To Distraction (Bastion Club Series)

To Distraction (Bastion Club Series)

4.4 47
by Stephanie Laurens
     
 

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The gentlemen of the Bastion Club have proven their courage while fighting England's enemies, but nothing has prepared them for dealing with that most formidable of challenges: the opposite sex.

Deverell, Viscount Paignton, needs a wife and believes he's discovered her—not swanning about like a typical debutante, but in

Overview

The gentlemen of the Bastion Club have proven their courage while fighting England's enemies, but nothing has prepared them for dealing with that most formidable of challenges: the opposite sex.

Deverell, Viscount Paignton, needs a wife and believes he's discovered her—not swanning about like a typical debutante, but in the library with her nose buried in a book! Phoebe Malleson is tempted to distraction by Deverell, yet marrying him isn't part of her plan. But telling him to go away doesn't work . . . and he quickly learns of the secret she's been trying to hide. Someone powerful has her pet cause targeted for destruction—and now she must accept Deverell's help . . . though the cost to them both might be dear—and deadly.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Yet another brave member of the Bastion Club-a small band of wealthy, eligible gentlemen sworn to protect each other from the "marauding mamas" of London society-falls for an unconventional woman in the winning fifth novel of Laurens's Regency series. A former spy for the Crown, Jocelyn Deverell, Viscount Paignton, is in need of an heir, and for that he will need a wife. His aunt has just the match in Phoebe Malleson, her spirited, ruby-haired goddaughter. Unfortunately, Phoebe has no desire to marry, no matter how much Deverell might tempt her, having learned long ago to distrust men. Besides, Phoebe is busy with a secret crusade to rescue abused servants from wealthy households, a campaign she knows no man from the ton would support. Undaunted, Deverell undertakes his most delicate mission yet, beginning a slow seduction that he hopes will win Phoebe's trust and, ultimately, her heart. When young female servants begin disappearing-apparently kidnapped-Phoebe finds herself caught in a deadly standoff with powerful criminals and must turn to Deverell. Though characters and language may ring familiar, Laurens introduces an enticing villain who promises to return, bringing the series some needed fresh air. Aptly titled, Laurens's latest generates enough heat to make you forget about sticky summertime weather. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061473104
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/08/2008
Series:
Bastion Club Series
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
656
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.49(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

To Distraction


By Stephanie Laurens

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Stephanie Laurens
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060839104

Chapter One

London
Late April, 1816

"Dear Deverell, of course I know exactly the right lady for you." Head high, Audrey Deverell swayed back on the stool on which she was perched, narrowed her eyes at the canvas she was daubing, then delicately touched the tip of her brush to one spot. Apparently satisfied, she regained her equilibrium and looked down at the palette balanced on her arm. "I'm only surprised it's taken you so long to ask."

Seated in a well-cushioned wicker armchair beside the wide windows through which the afternoon sun washed across his aunt's "studio," Jocelyn Hubert Deverell, 7th Viscount Paignton, known to all as simply Deverell, watched Audrey select another hue to add to her creation--a landscape featuring what he thought was supposed to be a single large oak.

The last time he'd visited, a mere few months ago, this room had been devoted to basket weaving. When he'd been shown in and had discovered Audrey sitting on a high stool before a canvas on an easel, her long, thin frame swathed in a dun-colored smock with a black beret atop her brassy curls, he'd had to fight a grin, one she, who took each of her outlandish pursuits absolutely seriously, would not have appreciated.

His only paternal aunt, much younger than her threebrothers, of whom his father had been the eldest, Audrey was in her late forties. A determinedly confirmed spinster, she frequently pursued the outrageous. Nevertheless, being a Deverell and comfortably well-to-do, she remained an accepted member of the haut ton. Even though her more conventional friends, all long married, often displayed a certain jealousy over Audrey's flamboyant freedom, she was much sought after, if nothing else to add color and verve to said matrons' entertainments.

Audrey's audacious unconventionality had from his earliest years drawn Deverell to her; he felt infinitely closer to her than to any of his other aunts--three maternal and two by marriage. Consequently, now that he quite clearly needed the sort of assistance aunts provided gentlemen such as he, it was Audrey to whom he'd turned.

He hadn't, however, expected quite such a definite answer. Caution made him hesitate, but recollection of his state made him ask, "This lady--"

"Is quite perfect in every way. She's of excellent family, attractive and lively, suffers from no affliction, physical or mental, is well dowered, correctly and appropriately educated, and I can personally vouch for her understanding."

That last had him arching a brow. "A connection?"

Audrey flashed him a smile. "She's one of my goddaughters. I have a small platoon of them." She refocused on her painting. "Goodness knows why, but a multitude of my friends named me godparent to their offspring. I often wondered if they thought, childless as I am, that I shouldn't be allowed to escape the nurturing role entirely."

