The Least Likely Brideby Jane Feather
Brimming with passion, laced with humor, Jane Feather's tantalizing historical romances have been called "well-written and fast-moving...entertaining" (Booklist) and "great fun" (Publishers Weekly). Now the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Bride makes her exciting hardcover debut with this irresistible tale of a bookish/i>/i>/i>/i>… See more details below
Brimming with passion, laced with humor, Jane Feather's tantalizing historical romances have been called "well-written and fast-moving...entertaining" (Booklist) and "great fun" (Publishers Weekly). Now the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Bride makes her exciting hardcover debut with this irresistible tale of a bookish beauty who has never met a man who could best her, tempt her, or seduce her...until now.
Brimming with passion, laced with humor, Jane Feather's tantalizing historical romances have been called "brilliantly crafted" (Affaire de Coeur) and "vastly entertaining" (Rendezvous). Now the nationally bestselling author of The Accidental Bride makes her exciting hardcover debut with this irresistible tale of a bookish beauty who has never met a man who could best her, tempt her, or seduce heruntil now.
One moment Lady Olivia Granville is strolling along a path, her nose buried in a tome of Greek philosophy; the next she is plunging down a rocky cliff. Only when she regains consciousnessnaked and unwittingly trapped on an unknown shipdoes she discover that she owes her life to a stranger who is clearly not a gentleman!
Wickedly handsome, disturbingly mysterious, the gray-eyed master of the Wind Dancer admits to making his living from the sea. But it doesn't take long for Olivia to realize that the rogue who'd so intimately tended her wounds is a brash pirate whose schooner is bearing down upon a Spanish galleon. She knows she should be appalled. Instead Olivia is shockingly entranced...and recklessly attracted to an outlaw whose gaze holds bothchallenge and invitation.
Anthony Caxton has known from the first that Olivia Granville is no ordinary woman. But who would have thought that the sheltered daughter of a marquis would have a genuine taste for piracy? Delighted by her response, teased by her beauty, he welcomes her as the newest of his crew, confident that it is only a matter of time before he wins her surrender.
Yet even as Olivia welcomes his embrace, she remains unaware that Anthony is harboring a devastating secret...one that will lead them to heartache, scandal, and betrayal. For Anthony is much more than a common pirate. He is the mastermind behind a perilous plot of royal intrigue that could change the course of history.
And in this enterprise his opponent is none other than Cato Granville...Olivia's father. Anthony knows the success of his schemeand his very lifedepends upon minute planning, on anticipating every possible difficulty. But he never imagined that he would fall in love with the daughter of his most formidable enemy. And he never dreamed that the dangerous game he was playing would leave Olivia vulnerable to the attentions of a cunning villainone who wants to possess the dark-haired temptress almost as much as he wants to see Anthony Caxton hang....
THE LEAST LIKELY BRIDE is Oliviayoung, chronically shy, and addicted to ancient Greek literature. As she walks on the sands of an island off the coast of England, her nose buried in a book, she takes a fall and wakes up days later on what seems to be a pirate ship. Her captor, though, is no ordinary pirate. He possesses the skills of both a physician and an artist. He is also the most gorgeous male Olivia has ever encountered. Most disconcerting of all, when he looks at her, he seesnot the stammering, hopelessly bookish young girl Olivia has always beenbut a desirable, beautiful woman.
Feather weaves together plot and passion into a mesmerizing whole that is perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. THE LEAST LIKELY BRIDE is timed for the first Valentine's Day of the millenniumand will launch a new chapter in this author's already impressive career. >
Patrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Technical College Library, La Crosse
Patrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Technical College Library, La Crosse
Patrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Technical College Library, La Crosse
A Valentine Wedding:
"A fast-paced book that will keep the reader entertained."
Rocky Mountain News
The Hostage Bride:
"The first in Jane Feather's 'Bride' trilogy is a feather in her cap and one of her best stories ever."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Silver Rose:
"Well-written and fast-movingentertaining."
"Feather's writing style is spirited and her plot is well-paced."
"Vice offers everything from sensual romantic scenes to hilarious misadventures to an exposition on the problems facing ladies of the evening in the mid-18th century....Readers will love it."
The Brazosport Facts
"Great funFeather's well-paced plot generates lots of laughs, steamy sex and high adventure, as well as some wryly perceptive commentary on the gender stereotypes her heroine so flagrantly defies."
"Four out of four stars...Valentine...comes much closer to the Austen spirit than any of the pseudo-sequels that have been proliferating lately."
Detroit Free Press
"Vixen is worth taking to bed....Feather's last book, Virtue, was good, but this one is even better."
"Jane Feather is an accomplished storyteller....The resulta rare and wonderful battle-of-the-sexes story that will delight both historical and Regency readers."
Daily News of Los Angeles
- Cengage Gale
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Large Print
- Product dimensions:
- 6.42(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.22(d)
Read an Excerpt
One The sun shone hot and bright upon the now quiet waters of the English Channel. Olivia Granville strolled the narrow cliff path above St. Catherine's Point, for the moment oblivious of her surroundings, of the fresh beauty of the rain-washed morning after the night's storm. She bit deep into her apple, frowning over the tricky construction of the Greek text she held in her hand. The grass was wet beneath her sandaled feet and long enough in places to brush against her calves, dampening her muslin gown. A red admiral was a flash of color across the white page of her book, and a bee droned among the fragrant heads of the sea pinks. Olivia glanced up, for a moment allowing her attention to wander from her text. The sea stretched blue and smooth as bathwater to the Dorset coastline faintly visible on the horizon. It was hard now to imagine the ferocity of the storm that had wrecked the ship she could see far below on the rocks. Men swarmed antlike over her at the work of salvage. The talk in the house this morning had been all of the wreck, of how it was believed that the ship had been deliberately lured to its death by the smugglers and wreckers who had become very active on the island during the past winter. Olivia drew a deep breath of the salt-and-seaweed-laden air. The sixth winter of the civil war had been an interminable one. A year ago it had seemed it was all but over. King Charles had surrendered to Parliament and was held in London at the palace of Hampton Court, while negotiations for a permanent end to the war took place. But then the king had reneged on his parole, had broken all tentative agreements, and had escaped from Hampton Court. He had fled to the Isle of Wight, aroyalist stronghold, and had put himself under the protection of the island's governor, Colonel Hammond. The colonel had proved no royalist friend to the king, instead following his duty to Parliament, holding the king an informal prisoner in Carisbrooke Castle. As a result, the protracted negotiations with Parliament had perforce moved to the island. Olivia's father, the marquis of Granville, was a leading Parliamentarian and one of the foremost negotiators, so at the end of the preceding year he had moved his oldest daughter, his nine-month-old son, and his once again pregnant fourth wife to the island. His two younger daughters had been left at their own request in the quiet Oxfordshire house where they had lived for the preceding three years under the care of their adored governess. On the island, Lord Granville had acquired a long, low, thatch-roofed house in the village of Chale, just a few miles beyond the great stone walls of the royal prison at Carisbrooke Castle. The house was cramped and drafty in winter, but at least it was outside the castle. For Olivia and her father's wifewho was also her own dearest friend, Phoebesuch accommodations were infinitely preferable to life in a military compound. The king continued to hold court in the castle's great hall, and an attempt was made to disguise the true nature of his situation, but nothing could disguise the military nature of his surroundings. Olivia had spent her first sixteen years in her father's massive fortress on the Yorkshire border, and during the early years of the civil war she had grown accustomed to a life lived for all intents and purposes under siege; but when the war had moved south, so had Lord Granville. She had grown soft, Olivia thought now, with a half smile, stretching under the sun's warmth. Her northern resilience had been eroded by the south's mild climate and gentle vistas. She was accustomed to deep snow and bitter cold, and the damp drizzle of a southern winter offered no challenges to the soul. It brought a dank chill that seeped into your bones, and the northeast wind blowing off the sea was a vicious thing indeed, but it grew monotonous rather than menacing. But here now was summer. And it was as if the winter had never been. Here were brilliant skies and the wonderful expanse of the sea. She had never before known the sea. There were moors and mountain ranges in her native Yorkshire, and winding rivers in the Thames valley that she had called home for the past three years, but nothing to compare with this wondrous sense of expansion, this vast vista where sea met sky and promised only infinity. Olivia threw her apple core far out across the headland and felt her soul lift, her spirit dance. There were sails out there, pretty white sails on lively craft. Below her, gulls wheeled and drifted on the currents of warm air, and Olivia envied them their wonderful freedom, the ability to give themselves to the current without purpose or necessity, but for the sheer joy of it. She laughed aloud suddenly and took a step closer to the edge of the cliff. She stepped into a patch of undergrowth. She stepped into nothing. * * * There was pain, a confused morass of pain against which no one hurt stood out, distinguishable. There was a murmur of voices, one in particular, a quiet voice that accompanied cool hands upon her body, turning, lifting, anointing. A pair of gray eyes penetrated the dream tangle where all was confusion and fear. There was a drink of gall and wormwood that brought a muddled skein of terrifying images in the world of nightmares, things she could put no name to that writhed around her like Medusa's serpents. She fought the bitter drink, knocking away the hands that held the cup to her lips. The quiet voice said, "Just one more, Olivia," and her flailing hands were held in a clasp, cool and firm, and her head rested in the crook of an arm. With a little moan, she surrendered to a strength and a will much greater than her own, and the foul liquid slipped between her parted lips so that she swallowed in a choking gasp of distaste. And this time she sank into a dark pool, and the green waters closed over her head. The hurt receded and now there were no nightmares, only the deep, restful sleep of healing.
