Seduction

( 18 )

Overview

Dominic Paget, the earl of Bedford, will do anything to resume spying upon Britain's enemies. Badly wounded, he is put will do anything in the care of a beautiful gentlewoman, Julianne Greystone, only to discover that her sympathies lie with his enemies. Yet he can't help but seduce the woman who saved his life—hoping she never learns of his betrayal.

Julianne is captivated by the wounded stranger she believes is a revolutionary hero. Until she discovers the truth…her "hero" is ...

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Seduction

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Overview

Dominic Paget, the earl of Bedford, will do anything to resume spying upon Britain's enemies. Badly wounded, he is put will do anything in the care of a beautiful gentlewoman, Julianne Greystone, only to discover that her sympathies lie with his enemies. Yet he can't help but seduce the woman who saved his life—hoping she never learns of his betrayal.

Julianne is captivated by the wounded stranger she believes is a revolutionary hero. Until she discovers the truth…her "hero" is the privileged earl of Bedford. Devastated and determined to forget him, Julianne travels to London. But when she finds herself in danger, it is Bedford who comes to the rescue. Now Julianne must navigate the intrigues of a perilous city, the wild yearnings of her own heart and the explosion of their passion….

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Prolific Joyce (Deadly Vows) opens her French Revolution series with a tale of two lovers who treasure politics over romance. Dominic Paget has been spying in France for the British government. Near death after an assassination attempt, he is smuggled back to England and left in the care of Julianne Greystone. Julianne, sympathetic to the revolutionaries, believes Dominic is a heroic French army officer and falls for him. Dominic coldly seduces Julianne, leaving her heartbroken when she discovers he’s the earl of Bedford—his wealth and title represent everything she’s been fighting against. After they part, Dominic ends up saving Julianne from danger, but they don’t pick up on their second chance at love until it’s almost too late. In-depth historical detail supports the characters’ motivations, but unsympathetic personalities (especially fluttery, weak-willed Julianne) keep the reader at arm’s length, and only Joyce’s dramatic prose keeps things moving. Agent: Aaron Priest Literary Agency. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Joyce excels at creating twists and turns in her characters' personal lives." — Publishers Weekly

"An elegant blend of mystery and romance simmering with sexual tension."-Booklist on Deadly Promises

"Joyce's latest "deadly" romance is truly a pleasure to read, given its involving plot, intriguing characters, and the magic that occurs as the reader becomes immersed in another time and place."-Booklist on Deadly Kisses

"If this is your introduction to Francesca Cahill, you'll be just as hooked on the series as longtime fans. Joyce skillfully pulls you into her characters' tangled lives as they pursue a killer. The "Deadlies" keep you coming back for more because you care about the people and you can sink your teeth into their complicated lives as they twist and turn with mystery."-RT BookReviews on Deadly Kisses

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373776559
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 1/31/2012
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 680,840
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Brenda Joyce is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels and novellas, including the popular and critically acclaimed de Warenne Dynasty Saga, a series of novels set in Regency and Victorian England. She lives on a ranch in Arizona with her dogs, broodmares and the year’s current crop of foals. If she isn’t on the back of a reining horse, she can be found madly at work in her office, penning her latest romance novel.

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Read an Excerpt

July 2, 1793—Penzance, Cornwall

She was very late.

Julianne Greystone practically leapt from the curricle, having parked it before the milliner's shop. The Society's meeting was next door, in the public room of the White Hart Inn, but every space in front was taken up already. The inn always did a brisk business in the afternoon. She rechecked the curricle's brake, patted the old mare in the traces and quickly tied her to the post.

She hated being late. It wasn't her nature to dally. Julianne took life very seriously, unlike the other ladies she knew.

Those women enjoyed fashion and shopping, teas and social calls, dances and dinner parties, but they did not live in the same circumstances as she did. Julianne could not recall a time in her life when there had been days of leisure and frivolity; her father had abandoned the family before her third birthday, not that their straits hadn't already been dire. Father had been a younger son, without means, as well as a wastrel. She had grown up doing the kind of chores around the manor that her peers reserved for their servants. Cooking, washing dishes, carrying in firewood, ironing her brothers' shirts, feeding their two horses, mucking stalls…. There was always a chore awaiting her. There was always something left to do. There was simply not enough time in any given day, and she found tardiness inexcusable.

