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A Duke's Wicked Kiss
     

A Duke's Wicked Kiss

4.4 12
by Kathleen Bittner Roth
 

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A Duke's Wicked Kiss by Kathleen Bittner Roth:

While on a secret mission for the Crown, a proper duke falls for an improper daughter of an Indian royal and British noble.

Miss Suri Thurston knows the pain of abandonment. Intent on confronting the grandmother who tossed her to the lions, she travels from England to her birthplace in India. Her plans

Overview

A Duke's Wicked Kiss by Kathleen Bittner Roth:

While on a secret mission for the Crown, a proper duke falls for an improper daughter of an Indian royal and British noble.

Miss Suri Thurston knows the pain of abandonment. Intent on confronting the grandmother who tossed her to the lions, she travels from England to her birthplace in India. Her plans run afoul when she encounters the man who, ten years prior, left a mark on her soul with one stolen kiss. But he is a duke, and far beyond the reach of even her dreams.

The Duke of Ravenswood, secret head of the British Foreign Service, has no time for relationships. His one goal is to locate and eliminate key insurgents involved in an uprising against the British East India Company before it's too late. But when Suri appears in Delhi, his resolve is tested as he finds his heart forever bound to her by the one haunting kiss they shared once upon a time.

With Suri's vengeful Indian family looking for her death, and insurgents intent on mutiny tearing their world apart, can their love rise above the scandal of the marriage they both desperately want?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781622663637
Publisher:
Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date:
08/26/2014
Series:
Entangled Select Series
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

A Duke's Wicked Kiss


By Kathleen Bittner Roth, Erin Molta

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2014 Kathleen Bittner Roth
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62266-364-4


CHAPTER 1

Bridgeford Hall — Bedfordshire, England, 1847


"Blast it all, ladies get kissed, they do not do the kissing." Suri flopped back onto a pile of hay in a shadowy corner of the stable and waved off a cloud of dust. "Before you know it, you'll have ruined your entire coming out over a trifle."

Her half sister shoved an errant curl behind her ear and lifted her chin. "Not knowing how to kiss would hardly be insignificant should my future husband be amongst our guests."

"Oh, for pity's sake, Marguerite. I thought a morning ride might do the trick, but no, you're still a bundle of nerves. Yesterday you were all aflutter over the floral arrangements. What'll it be tomorrow? Deciding you need a different gown?"

At Marguerite's crestfallen look, Suri softened her words. "Have you forgotten that a gentleman might prefer you were innocent of such intimacies?"

Mischief carved little lines at the corners of Marguerite's eyes. "There's always our groomsman to teach me. He's got a fine mouth."

Suri pushed up on her elbows. "And a nasty habit of flapping that fine mouth. Davey would have every stable boy within a day's ride racing here with their tongues hanging to their knees hoping for a bit of what he got. Not to mention, Papa would have your neck if you got caught. You cannot be serious."

"If only I were," Marguerite sighed. "But whether I am good or bad at it, I intend to taste my first kiss tomorrow night, and that's that."

Suri picked bits of straw off her skirt. "Perhaps you should've settled on a masquerade ball for your coming out."

"And lose out on wearing my exquisite gown? Why ever would I want that?"

"Because costumed, you could've stolen kisses from a knight in shining armor or some fallen angel with gilded wings. Then you could have changed into your ball gown before the unmasking with no one the wiser."

"There's a splendid idea you should've thought of sooner."

"Ah, but then you'd not have the scandal you're obviously itching for."

"Don't be impertinent. I've made note of every shadowy corner outside the ballroom. Threat of discovery concerns me little."

The air shifted.

A shadow loomed over the two girls, blocking the morning's long shaft of sunlight streaming through the open doors of the stable.

Marguerite sucked in a breath. "Mercy, me."

Suri cupped a gloved hand over her eyes and squinted. Her heart skipped a beat. Could she actually be regarding the most gorgeous man she had ever laid eyes on? Or was this some figment of her imagination — the knight in shining armor — or the fallen angel? She stared while Marguerite scrambled to her feet and flapped her hands, straightening her skirt and jacket, sending a storm of hay and dust to swirl about.

"A dilemma, ladies?" His voice came low and clear, smooth as honey, and filled with a hint of amusement.

Definitely not the angel. Suri looked him over as boldly as he scrutinized Marguerite. He was tall, long-legged — at least he appeared that way from her supine angle. She sat upright. Yes, definitely long-legged. And well built. She had never seen such a fine cut of a man in the flesh.

He finished scrutinizing Marguerite and turned to regard Suri, his clear gray eyes filled with humor. And a sudden glimmer of something else. Interesting, that flicker ... of ... what?

His brown knee-high boots appeared expensive, and new, judging by the stiff and shiny leather. His suede breeches hadn't seen many days, either. Snug fit ... a dapper? His blue super-fine jacket lay open to reveal an exquisitely stitched white waistcoat buttoned tight over a flat stomach. A snowy white cravat, tied just so, emphasized golden skin that looked as if it received a fair amount of sun. He wore no hat atop dark locks that curled softly over his collar.

One corner of his lips twitched as he watched her study him.

His mouth caught her complete attention and sent a small quiver running through her. Full and invitingly supple, the top lip swept in gentle curves resembling an archer's bow. And his bottom lip — was that a dimple in the middle? Whatever the little dip was, it certainly was comely. I wonder what his kisses taste like. An odd warmth flowed through her at the thought.

He laughed at her — the laughter entirely in his eyes.

He read my mind? Suri's heart skipped another beat. Refusing to rise, she only sat up a bit straighter. "Who are you, and how did you get past the groomsman?"

His eyes fairly sparkled with mischief. "If you intend to be kissed, ladies, fair warning — it would behoove you to know the rules."

Whoever this stranger was, he was quite comfortable in his own skin. Perhaps a bit too cocksure of himself.

"Did you not hear me, sir? How did you manage your way past the groomsman, and who, pray tell, are you to march in here and intervene in a private conversation between two people you have never met? Why, we haven't even been properly introduced."

He folded his arms over his broad chest and slowly, ever so slowly, ran his gaze the length of Suri, from her head to the tips of her dusty riding boots and up, settling on her lips.

Something ... something ... rolled through her lower belly like a storm hell-bent on ravaging the landscape. Heavens.

A lazy smile tipped one corner of his mouth.

Marguerite's sharp intake of breath caught Suri's ear. Would her sister never learn to contain herself?

"I've an appointment with the Duke of Bridgeford."

"Impossible," Suri said. "Our father is engaged in an annual meeting with a peer."

"Would that be the Duke of Ravenswood?"

Suri's spine stiffened. "I daresay, you are quite bold, sir. Who are you?"

"Ravenswood was my father. He met his demise, and I've come in his stead." He glanced at his sleeve, dusted it with a gloved hand. "I arrived a bit late, but I am here nonetheless."

"Then you are now His Grace?" Marguerite asked.

"Fortunately, no. I am merely Lord John Fairfax, second in line. My brother had far too many appointments this week, and I was sent."

"I am sorry for your loss." Suri made to rise.

He motioned for her to remain seated. "Please, do not stand on my account. His Grace died eleven months ago. Enough time has passed to have adjusted. Now then, ladies, back to the subject at hand." He turned to Marguerite. "I take it you are to attend your coming out ball? And you expect your first kiss?"

"Oh, for heaven's sake," Suri said. "'Tis none of your concern."

"Ah, none of my concern, perhaps, but I would wager I am more trustworthy than your groomsman. So you are sisters? You look nothing alike."

His scrutiny was bolder than bold this time, but Suri refused to take her eyes off him. No doubt he was busy comparing the vast differences between the two. While Marguerite was nearly a head taller than Suri with wayward curls winding about her head like red corkscrews, Suri's black hair fell thick and straight to her waist. And then there were the eyes. Marguerite's were a lovely sable brown flecked with gold, but Suri's were so green she'd been told they resembled cut emeralds.

She smirked. "We're twins."

Soft laughter escaped her sister's lips. "Actually, we are half-sisters who happen to be exceedingly close — in age and otherwise. I am Lady Marguerite, and this is Miss Suri Thurston. Although we share no resemblance, Papa says we may as well be twins since we are never apart. Thick as thieves, he calls us."

