Temptation

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Overview


New York City, 1909: A woman ahead of her time, Temperance O'Neil is happily married to her work -- helping single mothers on the city streets -- which she funds with her inheritance. When her disapproving stepfather, Angus McCairn, cuts off her income, an infuriated Temperance has no choice but to do as he commands: live, as a proper unmarried lady, in the family's home in Edinburgh. She soon strikes up a bargain with the elder McCairn to win her passage home by agreeing to ...
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Overview


New York City, 1909: A woman ahead of her time, Temperance O'Neil is happily married to her work -- helping single mothers on the city streets -- which she funds with her inheritance. When her disapproving stepfather, Angus McCairn, cuts off her income, an infuriated Temperance has no choice but to do as he commands: live, as a proper unmarried lady, in the family's home in Edinburgh. She soon strikes up a bargain with the elder McCairn to win her passage home by agreeing to Þnd a wife for his nephew, James -- a task few would dare undertake.

A brusque, strapping man, James McCairn has little use for the new "housekeeper" on his Highlands farm -- though the place could surely use a woman's touch. But as she attempts to match James with his ideal mate, Temperance makes a surprising discovery: behind his gruff exterior is a kind, intelligent, caring soul. And his perfect match may surprise Temperance most of all....

Includes an excerpt from The Summerhouse, Jude Deveraux's splendid new novel!

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Our Review
Deveraux's Latest Temptation
Hidden secrets, high passion, and a healthy dose of humor are Deveraux hallmarks, and Temptation is one of her best. The tempting bestseller features a fish-out-of-water heroine, a hidden family treasure, and a Scottish laird who would rather die than be married.

Temperance O'Neil is a women's rights activist in New York City at the turn of the 20th century. At the age of 29, she had given little thought, time, or attention to her love life and thrown all of her energy into helping the city's poor and downtrodden women. But when Temperance's widowed mother shows up with her new husband, Angus McCairn, everything changes. Angus has control over the O'Neil money and uses it to force Temperance to move to Scotland, where he's determined to make a "proper" lady of her. This results in a brief but amusing battle of wills that culminates in a blackmail deal: If Temperance can make Angus's nephew, James, take a wife within the next six months, then she can have her money and her house back.

Temperance travels to James's home in the Highlands, only to discover a huge, filthy, ramshackle house and a style of living that is far from the city ways she is used to. Showing up under the guise of being the new housekeeper, Temperance sets about tidying up the place and finding James the perfect woman. While trying to sneak a humorous parade of inappropriate candidates past James's watchful eye, Temperance finds herself falling in love with the man. But just as she comes to this realization, the perfect match for James shows up: his childhood sweetheart, who is now a widow. Torn between the work she once did, her passion for the people in her new life, and her love for James, Temperance makes a hard decision that forces her to risk everything she holds dear.

Deveraux makes good use of historical detail and creates characters who are charmingly and believably flawed. There's a fun mystery to solve regarding a hidden family treasure and the reason behind Angus's determination to see his nephew married off, and plenty of obstacles to overcome. All of it is seasoned with Deveraux's trademark humor and passion, a recipe that never fails to satisfy.

--Beth Amos

Kathe Robin
Jude Deveraux has a winner with this story’s engaging blend of Beauty and the Beast and The Taming of the Shrew. The wonderful early 20th-century backdrop of the women’s rights movement, centering on the outdated laws against women’s freedoms and their place in society, are brought to the fore, but not at the expense of the wonderful, utterly engaging and entertaining love story. This is a fine example of the reason why we read and love the genre.
Romantic Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like many recent heroines of historical romance, Temperance O'Neil, turn-of-the-century New York women's rights activist, doesn't think she needs a man. The beautiful, resourceful 29-year-old has conquered politicians and audiences, even the mayor, but in 1909 men control the purse strings, so she must move to Scotland when her mother marries dour Angus McCairn. Angus soon cuts a deal with his willful stepdaughter: she can have her financial freedom and return to New York if she finds a wife for his nephew, James. Posing as James's new housekeeper, Temperance heads to his estate in the Highlands, not knowing that according to his father's will, James must marry for love before his fast-approaching 35th birthday. Other surprises await her, too. Beneath his rough exterior, James happens to be an attractive, educated, amusing, sensitive man. The Scottish Cold Comfort Farm where he tends sheep has fallen on hard times, but a treasure, hidden somewhere on the premises, promises riches galore. Fannie Farmer cookbook in hand, Temperance whips the old castle into shape, launches a millinery business for the town widow, delivers baby lambs and shares temper tantrums and passionate sex with the laird. Trouble threatens when James's ex-girlfriend reappears on the scene claiming to know where the treasure is hidden, but Temperance has handled bigger problems before. This is not the first time Deveraux (High Tide, etc.) has set a romance in the Highlands or found humor in the city slicker who tames the wilds. Here, too, she delights in the corny clashing of Temperance's modern professionalism and James's archaic near-feudal existence. Deveraux knows that the lively pace and happy endings she has delivered with relentless consistency since 1976 will keep loyal readers turning pages fast enough to overlook any lapses of accuracy, subtlety or freshness. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Temperance O'Neil, 29 and unmarried in New York City in 1909, is consumed by her work: helping poor women and their children. She is astounded when her mother marries a Scotsman and he, taking control of the money her father left her, insists that she move to Scotland with them. She is determined to annoy him so greatly that he will willingly send her back (with her financial resources) to America if she'll find a wife for his nephew, the laird of a clan in a remote village. Although Temperance is sure this will be easy, she has met her match in James McCairn, who is as stubborn as she. This spicy romance manages a few unexpected twists and turns that may surprise even the experienced romance listener, and Carrington MacDuffie has an unerring ability to switch between the most authentic of American and Scottish accents, handling age and gender well to boot. Her dialects reflect differences in education and social standing, and her narration always captures the necessary emotional tone. Quite a treat, this is highly recommended. Melody A. Moxley, Rowan P.L., Salisbury, NC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A fiery social activist will do anything to advance the cause of women's rights . . . but in 1909, she'll have to do her stepfather's bidding first.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743410182
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2001
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jude Deveraux

Jude Deveraux is the author of forty-one New York Times bestsellers, including MOONLIGHT IN THE MORNING, SCENT OF JASMINE, SCARLET NIGHTS, DAYS OF GOLD, LAVENDER MORNING, RETURN TO SUMMERHOUSE, and SECRETS. To date, there are more than sixty million copies of her book in print worldwide. She lives in Florida. To learn more, visit www.judedeveraux.com.

Biography

Jude Deveraux was born in Fairdale, Kentucky, the eldest of a family of three girls and one boy. After earning a degree in art from Murray State University and studying teaching at the University of New Mexico, she taught fifth grade in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She left when her first book, The Land of Enchantment, was accepted for publication by Avon books.

Jude's first books were historical, chiefly featuring the Montgomery and Taggert families. Stories of the lives and loves of these families spanned over several centuries in the US and England. They are filled with details of the history and culture of the time periods and settings of her novels. Her more recent series of books focuses on the McTern family and its descendants. The novels are set in the fictional town of Edilean, Virginia, and go from when the family arrived in America to contemporary time.

Jude's exhaustive research on every aspect of her books has made for a rich and detailed background for each of her novels. Her stories are adventurous, funny, and at times heartwarming. Jude has had over thirty books on the New York Times Bestsellers List, over 60 million copies in print, and has been translated into 18 languages.

Jude has lived in England and Egypt as well as in several American states, and she has traveled around the world. She likes to read nonfiction and murder mysteries, work in her garden, and in boxing class, she enjoys showing much younger males that she can throw a mean right cross.

Good To Know

Deveraux began her career as a fifth-grade teacher.

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Read an Excerpt


Chapter One
1909

NEW YORK

"And in conclusion, ladies...and gentlemen..." There was a murmur of amusement in the big auditorium, for there were very few men who attended Temperance O'Neil's lectures. They couldn't stand to hear the truth of what Temperance said, couldn't stand to hear and see what they had done to the American family.

"I say that the fight must continue, that we have not yet begun to make inroads into this problem, but we mustn't give up. We must continue!"

At that Temperance stepped back from the podium and dropped her head so only the wide wheel of her trademark hat could be seen. It was an instant before the women could get to their feet and start applauding. Looking up, Temperance gave them a dazzling smile; then slowly and with humility, she walked off the stage.

"You were wonderful," said Agnes Spinnaker as she put a small hand on Temperance's shoulder. "As always."

"Let's just hope it did some good," Temperance said as she twitched the curtain aside and looked out at the audience again. They were still on their feet, still clapping hard.

"You have to go back out," Agnes said loudly so she could be heard over the noise of the crowd. "You have to say something more. Do you have anything planned?"

"Oh, I have something planned, all right," Temperance said as she began pulling long pins from her hat. "Hold these, will you? I don't want anyone to get hurt."

"What in the world are you going to do?"

"Watch," Temperance said as she pushed aside the curtain, then went back onto the stage. As she stepped up on the little box that held the podium, she waited for the applause to die down; then when the room was quiet, she waited another few seconds. No one sat down, but the three hundred or so women stood in place, their hands ready to start clapping again; for whatever Temperance said, they were ready to applaud.

In the absolute quiet of the auditorium, Temperance looked down at the oak lectern in front of her, as though she were looking at notes and about to read from them.

But then, in one fast movement, she grabbed her big hat and threw it so it sailed high above the heads of the women, twirling, twisting, higher and higher. There wasn't an eye in the room that wasn't on that hat, one of her hats, one of Temperance O'Neil's hats.

The hat came down near the back row, and half a dozen women made a leap for it. Momentarily there was a tussle, with skirts rising above ankles, and buttoned leather shoes waving in the air. Then there was a squeal and a pretty young woman jumped up from the middle of the melee and waved the hat as though it were a flag won on a battlefield.

In the next instant the crowd went wild with excitement, clapping, yelling, stamping feet; there were even some whistles.

Temperance stepped down from the podium, gave a great wave to the excited young woman in the back clutching her newly won hat, then quickly left the stage.

"Oh, Temperance," Agnes said, "that was brilliant. Truly brilliant. I would never have thought of that."

"How many are out there?" Temperance asked as she walked briskly toward her dressing room, nodding toward the backstage door.

"Not too many. At least not as many as last time. After what happened last week, people are a little afraid of being hurt."

