Sleepless at Midnight

Sleepless at Midnight

4.7 20
by Jacquie D'Alessandro

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The ladies in London are abuzz over Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, especially Miss Sarah Moorehouse. Her imagination is fired up, so when she spies Matthew Devenport, Marquess Langston, mysteriously sneaking home in the wee hours clutching a shovel, she simply must investigate. Impelled by curiosity, the adventurous lass steals into his bedchamber—only to be


The ladies in London are abuzz over Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, especially Miss Sarah Moorehouse. Her imagination is fired up, so when she spies Matthew Devenport, Marquess Langston, mysteriously sneaking home in the wee hours clutching a shovel, she simply must investigate. Impelled by curiosity, the adventurous lass steals into his bedchamber—only to be caught red-handed by the impossibly handsome and totally naked nobleman.

The Marquess Langston has more important things to worry about than a group of literature-loving ladies. But Matthew's grand plan to rescue the family from ruin could be lost when he discovers Sarah hiding behind his bedroom curtain. What is this meddlesome woman up to? And why are his desires inflamed by a chit who is too inquisitive for her own good? Well, two can play at this game . . . and when Matthew captures the beguiling Sarah in all her naked glory, the night of mischief has only just begun.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

Sleepless at Midnight

By Jacquie D'Alessandro

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Jacquie D'Alessandro
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061231384

Chapter One

A chill of unease snaked down Matthew Devenport's spine and he stilled his shovel to scan the darkened cemetery. All his senses on alert, he strained his ears yet only heard the chirping of crickets and the rustling of leaves from the unseasonably cool breeze heavily scented with the threat of rain.

Clouds obscured the moon, enveloping him in shadows, which served his purpose well, but also made it impossible to discern if someone lurked nearby—a realization that did nothing to stop the unsettling quickening of his heartbeat.

He glanced around again, then forced himself to relax. Bloody hell, why this sudden attack of nerves? Nothing appeared amiss. Yet he couldn't shake the eerie sensation that had plagued him since leaving the house at midnight—that someone was following him. Watching him.

An owl hooted, and his pulse jumped, and he pressed his lips together in annoyance at allowing the atmosphere to spook him. He'd made these secret sojourns for months and was well accustomed to the eerie sounds that rose from the darkened forest. Still, he reached down and closed his fingers over the cool metal hilt of the knife tucked in his boot. He didn't relish the thought of using the weapon, but he would if he had to. He hadn't come this far, persevered this long, to have anyone threaten his search.

Search? The word mocked him, and he swallowed the bitter sound that rose in his throat as he jabbed his shovel into the hard ground. This was more than a search. Over the course of the past year, these damned ventures into the night had become more of a quest. An obsession that robbed him of not only sleep, but of his peace of mind. Soon . . . it will all be over soon.

One way or another.

Lifting a heavy shovelful of dirt, he tossed it aside, his tired muscles straining with effort. How many more holes could he dig? How many more sleepless nights could he endure? Even during the day, when he didn't search for fear of being discovered, his task haunted him. For he now had less than a month left to keep his pledge. And honor, his integrity, demanded that he do so. He'd once compromised both, and as he was still paying the consequences for that folly, he refused to make that same mistake again.

Yes, so much better to make other mistakes, his inner voice sneered.

Such as these nightly journeys into the dark.

But now, after trying for so long yet failing, there was no denying his greatest enemy.


His time was almost up.

He flung several more shovelfuls of dirt, then paused to swipe his sweaty brow with the back of his hand. Perspiration trickled down his aching back, and he blew out a disgusted breath, frustrated by the fact that as much as he hated this endless searching, he ironically hated even more the fact that his house was now filled with guests, thus allowing him less time to continue the search. They'd arrived en masse earlier this evening and he'd forced himself to endure their company over dinner, an interminable meal he'd thought would never end.

Damn it, he didn't want guests. Didn't want people invading his home. His privacy. Yet what choice did he have? He needed a bride and needed one quick. And by God, he'd do whatever he had to in order to get one. He paused, his gaze lingering on the hole he'd just dug, and his fingers tightened on the rough wooden handle of the shovel. Yes, he'd do whatever he had to.

As was necessary with so many other facets of his life, he shoved aside his own desires and focused on what needed to be done. There were choices to be made, life-altering choices, and as much as he didn't wish to make them, he could delay no longer. And as much as he didn't relish the interruption of playing host, if he'd left the estate and traveled to London instead of inviting guests here to Kent, he'd have lost even more time.

