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Beautiful, innocent, Alice Montague finds herself at the mercy of scandalous Lord Lucien. But as he begins his slow seduction to corrupt her virtue, Alice glimpses a man tormented by his own choices, a man who promises her nothing except his undeniable passion. . . .
Shadows sculpted his sharp profile as he watched the crowded ballroom from the dim, high balcony; in the oscillating glow of the draft-buffeted wall candle, he seemed to flicker in and out of materiality like some tall, elegant phantom. Its shifting radiance glimmered over his raven-black hair and caught the Machiavellian glint of cunning in his quicksilver-colored eyes. Patience. Everything was in order.
Preparation was all, and he had been meticulous. With a musing expression, Lord Lucien Knight lifted his crystal goblet of burgundy to his lips, pausing to inhale its mellow bouquet before he drank. He did not yet know his enemies’ names or faces, but he could feel them inching closer like so many jackals. No matter. He was ready. He had laid his trap and baited it well, with all manner of sin and sex and the siren’s whisper of subversive political activity that no spy could resist.
There was nothing left to do now but watch and wait.
Twenty years of war had ceased this past spring with Napoleon’s defeat, abdication, and exile to the Mediterranean island of Elba. It was autumn now, and the leaders of Europe had gathered in Vienna to draw up the peace accord; but any man with half a brain could see that until Bonaparte was moved to a more secure location farther out in the Atlantic, Lucien thought dryly, the war was not necessarily over. Elba was but a stone’s throw from the Italian mainland, and there were those who opposed the peace—who saw no profit for themselves in the Bourbon King Louis XVIII’s return to the throne of France and who wanted Napoleon back. As one of the British Crown’s most skilled secret agents, Lucien had orders from the foreign secretary, Viscount Castlereagh, to stand as the watcher at the gate, as it were, until the peace had been ratified—his mission, to stop these shadowy powers from stirring up trouble on English soil.
He took another sip of his wine, his silvery eyes gleaming with mayhem. Let them come. When they did, he would find them, snare them, catch and destroy them, just as he had so many others. Indeed, he would make them come to him.
Suddenly, a round of cheers broke out in the ballroom below and rippled through the crowd. Well, well, the conquering hero. Lucien leaned forward and rested his elbows on the railing of the balcony, watching with a cynical smirk as his identical twin brother, Colonel Lord Damien Knight, marched into the assembly rooms, resplendent in his scarlet uniform with the stern, high dignity of the Archangel Michael just back from slaying the dragon. The glitter of his dress sword and gold epaulets seemed to throw off a shining halo around him, but the famed colonel’s unsmiling demeanor did not discourage the swarm of smitten women, eager aides-de-camp, junior officers, and assorted hero-worshiping toadies who instantly surrounded him. Damien had always been the favorite of the gods.
Lucien shook his head to himself. Though his lips curved in wry amusement, pain flickered behind his haughty stare. If it weren’t enough that the colonel had captured the popular imagination with his gallant exploits in battle, as the elder twin, Damien would soon be made an earl by a rather convoluted accident of lineage. It was not jealousy that stung Lucien, however, but an almost childlike sense of having been abandoned by his staunchest ally. Damien was the only person who had ever really understood him. For most of their thirty-one years, the Knight twins had been inseparable. In their rakish youth, their friends had dubbed them Lucifer and Demon, while the alarmed mothers of Society debutantes had warned their daughters about “that pair of devils.” But those carefree days of laughter and camaraderie were gone, for Lucien had transgressed his brother’s soldierly code.
Damien had never quite accepted Lucien’s decision to leave the army a little over two years ago for the secret service branch of the Diplomatic Corps. Officers of the line, as a rule, deemed espionage dishonorable, ungentlemanly. To Damien and his ilk, spies were no better than snakes. Damien was a born warrior, to be sure. Anyone who had ever seen him in battle, his face streaked with black powder and blood, knew there was no question of that. But there would not have been quite so many victories without the constant stream of intelligence that Lucien had sent him—against regulation, at the risk of his life—on the enemy’s position, strength, numbers, and likeliest plan of attack. How it surely chafed the great commander’s pride to know that the fullness of his glory would not have been possible without his spy brother’s help.
No matter, Lucien thought cynically. He still knew better than anyone how to prick the war hero’s titanic ego.
“Lucien!” a breathy voice suddenly called from behind him.
He turned around and saw Caro’s voluptuous sil- houette framed in the doorway. “Why, my dear Lady Glenwood,” he purred, holding out his hand to her with a dark smile. Wasn’t Damien going to be cross about this?
“I’ve been looking everywhere for you!” Her doll-like side curls swung against her rouged cheeks as she flounced over to him in a rustle of black satin. She smiled slyly, revealing the fetching little gap between her two front teeth as she took his hand and let him pull her up close against his body. “Damien’s here—”
“Who?” he murmured, skimming her lips with his own.
She groaned softly under his kiss and melted against him, the black satin of her gown sliding sensually against the white brocade of his formal waistcoat. Last night it had been skin to skin.
Though the twenty-seven-year-old baroness wore mourning for her late husband, Lucien doubted she had shed a tear. A husband, to a woman like Caro, was merely an impediment to her pursuit of pleasure. Her ebony gown had a tiny bodice that barely contained her burgeoning cleavage. The midnight fabric made her skin look like alabaster, while her crimson lips matched the roses that adorned her upswept, chocolate-brown hair. After a moment, Caro made an effort to end their kiss, bracing her gloved hands on his chest.
When she pulled back slightly, he saw that she was gloating, her cheeks flushed, her raisin-dark eyes glowing with amorous triumph. Lucien masked his insolent smile as Caro coyly lowered her lashes and stroked the lapels of his formal black tailcoat. To be sure, she believed she had done the impossible, what none of her rivals had ever achieved—that she alone had snared both Knight twins as her conquests and could now play them off each other for her own vanity. Alas, the lady had a large surprise in store.
He was a bad man, he knew, but he could not resist toying with her a bit. He licked his lips as he stared at her, then glanced suggestively at the nearby wall, cloaked in shadows. “No one can see us up here, my love. Are you game?”
She let out one of her throaty laughs. “You wicked devil, I’ll give you more later. Right now I want us to go see Damien.”
Lucien lifted one eyebrow, playing along with consummate skill. “Together?”
“Yes. I don’t want him to think we have anything to hide.” She gave him a crafty glance from beneath her lashes and smoothed his white silk cravat. “We must act naturally.”
“I’ll try, ma chérie,” he murmured.
“Good. Now, come.” She slipped her gloved hand through the crook of his elbow and propelled him toward the small spiral staircase that led down to the ballroom. He went along amiably, which ought to have warned her that he was up to something. “You swear you didn’t tell him?”
“Mon ange, I would never say a word.” He did not see fit to add that such was the bond between identical twins that they hardly required words for the exchange of information. A glance, a laugh, a look spoke volumes. Appalling, really, to think that this wanton little schemer, for all her beauty, was on the verge of snaring Damien in marriage. Lucky for the war hero, his snake of a spy brother had come to his rescue again with the crucial information: Caro had not passed the test.
Lucien bent his head near her ear. “I trust you are still coming with me to Revell Court this weekend?”
She slipped him a nervous glance. “Actually, darling, I’m . . . not sure.”
“What?” He stopped and turned to her with a scowl. “Why not? I want you there.”
Her lips parted slightly, and she looked like she might climax on the spot in response to his demand. “Lucien.”
“Caro,” he retorted. It was hardly a lover’s devotion that inspired his insistence, but the simple fact that a beautiful woman was a useful thing to have on hand when trying to catch enemy spies.
“You don’t understand!” she said with a pout. “I want to go. It’s just that I received a letter today from Goody Two-Shoes. She said—”
“From whom?” he demanded, cutting her off with a dubious look. If he recalled correctly, it was a character in a classic children’s story by Oliver Goldsmith.
“Alice, my sister-in-law,” she said, waving off the name in irritation. “I may have to go home to Glenwood Park. She says my baby might be getting sick. If I don’t go home and help take care of Harry, Alice will have my head. Not that I know what to do with the little creature.” She sniffed. “All he does for me is scream.”
Posted December 28, 2012
Posted September 5, 2012
Posted March 30, 2009
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I purchased this book but I have not had time to read it. I also purchased and read "Lord of Ice" by Gaelen Foley, I also read "The Duke" & "Her Every Pleasure". Her books are page turners. I have been so engrossed with her books that I get up in the middle of the night to read more. They keep you wondering what's going to happen next. I recommend her books to anyone who loves period romances (as I do). You fall in love with the characters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 27, 2008
Lord Lucien Knight spends his days catering to the depraved sexual pleasures of the beau monde in an attempt to gain their trust and learn information regarding the underbelly of society. But when Alice Montague comes to one of his extravagant and kinky parties in an attempt to retrieve her sister in law, Caroline, Lucien finds himself enchanted by her innocence and virtue. In exchange for allowing Caroline to leave, Lucien insists that Alice must remain in his home. Oh My GOD!!! This book is so unimaginably sweet. Lucien, though he is cunning and handsome, suffers such tragic insecurity that it was incredibly easy to see why Alice fell in love with him. And Alice is so pure and kind that I could not help but adore her. Though the sex in this book comes late it is well worth the wait. Lucien and Alice really have a chance to fall for each other and they both recognize their love as genuine. Personally there was one glaring problem that I had with this book. Following the first time Alice and Lucien make love she transforms into an achingly typical clingy little succubus. But have no fear, both she and the story quickly recover and leads to a rousing climax that had me teary-eyed and giddy. As a side note, this book is the prequel to Lord of Ice which is Damien Knight's story. Damien is Lucien's identical twin brother. I have already read Lord of Ice and I found it incredibly unrealistic and frankly I thought Damien was a bit creepy. But in Lord of Fire he seems dark, mysterious, and complex and you see the reasons behind his demeanor. I am definitely going to read L.O.I again. Perhaps I was too hasty.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 7, 2008
I am not usually a big fan of historical romances, but this author is really good!! A co-worker introduced me to the book, and now I must read the rest. I highly recommend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 7, 2006
Gaelen foley has made another wonderful book. I couldn't put this book down, Lucien is an amazing character. I loved the way she made him so real, he is alone, and at first he doesn't realize that love can save his soul. Gaelen Foley did a spectacular job on creating Alice, she hides her real feelings and makes sure everyone sees her for the 'miss-goody-two-shoes' everyone claims her to be. But deep down she feels alone even though she is surrounded people who love her dearly. I can't wait to read Lord of Ice because I can already tell it is going to be an amazing book too.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 9, 2006
Wont wax poetic, but this book is really good. The hero is a perfect blend of strength and vulnerability. The heroin is the perfect mix of backbone and melted sugar. I recommend this book. The passion was hot, the story line hotter! It¿s refreshing the read about a man ready for love for once instead of trying to deny it! I love Lucien he is one of my favorite romance boys.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 8, 2006
I highly recommend this book. The hero of the novel, Lucian Knight will capture your heart. At first he seemed to be a rake, but we quickly learn that it is all a facade. He is a tormented soul whose loyalty and goodness shines through. The reader can feel his struggle to not become the dark occult leader which his role as a spy has forced him into. He struggles to redeem himself and become worthy of Alice. Although he is strong, it is his sensitivity and goodness which will draw you to him. The story plot itself will keep you enraptured.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 24, 2006
This is no ordinary romance! This book is so beautifully written and wonderfully arousing to the reader. I was so drawn in, that I found myself blushing at every turn of the page. WARNING: This book will also make you want a cup of tea each time you pick it up... Seriously!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 17, 2005
