A Kiss to Remember

A Kiss to Remember

4.1 72
by Teresa Medeiros
     
 

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AWAKENED BY A KISS

Laura Fairleigh needs a husband. If she is to keep a roof over her siblings’ heads, the prim rector’s daughter must wed by her twenty-first birthday. When she finds a mysterious stranger with the face of an angel and the body of Adonis unconscious in the forest and with no memory of his name or his past, she decides to

Overview

AWAKENED BY A KISS

Laura Fairleigh needs a husband. If she is to keep a roof over her siblings’ heads, the prim rector’s daughter must wed by her twenty-first birthday. When she finds a mysterious stranger with the face of an angel and the body of Adonis unconscious in the forest and with no memory of his name or his past, she decides to claim him for her own. Little does she know that her fallen angel is really the devil in disguise.

Sterling Harlow, the notorious rakehell known as the “Devil of Devonbrooke,” awakens to the enchanting kiss of a lovely young woman who informs him he is her long-lost betrothed. With her sun-kissed cheeks and smattering of freckles, she looks every inch the innocent, but her curves possess a woman’s allure. When she assures him he is the perfect gentleman, he wonders if he’s lost his wits as well as his memory. He would have sworn he was not a man to be satisfied with mere kisses—especially from lips as sweet and luscious as Laura’s.As he attempts to uncover the truth before their wedding night, A Kiss To Remember ignites a passion neither of them will ever be able to forget....

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
Laura Fairleigh is playing with fire. With only three weeks in which to marry in order to gain the title to Arden Manor, the house she and her younger siblings are living in, the penniless beauty has no time for romantic dreams. She must seize any opportunity for matrimony -- before she loses her chance to keep her benefactor's prodigal son, the notorious Duke of Devonbrooke, from taking possession of her home. When fate presents her with an amnesic Adonis in the woods nearby, Laura is determined to convince the injured stranger that he is, in fact, her loving fiancéand hurry him to the altar. She's chilled to discover that the nameless man is in fact the dreaded duke, who will not be pleased to learn that he's been played for a fool -- even by a beautiful captor who has fallen in love with him in the process. Laura has only one chance to secure her future happiness. Somehow, before their rapidly approaching wedding night, she must win the heart of this rake who has a reputation to rival the Devil himself. Teresa Medeiros, whose love stories so often have more than a touch of magic about them, has created a delightfully original version of the classic romantic tale of Sleeping Beauty in A Kiss to Remember.
Library Journal
Laura Fairleigh needs a husband, and she needs him in three weeks at least if she wants to keep a roof over her family's head. According to the terms of Lady Eleanor's will, Laura has to marry by her 21st birthday in order to inherit the house; otherwise, it will go to the infamous Duke of Devonbrooke, a man not known for his charity. But husbands are hard to come by, especially for penniless, intelligent vicars' daughters. So when fate lays a handsome, unconscious stranger across her path who, when she impulsively kisses him, wakes up with amnesia, Laura does what any desperate woman would do: she claims they are betrothed and sets out to plan the wedding. An intrepid heroine who knows what she wants, an arrogant hero with a past to repair, and a plot built upon deception but laced with sensuality and humor result in an entertaining reversal of the classic Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. Medeiros (The Bride and the Beast) is a popular writer of historical romances with a humorous touch; she lives in Tennessee, and this is her first hardcover. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Another reworked fairy tale from Madeiros (The Bride and the Beast, 2000)—this time, Sleeping Beauty as a Regency romance. We begin with the unhappy demise of Lady Eleanor of Devonbrooke Hall. A kindly woman with a good heart, Lady Eleanor had allowed Laura Fairleigh, the rector's daughter, to live in Arden Manor after her father died. Now that Lady Eleanor is dead, however, Laura and her siblings will have to move—unless Laura is married by her 21st birthday (which is three weeks away). Out for a walk, Laura discovers a man lying unconscious on the ground, having been thrown from his horse. She brings him home and nurses him back to health, but he has lost all memory of who he is. Since he's beautiful and courteous, Laura decides to solve her problem by telling him that he's her betrothed. He doesn't object. But, as the wedding night approaches, Laura discovers the awful truth: The man of her dreams is the Lady Eleanor's son, the "mad" Duke of Devonbrooke! Can love conquer all? Can a leopard change his spots? Can Laura find a solution in time? Plenty of fun for the Harlequin crowd.
From the Publisher
“Medeiros once again puts her personal spin on a classic fairy tale, this time lightly adapting Sleeping Beauty by casting a man as the sleeper.... [T]artly spiced with bawdy references and sexy love scenes, laced with light humor and populated with a cast of fun characters, this latest not-so-Grimm tale should please Medeiros's sturdy fan base.”
Publishers Weekly

Lavish praise for the work of Teresa Medeiros:

The Bride and the Beast
“Teresa Medeiros weaves a rich tapestry of a tale all lovers of romance will cherish well beyond the turn of the final page. A beguiling blend of myth and magic, The Bride and the Beast is sure to win your heart.”
New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag

Charming the Prince
“From the opening page, the reader knows the fun has just begun ... If you're looking for a humorous and entertaining book, you'll be charmed by Charming the Prince.”
Rocky Mountain News

Fairest of Them All
“Medeiros pens the ultimate romantic fantasy.”
Publishers Weekly

Nobody's Darling
“There is so much joy, so much magic, and just the right amount of poignancy that you'll find tears mixed with your laughter.... This is a book you'll reread simply to relive the pleasure.”
Romantic Times

Touch of Enchantment
“Medeiros has created a fine and funny combination of Jude Devereaux and Erma Bombeck.”
Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553802092
Publisher:
Bantam Books
Publication date:
06/01/2001
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.09(d)

Read an Excerpt

My darling son, my hands are shaking as I pen this letter....

The devil had come to Devonbrooke Hall.

He hadn’t come drawn by four white horses or in a blast of brimstone but in the honey gold hair and angelic countenance of Sterling Harlow, the seventh duke of Devonbrooke. He strode through the marble corridors of the palatial mansion he had called home for the past twenty-one years, two brindle mastiffs padding at his heels with a leonine grace that matched his own.

He stayed the dogs with a negligent flick of one hand, then pushed open the study door and leaned against the frame, wondering just how long his cousin would pretend not to notice that he was there.
Her pen continued to scratch its way across the ledger for several minutes until a particularly violent t-crossing left an ugly splotch of ink on the page. Sighing with defeat, she glared at him over the top of her wire-rimmed spectacles. “I can see that Napoleon failed to teach you any manners at all.”

“On the contrary,” Sterling replied with a lazy smile. “I taught him a thing or two. They’re saying that he abdicated after Waterloo just to get away from me.”

“Now that you’re back in London, I might consider joining him in exile.”
As Sterling crossed the room, his cousin held herself as rigid as a dressmaker’s dummy. Oddly enough, Diana was probably the only woman in London who did not seem out of place behind the leather-and-mahogany-appointed splendor of the desk. As always, she eschewed the pale pastels and virginal whites favored by the current crop of belles for the stately hues of forest green and wine.Her dark hair was drawn back in a simple chignon that accentuated the elegance of her widow’s peak.

“Please don’t sulk, cousin, dear,” he murmured, leaning down to kiss her cheek. “I can bear the world’s censure, but yours cuts me to the heart.”

“It might if you had one.” She tilted her face to receive his kiss, her stern mouth softening. “I heard you came back over a week ago. I suppose you’ve been staying with that rascal Thane again.”

Ignoring the leather wing chair that sat in front of the desk, Sterling came around and propped one hip on the corner of the desk nearest her. “He’s never quite forgiven you for swearing off your engagement, you know. He claims you broke his heart and cast cruel aspersions upon his character.”

Although Diana took care to keep her voice carefully neutral, a hint of color rose in her cheeks. “My problem wasn’t with your friend’s character. It was with his lack of it.”

“Yet in all these years, neither one of you has ever married. I’ve always found that rather ... curious.”

Diana drew off her spectacles, leveling a frosty gaze at him. “I’d rather live without a man than marry a boy.” As if realizing she’d revealed too much, she slipped her spectacles back on and busied herself with wiping the excess ink from the nib of her pen. “I’m certain that even Thane’s escapades must pale in comparison to your own. I hear you’ve been back in London long enough to have fought four duels, added the family fortunes of three unfortunate young bucks to your winnings, and broken an assortment of innocent hearts.”

Sterling gave her a reproachful look. “When will you learn not to listen to unkind gossip? I only winged two fellows, won the ancestral home of another, and bruised a single heart, which turned out to be far less innocent than I’d been led to believe.”

Diana shook her head. “Any woman foolish enough to trust her heart into your hands gets no more than she deserves.”

“You may mock me if you like, but now that the war is over, I’ve every intention of beginning my search for a bride in earnest.”

“That bit of news will warm the heart of every ambitious belle and matchmaking mama in the city. So tell me, what brought on this sudden yearning for home and hearth?”

“I’ll soon be requiring an heir and unlike dear old Uncle Granville, God rest his black soul, I’ve no intention of purchasing one.”

A bone-chilling growl swelled through the room, almost as if Sterling’s mention of his uncle had invoked some unearthly presence. He peered over the top of the desk to find the mastiffs peering beneath it, their tails quivering at attention.

Diana slowly leaned back in her chair to reveal the dainty white cat curled up in her lap.

Sterling scowled. “Shouldn’t that be in the barns? You know I can’t abide the creatures.”

Giving Sterling a feline smile of her own, Diana stroked the cat beneath its fluffy chin. “Yes, I know.”

Sterling sighed. “Down, Caliban. Down, Cerberus.” As the dogs slunk over to the hearth rug to pout, he said, “I don’t know why I bothered going off to war to fight the French when I could have stayed here and fought with you.”

In truth, they both knew why he’d gone.

It hadn’t taken Sterling long to discover why his uncle wasn’t averse to a show of spirit in a lad. It was because the old wretch took such brutal pleasure in caning it out of him. Sterling had stoically endured his uncle’s attempts to mold him into the next duke until he’d reached the age of seventeen, and like his father before him, shot up eight inches in as many months.

Sterling would never forget the cold winter night he had turned and ripped the cane from his uncle’s gnarled hands. The old man had quailed before him, waiting for the blows to begin falling.
Sterling still couldn’t say whether it was contempt for his uncle or for himself that had driven him to snap the cane in two, hurl it at his uncle’s feet, and walk away. The old man had never laid a hand on him again. A few short months later, Sterling had left Devonbrooke Hall, rejecting the grand tour his uncle had planned in favor of a ten-year tour of Napoleon’s battlefields. His stellar military career was punctuated by frequent visits to London, during which he played as hard as he had fought.

“You might consider coming home to stay,” Diana said. “My father’s been dead for over six years now.”

Sterling shook his head, his smile laced with regret. “Some ghosts can never be laid to rest.”

“As well I know,” she replied, her eyes distant.

His uncle had never once caned her. As a female, she wasn’t worthy of even that much of his attention.

Sterling reached for her hand, but she was already drawing a folded, cream-colored piece of stationery from beneath the blotter. “This came in the post over four months ago. I would have had it forwarded to your regiment, but...” Her graceful shrug spoke volumes.

Proving her judgment sound, Sterling slid open a drawer and prepared to toss the missive onto a thick stack of identical letters—all addressed to Sterling Harlow, Lord Devonbrooke, and all unopened. But something stilled his hand. Although the fragrance of orange blossoms still clung to the stationery, the handwriting was not the gently looping script he had come to expect. A strange frisson, as subtle as a woman’s breath, lifted the hairs at his nape.

“Open it,” he commanded, pressing the letter back into Diana’s hand.
Diana swallowed. “Are you certain?”

He nodded curtly.

