A Rake's Vow (Cynster Series)

A Rake's Vow (Cynster Series)

4.2 97
by Stephanie Laurens

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He vowed he′d never marry.

To Vane Cynster, Bellamy Hall seems like the perfect place to temporarily hide from London′s husband hunters. But when he encounters irresistible Patience Debbington, Vane realises he′s met his match ...

She vowed no man would catch her.

Patience isn′t about to succumb to Vane′s sensuous


He vowed he′d never marry.

To Vane Cynster, Bellamy Hall seems like the perfect place to temporarily hide from London′s husband hunters. But when he encounters irresistible Patience Debbington, Vane realises he′s met his match ...

She vowed no man would catch her.

Patience isn′t about to succumb to Vane′s sensuous propositions. Yes, his kisses leave her dizzy and his caresses made her melt; but Patience has promised herself she′ll never become vulnerable to a broken heart. Is this one vow that was meant to be broken?

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Cynster Series
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Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

A Rake's Vow

October 1819


"You want to get a move on. Looks like the Hounds of Hell are on our heels."

"What?" Jerked from uneasy contemplation, Vane Cynster lifted his gaze from his leader′s ears and glanced around, bringing Duggan, his groom, into view-along with the bank of lowering thunderheads sweeping down on them from behind. "Blast!" Vane looked forward and flicked the reins. The pair of matched greys harnessed to his curricle stepped out powerfully. He glanced over his shoulder. "Think we can outrun it?"

Considering the storm clouds, Duggan shook his head. "We got three miles on it, maybe five. Not enough to turn back to Kettering, nor yet to make Northampton."

Vane swore. It wasn′t the thought of a drenching that exercised his mind. Desperation dug in its spurs; his eyes on the road as the greys swept on, he searched for some option, some route of escape.

Only minutes before, he′d been thinking of Devil, Duke of St. Ives, his cousin, boyhood companion, and closest friend--and of the wife fate had handed him. Honoria, now Duchess of St. Ives. She who had ordered Vane and the other four as-yet-unmarried members of the Bar Cynster not only to pay for but attend the dedication service for the roof of the church in Somersham. village, close by the ducal seat. Admittedly, the money she′d decreed they surrender had been ill-gotten gains, their winnings from a wager of which neither she nor their mothers had approved. The age old adage that the only women Cynster males need be wary of were Cynster wives still held true for this generation as it had for those past. The reason why was not something any male Cynster liked to dwell on.

Which was why he felt such a driving need to get out of the path of the storm. Fate, in the guise of a storm, had arranged for Honoria and Devil to meet, in circumstances that had all but ensured their subsequent marriage. Vane wasn′t about to take unnecessary chances.

"Bellamy Hall." He clung to the idea like a drowning man. "Minnie will give us shelter."

"That′s a thought." Duggan sounded more hopeful. "The turnoff should be close."

It was around the next bend; Vane took the turn at speed, then cursed and slowed his cattle. The narrow lane was not as well surfaced as the road they′d left. Too fond of his high-stepping horses to risk injuring them, he concentrated, easing them along as fast as he dared, grimly conscious of the deepening gloom of an unnatural, too-early twilight and the rising whine of the wind.

He′d left Sornersham Place, Devil′s principal residence, soon after luncheon, having spent the morning at church, at the dedication service for the roof he and his cousins had paid for. Intending to visit friends near Leamington, he′d left Devil to enjoy his wife and son and headed west. He′d expected to reach Northampton and the comfort of the Blue Angel with ease. instead, thanks to fate, he would be spending the night with Minnie and her inmates.

At least he would be safe.

Through the hedges to their left, Vane glimpsed distant water, leaden grey beneath the darkening sky. The River Nene, which meant Bellamy Hall was close; it stood on a long, sloping rise looking down on the river.

It had been years since he′d visited--he couldn′t offhand remember how many, but of his welcome he had not a doubt. Araminta, Lady Bellamy, eccentric relict of a wealthy man, was his godmother. Unblessed with children, Minnie had never treated him as a child; over the years, she′d become a good friend. A sometimes too-shrewd friend uninhibited in her lectures, but a friend nonetheless.

Daughter of a viscount, Minnie had been born to a place in the ton. After her husband, Sir Humphrey Bellamy, died, she′d retired from socialising, preferring to remain at Bellamy Hall, presiding over a varying household of impecunious, relatives and worthy charity cases.

