Devil's Desire

Devil's Desire

4.3 39
by Laurie McBain
     
 

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What readers say about Devil's Desire:


"One of my all-time favorite romances."


"I just love this book! Each scene keeps you turning the pages."


"What a pleasure to read an author I know will never disappoint me!"


They called him the devil . . .


With his

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Overview

What readers say about Devil's Desire:


"One of my all-time favorite romances."


"I just love this book! Each scene keeps you turning the pages."


"What a pleasure to read an author I know will never disappoint me!"


They called him the devil . . .


With his seductive golden eyes and sin-black hair, it's no wonder Lord Alex Trevegne has earned himself the sinister title-not to mention his reputation as one of the most notorious rakes in England.


And she's the only one who can conquer him . . .


When fate throws Alex and Elysia into a scandalous situation, Alex suddenly finds it surprisingly difficult to tear himself away from her.


As an unexpected passion blossoms between them, Elysia begins to wonder if after a lifetime of heartache she's finally found heaven in the arms of the devil.


Praise for Laurie McBain:


"McBain's skill at shaping characters and propelling the plot distinguishes her."

-Publishers Weekly


"Well-crafted and wonderfully romantic. Readers are rewarded with teeming atmosphere."

-Romantic Times


"Vivid sense of description, colorful characters . . . I found myself happily lost in the magnificence of the storytelling."

-Los Angeles Herald Examiner

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Editorial Reviews

The Long and Short of It Reviews
A rich tale with various subplots that deliver a refreshing amount of mystery, suspense, and tension. When combined with the flourishing romance between the hero and heroine, it makes for an exciting read.
The Book Faery
I flew through the pages so easily with smiles, some laughs, and even had tears that threatened to fall from my eyes.
Night Owl Reviews
Timeless... Filled to the brim with historical richness and sexual tension.
History Undressed
What a fantastic read! Devil's Desire is a Regency era novel with all that makes that genre exciting and appealing to readers
RomFan Reviews
A book for the ages.
Seriously Reviewed
Wonderful story that just jumped off the pages with characters so likeable....even when they weren't...that I was almost sad to see it end.
Books Like Breathing
Devil's Desire contains all of the tension and conflict that you would expect from a well-crafted regency with the great writing of Laurie McBain.
All About Romance
The writing flows smoothly and the fantastical scenes spring to life in a way that kept me turning pages.
From the Publisher
"A rich tale with various subplots that deliver a refreshing amount of mystery, suspense, and tension. When combined with the flourishing romance between the hero and heroine, it makes for an exciting read. " - The Long and Short of It Reviews

"I flew through the pages so easily with smiles, some laughs, and even had tears that threatened to fall from my eyes. " - The Book Faery

"Timeless... Filled to the brim with historical richness and sexual tension. " - Night Owl Reviews

"What a fantastic read! Devil's Desire is a Regency era novel with all that makes that genre exciting and appealing to readers" - History Undressed

"A book for the ages." - RomFan Reviews

"Wonderful story that just jumped off the pages with characters so likeable....even when they weren't...that I was almost sad to see it end." - Seriously Reviewed

"Devil's Desire contains all of the tension and conflict that you would expect from a well-crafted regency with the great writing of Laurie McBain. " - Books Like Breathing

"The writing flows smoothly and the fantastical scenes spring to life in a way that kept me turning pages." - All About Romance

"Devil's Desire is a fun romantic escape with its likable characters, plot twists and satisfying ending... A keeper." - Sarai is Reading What?

"Good characters - to like or not - and engaging writing make this interesting." - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf

"A fantastic, fast-paced tale that leaves your heart racing and your palms sweating. " - Coffee Time Romance

"A definite must read." - Luxury Reading

"Full of adventure, suspense and surprise." - Book Chick City

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402258848
Publisher:
Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date:
11/01/2010
Series:
Casablanca Classics
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
312
Sales rank:
133,863
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair.
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.
-Tennyson

High in a cloud-laden afternoon sky, a free-spirited skylark soared gracefully; its spread-winged shadow traveling swiftly over the colorful autumnal countryside below. Its song pierced the primeval silence of the forest below as the cheerful cry carried through the chill air; the clear notes penetrated beneath the thick canopy of branches, and reaching the soft, loam-covered forest floor the sound was absorbed by the bright carpet of fallen leaves.

The woods seemed to come to life, humming with the chirpings and chatterings of busy forest creatures contentedly gathering food for the oncoming winter, until another sound intruded into the aimless animal chatter and sent a hush over the clearing. An uneasy silence hung over it as the threatening sounds of baying hounds and pounding horses' hooves echoed in the distance.

The gossiping birds took wing and the bushy-tailed squir­rels scurried into safe nests as a figure emerged from the trees, twigs snapping sharply as it moved into the clearing.

"Tally-ho!" Ribald laughter followed the cry of the hunt. "Where is that foxy wench? Damnation! Don't lose sight of her now, man!"

The excited voices drifted to a still figure, galvanizing it into action, and the raised voices became louder as the riders moved closer. Then the voices merged into one menacing sound as they intermingled with the snorting of their mounts.