Her hand trembled as she slid an ivory-handled letter opener beneath the wax seal and unfolded the missive. “‘Dear Lord Devonbrooke,’” she read softly. “‘I regret to inform you that your mother has passed from this world to a much kinder one.’” Diana hesitated, then continued with obvious reluctance. “‘Although you chose to ignore her repeated pleas for reconciliation over the past few years, she died with your name on her lips. I trust the news will not cause you any undue distress.Ever your humble servant, Miss Laura Fairleigh.’”
Diana slowly lowered the letter to the desk and drew off her spectacles. “Oh, Sterling, I’m so sorry.”

A muscle in his jaw twitched once, then was still. Without a word, he took the letter from Diana’s hands, dropped it in the drawer, and slid the drawer shut, leaving the fragrance of orange blossoms lingering in the air.

A smile curved his lips, deepening the dimple in his right cheek that always struck dread in his opponents, whether across the gaming tables or the battlefield. “This Miss Fairleigh sounds less than humble to me. Just who is this cheeky chit who dares to reproach the all-powerful duke of Devonbrooke?”

He waited while Diana consulted a leather-bound ledger. His cousin kept meticulous records on all the properties that had once belonged to her father, but now belonged to him.

“She’s a rector’s daughter. An orphan, I believe. Your mother took her in, along with her young brother and sister, seven years ago after their parents were killed in an unfortunate fire that destroyed the estate’s rectory.”

“How very charitable of her.” Sterling shook his head wryly. “A rector’s daughter. I should have known. There’s nothing quite like the righteous indignation of some poor deluded fool who fancies she has God fighting on her side.” He whipped a sheet of stationery from a teakwood tray and slid it in front of Diana. “Pen a missive at once. Inform this Miss Fairleigh that the duke of Devonbrooke will be arriving in Hertfordshire in a month’s time to take full possession of his property.”

Diana gaped at him, letting the ledger fall shut. “You can’t be serious.”

“And why not? Both my parents are dead now. That would make Arden Manor mine, would it not?”

“And just what do you plan to do with the orphans? Cast them into the street?”

He stroked his chin. “I’ll have my solicitor seek out situations for them. They’ll probably thank me for my largesse. After all, three children left too long to their own devices can only arrive at mischief.”

“Miss Fairleigh is no longer a child,” Diana reminded him. “She’s a woman grown.”

Sterling shrugged. “Then I’ll find her a husband — some enlisted man or law clerk who won’t mind taking a cheeky chit to bride to curry my favor.”

Diana clapped a hand to her breast, glaring at him. “You’re such a romantic. It warms my heart.”

“And you’re an incorrigible scold,” Sterling retorted, tweaking her patrician nose.

He rose, the casual motion bringing the mastiffs to attention. Diana waited until he’d crossed to the door, the dogs at his heels, before saying softly, “I still don’t understand, Sterling. Arden is nothing but a humble country manor, little more than a cottage. Why would you wish to claim it for your own when you have a dozen vast estates you’ve never even bothered to visit?”

He hesitated, his eyes touched by bleak humor. “My parents sold my soul to obtain the deed to it. Perhaps I just want to decide for myself if it was worth the cost.”

After sketching her a flawless bow, he closed the door behind him, leaving her to stroke the cat in her lap, her brow furrowed in a pensive frown.

“Soulless devil! Odious toad! Truffle-snorting man-pig! Oh, the wretched nerve of him!”

George and Lottie watched Laura storm back and forth across the drawing room in slack-jawed amazement. They’d never before seen their even-tempered sister in such an impressive rage. Even the rich brown hair that had been gathered in a tidy knot at the crown of her head quivered with indignation.

Laura spun around, waving the letter in her hand. The expensive stationery was woefully crumpled from having been wadded up in her fist numerous times since it had arrived in the morning post. “He didn’t even have the common decency to pen the letter himself. He had his cousin write it! I can just see the heartless ogre now. He’s probably rubbing his fat little hands together in greedy glee as he contemplates snatching the very roof from over our heads. It’s no wonder they call him the Devil of Devonbrooke!”

“But Lady Eleanor died over five months ago,” George said. “Why did he wait so long to contact us?”