Deverell thought that only too likely. "This lady--"

"Will make you an outstanding wife. Trust me, I've seen your predicament coming for months, so of course I've given the matter due thought. You're thirty-two, and what with the title as well as the estates, you really must marry. Admittedly there are your uncles who could inherit after you, but as neither George nor Gisborne have sons of their own, that really isn't an acceptable alternative." Pausing in her daubing, Audrey shot him a severe glance. "And the last thing any of us would wish is to see the estate revert to Prinny!"

"Indeed not." The idea of the estates that, courtesy of the unexpected death of a cousin twice removed, had fallen into his lap reverting on his death to the Crown, and its licentious bearer, was one Deverell viewed with intense disfavor. He might not have expected to have to care for entailed estates, but now they were his, he'd be damned if he let Prinny, or whoever succeeded him, get their greedy hands on them.

Especially not now he'd visited his new holdings, the houses, farms and fields, and met those who tended them. Along with a title came responsibilities, and he'd never been one to shirk such obligations, even if unlooked for.

He was now Viscount Paignton; as such he had to marry. "Quite aside from the matter of an heir--"

"There's the social obligations, of course." Audrey nodded sagely, her gaze still on her canvas. "Your wife must be able to manage your houses, and even more importantly manage the dinners, parties, balls, and so on that as Paignton you will have to attend."

He didn't try to hide his grimace. "If she could minimize the latter--"

"Don't even think it, not until you've been married for years. Then, perhaps, you might be allowed to slink off and hide in your library. Until that time, you'll have to grit your teeth and stand by her side at all necessary functions." Audrey threw him another strait glance. "Along with managing your appearances, your wife's duties will include keeping you up to the mark--ensuring you appear at all the functions you ought."

Deverell met Audrey's glance levelly and inwardly wished his wife-to-be good luck. She'd need it. "You seem to have a very clear vision of the qualities my wife should possess."

"Well, of course, dear. I've known you from birth, and despite what you think, you are very like your father--you have little time for artifice and none at all for fools. And after spending the last ten and more years being a spy in France, I imagine your prejudices have only become more fixed. Consequently the notion of you finding any degree of marital satisfaction with the general run of young ladies is utterly untenable." She arched a brow at him. "I understand you've been casting your eye over the herd."

"The 'herd' appear to be henwitted flibbertigibbets with less sense than my horse."

Audrey grinned. "Quite. Well, there you are--it's clearly necessary to look elsewhere for your bride." Laying aside her palette, she reached for a rag; sitting back, she started cleaning her brush.

Continues...


Excerpted from To Distraction by Stephanie Laurens Copyright © 2006 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science, a hobby that quickly became a career. Her novels set in Regency England have captivated readers around the globe, making her one of the romance world's most beloved and popular authors.

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To Distraction (Bastion Club Series) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In London four of his founding brothers who made up the Bastion Club, chartered to fend off 'marauding mamas', have succumbed to love and marriage. Retired espionage agent Viscount Jocelyn Deverell vows never him even as he knows his aunt is the family mole trying to do him in with a wife what he remains unaware of is she has chosen feisty independent Phoebe Malleson as her nephew¿s perfect match.--------------- Phoebe is a difficult choice because she distrusts men who she believes all use and abuse helpless females. In any event, she is too busy to care how much she desires Deverell still he plans to court her anyway. Instead she serendipitously rescues maltreated servants from wealthy miscreants she knows the male Ton would never support such a venture especially led by a crusading female. However, Jocelyn realizes he loves Phoebe, but must overcome her stereotyping of men and persuade her he would not harm her. When she becomes embroiled in a dangerous scenario involving operation rescue, only her beloved Deverell can keep her safe and save the abducted female servants.---------------- Though similar in many ways to the previous Bastion adventures, TO DISTRACTION is a fine Regency romance due to a refreshing and fascinating villain. The story line is fast-paced as Phoebe ignores her feelings, her desires, and her man to go about her dangerous underground activity to rescue abused servants while Jocelyn accepts his feelings, his desires, and his woman as he goes about his ¿dangerous underground¿ activity to pursue her. Stephanie Laurens provides a fine Bastion romance.------------ Harriet Klausner
cgmom22 More than 1 year ago
the whole Bastion Club series is excellent. I have read almost all of her books. Keeps your attention and is written well.
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Very well written, exciting and romantic in true Stephanie Laurens style. ?
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Uoy
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Buckland More than 1 year ago
5 stars for the entire series
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This book is full of suspense and romance! Keeps you entertained from the time you open the book until you the reach the very last word.
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skelley55 More than 1 year ago
I love almost everything that Stephanie Laurens writes and this book is a definite winner. The characters are engaging, the sex steamy, and the flow of the story perfectly paced.
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KPutnel More than 1 year ago
A perfect read in my book... Interesting characters, great plot and a good bit of mystery. I love how the characters from the other Bastion Club novels are present ince again to aid their friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago