Series: The Husband Hunter Series Prequel
Published: August 7, 2012
Level of Sensuality: Sensual
“Blackstone, you cannot believe that every woman succumbs equally to your charms.”
A notorious portrait brings together a scandalous lord and a young banking heiress in this delectable regency historical romance prequel to Moore’s Husband Hunter series. When Lord Blackstone returns to London, fashionable ladies cast inviting glances his way and his friends celebrate his infamous exploits. No one guesses that the tales of his past are a cover for an honorable promise, or that he’s on a secret mission to stop a deadly foreign agent and recover his fortune.
One woman remains unmoved by Blackstone's seductive ways. Banking heiress Violet Hammersley believes she has firm control over her passions and her life. That is, until her brother goes missing with a report vital to the British government--and the government puts Blackstone on the case. Now, if Violet wants to find her brother, she must work closely with the man who broke her heart--without succumbing to the powerful impulse to fall for him again.
“… wonderful leading man”
The relationship between Blackstone and Violet is an intense, visceral pull. Their connection while certainly physical goes beyond desire, but neither trusts their heart with the other. This elemental pull never abates and leaves them reeling at their close contact, ratcheting up the tension and speed of the story. Kate Moore is an author to watch and this series promises to give us an interesting, vividly imagined world. BLACKSTONE'S BRIDE is fast-paced, passionate, and worth checking out. –Fresh Fiction
Moore masterfully blends a second chance at romance with espionage, creating a well-paced satisfying read that engages both the mind and the heart. –Romantic Times
Lyle Massing, Baron Blackstone, was losing at cards, a situation he could only attribute to the rise and fall of the ship under him. The HMS Redemption, a naval vessel of questionable seaworthiness, had been pressed into service to bring Blackstone and a few other survivors of the Greek misadventure home.
He tried to concentrate on the cards in his hand and not think about home. At the moment he didn’t have one. Blackstone Court, the ancestral seat he’d inherited from his father, had been mortgaged to pay his ransom to the Greek warlord Vasiladi. The house was now leased to a wealthy maker of crockery. Blackstone’s widowed mother and sisters had removed to a modest townhouse in Bath. His mother made no complaint, but in her letter about the move, his sister Elena had double underlined the words “thirty feet,” the distance between their two drawing rooms in Bath. When he thought of his mother in such narrow circumstances after the vastness of Blackstone Court, he grew a little reckless with his cards, and already a pile of his vowels littered the table.
Beating its way across the channel to Dover, the Redemption, lurched and shuddered, making the yellow light waver in the smoky compartment. Blackstone blinked at the unforgiving cards in his hand. His opponent, Samuel Goldsworthy, a large mound of a man with thick red hair and beard and a green silk waistcoat that glowed in the swaying light, grinned at him. The fellow seemed incapable of ill humor or of losing. It was he who had proposed a little harmless game of cards. Hours earlier, the endless card game and the rolling seas had defeated the other two passengers. Only Goldsworthy and Blackstone remained at the table.
The big man could not conceal his satisfaction with situation. “Son, those cards you’re holding are worthless. Let me offer you a way out.”
Blackstone felt an unsettling prickle of wariness as if the man could see his hand. He made a joke. “Is this the moment when you suggest that I marry your quiz of a daughter?” If Goldsworthy had such a daughter, Blackstone might do it. He had few options to recover his estate.
Goldsworthy gave a head-splittingly hearty laugh. Blackstone had suggested a marriage in jest, but as if in protest at the idea of his marrying, his careless memory threw up a flash of laughing black eyes and soft creamy breasts. He shook it off. That opportunity had long since passed. No doubt Violet Hammersley had married while Blackstone was in the hands of the bandits.
“Nothing so cliched, lad. All I ask is that you enter my employ for a year and a day.”
Blackstone noted the fairy-tale phrase. A year and a day was also the amount of time he had been a captive, a year and a day, in which Byron had died, and the Greek freedom fighters who had sought to throw off the Turks had fallen into rival factions, apt to cut each other’s throats.
He peered again at Goldsworthy. The man looked ordinary enough in spite of his oak-like size and the absurd invitation to employment. He was taller than Blackstone by four inches or more, and wider than any of the berths offered on the ship. Blackstone put his age at somewhere between forty and fifty. He looked like a great leafy tree with his russet coat, walnut trousers, and the green waistcoat. For all the stirring of Blackstone’s instincts as the man’s odd turn of phrase, the fellow was most likely not an enchanter out of a fairy tale, but an ordinary London merchant. He probably had a warehouse on the Thames stuffed with bolts of muslin or sacks of coffee beans.