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The Bride's Necklace (Necklace Series #1)

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Overview

Knowing that she alone can protect her sister from the Baron Harwood, their lecherous stepfather, Victoria Temple Whiting snatches the family's heirloom necklace—believed to hold the power to bring great happiness or terrible tragedy—to pay for their escape to London. Terrified that the baron will find them, Victoria poses as Tory Temple and finds employment as a servant in the household of handsome Cordell Easton, the scandalous Earl of Brant.

The sisters' arrival couldn't have...

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The Bride's Necklace (Necklace Series #1)

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Overview

Knowing that she alone can protect her sister from the Baron Harwood, their lecherous stepfather, Victoria Temple Whiting snatches the family's heirloom necklace—believed to hold the power to bring great happiness or terrible tragedy—to pay for their escape to London. Terrified that the baron will find them, Victoria poses as Tory Temple and finds employment as a servant in the household of handsome Cordell Easton, the scandalous Earl of Brant.

The sisters' arrival couldn't have been more welcome. In need of a new mistress, Cord turns to Tory, whose wit and intellect intrigue him. But when the baron discovers the girls' whereabouts, Cord learns Tory's secret—her noble birth. Furious that he has compromised the daughter of a peer, Cord must decide—marry Tory to keep her safe or allow his stubborn pride to deny his heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to the legend of the exquisite diamond-and-pearl bride's necklace belonging to Tory Whitting's noble family, it brings its wearer, if pure of heart, untold happiness-or it could bring untold tragedy. When her lecherous stepfather, Baron Harwood, attempts to molest her younger sister, Claire, Tory steals the heirloom to pay for their escape to London. Disguised as a servant, Tory becomes a housekeeper for Cordell Easton, the earl of Brant, who's well known for his womanizing ways. Cord is initially drawn to Claire's ethereal beauty, but Tory's intelligence and impudence intrigue him, so much so that he asks her to be his new mistress. Though tempted, Tory refuses, but when Harwood arrives to claim his stepdaughters, she and Cord are forced into a more permanent bond. Their marriage is as tense as the chess game they play, but Tory's inability to be up-front with her past and her emotions, as well as her constant attempts to manipulate and deceive Cord (always with good intentions, of course), can grow wearisome. Fortunately, however, Martin (Heartless, etc.) adroitly balances the passion and intrigue in this fast-paced Regency, and provides vibrant characters, a swashbuckling prison escape and a satisfying resolution of the necklace legend. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When gently born Victoria catches her stepfather trying to abuse her beautiful, childlike sister, Claire, she beans him with the warming pan, steals an heirloom necklace, and sets out with Claire for London. But finding work without references is not easy, and it is sheer chance that they land on the Earl of Brant's doorstep at the same time he has decided he needs to take a new mistress. Although Claire is the beauty, it is Tory, with her daring and intelligence, who proves the more appealing. A necklace with a legendary curse and a plot rife with subplots and intricate twists add depth to this intriguing, sensual historical. Martin (Desert Heat), a popular, best-selling writer of both historicals and contemporaries, lives in Missoula, MT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778328674
  • Publisher: Mira
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Series: Necklace Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 393
  • Sales rank: 485,808
  • Product dimensions: 6.96 (w) x 11.08 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Kat Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty historical and contemporary romance novels. To date she has over 13 million copies of her books in print in seventeen countries, including Sweden, France, Russia, Spain, Japan, Argentina, Poland, and Greece. Kat and her husband, author Larry Jay Martin, live on their ranch outside Missoula, Montana, and spend winters at their beach house in California. Kat invites you to visit her website at www.KatMartin.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Perhaps it was the necklace. Tory had never believed in the curse, but everyone for miles around the tiny village of Harwood knew the legend of the beautiful dia-mond-and-pearl necklace. People whispered about it, feared it, coveted and revered the magnificent piece of jewelry crafted in the thirteenth century for the bride of Lord Fallon. It was said the necklace—The Bride's Necklace—could bring its owner untold happiness, or unbearable tragedy.

