Angel's Den: A Novel

Angel's Den: A Novel

4.5 11
by Jamie Carie

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In 1808, when Emma meets and marries Eric Montclaire (the famed “most handsome man west of the Appalachians”), this young daughter of prominent St. Louis citizens believes a fairy tale has just begun. Instead, her husband’s angelic looks quickly prove only to mask a monstrous soul all too capable of possessive emotions and physical abuse. Praying

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In 1808, when Emma meets and marries Eric Montclaire (the famed “most handsome man west of the Appalachians”), this young daughter of prominent St. Louis citizens believes a fairy tale has just begun. Instead, her husband’s angelic looks quickly prove only to mask a monstrous soul all too capable of possessive emotions and physical abuse. Praying for mercy, she is devastated when Eric insists on her joining his yearlong group expedition to the Pacific Ocean, following the trail Lewis and Clark blazed just a few years earlier. By the time cartographer Luke Bowen realizes Emma’s plight, it’s too late to easily untangle what has become an epic web of lies, theft, murder, courtroom drama, and a deep longing for love. Only God can show them the way out.

"Jamie Carie's most riveting work to date . . . a story that defines grace."

Window to My World

"Jamie Carie seamlessly weaves in historical details of the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Louisiana Purchase into this engaging story."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In 1808, Emma, the daughter of a prominent St. Louis family, believes she has met and married her dream man. But she soon discovers that Eric Montclaire is not who she thought he was. Controlling and merciless, Eric insists that Emma join him in a westward expedition following the trail that Lewis and Clark had broken a few years earlier. When Emma meets cartographer Luke Bowen along the way, her life is already in turmoil. VERDICT This acclaimed author (Snow Angel) spins a captivating and complex story of forbidden love and redemption. Historical fiction and inspirational romance fans will enjoy this well-woven tale.

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B&H Publishing Group
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5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

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Angel's Den

a novel
By Jamie Carie Masopust

B&H Publishing Group

Copyright © 2010 Jamie Carie Masopust
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8054-4814-6

Chapter One

St. Louis, Missouri Territory-1808

Do stand still, Emma." Her mother raised a thin hand to her bosom looking for a moment close to tears.

Mrs. Daring-the elegant, staid, proper Mrs. Daring-did not cry. Emma had never seen her mother even tear up, and the thought that she ever would hadn't entered Emma's mind. Her mother was always ... well, perfectly perfect. But there it was, emotion spilling over in quivering lips and watery eyes. Emma's own eyes widened, and she bit back a choked laugh as her mother glared at her. Of course it would be her fault if her mother finally broke down!

Emma looked down at the glorious skirt of the gown she wore, her wedding gown, and stilled her fluttering hands, trying to imitate her mother's usual decorum.

One must not let one become overset with emotion. Or so her mother had said on many occasions. But this? This moment was more than she'd ever thought to have in her life-her special moment in time. She couldn't have any more squelched her delighted squeal than made the sun cease to rise. "Please! Can I turn around now?"

"Patience, Emma." But a crack of a smile hovered around her mother's lips. "Margery is almost finished."

Margery, the maid hired to help with the wedding, was a young woman with a calm demeanor and a knack for elaborate hair dressing. Emma tapped her toe, her fingertips brushing across the sides of the silken skirt as the maid fussed with the folds at the back of the gown. "There, Miss!" Margery's face was wreathed in a pleased smile as she took a step back.

Emma locked excited gazes with her mother, both looking quite terrified with glee. "Now?"

Her mother swallowed hard, the sound loud in the room, then nodded once.

Emma held her arms out a little, her fingers pointing up and out in a graceful arc. She took a deep breath, held it in, and turned in a tottering circle toward the long mirror.


Tears rose up sudden and strong. Her hands came up to her cheeks.

Oh my.

She stared at the woman looking back at her and forgot to breathe. She took it all in ...

Her blonde hair set in a mass of elaborate curls atop her head. A small glittering tiara peeking back at her from the center of the curls. Her pink cheeks and glowing eyes. And the dress! She could hardly believe she was wearing a replica of none other than Empress Josephine's wedding dress. Was it really true? Was it really her? Would she really marry the man of her dreams this day?

Emma's mother's came up from behind her, catching Emma's attention. There was no denying the tears in both their eyes.

Her mother sniffed. "I do wish Aunt Violet could see you."

Aunt Violet's name was rarely spoken in their house. Emma had impressions of the woman from the few stories she'd heard-adventurous, the younger and prettier of the two sisters, and a hint of scandal. Aunt Violet had done well enough in the end though; she was happily settled with a wealthy husband on a plantation outside of Williamsburg.

"Would she be pleased? She went to such effort to find the pattern for this dress." Emma swung toward her mother and then back to the reflection.

"You will write a long letter of thanks and describe the dress in detail."

"Of course!" Letter writing was not one of Emma's favorite pastimes, but she would have no trouble describing the high-waisted, white satin gown with its delicate puffed sleeves; green-threaded scrolling embroidery that ran in a long, elegant strip down the front of the dress; and the matching green ribbon. Emma turned to admire the short train that spanned out like a fluttering fan on the floor behind her. Yes, she would be quite happy to write this letter.

Turning back toward her mother, she leaned over and kissed her wrinkled cheek. "Thank you. I feel almost as beautiful as he is."

"Of course you are, Emma." Her mother said it, but they both knew it wasn't true. No one matched her husband-to-be for pure physical perfection.

"Are you ready, dear?"

Emma nodded, and a rush of excited happiness burst through her. She hadn't realized until this moment that happiness could be almost painful.

She walked from her bedchamber, the room she'd slept in and played in, the room she had grown up in, and turned to take one last glance, expecting to feel some sadness. It surprised her that the emotion didn't come. She could only see ahead and feel the happy bubble of her future surrounding her. Turning toward her mother she followed her down the long staircase to the stately entrance with its elegant chandelier that twinkled with pinpoints of dancing candlelight.

They rushed toward the front door, but Emma turned to a long window where she could see her parents' lawn.

"Oh, look!" She gasped as she clasped her hands together and stared at the wedding scene before her.

Her mother waved a hand at her. "Wait here for your father. I must take my seat, my dear. We've tarried too long." She opened the door, and Emma heard the shouts of the children and the voices of their friends adding to the happy scene. She dashed to the door and peeked around it, careful to stay hidden from sight.

So many people had come to witness her wedding! She bit her lip to hold back the tears. The sun bathed the scene in a soft yellow light; the sky was an aquamarine shade of blue, like robin eggs. Not a single insect buzzed, nor an ill wind blew against the piled-up hair, the decorated bonnets and staid hats, the opulent gowns and crisp coats. Why, the whole of St. Louis had gathered for her wedding day!

Her perfect day.

Music began to play, and as if on cue from some long-forgotten lesson, Emma watched the crowd quiet and find their seats among the long rows of white-painted benches that had been arranged to afford each guest the best view. She leaned further around the door so that she could see around a large tree blocking her view and tried to catch a glimpse of the altar, trying to see him.

She leaned a little further, and the door began to swing open with her weight pushing on it. Oh no! The thought no sooner surfaced than she fell with a shriek onto her side, half in and half outside the front door.

"Emma!" Her father rushed from the back of the house toward her. "Are you all right?" He grasped her arm and helped her up. Emma shot a mortified gaze at him and then back at the crowd. Relief, instant and profound, poured through her as she noted that the music must have been loud enough to cover her cry-no one seemed to be looking their way. But her next thought struck terror in her heart.

The gown! Had she ruined the gown? Emma turned this way and that to study it from all sides, frantic that she would find a dirt smear or a tear in it. Seeing nothing wrong, she took a deep breath and collapsed into her father's waiting arms. "Praise be to God! It's still perfect."

Her father chuckled and patted her on the back. "Yes, your mother would cheerfully strangle you if anything happened to that dress. Now we must hurry. I believe we've missed our cue, and they are starting up the song again." Her father always forgave her clumsiness and covered for her as best he could.

She would miss that!

They walked forward arm in arm, and then stood at the end of the grassy aisle. Everyone turned and stared up at them, making Emma's stomach feel kneaded like bread dough. Her gaze scanned the scene that looked as perfect as a painting: the people like colorful birds in their best summer finery, giant flowerpots flanking the altar, overflowing with white lilies-the flower of purity and virginity, a flower that held a meaning as sweet as its fragrance: "heaven with you." Or so her mother said, anyway. The altar was of rosewood, with its matching arch of delicately carved birds of paradise and lilies. Her perfect day indeed!

Her grasp tightened on her father's frail arm, a shaft of compassion filling her as she felt the bones beneath the thin fabric of his suit. She'd been a late addition to her parents' marriage, the only addition, and lately they seemed to be aging before her eyes. She looked eye level into his washed-out blue eyes and saw his tears.

"I'm sorry we kept you with us for so long," her father whispered as they waited for the march down the aisle to begin. "It's just that we love you so much."

"I didn't want to ever leave you, Papa. It took a very special man to steal me away." It was true. She had turned down a few suitors, and anyway, twenty-five wasn't so very ancient, was it?

"Just so," her father said with a sniff as he looked toward the man who had captured her heart.

Emma realized she hadn't yet mustered the courage to look at him! The man who had swept into her life and changed everything.

The next song began. A harpist strummed something her mother had chosen. Emma's glance swung to the seat where her mother sat, so prim and stately in her lavender gown with its matching bonnet of deeper purple. Emma smiled at her straight back and high-held chin. Her mother would be sure not to cry in front of all these people.

Their footsteps started down the grassy, petal-strewn aisle. Emma looked down and saw her pretty, satin clad shoes. They were her only insistence against her mother's wishes. Pink. A soft pink with ribbons and lace and satin bows. She loved those shoes more than the dress, though she would never reveal that secret to anyone. She smiled thinking of how she'd tried the shoes on and watched the satin gleam back at her in her bedchamber mirror. She had stood there several moments admiring the turn of her ankle, watching the sheen of the fabric glisten as she turned her foot this way and that, running her fingertip along the height of the satin-covered heel. Now, she almost giggled, happiness rising like a giant bubble in her throat as she walked arm in arm with her father, remembering when she'd lifted the hem of her dress high enough to see the tops of her stockings where the garter met and how she'd stared in the mirror at her legs in these shoes and wondered what he might think of such a sight.

Suppressing her anticipation, she looked up at him. Her husband-to-be ...

Eric Montclaire. The prized catch west of the Appalachian Mountains. "Ungodly handsome," they called him. Every woman who uttered his name said it in a breathless way, no matter their age. He was wealthy and he'd promised Emma a house-a plantation, if she wanted it. A mansion on a hill. A comfortable life filled with children and him.

She looked toward him for the first time this day, and their gazes locked like two puzzle pieces fitting together. The sight of him with his blondish-brown hair, piercing blue eyes, and broad-shouldered stance sent an immediate shiver down her spine. For a moment she forgot everything, everyone, even her prized pink, high-heeled shoes. She stumbled, just a little, at the passion glowing across the yellow-bathed expanse from his eyes to hers. No one knew she almost ended up on the ground, save her father, who grasped harder to her arm and made it seem like he'd been the one to stumble. And then there they were. At the altar.

At the beginnings of their future together.

Her father stopped, took a firm hold on her arm, his fingers tight for a moment; and then, little by little, he let go. He nodded toward Eric, who came down the one step of the raised platform and grasped her arm just where her father had left it. It was as if she were being passed between these two men, as a prize, as a possession. She looked up and into the eyes of her new keeper.

Silly thought, that. A keeper? She breathed a deep gulp of air as her lips lifted into the veriest smile, the smile of a happy bride, and then took the final steps to the altar where they stood under the elegant arch.

The preacher began the ceremony that would forever make Eric hers and Emma his. She listened intently to the words as Preacher Hollis read one of her favorite passages from the Bible:

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. But for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."

Eric squeezed her hand, and then together they walked to the table and each picked up a slim, flickering candle. At the same time they tilted each flame, representing their individual lives, toward the larger candle in the middle, which represented their new life together. Emma's hand shook with suppressed gladness as she held her flame to Eric's. The wick of the large candle caught, and a larger, brighter flame burst to life. Then they turned to each other, and, as her mother had instructed them, Eric leaned over to blow out Emma's candle while Emma leaned to blow out Eric's. A rush of joy constricted her throat.

They were no longer two; they were truly one.

They set down the slim candles, turned, and stepped back to their place where the ceremony continued. Now they would receive the blessing.

Emma turned toward the man who would soon be her husband and followed his white shirt front, up to his neck where the dark stubble began. Did he know? She flushed thinking of it and then squashed the desire to reach up and draw her fingertips along the line of his throat, up to his jaw. How she longed to run her fingers through his curling hair.

Pressing her lips together, she stilled her body, made herself look up into the depths of his eyes. They were gray-blue and like a glowing, silent moon. They bespoke the truth that everyone said about him-Eric was a man who knew what he wanted and got it. A force to be reckoned with.

And he wanted her. She still couldn't fathom it.

Preacher Hollis came forward to bless their union. He placed his hands on the tops of their heads, causing them to close their eyes and bow their heads. Emma heard his ringing prayer as a mere echo against the grandness of the man she was fortunate enough to marry. Eric Montclaire. How lucky was she? How fortunate among women? How blessed.

Lord, thank You. I don't deserve such a man. I am not beautiful. I am not grand. I cannot imagine why he chose me. He could have had anyone.

At the collective "Amen," she opened her eyes and looked at her new husband like a desert wanderer would look at a cup of water. His cheeks were high and imposing, his hair fell back from his forehead in waves of gold-streaked brown. She looked back into his eyes. She had first fallen in love with his eyes. They were large and wide and purpose filled. No matter what he spoke of, from the weather to the running of his trading company or the flower he had most recently plucked for her. A gray-blue that at times looked silver-determined, sure, passionate eyes. When he looked at her, into her ordinary, cornflower-blue eyes, she ignited and flamed-engulfed in him.

Emma took a long, deep breath of the fresh air as she gazed into those dark, silver-blue depths. The words of the preacher rolled over her like gentle waves. Wave after wave of deep voiced convictions that said she would be forever tied to this man. That she would bear his children, God willing, that she would bathe his fevered brow when he was sick, and he would sit at her table when he was well. That she would be everything anybody human could be for another living soul. And that he would be that for her.

Thank You, God. The thought whispered through her as he slipped a massive sapphire on her finger to claim her.

She was, now and forever, his wife.

* * *

Emma's mother leaned down to whisper in her ear at the lavish, sit-down dinner reception after the wedding ceremony. Emma smiled. What motherly words would she share on this, Emma's wedding day?

"Don't drink the red punch while wearing that dress, my dear."


Excerpted from Angel's Den by Jamie Carie Masopust Copyright © 2010 by Jamie Carie Masopust . Excerpted by permission.
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.

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Meet the Author

Jamie Carie is the author of Snow Angel, a ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, USA Book News National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Angel's Den 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Ibreathe2read More than 1 year ago
When I first saw Angel's Den, I was like, Jamie Carie who? I had never heard of her or any of her work. But now I'm defintly a fan. The Angel's Den starts out with a fairy tale wedding, but quickly turns in to a horrifying nightmare. Emma Daring's married the best lookin' man west of the Mississippi, but Eric Montclair's not what he appears. Now, stuck in a love-less and abusive marriage, Eric forces Emma to travel west with him, in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. Who will come to Emma's rescue when someone is murdered and everything points to her? I liked how the story starts, giving the reader a blind look on what happened before we're introduced to Emma and Eric, setting the stage for the unfolding mystery. It seems like Eric can't be outwitted. He anticipates everything. So Emma takes drastic measures in an attempt to get away from him and his constant abuse. But when Luke Bowen foils her plans, he involves himself more then he wanted. From that night forward, Luke and Emma grow close, but the affection between them doesn't go unnoticed. Eric is enraged, but keeps his feeling hidden until he can deal with Emma.alone. Luke is the quintacentral knight in shining armor with a love for God, despite all he has been through and tries to rescue Emma but, instead gets them both accused of murder. As the plot thickens so does the tension. And with that, the dangers increases for both Emma and Luke till, it seems not even the truth will set them free. And an unexpected twist towards the end makes the Angel's Den one of my new favorite books. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romance, with a little suspense and deep spiritual truths, that will has you thinking about them long after you've finished the book.
tweezle More than 1 year ago
Set in the Missouri Territory in 1808, Emma Daring marries the man of her dreams, Eric Montclair. Eric is a handsome and successful businessman who has offered Emma her a fairytale life. Like all fairy tales, there lurks a dark and sinister character, who to Emma's mortification, ends up being her most handsome husband, Eric. Emma's only hope of a better life is the upcoming expedition that her husband has arranged, as no man takes woman on an such a trip. Or so Emma thought.... On Friday night, when I crawled into bed with this book, I had all intentions of only reading a chapter or two before going to sleep. I was exhausted and had an early morning ahead of me on Saturday. Almost 150 pages later, I reluctantly tucked "Angel's Den" away. As soon as everything was done on Saturday, I grabbed a cup of coffee and off I went to my favorite reading spot, where I sat reading until I finished the book. Yes, it was that captivating. Full of suspense and with a surprise twist I never saw coming, there was just no way to put it down! "Angel's Den" was my first exposure to Jamie Carie's work. With four books before this, I wondered how I had missed such a brilliant author. All of Jamie's characters were so real and so true to character. My favorite character was the main character, Emma. I adored her. She was sweet and innocent, and such a testament to finding hope and strength through the power of God's Word, when things seemed their darkest. Her coming from a point of hopelessness and darkness to finding hope and believing, should be a lesson for all of us.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
Angel’s Den was such an interesting book. It is full of historic sites and details from along the trail that Lewis and Clark once traveled, as well as a storyline that kept me glued to the book till the very end. There is just so much wrapped up in this story! At it’s most basic, this is a tale of warning. Emma enters into marriage with Eric Montclaire without realizing the kind of man he truly is. It is a tale of his abuse toward her and the way in which he attempts to control everything she says and does. But another important reminder from Angel’s Den concerns the importance of relationships. Eric grew into the cruel and manipulative man that he was because of his father’s cruel abuse of his own family. In the same way, Luke Bowen, another major character in the book, is a strong and godly man because of the spiritual influence that his parents provided for him. Luke attempts to help Emma learn more about God’s love for her, in order to give her hope for the future. And he finds a mentor in Judge Littleton. This man is able to help Luke look deeper into his feelings for Emma. She needs Luke and his help, but he must not forget that she is married to another, even if that man is a monster to her. Something that I really enjoyed was the adventure in this story. It was a very exciting read. Eric Montclaire truly believes he is above all others and can get away with anything. And he seems to! Time and time again, he triumphs. When things seem to have gotten as low as they possibly could, I just had to keep reading to find out if his evil plans would truly flourish. There were some surprises along the way that I didn’t see coming and that was fun as well. All in all, an enjoyable story. I would like to express my thanks to B&H Publishing for the complimentary copy of this book that I received in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ChristysBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Angel's Den by Jamie Carie is a historical romance set at the dawn of the 19th century. Emma believes she's marrying the man of her dreams in Eric Montclaire, but her illusions are quickly shattered when she discovers that his face of an angel hides a soul black as night. She withdraws from society and her family in order to hide the all too frequent bruising left from his angry tantrums, and she comes to fear for her very life when she discovers his history of murder and violence. Luke Bowen worked on the Lewis & Clark company until his father died unexpectedly, forcing him to give up his place as cartographer. Montclaire hires him for a new expedition out west, but Luke struggles with his feelings for the beautiful Emma, especially after witnessing her suffering. Carie is top notch at historicals, getting all the right details and language. Each era she tackles, she brings to brilliant life. The focus here is on Luke and Emma's growing but forbidden feelings for each other while they try to keep true to their Christian faith. The attempt to rouse sympathy for Montclaire falls a bit flat, and the epilogue is a tad too jolly for the mood of the rest of the book and it disregards both characters desire to see more of the world. I also wish that more time had been spent on the actual journey with Luke recording more detail about the birds and animals he saw. Those small flaws aside, it's a powerfully moving novel of a woman facing spousal abuse in an era that didn't recognize it as a crime. Emma's depression, anger, and fear makes the novel a must read.
TheReadersCove More than 1 year ago
Set in post Lewis and Clark America, Jamie Carr creates an intriguing story of "Beauty and the Beast" in reverse. Deception is the key ingredient and its effects are used with stunning success. Evil is portrayed in its most deceiving form. When truth becomes apparent, innocence is stolen, shattered, and broken. Faith, strength and courage rise to the occasion but who will prevail in the end? The writing was excellent. Stimulating the imagination with vivid pictures, bold characters and striking dialogue. A great read for a cold winter's night.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go away shadowclaw and whiske wheree r u? Shadowclaw if u need a mate go to dog res one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read Willowsong's story at spray result 1-6
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looks up "Where at?" +Tigerflame
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Logan triying to kill me