4.4 208
by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

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A pact is sealed in secret behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison. In return for a night of unparalleled pleasure, a dashing condemned criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress, thereby rescuing her with his name from an impending and abhorred arranged union. But in the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a solemn promise is broken, as a sensuous

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A pact is sealed in secret behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison. In return for a night of unparalleled pleasure, a dashing condemned criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress, thereby rescuing her with his name from an impending and abhorred arranged union. But in the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a solemn promise is broken, as a sensuous free spirit takes flight to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the stranger she married to face the gallows unfulfilled.

But Ruark Beauchamp's destiny is now eternally intertwined with that of the tempestuous, intoxicating Shanna. He will be free . . . and he will find her. For no iron ever forged can imprison his resolute passion. And no hangman's noose will deny Ruark the ecstasy that is rightfully his.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

A desperate bargain and a hasty marriage in Newgate Prison have unexpected consequences for Shanna and Ruark in this lively 1977 romance with a lush Caribbean setting.

—Kristin Ramsdell

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Chapter One

Sometimes it is coincidence that brings two people together, and some times that first meeting is brought about by the determination of one's character. The exquisitely beautiful and independent Shanna needs a temporary husband, and quickly. So, gathering all of her dignity and resolve, she makes a secret pact with a dark and dangerous man, never expecting that her bargain will garner her a love beyond comparison.

Shanna moved to stand close before him to lend weight to her words. Her eyes wide and appealing, she stared into his and spoke almost in a whisper.

"Ruark, I am in distress. I must be wed to a man of sterling name, and you must be aware of the importance in England of the Beauchamp fam ily. No one would know except myself, of course, that you are no kin. And since you have little future need of your narne, I could use it well."

Ruark' s confusion blunted his wits. He could not think of her motive. A lover? A child? Certainly not debts, for she was of money such as no debt could entangle. His puzzled frown met the blue-green eyes.

"Surely, madam, you jest. To propose marriage to a man about to hang? Upon my word, I cannot see the logic in it."

" 'Tis a matter of some delicacy." Shanna presented her back to him as if embarrassed and paused before continuing. She spoke de murely over her shoulder. "My father, Orlan Trahern, gave me one year to find a husband, and failure shall find me betrothed to whom he wills. He sees me a spinster and wants heirs for his fortunes. The man must be of a family privy to King George. I have not yet found the one I would choose as my own, though the year is almost gone. You are my one last hopeto avoid a marriage arranged by my father." Now came the hardest part. She had to plead with this filthy, ragged colonial. She kept her face averted to hide her distaste. "I have heard,'' she said carefully, "that a man may marry a woman to take her debts to the gallows in re turn for an easing of his final days. I can give you much, Ruark--food, wines, suitable clothing and warm blankets. And surely my cause--"

At his continued silence, Shanna turned toward him and tried to see his features in the gloom, but he had carefully maneuvered their po sitions until she now was presented full to the light when she faced him. The wily beggar had moved so stealthily that she had not been aware of it.

Ruark's voice was somewhat strained as he finally said, "Milady, you test me sorely. A gentleman my mother tried to teach me to be, with good respect for womanhood." Shanna's breath caught as he stepped nearer. "But my father, a man of considerable wisdom, taught me early in my youth a rule I've long abided."

He walked slowly around her, much as she had done with him a few moments before, then halted when he stood at her back. Scarcely breathing, Shanna waited, feeling his nearness yet not daring to move.

"Never--" Ruark's whisper came close to her ear, stirring awake a tingling of fear in her. "Never buy a mare with a blanket on."

Shanna could not suppress a flinch as his hands came over her shoulders and hovered above the fasteners of her cloak.

"May I?'' he asked and his voice, though soft, seemed to fill the very corners of the cell. Ruark accepted her silence as consent, and Shanna braced herself while his lean fingers undid the velvet frogs. He drew the cloak from her, and though lacking splendorous trimming and fancy laces, her deep red velvet gown enhanced her beauty divinely. She was the gem, the jewel of rare beauty which made the dress more than a garment but rather a work of art. Above the hooped panniers which expanded her skirt on the sides, the tightly laced bodice showed the narrowness of her waist while it cupped her bosom to a most daring display above the square decolletage. In the golden glow of the tallow lantern, her skin gleamed like rich, warm satin.

Ruark stood close, his breath falling softly against her hair, his head filled with the delicious scent of woman.

