A Fine Passion (Bastion Club Series)

A Fine Passion (Bastion Club Series)

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by Stephanie Laurens
     
 

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The men of the Bastion Club are powerful, loyal, and not averse to overcoming danger if they must. Now, after years of loyal service to the Crown, they each -- one by one -- must face that greatest danger of all ...love.

The last of his line, Jack, Baron Warnefleet, has fled London after nearly being compromised into marrying a dreadful female. Turning his

Overview

The men of the Bastion Club are powerful, loyal, and not averse to overcoming danger if they must. Now, after years of loyal service to the Crown, they each -- one by one -- must face that greatest danger of all ...love.

The last of his line, Jack, Baron Warnefleet, has fled London after nearly being compromised into marrying a dreadful female. Turning his back on the entire notion of marriage, he rides home to the estate he has not seen for years, determined to set in motion an alternative course of action.

But then in the lane before his gate, Jack rescues a startlingly beautiful lady from a menacing, unmanageable horse. However, while he begins by taking command, the lady continues by taking it back. Lady Clarice Altwood is no meek and mild miss. She is the very antithesis of thewoolly-headed young ladies Jack has rejected as not for him. Clarice is delectably attractive, beyond eligible, undeniably capable, and completely unforgettable. Why on earth is she rusticating in the country?

That enigma is compounded by mystery, and it's quickly clear thatClarice is in danger. Jack must use every ounce of his cunning and wit to protect this highly independent and richly passionate woman ... who has so quickly stolen his heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061743627
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Series:
Bastion Club Series , #4
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
26,939
File size:
1 MB

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Read an Excerpt

A Fine Passion

Chapter One

Early May
Avening village, Gloucestershire

Apple blossoms in springtime.
Julius—Jack—Warnefleet, Baron Warnefleet of Minchinbury, reined in on the rise above Avening valley and looked down on the pink-and-white clouds surrounding Avening Manor. His first sight of his home in seven years could, he felt, have been more apt.

Apple blossom always reminded him of brides.

Regarding the blossoms with a jaundiced eye, he twitched the reins and set his gray gelding, Challenger, ambling down the long hill. Everything, it seemed, was conspiring to remind him of his failure, of the fact he hadn't found a bride. Avening Manor had been without a lady for most of his life. His mother had died when he was six years old; his father had never remarried.

Jack had spent the last thirteen years fighting for king and country, almost entirely behind enemy lines in France. His father's death seven years before had brought him briefly home, but only for two days, just long enough for the funeral and to formally place the running of Avening into the hands of old Griggs, his father's steward, before he'd had to slip back over the Channel, back to the varied roles he'd played in disrupting French shipping and commercial links, draining the lifeblood from the French state, weakening it.

Not the sort of battles most people imagined a major in the Guards engaged in.

Along with an elite group of fellow officers, he'd been seconded to work under a secretive individual known as Dalziel, who'd been responsible for all covert English operations on foreign soil. Neither Jack nor any of the sixcolleagues he'd met knew how many operatives Dalziel had commanded, or how wide the arena of their activities had been. They did know those activities had directly contributed, indeed been crucial, to the final ultimate defeat of Napoleon.

But the wars were now over. Along with his colleagues, Jack had retired from the fray and turned his mind to picking up the reins of civilian life. The previous October, he and his six colleagues, all gentlemen blessed with title, wealth, and the consequent responsibilities, and therefore all sorely in need of wives, had banded together to form the Bastion Club—their bulwark against the matchmakers of the ton, their castle from which each would sally forth, do battle with society's dragons, and secure the fair maid he required.

That, at least, had been their plan.Matters, however, hadn't fallen out quite as they'd supposed.

Tristan Wemyss had stumbled across his bride while overseeing the refurbishment of the house that was now the Bastion Club. Shortly after, Tony Blake had even more literally stumbled across his bride along with a dead body. Charles St. Austell, fleeing the capital and his too-helpful female relatives, had found his bride haunting his ancestral home. And now Jack was fleeing the capital, too, but not because of female relatives.

The rattle of carriage wheels reached him. Through the screening drifts, he glimpsed a black carriage bowling along the road from Cherington. The carriage crossed the junction with the Tetbury lane down which Jack was descending, and continued west toward Nailsworth.

Jack wondered who the carriage belonged to, but he'd been away so long he had no idea who might be visiting whom these days.

On returning permanently to England, he'd had to decide which of his responsibilities to attend to first. He was an only child; his father's death had set Avening in his lap with no one else to watch over it, but he knew the estate from the ground up—he'd been born and raised there, in this green valley on the northwest slope of the Cotswolds. Avening had been in sound hands; he trusted Griggs as his father had. Much more pressing had been the need to come to grips with the varied investments and far-flung properties he'd entirely unexpectedly inherited from his great-aunt Sophia.

His mother had been the daughter of an earl and his father the grandson of a duke; an eccentric spinster, Great-aunt Sophia had been a twig somewhere on his paternal family tree. Her hobby had been amassing wealth; although Jack could only recall meeting her briefly twice, on her death two years ago, Great-aunt Sophia had willed a sizable portion of her amassed wealth to him.

By the time he'd returned to England, various decisions associated with that inheritance had grown urgent; learning about his new holdings and investments had been imperative. He'd duly suppressed a deep-seated longing to return to Avening—to reassure himself it was all as he remembered, that after all his years away, after all he'd had to do, witness, and endure, his home was still there, as he remembered it—and instead had devoted the last six months to coming to grips with his inheritance, welding the whole into one workable estate.

Although he now owned numerous elegant country houses, to him, Avening was still the centerpiece, the place that was home, the place that held his heart.

That was why he was there, slowly ambling down the lane, letting his jaded senses absorb the achingly familiar sights and sounds, letting them soothe his abraded temper, his less-than-contented mood, and the dull but persistent ache in his head.

Temper and mood were due to his failure to find a suitable bride. He'd accepted he should and had bitten the bullet; while in London organizing his inheritance, he'd applied himself to looking over the field. Once the Season had commenced, he'd assumed suitable ladies would be thick on the ground; wasn't that what the marriage mart was all about? Instead, he'd discovered that while sweet and not so sweet young ladies littered the pavements, parks, and ballrooms, the sort of lady he could imagine marrying had been nowhere to be found.

He would have said he was too old, and too finicky, yet he was only thirty-four, prime matrimonial age for a gentleman, and he had no physical preference in women. Short, tall, blond, or brunette were all the same to him; it was being female that counted—soft, perfumed skin, feminine curves and, once they were beneath him, those breathy little gasps falling from luscious, parted lips. He should have been easy to please.

A Fine Passion. Copyright © by Stephanie Laurens. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science, a hobby that quickly became a career. Her novels set in Regency England have captivated readers around the globe, making her one of the romance world's most beloved and popular authors.

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Fine Passion (Bastion Club Series) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never read any books by the author Stephanie Laurens until I got this one - A Fine Passion. I have been reading historical novels for over 20 years (since my high school years) and had taken a bit of time off - got burnt out on this stuff! So...I came back and found some new authors. I actually enjoyed this book quite a bit. The characters had a lot of fun in the beginning getting to know one another. It was nice to see a heroine who was smart, witty, attractive and not 'perfect in every way'. She was very appealing in her strength and it was great to see a hero respond to these characteristics as well. Clarice - the main character - was a handful and that was part of the fun - she gave as good as she got. In turn, the main character hero, Jack - had a lively sense of humor, intresting take on women and life. Fortunately, he had been around the block and upon discovering Clarice at his home running the world...he got to see what he had really been missing in life. A true partner. I like books that make characters realize all they really want in life is the simple things - a partner who they can live with, laugh with and love until the end of their days. These two were an excellent match and the story flowed smoothly. The intimate relations they had together were strong and positive too - beautifully told. It wasn't silly - it was real. I believe readers will enjoy this story line well. I just wish the main character had a better name than 'Jack' - all I could think of was 'Jack the Ripper' and we know what happened there! Other than the name issue, this was a fine read. Enjoy!
Tangen 18 days ago
reread, bastion-club, traitor, dalziel, suspense, historical-novel The men of the Bastion Club are second only to their erstwhile spy master. I have read this series several times and still I am impressed with the imagination and skill that has gone into crafting this novel. Jack Warnefleet was seriously concussed in the previous novel, the gets bowled over by the opinionated woman he meets upon coming across a near fatal carriage incident. Starts out with a bang and keeps moving along quickly. Usual bouts of erotica (yes, the hormone spikes DO alleviate some nasty headaches. I know.). Excellent read. If you haven't read it, you're missing out. Jill Tanner does a good enough job, I just prefer that this series be done by a male voice.
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Buckland More than 1 year ago
5 stars for the entire series
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cathie35 More than 1 year ago
I have read almost all of Stephanie Laurens books, and they never fail to please me.. The stories have mystery to them as well as romance. I can't wait to find out what happens at the end. I especially like them as eBooks.. I like the trilogy books, that lead you from one book to the other following the same story line. This book was from the Bastion Club Series. I think I have read them all... I have also pre-ordered her next book coming out in Jan 2012
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KPutnel More than 1 year ago
Though this was not my favorite if the series, due to a slow start, the book was a great summer read and picked up pace more consistent with Lauren's novels about half way through. Don't miss this book in the series, as it gives you more glimpses into the lives of other Bastion Club members and their leader, Dalziel.
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