"A titled lady and a mere miss?" Lord John asked.

Suri shot her sister a scowl meant to silence, but it did no good, as usual. Marguerite continued. "Papa had an affair with a high caste Indian who died in childbirth. Her family was shamed so her grandmother tossed the babe to the lions. Our father rescued Suri and brought her back to England, where I had been born some months before his return. Obviously, I was conceived just prior to his departure."

"Obviously," Lord John drawled. He gave Suri another once-over.

"The entire event was a great scandal," Marguerite continued. "However, Mother forgave him in the end, and even though Suri is illegitimate and therefore cannot hold a title, my mother raised my half sister as her own."

Suri rolled her eyes. "Despite our parents' repeated tries to civilize Lady Marguerite, she still cannot manage to understand how the word discreet could apply to her tongue."

A faint grin passed over his mouth. "Are you treated well?"

"Treated well?" Marguerite put in. "She's downright spoiled. Most likely because she'll not have a husband, seeing as how she is illegitimate as well as a ..." Her mouth clamped shut.

"A half-caste," Suri finished. "And don't look so stunned, sir. There is little that Lady Marguerite can say that angers me." The sisters looked at one another and grinned.

"And it may disappoint you terribly to learn that I have no wicked stepmother, no spiteful half brothers to torment me, nor a father who treats me ill, thank you. And my dear sister tells this story at every turn, so do not consider yourself special to have heard it, having just met."

"You won't marry?" The depth of his gaze intensified and traveled over Suri from head to foot again. "Surely there are suitors falling over one another for your hand."

She knew what was coming next — she'd heard this time and again from Papa. Still, she played the game. "And pray tell, sir, why is that?"

He raised a deliberating brow. "The beautiful daughter of a powerful and wealthy duke asks me why? I assume you are also due a substantial portion? I'd think any question of legitimacy or heritage would be easily overlooked in your situation."

Ah, yes, marry someone after Papa's money. Then give birth to children scorned by society as half-breeds no matter their status — children who then stumble across proper ladies gossiping behind their fans about how they were considered worthless and tossed to the lions. If God threw Adam at her feet, she would not bear his children and submit them to a lifetime of what she had endured.

She conjured up a look of disdain. "If your words were meant to flatter, Lord John, they leave much to be desired."

That wicked mouth she could not take her eyes off lifted at one corner. "Suri. Unusual name. Does it carry any special meaning?"

"It's Hindustani. Means babe with the pointed nose. My father named me."

He chuckled, lifted her chin with his fingers, and examined her profile. "'Tis a fine nose, not pointy a'tall."

A visceral shock tore through her. She jerked her chin from his grasp. "Were you given permission to touch me?"

His eyes danced. "Ah, yes, I touched you. Forgive me." He dropped his hand and turned to Marguerite. "Now, then, if you will allow me, I shall teach you how to accept a proper kiss so as not to lead a man on, nor to send him scurrying in another direction."

Marguerite's cheeks blazed. "I ... I ..."

"Up, girl." He gave an upward motion of his hands. "And put your gloves back on. A lady does not go bare-handed for her first kiss."

Suri arched a brow in the manner of her father before he was wont to issue a setdown. "Are you a hapless second son eager to be caught kissing the daughter of a duke?"

He turned to her. Something between a smirk and petulance framed his mouth. Oh, my, he knows how to use that mouth. Liquid heat ran through her veins.

He placed a hand over his heart. "You wound me."

Another sultry jolt swept through her. What the devil was wrong with her? "Oh, get on with things, then. Show her how to kiss and be done with it." This, she had to see.

He took hold of Marguerite's hands. "For the man to take your hands in his is quite acceptable. In fact, it is an agreeable means by which to preserve your good reputation, providing both sets of hands are properly dressed, of course. As you can plainly see, with our hands held between us, a gentleman is forced to keep his distance. And it is up to you to see that he touches only hands and lips. Ready?"

Marguerite nodded.

"Good girl. Now then, here we are, ready for the kiss." His voice lowered, and he smiled at her. "Take in a slow, deep breath and exhale just as slowly."

Marguerite complied.

"Slow and gentle movements are best," he said. "Lift your chin a bit, let him know you are willing to receive his kiss. And whatever you do, do not open your mouth."

"Open my mouth? For heaven's sake, why would I do such a thing?" She pressed her lips together until they formed a slit.

A corner of his sinful mouth twitched. "You are a green sprout, aren't you? Relax the muscles in your face. Pursed lips indicate rejection or a kiss as hard as pecking a wall. That's it, chin up. And when a gentleman's lips touch yours, count to five and pull your head back slightly to indicate the kiss has concluded. Much longer would be improper." He leaned over, and touched his closed mouth to hers.

A shiver ran through every nerve in Suri's body. Silently, she counted to five.

Marguerite pulled her head back, let go of the man's hands, and splayed her fingers across her stomach. "Oh, my."

Lord John turned to Suri. "Your turn."

"My turn? Thank you, no. I believe I have seen enough to know what to do."

His head tilted, and that winsome quirk of his mouth shot another twinge through her belly.

"Ah, my dear, if I am to serve both you ladies well, then I must insist on showing you the improper kiss, the kiss that would cause scandal, the kiss that should you be caught unawares, could lead to your ruin."

His words set Suri's lips tingling. "The very idea. You think me a dunce?"

That heart-stopping smile captured his mouth once again. He raised an eyebrow. "Oh, anything but." With the same uplifted wave of his hand he'd given Marguerite, he signaled Suri to rise. "Up, and remove your gloves."

This time it was she who tilted her head. "Remove my gloves?"

"Indeed. I will demonstrate why a lady's hands should not go bare on her first kiss. Are you observing, Lady Marguerite?"

Marguerite fairly danced in place, her eyes glittering. "Oh, I shan't miss a moment."

Suri stood. Curiosity could be a powerful little beast at times. Besides, she was never one to back down from a challenge. Slowly, she tugged at each finger. Tossing her gloves aside, she extended her hands.

Instead of clasping them, he kept his gaze steady on hers as he, too, did away with his gloves and threw them on the hay. "Breathe, darling," he murmured and stepped closer. "Ever so slowly, so as not to faint in my arms."

Her lungs quivered. She caught his scent — male musk with a faint hint of bergamot — and it held her immobile. "You are beyond arrogant, sir."

"No, merely knowledgeable." He enclosed her cold fingers within his hot hands.

His touch could have been a naked embrace for the shockwave it sent screaming through her body. Good heavens! She took that slow breath, as much to fill her exhausted lungs as to steady her knees.

Cradling her upturned hand in his, he exposed her wrist. "Never allow a man access to this pulse point." His voice had grown husky.

"What pulse point?" She was afraid to look.

"This one." He bent and pressed his warm mouth to her wrist, swiped it with his tongue.

Her head buzzed as a rage of passion swept through her. Nothing in the world had ever felt so delicious.

His tongue swept her wrist once more.

Hot. Her skin was about to burst into flames.

She blinked furiously to keep her eyes open, to keep from swooning. She wanted to shout, "Again!" but said nothing, only stared at him.

"And never allow a man access to your palm." His words were liquid velvet now, and she knew the direction his lips were headed. She closed her eyes as he buried his mouth in her palm and swept his tongue in tiny circles.

The air burst from her lungs. "You are quite mad, sir." Nonetheless, she stood there, incapable of removing her hands from his. Where Marguerite stood, Suri did not know, did not care. All she knew was that this man's head was bent over her hands, and his hot mouth was the devil's playground, licking fire through her veins.

And then he did the most outrageous thing — he took her thumb in his mouth and sucked. Her world exploded. A small moan escaped her lips.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from A Duke's Wicked Kiss by Kathleen Bittner Roth, Erin Molta. Copyright © 2014 Kathleen Bittner Roth. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author


Kathleen Bittner Roth is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America® and belongs to the Hearts Through History Romance Writers chapter. Kathleen was a finalist in RWA's prestigious Golden Heart contest with A Duke's Wicked Kiss. She has also won numerous awards for her writing. She is the founder of Inner World Perceptions, an international well-being center. She has worked in the media for many years (television and radio, including The History Channel, and all four major networks). Kathleen has also been a contributing editor of an online romance magazine and a guest on many blogs.

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A Duke's Wicked Kiss 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
kydirtgirl68 More than 1 year ago
Suri never had plans to settle down or have kids. She is the product of a love affair her father had and doesn't want to pass on being a mix blood to kids. She has had a good life growing up with her father and his family. Only one man has ever caught her eye when they had a kiss years ago. Now she is going to India to try and meet her mothers family. In India she is surprised to run into John again. John is now the Duke of Ravensworth and also secret head of the British Foreign Service. He is there to stop an uprising and had no plans to fall for a woman. He can't resist Suri the girl he has never forgot. They begin a relationship but danger is set to keep them apart. Her mothers family wants her dead and he is an a dangerous position. Can they overcome the odds against them to find happiness? I loved the different setting sin this book. India was fascinating to read about and I could picture clearly the settings. Suri is a great character who knows what she wants and doesn't want. At times she rushes into things but she means well. I enjoyed reading about her. John is a great guy who works hard and has his own secrets. I love how committed he is to his cause and the reasons behind it. There is tons of danger in this book and I was surprised how far Suri's family was willing to go to kill her. Another favorite thing in this book is John's cheetah. that was an awesome addition and I love that cat. India is just the start of Suri and John's problems as they still have stuff to deal with even back home. it seems know matter how much they are in love something keeps trying to come between them. The author does a great job with the characters and with the plot. It is a great story you can really get into that is not full of fluff
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
An overall lovely historical romance, complete with a lush setting and plenty of secrets, A Duke's Wicked Kiss was an enjoyed read that I quite liked. Suri was a good heroine. She had frustrating moments where she was stubborn about the wrong things, but for the most part, I found her to be a strong-willed, likable character. Ravenswood was great. He was clever, loyal, and certainly an interesting man (I mean, he had a cheetah for a pet). And, he could also be sweet and was rather adorable. I really liked him. The romance was good. My issue, though, was that they seemed to make obstacles for themselves at first, which made it a bit frustrating to wait until they came to their senses. But, I thought they were a sweet couple, and they definitely had tons of chemistry. I thought they were lovely together. The plot was okay. The pacing was fast enough that I was kept interested the entire way through. My problem was that, about 2/3 of the way through, things took a turn that was rather frustrating. But, since the characters handled it well, it didn't ruin the book for me. I still enjoyed the story and the ending was sweet. A Duke's Wicked Kiss was a lovely historical romance. It wasn't perfect, but I still liked it and found it to be an enjoyable read. Romance lovers, this is a book you might want to check out. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
Miss Suri Thurston and her half sister, Marguerite, are caught talking about kissing by Lord John Fairfax. He decides to teach them what kisses should and should not be allowed by proper young ladies. He delivers a quick peck to Marguerite but with Suri, he delivers a kiss that neither will soon forget. Ten years later John, now the Duke of Ravenswood, encounters Suri in India. He is there on a mission for the Crown and she is there to visit her sister and to finally meet her other family. They soon find that their attraction to each other has not dimmed in their ten years apart. What happens when their missions collide? Will their love survive? This is the second book I've read by Roth and I definitely want to read more! Both of her novels had OMG moments that kept you wanting more. I couldn't put the book down because I had to find out what happened next.  The physical attraction between the H/H was off the charts and the author did a wonderful job of building up the tension between them. I think it always adds to the excitement of the romance when there is an added amount of mystery to the story. In this case we had several plot lines that popped up. It definitely keeps the reader on their toes. Rarely do you see a historical romance that features a heroine that is not of European descent (in this case she was 1/2 European and 1/2 Indian). It was nice to get out and away from the ton and see other things that were happening in the world during this period of time. If you are looking for something to read that is not your typical historical romance, this is the book for you!! It had all the things that you love about the genre, but without the typical setting and or events. I was disappointed to read on the author's webpage that this was a stand alone title. I'm really hoping that she changes her mind and gives us the story of several of the secondary characters!! Thanks go out to Entangled Publishing via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Duke’s Wicked Kiss intrigued me from the first page. In this passionate, romantic adventure, Suri Thurston feels an intense connection to the enigmatic, darkly handsome Duke of Ravenswood from the moment of their first wicked kiss. Years later, the girl is now a beautiful woman, an endearing heroine who longs for a connection to her mother’s native land, India, and seeks out the grandmother who’d violently disapproved of Suri’s birth. Traveling to India on her quest, she encounters the Duke, a Foreign Service officer who is now involved in secret intrigues in India. As rebellion ferments and danger surrounds Ravenswood and Suri, they fight their attraction, but passion leads to a sensual, touching love powerful enough to endure obstacles, separation and treachery. This book is a page-turner that drew me in and had me rooting for the hero and heroine and their love story. Kathleen Bittner Roth paints a vivid picture of India while keeping the action flowing and the dialogue witty and engrossing. I loved this story.
mysticrosetiger More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read. Suri and John story is even when the odds are against you, never give up hope.
2_PMVH More than 1 year ago
A scandalous kiss BONDS a naughty Duke to his Indian Princess! A love story so powerful it takes 2 countries to tell it! This is a story of 2 people who are molded by their pasts. Suri has 2 vastly different heritages warring inside her. Is she Indian or English? Her Indian grandmonster tried to feed her to the loins, LITERALLY, but her duke father saved her & raised her with his English family. She would always believed unworthy for marriage. John was born as a 2nd son of his duke father, but was recruited at school to be a spy for his country. Their lives collided the 1st time at her Father's estate as he was eavesdropping on Suri & her free spirited sister, Marguerite. He is entranced with her beauty, she fells the sexual pull when he walks in. Marguerite gets a innocent kiss, but Suri gets a whisper caress, her thumb in his sexy mouth & the pantie dropping kiss of her life. During their 10 year separation, John's life is filled with regret, guilt & the death of his wife, infant daughter & his older brother's murder. He took all his loneliness & grief & poured it into his adopted cheetah, Lady Shahira. People think he is the strange Duke with a cheetah on a diamond, emerald & gold collar, but she is exactly his salvation. Marguerite now lives & loves all thing India, but Suri uses her visiting her sister & her family, to connect with her Indian family. John & Suri's world collide again & John's eyes liquefied Suri's knees & she reignites his driving unlimited lust. John must do his duty to England & she must reconnect with her family, but what do they say about plans? That's right PEOPLE DON'T MAKE THEM! These 2 are sex on a stick with all their building temptation of need, Suri feels John's caresses down to her pleasure center, John uses any chance to touch & give her pantie dropping kisses & when their passions are finally unleashed, it's like a flame over a puddle of gasoline, EXPLOSIVE! India is a hot bed of religious & cultural believes with corrupt & mysterious people (both Indian & English) behind the scenes pushing for a revolt. Suri's sudden cousin Ravi is 1 shifty character, John is trying to stop all the conspiracies, a sudden royally wedding invitation, unexpected allies, secret happenings, spies galore & Indian religious tensions denoted a massacres across India that takes John & Suri on an emotional firestorm that takes place across the globe. Can Suri ever truly accept herself? Will John's torment heart be healed by her? Will they both make it out of India? Can I have Lady Shahira? This is my 2nd book by Ms. Roth & both are such different stories, but I loved them both. Suri was such a conflicted heroine with her 2 cultures, but she needs to understand that her cultures define her & make her precious. John built a moat, a drawbridge & 15 foot fortress walls around his shattered heart, but he has his Furry Godmom to start his healing process. I love Fairy Godfolks, furry or human & Lady Shahira was also the heart of this tale. She happily purred when satisfied, fiercely protective of her loved ones, watched everything & everyone, used her inner instinct to judge folks & stalked her enemies, but didn't always attack them. Ms. Roth 1st book, The Seduction of Sarah Marks, was filled with hilariousness & this romance was filled with intrigue, mayhem, conspiracies, death & a heart wrenching love story. Ms. Roth made me cry ugly, pull Ravi thru my Kindle by his greasy hair & b*~tch slap him, creepy down eerie corridors like an English spy, swat mosquitoes (I did get bite, but I totally blame the author), wear decadent silk sarongs, pull out my Scoobie Doo tissues & crawl up with Lady Shahira, introduce her to my furry reading buddy & they played me a PURRING JAM! Mr. Roth gets my top score of 5 fingers up, 10 toes & I throw in 4 paws & I can't wait for her next adventure! NetGalley ARC given for my honest review.