Inside her dressing room, Temperance reached down to open a hat box on the floor and grimaced. She knew that her theatrics helped her cause, and heaven knew that she needed all the help she could get, but she didn't like people to be hurt.

"How clever you are to have brought another hat. I guess you planned that gesture at the end."

"Of course," Temperance said. Agnes was a good person and she was useful, but she certainly had no imagination. "Is Willie out there?"

"Oh, yes. You know he'd give his life for you."

"Mmmm. Let's just hope he can get me out of here quickly tonight. My mother's ship arrived today. I haven't seen her in three whole months!"

"I'm sure she'll be very glad to see you. You look wonderful."

As Temperance glanced into the mirror, adjusting the replacement hat on her head, she smiled at Agnes. The newspapers alleged that Temperance surrounded herself with homely women so Temperance would look better by contrast. But when Temperance's mother had read that, she'd smiled and said, "But who wouldn't be plain-faced when next to you, dear?"

At that thought Temperance smiled at herself in the mirror. She had missed her mother so much over these last months. She'd missed having someone there when she got home, someone to listen to her escapades and triumphs. Even if some of the things that Temperance did frightened her mother, Temperance still told her about them anyway. "You're so much like your father, dear," Melanie O'Neil would say in that quiet voice of hers, then give a delicate little shiver.

Temperance's father, the beloved husband of Mellie O'Neil, had died when his daughter was just fourteen years old. But those few years had been long enough to instill in Temperance the fire that she needed to fight for women's rights for all the fifteen years since her father's death.

"How's that?" Temperance asked, turning to look at Agnes. "Am I presentable?"

"Oh, yes," Agnes said, clutching a program from tonight's lecture to her thin bosom. "You look wonderful."

"So do you," Temperance said, then gave Agnes a kiss on the cheek.

Blushing, Agnes looked down at her shoes. She was one of Temperance's "abandoned women," as the newspaper called them. Years ago Agnes had eloped with a handsome young man only to find out that he was already married. He'd abandoned her when he was told that her father had disinherited his daughter because she'd run off without his approval. When Temperance found Agnes, she'd been living out of garbage cans and her skin was covered with sores from poor diet and exposure. As Temperance did with hundreds of women, she had found Agnes a job, in this case, working backstage at the Kirkland Auditorium. As a result, Agnes would have walked across fire for Temperance.

"That's not the hat, is it?" Agnes whispered, looking at the huge hat that Temperance was adjusting on her head. It was black felt, with deep red silk roses all around the brim; magenta netting swirled over the flowers. It was the most beautiful thing that Agnes had ever seen.

"No," Temperance said, smiling, and making a mental note to buy Agnes a hat. "The mayor kept that hat. I think he nailed it to his office wall and throws darts at it."

Agnes's face screwed up into rage. "I'll -- "

"I was making a joke," Temperance said quickly. "I heard he has the hat in a glass box in his house. In a place of honor." With each word she spoke, Agnes's face relaxed.

"He should. Everyone says that your hat got him reelected."

"Perhaps. There! Now it's on." Opening the door of the little dressing room, she went into the hall. "I'll see you again next month," she called as she ran toward the stage exit door.

Sometimes Temperance wished the incident with the mayor and the hat had never happened. Never mind that it had been good for both of them. Still, sometimes she wished she didn't have to spend every minute in public in a hat big enough to use as a wagon wheel.

But, as she'd told her mother, if it helped even one woman out of an intolerable situation, then it was worth it.

And her hats had helped many women. Or at least the recognition of the hats had helped them. It was nearly seven years ago, when Temperance was a mere twenty-two years old, that she had first encountered the mayor of New York and had arrogantly asked him what he was going to do about the Millon tenement. A week before, the four-story structure had collapsed on top of seventeen women and children, killing four of them.

The mayor, tired and frustrated, had taken one look at the flawless skin and dark green eyes of Miss Temperance O'Neil and decided she was one of those rich women who got involved in social issues for as long as it took before some equally rich man asked her to marry him.

In front of half a dozen reporters, the mayor looked at her and said, "If you can find a solution before I do, other than having your daddy pay for it, that is," he added, trying to inject some humor into what had become an inquisition, "I'll..." He hesitated. "I'll eat your hat."

It was obvious that the mayor hadn't expected anyone to pick up on his challenge, and certainly not the lovely young thing he made it to. But he had been surprised. The newspapers had no other worthy story at that moment, so they got the names of the people involved, then flashed the story all over the front page of every newspaper in America.

Temperance, fresh out of her all-female college, wasn't ready for the turmoil that hit her, but she made herself ready. She accepted the challenge.

And the race was on.

The mayor tried to get the people who had put him in office to erect another building to replace the one that had collapsed, but they, laughing, hesitated. They didn't especially like the mayor, but they did like the pictures they were seeing of the beautiful Miss O'Neil.

Later, Temperance openly admitted that she couldn't have done what she did if the mayor hadn't helped, but the City of New York rallied around her and they donated their services. People volunteered their time; stores donated building materials. With the help of gaslight and lanterns, volunteers worked round the clock, all with the result that in twenty-six and a half days, there was a new apartment building standing on the site of the collapsed one.

Some canny advisers had shown the mayor how he could use the entire situation to make himself seem more human, so he showed up for the ribbon cutting wearing a bib and carrying a two-foot-long knife and fork. He posed for half a dozen photos with Temperance's hat, looking as though he were about to eat it.

But the mayor, outwardly smiling but inwardly fuming, thought he was going to have the last laugh because he presented the deed to the building to Miss Temperance O'Neil, saying she was allowed to choose the new tenants and to run the place as she saw fit. Let her see how difficult it was to run a building in a slum area! he thought, smiling at the thought of her coming misery.

But the mayor's gesture was the beginning of Temperance's purpose in life. She filled that building with women who had been abandoned by men, and she came up with ways for them to support themselves and their children. She used her beauty, her newly acquired fame, the money her father had left her -- whatever she had and could use -- to find the women means of support.

By the time Temperance celebrated her twenty-third birthday, she was a celebrity and wherever she went in New York, doors were opened to her. Sometimes the men didn't want to see her, because visits from Miss O'Neil always cost them money, but Temperance had found out that there was always a woman who opened the doors that led to the men with the money -- and women were always willing to help her out.

Now, outside the stage door, Willie was waiting for her, and Temperance gave a sigh. There always seemed to be a Willie in her life, some young man who watched her with big, adoring eyes and begged to be allowed to carry her umbrella. But after a couple of years, maybe only one year, when the young man finally got it through his head that Temperance was not going to marry him, he'd wander off to marry some girl whose father sold dry goods and they'd produce a few children. Just the other day Temperance had heard that the first "Willie" now had children in their third year of school.

Besides Willie, outside the auditorium there were about a dozen little girls, each looking up at their heroine, Temperance O'Neil. A couple of the older girls were wearing hats as big as Temperance's. When they saw her, they squealed and held out the photos of Temperance they had purchased at the five-and-dime, all the proceeds going to fund Temperance's projects.

Plastering a smile on her face, Temperance went down the steps and began to sign autographs and hear how the girls wanted to be just like her when they grew up.

Usually, Temperance enjoyed this time, but tonight she wanted to get home as quickly as possible so she could see her mother. She didn't know why it was, but this time she'd missed her mother more than usual and she was dying to sit down with her, kick off her shoes, and tell her mother all about the last three months.

Willie moved through the girls to stand close to her. "Can you get me out of here?" Temperance whispered. "I want to go home right away."

"Anything," Willie whispered back, and he meant the word. Like Agnes, he would have given his life for Temperance. In fact, just last night he'd purchased an engagement ring for her, and he planned to pop the question on Sunday.

Moments later, Willie had hailed a cab and had shooed the girls away so he could help Temperance into the carriage. Once inside, she leaned back against the seat and closed her eyes.

Mistake. Within seconds, Willie was kissing her hand and making declarations of undying love.

What she wanted to say was, Not tonight, Willie. But she just moved her hand away and asked him to ask the driver to go faster.

Willie had been through this many times, so he knew that if he pushed, he would anger Temperance. And her temper was not something that he wanted to unleash upon himself. After he'd ordered the driver about (and taken out his frustrations on the poor man), he turned back to Temperance and allowed himself a moment to stare at her. She was the most beautiful female he'd ever seen in his life. She had masses of dark auburn hair that she tried to tame, but no amount of pinning and twisting could contain all that hair. Constantly, it escaped from the upswept pouf that she wore under her big hats.

She had eyes the color of the finest quality emeralds, skin like porcelain, lips as red as --

"My mother is to arrive tonight," Temperance said, pulling Willie out of his trance. She had come to hate the puppy-dog way he stared at her. "I haven't seen her in three months."

He loved her voice, especially loved it when she spoke to him alone. "You are a saint," he said, his eyes wide. "You've given up having a family of your own to nurse your poor, weak mother. She is so fortunate to have a daughter like you to take care of her. Does she still mourn your father?"

"Every minute of every day. There will never be another man on earth like my father," Temperance said with feeling as she glanced out the window at the dark streets of New York. How much longer before they got home?

It seemed hours before they reached Greenwich Village and the brownstone that was her home. But it wasn't a home without her mother there, Temperance thought. Without Melanie O'Neil's presence, the house was just a heap of stone.

When the carriage finally pulled up in front of the house and she saw that it was ablaze with light, Temperance broke into a grin. Her mother was home! She had so very much to tell her, so many things to share with her. In the last three months Temperance had accomplished a lot, but she was always thinking of what was left to do. Should she take on that project on the West Side? It was so very far away, all the way across the park. It had been suggested to Temperance that she buy a motorcar and travel about town in that. Should she?

There were many things that Temperance wanted to talk to her mother about. Next week Temperance had six meetings with politicians and the press. And there were four scheduled luncheons with men-who-had-money, men who could possibly be persuaded to fund Temperance's purchase of yet another tenement building.

Truthfully, sometimes Temperance felt so overwhelmed by what her life had become that all she wanted to do was put her head on her mother's lap and cry.

But now her mother was home and Temperance would at last have someone to talk to.

"Good night," Temperance called over her shoulder as she practically leaped from the carriage, not allowing Willie to help her down.

She ran up the steps two at a time and threw open the door to the house.

And standing in the entrance hall under the crystal chandelier was Melanie O'Neil, clasped tightly in the arms of a man. They were kissing.

"Oh, Temperance, dear," Mellie said as she broke away from the man. "I didn't want you find out until I'd had time to explain. We, ah..."

The man -- tall, handsome, gray-haired -- stepped forward, his hand outstretched, lips smiling. "Your mother and I were married in Scotland. I'm your new father. And I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that, day after tomorrow, the three of us are going home to live in the Highlands."

Copyright © 2001 by Deveraux Inc.

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First Chapter

Chapter One: New York, 1909

"And in conclusion, ladies...and gentlemen..." There was a murmur of amusement in the big auditorium, for there were very few men who attended Temperance O'Neil's lectures. They couldn't stand to hear the truth of what Temperance said, couldn't stand to hear and see what they had done to the American family.

"I say that the fight must continue, that we have not yet begun to make inroads into this problem, but we mustn't give up. We must continue!"

At that Temperance stepped back from the podium and dropped her head so only the wide wheel of her trademark hat could be seen. It was an instant before the women could get to their feet and start applauding. Looking up, Temperance gave them a dazzling smile; then slowly and with humility, she walked off the stage.

"You were wonderful," said Agnes Spinnaker as she put a small hand on Temperance's shoulder. "As always."

"Let's just hope it did some good," Temperance said as she twitched the curtain aside and looked out at the audience again. They were still on their feet, still clapping hard.

"You have to go back out," Agnes said loudly so she could be heard over the noise of the crowd. "You have to say something more. Do you have anything planned?"

"Oh, I have something planned, all right," Temperance said as she began pulling long pins from her hat. "Hold these, will you? I don't want anyone to get hurt."

"What in the world are you going to do?"

"Watch," Temperance said as she pushed aside the curtain, then went back onto the stage. As she stepped up on the little box that held the podium, she waited for the applause to die down; then when the room was quiet,she waited another few seconds. No one sat down, but the three hundred or so women stood in place, their hands ready to start clapping again; for whatever Temperance said, they were ready to applaud.

In the absolute quiet of the auditorium, Temperance looked down at the oak lectern in front of her, as though she were looking at notes and about to read from them.

But then, in one fast movement, she grabbed her big hat and threw it so it sailed high above the heads of the women, twirling, twisting, higher and higher. There wasn't an eye in the room that wasn't on that hat, one of her hats, one of Temperance O'Neil's hats.

The hat came down near the back row, and half a dozen women made a leap for it. Momentarily there was a tussle, with skirts rising above ankles, and buttoned leather shoes waving in the air. Then there was a squeal and a pretty young woman jumped up from the middle of the melee and waved the hat as though it were a flag won on a battlefield.

In the next instant the crowd went wild with excitement, clapping, yelling, stamping feet; there were even some whistles.

Temperance stepped down from the podium, gave a great wave to the excited young woman in the back clutching her newly won hat, then quickly left the stage.

"Oh, Temperance," Agnes said, "that was brilliant. Truly brilliant. I would never have thought of that."

"How many are out there?" Temperance asked as she walked briskly toward her dressing room, nodding toward the backstage door.

"Not too many. At least not as many as last time. After what happened last week, people are a little afraid of being hurt."

Inside her dressing room, Temperance reached down to open a hat box on the floor and grimaced. She knew that her theatrics helped her cause, and heaven knew that she needed all the help she could get, but she didn't like people to be hurt.

"How clever you are to have brought another hat. I guess you planned that gesture at the end."

"Of course," Temperance said. Agnes was a good person and she was useful, but she certainly had no imagination. "Is Willie out there?"

"Oh, yes. You know he'd give his life for you."

"Mmmm. Let's just hope he can get me out of here quickly tonight. My mother's ship arrived today. I haven't seen her in three whole months!"

"I'm sure she'll be very glad to see you. You look wonderful."

As Temperance glanced into the mirror, adjusting the replacement hat on her head, she smiled at Agnes. The newspapers alleged that Temperance surrounded herself with homely women so Temperance would look better by contrast. But when Temperance's mother had read that, she'd smiled and said, "But who wouldn't be plain-faced when next to you, dear?"

At that thought Temperance smiled at herself in the mirror. She had missed her mother so much over these last months. She'd missed having someone there when she got home, someone to listen to her escapades and triumphs. Even if some of the things that Temperance did frightened her mother, Temperance still told her about them anyway. "You're so much like your father, dear," Melanie O'Neil would say in that quiet voice of hers, then give a delicate little shiver.

Temperance's father, the beloved husband of Mellie O'Neil, had died when his daughter was just fourteen years old. But those few years had been long enough to instill in Temperance the fire that she needed to fight for women's rights for all the fifteen years since her father's death.

"How's that?" Temperance asked, turning to look at Agnes. "Am I presentable?"

"Oh, yes," Agnes said, clutching a program from tonight's lecture to her thin bosom. "You look wonderful."

"So do you," Temperance said, then gave Agnes a kiss on the cheek.

