Temptation and Surrender (Cynster Series)

Temptation and Surrender (Cynster Series)

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by Stephanie Laurens

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"'What are you doing now?' he asked. 'Do you keep a journal?'

So I make my first entry today."

With these words in response to prodding from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau embarked on a writing enterprise—his Journal—that occupied him continously over the

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One Great Author. One Great CD

"'What are you doing now?' he asked. 'Do you keep a journal?'

So I make my first entry today."

With these words in response to prodding from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau embarked on a writing enterprise—his Journal—that occupied him continously over the entire period of his literary career, from 1837 to 1862. In one sense Thoreau's Journal is his greatest achievement as a writer, the remarkable record of a remarkable man's view of the world. Ranging in topic from the entries titled "Young Women at Parties" to "Sunlight after the Storm", the Journal is neither diary nor autobiography in the usual meaning of these terms, because the daily chronicle and the narrative of outward events are minor aspects of this voluminous work. The Journal is clearly not the work of a diarist, but the notebook of a writer dedicated to the continuous practice of composition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In Lauren's 17th Cynster novel, romance abounds, but the plot lacks drive. Twenty-five-year-old Emily Beauregard escapes her hateful uncle's house with her four younger siblings and settles in Colyton, getting a job as the manager of Red Bells Inn, a rundown establishment in need of an overhaul. She is drawn to her new boss, Jonas Tallent, a dashing, wealthy aristocrat and Cynster relation, who returns Emily's affections, but Emily can't be distracted from what she came to Colyton for-to find her family's long-lost treasure and regain her status in society. The suspense of where the treasure could be is not enough to hold this story together; when Emily excels as the inn's manager, Tallent professes that he wants to marry her, and the town showers her with affection, it becomes unclear why she so desperately needs the treasure anymore. The extended sex scenes will delight Laurens's fans, but the repetitive arc (Emily swooning over Tallent then denying his advances, Tallent trying to discover what brought Emily to his town while seducing her) is wearying. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Cynster Series
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Product dimensions:
6.74(w) x 4.32(h) x 1.11(d)

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Temptation and Surrender LP

A Cynster Novel

By Stephanie Laurens
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009

Stephanie Laurens
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061719967

Chapter One

Colyton, Devon
October 1825

I feel like tearing my hair out—not that that would do any good."

The dark hair in question fell in elegantly unruly locks about Jonas Tallent's handsome head. His brown eyes filled with disgusted irritation, he slumped back in the armchair behind the desk in the library of the Grange, the paternal home he would eventually inherit, a fact that accounted in multiple ways for his current, sorely frustrated state.

At ease in the chair facing the desk, Lucifer Cynster, Jonas's brother-in-law, smiled in wry commiseration. "Without intending to add to the burden weighing so heavily upon you, I feel I should mention that expectations are only rising with the passage of time."

Jonas humphed. "Hardly surprising—Juggs's demise, while being no loss whatsoever, has raised the specter of something better at the Red Bells. When Edgar found the old sot dead in a puddle of ale, I swear the entire village heaved a sigh of relief—and then immediately fell to speculating on what might be if the Red Bells had a competent innkeeper."

Juggs had been the innkeeper of the Red Bells for nearly a decade; he'd been found dead by the barman, Edgar Hills, two months ago.

Jonas settled deeper into hischair. "I have to admit I was first among the speculators, but that was before Uncle Martin expired of overwork and the pater went off to sort out Aunt Eliza and her horde, leaving the matter of the new incumbent at the Red Bells in my lap."

If truth be told, he'd welcomed the opportunity to return from London and assume full management of the estate. He'd been trained to the task throughout his youth, and while his father was still hale, he was becoming less robust; his unexpected and likely to be lengthy absence had seemed the perfect opportunity to step in and take up the reins.

That, however, hadn't been the principal reason he'd so readily kicked London's dust from his heels.

Over the last months he'd grown increasingly disaffected with the life he'd more or less fallen into in town. The clubs, the theaters, the dinners and balls, the soirees and select gatherings—the bucks and bloods, and the haughty matrons so many of whom were only too happy to welcome a handsome, independently wealthy, well-bred gentleman into their beds.

When he'd first gone on the town, shortly after Phyllida, his twin sister, had married Lucifer, a life built around such diversions had been his goal. With his innate and inherited attributes—and, courtesy of his connection with Lucifer, the imprimatur of the Cynsters—achieving all he'd desired hadn't been all that hard. However, having attained his goal and moved in tonnish circles for the past several years, he'd discovered that life on that gilded stage left him hollow, strangely empty.

Unsatisfied. Unfulfilled.

In reality, unengaged.

He'd been very ready to come home to Devon and assume control of the Grange and the estate while his father hied to Norfolk to support Eliza in her time of need.

He'd wondered whether life in Devon, too, would now feel empty, devoid of challenge. In the back of his mind had hovered the question of whether the deadening void within was entirely an effect of tonnish life or, far more worrying, was the symptom of some deeper inner malaise.

Within days of returning to the Grange he'd been reassured on that point at least. His life was suddenly overflowing with purpose. He hadn't had a moment when one challenge or another hadn't been front and center before him, clamoring for attention. Demanding action. Since returning home and seeing his father off, he'd barely had time to think.

That unsettling sense of disconnection and emptiness had evaporated, leaving only a novel restlessness beneath.

He no longer felt useless—clearly the life of a country gentleman, the life he'd been born and bred to, was his true calling—yet still there was something missing from his life.

Currently, however, it was the missing link at the Red Bells Inn that most severely exercised him. Replacing the unlamented Juggs had proved to be very far from a simple matter.

He shook his head in disgusted disbelief. "Whoever would have imagined finding a decent innkeeper would prove so damned difficult?"

"How far afield have you searched?"

"I've had notices posted throughout the shire and beyond—as far as Plymouth, Bristol, and Southampton." He pulled a face. "I could send to one of the London agencies, but we did that last time and they landed us with Juggs. If I had my choice, I'd have a local in the job, or at least a Westcountryman." Determination hardening his face, he sat up. "And if I can't have that, then at the very least I want to interview the applicant before I offer them the job. If we'd seen Juggs before the agency hired him, we'd never have contemplated foisting him on the village."

His long legs stretched before him, still very much the startlingly handsome, dark-haired devil who years before had made the ton's matrons swoon, Lucifer frowned. "It seems odd you've had no takers."

Jonas sighed. "It's the village—the smallness of it—that makes all the good applicants shy away. The countering facts—that when you add the surrounding houses and estates we're a decent-sized community, and with no other inn or hostelry in the vicinty we're assured a good trade—aren't sufficient, it seems, to weigh against the drawbacks of no shops and a small population." With one long finger, he flicked a sheaf of papers. "Once they learn the truth of Colyton, all the decent applicants take flight."

He grimaced and met Lucifer's dark blue eyes. "If they're good candidates, they're ambitious, and Colyton, so they believe, has nothing to offer them by way of advancement."

Lucifer grimaced back. "It seems you're looking for a rare bird—someone capable of managing an inn who wants to live in a backwater like Colyton."

Jonas eyed him speculatively. "You live in this backwater—can I tempt you to try your hand at managing an inn?"


Excerpted from Temptation and Surrender LP by Stephanie Laurens Copyright © 2009 by Stephanie Laurens. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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