Of course, it was an hour's drive from her home on Sennen Cove to the city. Her older sister, Amelia, had taken the coach that day. Every Wednesday, come hell or high water, Amelia took Momma calling on their neighbors—never mind that Momma did not recognize anyone anymore. Momma wasn't well. She rarely had her wits about her, and sometimes failed to recognize her own daughters, but she loved to visit. No one was as adept at frivolity and gaiety as Momma. Momma often thought herself a debutante, surrounded by her merry girlfriends and chivalrous suitors. Julianne thought she knew what it had been like for her mother to grow up in a home filled with every luxury, where she was waited upon hand and foot, in a time before the Americans had sought their independence, a time of only occasional war—a time without fear, rancor and revolution. It had been a time of absolute splendor and indifferent and lavish ostentation, a time of blatant self-indulgence, a time when no one bothered to consider the misery of the common man next door.

Poor Momma. She had begun to fade away from them shortly after Father had left them for the gambling halls and loose women of London, Antwerp and Paris. But Julianne wasn't sure that a broken heart had caused Momma to lose her mind. She sometimes thought it far more simple and mundane: Momma simply could not manage in the dark, threatening circumstances of the modern world.

But their physician said it was important to keep her out and about. Everyone in the family agreed. So Julianne had been left with the curricle and their twenty-year-old mare. An hour's drive had become two.

She had never been more impatient. She lived for the monthly meetings in Penzance. She and her friend, Tom Treyton, who was as radical as she, had founded the society last year, after King Louis XVI had been deposed, and France had been declared a republic. They had both supported the French revolution from the moment it had become clear that great changes were afoot in that country, all in favor of easing the plight of the peasantry and middle class, but neither one had ever dreamed that the ancien regime would eventually fall.

Every week there was another twist and turn in France's crusade for freedom for the common man. Just last month, the Jacobin leaders in the National Assembly had staged a coup, arresting many of their opposition. A new constitution had resulted, giving every single man the vote! It was almost too good to be true. Recently the Committee of Public Safety had been established, and she was eager to learn what reforms it might soon bring about. And then there were the wars on the Continent. The new French Republic meant to bring liberty to all of Europe. France had declared war on the Haps-burg Empire in April of '92. But not everyone shared Julianne's and Tom's radical views and enthusiasm for France's new regime. Last February, Britain had joined Austria and Prussia and entered the war against France.

"Miss Greystone."

Julianne had been about to wave over the livery boy from across the street and ask him to water her mare. At the sound of the strident voice, she tensed and slowly turned.

Richard Colmes scowled at her. "You cannot park here."

She knew exactly why he meant to confront her. Julianne brushed a tendril of strawberry-blond hair away from her face. Very politely, she said, "It is a public street, Mr. Colmes. Oh, and good afternoon. How is Mrs. Colmes?"

The milliner was a short, pudgy man with gray whiskers. His wig was not powdered, but it was fine, indeed, and otherwise, his presence was impeccable, from his pale stockings and patent leather shoes to his embroidered coat. "I will not condone your society, Miss Greystone."

She wanted to bristle but she smiled sweetly instead. "It is hardly my society," she began.

"You founded it. You radicals are plotting the downfall of this great country!" he exclaimed. "You are all Jacobins, and you meet to exchange your terrible plots right next door. You should be ashamed of yourself, Miss Greystone!"

There was no point in smiling now. "This is a free country, sir, and we are all entitled to our views. And we can certainly meet next door, if John Fowey allows us to do so." Fowey was the innkeeper.

"Fowey is every bit as mad as you!" he cried. "We are at war, Miss Greystone, and you and your kind support the enemy. If they cross the Channel, you will no doubt welcome the French army with open arms!"

She held her head high. "You are simplifying a very complex issue, sir. I support the rights of every man—even the vagabonds who come to this town begging for a decent meal. Yes, I happen to support the revolution in France—but so do a great many of our countrymen! I am keeping company with Thomas Paine, Charles Fox, Lords Byron and Shelley, to name just a few of the distinguished minds who recognize that the changes in France are for the universal good of mankind. I am a radical, sir, but—"

He cut her off. "You are a traitor, Miss Greystone, and if you do not move your curricle, I will do so for you." He turned and stalked into his shop, slamming the door behind him. The glass pane rattled, the bells jingled.