That hadn't kept Tory from stealing it. Or selling it to a moneylender in Dartfield for enough coin that she and Claire could finally escape.

But that had been nearly two months ago, before the two of them had reached London and the ridiculously small amount of money Tory had been forced to accept for the very valuable necklace had nearly run out.

In the beginning, she had been certain she could find a job as a governess for some nice, respectable family, but so far she had failed. The few clothes she and Claire had been able to take along the night they had fled were fashionable, but Tory's cuffs had begun to fray, and faint stains appeared on the hem of Claire's apricot muslin gown. Though their education and speech were that of the upper classes, Tory didn't have a single solitary reference, and without one, she had been turned away again and again.

She was becoming nearly as desperate as she had been before she left Harwood Hall.

"What are we going to do, Tory?" Her sister's voice cut through the self-pity rising like a dark tide inside her. "Mr. Jennings says if we can't pay our rent by the end of the week, he is going to throw us out."

Tory shuddered at the thought. She had seen things in London she wished she could forget, homeless children picking food scraps out of the gutter, women selling their frail bodies for coin enough to last another bitter day. The thought of being tossed out of their last place of refuge, a small garret above a hatmaker's shop, into the company of the riffraff and blacklegs in the street was more than she could bear.

"It's all right, dearest, you mustn't worry," she said, putting on a brave face once more. "Everything has a way of working out." Though Tory was truly beginning to doubt it.

Claire managed a trembly smile. "I know you'll think of something. You always do." At just-turned-seventeen, Claire Whiting was two years younger but several inches taller than Tory, whose build was more petite. Both girls were slender, but it was Claire who had inherited their mother's stunning good looks.

She had wavy silver-blond hair that reached nearly to her waist and skin as smooth and pale as an alabaster Venus. Her eyes were so blue they put a clear, Kentish sky to shame. If an angel dressed up in apricot muslin and donned a warm pelisse, she would look like Claire Whiting.

Tory thought of herself as a more durable sort, with heavy chestnut-brown hair that often curled when she least desired it, clear green eyes and a smattering of freckles. But it wasn't just their looks that set them apart.

Claire was simply different. She always had been. She inhabited a world mere mortals could not see. Tory always regarded her sister as ethereal, the kind of girl who played with fairies and talked to gnomes.

Not that she really did those things. It just seemed as if she could.

What Claire couldn't seem to do was take care of herself in any responsible fashion, so Tory did it for her.

Which was why they had fled their stepfather, made their way to London and now faced the threat of being cast out into the street.

To say nothing of being wanted for the theft of the valuable necklace—and perhaps even murder.

A soft August breeze blew in off the Thames, cooling the heat rising up from the cobbled streets. Comfortable in a big four-poster bed, Cordell Easton, fifth earl of Brant, lounged back against the carved wooden headboard. Across from him, Olivia Landers, Viscountess Westland, sat naked on a stool in front of her mirror, slowly pulling a silver-backed hairbrush through her long, straight raven-black hair.

"Why don't you put down that brush and come back to bed?" Cord drawled. "Once I get through with you, you'll only have to comb it again."

She turned on the stool and a seductive smile curved her ruby lips. "I thought perhaps you wouldn't be interested again quite so soon." Her eyes ran over his body, sweeping the muscles across his chest, following the thin line of dark hair arrowing down his stomach, coming to rest on his sex. Her eyes widened as she realized he was fully aroused. "Amazing how wrong a woman can be."

Leaving the stool, she walked toward him, long black hair swinging forward, the only thing hiding her very seductive body, making him harder than he was already.

Olivia was a widow—a very young and tasty widow whom Cord had been seeing for the past several months—but she was spoiled and selfish and she was fast becoming more trouble than she was worth. Cord had begun to think of ending the affair.

Not today, however.

Today he had stolen a couple of hours away from the stack of papers he had been poring over, badly in need of a diversion. Livy was good for that if nothing more.

She tossed her black hair over her shoulder as she climbed up onto the deep feather mattress. "I want to be on top," she purred. "I want to make you squirm."

What she wanted was the same thing she always demanded, rough, hard-pounding sex, and he was just in the mood to give it to her. The problem was, once they were finished, he had begun to feel oddly dissatisfied. He told himself he should cast about for some new female companionship. That always raised his spirits— among other parts of his body. But lately, he simply couldn't get into the thrill of the hunt.

"Cord, you aren't listening." She tugged on a tuft of curly brown chest hair.

"Sorry, sweeting." But he wasn't really contrite, since he was certain nothing she had to say would interest him in the least. "I was distracted by your very lovely breasts." To which he directed his full attention, taking one of them into his mouth as he lifted her astride him and slid her luscious body the length of his powerful erection.

Olivia moaned and began to move and Cord lost himself in the sweet charms of her body. Livy peaked and Cord followed, then the pleasure began to fade, disappearing as if it had never existed.

As Livy climbed from the bed, the thought he'd been having of late began to creep in. Surely there is more than just this.

Cord shoved the thought beneath the dozens of other problems he had been facing since his father had died and he had inherited the Brant title and fortune. Following Olivia out of bed, he began to pull on his clothes. There were a thousand things he needed to do—investments he needed to consider, accounts he needed to review, tenant complaints and shipping invoices.

And there was his ongoing worry about his cousin. Ethan Sharpe had been missing for nearly a year and Cord was determined to find him.

Still, no matter how busy he was, he always found time for his single great vice—women.

Convinced a new mistress was the answer to his recent bout of gloom, Cord vowed to begin his search.

"What if it's the curse?" Claire looked at Tory with big blue worried eyes. "You know what people say—

Mama told us a dozen times. She said the necklace could bring very bad fortune to the person who owned it."

"You're being ridiculous, Claire. There is no such thing as a curse. Besides, we don't own it. We just borrowed it for a while."

But it had certainly brought misfortune to her stepfather. Tory gnawed her bottom lip as she remembered the baron lying on the floor next to the bureau in Claire's bedchamber, a trickle of blood running from the gash in the side of his head. Dear God, she had prayed every night since it happened that she had not killed him.

Not that he didn't deserve to die for what he had tried to do.

"Besides, if you remember the story correctly," Tory added, "it can also bring the owner good fortune."

"If the person's heart is pure," Claire put in.

"That's right."

"We stole it, Tory. That's a sin. Now look what is happening to us. Our money's almost gone. They're going to throw us out of our room. Pretty soon we won't have even enough to buy something to eat."

"We're just having a little bad luck, is all. It has nothing to do with the curse. And we're bound to find employment very soon."

Claire looked at her with worried eyes. "Are you sure?"

"It might not be the sort of work we had hoped for, but yes, I am extremely sure." She wasn't, of course, but she didn't want Claire's hopes to plummet any lower than they were already. Besides, she would find work. No matter what she had to do.

But three more days passed and still nothing turned up. Tory had blisters on her feet and there was a rip in the hem of her high-waisted dove-gray gown.

Today is the day, she told herself, summoning a renewed determination as they headed once more for the area she believed most likely to provide employment. For more than a week, they had knocked on doors in London's fashionable West End, certain some wealthy family would be in need of a governess. But so far, nothing had turned up.

Climbing what must have been the hundredth set of porch stairs, Tory lifted the heavy brass knocker, gave it several firm raps, then listened as the sound echoed into the house. A few minutes later, a skinny, black-haired butler with a thin mustache opened the heavy front door.

"I should like to speak to the mistress of the house, if you please."

"In what regard, madam, may I ask?"

"I am seeking employment as a governess. One of the kitchen maids down the block said that Lady Pither-ing has three children and may be in need of one."

The butler's gaze took in the frayed cuffs and the rip in her hem and lifted his nose into the air. He opened his mouth to send her away when his gaze lit on Claire. She was smiling in that sweet way of hers, looking for all the world like an angel fallen to earth.

"We both love children," Claire said, still smiling. "And Tory is ever so smart. She would make the very best of governesses. I am also looking for work. We were hoping you might be able to help us."

The butler just kept staring at Claire and Claire kept on smiling.

Tory cleared her throat and the skinny man dragged his gaze away from Claire back to Tory. "Go round to the back door and I shall let you speak to the housekeeper. That is the best I can do."

Tory nodded, grateful to have gotten even that far, but a few minutes later, when they returned to the front of the house, she was filled with an even deeper despair.

"The butler was ever so nice," Claire said. "I thought for certain this time—"

"You heard what the housekeeper said. Lady Pither-ing is looking for someone older." And there never seemed to be a job for a servant as lovely as Claire.

Claire gnawed her bottom lip. "I'm hungry, Tory. I know you said we have to wait till supper, but my stomach is making all sorts of unladylike noises. Can't we have a little something now?"

Tory closed her eyes, trying to resurrect some of her earlier courage. She couldn't stand the look in her sister's eyes, the worry mingled with fear. She simply could not tell her they had spent their very last farthing, that until they found work of some kind they couldn't buy so much as a dry crust of bread.

"Just a bit longer, darling. Let's try the place the housekeeper mentioned down the block."

"But she said Lord Brant doesn't have any children."

"It doesn't matter. We'll take whatever jobs we can find." She forced herself to smile. "I'm sure it won't be for long."

Claire nodded bravely and Tory wanted to cry. She had hoped to take care of her younger sister. While Tory had often worked long hours at the day-to-day task of running Harwood Hall, Claire wasn't used to the hard work done by a servant. Tory had hoped to spare her sister, but fate had led them to this dismal place in their lives and it looked as if they would have to do whatever it took to survive.

"Which one is it?" Claire asked.

"The big brick house just over there. Do you see those two stone lions on the porch? That is the residence of the earl of Brant."

Claire studied the elegant town house, larger than any other on the block, and a hopeful smile blossomed on her face.

"Perhaps Lord Brant will be handsome and kind as well as rich," she said dreamily. "And you shall marry him and both of us will be saved."

Tory flashed her an indulgent smile. "For now, let us simply hope the man is in need of a servant or two and willing to take us in."

But again they were turned away, this time by a short, bald-headed butler with thick shoulders and beady little eyes.

Claire was crying by the time they reached the bottom of the stairs, which was a rare thing, indeed, and enough to make Tory want to cry along with her. Funny thing was, if Tory cried, her nose got all red and her lips wobbled. But with Claire, it just made her eyes look bigger and bluer and her cheeks bloomed with roses.

Tory grabbed her reticule and began trying to dig out a handkerchief for Claire when one magically appeared in front of her face. Her sister accepted it gratefully. Dabbing it against her eyes, she turned her sweet, angelic smile upon the man who had provided it.

"Thank you ever so much."

The man returned the smile as Tory could have guessed he would. "Cordell Easton, earl of Brant, at your service, dear lady. And you would be…?"

He was looking at Claire the way men had since she was twelve years old. Tory didn't think he realized there was anyone else there but Claire.

"I am Miss Claire Temple and this is my sister, Victoria." Tory silently thanked God that Claire had remembered to use their mother's maiden name, and ignored her sister's disregard of the proper rules of introduction. The man was, after all, the earl, and they were desperately in need of his employment.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 86 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 86 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    &crown



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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Blake

    I want to be her master pulls his big dick out

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Layla

    Moaned as her ni.pples hardened.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    Loved it

    Good read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Viper

    Next result, buttmunch. xD

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    Good Read

    This was a good easy read. I did find Victoria a bit annoying, she alsways made the same mistake. You would thingk she would learn that she shouldn't go out on her own. The guys looked for help to rescue Cord's cousin, but Tory thought she needed no one to help her.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    Too much plot

    The first part of this book was great. However, it devolved into way to many plots. In the end, I just skimmed the last part of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2010

    I loved it!

    Fast paced, just enough twists, and romance enough to bring tears to your eyes. I can't wait to read the next two in the series!

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Bride's Necklace was great down to the last page!

    Kat Martin has an excellent way of developing and weaving characters together. She holds your interest down to the last page. I recommend to read all three books in this trilogy. They were all fabulous.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2007

    Loved It!

    I loved this book. Kat Martin is an amazing writer. When most authors are ending a novel she is just getting started. Once I read the first page I couldn't put it down, and when I was finished I couldn't wait to go buy the other two books in the trilogy. I've found my new favorite romance author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2006

    Not enough depth or character development

    This book was... okay. It was fast-paced and the beginning of the novel started out with promise. However, by the middle of the book I was bored. Once the characters get married, the 'hero' virtually disappears. For about a hundred pages, or so, I don't believe the herione has more than one conversation with him. She spends all of her time with another man, who, in my opinion, was more interesting than the main male character, Lord Brant. Actually, Lord Brant was rather shallow and insensitive. (Honestly, the number of times he referred to her 'luscious, little body' or 'delectable, little body' were eye-rolling-inducing at best.) That leads to the other problem I had with the book. The author tries to convey steamy physical chemistry, but doesn't really succeed. Though these characters seem to spend a lot of time in bed, I didn't really feel the attraction. That is, perhaps, because the author never delves too deeply into anything in this story. There was not enough description of places, events, nor situations. Character development was sadly lacking. The main characters have a few (very short) sparring conversations, then suddenly they're sleeping together. I never really understood why these two were attracted to each other, why they would fall in love with each other. And in the end, I didn't really care. There are a lot of really good romance novels out there: Lisa Kleypas, Liz Carlyle and Sabrina Jeffries, to name a few.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2006

    It doesn't make you jump out of your feet

    This is the first book of the bride's necklace trilogy. By far it's witty, but the elegant story kinda sour down the line because of the story for the next book's leading man, Ethan, took so much attention in this 1st series and shadowing the relationship of the main characters. Earl Brant is different than Rafael in The Handmaiden's Necklace book. In every problems that occured in the relationship between Brant and Tory always end up with too much intimacy. It makes it a little cheesy. I like the third trilogy better 'The Handmaiden's Necklace.'

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining Regency romance

    In 1804, Miles Whiting molests his stepdaughter seventeen years old angelic Claire until her older sister Victoria bashes his head knocking the lecher out. The siblings steal a necklace and flee Harwood for London. Not long afterward, the sisters remain in trouble until Lord Cordell Devlin, in need of a housekeeper, hires Victoria to fill the position and provides a maid¿s job to the sister because he wants Claire in his bed soon...................................... Miles changes his mind over which sister he wants in his bed. He finds Claire almost child-like and instead of desire he finds a need to protect her. He appreciates Victoria¿s intelligence, competitive nature especially in chess, and her protectiveness of her fey like sibling; he also realizes he wants her. However, her stepfather seeks his two ¿wards¿ having accused them of theft and injuring him. With the law on his side, only Cord stands in his way, but though Victoria loves him, she cannot expect a lord to keep safe two thieving servants even if he reciprocates her affection.............................. THE BRIDE¿S NECKLACE is entertaining Regency romance because of the prime time lead protagonists whose growing attraction amidst danger on both their parts (his attempts to rescue his cousin from the French and her efforts to elude her stepfather) make for a strong tale. Claire¿s naïve innocence adds a depth to the lead duet. Though Miles is too villainous with nothing redeeming, fans will enjoy Kat Martin¿s fine tale and hopefully see a sequel starring Victoria¿s best friend........................... Harriet Klausner

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    Posted September 29, 2010

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    Posted May 16, 2011

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    Posted January 6, 2012

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    Posted December 25, 2009

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    Posted September 26, 2010

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    Posted December 13, 2010

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    Posted October 8, 2010

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