Much Ado About Rogues

( 24 )

Overview

Meet the Blackthorn Brothers—three unrepentant scoundrels infamous for being mad, bad and perilous to love.

Who is the darkly handsome Don John "Black Jack" Blackthorn? With his air of mystery and menace, the whispers about him hint of highwayman or government agent or even dark prince. But no one knows what it is Black Jack does…or how dangerous he can truly be. Now Jack's mentor has disappeared, and Jack must track him down before it's too ...

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Much Ado About Rogues

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Overview

Meet the Blackthorn Brothers—three unrepentant scoundrels infamous for being mad, bad and perilous to love.

Who is the darkly handsome Don John "Black Jack" Blackthorn? With his air of mystery and menace, the whispers about him hint of highwayman or government agent or even dark prince. But no one knows what it is Black Jack does…or how dangerous he can truly be. Now Jack's mentor has disappeared, and Jack must track him down before it's too late. His unlikely help: the man's daughter—the very woman Jack had once wooed and betrayed.

Lady Tess Fonteneau knows more about the fine art of clandestine activities—and about the mysterious Mr. Blackthorn—than he realizes. As their journey leads them on the adventure of a lifetime, their reunion is fraught with passion, high-stakes danger and the one twist of fate Jack never saw coming….

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373776399
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 3/20/2012
  • Series: Blackthorn Brothers Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 699,584
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

USA TODAY bestselling author Kasey Michaels is the author of more than one hundred books. She has earned four starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and has won an RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award and several other commendations for her contemporary and historical novels. Kasey resides with her family in Pennsylvania. Readers may contact Kasey via her website at www.KaseyMichaels.com and find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKaseyMichaels.
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Read an Excerpt

Lady Thessaly Fonteneau sat perched on the window seat, her slim frame and riot of tumbling blond curls outlined by the sun shining through the windowpanes behind her.

Her long legs, encased in high, dark brown leather boots and tan buckskins, were bent at the knee, her heels pressed against a low stool shaped like a camel saddle. She was leaning slightly forward, her arms akimbo, her palms pressed against her thighs, her face in shadow. The white, full-sleeved lawn shirt she wore had been sewn for a larger frame, and rather billowed around her above the waistband, the deep V of the neck exposing the soft swell of breasts beneath the worn brown leather vest.

Just above her breasts hung the oval gold locket suspended from a thin golden chain. A pair of painted images were inside, one old, one newer, both painted by the marquis himself. The locket had hung from a black velvet ribbon until her father had pointed out that one should never wear a weapon in aid of the enemy: a thin chain will break, but a tightly knotted ribbon makes for a tolerable garrote. She possessed the sort of classic beauty artists wept to paint. Aristocratic, finely boned. Gallic to the marrow. Yet with an air of sensuality about her, in those high cheekbones, that slim, straight nose, the wide, tempting mouth, those darkly lashed hazel eyes.

Those eyes, awash now with tears she refused to let fall.

"Where, Papa?" she breathed, surveying the shambles that was once the Marquis de Fontaine's neat study, now searched to within an inch of destroying it completely. Her anger, her frustration, her growing fear, it was all there in the aftermath of her latest search, evidence as damning to her as would be a bloody knife in her hand as she stood over a body. "There has to be something. You would have left me something?''

Tess had instituted her search of the modest manor house a week ago, the day after her father's disappearance. She'd been slow, neat, methodical, as she'd been taught to be.

She'd begun with the servants, who either knew nothing or said nothing. You never knew with servants, where their loyalty truly stood, if anywhere. Her papa had never employed any of the staff for long, as familiarity invited a relaxation of one's guard; a paper carelessly left on the wrong side of a locked drawer, an unguarded word spoken at the table, with a servant still in the room. Always assume you are among enemies, he'd advised. It's safer than relaxing with those you think friends.

It had been a trusted servant who had betrayed her father all those long years ago, he'd told her, and the marquis's beloved Marie Louise who had paid the terrible price for her husband's indiscretion.

No, the servants knew nothing, save for the one who had immediately reported the marquis's absence to London. She'd known about that within days, having gone to the village to beg to be allowed more credit at the grocers until the end of the quarter, only to return home with a woefully inept government tail wagging behind her.

There had been no reason to dismiss the servants now, or to bother ferreting out the one who had tattled to Liverpool. Whomever she'd hire, one of them would be there expressly to spy on her. Save for Emilie, who had come with them when they'd escaped Paris all those years ago. Thank God for Emilie.

And no reason to hide the fact that she didn't know where her father had gone, or why he'd left, or if he'd ever be coming back. Indeed, it was imperative that she let everyone see her lack of knowledge as to what her father might be planning or doing at this very moment. Her safety depended on her ignorance. That's why she'd found no note, was given no warning. He'd been protecting her.

"But he would have left me something, something to assure me he's all right," Tess said aloud, pushing away the stool in a renewed burst of energy and getting to her feet. "I'm just not seeing it, that's all."

Pulling a key from her vest pocket, she approached the special cabinet the marquis had ordered built into the room, and inserted it in the lock. She pulled the glass doors open to reveal shelving holding various artifacts her father had bought or traded for over the past two decades. His treasures, he called them, some of them Roman, some Greek, most Egyptian. Bits of stone, chipped clay bowls, a small carved idol of some long-forgotten god, an ancient pipe with a broken stem. The prized possessions of a man who had traded in his love of things ancient and turned his mind, his talents, to revenge, a man at last left with nothing save these ancient, inferior relics of what had been. And a reminder of all this small family could afford, when the Marquis de Fontaine had once claimed one of the premier collections of ancient relics in all of France.

Tess hadn't touched any of these prized possessions during her earlier searches, but they were all that was left. Her last chance.

One by one, she lifted the items from the shelves. She looked at them from every angle before depositing each piece on the desktop, her frustration building until it took everything within her not to throw the very last item, the broken pipe, into the fireplace.

Because there'd been nothing. Nothing. She put her palms on the bottom shelf and leaned her head against the edge of another, her position one of abject defeat.

"Second shelf, the left end of it. Lift it…there's a button there. Push it, and then close the doors and step back."

Tess couldn't breathe. Every muscle in her body had turned to stone; heavy, immovable. Her mouth went dry, her heart stopped, then started again, each beat hurting. Hurting so bad. It was a voice she hadn't heard in nearly four years but would never forget, could never forget. She heard it nightly, in her dreams. I love you, Tess. God help me, I love you. Let me love you…

"You?" she asked, not moving. "They sent you? That's almost funny, Jack. The student, sent to find the master. And you came, you agreed, knowing what could be at the end of the day for the two of you." She turned around slowly, placing her hands on the edge of the sturdy shelf behind her, knowing that otherwise she might slip to her knees, sobbing. "You, of all people."

He remained where he stood, which was yards too close for her not to have heard him, sensed him, smelled him. Jesus doux, he still stole her breath away, just by looking at her. She knew every inch of him, had touched and tasted him, taken him in, given herself to him, even as he gave to her. A dark passion, too intense, too urgent and much too fleeting. The fire that blazed, but couldn't be sustained.

Her dark lover. Dark of hair, dark of soul and mind and heart. Even his green eyes were dark, intense beneath those black winged brows, and unreadable. He might have been chiseled from warm stone by a master of the art, his leanly muscled body perfection itself, and life breathed into that beautiful, sometimes cruel mouth by a goddess bent on mischief once he'd been placed on the earth with all the lesser mortals.

That sensual mouth opened now; Tess was mesmerized by his lips as they curled into a brief, almost amused smile. "Fetching outfit, Tess. I doubt those buckskins flattered their original owner half so well."

Tess snapped back to the moment, and took advantage of Jack's remark to throw out a barb of her own. "I wouldn't have noticed. They belonged to Rene."

At the mention of her brother's name, the winglike brows lowered, the stare became unnervingly intense. "So now you've made yourself over into the son? You'd do anything to please him, wouldn't you? Have you ever succeeded?"

"Not as well as you did, no." Another barb that hit home. Those that didn't know him, hadn't all but been inside his skin, wouldn't notice. But she did. She'd hurt him. Good. They could both hurt.

Jack took a step forward. "I'm here to help, Tess, not go back over covered ground. Your brother's dead. You and I never were what we thought we were, nor had what we thought we had. That's the past. You don't know where Sinjon is, do you? He's left you here alone, to face me."

"He couldn't have known that you'd be the one to—" But then she stopped, shook her head. "No, he would have known that. I'm the fool who didn't realize you'd be the one. Nobody knows him better."

