Brazen Angel

Brazen Angel

4.0 19
by Elizabeth Boyle
     
 

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Romance readers are definitely the winners in Dell's Diamond Debut Award contest. This exciting new annual contest for unpublished romance authors (now announcing its second winner) offers the talented author who wins a publication contract, and guarantees readers a Dell first novel each year that's a real gem. This year's Diamond Debut Award Winner is Elizabeth

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Overview

Romance readers are definitely the winners in Dell's Diamond Debut Award contest. This exciting new annual contest for unpublished romance authors (now announcing its second winner) offers the talented author who wins a publication contract, and guarantees readers a Dell first novel each year that's a real gem. This year's Diamond Debut Award Winner is Elizabeth Boyle, and her first novel, Brazen Angel is an exciting romantic adventure, packed with plots, counterplots, disguises and passion, set amid the chilling aftermath of the French Revolution.

The Brazen Angel is a beautiful adventuress, a mistress of disguise preying on London's most nefarious noblemen by luring them away from masquerade balls on moonlit nights and robbing them of prized possessions. But the Brazen Angel is no common thief. The British Foreign Office suspects she is a French revolutionary known as La Devinette, and British agent Giles Corliss, the Marquess of Trahern, has been assigned the task of bringing the beautiful thief to justice. Juggling this vital mission with his efforts to court the lady his father has chosen as his bride is no easy matter, for both his betrothed and his prey seem determined to elude him. Brazen Angel is one of the most exciting first novels I've read in years -- truly a diamond debut. We'll look forward to many more from Elizabeth Boyle.

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Editorial Reviews

Lynn Coddington
"Boyle is a talented writer and a gifted storyteller. Brazen Angel is easily one of the best first novels I've ever read."
Kathe Robin
Ms. Boyle has made her mark as a vibrant new voice in the genre with an exciting and refreshing "desire in disguise" tale that ensures her place on reader's shelves.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780440613701
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/28/1997
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

"Excuse me," she said, her skirt brushing against him.

The rustle of fabric snapped Giles to attention.  "May I offer you my assistance?" He held out his arm to her

She shook her head slightly.  "No, thank you."

Giles did not miss the dismissive tone, nor the slight accent to her speech.  Though fluent in many languages he, too, had to admit he was stumped as to its origin.  "Oh, I insist, my dear lady." He took her hand and settled it on his forearm, holding her in place.  "Besides, you appear to have been left alone.  I wouldn't call myself a gentleman if I didn't help a lady in distress."

She tugged her arm to free herself, but Giles only held on that much tighter.

"My lord, your reputation precedes you.  My escort will not appreciate your efforts." Again she turned her face from him, obviously searching the crowd for someone.

Her next victim, Giles guessed.

"And who is your escort? Perhaps I have seen him recently."

Her sensuous pink lips pursed in concentration.  "That is none of your concern.  Now, if you don't release me I'll make a scene."

"I doubt that," he stated confidently.  "A lady like yourself, so concerned with appearances, wouldn't want to attract such untoward attention." He started to stroll through the crowd, dragging her toward a side door.  "Tell me your name, for I have a feeling before the evening is out we'll be old friends."

She did not reply.

"No name?" he teased.  "What a terrible shame.  Since I have never seen you before, I therefore must assume you are a princess from a faraway land, which would account for your accent and your shocking lack of a protector.  Am I right?"

"A princess, my lord?" She shook her head.  "I would have expected something much more original from you.  I am hardly a princess in need of a knight's rescue."

"From your answer can I assume we have been introduced before?" he asked as they continued their halting procession through the room.  As Giles towed her along he couldn't help but notice how the lady resisted each step forward.

"Oh, in a manner of speaking." She laughed, as if over some private joke.

Even as she enjoyed her jest at his expense, he began to notice subtle changes in her behavior.  She still pulled against his grip, but the lady's strategy started to change.

"Perhaps in Vienna?" he asked, searching his memory of all the ladies he'd met and tarried with on the Continent.

Her face upturned, allowing him a chance to study her.  Her hand on his arm relaxed, while a flirtatious light sparked in the mischievous blue fire of her eyes.  The enticing fullness of her lips widened to an engaging smile.