Blushing, Agnes looked down at her shoes. She was one of Temperance's "abandoned women," as the newspaper called them. Years ago Agnes had eloped with a handsome young man only to find out that he was already married. He'd abandoned her when he was told that her father had disinherited his daughter because she'd run off without his approval. When Temperance found Agnes, she'd been living out of garbage cans and her skin was covered with sores from poor diet and exposure. As Temperance did with hundreds of women, she had found Agnes a job, in this case, working backstage at the Kirkland Auditorium. As a result, Agnes would have walked across fire for Temperance.

"That's not the hat, is it?" Agnes whispered, looking at the huge hat that Temperance was adjusting on her head. It was black felt, with deep red silk roses all around the brim; magenta netting swirled over the flowers. It was the most beautiful thing that Agnes had ever seen.

"No," Temperance said, smiling, and making a mental note to buy Agnes a hat. "The mayor kept that hat. I think he nailed it to his office wall and throws darts at it."

Agnes's face screwed up into rage. "I'll --"

"I was making a joke," Temperance said quickly. "I heard he has the hat in a glass box in his house. In a place of honor." With each word she spoke, Agnes's face relaxed.

"He should. Everyone says that your hat got him reelected."

"Perhaps. There! Now it's on." Opening the door of the little dressing room, she went into the hall. "I'll see you again next month," she called as she ran toward the stage exit door.

Sometimes Temperance wished the incident with the mayor and the hat had never happened. Never mind that it had been good for both of them. Still, sometimes she wished she didn't have to spend every minute in public in a hat big enough to use as a wagon wheel.

But, as she'd told her mother, if it helped even one woman out of an intolerable situation, then it was worth it.

And her hats had helped many women. Or at least the recognition of the hats had helped them. It was nearly seven years ago, when Temperance was a mere twenty-two years old, that she had first encountered the mayor of New York and had arrogantly asked him what he was going to do about the Millon tenement. A week before, the four-story structure had collapsed on top of seventeen women and children, killing four of them.

The mayor, tired and frustrated, had taken one look at the flawless skin and dark green eyes of Miss Temperance O'Neil and decided she was one of those rich women who got involved in social issues for as long as it took before some equally rich man asked her to marry him.

In front of half a dozen reporters, the mayor looked at her and said, "If you can find a solution before I do, other than having your daddy pay for it, that is," he added, trying to inject some humor into what had become an inquisition, "I'll..." He hesitated. "I'll eat your hat."

It was obvious that the mayor hadn't expected anyone to pick up on his challenge, and certainly not the lovely young thing he made it to. But he had been surprised. The newspapers had no other worthy story at that moment, so they got the names of the people involved, then flashed the story all over the front page of every newspaper in America.

Temperance, fresh out of her all-female college, wasn't ready for the turmoil that hit her, but she made herself ready. She accepted the challenge.

And the race was on.

The mayor tried to get the people who had put him in office to erect another building to replace the one that had collapsed, but they, laughing, hesitated. They didn't especially like the mayor, but they did like the pictures they were seeing of the beautiful Miss O'Neil.

Later, Temperance openly admitted that she couldn't have done what she did if the mayor hadn't helped, but the City of New York rallied around her and they donated their services. People volunteered their time; stores donated building ma-terials. With the help of gaslight and lanterns, volunteers worked round the clock, all with the result that in twenty-six and a half days, there was a new apartment building standing on the site of the collapsed one.

Some canny advisers had shown the mayor how he could use the entire situation to make himself seem more human, so he showed up for the ribbon cutting wearing a bib and carrying a two-foot-long knife and fork. He posed for half a dozen photos with Temperance's hat, looking as though he were about to eat it.

But the mayor, outwardly smiling but inwardly fuming, thought he was going to have the last laugh because he presented the deed to the building to Miss Temperance O'Neil, saying she was allowed to choose the new tenants and to run the place as she saw fit. Let her see how difficult it was to run a building in a slum area! he thought, smiling at the thought of her coming misery.

But the mayor's gesture was the beginning of Temperance's purpose in life. She filled that building with women who had been abandoned by men, and she came up with ways for them to support themselves and their children. She used her beauty, her newly acquired fame, the money her father had left her -- whatever she had and could use -- to find the women means of support.

By the time Temperance celebrated her twenty-third birthday, she was a celebrity and wherever she went in New York, doors were opened to her. Sometimes the men didn't want to see her, because visits from Miss O'Neil always cost them money, but Temperance had found out that there was always a woman who opened the doors that led to the men with the money-and women were always willing to help her out.

Now, outside the stage door, Willie was waiting for her, and Temperance gave a sigh. There always seemed to be a Willie in her life, some young man who watched her with big, adoring eyes and begged to be allowed to carry her umbrella. But after a couple of years, maybe only one year, when the young man finally got it through his head that Temperance was not going to marry him, he'd wander off to marry some girl whose father sold dry goods and they'd produce a few children. Just the other day Temperance had heard that the first "Willie" now had children in their third year of school.

Besides Willie, outside the auditorium there were about a dozen little girls, each looking up at their heroine, Temperance O'Neil. A couple of the older girls were wearing hats as big as Temperance's. When they saw her, they squealed and held out the photos of Temperance they had purchased at the five-and-dime, all the proceeds going to fund Temperance's projects.

Plastering a smile on her face, Temperance went down the steps and began to sign autographs and hear how the girls wanted to be just like her when they grew up.

