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Love and Lucia by Barbara Cartland
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Love and Lucia

by Barbara Cartland

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With her father dying of starvation, Lucia had to sell his paintings. In desperation she accosted the Marquis of Wynchcombe who, bored with life and his Venerian mistress, set taking coffee outside Florian's cafi. This meeting with a seeming beggar girl was to mean danger and an agonising dilemma for the Marquis.

Looking out they could see lights in the distant which seemed to mingle with the stars coming out the sky overhead.

"It is so beautiful!" Lucia said.

There was silence. Then the Marquis said in different voice from any she had heard before: "So are you, Lucia."

As she looked up in astonishment he put his arms round her and drew her close to him. Then while she trembled because she thought she was stepping into a dream; his lips came down on hers....

Only when a century seemed to have passed and the Marquis raised his head did she say: " I... I... love you! I feel as if you have given me something so... magical... so perfect that there ar ... no words in which I can tell you how... wonderful it was."

The Marquis did not answer, but merely kissed her again, and to Lucia it was as if they were both standing in a dazzling light which carne not from the sky, but from within themselves.

Light is... love, she thought. Then there was nothing else in the whole world but the Marquis, his arms, his lips and him....
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Even amid the genteel grandeur of Venice, the Marquis of Wynchcombe's ennui is undiminished. His fiery mistress Francesca, a beautiful and flamboyant Venetian actress, bores him almost as much as the company of the Beau Monde and royal acolyte with whom he associates. So when an impoverished but delicately alluring young Englishwoman, Lucia, accosts him at a caf‚e and beseeches him to peruse the painting of her dying father, he is intrigued, even more so when he realizes that Lucia's father is a genius... But then he dies. Lucia is distraught and destitute but the Marquis saves her from penury by buying her father's every painting, promising to take her home to England. Enraged by her beau's apparent infatuation with the young ing‚enue, Francesca stabs him with a stiletto... But it's Lucia who has truly pierced his heart and stolen his soul, and just as the Marquis thinks she will be his forever, she delivers the heartbreaking words: 'Although I love you with all my heart I cannot be your wife...'… (more)

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