Too Wicked to Tame

( 23 )

Overview

Would a Reluctant Beauty Ever Wed . . .

Headstrong Lady Portia Derring has an impeccable pedigree . . . and not a penny to her name. Which is why she is alone on the rain-swept Yorkshire moor, waiting for a wealthy earl she has never met but whom her family insists she wed. When she's nearly trampled by the blackguard's stallion, Portia is more determined than ever to refuse Heath Moreton's suit. Handsome ...

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Too Wicked to Tame

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Overview

Would a Reluctant Beauty Ever Wed . . .

Headstrong Lady Portia Derring has an impeccable pedigree . . . and not a penny to her name. Which is why she is alone on the rain-swept Yorkshire moor, waiting for a wealthy earl she has never met but whom her family insists she wed. When she's nearly trampled by the blackguard's stallion, Portia is more determined than ever to refuse Heath Moreton's suit. Handsome devil he may be, but she could never marry a rogue who's so clearly out of control!

A Wild, Incorrigible Beast?

An avowed bachelor, scion of the notorious "Mad" Moreton clan, Heath won't be shackled in matrimony. Why then does this rain-drenched beauty excite him so? Desire consumes him, but the eminently beddable lady resists his well-practiced seductions. Now only one route remains: Heath must ignore his bad blood, vanquish his inner beast . . . and prove to Portia that she's the only woman capable of taming his heart.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061122262
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/27/2007
  • Series: Avon Historical Romance Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,418,870
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Sophie Jordan

Sophie Jordan grew up on a pecan farm in the Texas hill country, where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she's also the New York Times bestselling author of Avon historical romances and the Firelight series. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she's not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows.

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Read an Excerpt

Too Wicked to Tame


By Sophie Jordan

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Sophie Jordan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061122262

Chapter One

"I'm going to carve out his lying tongue," Lady Portia Derring bit out as she surveyed the stretch of empty road nestled among thick, spiny gorse and rocky hills, desperate to catch a glimpse of her errant driver.

An icy wind pulled at her bonnet. Her fingers, stiff and aching from the cold, clung to the frayed ribbons dangling beneath her chin. Even horribly out of fashion, the straw confection was her best bonnet and she wasn't inclined to lose it.

"Looking out that window again?" Nettie asked.

Falling back against the seat, Portia heaved a sigh and announced, "We're stranded. John's not coming back."

"He'll be back," her maid replied with a decided lack of worry as she stretched her generous curves along the threadbare squabs. "Take a nap."

Portia frowned at Nettie. "And let highwaymen take us unaware? Splendid idea, that."

Nettie yawned widely, offering Portia a view of the tonsils far back in her throat. She closed and opened her mouth several times with a vulgar smacking sound before adding, "What's got your nose out of joint?"

Portia gestured about them at the motionless carriage, a feeling of frustration sweeping over her. "In case you failed to notice, we've been abandoned by our sot of a driver." She nodded to thewindow where the sky deepened to a smoky purple. "I don't relish the idea of spending the night in this rickety carriage."

Nettie lifted a reddish brow and glanced out the window. Portia followed her gaze, eyeing the craggy limestone terrain, then the dark clouds scuttling across the sky, distracted at the sight of such raw beauty. Miles away from civilization. From family and words like duty, responsibility&#8212marriage. Her heart lifted, her precarious situation suddenly not feeling so calamitous. The invisible band about her chest loosened, allowing her to take her first easy breath in years.

Nettie clucked her tongue. "You really did it this time for the ol' bird to send you all the way out here."

Portia flicked a piece of lint off her blue merino skirt and stifled the retort that burned on her tongue. "I don't know what you mean," she lied. "I've done nothing. Nothing at all."

"Nothin'," her cheeky maid snorted. "That's about the gist of it. Five years of nothin'. Well, your time's run out." She nodded as though pleased. "I heard what your grandmother said."

"Listening at keyholes again?" Portia accused.

"Either you choose or they will. And if you ask me, they should have put an end to your contrary ways long ago."

"No one's asking you," Portia snapped.

Shrugging, the round-cheeked maid looked out the window again, granting Portia a meager moment of peace before demanding, "Ain't there rich enough nabobs in Town? Hardly seems possible any swell lives in this godforsaken land." Shaking her coppery head, Nettie turned to glare at her in a way that left no doubt whom she held responsible for their ejection from Town. "Tell me we're at least almost there."

"John didn't say, but we must be near." Not that her driver had said much before staggering down the road, his vow to return within the hour echoing hollowly even then. Especially when issued through gin-laced breath. "I should have taken the mail coach," she muttered.

Not that Grandmother would have permitted such a thing. A Derring never resorted to public transport. No matter how desperate. There were appearances to be kept, after all. A Derring must not appear destitute. Even if they happened to be.

"Bet you wish you'd chosen one of those swells back in Town now, eh?"

Portia stifled a grimace and looked out the window again, careful not to reveal her decided lack of regret. What was one suitor to fend off when she was accustomed to the dozens foisted on her by her family?

She gazed out through parted frayed curtains. The sight of the bleak land, both majestic and deprived, wild with gorse and wind-ruffled heather, washed over her like a balm to the soul. It stirred something deep inside her&#8212in a hidden, secret place that hadn't felt anything in years. The moor was a far cry from the drawing rooms of the ton and she was heartily glad for it.

"Not especially," she replied, inhaling clean air kissed by the lips of a vanishing winter. A chance to get away was a rare treat, a much appreciated holiday. Especially when her greatest wish was to travel, to taste the freedom and adventure her mother experienced everyday.

Being forced to entertain the attentions of a new suitor didn't matter much. Not when it meant escape from the tedium of another Season, from the auction block, from her family's nagging. From a pervading sense of isolation&#8212of holding her breath and waiting, watching, searching every room with senseless hope filling her chest.

Even missing her mother, Portia could understand what drove her to depart for lands unknown. The hot breath of ruin didn't reach so far as Italy, Greece, Spain, or whichever country her mother currently called home.

Portia closed her eyes in one long blink and did her best to shake off the fetters of her world, to let the irons drop and pretend that this was a holiday of her own choosing and not just another foisted courtship.

"Enough of this," Portia announced, arranging her bonnet and repositioning her hatpin through the straw with a determined twist.

"Where you off to?"

"To find help." Portia grasped the latch and pushed the door open. Like an animal lying in wait, the wind attacked the door, whipping it inward again. She caught it with the palm of her hand and pushed, grunting. "Someone must. We can't rely on John." Gathering her skirts in one hand, she added, "You're welcome to come. A brisk walk might energize you."

"I'll be staying here where it's warm and dry, thank you very much." With a sniff, Nettie curled up on the squabs, heedless of arranging her skirts to cover her plump, milk-white legs.

Continues...

Excerpted from Too Wicked to Tame by Sophie Jordan Copyright © 2007 by Sophie Jordan. 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 23 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Such a good book!

    The two of them were constantly fighting and it never failed to entertain!

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  • Posted July 13, 2010

    Nice Read

    I enjoyed it but it was not as captivating as some of her other books. Overall it was a nice read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2007

    A reviewer

    The beautiful and penniless Lady Portia Denning is traveling to the Yorkshire estates of the Earl of Moreton when her coach breaks down, her coachman takes off, and to make matters worse, a dark, handsome rogue nearly runs her over, splashes her with mud, and then sweeps her off her feet and onto his horse. She soon discovers the handsome bounder is the Earl of Moreton, the very gentleman her family insists she wed. She is more than determined to not marry him. Known as the 'Mad' Earl of Moreton, Heath has lived with the scandal of family madness and is determined never to marry. When he discovers that his and Portia's grandmothers are arranging a marriage between them, he is livid. An emotional struggle of wills and physical desire ensue between the passionate couple. Heath is realizing the 'mud pie' he discovered on the road is extremely desirable. Portia attempts to avoid the dark, handsome Heath, but no matter how she tries, her attraction builds. When Portia becomes lost in a storm while riding, she shelters at the hunting lodge on the estate. Heath rides out to find her. Discovering her in his retreat, he is disturbed when they have no choice but to spend the night. A night that heats up with intense passion that can no longer be denied, and they make love. The following morning Heath informs Portia that even though he has taken her innocence, he will not marry her. Realizing he is too wicked to tame, angry and hurt she leaves the estate to return home, penniless and vulnerable to the evil businessman Simon Oliver. When longtime secrets are revealed, Heath realizes he loves Portia and longs to win her love and marry her, but will it be too late? Too Wicked to Tame is a wickedly pleasurable read. Sophie Jordan is one of the best newer romance authors with the talent to write romance that sizzles with desire and passion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2007

    Sophie proves her worth in historical romance

    What a terrific follow up to Sophie Jordan's debut. Too Wicked to Tame is a delight, fast-paced read with full, vivacious characters, a unique plot and an ending that gives one the 'awe' of a satisfying ending. Her descriptions, dialogue and storyline is one that will have you rooting for the characters the entire book through! I can't wait to see what Ms. Jordan gives us next. I can only hope it's soon!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2007

    A Mesmerizing Must-Read!

    Lady Portia Derring does not wish to marry. Then again, neither does the Earl of Moreton, and both of them have very good reason to avoid the shackles of matrimony. Portia cares nothing for love, wanting only the freedom her mother enjoys, and Heath has vowed never to wed, never to sire an heir, and thus, never to inflict his family¿s madness on another. But their grandmothers have schemed to get them together, and so Portia departs London for the chilly landscape of Yorkshire, to stay with the Moreton clan and tempt the earl into changing his mind. The earl quickly finds himself bewitched¿and irritated beyond measure¿and so repeatedly asks Portia to leave. Yet relieved to be away from her family¿s constant bullying, to be left to her own devices, free to roam the Moreton library at will, Portia is very content to stay. The pair of them butt heads at every turn, and sexual tension begins to slowly mount, moving them inexorably towards a point of no return. But just when the outcome seems inevitable, a little twist changes everything. With beautifully drawn characters, vivid description, and sensuous details, Sophie Jordan has penned a thrillingly satisfying novel that will leave you breathless with anticipation while wanting to savor every bit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2006

    A wonderfully sexy romance!

    Once again Sophie Jordan steps out of the rarified world on the ton in a wonderful story of two people who have given up any hope of happiness, only to find love. Portia is the penniless sister of a duke who would marry her off to the devil himself if the price was right. She wants nothing to do with marriage which in her experience is one step away from imprisonment. Heath is the victim of a family curse which makes marriage impossible, especially to a lady like Portia. And yet when he rescues her on the road in a bitter storm, the need to tempt her is irresistible¿and tempt her he does. For the first time in her life, Portia feels desire for a man, and knowing Heath is reckless and dangerous only fuels the attraction. Although nothing technically happens between them, they see in each other a passion that can never be and they part, never to meet again. Or so they both assume. When they meet again, Heath¿s outrage at what he sees as Portia¿s plot to marry him backfires. Instead of driving her away, his insistence that he will never marry her suggests to Portia a way to avoid the humiliation of another season of husband hunting in London. Soon, however, they must deal with the undeniable attraction that could ruin both of their lives. The characters in the story are especially compelling. Portia is a complex mix of independence and vulnerability, while Heath hides a deep sadness under an exterior of arrogance and anger. Even the secondary characters are multi-faceted people who do more than act as a background to the heroine and hero. While most regency romances tend to focus on social conventions of the time, in Ms. Jordan¿s story the main characters have been badly damaged by their respective family situations and as a result live on the edge of polite society. Ms. Jordan¿s story is more in the spirit of a Bronte than Ms. Austin, where raging passions are a curse rather than a blessing and love seems like an impossible dream. Still, this a romance and the final resolution is even more satisfactory because the heroine and hero have had such a transformational journey. Too Wicked to Tame is a beautifully written book historical readers won¿t want to miss!

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