The Night Drifter

The Night Drifter

4.1 21
by Susan Carroll

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The eldest son and heir to Castle Leger, Lance St. Leger is plagued by an infernal restlessness that cannot be appeased, perhaps because the family legacy of strange powers is most pronounced in Lance's own dubious gift. He calls it night drifting—his ability to spirit into the night while his body remains behind. And it is on one wild night that he finds


The eldest son and heir to Castle Leger, Lance St. Leger is plagued by an infernal restlessness that cannot be appeased, perhaps because the family legacy of strange powers is most pronounced in Lance's own dubious gift. He calls it night drifting—his ability to spirit into the night while his body remains behind. And it is on one wild night that he finds Rosalind, a young, sheltered widow who mistakes Lance's "drifting" soul for the ghost of Sir Lancelot. Lance teases and tempts her, fills her with a yearning her chivalrous phantom knight cannot satisfy. But in this place imbued with both true love and otherworldly magic, a new dire portent vows to come full circle. As a murderous enemy challenges the St. Leger power, Rosalind must tempt magic herself to save her beloved from the cold depths of eternal damnation.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In a desperate search for a stolen family sword, Lance St. Leger uses his "night drifting" ability to let his spirit slip through the walls of the local inn--and right into the presence of Lady Rosalind Carlyon, who romantically assumes he is the ghost of Sir Lancelot looking for Excalibur. But Lance is definitely real; and when Rosalind faints at the sight of him in the home of the St. Leger Bride Finder and then revives to learn she has been named Lance's intended bride, her sheltered life abruptly takes a turn for the more adventurous--and the more romantic. Old rivalries, real danger, and an ancient curse combine in this mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful love story that will linger in readers' minds. The award-winning Carroll, who continues the story of the mysterious, strangely gifted St. Leger family begun in her best-selling The Bride Finder (Columbine: Fawcett, 1998), lives in Rock Island, IL.--KR Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Remarkable . . . Wondrous . . . There are few finer books this season than The Night Drifter."
—Romantic Times

"THE NIGHT DRIFTER IS A CLASSIC. . . . [Susan] Carroll has topped herself and proved her genius by creating a romantic situation without equal."

   Author of The Face of Deception

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.59(h) x 1.13(d)

Read an Excerpt

It was the kind of night when anything could happen.

Magic. Moonlight. The sea roaring like a dragon, breathing a soft mist that was slowly enveloping the land. The stalwart figure who drifted along the rocky shoreline materialized like an apparition in his glinting chain mail and dark tunic. A ghostly knight from King Arthur's court who had wandered into the nineteenth century by mistake and couldn't quite find his way back to Camelot.

But Lance St. Leger was merely a man attired in the costume he had worn to the Midsummer's Eve fest and had not yet troubled to remove. He had far weightier matters on his mind.

He scanned the dark and silent beach ahead of him, his face anxious and tense. He was possessed of strong handsome features: a square jaw, a hawklike nose, and a deeply tanned complexion framed beneath a sweep of raven-black hair. But a certain cynicism already marred the velvet darkness of his eyes, despite the fact that he was a relatively young man, only twenty-seven. The disillusionment that tugged at the full curve of his lips made him seem older, giving his mouth a hard cast except when he smiled.

He wasn't smiling now as he studied the overturned hull of an abandoned fishing boat, the sea raking cold fingers of foam across the sand, obliterating all traces of any footsteps. But Lance was certain this was the place where he had been attacked only an hour before, surprised by some hooded brigand and rendered unconscious.

When Lance had awoken, he had found his watch and signet ring missing. But that had not been the worst of it. The thief had also taken his sword, the one that had been in his family for generations, a weapon as steepedin mystery and magic as the St. Leger name itself.

When the sword had first been handed down to Lance on his eighteenth birthday, he had sensed the power in it. Merely touching the hilt had somehow made him feel stronger, better, more noble.

He had earnestly recited the pledge that all St. Leger heirs were required to give:

I vow that I will only employ this blade in just cause. That I will never use it to shed the blood of another St. Leger. And on the day that I marry, I will offer this sword up to my bride as a symbol of my undying love along with my heart and soul forever.

But that had been a long time ago. Back when Lance still believed in
such things as just causes, magic, and true love. Back when he still believed
in himself . . .

Lance desperately circled the area around the boat, but he didn't know why he had bothered to come back here, what he was hoping to find.

That the thief had experienced a change of heart? That he would suddenly reappear to return the stolen treasure to Lance, scraping and bowing while he babbled, "Oh, here you are, Master Lance, here's your ancestral sword. Please forgive the impertinence."

Lance's lip curled in contempt at his own folly. He swore beneath his breath, cursing both the unknown brigand and himself. He had certainly made mistakes in the past, brought enough disgrace to his family's name, but allowing that sword to be stolen was by far the worst thing he'd ever done.

Not true, a sad voice whispered in his ear. The worst thing was what you did to your brother, Val.

But Lance refused to think about Val. He was already racked with enough guilt over the disappearance of that infernal sword.

Despairing of finding any clue to his attacker on the beach, Lance turned and headed up the path toward the village instead. Despite the fact that he had recently cashiered out of the service, Lance still moved with the military bearing of a man who spent nearly nine years as an officer in Wellington's army.

Slipping quietly alongside the forge next to the blacksmith's shop, he peered toward the line of whitewashed cottages. Earlier Torrecombe had been a riot of noise and laughter, alive with all the excitement of the Midsummer's Eve festival. But the village slumbered now, not a soul stirring across the green in the center of town.

Lance thought briefly of conducting a house-to-house search, only to discard the notion. He doubted that anyone from the village would have dared to attack him. The local folk were too much in awe of the St. Legers and their legends. Legends of a family descended from a notorious sorcerer. The mighty Lord Prospero might have come to a disastrous end, burned at the stake, but he had passed on a legacy of strange talents and powers to his descendants, of which Lance had inherited his share.

No. Lance was convinced. No one from the village would have trifled with a St. Leger. The thief had to have been an outsider, a stranger, and there had been plenty of those wandering through Torrecombe tonight because of the fair. Many of them were stopping over at the inn, and that seemed the most likely place for Lance to begin his search.

He stole across the village square until the Dragon's Fire Inn loomed over him. A quaint building, it still bore traces of its original Tudor construction, with mullioned windows and overhanging eaves.

An ostler bustled about the stable yard, attending to the horse of some late arrival. Lance watched, keeping to the shadows. Long ago, he had promised his father that he would never reveal the secret of his own peculiar and frightening power to anyone outside of the family. And one did not lightly break promises given to Anatole St. Leger, the dread lord of the Castle Leger.

Lance was deeply grateful that at this moment his father was far from Cornwall, traveling abroad on an extensive holiday with Lance's mother and three younger sisters. He'd already proved enough of a disappointment to Anatole St. Leger, Lance reflected grimly. With any luck at all he would be able to recover the sword before word of this latest escapade reached his father's ears. He had to.

Huddling behind a tree, Lance wished that he was merely a clairvoyant like his second cousin Maeve. It would certainly make his search for the sword easier . . . and safer. The ostler was taking a damned long time about disappearing into the stables. The blasted fool was doing more stroking and talking to that horse than he was attending to it.

Lance cast an uneasy glance toward the sky, trying to calculate how much time he had left until dawn. It would not do for him to be caught abroad exercising his strange gift when the sun came up. That could prove dangerous. In fact, deadly.

He was filled with relief when the ostler moved on at last, leading the horse into the stables. Stealing from his hiding place, Lance drifted toward the inn. After a moment more of hesitation, he braced himself.

And shimmered straight through the wall.

What People are saying about this

Teresa Medeiros
From Author of Charming the Prince

Susan Carroll writes sparkling dialogue and exquisite prose.

Kristin Hannah
From Author of On Mystic Lake

Susan Carroll writes absolutely beautiful love stories.

Meet the Author

Susan Carroll is an award-winning author whose books include The Bride Finder, The Painted Veil, and Winterbourne. She lives in Rock Island, Illinois.

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Night Drifter 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading The Bride Finder, I just had to get my hands on The Night Drifter. This second book was just as well-written as the first one in the St. Leger series. Lance's character was awesome! I thought it was very clever of Susan Carroll to use 'Sir Lancelot' as an alternate persona of our main character. Rosalind disappointed me... It took her a long time to realize who Lance really was, and I felt that dragged the story out a bit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wish every man was like Lance. He did anything to make her happy even though it cost him so much. Very romantic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Val's overall is my favorite, but this was a close second. Lance's power made it so romantic! Definetly read this, you won't be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved this book, but it wasn't as good as Val's story. I loved Val's story soooo much, it was so well written and the characters were amazing. I felt the same with this one but I felt like the story at some points kinda fell flat!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first book of Ms. Carroll's Family line of the St. Leger's I have read. I was so engulfed in the lives of Lance and Val that I had to find and read The Bride Finder. Now I am caught up in the magic of this family. I was unable to stop reading this love story and can not wait until I am able to read the story of Valentine's life story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that I've only read one other Susan Carroll, but she hasn't yet stopped amazing me. The stories are so dynamic that I wonder how she even keeps up. She probably rereads every book before she writes her next one. This one made me cry so badly that I almost stopped reading it. It was so hard seeing the pages. Suffice it to say I cried for like 60 pages nonstop and finished reading it at 3:45 in the morning. I cannot wait for her next book, which I saw is not to come out until Winter. I guess I'll just have to sit back and wait.*sigh*
Guest More than 1 year ago
Everytime I pick up this book I can't put it down until the last page. The characters are intense, the story is gripping and I can't wait for the next book in the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never read a romance novel before, and I didn't even know who Carroll was. I read the book and was just captivated. It was so good! I could not put that book down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One can always count on Ms. Carroll to provide an intriguing and heartwarming plot from beginning to end. She has a flare for the supernatural that makes her stories different from the average writer in this genre. 'The Night Drifter' is a continuation of the St. Leger story begun in 'The Bride Finder' but you need not read the books in sequence. Incorporating the ultimate, lovers fairy tale (the legend of King Arthur and Camelot) Ms. Carroll has written a wonderful love tale depicting familial and romantic relationships surronding the unusually gifted St. Leger's. A bit of wit and a surprise at the end makes this book a must read by anyone who enjoys a good imaginative piece and a bit of the unusual to go with true romantic love. I look forward to reading the next story in the St. Leger legend. I'm glad I didn't read the excerpt at the back before finishing the book. It would've ruined the ending. An unwise choice by the publisher to include it. I highly recommend you don't read it either.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I anxiously awaited this story and was very pleased. Ms. Carroll delivers again!! I can't wait for Valentine's story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is intriguing and has many twists at the end that keep you guessing. The romance between Lance and Rosalind is touching. Lance is a character we can all relate to as he is noble in all eyes but his own. I cried, I laughed and was amazed by this book. Susan Carroll gets two thumbs up!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was hoping for a more sophisticated tale, and was disappointed to find yet again the typical innocent, virginal girl seduced by the older, experienced man. It was annoying how innocent the widow was, granted, she was 21 - but a touch of cynicism would have made her more real. The hero was more interesting - but still predictable, and still too good to be true in spite of his 'tortured soul'. The paranormal aspect was mildly interesting. There are a few truly funny scenes - but in general nothing outstanding - and I would definitely NOT compare this book to any of Diana Gabaldon's.