Once, when he′d asked why she surrounded herself with such hangers-on, Minnie had replied that, at her age, human nature was her main source of entertainment. Sir Humphrey had left her wealthy enough to stand the nonsense, and Bellamy Hall, grotesquely gargantuan, was large enough to house her odd menage. As a sop to sanity, she and her companion, Mrs. Timms, indulged in the occasional bolt to the capital, leaving the rest of the household in Northamptonshire. Vane always called on Minnie whenever she was in town.

Gothic turrets rose out of the trees ahead, then brick gateposts appeared, the heavy wrought-iron gates left ajar. With a grimly satisfied smile, Vane turned his horses through; they′d beaten the storm-fate had not caught him napping. He set the greys trotting down the straight drive. Huge bushes crowded close, shivering in the wind; ancient trees shrouded the gravel in shifting shadows.

Dark and somber, its multitude of windows, dull in the encroaching gloom, watching like so many flat eyes, Bellamy Hall filled the end of the tunnel-like drive. A sprawling Gothic monstrosity, with countless architectural elements added cheek by jowl, all recently embellished with Georgian lavishness, it ought to have looked hideous, yet, in the overgrown park with the circular courtyard before it, the Hall managed to escape outright ugliness.

It was, Vane thought, as he swept about the courtyard and headed for the stables, a suitably esoteric dwelling for an eccentric old woman and her odd household. As he rounded the side of the house, he saw no sign of life.

There was, however, activity in the stables, grooms hurriedly settling horses in preparation for the storm. Leaving Duggan and Minnie′s stableman, Grisham, to deal with the greys. . .

A Rake's Vow. Copyright © by Stephanie Laurens. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

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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Rake's Vow 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 97 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just when you thought Stephanie Laurens couldn't get any better, she writes another stunning novel. Following Devil's Bride as the second book in the Bar Cynster series by Laurens, this book manages to top the first. Vane Cynster makes a mad run for it after his cousin Devil's wedding, as he refuses to be caught in the parson's mousetrap as well, but leave it to a thunderstorm to force him to take cover at his godmother's house, and introduce him to Miss Patience Debington. When Patience gets trapped in the intrigue surrounding a petty thief at the house party she's attending, things begin to look up for her and her brother Gerrard when Vane shows up and puts his investigating skills to good use. Though Patience hates the idea of getting tied to an 'elegant gentleman' for life, she finds herself falling in love with the handsome cynster. Laurens continues to amaze with her talent for writing. Hopefully she'll continue to pull off these wonderful romance novels for many years to come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is actually the second book in the series (Devil's Bride is the first), and I think it is better than the first. It has a better plot, both character and story-wise. I've only read the first two books in the Cynster series so far, but they both started slow, and were very hard to get interested in...then got better/interesting within the last 100-150 pages. If you don't mind this fact, then by all means - read the books. I prefer a book that is interesting and enjoyable all the way through - when I read for fun, I don't want to have to work to get into the book. But, like I said, this one is better than the first - hopefully the books get better as the series progresses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A 310 page book and second of the 1800's family Cynster's series. Vane's unexpected stop at a manor because of bad weather embroils him in an attraction, thievery, ghostery, mystery, and a house of odd characters. An 1800's Clue game, anyone? Romance and several hot adult sex scenes.
camaibarb More than 1 year ago
I am not going into detail on this review as I read this entire series years ago. I saved all the books and even have them installed on my Nook. I loved the series and continue to read everything Stephanie Laurens writes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RRPNC More than 1 year ago
Great book and great series!!!  Recommend Very Highly!!
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BANGLEDANGLES More than 1 year ago
Vane is on his way home from his cousins,Devil,wedding when a storm causes him to stop at a childhood friends home. When he sees Patience in the garden searching for he knows not what, he knows fate has brought them together. He doesn't know how but he knows she belongs to him. All he has to do is convince patience. The second book in the Cynster series does not disapoint. Stephanie Laurens has a way with creating characters that will become a part of your favorite memories. It is enjoyable to live through the eyes of her characters.
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Once again a great read with hot romance and an intriguing mystery to keep you guessing.
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This book put me to sleep...
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Aline92706 More than 1 year ago
This series is addictice. Once you read one you want to read the rest. I love the family line is ploted out. Strong women at this time and erra. Enjoy!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago