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Secrets of a Perfect Night

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Overview

Three spectacular stories all set on New Year's Eve. First, Stephanie Laurens enthralls us with a New Year's scandal, when a rake awakens in the bed of the temptress who seduced him years before. Then, Victoria Alexander enchants with her tale of a love promised, then foiled and then rekindled on another midnight. And Rachel Gibson delights with the reunion of two estranged friends and the passionate sparks that fly when the clock strikes twelve.

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Secrets of a Perfect Night

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Overview

Three spectacular stories all set on New Year's Eve. First, Stephanie Laurens enthralls us with a New Year's scandal, when a rake awakens in the bed of the temptress who seduced him years before. Then, Victoria Alexander enchants with her tale of a love promised, then foiled and then rekindled on another midnight. And Rachel Gibson delights with the reunion of two estranged friends and the passionate sparks that fly when the clock strikes twelve.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380818051
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 635,174
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

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.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was more fun than real life. She is the author of thirty-one novels, and her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Victoria lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her long-suffering husband and two dogs, in a house under endless renovation and never-ending chaos.

Rachel Gibson lives in Idaho with her husband, three kids, two cats, and a dog of mysterious origin. She began her fiction career at age sixteen, when she ran her car into the side of a hill, retrieved the bumper, and drove to a parking lot, where she strategically scattered the car’s broken glass all about. She told her parents she’d been the victim of a hit-and-run, and they believed her. She’s been making up stories ever since, although she gets paid better for them nowadays.

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Read an Excerpt

Secrets of a Perfect Night

New Year′s Day 1823

After the Cavendish-Mayhews′ New Year′s Eve ball, Adrian Andrew Hawsley, sixth Viscount Dere, swore off women, He had had enough-figuratively and literally.

Slowing his blacks for a turn, Adrian drew in the chill air, then exhaled; his breath misted instantly.

"There ′tis." From his perch behind him, his tiger, Bolt, a grizzled veteran, pointed to a sign.

Adrian nodded. Although it was past midday, the grip of the early morning freeze had yet to slacken; he kept his horses to a wary trot as he set the curricle down the road to the southwest.

Despite the weather, he was determined to press on. With every mile that passed he felt better, as if a vise locked about his lungs for so long he′d forgotten it was there were finally easing open, as if a weight he′d forgotten he was carrying on his shoulders were lifting away.

By the end of last night′s ball, he′d been fed up--overwhelmingly bored and not a little disgusted. If a crown existed for the premier lover in the ton, he could probably legitimately claim it--indeed, it would very likely be offered to him on a purple silk pillow. Discretion, absolute and inviolate, might have been his watchword for years; despite that, the ton had learned enough to form its own opinion of his prowess, his expertise. Much of the gossip was true, which left him with little doubt as to the sources of the information. As a result, a competition had developed with ladies vying to see who next could command his highly regarded attentions. Over the past few years, he had never lacked for invitations to ladies′ beds.

Bad enough. The Cavendish-Mayhews′ ball had been worse.

Ladies of amorous intent had surrounded him until he′d felt hunted. He did not appreciate the inversion of roles--far as he was concerned, he was the hunter, theyshould lie the prey These days that wasn′t how it was. Two sorts of women lay in wait to ambush him-most were married ladies whose only interest was in trying out his paces so that they could say they, too, had I partaken of the latest acclaimed experience. Such mesdames jostled check by jowl with unmarried ladies plotting his matrimonial downfall, their calculating eyes fixed on his title and burgeoning wealth rather than on his more personal talents.

He didn′t know which he disliked more. He′d felt like a fox cornered by slavering hounds.

Enough. More than enough. It was time to take charge of his life and steer it ... into deeper waters.

He uttered a short laugh. The superficiality of his life did indeed grate. He was thirty today--it was his birthday. What had he thus far accomplished in his life? Nothing. Where was his life headed? He didn′t know, but he was determined to set his wheels on a different road.

At present his curricle′s wheels were rolling down the road to Exeter. He′d left the Cavendish-Mayhews′ mansion outside Glastonbury early that morning while all the bejewelled ladies were still snug in their beds. None had shared his, which fact had caused no little confusion and, even some annoyance. He was there, wasn′t he? They expected him to perform, to live up to his, scandalous reputation, all for their amusement. The ton, as he well knew, could be a demanding world. They could demand all they liked-he was no longer interested in playing their games.