Olivia opened her eyes. What she saw made no sense, so she closed them again. After a minute, she opened them once more. Nothing had changed. She lay very still, hearing her own breathing. There was no other sound. Her body was filled with a delicious languor, and she had no desire to move. As she took inventory, she was aware of a stiff soreness at the back of one thigh, a certain tenderness here and there, but as she ran her hands languidly over her body, everything seemed to be where it was supposed to be. Except that she was naked. She remembered standing on the cliff path, throwing her apple core across the headland. Then there were dreams, nightmares, voices, hands. But they had been part of the dreams, not real. Her eyes closed and the deep pool took her again. When next she swam to the surface, she could sense movement around her. Men were talking in hurried whispers; a chair scraped; a door opened and closed. Her breathing quickened with the atmosphere of urgency around her, but she kept her eyes tight shut, instinctively reluctant to draw attention to herself until she could regain a sense of herself in whatever this place was. In the renewed quiet, she opened her eyes. She was lying on her back in a bed that was not a bed. Or at least it resembled no bed she had slept in before. Tentatively she moved her legs and encountered wooden sides. They were not high, but it felt as if she was lying in a box. She looked up at a ceiling of oak planking. An unlit lantern hung from a chain. But there was no need for lamplight, because great slabs of sunlight slanted into the room from latticed windows a few feet from the foot of the bed. But the wall wasn't straight. It was paneled in some glowing wood and curved. The windows were set into the curves, and they stood open, soft sea scents wafting in on a gentle breeze. Olivia turned her head on the pillow. She turned it tentatively because it hurt a little to do so. The pillow beneath her cheek was crisp and smelled of the flatiron and fresh morning air. She looked into a chamber, a paneled room with latticed windows and rich Turkey carpets on the shining oak floor. There was an oval table and a sideboard, several carved chairs. But it was not a regularly shaped room. It had no corners. And it seemed to be moving. Very gently, but definitely. Rocking like a cradle. Olivia's eyes closed once more. When she next awoke, the sun still shone, the chamber still rocked gently. She was looking into the room as she had been when she'd fallen asleep. And this time she was not alone. A man stood at the oval table, bent over some papers, working with something in his hand. He seemed to Olivia to be cast in gold; a shining aura surrounded him. Then she understood that he was standing in the sunlight from the window and the bright rays glinted off his hair. Hair the color of golden guineas. He was completely absorbed in whatever he was doing. He held himself very still, only his hands moving. He seemed detached, centered on himself and his work. It was a quality Olivia recognized because it was her own. She knew what it was to lose oneself in the world of the mind. She wondered whether to speak, but it seemed impolite to disturb his concentration, so she lay watching him through half-closed eyes, deep in the languid warmth of her peculiar bed. Her body was still sore, and the back of her head felt bruised. Other disparate aches and pains lingered with the slight muzziness in her head. She felt remote, contented, the terrors of the nightmare world vanquished. And she was aware of the strangest connection between herself and the man at the table. It was puzzling but only vaguely so. Mostly it made her feel happy. And then he spoke. He didn't raise his head or look up from his work, but he said in the harmonious voice she remembered from the dreams, "So, Sleeping Beauty returns to the world." The question didn't so much break the silence as slide into it. "Who are you?" she asked. Of all the questions that came to mind, it seemed the only one of any importance.
Meet the Author
Jane Feather is the nationally bestselling, award-winning author of The Accidental Bride, The Hostage Bride, A Valentine Wedding, The Emerald Swan, and many other historical romances. She was born in Cairo, Egypt, and grew up in the New Forest, in the south of England. She began her writing career after she and her family moved to Washington, D.C., in 1981. She now has over four million copies of her books in print.
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