“According to this letter, he’s been abroad for the last several months,” Laura replied. “Probably off on some Continental tour, no doubt gorging himself on the shameless pleasures of any overindulged libertine.”

“I’ll bet he’s a dwarf,” Lottie ventured.

“Or a humpbacked troll with broken teeth and an insatiable appetite for ten-year-old brats.” George curled his hands into claws and went lurching at Lottie, eliciting a squeal shrill enough to send the kittens napping beneath her petticoats scattering across the threadbare rug. Lottie never went anywhere without a herd of kittens trailing behind her. There were times when Laura would have sworn her little sister was spawning them herself.

Laura was forced to make an awkward hop to keep from tripping over one of them. Rather than darting for safety, the yellow tabby plopped down on its hindquarters and began to lick one paw with disdain, as if their near collision was solely Laura’s fault.

“You needn’t look so smug,” she informed the little cat. “If we get evicted, you’ll soon be gobbling down barn mice instead of those nice, juicy kippers you fancy.”

Sobering, George sank down beside Lottie on the settee. “Can he really evict us? And if he does, what’s to become of us?”

Laura’s laugh held little amusement. “Oh, we’ve nothing to worry about. Listen to this — ’Lord Devonbrooke begs your forgiveness,’” she read with contempt. “‘He sincerely regrets having been lax in his duties for so long. As the new master of Arden Manor, he will gladly shoulder the responsibility of finding new situations for you.’” She crumpled the letter again. “Situations indeed! He probably plans to cast us into the workhouse.”

“I’ve never cared much for work. I do believe I’d prefer to be cast into the streets,” Lottie said thoughtfully. “I’d make a rather fetching beggar, don’t you think? Can’t you just see me standing on a snowy street corner clutching a tin cup in my frostbitten fingers?” She heaved a sigh. “I’d grow paler and thinner with each passing day until I finally expired of consumption in the arms of some handsome, but aloof, stranger.” She illustrated her words by swooning onto the settee and pressing the back of one plump little hand to her brow.

“The only thing you’re likely to expire of,” George muttered, “is eating too many of Cookie’s teacakes.”

Reviving herself, Lottie stuck her tongue out at him.

George sprang to his feet, raking his sandy hair out of his hazel eyes. “I know! I’ll challenge the blackguard to a duel! He won’t dare refuse me. Why, I’ll be thirteen in December — nearly a man.”

Copyright 2002 by Teresa Medeiros

Meet the Author

USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author Teresa Medeiros was recently chosen one of the Top Ten Favorite Romance Authors by Affaire de Coeur magazine and won the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Historical Love and Laughter. A former Army brat and a registered nurse, she wrote her first novel at the age of twenty-one and has since gone on to win the hearts of critics and readers alike. The author of twelve novels, Teresa makes her home in Kentucky with her husband, Michael.

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Kiss to Remember 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
Acanoffleas More than 1 year ago
Redonk Nutshell: Mistaken identity, amnesia, and desperation collide between a Duke and a gentlewoman hoping to cling to her childhood estate I love Teresa Medeiros, so it hurts me to admit that I had a hell of a time getting into this book. It dragged a bit for me to the point where I actually put it down and came back to it weeks later. The good news is I'm glad I came back to it because I ended up really enjoying it. Basically, we start out with a young boy, Sterling Harlowe, who is more or less "sold" to a rich relative so the relative can pass down his Dukedom to a male heir. Fast forward, and our little boy has grown into a dark and notorious libertine. When the estate his estranged mother becomes entangled in a bizarre claim by its tenant, Sterling takes it upon himself to make the trek to the house himself to, more or less, toss it's inhabitants out on their arse. What he doesn't count on, however, is being attacked by a tree limb and knocked unconscious. When Laura Fairleigh comes across a handsome man lying asleep in the woods she finds herself reflecting back to fairy tales and wakes him with a kiss. When the man can't remember a thing about who he is or where he comes from, Laura grabs the opportunity to inform him of their engagement. You see, Laura is desperate to hang on to her home, an estate which supposedly will remain hers if she marries before her birthday, otherwise it will fall into the hands of The Duke of Devonbrooke. Laura takes the man to her home and nurses him back to health, and in the three weeks leading up to their marriage, Laura and and he end up having something resembling a genuine attraction to each other. A problem arises, however, when Sterling takes another blow to the head upon their exit from the chapel after their wedding and remembers everything. Laura, to her horror, realizes she hasn't wed a nobody but instead her archenemy. What dragged for me was the beginning, the part where we get an idea of how dark and unconscionable Sterling is. Laura, and her family's introduction dragged for me as well. It wasn't until Sterling starts to assume his role as Laura's dream rescuer when things began to pick up. The best way to describe what happens when Sterling's memories return? A trainwreck. And I couldn't look away. You can't help but root for Laura, despite the blatant deception she attempted. In a way she gets her own comeuppance since she unknowingly besotted herself with her nemesis. Regardless, it's fun to watch these two wade between what emotions were real and what were imagined. Overall, I ended up enjoying A Kiss to Remember. Despite the slow beginning, once the action got rolling it trekked along at an unstoppable path through the end. The character development was stellar. A Kiss to Remember by Teresa Medeiros, 368 pgs, 2001 Rating: C+ Romance: 2/5 Raunch: 2/5
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another library experienced book. Bought it after trying to remember the name for nearly five years. Have it, read it, re-read it [more than 10x]. and still love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the second novel by Ms. Medeiros I have read in the past year. I also read ¿Yours Until Dawn¿ and considered that a good novel so, I picked up another to read by her recently, ¿A Kiss to Remember¿. I have to say I preferred the first book more. If you like simple Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella or Grimm Fair Tales like style stories, then ¿A Kiss to Remember¿ might work good for you. It was a bit too simple for me. I just didn¿t buy the premise of mean, selfish Lord (Sterling Harlow) comes to town to toss our heroine (Laura Fairleigh) and her family from the manor house she has been allowed to live in, before he gets there he is tossed off his horse, hits his head on a tree and is found unconscious. Our heroine finds him, kisses him awake, finds out he lost his memory, she supplies his with information so, he becomes who she wants ¿ the fiancé, lover and future husband she wants and needs. He follows her lead for weeks as he knows no better. Of course¿in time, our hero Sterling regains his memory after weeks of living as a different man in a small country village and his friends help him to recover just before the wedding was to occur. Once his memory has returned in full, he remember he needs a wife and heir anyway, so he proceeds with their marriage as planned ¿ only he is not nearly as kind, thoughtful and pliable as he was earlier. Our heroine pays the price of practicing the art to deceive ¿ even if it was for the good of her family. The story has a satisfactory ending (as expected) as the earlier attraction between the two does not die out with the new relationship but, continues to grow. They put their differences aside and work toward a future together (with a few bumps along the way). For me, there was nothing new, interesting or really memorable in the book. I would call it a ¿cute¿ and ¿light hearted¿ story. Nothing wrong with that. I think that some of the best scenes involved Laura¿s little sister Lottie and brother George ¿ their attempts to kept the two from marrying is great ¿ feeding Sterling wedding cakes made with bad herbs and spices, cutting down an angel from the top of the church with the hopes it would fall on Sterling¿s head and more. Needless to say¿by the end of the book, both children come to see the real Sterling and all take to one another but, the time it takes to get there and those scenes were the highlights of the story for me. Although I think this author is interesting and talented, neither of her stories have really gotten me hooked on her yet. She has really great potential and I keep waiting to read that one book that snags me in and makes me a believer of her. means. She has that light touch, fairy tale like plots that should please the general audience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought I had read all of Teresa's books, but I guess not, this was a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This did move a bit slow at first and I thought it was going to be one of those books I did,nt bother to finish. Towards the middle things picked up and I could not put it down. Although the book did not have the intensity of other stories I ended up really enjoyinng it.
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I like this authors books. This book was pretty good. The main characters were likeable. The story was a light but sweet read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read this book at least 8 times.
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A fun and sweet book
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Great book
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