Goddess of the Hunt

( 61 )

Overview

In this lush and seductive novel, exciting new author Tessa Dare takes desire to brazen heights.

Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother’s best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion–one that could send...

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Overview

In this lush and seductive novel, exciting new author Tessa Dare takes desire to brazen heights.

Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother’s best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion–one that could send all her plans up in smoke.

Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart and claim her for his own?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The sweetest, sexiest romance you’ll read all year.”—Eloisa James

“From the time Toby Aldridge had whimsically crowned her Goddess of the Hunt, 11-year-old Lucy Waltham had adored him. Now, eight years later, with Toby intending to propose to someone else, naïve Lucy boldly plans to seduce him but needs practice—and an ally. Who better than her emotionally chilly best friend, Jeremy Trescott, Earl of Kendall, to make Toby jealous? This is an exceptional debut novel, from the first hilarious “practice” session to the gradual melting of Jem’s outward reserve and ­Lucy’s maturing realization of whom she really loves. A beautifully crafted tale that captivates with sassy wit, a lush, sweetly intense sensuality, and an abundance of beautifully articulated, appealing characters.”—Library Journal

“A daring debut…Dare is on the path to stardom.”—Romantic Times

“Debut author Tessa Dare bursts upon the scene with a high-energy and high-drama romance. She tells the story with provocative words and feverish action. Her cast of secondary characters is unforgettable and set the stage for the next book in this back-to-back series.”—Fresh Fiction

“Highly original… Tessa Dare is an author to watch!”—Romance Reader’s Connection

“I fell in love with Goddess of the Hunt and Tessa Dare from the very first page! Goddess of the Hunt is a romantic delight sure to satisfy every reader." —Teresa Medeiros

Publishers Weekly
Dare’s sparkling Regency romance debut introduces a cunning and instantly likable tomboy heroine. Lucy Waltham has been besotted with her brother’s friend Toby since she was 11. Now 19 and determined to get Toby away from ladylike, well-dowried Sophia, Lucy decides to practice seduction techniques on another family friend, Jeremy Trescott, earl of Kendall and 10 years her senior. Their innocent trysts become a sizzling affair that leads abruptly to the altar, after which Lucy must use all her considerable wit and intelligence to transform herself into a countess without ever losing the wild spirit that Jeremy finds both daunting and delightful. Dare seems to have fit all the best of romance into one novel, from sensuous interludes and crafty humor to endearing multidimensional characters. Readers will eagerly anticipate the two sequels due in the fall. (Aug.)
Library Journal

From the time Toby Aldridge had whimsically crowned her Goddess of the Hunt, 11-year-old Lucy Waltham had adored him. Now, eight years later, with Toby intending to propose to someone else, naïve Lucy boldly plans to seduce him but needs practice—and an ally. Who better than her emotionally chilly best friend, Jeremy Trescott, Earl of Kendall, to make Toby jealous? This is an exceptional debut novel, from the first hilarious "practice" session to the gradual melting of Jem's outward reserve and Lucy's maturing realization of whom she really loves. VERDICT A beautifully crafted tale that captivates with sassy wit, a lush, sweetly intense sensuality, and an abundance of beautifully articulated, appealing characters. The first in a trilogy of linked stories slated for back-to-back release. Dare lives in Southern California.


—Kristin Ramsdell
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345506863
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 453,178
  • Product dimensions: 4.14 (w) x 6.98 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Tessa Dare is a part-time librarian, full-time mommy, and swing-shift writer. She makes her home in Southern California, where she shares a cozy, cluttered bungalow with her husband, their two children, and a dog.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Autumn, 1817

A knock on the door in the dead of night could only mean disaster.

Jeremy pulled a pair of worn breeches on under his nightshirt and stumbled toward the bedchamber door. A fire? He didn’t smell smoke. Perhaps a Waltham family emergency? An urgent message from his steward, maybe—unrest at Corbinsdale would not come as a surprise.

A memory assailed him, unbidden. Unnerving. His heart thudded wildly in his chest. He paused, clutching the door handle, cursing his body for recalling so quickly what he’d worked long years to forget.

