The Lady Chosen (Bastion Club Series)

( 56 )

Overview

Tristan Wemyss, Earl of Trentham, never expected he'd need to wed within a year or forfeit his inheritance. But he is not one to bow to the matchmaking mamas of the ton. No, he will marry a lady of his own choosing. And the lady he chooses is the enchanting neighbor living with her family next door. Miss Leonora Carling has beauty, spirit and passion; unfortunately, matrimony is the last thing on her mind . . .

To Leonora, Tristan's kisses are oh-so-tempting, but once bitten, ...

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Overview

Tristan Wemyss, Earl of Trentham, never expected he'd need to wed within a year or forfeit his inheritance. But he is not one to bow to the matchmaking mamas of the ton. No, he will marry a lady of his own choosing. And the lady he chooses is the enchanting neighbor living with her family next door. Miss Leonora Carling has beauty, spirit and passion; unfortunately, matrimony is the last thing on her mind . . .

To Leonora, Tristan's kisses are oh-so-tempting, but once bitten, forever shy, she has determinedly turned her back on marriage. But Tristan is a seasoned campaigner who will not accept defeat. And when a mysterious man attempts to scare Leonora and her family from their home, Tristan realizes he's been given the perfect excuse to offer his services—as protector, seducer and, ultimately, husband.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"It's a sad day when, having survived everything the French could throw at us, we, England's heroes, return home-only to face an even greater threat," laments Tristan, fourth Earl of Trentham, to his fellow ex-spies after they return from war with Napoleon to discover the sword of matrimony hanging over their heads. In response, the titled gentlemen set up the Bastion Club, a retreat where they can exchange intelligence about the eager-eyed damsels who are their latest challenge. This first installment in Laurens's new series focuses on Tristan, who must wed within a year or support his 14 maiden aunts without his inheritance. Little does he expect to find his future with Leonora Carling, neighbor to the Bastion Club and the victim of several recent home invasions. Intrigued by both Leonora and the suspicious events, Tristan bends his talents to uncovering the mystery burglar and to charming Leonora. Leonora, who has no use for marriage, may be new to the sexual tension vibrating between her and Tristan, but she's willing to explore further, believing that nothing permanent can come of it. When Tristan insists that she marry him, the battle of wills commences. Fans of Laurens's popular Cynster (The Perfect Lover, etc.) romances will expect the high adventure and steamy, sensual love scenes that are her signature, and they won't be disappointed by this solid, if conventional, offering. (Sept.) Forecast: Avon reports that Laurens's previous novels have achieved a 100% sell-through at the major chains. Sales will likely be just as strong for this book and its follow-up, A Gentleman's Honor, which will be published a month later. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060002060
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/6/2003
  • Series: Bastion Club Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 281,112
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie Laurens

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. Loving Rose is her fifty-fourth book. All of her previous works remain in print and readily available.

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Read an Excerpt

The Lady Chosen


By Stephanie Laurens

Harper Collins Publishers

Copyright © 2003 Stephanie Laurens All right reserved. ISBN: 0060002069

Chapter One

Lust and a virtuous woman - only a fool combined the two.

Tristan Wemyss, fourth Earl of Trentham, reflected that he'd rarely been called a fool, yet here he stood, gazing out of a window at an undoubtedly virtuous lady and indulging in all manner of lustful thoughts.

Understandable, perhaps; the lady was tall, dark-haired, and possessed a willowy, subtly curvaceous figure displayed to advantage as, strolling the back garden of the neighboring house, she paused here and there, bending to examine some foliage or flower in the lush and strangely riotous garden beds.

It was February, the weather as bleak and chill as in that month it was wont to be, yet the garden next door displayed abundant growth, thick leaves in dark greens and bronzes from unusual plants that seemed to thrive despite the frosts. Admittedly, there were trees and shrubs leafless and lifelorn scattered throughout the deep beds, yet the garden exuded an air of winter life quite absent from most London gardens in that season.

Not that he possessed any interest in horticulture; it was the lady who held his interest, with her gliding, graceful walk, with the tilt of her head as she examined a bloom. Her hair, the color of rich mahogany, was coiled in a coronet about her head; hecouldn't from this distance divine her expression, yet her face was a pale oval, features delicate and pure.

A wolfhound, shaggy and brindle-coated, snuffled idly at her heels; it usually accompanied her whenever she wandered outside.

His instincts, well honed and reliable, informed him that today the lady's attention was perfunctory, in abeyance, that she was killing time while she waited for something. Or someone.

"M'lord?"

Tristan turned. He was standing in the bay window of the library on the first floor in the rear corner of the terrace house at Number 12 Montrose Place. He and his six coconspirators, the members of the Bastion Club, had bought the house three weeks ago; they were in the process of equipping it to serve as their private stronghold, their last bastion against the matchmakers of the ton. Situated in this quiet area of Belgravia mere blocks from the southeast corner of the park, beyond which lay Mayfair, where they all possessed houses, the house was perfect for their needs.

The library window overlooked the back garden, and also the back garden of the larger house next door, Number 14, in which the lady lived.

Billings, the carpenter in charge of the renovations, stood in the doorway studying a battered list.

"I think as we've about done all the new work, 'cepting for this set of cupboards in the office." Billings looked up. "If you could take a look and see if we've got the idea right, we'll get it done, then we'll start the painting, polishing, and cleaning up, so's your people can settle in."

"Very good." Tristan stirred. "I'll come now." He cast a last glance at the garden next door, and saw a tow-headed boy racing across the lawn toward the lady. Saw her turn, see, wait expectantly ... clearly the news she'd been anticipating.

Quite why he found her fascinating he had no idea; he preferred blonds of more buxom charms and despite his desperate need of a wife, the lady was too old to be still on the marriage mart; she would certainly already be wed.

He drew his gaze from her. "How long do you think it will be before the house is habitable?"

"Few more days, p'raps a week. Belowstairs is close to done."

Waving Billings ahead, Tristan followed him out of the door.

"Miss, miss! The gentl'man's here!"

At last! Leonora Carling drew in a breath. She straightened, spine stiffening in anticipation, then unbent to smile at the bootboy. "Thank you, Toby. Is it the same gentleman as before?"

Toby nodded. "The one as Quiggs said is one of the owners."

Quiggs was a journeyman-carpenter working on the house next door; Toby, always curious, had befriended him. Through that route Leonora had learned enough of the gentlemen-owners' plans for next door to decide she needed to learn more. A lot more.

Toby, tousle-haired, bright color in his cheeks where the wind had nipped, jigged from foot to foot. "You'll need to look sharpish if'n you want to catch 'im though - Quiggs said as Billings was having a last word, and then the gentl'man'd likely leave."

"Thank you." Leonora patted Toby's shoulder, drawing him with her as she walked quickly toward the back door. Henrietta, her wolfhound, loped at their heels. "I'll go around right now. You've been most helpful - let's see if we can persuade Cook that you deserve a jam tart."

"Cor!" Toby's eyes grew round; Cook's jam tarts were legendary.

Harriet, Leonora's maid, who'd been with the household for many years, a comfortable but shrewd female with a mass of curling red hair, was waiting in the hall just inside the back door. Leonora sent Toby to request his reward; Harriet waited only until the boy was out of earshot before demanding, "You're not going to do anything rash, are you?"

"Of course not." Leonora glanced down at her gown; she tweaked the bodice. "But I must learn whether the gentlemen next door were those who previously wanted this house."

"And if they are?"

"If they are, then either they were behind the incidents, in which case the incidents will cease, or alternatively they know nothing of our attempted burglaries, or the other happenings, in which case ... "She frowned, then pushed past Harriet. "I must go. Toby said the man would be leaving soon."

Ignoring Harriet's worried look, Leonora hurried through the kitchen ...

(Continues...)


Excerpted from The Lady Chosen by Stephanie Laurens
Copyright © 2003 by Stephanie Laurens
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

The Lady Chosen

Chapter One

Lust and a virtuous woman -- only a fool combined the two.

Tristan Wemyss, fourth Earl of Trentham, reflected that he'd rarely been called a fool, yet here he stood, gazing out of a window at an undoubtedly virtuous lady and indulging in all manner of lustful thoughts.

Understandable, perhaps; the lady was tall, dark-haired, and possessed a willowy, subtly curvaceous figure displayed to advantage as, strolling the back garden of the neighboring house, she paused here and there, bending to examine some foliage or flower in the lush and strangely riotous garden beds.

It was February, the weather as bleak and chill as in that month it was wont to be, yet the garden next door displayed abundant growth, thick leaves in dark greens and bronzes from unusual plants that seemed to thrive despite the frosts. Admittedly, there were trees and shrubs leafless and lifelorn scattered throughout the deep beds, yet the garden exuded an air of winter life quite absent from most London gardens in that season.

Not that he possessed any interest in horticulture; it was the lady who held his interest, with her gliding, graceful walk, with the tilt of her head as she examined a bloom. Her hair, the color of rich mahogany, was coiled in a coronet about her head; he couldn't from this distance divine her expression, yet her face was a pale oval, features delicate and pure.

A wolfhound, shaggy and brindle-coated, snuffled idly at her heels; it usually accompanied her whenever she wandered outside.

His instincts, well honed and reliable, informed him that today the lady's attention was perfunctory, in abeyance, that she was killing time while she waited for something. Or someone.

"M'lord?"

Tristan turned. He was standing in the bay window of the library on the first floor in the rear corner of the terrace house at Number 12 Montrose Place. He and his six coconspirators, the members of the Bastion Club, had bought the house three weeks ago; they were in the process of equipping it to serve as their private stronghold, their last bastion against the matchmakers of the ton. Situated in this quiet area of Belgravia mere blocks from the southeast corner of the park, beyond which lay Mayfair, where they all possessed houses, the house was perfect for their needs.

The library window overlooked the back garden, and also the back garden of the larger house next door, Number 14, in which the lady lived.

Billings, the carpenter in charge of the renovations, stood in the doorway studying a battered list.

"I think as we've about done all the new work, 'cepting for this set of cupboards in the office." Billings looked up. "If you could take a look and see if we've got the idea right, we'll get it done, then we'll start the painting, polishing, and cleaning up, so's your people can settle in."

"Very good." Tristan stirred. "I'll come now." He cast a last glance at the garden next door, and saw a tow-headed boy racing across the lawn toward the lady. Saw her turn, see, wait expectantly ... clearly the news she'd been anticipating.

Quite why he found her fascinating he had no idea; he preferred blonds of more buxom charms and despite his desperate need of a wife, the lady was too old to be still on the marriage mart; she would certainly already be wed.

He drew his gaze from her. "How long do you think it will be before the house is habitable?"

"Few more days, p'raps a week. Belowstairs is close to done."

Waving Billings ahead, Tristan followed him out of the door.

"Miss, miss! The gentl'man's here!"

At last! Leonora Carling drew in a breath. She straightened, spine stiffening in anticipation, then unbent to smile at the bootboy. "Thank you, Toby. Is it the same gentleman as before?"

Toby nodded. "The one as Quiggs said is one of the owners."

Quiggs was a journeyman-carpenter working on the house next door; Toby, always curious, had befriended him. Through that route Leonora had learned enough of the gentlemen-owners' plans for next door to decide she needed to learn more. A lot more.

Toby, tousle-haired, bright color in his cheeks where the wind had nipped, jigged from foot to foot. "You'll need to look sharpish if'n you want to catch 'im though -- Quiggs said as Billings was having a last word, and then the gentl'man'd likely leave."

"Thank you." Leonora patted Toby's shoulder, drawing him with her as she walked quickly toward the back door. Henrietta, her wolfhound, loped at their heels. "I'll go around right now. You've been most helpful -- let's see if we can persuade Cook that you deserve a jam tart."

"Cor!" Toby's eyes grew round; Cook's jam tarts were legendary.

Harriet, Leonora's maid, who'd been with the household for many years, a comfortable but shrewd female with a mass of curling red hair, was waiting in the hall just inside the back door. Leonora sent Toby to request his reward; Harriet waited only until the boy was out of earshot before demanding, "You're not going to do anything rash, are you?"

"Of course not." Leonora glanced down at her gown; she tweaked the bodice. "But I must learn whether the gentlemen next door were those who previously wanted this house."

"And if they are?"

"If they are, then either they were behind the incidents, in which case the incidents will cease, or alternatively they know nothing of our attempted burglaries, or the other happenings, in which case ... "She frowned, then pushed past Harriet. "I must go. Toby said the man would be leaving soon."

Ignoring Harriet's worried look, Leonora hurried through the kitchen ...

The Lady Chosen. Copyright © by Stephanie Laurens. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(14)

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(6)

2 Star

(2)

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(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    I liked the story, but there were a lot of unnecessary words, li

    I liked the story, but there were a lot of unnecessary words, like she had some sort of word quota to reach. Also, the lack of conjunctions in their proper places made it frustrating
     to read at times. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 20, 2014

    The Bastion Series is great

    I have read the entire series years ago and will recommend them to readers. I won't go into detail as I read them long ago. But I have kept all the books in the series and also loaded them on my Nook.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    THE LADY CHOSEN

    What happened ms. Laurens? This was the worst book every. Just down right booring. No chemisty between so called lovers. They were booring..also. story weak and booring again. Lasted to page 100 and could not read any more. Save your money and time...SKIP THIS ONE

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    Great story.

    Very entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

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  • Posted May 27, 2013

    5 stars for the entire series

    5 stars for the entire series

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  • Posted June 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent series...

    Stephanie Laurens has written a series of books regarding the Bastion Club. These books are well written in which you can dwell in the lives of historical England. You will laugh, cry and enjoy the trials and tribulations that all endure. I like books that provide such emotion. I have not read the books in the order that they were written but I think if you were starting out it would benefit you the most. Ms. Laurens was a new author for me and I was just trying one out to see if I liked the book. Then I came back for more...

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  • Posted April 6, 2012

    This series is a MUST read

    I love this series and the characters in it.I highly recommend it and will sing praises for this book and the entire series.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    This was awful

    I loved the Cynster stories but this book was just horrible to get through hated every minute of it the plot was weak the characters even weaker wont read anymore

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2007

    Skipped too many pages

    I must admit that I really wanted to know more about the relationship between the main characters. But the other side plots were so boring...come on...a plot about a secret formula. It was so boring that I skipped the first part and the last few chapters. The middle was good and I could have used more of that part. Everything else was just not worthy of a novel. Seemed that the writer wrote it in different stages because the middle part just didn't feel the same as the boring other parts. I would skip.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2004

    26 Year Old Virgin's Determination To Satisfy Her Lust

    The pleasant protagonists, a whole host of droll secondary characters and the mystery that lies in wake make this a riveting experience despite the often overblown and melodramatic `¿hand kissing¿¿ and `¿eyes darkening with desire¿¿ scenes. Sparks don't need to fly everytime they lay eyes on one another in order to believe that two people are meant for each other. Goodness, if that was the case then a person would have more than one soulmate!The game of seduction was more funny than it was romantic, at times portraying a somewhat desperate twenty six year old virgin determined to commit herself to a wanton act. Then, when she succeeded in making our hero¿s heart beat in agonized lust everytime he was around her, she steadfastly refused his noble intentions to wed her. Sounds rather ingratiating on Leonora¿s part but luckily for Stephanie Laurens and her natural storytelling and masterful prose, she has managed to evoke events that are both convincing and hypnotic and yes, very very sensual. If you can get past the slow and draggy drolls in the first few pages, you will then find her fluid prose thereafter engaging and that the central characters can successfully weave a subtle spell.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2003

    Not worth it

    This book was disappointing and not at all like the early Cynster novels. The plot developed extremely slowly and somewhat uninterestingly. It was also very difficult to sense the chemistry between characters. I would have skipped this for the next Bastion club novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2003

    A BOOK TO CHOOSE!!

    I had to take a step back from Stephanie because her latest books have either been silly or boring (four in hand, Perfect lover, Scandal's bride, On a wild night and On a wicked dawn) Her early Cynster series was 'cyn-sational' but then her writng fell off. Needless to say, I was glad the Cynster series as a whole was over. I was a little scared to read this book because of Stephanie's latest works but I am happy to say she has redeemed herself in my eyes. This Bastion series has so much potential!! 'The Lady Chosen' is awesome the plot is good, Tristian is just beautiful in every aspect of the word, Leonora has a strong head on her shoulder and knows how to handle her man. I loved the fact that she wasn't silly, clingy or insecure. She held her own! I can't wait for her second book, 'A Gentleman's Honor' The bottom line: If you are looking for a wonderful romance with a great plot and excellent beginnig series choose this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2003

    Don't bother

    If you're looking for something like the early Cynster novels, don't bother with this one. The story and even the sex scenes didn't have any of the appeal or minimal plausibility of 'A Secret Love', 'A Rogue's Proposal', 'All About Passion', or 'Scandal's Bride'. I think this one was rushed or the result of serious writer's block! Skip it and go on to 'A Gentleman's Honor'.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2003

    Stephanie's back on track!!!!!

    Enjoyed this book. More in keeping with her first few Cynster series book. I look forward to the next Bastion book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2003

    If you liked the Cynster's you will love the Bastion Club

    I enjoyed this book very much. I was sad to reach the last of the current male Cynsters. However, the Bastion Club members look to be as interesting if this book is anything to go by. A little slow to start, but once you are into it you will not be disappointed. I am looking forward to reading the second book 'A Gentleman's Honor'

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fun Cynster clone

    In 1815, seven former ¿government¿ workers know that the adventure is over while mourning those of their comrades who have fallen during the victorious war against Napoleon. The magnificent seven sneak out of some boring event hosted by the unpopular Prinny and end up meeting at a tavern where they agree to form the Bastion Club, a kind of private place for retired aristocratic secret agents. <P>Tristan Wemyss oversees the renovations to 12 Montrose Place that the colleagues plan to turn into their club. Neighbor Leonore Carling believes that Tristan must be the villain trying to force her and her family out of 12 Montrose. He catches her snooping and she realizes he is not the guilty party. Intrigued by Leonore, he joins her investigation into uncovering the culprit harassing her and her family. As they share a passionate affair, she rejects his proposal as she only will marry for love, but doubts he feels like she does. <P>With the Cynsters barred from new romance novels, Stephanie Laurens begins a new series with the members of the Bastion Club. The lead couple of the first tale (of seven?) is an exciting duet whose romance and adventure will be appreciated by Regency readers. Die-hard fans of the Cynster tales will especially feel ¿Welcome¿ as Tristan could easily have been a Cynster or at least a clone since he shares many of their traits. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2003

    If You Love The Cynster Men, Be Prepare To Fall In Love All Over Again

    I fell in love with Stephanie Laurens' writing style when I read my very first Cynster novel (Scandal's Bride). I have read everything I could find with Laurens' name on it since then. I have to say that I was sad to see the last novel in the 'Bar Cynster series because I didn't want it to end. Lauren has revived my spirits with the introduction of the Bastion Club series. In their quest to find brides for themselves these seven men promise to give us more thrills,chills and heart palpitations. This first book of the series starts out strong with Tristan and Lenora's story. The hero is handsome, strong, commanding and charming. The heroine is head-strong, smart, beautiful and hesistant about giving her heart. The battle of wills that ensues is thorougly entertaining. Throw in some hot (yet sweet) love scenes and a sinister villian and Lauren has herself another winner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2003

    Stephanie does it YET again!! SUPERB beginning to her new series...

    Another fantastic book from Stephanie Laurens. I had classed the Cynster Series as the best ever, but if the stories in this new Bastion Series continue on the same vein as this first book..then YOWSA !!, another WINNER.. The Bastion Club of seven masterful, dashing, and titled gentlemen captures every heart.This first tale of Tristan, Earl of Trentham and Leonora is a perfect beginning. Not a thin book at 464 pages, every one of them entertaining, I read it with delight and it left me feeling well satisfied. But alas, the next book, featuring Anthony, Viscount Torrington & Alicia is a month away from release... whatever shall I read till then..Nothing will feel up to the standards now set...(whimper..) just a polite lady-like whimper, I will recover, but not until I get the second book!!! *smiles

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2003

    Hooray a Plot!

    Congratulations to Ms. Laurens for remembering to construct a plot in between the sex scenes in her latest novel. While the characters' names have been changed, they still speak in the author's Cynster voice (aren't you tired of reading about the hero leashing and unleashing his demons?) Still a quick read and better than the last few offerings in her Cynster line.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2003

    WOW......another Great One

    I could hardly wait fo this new series and was not disappointed. I was hoping that we could have had more interaction between the Cynster's and the club but there is always next month. Now this is our kind of girl. I know the rest of the club are in for a big surprise when they meet their ladies. Some I expect will be pleasantly surprised. Being a spy helps but since Tristan had been spying on our heroine prior to meeting her it was no wonder he fell in love so fast but like most men was too dumb or stubborn to admit it. Great writing as usual and looking forward to the next story about the Bastion Club.

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