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His at Night [NOOK Book]

Overview

Love is hottest in the darkness before dawn.
 
Elissande Edgerton is a desperate woman, a virtual prisoner in the home of her tyrannical uncle. Only through marriage can she claim the freedom she craves. But how to catch the perfect man?

Lord Vere is used to baiting irresistible traps. As a secret agent for the government, he’s tracked down some of the most devious ...
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His at Night

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Overview

Love is hottest in the darkness before dawn.
 
Elissande Edgerton is a desperate woman, a virtual prisoner in the home of her tyrannical uncle. Only through marriage can she claim the freedom she craves. But how to catch the perfect man?

Lord Vere is used to baiting irresistible traps. As a secret agent for the government, he’s tracked down some of the most devious criminals in London, all the while maintaining his cover as one of Society’s most harmless—and idiotic—bachelors. But nothing can prepare him for the scandal of being ensnared by Elissande.

Forced into a marriage of convenience, Elissande and Vere are each about to discover that they’re not the only one with a hidden agenda. With seduction their only weapon—and a dark secret from the past endangering both their lives—can they learn to trust each other even as they surrender to a passion that won’t be denied?


From the Paperback edition.

2011 RITA Winner for Historical Romance

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Thomas employs grand misunderstanding (as she did in 2008’s Private Arrangements) to motivate this Victorian romance, which is replete with perfect period touches. The marquess of Vere fakes stupidity so no one will suspect he’s investigating Edmund Douglas for fraud—and murder. Douglas’s niece, Elissande, is thoroughly fooled and plots to snare the marquess and escape her vicious uncle. Through a comedy of accidents involving rats, spicy Victorian parlor games, and sneaking around hallways at night, Elissande tricks Vere into marriage. As attraction grows, she wants to admit her motivations, but Vere shuts his conniving bride out as Douglas swears revenge. Though both story line and misunderstandings feel contrived at times, Thomas writes with genuine wit and sympathy, and when hero and heroine actually connect, the humorous, graceful writing transcends a creaky plot. (June)
From the Publisher
~ WINNER of the 2011 RITA Award for Best Historical Romance

“The most powerfully original historical romance author writing today.”
—Lisa Kleypas

"Thomas doesn't just enhance the genre, she enriches it with her intelligent characters, brilliant dialogue, innovative plot twists and amazing love stories. Reading her novels is a rare treat--an insight into the hearts and mind of all who dream."—Romantic Times, Top Pick!
 
“With lush sensuality, intense emotion, lyrical writing and exquisitely realized characters, Thomas has delivered another unforgettable winner.”—Library Journal, starred review

"Certainly worth the anticipation and buzz it's receiving. The hero and heroine are both interesting, the conflict is compelling and intriguing, and the writing itself is fabulous. It's an all around win."--All About Romance

"This is a Very Good and Compelling Book and I had the hardest time putting it down, even in the midst of a week long party." — Ramblings on Romance

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553906325
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/25/2010
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 38,807
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Sherry Thomas burst onto the romance scene with Private Arrangements, one of the most anticipated debut historical romances in recent history and a Publishers Weekly Best of the Year book. Lisa Kleypas calls her “the most powerfully original historical romance author working today.” Her books have received stellar reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Chicago Tribune, and Romantic Times, along with enthusiastic praises from many of the most highly trafficked romance review websites and blogs.

Her story is all the more interesting given that English is Sherry's second language—she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger's Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys creating stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession, plays computer games with her sons, and reads as many fabulous books as she can find.


From the Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


The Marquess of Vere was a man of few words. This fact, however, would astonish all but a select few of his numerous friends and acquaintances. The general consensus was that Lord Vere talked. And talked. And talked. There was no subject under the sun, however remote or abstruse, upon which he did not eagerly venture an opinion or ten. Indeed, there were times when one could not stop him from pontificating on that newly discovered class of chemical substance known as the Pre-Raphaelites, or the curious culinary habits of the Pygmy tribes of central Sweden.

Lord Vere was also a man who held his secrets close.

But anyone so deluded as to voice such a pronouncement would find himself surrounded by ladies and gentlemen on the floor, screaming in laughter. For Lord Vere, according to public opinion, could not distinguish a secret from a hedgehog. Not only was he garrulous, he volunteered the most intimate, most inappropriate personal knowledge at the drop of a hat—or even without a stitch of haberdashery anywhere in sight.

He gladly related his difficulties with the courting of young ladies: He was rejected early and rejected often, despite his stature as a peer of the realm. He gave up without hesitation the state of his finances—though it had been discovered that he was quite without a notion as to how much funds were at his disposal, current and future, thereby rendering his conjectures largely moot. He even ventured—not in mixed company, of course—to comment on the size and girth of his masculine endowment: enviable on both counts, the measurements verified by the experiences of the merry widows who looked to him for an occasional tumble in the sheets.