This was my first Gaelen Foley novel, and i devoured it in one day... Lucien and Alice are fabulous characters, the action is wonderful, and the romance is sweet. I've passed my copy to several friends already!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 13, 2004
This was my first book by Gaelen Foley! I was wonderfully surprised. Lucien and Alice were wonderful characters. I loved the story and the character development. I can't wait to read Ms. Foley's other books!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 29, 2003
This book is one of my all time favorites. The characters are vivid and the storyline sweeps you away from page one. I read this in one day and was heartbroken when it was over.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 30, 2003
The book was one of the best books i have read in a long time. . . When you are reading the book it's hard not feel the pain and the joy that Lucien & Alice feels. . . Believe me when i say that you will feel tears without knowing it when reading this book. . . .Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2003
This book i will NEVER forget. the story of why is very simple, it was the first book of gaelen foleys that i got and the one that made me a hugeomongous fan (is that a real word???) :). The plot between alice and lucien was how shall a i say, romantic and steamy. i mean there are things that authors do to write a book, and then there are things they do to make a book good. and then things they do to make them totaly great!!! i hope to be a romance author one day and do what i dream of doing and she has been a great role model for me and is one of my heroes.so if you ever have some money while walking through the book section of wal-mart like me and happen to spot this book, get it. PS~ mrs. foley the scene with the table.... hott. :) lol. see ya, Saritina J.C. :) ;) :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 6, 2002
Posted April 3, 2002
I loved it! As soon as the two leads meet the story takes off! The reader is in for a wonderful adventure. As most people I hate to waste my time with convoluted plots that are boring and ridiculous!!!! So for all you Romance Book Experts this book is for you!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 26, 2002
I really liked this book! I've read all her previous books, and I can tell you that Gaelen Foley is my favorite author. This is now one of my favorites! My ulitmate fav. is Prince Charming, but this one is right there next to it! This book was really good, it couldn't put it down! I recomend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 4, 2002
Posted January 13, 2002
I think Gaelen Foley is one of the newest and best romance writers of today.I have read every book that she has written and I have enjoyed every one of them....I look forward to reading her new book Lord of Ice. As far as I'm concerned she can't publish her books fast enough..Her writing skills are excellent.....This is the first review I've ever written...........Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 7, 2002
This first of a two book series, Ms. Foley¿s latest novel is a passionate tale of romance and redemption. <br><br> Regency England finds spy Lucien Knight holding another one of his debauched house parties at Revell Court. Unbeknownst to Lucien, innocent Alice Montague has journeyed to his estate to locate her errant sister-in-law, Caro, and bring her back to Glenwood Park to care for her ill son, Harry. Before finding Caro, though, Alice meets Lucien, who, at first believes her to be an enemy spy. When discovering her true identity, Lucien finds that he does not want her to leave. With a devious plan in place, he asks Alice to stay with him for one week, while Caro returns to Glenwood Park. <br><br> As Alice reluctantly warms to Lucien, their attraction, while physical, evolves into an emotional entanglement that changes both of them. In a tear-jerking sequence of events, both Alice and Lucien come together as they escape from the loneliness of their lives. But a major impediment to their blissful existence arrives in the form of Claude Bardou, Lucien¿s French nemesis. Forced to choose between Alice and revenge, Lucien faces his difficult past as page-turning romantic tension wars with sizzling romantic attraction. Can Lucien stop Bardou before he wreaks havoc and destruction on England? <br><br> Intensely emotional and extremely passionate, this is a read for those who love multi-faceted characters whose attraction is anything but simple. Ms. Foley successfully pairs an unlikely hero and heroine in a relationship that at first seems an impossibility. Following close on the heels of this superb read is LORD OF ICE, the story of Damien, Lucien¿s identical twin, a decorated colonel suffering from flashbacks of war.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.