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Untameable Rogue [NOOK Book]

Overview

Businesswoman Madeline Delacourte has no time and no need for a man in her life; after all, her late husband left her independently wealthy. But then she meets Luke Bennett. With his hard body and even harder attitude to life, he poses a challenge and awakens a hunger she didn't know she had….

Luke is only visiting Singapore for a week and Madeline knows she's playing with fire. He is as roguish as he is seductive, and if she unleashes this bad boy's passion she'd better learn ...

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Untameable Rogue

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Overview

Businesswoman Madeline Delacourte has no time and no need for a man in her life; after all, her late husband left her independently wealthy. But then she meets Luke Bennett. With his hard body and even harder attitude to life, he poses a challenge and awakens a hunger she didn't know she had….

Luke is only visiting Singapore for a week and Madeline knows she's playing with fire. He is as roguish as he is seductive, and if she unleashes this bad boy's passion she'd better learn how to tame it—otherwise she's the one who'll end up getting burned….

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426874727
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 11/1/2010
  • Series: Bennett Family , #128
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 322,863
  • File size: 438 KB

Meet the Author


Kelly Hunter has always had a weakness for fairytales, fantasy worlds, and losing herself in a good book. She is married with two children, avoids cooking and cleaning, and despite the best efforts of her family, is no sports fan! Kelly is however, a keen gardener and has a fondness for roses. Kelly was born in Australia and has travelled extensively. Although she enjoys living and working in different parts of the world, she still calls Australia home.


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Read an Excerpt

Madeline Mercy Delacourte quite liked looking at near-naked men. She had her favourites, of course. Smooth-skinned willowy young men were easy on the eye and heaven knew Singapore was full of them. Well-preserved older men could also command attention on occasion, although general consensus had it that they were far easier to admire when they kept their clothes on.

No, for Madeline's money—and she had plenty of money—by far the most appealing type of near-naked man was the hardened warrior, complete with battle scars and formidable air. The ones who wore the gi—the loose martial arts robes—as if they'd been born to them. The ones who didn't bother with shirts in Singapore's sultry heat. Instead they let their glistening skin caress the air and please the eyes of those who knew where to find them.

Right now, as Madeline's eyes adjusted to the dim interior of the shabby little dojo in the heart of Singapore's Chinatown, she had the definite pleasure of happening upon not one shirtless warrior, but two.

The first was Jacob Bennett, a raven-haired steely-eyed Australian who'd found his way to Singapore around the same time Madeline had—over ten years ago now— and never left. They understood each other, she and Jacob. Survivors both, no questions asked. This was his dojo Madeline was standing in and if he had a softer side to his formidable façade, well, she'd never seen it. He'd scowl when he saw her. He always did. That was what came of asking a kind man one too many favours.

Madeline had never seen Jacob's opponent before. Not in the dojo, not in Singapore. She'd have remembered if she had. He had an inch or so on Jacob when it came to height, but when it came to muscle mass and the way it wrapped around bone the men looked remarkably similar. Same cropped black hair and skin tone too. A brother perhaps, or a cousin, and certainly no stranger to the martial arts. He had Jacob's measure, and that was saying something.

They had the long sticks out, the Shaolin staffs, and they fought with the grace of dancers and the ferocity of Singapore's famous Merlion. Each man appeared intent on annihilating the other but where Jacob was ice, his opponent was fire. Less contained, thoroughly unpredictable. Reckless, even.

Reckless warriors were her favourite kind.

Jacob saw her and scowled. Madeline blew him a kiss.

'Is that him?' said the ragamuffin boy standing beside her.

'That's him.'

'He doesn't look pleased to see us.'

'He'll get over it.'

Jacob's opponent must have heard them speaking or followed Jacob's gaze, for he looked their way as well.

Bad move. Moments later the unknown warrior landed flat on his back, swept off his feet by Jacob's long stick. Madeline winced.

Jacob looked their way again and he really should have known better because the moment he took his eyes off his fallen opponent the warrior struck and Jacob too went down. A heartbeat later, each man had his hand wrapped around the other's throat.

'He looks busy,' said the boy. 'We should come back later.'

'What? And miss all this?' Besides, she figured the warriors were just about done. With a reassuring smile in the boy's direction, Madeline sauntered over to the two men, the heel of her designer shoes satisfyingly staccato against the scarred wooden floor. She crouched beside the warring pair and poked the mystery man's sweat-slicked shoulder with her fingernail, barely resisting the urge to trace a more lingering path. 'Excuse me. So sorry to interrupt. Hello, Jacob. Got a minute?'

The mystery man had expressive amber-coloured eyes; the predominant expression in them at the moment being one of incredulity. But his grip on Jacob's throat loosened and Jacob stopped sparring altogether and raised his hands in the universal gesture of surrender. Madeline smiled and offered the mystery warrior her hand, primarily to ensure he removed it from around Jacob's neck. 'Madeline Delacourte. Most people call me Maddy.'

'Often they just call her mad,' rasped Jacob.

'Flatterer,' said Madeline.

The warrior's eyes lightened and he smiled a dangerously charming smile as he rolled away from Jacob and offered up a warm and calloused hand. 'Luke Bennett.'

'A brother?' And at his nod, 'Thought so. You fight very well. Tell me, Luke Bennett…' she said as she withdrew her hand and rose from her crouching position. Both men followed suit and got to their feet, seemingly none the worse for the bruising. 'Which one of you wins these fearsome little encounters? Or do you both pass out at around the same time?'

'It varies,' said Luke. 'I can hold my breath for longer.'

'Handy,' murmured Madeline. He really did have the most amazing coloured eyes. 'And Jacob's advantage?'

'Stubbornness.' Those golden eyes took on a speculative light. 'But then, you probably already know that about him.'

Madeline smiled non-committally. She was, after all, about to ask the stubborn man a favour. She dragged her gaze away from Luke Bennett and focused on Jacob instead. Jacob's eyes were a bright piercing blue. It was like trading old gold for a slice of midday sky. 'I hear you're looking for a new apprentice.'

'You heard wrong,' said Jacob, his gaze sliding to Po, still hovering just inside the doorway. 'Besides, the last one you found for me stole everything that wasn't nailed down and most of the things that were.'

'He gave it all back, didn't he?' countered Madeline. 'And he became your best student and won an Asian championship or ten for you.'

'Yeah,' said Jacob dryly. 'Right before the Hong Kong film industry came knocking and filled his brain with bright lights and tinsel.'

'See? I knew you needed a new apprentice.' Madeline bestowed upon him her most winning smile. 'Hey, Po. Come and meet the sensei.'

Po headed towards them warily. Small boy, somewhere in his early teens as far as Madeline could tell. That particular piece of information had never come her way and neither had Po's surname. For Po there was the street and his ability to survive on it, nothing more. It had taken Madeline six months to get the boy to even consider that there might be other lifestyle options open to him.

Jacob sighed heavily. 'Why me?' he muttered.

'Because you're a good man?' offered Madeline helpfully. 'Because if I put this one with anyone else he really will rob them blind?'

'You could always put him back where you found him,' offered Jacob. 'You can't save them all, Maddy.'

'I know.' But she could save some. And Jacob had been known to help her. 'Po's a pickpocket who works Orchid Road Central. He has a talent for annoying dangerous people. He needs to move on.'

'Why am I not surprised?' Jacob gave Po his full attention. 'Do you even want to learn karate, kid?'

Po shrugged. 'I want to live.'

'Can't argue with that,' said Luke Bennett cheerfully.

'You take him, then,' said his brother.

'Sorry.' Luke's lips curved unrepentantly and Madeline suddenly found herself ensnared by a man in a way she hadn't been for years. Rapid heartbeat, a curling sensation deep in her belly, an irresistible urge to bask in the warmth of that lazy smile—the whole catastrophe. 'You're the upright citizen. I'm the homeless one with the specialised skill set. I'd only corrupt him.'