Lord Vere was, in other words, an idiot. Not a raving one, for his sanity was rarely questioned. And not so moronic that he could not see to his daily needs. Rather, he was an amusing idiot, as ignorant and puffed up as a pillow, silly to the extreme, but sweet, harmless, and very well liked among the Upper Ten Thousand for the diversion he provided—and for his inability to remember anything told him that did not affect his meals, his nightly beauty rest, or the pride and joy that resided in his underlinens.

He could not shoot straight; his bullets never met a grouse except by accident. He rarely failed to turn knobs and levers in the wrong direction. And as his gift for wandering into the wrong place at the wrong time was legendary, hardly anyone batted an eyelash to learn that he was an eyewitness to a crime—without having any idea what he’d seen, most assuredly.

Such an extraordinary idiot had he been in the thirteen years since his unfortunate riding accident that no one not privy to his more clandestine activities had ever remarked on his proximity to some of the most sensational criminal cases of the upper crust, shortly before those cases were solved and the culprits brought to justice.

It was an interesting life, to say the least. Sometimes the tiny handful of other agents of the Crown who knew his true role wondered how he felt about playing the idiot for most of his waking hours. They never found out, for he was a man of few words and held his secrets close.

Of course, no secret remains a secret forever. . . .the beginning of the end of Lord Vere’s secret came, quite literally, in an ambush by a young lady of questionable ancestry and equally questionable methods.

A young woman who, in a strange twist of fate, would soon become the Marchioness of Vere, his lady wife.

9 The rats were Vere’s idea. His idea of a joke, to be more precise.

London was emptying at the tail end of the Season. Vere had seen his brother off at the train station earlier in the day; tomorrow he himself was headed for Gloucestershire. There was no time like the beginning of August to appear innocently at a country house to which he might not have been invited—and claim that he had: After all, what was one more guest when there were already thirty of them running about?

But tonight’s meeting was about Edmund Doug- las, the reclusive diamond mine owner suspected of extorting from the diamond dealers of London and Antwerp.

“We need a better way to get into his house,” said Lord Holbrook, Vere’s liaison.

Holbrook was a few years older than Vere. When Oscar Wilde had been the country’s leading literary celebrity, Holbrook had worn his dark hair long and cultivated an air of intellectual ennui. Now that Wilde had gone off to a disgraced exile, Holbrook’s languor was accompanied by shorter hair and a more straightforward display of nihilism.

Vere helped himself to a piece of Savoy cake. The cake was airy and spongy, and just sturdy enough for a spoonful of apricot jam. Holbrook had a way of keeping his hidey-holes—a smattering of properties across metropolitan London—well supplied, so that whenever his agents had to make use of one, there was always good liquor and the makings of a proper tea.

Across the gaudy drawing room—this particular house behind Fitzroy Square had once housed a succession of kept women—Lady Kingsley dabbed a napkin at the corner of her lips. She was a fine-looking brunette about the same age as Holbrook, the daughter of a baronet, and the widow of a knight.

As covert agents, women had the advantage. Vere and Holbrook must assume personas not their own in order not to be taken seriously—an absolute necessity when one went about inquiring after sensitive matters on behalf of the Crown. But a woman, even one as sharp and capable as Lady Kingsley, often managed to be dismissed on nothing more than the fact of her sex. “I told you already, Holbrook,” she said. “We must make use of Douglas’s niece.”

Holbrook, sprawled on a red velvet chaise trimmed in gold fringe, filliped the most recent case report lying on his chest. “I thought the niece hadn’t left the house in years.”

“Precisely. Imagine you are a girl of twenty-four years, well past the age when a young lady ought to be married, and isolated from all the gaiety and amusement of proper society. What is the one thing that would tempt you the most?”

“Opium,” Holbrook said.

Vere smiled and said nothing.

“No.” Lady Kingsley rolled her eyes. “You would wish to meet eligible young men, as many of them as can squeeze under one roof.”

“Where do you plan to collect a houseful of desirable bachelors, madam?” asked Holbrook.

Lady Kingsley waved her hand in dismissal. “That is the easy part, the mustering of manly lures. The problem is that I cannot simply drive up to Highgate Court and present the gentlemen—it’s been three months since I leased the next-nearest house and I still haven’t met her.”

“May I?” Vere pointed at the report on Holbrook’s chest. Holbrook tossed the report his way. Vere caught it and skimmed the pages.

Edmund Douglas’s estate, in which he’d maintained residence since 1877, was a manor constructed to his specification. There were hundreds of such new country houses all over the land, built by those with a fortune to spare, thanks to the prosperity of the Age of Steam.