A flash of lightning followed by an ominous growl of thunder interrupted his dark thoughts. Several raindrops splashed against the back of his neck. Seconds later it seemed as if the heavens were ripped asunder. A deluge of water spewed from the sky, stabbing his skin like chilled needles. He was sorely tempted to head back to the house, to abandon his task, but instead he lifted his face and closed his eyes, basking in the sting of the cold spray that made him feel, if only for a few moments, as if he were cleansed of the onerous chore that possessed him.

Lightning flashed again, streaking across the darkened sky, and he opened his eyes. For several seconds the Devenport family tombstones dating back centuries were illuminated in sharp, rain-soaked relief. Matthew blinked against the sudden brightness, then froze as his gaze riveted on a man. A man making his way in an unmistakably furtive manner across the back boundary of the cemetery. A man he instantly recognized.

Bloody hell, what was Tom Willstone doing skulking about on private property in the middle of the night? Had the village blacksmith seen him? Had it been Tom's prying eyes he'd felt boring into him? Not that he wasn't perfectly within his rights to dig holes on his own estate, but given the nature of his task, Matthew had no desire to be observed. Observation would only lead to speculation, and speculation to endless questions—none of which he would, or could, answer.

Another bolt of lightning flashed and he saw Tom disappear among the soaring elms and shrubbery that marked the property line separating Langston Manor and the path leading to the village of Upper Fladersham. He didn't know what Tom was doing or what he might have seen, but he needed to find out. Which would require a trip to the village.


Excerpted from Sleepless at Midnight by Jacquie D'Alessandro Copyright © 2007 by Jacquie D'Alessandro. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Growing up on Long Island, New York, Jacquie D'Alessandro fell in love with romance at an early age. She dreamed of being swept away by a dashing rogue riding a spirited stallion. When her hero finally showed up, he was dressed in jeans and drove a Volkswagen, but she recognized him anyway. They married after both graduating from Hofstra University and are now living their happily-ever-afters in Atlanta, Georgia. They have one grown son, who is a dashing rogue in the making. The author of more than thirty historical and contemporary romances, Jacquie loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website.

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Sleepless at Midnight 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i've read quite a few of Ms. alessandro's books and this is just all HER. the verbal play between the heroine and her counterpart as well as the other supporting characters all come together creating a very intriguing storyline. SHE is not your typical blushing beauty that ALL men are just dying to go after, thank goodness, but she is smart, engaging and ultimately irresistable for the male lead. i like how the author created that aspect of the heroine, it's refreshing and new and i honestly get tired of the unbelievably sexy, sensual women that many authors so easily incorporate into their female leads. i enjoyed this book. it made me smile and there were a couple of chuckles or two, which is pretty good for my taste.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series of four books had it all...romance, suspence, and humor. Would definetly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. Worth the time and money. Definitely recommend this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a difficult time putting it down!!!! I enjoyed the intrigue, romance, mystery, and comedy in this book. This author has never dissapointed me. I HIGHLY Recommend this one.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The Ladies Literary Society of London are excited that a woman wrote the scary gothic Frankenstein as they are not tame Jane Austen supporters. Using literature purloined from males, they debate the perfect man. Afterward SLEEPLESS AT MIDNIGHT, Miss Sarah Moorehouse observes from the shadows Marquess Matthew Devenport sneaking home in the early morning hours holding a shovel she wonders why such a tool at such a late hour. Unable to resist after the Shelley thriller stirred her imagination, she decides to investigate the nocturnal Marquess starting with his bedroom. However she proves to be a poor sleuth as Matthew catches her snooping.----------------------- Although he finds Sarah quite beautiful, Matthew has no time to fool with her and her literary ladies. Instead he worries that snooping Sarah will find what he has hidden behind a curtain, which would be the final nail in the coffin for his family. Still he wonders why this female ¿spy¿ seeks out his activities so he decides to play at her game and make inquiries into Sarah in order to learn why him.--------------------- This entertaining late Regency romance stars two fascinating lead protagonists and a strong support cast gathered together for a party. The fumbled ¿investigations¿ between Matthew and Sarah lead to humorous scenarios as each wonders what the other hides even as their attraction grows. Sub-genre fans will appreciate the Ladies Literary Society of London tale as love finds a way. --------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the plot, characters and the love story .
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I loved this book and author. It was so entertaining. I laughed out loud. Loved the characters. The mystery kept me engaged to the last page. Loved the humor best. Waiting fir Mattgew go "ugly up himself.". Really lived it. Want more.
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