'What exactly is it that you do?' Madeline asked.

'Mostly I examine sea mines and weaponry for the military.'

'Mostly when they're about to go boom,' added Jacob dryly. 'Life expectancy is a problem.'

'What's life without risk?' countered Luke with a glance in her direction. Amber eyes could be warm, she discovered. As warm as a lazy smile.

'I'm guessing that particular line of reasoning works for you a lot,' she said. 'I'm guessing you're inclined to categorise women into two main groupings. Those who run screaming when you smile at them and say that. And those who don't.'

Jacob guffawed, never mind that it landed him on the receiving end of a flat golden glare.

'This way, kid,' he said, still grinning as he turned and strode towards the far door. 'I offer a room with a bed and a pillow, one set of linen, provisions for three square meals a day, and below minimum wage. In return I require loyalty, obedience, honour and dedication from you. If you're not interested, feel free to go out the way you came in.'

Jacob didn't turn to see whether Po had chosen to follow him. Jacob knew street kids. He knew the boy would follow, if only to see if there was anything worth stealing later.

Luke Bennett watched Po and his brother walk away, his expression a mixture of exasperation and reluctant pride. Madeline watched Luke. It wasn't a hardship.

'You do this to him often?' he asked, turning and catching her examining him. She didn't blush.

'Often enough.'

'Do they stay?'

'Often enough.'

'Are you in love with my brother?'

'That's a very personal question.' Not one she felt inclined to answer. 'Why do you ask?'

'Jake doesn't let down his guard very often. He let it down for you.'

Madeline shook her head. 'The outer perimeter, maybe.' But Jacob Bennett's heart was locked down tight and Madeline knew with blind feminine instinct that she didn't hold the key to it. 'What would you do if I said yes?'

'Lament,' he said. And on a more serious note, 'I don't poach.'

'How very honourable of you. But then, I'd expect nothing less from a brother of Jacob's. Tell him I had to be going.'

'And my question?'

Madeline considered him thoughtfully, knowing the question for what it was. A declaration of interest, an invitation to play. She'd taken only one lover in the six years since William's death. She'd still been grieving, and in retrospect she'd wanted the comfort that came of intimacy far more than she'd wanted her lover's love. He'd wanted a woman he could honour and respect. It hadn't turned out well.

What would Luke Bennett look for in a lover? she wondered. Passion? Passion hadn't touched her in such a long time. Laughter? She could do somewhat better there. Honesty? She could give him that too, for what it was worth.

And then there was honour, and that she could not do.

'How long are you staying in Singapore, Luke Bennett?'

'A week.'

'Not long.'

'Long enough,' he countered. 'A person can pack a lot into a week if they try.' He shot her a crooked smile. 'You still haven't answered my question.'

'Only because I don't want to. Consider it one of life's little mysteries.'

'I hate mysteries,' he said. 'Fair warning.'

Hard not to smile a little at that. 'Enjoy your stay in Singapore, Luke Bennett. There's plenty to entertain.'

'There certainly is,' he murmured.

'There's plenty of things you'd do well to avoid too.' Fair warning. Smiling wryly, Madeline turned on her heel and let herself out.

'So what's the deal with you and Madeline Delacourte?' Luke asked his brother as they resumed their battle with the Shaolin sticks some fifteen minutes later, this time with a watchful pickpocket for an audience. 'You into her?'

'Why the interest?' asked Jake and followed through with a glancing blow to Luke's side.

Luke stopped talking and started concentrating on his defence. But the image of Madeline Delacourte—she of the knowing smile, honey-blonde hair, and long shapely legs—just wouldn't go away. 'Why do you think? I'm not asking for a kidney here. All I want is a straight yes or no answer from one of you.' He really didn't think it was too much to ask.

'No,' said Jake, blocking Luke's next blow. 'She's just a friend.'