Around him the countryside lay silent, a dappled world of dark browns and white, the bare branches of trees and the patches of cold earth contrasting against the light covering of snow. There was more on the way but he knew whither he was headed, knew the road like the back of his hand.

He was going home.

He hadn′t been back to Bellevere since burying his father nearly seven years before. His childhood home was like a ghost to him now, all the warm, happy memories overlaid by the acrimony and dissension of his father′s last years. His wildness was not something his father had understood, nor been able to counter; his sire′s vain attempts at forcing his only son to toe his line had met with resistance and led to estrangement. Now he could admit that he regretted that break as bitterly as he′d at one time resented his father′s wish to tame him. To change him. His father had failed, but so, too, had he. Bellevere had represented that failure; he′d closed the house, turned his back on it, and left it--his principal estate and ancestral home-to decay.

It was time to go back. Time to rebuild. To pick up the shattered pieces of that earlier life and start again.

And see what he could make of it this time.

He′d accepted the Cavendish-Mayhews′ invitation out of all those sent him for the simple reason that their house had been a perfect staging post for his drive down to Dartmoor. From the first, he′d intended heading west when he, -left; he hadn′t, however, expected to leave today--the day after the ball, the first day of the year.

Then again, what better day to make a fresh start, with a whole new year stretching ahead of him? And it was his birthday as well--the first day of his fourth decade, he could only hope it would prove more fulfilling than the last. His mind full of memories, of prospects and plans, he drove on.

Exeter was an hour behind them, the long climb up to the moor at their backs, when Bolt leaned close to shout over the whipping wind, "Don′t like the look of that up ahead."

His gaze fixed between his leader′s ears, Adrian hadn′t been watching. Now he lifted his gaze, and swore beneath his breath.

Secrets of a Perfect Night. Copyright © by Stephanie Laurens. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

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(19)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Three enjoyable novellas

    >¿Scandalous Lord Dere¿ by Stephanie Laurens. New Year¿s Day 1823, Adrian swears off women forever as his resolution, but a coach accident returns him to the home of Abigail. The rake has always loved this siren, but will he finally persuade her in forever? <P>¿The Last Love Letter¿ by Victoria Alexander. In 1805, Rachel and Jason tried to elope, but failed. He left the country. Now a decade later, Jason has returned and he and Rachel are still in love, but can they gain what they lost the first time around? <P>¿Now and Forever¿ by Rachel Gibson. Brina and Thomas are among those returning to Galliton Pass for the tenth anniversary high school reunion. Brina and Thomas were an entry for a brief time, but she dumped him to attend the prom with a more in-crowd person. Although she tried to remain friends with Thomas, he never forgave her. Now he sees an opportunity with this reunion to dump Brina. However, once they kiss at midnight will he really be able to toss her aside? <P>The three novellas are entertaining and fun as they bring a New Year into focus. Two of the tales are Regency while the third story is a contemporary. Each one of the trio includes a precious couple inside a delightful story line that makes for an pleasant holiday read. <P>Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2005

    finished in one day

    Short stories are almost always the ones that I find lacking. However these were not. The time line and characters were great. I bought the book because of Rachel Gibson 'Now and Forever', and I have read Aictoria Alexander 'The Last Loce letter', both authors came through in the great work that they do. Stephanie Laurens 'Scandalous Lord Dere' was the first time I have ever read any of her work and I enjoyed it enough to try her again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2001

    absolutely outstanding

    A must-read!!!! Unforgetable and enjoyable characters; heartwrenching romance; cannot recommend it high enough. All three stories are great. Pure enjoyment.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    Different Ratings for each story!

    I give 5 stars for story 1, 4 stars for story 2 and 3 stars for the 3rd story. For them being short stories, all were nicely developed. Ljb

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    ER

    All 3 stories were fun to read and romantic. Very nicely done by all 3 authors. ER

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Great

    3 great short stories. Romantic, with good story lines. Really enjoyed the books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Enjoyable

    All three novellas were enjoyable reading. Well-written with likeable and believable characters. More sex than I prefer, but it worked within the stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    This is the perfect read when you want something romantic. All

    This is the perfect read when you want something romantic. All the stories are enjoyable and romatic. You can fit one into your busy day and lift your spirits. Happy New Year

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    Always enjoy Stephanie Laurens Work

    Am presently reading the first novella about Lord Dere. The other books I selected are waiting patiently for me to get to them.
    I've read every one of Ms. Lauren's novels and liked all of them.I read this a long time ago. Now, it is an old friend revisited.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 25, 2012

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