Mennina1 More than 1 year ago
Suri is a illegitimate daughter of a duke who was brought into the household after her mother died. She was merely a Miss, however was treated equally with her siblings. That however never stopped the rumors and gossiping. Suri vowed she would never get married or have kids to have them feel as left out as she has. Then she meets Lord John Fairfax who happens to favor her with her first kiss. It was a completely scandal. Ten years later in India she happens to meet Lord Fairfax who happens now to be a Duke. She has never forgotten that kiss. Little does she know that her family is conspiring against her. I am such a sucker for historical romances. This was a great one that travels the continent. You aren't for sure what is going to happen in the next turn of the page. I couldn't put down. You feel for the characters and only can hope the best comes out for them! I was provided a copy of this book for my honest review.
KahlanMercy More than 1 year ago
Standalone Story. This is the story of a woman looking for her place in the world and a man who wants her to be with him. Suri Thurston was born of an Indian woman and an English man, but her father loved her and raised her with his other children. After her father dies, she travels to India to secretly meet her grandmother - the woman who literally threw her to the lions. While there she runs into a man who gave her a kiss she never forgot. John Fairfax, the Duke of Ravenswood, never forgot Suri either. As the leader of Her Majesty's Foreign Services, he is trying to uncover the plot to overthrow the English soldiers in India. If you're looking for an historical romance set in a foreign land with intrigue and danger, this is the book for you.
angcartwright More than 1 year ago
Miss Suri Thurston knows the pain of abandonment. Intent on confronting the grandmother who tossed her to the lions, she travels from England to her birthplace in India. Her plans run afoul when she encounters the man who, ten years prior, left a mark on her soul with one stolen kiss. But he is a duke, and far beyond the reach of even her dreams. The Duke of Ravenswood, secret head of the British Foreign Service, has no time for relationships. His one goal is to locate and eliminate key insurgents involved in an uprising against the British East India Company before it's too late. But when Suri appears in Delhi, his resolve is tested as he finds his heart forever bound to her by the one haunting kiss they shared once upon a time. With Suri's vengeful Indian family looking for her death, and insurgents intent on mutiny tearing their world apart, can their love rise above the scandal of the marriage they both desperately want? One question that had me stumped throughout the whole book: Why is there a ship on the cover? This is not a story about shipping, ocean travel or pirates. This is a very different sort of story and not a typical Historical Romance. Suri is the product of her father’s affair with an Indian woman who was killed by her family for giving birth to Suri. Suri was left to be eaten by lions (a baby eaten by lions – how barbaric!) by her mother’s family but rescued and raised by her father and his wife who accepted her as her own. Suri was never treated differently than her half-sister and brothers, but she always knew she was half-caste and that while her family might not treat her differently, society will. Suri has a burning desire to better understand her origins, so she travels to India where her half-sister now resides to connect with her lost family. She doesn’t realize that there could be any danger in this exotic country. Ironically, Lord John Fairfax, the Duke of Ravenswood she met a decade earlier in her family’s stable who gave her and her sister quite a lesson in the art of kissing, happens to be in India and a contemporary of her sister’s husband. He seems weirdly flamboyant with a pet cheetah, yes I said cheetah, and an extravagant lifestyle. They both have not really gotten over that one kiss, strange but true, even though John is widowed (sad story). Their reconnection is met with her reluctance at first since she is trying to reunite with her family secretly, but she needs the duke’s protection and he is willing to give it. I eat up books that are set in exotic locations and this time period where England and India were at odds creates a suspenseful backdrop to this story. I felt the danger they were in and the fear and confusion they felt when things went down. I was saddened by some of the collateral damage and surprised by some of the turncoats that were revealed. I honestly didn’t see the outcomes which is always good – I like to be outwitted and surprised. It felt like two different books – the last third of the book was so different from the first two thirds and I didn’t know how it would turn out. I liked Suri and John for the most part, but they also had some qualities I didn’t like. I thought Suri was more naïve than necessary. She wore her half-caste heritage as a badge, yet had been raised to know no different. John seemed very typical of a policeman/spy/mercenary type that one reads about so often – autocratic, tough guy, “my way or the highway” almost. But he also showed a vulnerability that made him more real. They spent so little time together and I suppose the saying “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” is true in this case. The secondary characters were interesting, especially Trent…I cannot wait to hear his story. Overall, a good read and I recommend it reading it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Spymasters and dukes and danger, oh my. Not to mention the twists and turns this story takes. Hop on board for a grand adventure which follows Miss Suri Thurston from England to India and back. Suri is the illegitimate daughter of a duke and Indian royalty. Despite her upbringing as an equal in the midst of a loving family, she is still not completely accepted in English society. She travels to India in an attempt to connect with her other roots, only to run into danger, as well as the Duke of Ravenswood, a man who gave her an unforgettable lesson in kissing a decade previous. Ravenswood is hiding a few secrets of his own, notably his involvement in the Foreign Service. When the Sepoy rebellion heats up, danger separates our hero and heroine. Can they reunite in England before fate intervenes? Sensual, exciting, and wonderfully written. Don't miss this one!
FizzaYounis More than 1 year ago
Although I have yet to read an entangled book which I didn't love, this one was exceptional. I loved it and I think it is a must read for historical romance lovers. All the characters and places are beautifully described. Plot is great and well executed. Most of the story depicts Indian setting and I loved the historical aspect of it too. Suri is a half-caste girl who has always found herself out of place in English environment. When she gets a chance to visit her sister in India she decided to find her mother's family and get some closure. But things didn't go the way she had hoped. First she learned that a Duke's brother who had kissed her ten years ago, and she had been unable to stop think about, was in India as well. Then she also met her mother's family but found herself in the middle of a conspiracy against British. Duke of Ravenswood remembered Suri as well. He had often thought about her and when he saw her again in India things get heated again. He desired her with a passion and can't help but feel jealous of Ravi-ji, an Indian who seemed to be attracted to Suri as well. Things get complicated when Suri is invited to an Indian wedding. Will they be able to get out of India alive and what happens even if they did? The story is intriguing and readers will find themselves enthralled by the way things enfold throughout.
MoniqueD More than 1 year ago
Miss Suri Thurston is the result of an affair between her father and an Indian woman, who died in childbirth, and she was raised as the equal of her sister Marguerite and her 2 brothers. The sisters have always been best friends, and when they were 17, and were both dying to be kissed, it happened. Lord John Fairfax indulged chastely Marguerite but gave Suri a real kiss, neither of them would forget. Because she is half-caste, Suri has decided to forgo marriage: she belongs neither to British nor Indian society. She will instead dedicate her life to building a school for children who suffer the fate that has befallen her. Suri has always wanted to meet her maternal grandparents, and she joins her sister in India, where she also a cousin: handsome Ravi Maurya. And after ten years, in Delhi of all places, Suri meets John again, now Duke or Ravenswood. He acquired the title when his older brother was murdered. John, as was his brother, is a spy in Her Majesty’s Foreign Service. Trouble is brewing in India because of the East India Company, mutiny from the natives is feared: someone has been feeding British secrets to opponents of the East India Company; that’s why John is in India, besides looking for his brother’s murderer.  While getting adjusted to India, Suri tries not to succumb to John’s charm, but it’s getting more difficult; they are as attracted to each other as they were when they first met. The sisters are advised to go back to England as soon as possible, when Suri finally meets her cousin, Ravi. She will soon be able to leave, after she finally meets her grandparents. But several disturbing events will forever alter her destiny. I thought it was a wonderful idea to set the story in India; it’s a nice change, it’s exotic and colourful. The author describes the setting, the lifestyle, the clothes, and we are immersed in the foreign country, as is Suri. It’s an engrossing story about families, spies, love and loss, all this happening among the troubles in India under British rule in the Victorian era. The characters are well-rounded, complex, and Ms. Bittner Roth stays faithful to the traditions, the sensibilities and the language of the era. It’s superbly written, captivating, and in my opinion, has all the makings of a classic. I hope it’s the beginning of a series because there are several characters whom I think deserve their own stories.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.