Tempt the Devil

( 25 )

Overview

Any man in London would worship her. Yet Olivia is, quite frankly, bored of them all. Despite her many dalliances, she's never felt true passion, never longed for any lover's touch . . . until Julian, London's most notoriously wanton rake, decided to make her his mistress.

From the moment he first saw her, Julian knew he must possess her. And when he discovers her greatest secret, a scandal that could ruin her reputation and end her career, he knows just the way to use this ...

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Tempt the Devil

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Overview

Any man in London would worship her. Yet Olivia is, quite frankly, bored of them all. Despite her many dalliances, she's never felt true passion, never longed for any lover's touch . . . until Julian, London's most notoriously wanton rake, decided to make her his mistress.

From the moment he first saw her, Julian knew he must possess her. And when he discovers her greatest secret, a scandal that could ruin her reputation and end her career, he knows just the way to use this damaging information to his most delightful advantage. He offers Olivia a deal with the devil: he'll keep her secret . . . if she allows him the chance to show her true ecstasy.

But Olivia must be careful, for Julian has a secret of his own: he will not rest until she is completely, shamelessly his.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061234934
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/30/2008
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 630,685
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Always a voracious reader, Anna Campbell decided when she was a child that she wanted to be a writer. Her historical romances have been critically acclaimed and have won numerous awards, including the Australian Romance Readers’ Favourite Australian Romance Author from 2009 to 2012, and Favourite Historical Romance for Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed , Untouched, Captive of Sin and My Reckless Surrender. Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed also won Best First Meeting of a Couple, Best Love Scene and Best Cover for 2012. Anna lives in Queensland.

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Read an Excerpt

Tempt the Devil

Chapter One

London
April 1826

Across the packed, noisy salon, Julian Southwood, Earl of Erith, studied the notorious strumpet who would become his next mistress.

He was in the middle of Mayfair on a fine spring afternoon. Yet the reek of sex for sale was as pungent as in the slave markets of Marrakesh or Constantinople.

The crowd was mostly male, although a few provocatively dressed women mingled in the throng. Nobody paid them the slightest attention. Just as nobody but Erith seemed to notice the startling and realistically detailed frescoes of rampant Zeus seizing swooning Ganymede.

From a corner dais a pianist and violinist doggedly plowed through a Mozart sonata. The music came from a different world, a cleaner, purer world untainted by animal carnality.

A world the Earl of Erith would never again inhabit.

Erith shook off the bleak self-reflection and turned to the man beside him. "Introduce me, Carrington."

"Shall do, old chap."

Carrington didn't ask the object of Erith's interest. Why would he? Every man here, including his companion, focused on the slender woman reclining with studied nonchalance upon the chaise longue.

Without being told, Erith knew she'd deliberately chosen her setting in front of the tall west-facing windows. Late afternoon sun flooded her in soft gold and played across her loosely bound tumble of tawny hair. In the clear light, her vivid red dress was like a sudden flame. The effect was worthy of the Theatre Royal.

Even he, familiar to ennui with courtesans' tricks, had felt the breath catch in his throatat first sight of her. One glance and the blood in his veins hummed a deep, dark song of desire, and his skin prickled with the compulsion to make her his.

And she achieved this remarkable effect from half a room away.

Of course, this was no ordinary courtesan.

If she were, he wouldn't be here. The Earl of Erith only bought the best. The best tailoring. The best horses. The best women.

Even by his exacting standards, this particular cyprian was a prime article.

Two extraordinary women had set London on its ear in the last ten years. One, Soraya, cool, dark, mysterious as moonlight, had recently married the Duke of Kylemore, igniting the scandal of the decade. The other, radiant sun to Soraya's moon, arrayed herself now before Erith like a spectacular jewel.

He assessed her as closely as he'd contemplate an addition to his stables.

Lord, but she was a long Meg. A sheath of crimson velvet displayed her lean body to dramatic advantage. She'd fit his tall frame to perfection, even if his taste usually ran to plumper, more voluptuous bedmates. His memory filled pleasantly with the fleshy blond charms of Gretchen, the mistress he'd left in Vienna a month ago.

Gretchen couldn't contrast more strongly with the jade before him. Where the Tyrolean beauty offered soft, yielding curves, this woman was all spare elegance. The bosom under her gown's low neckline wasn't generous, and her waist was long and supple. He guessed the narrow skirt hid legs as graceful and elongated as a thoroughbred's.

Gretchen had been dewy with youth. This woman must verge on thirty. By that age, most bits of muslin frayed at the edges. But this bird of paradise continued her unchallenged reign over the male half of the ton. Her longevity as the most sought-after courtesan in London made her yet more intriguing.

His gaze slid up to her face. Like her body, it was unexpected. After the rhapsodies he'd heard in the clubs, he'd imagined less subtle attractions. The unmistakable greed he'd heard in her admirers' voices had led him to imagine a brassier, more overtly available bawd.

Her jaw was square, almost masculine. Her nose was a trifle too long, her cheekbones too high. From where he stood in the gilt-framed doorway, it was impossible to tell the color of her eyes, but they were large and brilliant and set at a slant.

Cat's eyes. Tiger's eyes.

Her mouth . . .

Her mouth perhaps explained what he'd heard about her preternatural allure. It might be too large. But who would complain? No man could look at those succulent lips without wanting them on his body. Erith's groin tightened at the decadent pictures rocketing through his mind.

Undoubtedly, she had . . . something.

She wasn't a great beauty. She was well past first youth. Nor did she flaunt her charms like tawdry trinkets on a fairground stall. If he'd encountered her at a respectable gathering rather than this louche brouhaha, he'd almost believe she belonged to his own class.

Almost.

After the hubbub, all this was surprising. Disappointing.

But even as he dismissed the wench's heralded charms, his eyes gravitated back to that spare, strangely aristocratic face. To that sin of a mouth. To the luxuriant hair. To that long, graceful body curved in complete relaxation upon her couch while men eddied around her in an endless whirlpool of fascination.

She was the most powerful figure in the room. Even at the distance, he felt the sexual energy sizzling around her.

She swept the room with a contemptuous glance. The raised angle of her chin and the irony that teased the corners of her mouth indicated defiance, courage, challenge.

He tried to deny the sensual pull she exerted. While his reckless heart kicked into the emphatic rhythm of a drum beating an army into battle.

No, she wasn't what he'd expected, but he didn't fool himself into believing she was anything less than quality.

She lifted her head and smiled at something the effete fellow standing at her elbow said. The lazy curve of those lush red lips shot another jolt of lava-hot arousal through Erith. That smile spoke of knowledge and sharp intelligence, and a sexual confidence he'd never encountered in a woman. Never, even though he'd dealt with the fallen sisterhood for the last sixteen years. Every drop of moisture dried from his mouth, and his interest, wearied through playing this game too long, engaged with an intensity that astonished him. The covetous buzz in his blood notched up a degree.

Tempt the Devil. Copyright © by Anna Campbell. 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
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Tempt The Devil

    As I've written before I love stories of redemption and this is one of those. In fact, all Anna Campbell's books seem to be of redemption. This is Ms. Campbell's third book and it's as good as the other two. I didn't like Julian at first. He was what I would call a bastard. He wanted Olivia just because he could have her. I can understand Olivia. I can really identify with Olivia, having been sexually abused myself, you don't think you're worth anything and no man will want you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 24, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a powerful late Regency romance

    In 1826 London, Olivia Raines is the first choice of anyone wanting a courtesan. Her beauty and skills are beyond comparison as nobody does it better than she does. Surprisingly, behind her enticing smile is a woman whose heart is ice.<BR/><BR/>Earl Julian Southwood has just come home to England after time in places like Marrakech and Constantinople. Considered a rake by polite society, he persuades Olivia to be his mistress. However, he is different than those hedonistic aristocrats who desire her especially those who have had her; he wants more than her body. He wants her mind, her heart and her soul given freely to him. Julian knows he will not get them unless he can get her to confess the secret that turned her heart into an iceberg even as she begins to thaw with a desire for his lover¿s touch.<BR/><BR/>TEMPT THE DEVIL is a powerful late Regency romance starring two wonderful vivacious lead characters whose role reversal refreshes the story line. He is the one who seeks much more depth with their arrangement; while she is the one whose past limits her relationship to sexual dalliances. Fans will think of Dean Martin¿s tune Everybody Needs Somebody Sometime as Julian builds his campaign around expanding that theme because he needs the whole Olivia; but she distrusts passion, intimacy, and especially love. Anna Campbell provides a potent, entertaining and heartwarming historical romance.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Read

    Definitely worth the read. This was the third book I've read by Anna Campbell, and I find myself looking forward to more...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    Not original, but has some funny dialog.

    No surprises here. The erotic writing was okay, nice but a bit fractured.
    The male lead was to much of a whimp and the female lead was to much of a ninny. However it was a good way to kill a couple of hours while waiting in line for your car to be fixed. You do not have to pay to close attention to the plot. Your average nice little romance.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fun, Fast Romp of a story

    I thought this was actually a very sweet story line. Nothing too deep but a page turning just the same. I rated it highly for a great afternoon read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Too repetitive & slow

    I only bought this novel because it was highly rated...I disagree. The scenes repeated over & over to the point I knew what would happen next.

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