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Shanna 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 208 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just noticed this book as a former free boo friday selection...and wow...did it take me back? I read this when I was about 21.... at my sister's recommendation...It was one of the reasons I became an avid reader of all kinds of books..... This author allowed this character to be so wanted to read about other fictional characters in all kinds of genres.... When I read this book, I was more of a dreamer, and this book took that vice of mine to a place that made it possible for there to be a Shanna and many characters like her to exist between the pages... When a writer does that, you want to read more of their writing...Shanna will make you want to read all of this writers work....I have never been disappointed in KW book... I am older now....and my tastes in fiction has changed somewhat...but when I see or hear KW takes me back to a very sweet time in my life where I was dazzled by simply opening a love of reading was born because of this writer...and for that, I will always be grateful... For years I kept this book on the top shelf of my closet....and would vow to read it again when the memory of the story had never did fade....I eventually felt a little guilty that I had kept the book to myself for so long....and thought why not pass it on to I let it go eventually...and now that I have a nook... I will put it back on my it will remind me not only of one of the best love stories written....but my sister who introduced me to a book that changed the way I spent time to myself.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is one GREAT READ!! It compares to the GONE WITH THE WIND of my teen generation. I read this book some thirty years ago while I was in Germany, I loaned it to someone else to read and never got it back. I searched for years for another copy and finally found one in a second hand book store. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a wonderful romance novel that will trigger enough emotions to keep thinking of the book years after you finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Woodiwiss will forever be the be all end all of all romance writers in my opinion. I will never get sick of picking up my tattered copy of this book and reading it over and over again. I am more in love with him each time I read it - :) Woodiwiss to me wrote the best historical romance novel ever when she penned Shanna - it will never be topped - :)
KoKoGrand More than 1 year ago
I read this book and many others by this author when I was a young woman. I am retired now and was looking for a good read and didn't find any that took me away like this author did so I've decided to buy and reread some of my favorites. I'm starting off with Kathleen E Woodiwiss because The Wolf and the Dove was the first historical romance novel I ever read and I still remember it and how much I enjoyed it. You should try them too, you won' regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the book. The excessive lack not only in correct punctuation but in any punctuation at all will make me go back to the real book. Why can't electronic books, which cost the same, have the same attention to detail?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As good as I remembered from years ago when I first read it. You can see how much Shanna grows up over the course of the story, and even how much more mature the hero she finally comes to know and love becomes. I like how the characters have distinct personalities, and are well developed. The storyline is phenomenal, with a little of everything in it, and it is all tightly woven together in a master plotline. I am old enough to remember how different this book was from any other romance novel when it came out. It was a masterfully done story which was really the first to give the romance genre respectability because of the wonderful quality of the writing. I can remember the librarian asking me if I had heard of this book and recommending it by saying it was not like anything else out there or any other book published. Many years later, I can say that the love scenes which are so realistic and at the time caused quite a stir because they are descriptive in a way that wasn't done in books before then , got it exactly right. There is a trend in current romances that I have seen that go too far and sacrifice the romance of the story by inserting really gratuitous and vulgar sex scenes between characters that haven't known each other long enough to actual have any real feelings for each other. This book is not like that, and remembers that first and foremost, the love and romance is the most important part. I swear, some of the modern romances come pretty close to pornographic, at the expense of believable character development and a plot that is fully developed and carefully crafted. I enjoyed reading this again, and it's still one of my very favorites after all these years. It is not dated at all, being historical fiction. With everything I've said I hate to mention this, but someone needs to edit this e-version. Everything else is edited fine, but my copy is missing periods at the end of multiple sentences on almost every page. As the original novel had no such problem, it's got to be from when they formatted it to an e-version, but for some reason I haven't seen this mentioned in any other reviews.
read2011 More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books! Shanna was so spoiled and determined to have her way and stay single. She marries a man unknown to her and bound for death in prison . Going back to her father who had order her to marry as a widow. Unknown to her the man she married was never put to death and ends up in her life again. Very good book I loved it!
Pam Lackey More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I have read this book several times over the years and each time it captivates me. Love, love, love it!!
Sassenach79 More than 1 year ago
As romances go this novel was pretty satisfying. The protagonists had to go through a lot of adversity through the completion of the story. Shanna herself could be a bit annoying because she was always going against the grain but it was necessary to the storyline. Ruark (the male protagonist) was hot, intelligent, strong, persistent, resilient, and charming. When Mr. Perfect comes along why not lose yourself in him?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great. I couldn't stop reading it and now I want to read it again. My parents read this book 21 years ago and thought it was so good they named me after it. I would recommend this to book to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this author...second book i have read from her and loved it. Over 500 pages and worth the money..
westieloverAZ More than 1 year ago
This was the first romance novel I ever read. It was given to me by a new neighbor about 30 years ago. I couldn't put it down then, so bought for my nook and reread it again last month. Still a very exciting book.
MR07 More than 1 year ago
I have read Shanna since it came out in paper back., and now I have Purchased it for my NOOK! I have read it many times & just love the storyline.
Travelover More than 1 year ago
This was my very first romance novel.  It is absolutely my all time favorite.  A strong heroine, a determined hero, vivid scenery and passionate love scenes set the tone for ALL romance novels to come.  I fell in love with Ruark Beauchamp, and I read every Woodiwiss novel - even going back to her first -The Flame and The Flower.  Every now and then I re-read Shanna, and it has not lost its timeless appeal in almost 40 years.  I highly recommend readers purchase this book.  You will not be disappointed, and you will know why Woodiwiss become the Mother of Romance Novels.  
colleen dougherty More than 1 year ago
Love this author work great hero but didnt like how many times shanna threw him to the dogs but he loved her and didnt give up on her would recomend
Danielle Pearson More than 1 year ago
Shanna was the first book I read by Kathleen E Woodiwss and because of it I have read all of her other books too. She has amazing creativity and her characters capture you from page one. If you aren't sure whether you should read her I say, you should. And you should start with Shanna because its one of her best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love historical romance and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss is one of the best. I want to read more!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shanna is conceited spoiled and vile tempered this does not make for a good romance novel too remember i normally like this author but not this character personally this was a waste of money even if it was less than five dollars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Totally entertaining. Wish my man was so patient when I am spoiled and entitled, but Shanna came through like a champ. Sad when it ended.
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survivorCM More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books.....Lots of action through  the end of the book, never a dull moment. LOVE this book.....