A fairly common sort of estate, yet one that had proved difficult to penetrate. Plain burglary had not succeeded. An attempt to infiltrate the staff had also failed. And due to Mrs. Douglas’s ill health, the family rarely mingled with local society, rendering useless the more socially acceptable routes into the manse.

“Have a domestic disaster on your part,” said Vere, to Lady Kingsley. “Then you will have an excuse to approach her.”

“I know. But I’m hesitant to damage the roof—or the plumbing—of a leased house.”

“Can’t your servants come down with something disgusting but not infectious?” Holbrook inquired. “A case of communal runs?”

“Behave yourself, Holbrook. I am no chemist and I will not poison my own staff.”

“How about an infestation of rats?” Vere suggested, more to amuse himself than anything else.

Lady Kingsley shuddered. “What do you mean, an infestation of rats?”

Vere shrugged. “Put a dozen or two rats to run about the house. Your guests will scream to evacuate. And the rats won’t do permanent damage to the house, provided you have a ratcatcher set to work soon enough.”

Holbrook sat up straight. “Splendid idea, my dear fellow. I happen to know a man who breeds mice and rats to supply scientific laboratories.”

That did not surprise Vere. Holbrook had at his fingertips a large assortment of bizarre and bizarrely useful contacts.

“No. It’s a terrible idea,” Lady Kingsley protested.

“Au contraire, I think it is pure genius,” declared Holbrook. “Douglas travels to London to meet with his solicitor in two weeks, am I correct?”

“Correct,” said Vere.

“That should be enough time.” Holbrook reclined back onto his red velvet chaise. “Consider it done.”

Lady Kingsley grimaced. “I hate rats.”

For Queen and country, madam,” said Vere, rising. “For Queen and country.”

Holbrook tapped a finger against his lips. “Funny you should mention Queen and country, my lord: I have just received word of the blackmailing of a certain royal and—”

Vere, however, had already shown himself out.

From the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 63 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(20)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 63 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 1, 2011

    Clever writing, enjoyable characters

    I gave this book 5 stars for the category of romances. It isn't great literature by any means, but way above par for romances. His at Night is a great read full of enjoyable characters that are actually developed to some degree. You know who the characters are and why they act the way they do. The writing is engaging and witty. I actually laughed out loud a few times. This book is pretty light on swearing and isn't as steamy as a lot of other romances, but still much better than the vast majority of romances out there. If you are tired of hearing people described as "scrumptious" or emotions "tearing, scorching, ripping, or slamming through" people, this is a book the check out.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    a superb historical romance

    Her Uncle Edmund Douglas keeps Elissande Edgerton locked away at his home so she can care for his wife, her aunt who is a pale pathetic laudanum addict. Elissande's goal is to never be her aunt, but if she remains under Uncle Edmund's tyrannical care she will be her aunt. She knows her only safe escape is marriage though that can be a risky proposition. However, she cannot even take a chance on that option as her uncle entertains no one and never allows her to go to the galas.

    When the neighbor's home is infested by a large rat population, her uncle is forced to host the guests of a house party. One of the attendees is inane big mouth Lord Vere who is apparently an expert on nothing except releasing rodents; even his brother cannot understand what happened to him that turned him into the fool. However, no one understands he performs as the fool as an undercover means to catch vicious criminals. He feels the real fool when Elissande, selecting an idiot, brazenly enters his bedroom causing a scandal that leads to marriage. However, she quickly realizes her husband is brilliant as love and his inquiry lead to danger for both of them.

    His at Night is a superb historical romance starring a masquerading fool and the woman who sees past his façade. Fast-paced, readers will relish this entertaining tale as love rips away the masquerade of the hero, but also places his beloved in terrible danger. Sherry Thomas' tale is a winner for sub-genre fans,

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    A most intriguing story

    This is my first Sherry Thomas book, but I will be looking for more.

    Orphaned Elissande lives with her aunt and uncle, and the uncle is a real terror. When an unexpected group of guests descend on her (during her uncle's absence) due to an infestation of rats at a neighboring house, Elissande sees her chance of escape. If she can convince one of the gentleman to marry her, she will be free and will also free her invalid aunt of her uncle's menacing ways.

    However, the plot thickens rapidly. Everyone is not what they seem.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    It is rare I read a romance this good

    The Marquess of Vere is a secret agent of sorts. In public, he plays a bumbling idiot. In private he is a helps police and detectives solve cases. He's been doing this for years and years and not even his family and closest friends know that he is living a lie. When he meets Miss Elissande Douglas--the niece of a suspect in a case--he immediately recognizes that she is acting a role, but underestimates her desire to escape her uncle's household and protect her invalid aunt, which leaves him vulnerable when she traps him into an undesired marriage. And it doesn't take her long to see the truth under her husband's mask. Thomas's strength lies in portraying these complex--and not always completely likeable-- characters in complex relationships and emotionally intense situations without making you lose faith in their eventual happiness.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2014

    Delightful

    Delightful

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Unconventional Hero

    Generally, in historical romances, the heroine has to hide her intelligence from society in order to attract a man. Here, the hero has developed the persona of an idiot to do the Crown's work. Unfortunately for him, while working up a case, he meets the love of his life. Luckily for him, the heroine is desperate enough to marry a man she considers stupid in order to get her and her aunt out of a violent situation. Unfortunate for her, the hero is disgusted that she's willing to lower herself in such a way. And so begins their unlikely love story. It was a cute, quick read. Not always a fan for Sherry Thomas and so this one was one that pleasantly surprised me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    Great historical- she create great characters

    Great title-

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  • Posted September 13, 2013

    This is a Good Book

    This book has an unusual twist. It is not often that the hero plays an idiot. Good dialogue and hot romance. Would not rate it higher than three stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2013

    DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!

    This was a ridiculous book, the plot would not hold my interest, it took 3 days for me to FINALLY finish. Don't get me wrong it did have some funny moments and that is why it got 2 stars instead of the 1 I had originally chose.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    Great Story

    Enjoyed story and characters. We read more by author.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2010

    Her Best Yet

    Sherry Thomas' voice is so original. She's on another level when it comes to this genre. Amazing dialogue, deeply developed characters. Angsty men, strong females, both of them always whip-smart.

    This one's her best yet. I wish she wrote more scenes of them. I think I could have read about every minute the characters spent together till they reached the HEA. I loved their chemistry, dialogue, inner monologues.

    Can't wait till Thomas' next one. Her and Lisa Kleypas are my favorite when they're on top of their game.

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  • Posted September 3, 2010

    A favorite!

    I love how the two main characters both hid their true personalities... yet both longed for someone true to love. Sherry Thomas wrote another fascinating story of secrets being known, lovers misunderstanding each other, then eventually realizing how perfect they are together.

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  • Posted July 9, 2010

    Not my fav

    This book had the potential to be a great read...but who could believe that someone would play that dumb for so long. It was a disappointing read.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not as dark as Ms. Thomas' earlier books- although the plot is dark indeed - the lighter tone of His at Night is a successful change of pace.

    Elissande Edgerton is living in luxury with her ill aunt and wealthy uncle. But the luxury is a lie and the uncle is a sadist of the first order who has terrorized his bedridden wife into a laudanum-hazed fragility. Elissande is terrorized, too, but she knows how to play the game: to all the world she's a loving, affectionate niece whose smile dazzles. Her several attempts to escape with her aunt have been thwarted and severely punished, but Elissande has gained strength from each battle with her uncle and is determined to break free of her life. That chance comes when the uncle, Edmund Douglas, is suspected of smuggling phony diamonds. Hot on the case is Lord Vere whose public persona is that of a vacuous bumbler (owing to an accidental fall on his head from a horse 13 years prior), which enables him to move in wide circles and glean vital information for the Crown. Unlike Elissande, Vere is trapped in his past, still dealing with the murder of his mother by his father - and which led to his contrived accident. The action begins when Douglas is away and Elissande is put into the position of having to open the house to the next-door neighbor's house party [including Vere and brother Frederick]. Their first glance is one of blazing attraction: she's the fantasy who has sustained him during his years of pretense and loneliness, and he's her ticket to freedom, his off-putting behavior notwithstanding. So the wily Vere is trapped into marriage by the determined Elissande, and she and her aunt are safe for the moment. Vere intuits Elissande's situation, and it remains for him to entrap Douglas and for the lovers to make their fantasies come true.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    MORE GENIUS and ANOTHER 5 STAR BOOK

    This premise has been used before but Sherry Thomas makes it her own in splendid fashion. The protagonists are Lord Vere and Elissande. Neither are what their superficial appearance would lead one to believe. We also meet again, Freddie, the character from Private Arrangements who Gigi leaves to pursue a truer, more appropriate love. Freddie is Lord Vere's younger brother, and his love story is a second plot running parallel to that of Lord Vere and Elissande. Both stories are wonderfully, and skillfully told, without any confusion that might be expected by blending two stories. Once again, Sherry Thomas exhibits her amazing and skillful use of language to bring us humor, angst, sorrow, joy, and love. Please take a look at [...] if you have never viewed her web site. It says a lot about the genius of this writer, and the myriad elements of her personality that make her one of the very best writers around not just in this genre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 63 Customer Reviews

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