Usually, Temperance enjoyed this time, but tonight she wanted to get home as quickly as possible so she could see her mother. She didn't know why it was, but this time she'd missed her mother more than usual and she was dying to sit down with her, kick off her shoes, and tell her mother all about the last three months.

Willie moved through the girls to stand close to her. "Can you get me out of here?" Temperance whispered. "I want to go home right away."

"Anything," Willie whispered back, and he meant the word. Like Agnes, he would have given his life for Temperance. In fact, just last night he'd purchased an engagement ring for her, and he planned to pop the question on Sunday.

Moments later, Willie had hailed a cab and had shooed the girls away so he could help Temperance into the carriage. Once inside, she leaned back against the seat and closed her eyes.

Mistake. Within seconds, Willie was kissing her hand and making declarations of undying love.

What she wanted to say was, Not tonight, Willie. But she just moved her hand away and asked him to ask the driver to go faster.

Willie had been through this many times, so he knew that if he pushed, he would anger Temperance. And her temper was not something that he wanted to unleash upon himself. After he'd ordered the driver about (and taken out his frustrations on the poor man), he turned back to Temperance and allowed himself a moment to stare at her. She was the most beautiful female he'd ever seen in his life. She had masses of dark auburn hair that she tried to tame, but no amount of pinning and twisting could contain all that hair. Constantly, it escaped from the upswept pouf that she wore under her big hats.

She had eyes the color of the finest quality emeralds, skin like porcelain, lips as red as --

"My mother is to arrive tonight," Temperance said, pulling Willie out of his trance. She had come to hate the puppy-dog way he stared at her. "I haven't seen her in three months."

He loved her voice, especially loved it when she spoke to him alone. "You are a saint," he said, his eyes wide. "You've given up having a family of your own to nurse your poor, weak mother. She is so fortunate to have a daughter like you to take care of her. Does she still mourn your father?"

"Every minute of every day. There will never be another man on earth like my father," Temperance said with feeling as she glanced out the window at the dark streets of New York. How much longer before they got home?

It seemed hours before they reached Greenwich Village and the brownstone that was her home. But it wasn't a home without her mother there, Temperance thought. Without Melanie O'Neil's presence, the house was just a heap of stone.

When the carriage finally pulled up in front of the house and she saw that it was ablaze with light, Temperance broke into a grin. Her mother was home! She had so very much to tell her, so many things to share with her. In the last three months Temperance had accomplished a lot, but she was always thinking of what was left to do. Should she take on that project on the West Side? It was so very far away, all the way across the park. It had been suggested to Temperance that she buy a motorcar and travel about town in that. Should she?

There were many things that Temperance wanted to talk to her mother about. Next week Temperance had six meetings with politicians and the press. And there were four scheduled luncheons with men-who-had-money, men who could possibly be persuaded to fund Temperance's purchase of yet another tenement building.

Truthfully, sometimes Temperance felt so overwhelmed by what her life had become that all she wanted to do was put her head on her mother's lap and cry.

But now her mother was home and Temperance would at last have someone to talk to.

"Good night," Temperance called over her shoulder as she practically leaped from the carriage, not allowing Willie to help her down.

She ran up the steps two at a time and threw open the door to the house.

And standing in the entrance hall under the crystal chandelier was Melanie O'Neil, clasped tightly in the arms of a man. They were kissing.

"Oh, Temperance, dear," Mellie said as she broke away from the man. "I didn't want you find out until I'd had time to explain. We, ah..."

The man -- tall, handsome, gray-haired -- stepped forward, his hand outstretched, lips smiling. "Your mother and I were married in Scotland. I'm your new father. And I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that, day after tomorrow, the three of us are going home to live in the Highlands."

Copyright (c) Deveraux Inc, 2000

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 28 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 9, 2013

    I really liked this book although the ending was off for me. I e

    I really liked this book although the ending was off for me. I enjoyed how Temperance, our protagonist, develops through her experiences. Even though she complains and feels she cannot endure her trials, she pushes ahead and is determined to succeed in all that she does. She makes the best of each situation and has a positive influence on everyone’s lives. She realizes in the end what is really important and how to be a better person.

    There is one detailed sex scene.

    I did not like the end. It seemed to me that too much time went by before the final conclusion.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    My favorite of JD book!

    I have read several from this author, and this was my favorite so far. It was a love story, not just a romance novel. Loved the leading lady - she was srtong, and determined, and focused. The story moved quickly (only 237 pages on my nook) but no fluffy obsessing over stupid things, lots interesting support cast to move it along and made.want to know what happend next! I would suggest this one :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    Good book

    Good

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    Unexpected

    The end was stupid. Until the last 30 pages, I was hooked.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Somewhat disappointing

    I have to agree with some of the other reviews. I thought the story was great. Temperance is a much more interesting character than James. However I was disappointed in the ending. It just wasn't romantic enough for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2008

    Not one of her best

    I've read most of Ms. Deveraux's books, and enjoyed them -- or else why would I have read most of them? -- some more than others. I would have to say that this is at the bottom of the list. I hope her future ones are better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2008

    I enjoyed this book so much!

    I didnt take me very long to read this book- it was such a page turner. Very, very cute!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2003

    Enjoyable

    The book started off great. However, in the end the hero was a dissapointment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2002

    Good Read

    I am torn about my review of this book. I loved the characters and the story line. I could not put it down and read it in less than 2 days, but the ending really disappointed me. After all that James and Temperance went through it seemed like the ending was so unfulfilling. It left the reader hanging. This would have been one of my favorite books if the ending would have been worth the great story line.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2002

    Outstanding!

    Let me begin by saying that I am not a fan of romance novels. I read The Summerhouse and decided to give one of Deveraux's books a try and found it to be wonderful. This is, indeed, not a romance novel...it is a love story ( and there is a great distinction between the two). I loved this book and am now, officially, a Jude Deveraux fan. This book is a page turner if I have ever read one...I finished it in less than a day. The characters are well defined and easy to relate to and identify with. The plot has so many twists, turns, and unexpected changes that you never know what to expect on the next page. I absolutly loved this novel, and my only regret that there isn't a sequel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2002

    Quite Entertaining

    This was a reasonably well written book. It was my first Deveraux book, and it definitely sparked my interest in this author. Good characters, interesting plot. The ending was indeed a bit unsatisfying.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2001

    I want to read more books like this one

    This is my first Jude Deveraux book, EXCELLENT ! If I could give it more stars I would and will enjoy rereading some time in the future. I agree the ending was a little rushed but overall what a story line, complex but easy to follow. If you are a romantic this one is for you. I had overlooked the book when it came out in hardback, hesitated when the paperback came out but then went ahead and purchased it. If you are put off by the 1909 date of the book (which I was) DON'T BE. I have just purchased Summerhouse and can't wait to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2001

    29 yr old Devereaux fan

    I could not wait to sink my teeth into this book as I have waited ahile for a good Deveraux old fashioned romance. I fell in love with all the characters and the story line was great. However, the end left me saying 'WHAT?!'. I was truly diappointed. Let me put it this way, it was like having a wonderful dinner with all your favorite and filling foods, but the dessert sucked and therefore ruined your feeling of euphoria over the meal!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2000

    Great until the last chapter

    This book was romantic, funny, and thoroughly enjoyable..... until the last chapter. I loved the characters - they were smart & funny, and they actually seemed to be falling in love (not just arguing & hating each other while they made out). But what happened with the ending? It was so cold and abrupt! When I finished it, I had to inspect my book to make sure no pages had fallen out! I was so disappointed because I really did love the book up until that point. Ms. Devereaux, the next time you have a deadline to make, please tell them you need more time and finish your work! This could have been one of my all time favorites......now it is in my garage sale box.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2000

    Another Great Story!!!

    I was really glad to see that this story had some of the classic Jude Deveraux traits that we have all come to love and expect. The ending was a little rushed, but the overall story was delightful. Ms. Deveraux has always been one of my favorites and this story just re-established that fact. I can't wait for the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2000

    (`'·.¸(`'·.¸Not her best ¸.·'´)¸.·'´)

    This was not one of her best books. The story line is moderate and not up to the standards one would expect from Ms. Deveraux. I have waited a long time for her to write a new book and this one was very disappointing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2000

    Temptation

    She's finally back to her old writing style! I was a bit put off by her last few but she COMPLETELY redeems herself with this one!! Her last one 'High Tide' was better..She finally gave us back our beloved Montgomerys! But this one..is AMAZING!!! I really enjoyed it..while the book has a few small issues..It's still a HIGHLY enjoyable read!! So, be sure you have lots of time to sit and read...because once you pick this one up you won't want to put it down until you're finished!! Way to go JD!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2000

    Temptation

    This book reminded me why I love JD soo much! Honestly, the last few were not my favorite. She slightly redeemed herself with 'High Tide' back to my--I mean her beloved Montgomerys. While this book is not about them it's still an EXCELLENT read. V. funny, sweet and just all around good book. Something to read when you have a couple days to just sit and read the whole thing cover to cover--which believe me you will want to do! There are some minor issues I had with the book but nothing serious or v. important. Way to go JD!! LOVE it! Keep 'em coming!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    exciting non-stop historical romance

    When her father died fifteen years ago, then teenager Temperance O¿Neil learned how society mistreated women due to their codependency on men. Now in 1909, Temperance has become a major figure in the women¿s rights movement. However, her life changes when her mother marries Scotsman Angus McCairn. Her stepfather demands Temperance accompanies them back to Edinburgh until he finds her a husband. Angus forces Temperance¿s agreement by threatening to cut off her funds and tossing her out of her home. <P>Six months later, Angus understands what his wife meant by watching out for an agreeable Temperance, who has caused trouble in the Highlands. He offers her a deal. If she can find his nephew a wife while acting as a housekeeper to the barbaric James, Angus will support her return across the Atlantic. As she tries to teach the beast how to cherish a woman, Temperance and James fall in love with one another. However, she ultimately realizes he will never want a wife, especially a modern day woman like Temperance. <P>TEMPTATION is an exciting historical romance that centers on the early twentieth century women¿s rights movement. The story line is filled with excitement, action, and insight into the plight of females. Temperance is a fine lead player and James acts more like an injured beast. The support cast augments the tale by vividly bringing to life the role of men and women in the United States in 1909. Jude Deveraux provides sub-genre fans with a non-stop thriller <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews

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