As they came closer, Elysia could almost feel their hot breath against the back of her neck, as she held up her skirts and hurriedly climbed over a fallen tree. She stopped, pausing to catch her breath, panting heavily as she leaned against another tree for support. She could hear the raised voices of the men as they searched about the undergrowth, not far off, beating it back to find her hiding place. She shivered as she heard the throaty yelping of the dogs, and saw movement through the trees as the horsemen pressed on toward her; each passing second bringing them closer.

She stood still, frozen with fear, her eyes darting about like those of a trapped animal seeking safety. Suddenly, she noticed the hollowed out trunk of the fallen tree, the opening partially concealed by the full-fronded ferns and wild weeds that grew about the gaping mouth. She moved quickly into the cool, concealing darkness. Crawling past the thick ferns, she pulled them back into order as she stretched out full length on the rotted and damp bottom. She shivered as she felt the little crawling inhabitants of the decayed tree about her. Elysia's breath caught painfully in her throat as she heard the pounding of the horses' hooves coming straight towards her; shaking the earth beneath her body until she thought she would be trampled to death beneath them.

"Bloody fool. You've let her flee," said a petulant voice, startling Elysia by its closeness.

"Damn it all, it's you who slowed me up-thought you saw her in a dozen different places," another voice complained.

"First decent bit o' muslin I've seen in this damned county, and what happens?" demanded the first voice, self-pityingly. "She gets away. Did you see that glorious hair? A real little fox she was-and those long legs. By God, I'll not be cheated out of my prize after going to the trouble of giving chase."

Elysia heard the creaking of his saddle as the rider shifted impatiently, and the ominous snapping sound of a riding crop being tapped angrily against gloved hands.

"Where are those cursed hounds? We'd have had her flushed out by now if those hounds were on her scent. Could've sworn I saw something over here."

"Sounds like they've caught scent of something over that way," the other man spoke as the distant sound of raised voices and barking reached them.

"Damn! It'd better be the wench. I'll beat their hides off if they've cornered a bloody hare. I'm going to have that maid to warm my bed this eve. It's too damned cold in this blasted place to sleep alone." He sighed in exasperation. "We'd better find her soon, because I'm played out; too damned tired to even breathe, much less enjoy the wench. Wish I were back in London-don't have to hunt for my pleasures there. Plenty of high-steppers just begging for my favors," he boasted.

"You're getting soft, my friend. The hunt adds spice to the victory, but we'd best be off, or you'll only have your old housekeeper to warm your bones this eve," his friend snickered.

"I'll be warming myself against that red-haired wench. You can have my housekeeper, or one of the scullions-more your style," he said laughing loudly.

"You don't have her yet, and who knows, she might prefer me after she's caught a glimpse of you."

"Damned if she will," he answered rising to the bait. "I'll wager my team of blacks she begs me to take her back to London before the night's out."

Elysia heard their laughter, and then trembled as she felt the fragile walls of her sanctuary shake as the riders urged their mounts over the fallen tree, and moved off into the trees toward the excited barking of the hounds.

Elysia waited, scarcely breathing as she listened to the retreating hoof beats. Breathlessly, she peered out between the lacy, interwoven fronds, seeing only emptiness in the clearing beyond. At last, they were gone.
Slowly, like a hunted animal, she crawled from the safety of her hole and paused, as if sniffing the air for the scent of an enemy, poised for flight at the first sign of danger. As she made her way through the trees Elysia felt tears of rage and fright well up in her eyes.

Her lips quivered as she thought of herself like some animal being hunted for pleasure. No wonder the villagers kept their young daughters close to their sides when the wild bloods, the fancy London gentlemen, paid their irregular visits to their estates in the country. Attired in their finely cut coats and lacy cravats, jewels glittering from their long white fingers, they demanded, and expected, anything they wanted, causing havoc the few days they took up residence on their country estates. They abused their landlordly rights by browbeating their tenants, and seducing their daughters. From upstairs maid to milk maid-not one comely face was safe from their lust.

And now she, Elysia Demarice, daughter of aristocratic parents, was humiliated and reduced to cowering like a fright­ened beast afraid for her life. She had to suffer the indignity of being pursued by fun-seeking young bloods from London, out to satisfy their carnal desires. Were she still under the protec­tion of her father's house, they would not dare to approach her; she was their equal-in name and position. Possessing beauty was a liability when one did not have the protection of one's family.

But a far greater outrage, Elysia thought, was her aunt's perfidy. She had sent her out here to the north end of the property, well aware that young Lord Tanner was visiting with a party of his disreputable friends. The possibility of their paths crossing while she innocently searched for acorns, had probably wriggled in the back of Aunt Agatha's mind like a worm in a rotting apple.

Aunt Agatha seemed to derive some sadistic pleasure in reducing her to the lowest level of human existence. What sin had she committed? What gods had she angered to deserve such a fate, Elysia wondered despondently. If only she could turn back the clock and return to happier days. The happier times, the innocence of her childhood-those were the things of which she dreamed.

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