Logic caught up to his racing pulse, reining it in. The dim glow of banked coals cast ominous shadows, but Jeremy forced the room into focus. This was not that night. He was in his usual bedchamber at Waltham Manor, not wandering Corbinsdale Woods. More than twenty years had passed, and he was no longer a boy. Whatever surprise awaited him on the other side of the door, he was fully equipped to face it.

When he slid back the rusted bolt and wrenched open the door, Jeremy was prepared for the worst.

“Hold still,” came the whispered command.

He had an instant to register a feminine silhouette, a tangle of dark curls, and two hands grasping his shoulders. Then Lucy Waltham, the younger sister of his oldest friend, popped up on her toes and pressed her lips to his with such force, he stumbled against the doorjamb.

Good Lord. The girl was kissing him.

Well, he thought ironically, he’d been prepared for the worst. And of the many kisses Jeremy Trescott had experienced in his nine-and-twenty years, this was, undoubtedly, the worst.

Lucy kissed with her lips perfectly puckered and her eyes open wide. And if she lacked in finesse, she compensated with bold enthusiasm. Her hands were everywhere at once—tangling in his hair, skimming his shoulders, exploring the broad expanse of his chest.

This wasn’t a kiss. It was a siege.

Furthermore, it was incomprehensible, wholly illogical, and a dozen different shades of wrong.

Somehow Jeremy’s hands found their way to her elbows, and he wrested himself from her eager embrace. “Lucy! What the devil do you think you’re doing?”

“Shhhh.” Her eyes darted to either side, scanning the darkened corridor. Then her gaze tilted back up to his, narrowing with a disturbing intensity, and Jeremy fancied briefly—absurdly—that someone had painted a target on his face.

“I’m practicing,” she whispered, her fingers tightening over his arms. “Let me try one more time.”

She swooped up for another kiss, and he instinctively ducked, pulling her into the room and shutting the door behind them. In a more rational moment, it might have occurred to him that the impropriety of kissing his host’s sister in the corridor would only be compounded by yanking her into his bedchamber. But Jeremy’s faculties of reason had temporarily vacated Waltham Manor.

Lucy had, quite literally, kissed him witless.

“Did it work, then?”

He stared at her, mute with confusion. Did what work? At the moment, it seemed that nothing worked, least of all his brain. Shock had frozen his limbs. He certainly couldn’t force an answer from his lips.

Stepping back, she crossed her arms over her crimson velvet dressing gown and surveyed his form boldly. As her gaze traveled downward, Jeremy grew uncomfortably aware of his own dishabille, from nightshirt to worn breeches to bare feet.

A satisfied smile spread across her face. “It must have worked. You did pull me into your bedchamber.” She reached for the door handle. “Very well, Jemmy. I suppose that’s enough practice. I’ll see you at breakfast.”

She cracked open the door. Jeremy put out a hand and slammed it shut.

Shooting him a glare, she grasped the handle with both hands and tugged. “I beg your pardon. I’ll be on my way, then.”

“No, you won’t.” He leaned his weight on the door, effectively bolting it closed. Lucy might be used to flouting her brother’s half-hearted attempts at guardianship, but Jeremy had four inches and two stone on Henry Waltham, not to mention an iron will. Lucy did not walk all over him.

He mustered his most autocratic, Earl-of-Kendall tone. “You are not going anywhere. You’re going to sit down and explain yourself.” She opened her mouth to object. He grabbed her by the elbow and steered her toward a chair. “But first,” he said, “I am going to have a drink.”

She stopped struggling under his grip and dropped gracelessly into the chair. “A drink,” she repeated. “Why didn’t I think of that? A drink would be just the thing, thank you.”

Shaking his head, Jeremy strode to the bar and poured a single glass of whiskey. He downed half the liquor in one greedy swallow, closing his eyes to savor the burn spreading down his throat. When he opened them again, he looked around to assure himself this was, indeed, the same Waltham Manor he’d been visiting each autumn since Cambridge. Roughhewn beams scored the sloping ceiling. Muted tapestries covered the walls, and an unfussy, timeworn carpet obliged his bare feet. The room had not altered in the past eight years, any more than it likely had in the past one hundred.