"You don't know me, do you?" she teased, leaning closer to him until her shoulder brushed ever so slightly against his arm.  "I suppose I would be insulted if we had met before, but to be honest, we haven't, my lord.  Not formally."

For once Monty hadn't been exaggerating.  The woman was an angel to behold.  And he felt himself falling under her tempting spell.  Obviously, he'd been out of the field too long if some misguided member of the ton could pique his professional curiosity so thoroughly with her antics.

"Then let me be so forward as to introduce myself," he said.  "With your escort unavailable to do the honors, I am--"

The Brazen Angel didn't need any introduction to the man at her side.  "--you are Lord Trahern," she finished.  "As I said, your name and reputation precede you."

And did it ever, she thought.  Of all the men to interrupt her this evening, why did it have to be this one?

She must get rid of him, and quickly.  His gaze was too penetrating and at the same time too familiar to be risked.  If he saw through her painstaking costume, everything would be lost.

"While your tone sounds like an insult, I instead will be honored that such a lovely lady knows me." He smiled graciously.

It should have pleased her to finally meet the man who had puzzled her for so long.  A year or so ago she'd seen a boyhood portrait of him at Byrnewood, his family home.  Ever since that fateful afternoon she'd been fascinated by the determined slant of his mouth and dark eyes.

She'd often wondered what kind of man that stern child had become.

Now she knew.  He was the same brooding, handsome, and devilish type of man she and her sister had giggled about and dreamed of eloping with when they'd been growing up.  But in the safety of their convent school she'd never realized the dangerous passions a man like this could evoke in the corner of a woman's heart.

His fingers, warm and firm, closed over her wrist with strength and authority.  Hands that could guide a woman's body into immortal danger--or heavenly release.  She drew a deep breath and tried to step away from him.  There were many men in the room who were handsome enough, men that attracted a woman with looks and charm.  She knew enough about those types of men to be wary of their honeyed phrases and promises of undying love.  Fools ripe for the picking, she discovered once she'd turned the tables on them.

But it struck her immediately that Lord Trahern may be different.  Oh, he was handsome and charming, but the determined cut of his jaw and the wary look about him said that he'd seen enough of the world not to be easily deceived.

It was an expression she understood well.  She saw it every time she looked in a mirror.  It also meant she must be very careful.

"You seem far away, my lady," he said softly.  "Perhaps it is someplace I could take you?" His dark gaze assessed her as if he were cataloguing and memorizing her every reaction.  "A quiet room where we could be alone?"

His suggestion ruffled down her spine in an anxious flutter and settled down so low in her soul that it was indecent.  Never in the last six months had a man's invitation left her like this--like she wanted to follow him.

More than flirtation lay hidden within his words.  He was testing her.  Trying to see if she would take his bait.

This wasn't the way it worked, she scolded herself.  They followed her.  On her terms.  By her rules.

"Go somewhere alone with you?" She shook her head.  "Not tonight, my lord.  I have other plans." Risking a glance back up into his eyes, she found they glittered like rich, dark emeralds, revealing nothing beyond their fire.

So what had she really expected to find?

"I've never been one to interfere with a lady's plans.  But I must warn you, I am not the only one in your way tonight."

She stopped short, nearly tripping over her fashionably high-heeled shoes.  He knew who she was and why she was here.  And he knew Lyle and Rostland were also after her.  If he knew that much about her, did he also know her identity?

Though she'd weighed the risks of coming out so openly in this crowded ballroom, she'd bet her luck would hold through one more evening.

Neither Lyle, nor Rostland, nor the man at her side could stop her.  Not this night, her last as the Brazen Angel.

With the money she anticipated taking from her mark, she would be able to complete her work in France and let the mysterious lady fade into nothing more than the idle memory of foolish men.

But first she needed to get rid of the nuisance Lord Trahern was quickly becoming.

But she also knew enough of Lord Trahern's reputation to realize he wouldn't give up easily.  She moved on Lord Delaney without her usual setup.

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Meet the Author

Elizabeth Boyle is the NY Times bestselling author of eighteen novels and two novellas. Her favorites moments as an author include winning the Dell Diamond Debut, the Romance Writers of America RITA award and falling over backward into Puget Sound during a photo shoot. Having successfully hunted software pirates for a living, Elizabeth feels equally qualified to delve into the antics of rakes, spies and privateers in her writing life.

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