She trembled, feeling sick inside her stomach. She had been about to tell the milliner just how much she loved her country. One could be a patriot and still support the new constitutional republic in France. One could be a patriot and still advocate for political reform and social change, both abroad and here at home.

"Come, Milly," she said to the mare. She led the horse and carriage across the street to the livery, hating the recent dispute. With every passing week, it was becoming harder and harder to associate with her neighbors—people she had known her entire life. Once, she had been welcomed into any shop or salon with open arms and warm smiles. It wasn't that way anymore.

The revolution in France and the subsequent wars on the Continent had divided the country.

And now she would have to pay for the privilege of leaving her mare at the livery, when they did not have change to spare. The wars had inflated the price of food stuffs, not to mention the cost of most other sundries. Greystone did have a thriving tin mine and an equally productive iron quarry, but Lucas invested most of the estate's profits, with an eye to the entire family's future. He was frugal, but they were all frugal—except for Jack, who was reckless in every possible way, which was probably why he was such an adept smuggler. Lucas was in London, or so she thought, although it was somewhat suspicious—he seemed to be in town all the time! And as for Jack, knowing her brother, he was probably at sea, running from a customs cutter.

She dismissed her worries about the unexpected expense, as there was no avoiding payment, and put aside the recent and unpleasant conversation with the milliner, although she might share it with her sister later.

Hurrying forward, she wiped dust from her freckled nose, then slapped it off her muslin skirts. It hadn't rained all week, and the roads were impossibly dry. Her gown was now beige instead of ivory.

As she approached the sign posted beside the inn's front door, excitement rose up, swift and hard. She had painted it herself.

Society of Friends of the People, it read. Newcomers Welcome. No Fees Required."

She was very proud of that last line. She had fought her dear friend Tom Treyton tooth and nail to waive all fees for memberships. Wasn't that what Thomas Hardy was doing for the corresponding societies? Shouldn't every man and woman be allowed to participate in an assembly meant to promote the cause of equality, liberty and the rights of man? No one should be denied their rights or the ability to participate in a cause that would liberate them because he or she couldn't afford the monthly dues!

Julianne entered the dark, cool public room of the inn and immediately saw Tom. He was about her height, with curly brown-blond hair and pleasant features. His father was a well-to-do squire, and he had been sent to Oxford for a university education. Julianne had thought he would reside in London upon graduation; instead, he had come home to set up a barrister's practice in town. Most of his clients were smugglers caught by the preventive men. Unfortunately, he had not been able to successfully defend his past two clients; both men been sentenced to two years' hard labor. Of course, they had been guilty as charged and everyone had known it.

Tom stood in the center of the public room, while everyone else was seated at tables and benches. Julianne instantly noticed that attendance was down yet again—even more than the last time. There were only two dozen men in the room, all of them miners, fishermen and smugglers. Since Britain had entered the Coalition against France in the war, there had been a resurgence of patriotism in the area. Men who had supported the revolution were now finding God and country. She supposed such a change of allegiance was inevitable.

Tom had seen her. His face lit up and he hurried over. "You are so late! I was afraid that something had happened, and that you would not make our assembly."

"I had to take Milly, and it was slow going." She lowered her voice. "Mr. Colmes would not let me park outside his shop."

Tom's blue eyes blazed. "Reactionary bastard."

She touched his arm. "He is frightened, Tom. Everyone is. And he doesn't understand what is happening in France."

"He is afraid we'll take his shop and his home and hand it over to the people. And maybe he should be afraid," Tom said.

They had disagreed on the method and means of reform for the past year, since they had first formed the society. "We can hardly march around dispossessing citizens of good standing like Richard Colmes," she rebuked softly.

He sighed. "I am being too radical, of course, but I wouldn't mind dispossessing the earl of Penrose and the baron of St. Just."

She knew he meant it. She smiled.

"Can we debate another time?"

"I know you agree that the rich have too much, and simply because they inherited their means or were given the lands and titles," he said.

"I do agree, but you also know I do not condone a massive theft from the aristocracy. I want to know what debate I just walked in on. What has happened? What is the latest news?"

"You should join the reformers, Julianne. You are not really as radical as you like to think," he groused. "There has been a rout. The La Vendee royalists were defeated at Nantes."

"This is wonderful news," Julianne said, almost disbelieving. "The last we heard, those royalists had defeated us and had taken the area along the river in Saumur."