In decor, in landscape, in the quartet of old friends enjoying their annual sporting holiday—Waltham Manor had remained a welcome constant in Jeremy’s life. Until this year, when everything had changed.

“Why couldn’t everything just go on as it was?” Lucy stirred the fire with a poker, sending swirls of agitated sparks into the air. “Why did Felix have to go and get married? He’s ruined everything.”

Jeremy drowned his reply with a sip of his drink. He would not have admitted it, but he rather agreed.

“It was all right when Henry got married,” she continued. “Marianne’s so busy with the children, at least she stays out of the way. But that shrew Felix married is going to expect to be entertained. And to make it all worse, she’s brought along her sister, that Sophia.”

“Mrs. Crowley-Cumberbatch and Miss Hathaway are, by all accounts, charming young ladies. One would think you’d be glad of their company.”

She threw him an incredulous look.

“Or not.” Truth be told, Jeremy wasn’t glad of their presence, either. There was nothing precisely offensive about Felix’s wife, Kitty, or her sister, Sophia. To the contrary, Sophia Hathaway was the epitome of an inoffensive, well-bred society beauty. A bit of meringue— insubstantial, but pleasing enough, if one’s tastes ran to sweet. As Toby’s apparently did.

Jeremy tossed back another swallow of whiskey and tasted the irony. Henry and Felix married, Toby on the verge . . . their bachelor’s retreat had become a family house party. Well, if all his friends were determined to shackle themselves in marriage, at least he would be in no imminent danger of joining them. All three ladies at Waltham Manor were safely accounted for.

The sound of fingers drumming wood interrupted his thoughts. “Do you intend to drink the whole bottle yourself?”

Unless, of course, one counted Lucy.

And he did not count Lucy. She was neither eligible nor a lady. She was Henry’s much younger sister and ward, and she was Jeremy’s personal version of a biblical plague. She’d spent years devising ways to get under his skin. Now she was charging into his bedchamber and . . . and practicing.

Much as he wished to erase that kiss from his memory, he couldn’t ignore it. Neither could he ignore the obvious implications of that word, “practicing.”

He could, however, ignore her request for a drink. Jer?emy refilled his own glass and carried it toward the hearth, dropping into the chair opposite hers. Raking a hand through his hair, he exhaled slowly. “I don’t like to ask this. I dread your response. But for what, exactly, are you practicing?”

“Not ‘what,’?” she answered. “Who.”

Oh, it only got worse. “For whom are you practicing, then? Some local youth? The vicar’s boy?”

“For Toby, of course.”

He gave a wry laugh. “For Toby? Why would you be kissing Toby? He’s all but engaged to Miss Hathaway.”

She hugged her knees to her chest, curling into a ball of red velvet and chestnut curls. The chair’s masculine proportions dwarfed her, and her green eyes brimmed with raw, undisguised hurt. “Then it’s true.”

Bloody hell. Suddenly this bizarre nighttime visit made sense. Jeremy punched the arm of his chair. Of all the irretrievably stupid things to say.

“My maid said she heard it from Toby’s valet. I didn’t want to believe her. I couldn’t believe her. But it’s true.”

Jeremy had to look away. It was a matter of self-preservation. Lucy’s countenance was a collection of pixie features set within a heart-shaped face—a face designed to display, unfiltered, every emotion of the heart within. One couldn’t look at her without knowing exactly how she was feeling, and Jeremy didn’t wish to know how Lucy was feeling. He preferred to keep a respectful distance from even his own emotions.

“How could he?” she squeaked.

Jeremy winced. Lucy sniffed loudly, and he took another slow sip of whiskey. She could not cry, he wanted to remind her. That was the rule—Henry’s single exercise in authority. He’d allowed the chit to run rough?shod over them every autumn, tagging along on their hunting and fishing excursions, parroting their curses, even taking nips off their flasks—under one condition. Lucy was not to cry. In eight years, he had never seen her shed a single tear. He prayed she wasn’t about to start now. If there was one thing he couldn’t abide, it was a crying woman.

He stole a glance at her. Damn it, her chin was quivering. “You’re not going to start weeping, are you?”

“No.” Her voice quivered, too.

Jeremy busied himself adding wood to the fire, stall?ing for time.

Curse Toby. This was all his fault. He’d always made such a pet of the girl. Every autumn, Lucy clung to Toby like a tick on a hound. He baited her hooks and taught her bawdy Latin conjugations. He brought her flowers and wove her crowns of ivy that went straight to her head. His Diana, Toby called her. Goddess of the hunt.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(33)

4 Star

(19)

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(8)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Well-rounded characters and plot points make this a most satisfying three-dimensional romp.

    Lucinda (Lucy) Waltham has been the little sister to her brothers and their hunting friends for ten years, tagging after them in fields and streams, getting into scrapes, teasing, showing off her marksmanship with a bow and arrow, etc. She's never had a London debut, but is content with living in the country at Waltham Manor until life starts changing: her two brothers have married; her aged aunt is wandering about; and now she's fallen in love with the handsome Sir Toby who has always been charming and sweet to her. But Toby is taken with the very proper heiress Miss Sophia Hathaway who has come to visit, and Lucy wants to seduce him before he proposes. Her impulsive late-night plans to 'practice' seduction on the handsome Jeremy Trescott have unexpected results for both of them. In the course of their quick marriage and move to Jeremy's home, they face and overcome many hurdles, many of which are Jeremy's (his coldness, the tenants who hate him, etc.). But their deep love conquers all. A most enjoyable first novel of a trilogy of romantic heroines.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    So so

    It started out awesome but the last three chapters were hard to finish.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    LOVED IT!

    I didn't want the story to end and I couldn't wait to read Tessa Dare's next book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2010

    hoped for more

    dissapointing

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    Passionate

    I really loved the main male character in this story he was intense. The female character was interesting also. Overall it was a very enjoyable book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2009

    Wonderful historical debut!

    Every year there seems to be one debut author who bursts upon the scene and absolutely knocks my socks off with her superb writing skill. This year, that author is Tessa Dare. In her debut book, GODDESS OF THE HUNT, Dare showcases her command of the English language with exquisite prose that sings across the pages with a lyrical quality that is a joy to read. Her characters are so vividly drawn that they practically leap from the pages and her story unerringly hits all the right notes.

    Irrepressible Lucy Waltham has fancied herself in love with Sir Toby since the tender age of eleven, when her older brother's friend dubbed her his "Diana, Goddess of the Hunt". She has bided her time, knowing in her heart that one day Toby would awaken to his real feelings for her, but now, eight years later, her brother's friends have arrived for their annual gathering and, for the first time, Toby is exhibiting a serious interest in someone. Lucy has no choice but to seduce him and show him that she is the woman of his dreams and the one he is meant to marry, not Miss Sophia Hathaway. Unfortunately for Lucy, she has never even been kissed but she has a book that explains everything. All she needs now is someone with whom to practice.

    Jeremy Trescott has always treasured his visits to Waltham Manor, the home of his good friend, Henry Waltham. It's the only place where he has ever been able to relax and be himself. Growing up with parents who showed neither love nor appreciation for their son, Jeremy learned to close off his emotions years ago. In truth, the only person who has ever been able to get a rise out of him is Lucy, his friend's exasperating younger sister and in Jeremy's own words, his "personal version of a biblical plague." Now she shows up at his bedroom door in the middle of the night with the crazy idea that she is going to seduce Toby...after honing her skills with him! If only she wasn't proving to be such a fast learner.

    I have always enjoyed the "brother's best friend" storyline and I was intrigued by Dare's unique spin on the concept. Lucy does indeed fall for her brother's friend, just not the one that she, and everyone else, expected. But the self admission of her feelings isn't the end of this story but, rather, the beginning of the second half of the book for her greatest challenge, winning Jeremy's love, is still to be achieved and this is one hero who doesn't make it easy.

    That perhaps is Dare's greatest talent as a writer. Aside from the scintillating banter, the lovely, lyrical prose, the humor and angst of young and unrequited love, this is an author who made me care about her characters - all of her characters. I highly recommend GODDESS OF THE HUNT. The next two books in this trilogy, SURRENDER OF A SIREN and A LADY OF PERSUASION will be released August 25th and September 29th, respectively. I'll be counting the days!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is a super Regency romance

    When eleven year old Lucy Waltham met her brother's kind friend Sir Toby Albridge she fell in love although he shot at her; actually at a partridge not knowing she followed them. He dubbed her Diana, goddess of the hunt. Everyone assumed it was youthful infatuation and the puppy love would end when she turned into a teen.

    In 1817 now nineteen years old, tomboy Lucy knows Toby is the one although he fails to show the same desire. She refuses to believe she is stuck with unrequited love and decides his pursuit of Sophie is wrong. Lucy plans to seduce Toby and decides to practice with another of her brother's friends prime and proper Jeremy Trescott. Three kisses and Jeremy is done but so is Lucy but she does not recognize the signs. Instead she becomes daring Diana on the hunt for Toby while Jeremy tries to keep control of his ardor and prevent Lucy from scandal; he fails at both as they are caught in a compromising way.

    This is a super Regency romance with a strong cast especially the excellent lead female. The brisk story hooks the audience early on as Lucy knows with total certainly Toby is her one until she shares a kiss with Jeremy. Fans will relish this amusing historical tale as the Diana the GODDESS OF THE HUNT must change from tomboy to countess with a new goal convince the husband she did not want but had to marry that he is her one.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

    Compelling

    Truly one of the best written Regency Romances around! Lucy was an absolute firecracker. And Jeremy had to have been one if the sweetest heroes around. So stern and cold on the outside, but so needing of Lucy's warmth and vitality. Really touching and fine in the end. Well done Ms. Dare!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2014

    Fantastic Getaway!

    I loved this story. Loved!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    Loved this book from the first chapter; The characters were all

    Loved this book from the first chapter; The characters were all delightful. A fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    This book was ok. In the beginning there are so many new charact

    This book was ok. In the beginning there are so many new characters its kind of hard to keep track of them all. I started to love it toward the middle but then toward the end it kind of lost me again. I like reading books more about romance, whereas this was a little more sad at parts. I couldn't wait for the happy ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    I have read ALL of Tessa Dare's novels and love them! I checked

    I have read ALL of Tessa Dare's novels and love them! I checked out some from my library and own all the Spindle Cove novels and novellas as well as the Werestag novella. You will not be dissapointed with any of her writings except that they end! I would like to find a "comparable" author because I just know Tessa's work to be the best for my tastes with the right amount of story, character development, setting, and spice. I was not actually a romance reader until I stumbled upon a free offering of one of her ebooks on my Nook. That was how I even found this genre and now am hooked!

    I have always been a fan of period romance movies and am a stickler for anything set in the Victorian (or earlier) settings of Europe which all of her books are. I do have a few other free historical romances but I just know already I won't be as pleased. I wish Tessa would go full time just writing ONLY Spindle Cove series and that PBS or BBC would pick up the rights and make an ongoing romance seriers for TV that would be hot and heavy and for adult viewers but tasteful. Maybe Netflix??? Wouldn't that be incredible! LOL

    Bascially to sum all this up do not worry one bit about purchasing any of her materials. You will love having them. I have read each of the Spindle Cove series twice and plan to re-read each once a year- Yes they are that good! I stay tuned for pre-orders and have always been on of the first to get a book as it comes out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2013

    Glad i bought this

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  • Posted September 14, 2012

    highly recommend

    Thoroughly enjoyed Lucy's story of unrequited love. Her misguided attempts to snag the man of her dreams include attempting to make him jealous by showering her attentions on Jeremy. Jeremy's efforts to keep her away from said man of dreams and attempts at resisting falling for her make for some memorable moments.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    goddess of the hunt

    Great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Great read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Wonderful book

    From the first page i was rivited and didnt want to put this book down. The best of the trilogy.

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  • Posted February 28, 2011

    Funny, touching enjoyable read

    This was the first time I read a Tessa Dare book. I was delighted to discover her. This was a witty well written romantic book. I recommend this book and this author.

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  • Posted October 18, 2010

    ...

    I loved the characters but I was dissapointed with the ending. I was expecting more and I felt like the ending ended too soon. Over all, it was a good book but I won't be re-reading it again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2010

    goddess of the hunt writers review

    itz a really sweet buk............. i wud say tessa dare has done a very goood job in writing this buk ........i recommed every1 to read it

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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