"But not well enough, apparently. I'd ask if you really don't know where he's gone, what he's up to, but it's obvious you don't. What were you looking for?"

Tess shoved her splayed fingers through her hair, curling her hands into fists at the back of her head, not caring that she was probably only making a tangled mess worse. "I don't know," she admitted. "How could he have done this to me, Jack? To…to leave me with nothing?"

"I'm here," he said, putting out his hand, but it was only to motion her aside so that he could approach the cabinet built into the wall. "He knew I'd come. He knew I'd be the one. That makes him either a genius or a fool, doesn't it? Let's see what he's up to, shall we?"

He reached into the cabinet, running a hand beneath the second shelf, lifting the left end of it slightly. She heard a slight click, and then Jack stood clear, closed the cabinet doors.

As they watched, the cabinet seemed to come toward them and then began to pivot until it stood sideways, allowing them access to whatever lay beyond the opening.

Jack lit a brace of candles as Tess could only stand there, staring.

"I never… He never told me about this. He told you, but not me. Not his daughter."

"We're keeping score now?" Jack asked as he stepped through the opening and then turned to extend his hand, this time clearly intending that she take it.

She shook her head. "I'm fine on my own."

Jack ran his gaze up and down her breeches-clad body. "Yes. Any fool could see that. Hug yourself close to you, Tess. Don't let anybody in."

"How dare you! It wasn't me who—"

But he was gone, seemingly disappearing below her line of sight, taking the candlelight with him. Stairs. There was a flight of stairs behind the cabinet. Tess looked toward the opened door to the hallway, knowing if she left the study, Jack would want to know why she hadn't followed him. She'd have to trust Emilie. Emilie would have learned by now that Jack had come to the manor house. She'd know what had to be done. Please, God, just this one time, toss the dice in my favor.

Tess quickly lit a candle and followed Jack down, into the depths.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

4 Star

(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    As the final book in the Blackthorn Brothers trilogy, Much Ado A

    As the final book in the Blackthorn Brothers trilogy, Much Ado About Rogues had a lot of wrapping up to do...

    "Black Jack" Blackthorn has always been the black sheep of his family, both literally and figuratively. He's a darker character, so his book was naturally not nearly as lighthearted and fun as the other two brothers' were. Although...I do have to say that by the end of the book, Jack did become a lot less of a dark, gloomy character, which for me was a plus. He became a lot more human than he had been in the earlier books and less of a enigma. I enjoyed seeing his story unfold in this one.

    I don't want to give too much away, but there are two rather major revelations in this book that added quite a twist to the plot. One occurs pretty early on, and a reader who is paying very close attention can see it coming with a clue the author gives us. The later one took me completely by surprise, though.

    Toward the middle of the book the plot does get a bit bogged down with excessive planning and bit too much of the hot-and-cold hero and heroine drama, but once the action takes up again it's hard to put it down. Overall, it was a satisfying end to the series and a good read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    What a great end to the series!

    Absolutely loved this book! Had a lot of love, suspense and was hard to put down. I loved all the character's and because the character's from the other books are part of this story, books should be read in order. I hate to see the end of this series, but that means the author did a fantastic job of telling their stories. Ljb

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2012

    Been Waiting for Jack's story

    3 not-precisely-legitimate brothers, one crazy Mother, and flailing about for an HEA... Now that Robin and Oliver have found happiness, it's up to Jack to straighten out everyone's lives, for better or worse so he can move on as well. This novel has more twists than curly fries, more heat than an oven, and so much meledrama that the "actress" Mother seems tame in comparison. I hated that Mother. Rarely do I respond to a secondary character in such a way, so for me this is a better book than it seems. NOTE: you need not read the first two books before this one, the backstory is explained well, without preachiness or boring word dumps. Really good story. Worth the money, and thankfully HQN discounts their e-books. THANKS, KASEY FOR A WONDERFUL NOVEL! I have never met you, so I had to write it here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2013

    I enjoyed the male character Jake but had a hard time getting in

    I enjoyed the male character Jake but had a hard time getting into the love story between him and Tess. The book is okay but not as much fun as the previous book Taming of the Rake.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Fauna

    She steps in. Hello?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2012

    This title is the second of the Blackthorn Brothers series about

    This title is the second of the Blackthorn Brothers series about three brothers who could loose everything including their legitimacy if word gets out that their father was a bigamist. Don John "Black Jack" Blackthorn is the secretive brother. No one is exactly sure what he does or who he works for. He is sent to find his missing mentor. In order to do so he must turn to the man’s daughter who he once loved and left. As the former lovers search for her father they discover that nothing is what it seems and a mind so twisted that it uses even those closest to him for his gain. The main plot of the story and the portrayal of the father/daughter relationship were interesting, if disturbing. The main weakness is that the overall plot of the series is more of a distraction than anything else.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable

    Posted on Romancing the Book's blog
    Reviewed by JoAnne
    Review Copy Provided by Netgalley

    This is the third book of the Blackthorn Brothers series and I look forward to reading the first two. This historical set mainly in England kept me interested from the first page to the last. The story was not what I expected, but so much better. There was intrigue, suspense, love, romance, family, theatrics and lots of action. The three brothers, although Jack was a stepbrother, seemed to get along and were there for each other when it counted. Their “father” was often made the fool by their mother who flitted in and out of their life as she saw fit. Tess was a strong woman – definitely living before her time since most girls her age would have been simpering on the sidelines and not in the thick of things. The imagery of the locations and the fights and altercations were vivid in their descriptions so it was easy to think yourself there. The ending had the requisite happily ever afters and there were a few of them. There were a lot of twists and turns to the storyline to get you there but the story wouldn’t have been the same without them. I look forward to reading more books by Michaels in the future.

    Favorite Quote: Now he could be so incensed with her he wanted to throttle her, for God’s sake, but the thought of ever leaving her, any notion of a life without her, was too ludicrous to contemplate. Loving her, furious with her, obsessed with her, angry or wanting or laughing or hurting, arguing or frustrated or simply baffled by the way her mind worked-she was a part of him now, and he was a part of her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

    Good enclosure for the trilogy. I liked the enclosure as much as

    Good enclosure for the trilogy. I liked the enclosure as much as the adventure plot. I just felt it was laking romance. Although the characters were together since in the beginning, it felt like they weren't. They were cold, laking in passion. I didn't feel convict about their love. But like another reviewer said "Overall, it was a satisfying end to the series and a good read."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 16, 2012

    Michaels did a great job wrapping this series up. Although, I wi

    Michaels did a great job wrapping this series up. Although, I wish we could have been in that room when the marquis and the mother had their final showdown. Patiently waiting to see what neat characters Michaels has in store for her next series.

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  • Posted March 23, 2012

    Much Ado About Rogues by Kasey Michaels 4 STARS The last Blackt

    Much Ado About Rogues by Kasey Michaels
    4 STARS
    The last Blackthorn brother Don John "Black Jack" story finshes off this series of books.
    I liked it but their are some really selfish parents in this one. I have only read 2 stories about the Blackthorn brothers and both were good.
    Time period is set in England after a war with France.
    Black Jack gets orders to find his old teacher Sinjon the Marquis de Fontaine in the spy business that has gone missing and to find out what he has been up too and take him out.
    Lady Tess Fonteneau father Sinjon has gone missing. She knows that one of the servants is sent to spy on them, because for years her father had helped the English solve problems. He knew a lot of secrets and had even been sent to kill problems for his adopted country. Tess must find him and at the same time show that she does not know what has happened.
    When Black Jack shows up in her house looking for her father she is surprised to seeing that they sent him to find her father. Tess has not seen him since she told him to leave her after blaming him for the death of her twin brother.
    Black Jack shows her a secret room in her own house where her father kept his weapons, costumes to see what was taken and find clue about Sinjon that he had left for him to find. Black Jack knew that Sinjon planned on him being sent.
    After a night spent with Tess again Black Jack found out the secret she has been hiding from him for 3 years. Black Jack shows her more about what her father as really up to for years.c
    Black Jack and his team are searching for Sinjon in London. Tess and son goes with Black Jack to confront her father and save his life.
    Sinjon is always making plans and then other plans he seems to want Black Jack to help him kill the Gypsey who killed his son. But has all these clues for Black Jack and for getting the gypsey out in the open.
    The story has a bunch of twists in it. Kept me reading to early in the morning. I will read more of Kasey's books in the future.
    I was given this ebook to read in exchange for honest review from Netgalley.
    03/27/2012 Pub Harlequin HQN

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