The gains made by the French revolutionaries within France were by no means secure, and there was internal opposition throughout the country. A very strong royalist rebellion had begun last spring in La Vendee.

"I know. It is a great reversal of fortune." He smiled and took her arm. "Hopefully the damned rebels in Toulon, Lyon, Marseilles and Bordeaux will soon fall. And those in Brittany, as well."

They shared a look. The extent of internal opposition to the revolution was frightening. "I should write to our friends in Paris immediately," Julianne decided. One of the goals of all corresponding societies was to keep in close contact with the Jacobin clubs in France, showing their full support for the cause of revolution. "Maybe there is something more we can do here in Britain, other than to meet and discuss the latest events."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Series has promise, but...

    I wanted to love this book. It takes place during the French Revolution, a time period that has always fascinated me. It's about spies, a topic I've loved since "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" days. It's a historical romance, currently one of my favorite genres. However, even with all of that in it's favor, it was...okay.

    The history of the book was well-written, and the pacing was decent. For the most part I really liked the hero, Dom; though at the end he does make an awfully abrupt turn-around, it wasn't completely unbelievable, just a bit quick. The heroine's brothers--Jack and Lucas--have real promise, and I hope future books will be about one or both of them.

    The heroine, though--different story. Juliette just seemed to make one poor choice after another, tended toward the overdramatic, and was often naive to the point of ridiculousness. I'm still not convinced that the thing that made Dom's mother see her in a better light really would have done so...not that she was wrong to warm up to Juliette, really, but that's not the deal clincher that would have done it for me had I been in her situation.

    I'm willing to give the next book in the series a try; even though this one wasn't one of my favorites the series definitely has promise.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    Great read

    The setting for this book is during the french revolution with british spies and french spies. Also, there is love, betrayal, and forgiveness.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2014

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    Reviewed by JoAnne Book provided by NetGalley for review Review

    Reviewed by JoAnne
    Book provided by NetGalley for review
    Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

    I was so looking forward to reading Seduction – the first book of a new series by Brenda Joyce – since I loved her Deadly Series. All I can say is WOW! I couldn’t put the book down and I am thrilled there will be additional books written. The book is set in both France and England and you are effortlessly taken between the two countries and the war raging in France and the war efforts in England along with all the intrigue and spies. There are vivid descriptions of the settings as well that makes you feel like you are there.

    The book introduces the characters so well that you feel you know them. The leading lady is Julianne Greystone who is reminiscent to me of Francesca Cahill and the dominant male character is Dominic Paget, an Earl, who reminds me of a mix of Calder Hart and Rick Bragg all from the Deadly series. There was intrigue, mystery, suspense, love, romance, heartache and tears.

    Each chapter left you wanting more which is how I managed to read the book in less than two days and stayed up late to do so. There were several happily ever afters and most were unexpected although hoped for results. There was closure to this story since many loose ends were tied up but you know there is plenty more story to tell. I look forward to reading the other books in the series. If you haven’t read books by Joyce before I highly recommend you do. You won’t be disappointed.


    Favorite Quote:  He did not hesitate. He bent to kiss each cheek, then opened his arms. She stepped into them and he held her, comforting her for all that she had been through. She was so very familiar, for he had held her many times, intimately but casually, as he was doing now. But as he held her, he thought of Julianne. He was shocked, not just because his thoughts were errant, but because when he held Julianne, there was nothing casual about it. And then he was uneasy. In his arms, Nadine felt like a sister, not a fiancee. He loved her dearly, he would always protect her and provide for her, but he suddenly knew he would never be able to make love to her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    Always love Brenda Joyce!!

    I have read every one of Ms Joyces books and loved them all. Iove the research and accuracy she puts in all her books. My only issue is for the first time ever i couldnt connect with her characters. Julianne was too easily swayed for someone who is so supportive of the rebels. I was glad for the HEA but i am not closing this book with my heart being pulled like i want more. This could be because i am not a big fan of this period and dont know much about France revolutionary war. I undoubtly will read the rest of the series since i have read all of her novels. Here writting is still impeccable as always and her research is amazing. The historical accuracy in all her books is wonderful. The few embelishments he does make she informs and explains it too you later.

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  • Posted March 9, 2012

    Good story line.

    Very good story line but occasional slow sections. Overall good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Good

    Good

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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