his spendthrift mother right down to Levar, the second-youngest brother, who was recovering from a very expensive operation to straighten one of his legs. “Is there something in particular you wanted to discuss with me? Because if you’ve just come to chat, I will have to beg off. I really must get this book under way if I’m to meet the deadline. Bertie, for god’s sake, stop with the dramatics. You aren’t dying.”

“I saw spots,” Bertie said, ceasing the fish-out-of-water noises in order to haul himself up to the chair. “I saw a light. I wanted to go into the light.”

Elliott bit back the urge to say it was a shame he hadn’t, because he truly did love all his brothers and sisters. Even impressionable, heedless Bertie, who had recently returned from a two-month visit to see distant family members who had long ago emigrated from the small village in Kenya to the U.S. “Right. What have I told you both about my office door?”

“When the door is shut, Elliott is working,” they parroted in unison.

“And if I don’t work . . . ?”

“We don’t eat,” they answered in unison.

“So why is it you’re both here when this is my working time?”

“I need a tenner,” Bertie said with an endearing grin.

Their mother looked askance. “You just had your allowance. What did you spend that on?”

“Girls,” he answered, his grin growing. “Three of them. Triplets with golden hair, and golden skin, and knockers that would make you drool.”

“Bertie!” Elliott said with a meaningful nod toward their mother.

“Oh, well,” Lady Ainslie said, dismissing this evidence of teenage libido. “Young men should be interested in girls. Unless, of course, they’re interested in boys, which is perfectly all right no matter what the Reverend Charles says, and if he thinks he’s going to make an example of dear Gabrielle simply because she ran off with his poor downtrodden wife, well then, he simply needs to think again. The Ainslies have been a part of Ainston village since the Conqueror came over, and I shan’t have him blackening our name now. That brings to mind the letter I intended on sending Charles after that scathing sermon he read last week, which was quite obviously pointed at me. Elliott, dear, have your secretary send a letter expressing my discontent, and threatening to cease our donations to the church if he doesn’t stop writing sermons about women who raise their daughters to become wife-stealing lesbians.”

Elliott sighed and looked at his watch. “I don’t have a secretary, Mum.”

“No?” She looked vaguely surprised. “You ought to, dear. You are a famous writer, after all. No one can kill off people quite like you do. Now, much as I would like to stay and chat, I really must go write an article for The M’kula Times & Agricultural Review regarding the upcoming celebration at the Lord Ainslie Memorial School of Animal Husbandry. I’ve been invited to speak at the opening of the new manure house next month, and I want to alert all our friends in Kenya to that worthy event. Do give your brother ten pounds. Young men always need ten pounds.”

“And, speaking of that, have you given any thought to my suggestion?”

“What suggestion?” Her face darkened. “You’re not still intending on committing that atrocity?”

“If by ‘atrocity’ you mean requiring that the members of this family find gainful employment elsewhere, then yes.” He held up a hand to forestall the objection that he was certain she would make. “Mum, I have explained it at least three times: I cannot continue to support every single member of this family anymore. All those brothers and sisters are a drain on the estate, one that cannot continue unchecked.”

“You are exaggerating the situation,” she said dismissively. “They are your family. You owe them support.”

“Emotional support, yes. Help where I can give it, of course. But the financial situation has made it quite clear that only those members of the family who actually work for the estate will continue to be employed. Everyone else is going to have to find a job elsewhere. We can’t afford to support them simply because they are family.”

“You are heartless and cruel!” his mother declared, one hand to her substantial bosom. “Your father would turn over in his grave if he knew how you were willing to disown all your siblings without so much as a thought for their welfare.”

“I have had many thoughts for their welfare, but I am also responsible for the estate, and everyone employed by it, as well as the many tenant farmers. Mum, I’m sorry, but there’s no other way. If I don’t cut out the deadweight, we’ll be foreclosed upon, and I don’t think anyone wants to see that happen.”

“But your brothers and sisters! What are they to do? How will they live?”

He smiled grimly. “Just like the rest of us. They’ll have to get real jobs.”

She gasped in horror. “You plan on throwing everyone to the wolves?”

“Hardly that. Dixon’s job as the estate agent is quite secure—I couldn’t do half the work he does. Gunner has employment elsewhere, so he doesn’t come into the equation. Gabrielle is excellent at managing the tour guides and gift shop, so her job is safe. Assuming she comes back from wherever she ran off to. But the others will simply have to find jobs outside of the castle.”

“You are not the man I thought you were,” his mother said, giving him a look filled with righteous indignation. “I would wash my hands of you except I believe that one day your sanity will return to you. I just hope you haven’t destroyed the family before that time.”

With a dramatic flourish, she exited the room.

* * *

“One down,” Elliott said with a sigh. He eyed his brother.

“This one will cost you a tenner,” the little blighter had the nerve to say.

Elliott fought the urge to sigh again, and gave in to the roguish charm that won Bertie so much admiration from the local teenage female population. He dug a ten-pound note out of his wallet. “Mind this lasts longer than the last one I gave you. I’m not made—”

“—of money. I know, I know,” Bertie said with a laugh. He tucked the cash away and gave Elliott a friendly buffet on the shoulder, saying, in a bizarre mix of British and American slang, “But you’re the only one of us that has any dosh. Thanks, bro. You da man.”

The door closed behind Bertie with a satisfying thud.

“Alone at—”

“Elliott, I remember now what it was I came to tell you before you began speaking so cruelly of all your helpless siblings,” Lady Ainslie said, her head popping around the door just as Bertie left the room. “The man wishes to speak with you.”

“Man?” Elliott ran over the mental list of men he knew who might show up at the castle and demand an audience. “What man? One of the builders?”

“No, no, the Irishman. The one you went to school with. He’s on the phone for you.”

“Patrick?” Elliott patted his pockets, realized that he didn’t have his mobile phone, and followed after his mother as she disappeared down the dark corridor. “Mum, how often have I asked you not to answer my mobile phone?”

“But it was ringing, dear. And it might have been someone important.”

When his mother turned right at the long galley, Elliott turned left and raced down the back stairs to the small room on the east side of the house that used to be known as the ladies’ withdrawing room. In it was a comfortable, if eclectic, collection of furniture retrieved from the attics, and which made up the family’s sitting room.

“Hullo?” He expected to see the phone turned off, but it was still active, and he could hear voices emitting from it. Picking it up, he said, “Patrick?”

“—and don’t forget t’make an appointment with the agent. I want the condo sold no later than March. What? Elliott, is that you? Had t’send t’the back forty for you, did they?”

“Back forty what?” Elliott asked, confused.

“It’s an American expression.”

“Ah. To what do I owe the honor of this call? Oh, hell, that sounded rude. Ignore me—I’m in a foul mood. It’s been a nightmare around here gearing up for some renovations, and I’m late getting started on a new book. Let me start again. Nice to hear from you, Patrick. How are you doing?”

Patrick laughed, and said something under his breath to his secretary about moving a meeting to the following week. “No need t’apologize. Your foul mood is why I’m calling. Your sister was talking about you the other day, and she suggested you be the one t’take the tickets, rather than my secretary trying to flog them on Craigslist.”

Elliott sat in his favorite armchair, the one that was stained with decades of ink spilled by some long-dead literary ancestor. “My sister? Tickets? Craigslist? Christ, now I sound like a deranged parrot. Which sister, and what tickets are you talking about?”

“The tickets for my prewedding trip down a couple of rivers in Europe t’that city in Czechoslovakia. You know the place.”

“Prague?”

“No, no, the other place. The one with that big bridge that gets all the attention.”

Elliott thought. “Budapest?”

“Yes, that’s the place. The river tour goes from Amsterdam t’Budapest.”

“Budapest is Hungary, not the Czech Republic.”

“Same difference,” Patrick said with an airy lack of concern. “I’ve parted ways with Alice, so I don’t need the tickets, and since your delicious sister swore it was bad juju for her t’take the place of an ex, she thought that you could do with the trip. Since I hear all hell is about t’break out at Ainslie Castle, that is, and of course, your straitened circumstances.”

There was a tinge of satisfaction in Patrick’s voice that Elliott ignored. Before he could respond, he heard someone yelling for him. No doubt it was...

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Katie MacAlister
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Descripción Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2017. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. First in a new series! From New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister comes a series about finding your own wonderland--through one roadblock at a time. Nothing about Alice Wood s life is normal right now. Her fiance, Patrick, called off their wedding and relationship only days before their nonrefundable wedding trip. And though a luxurious European river cruise for one is just what she needs, it s not what she gets. Due to a horrible misunderstanding, Alice is now cramped in her -romantic- suite with one of Patrick s friends. Instead of cruising along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers sipping champagne with the love of her life, she s navigating the waters with a strange--yet mysteriously handsome--British aristocrat. A baron of dubious wealth--and not-so-dubious debt--Elliot Ainslie is just looking forsome alone time to write the books that keep his large family afloat. But his stodgy, serious self is about to be sidetracked by a woman who seems to have jumped out of the pages of a fairy tale, one who is determined to shake up his life.and include him in her own happily ever after. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780451471376

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Descripción Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2017. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. First in a new series! From New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister comes a series about finding your own wonderland--through one roadblock at a time. Nothing about Alice Wood s life is normal right now. Her fiance, Patrick, called off their wedding and relationship only days before their nonrefundable wedding trip. And though a luxurious European river cruise for one is just what she needs, it s not what she gets. Due to a horrible misunderstanding, Alice is now cramped in her -romantic- suite with one of Patrick s friends. Instead of cruising along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers sipping champagne with the love of her life, she s navigating the waters with a strange--yet mysteriously handsome--British aristocrat. A baron of dubious wealth--and not-so-dubious debt--Elliot Ainslie is just looking forsome alone time to write the books that keep his large family afloat. But his stodgy, serious self is about to be sidetracked by a woman who seems to have jumped out of the pages of a fairy tale, one who is determined to shake up his life.and include him in her own happily ever after. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780451471376

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Descripción Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2017. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. First in a new series! From New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister comes a series about finding your own wonderland--through one roadblock at a time. Nothing about Alice Wood s life is normal right now. Her fiance, Patrick, called off their wedding and relationship only days before their nonrefundable wedding trip. And though a luxurious European river cruise for one is just what she needs, it s not what she gets. Due to a horrible misunderstanding, Alice is now cramped in her -romantic- suite with one of Patrick s friends. Instead of cruising along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers sipping champagne with the love of her life, she s navigating the waters with a strange--yet mysteriously handsome--British aristocrat. A baron of dubious wealth--and not-so-dubious debt--Elliot Ainslie is just looking forsome alone time to write the books that keep his large family afloat. But his stodgy, serious self is about to be sidetracked by a woman who seems to have jumped out of the pages of a fairy tale, one who is determined to shake up his life.and include him in her own happily ever after. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780451471376

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