'Is she married?'

'Not any more.'

'Engaged?'

'No.'

'Attached?'

'No.' Jake's stick caught him on the knuckles and damn near took his fingers off. 'Madeline's choosy. She can afford to be.'

'She's wealthy?'

'Very. Her late husband's family were British spice traders, back when the East opened up. They made a fortune and sank most of it into real estate. Maddy's husband owned a string of shopping centres and hotels along Orchid Road and half the residential skyscrapers in south-east Singapore. Maddy owns them now.'

'Her husband died young?'

'Her husband died a happy old man.'

Luke winced. He didn't like the picture Jake was painting. 'Any kids?'

'No.' More blows reached him. 'You're not concentrating,' said Jake.

'I'm still coming to grips with the trophy-wife thing.'

'Maybe she loved him.'

'How much older was he?'

'Thirty years,' said Jake. 'Give or take.'

Luke scowled and came in hard, peppering his brother with blows, his growing disillusion with Madeline Delacourte giving him a ferocious edge. The fighting ceased being a sparring exercise and became instead an outlet for emotion of the explosive kind as he went for Jake's hands, the better to rid them of the long stick. Not a berserker, not quite, but a creature of instinct nonetheless and one Jake would have no peaceable defence against.

Cursing his lack of control, Luke grounded his staff and stepped back abruptly, breathing hard as he bowed to formalise the end of the session. 'Sorry,' he muttered, and headed for the stack of towels piled on a low wooden bench over by the wall.

Jake had walked towards Po and was speaking to him in the calm quiet way that Luke had always loved about his brother. The kid nodded once, warily, and hightailed it out of the dojo door. Jake turned his attention back to Luke after that. Luke looked away and towelled his face, not wanting to meet Jake's condemning gaze, or, worse, his understanding one. Once a younger brother, always a younger brother, though he was not the youngest of the four boys in the family. Tristan carried that dubious honour.

By the time he'd finished roughing the towel over his shoulders and stomach, Jake stood beside him.

'You want to tell me what that was all about?' asked Jake quietly.

Ten rigorous years of living life in the explosive lane? Never settling down, never staying in one place for more than a few months? One too many dices with death? A volcanic recklessness that had been building and building and needed an outlet before it blew him apart? 'I changed the rules on you halfway through the match and I shouldn't have. I stopped. No one got hurt. What's to tell?'

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A sizzling hot Singapore fling!

    Madeline Delacourte was a interesting heroine who by her shear strength managed to survive a tragic childhood and lost so much but was in the end, a survivor. She married an extremely wealthy man 30 years older, did not love him but was faithful to him and now she was a widow. Maddy built up her husbands company with determination but what I adored about her was that she took street kids to her friend Jacob Bennett's dojo which if they worked hard and didn't steel they would get housing and food. Please the fact these children were saved.

    On one particular day while taking a child to the dojo she met Jacob's brother, Luke and all I can say is the sparks fly and for Maddy, he's the first man in years that makes her ache with need to get to know him in a most personal way. It's the very same for Luke, this proud "warrior" who for a living flies all over the world with the dangerous occupation of detonating bombs.

    Luke Bennett couldn't stop thinking about Maddy, so they began seeing other, sleeping with each other and everything became complicated because they sincerely started caring for each other. They somehow became a team and they complimented each other. Top it off, Luke's brother was there in Singapore, Maddy's housekeeper adored him, Po the boy who was now residing at the dojo loved him and there were times they all spent time together and became in a strange sort of way a family.

    Then their balanced lives changed when Luke kept being called away in the middle of the night and went to another corner of the world. And then the worst happened, he was shot and it scared Maddy to death because she realized she loved Luke. But would he love her back and give up his dangerous job and settle down with her in Singapore? She knew Luke was a warrior with "honour, soul deep and absolute. Duty-bound, forsaking all else". As much as she admired him, she loved him and wanted him safe!

    Most people in Maddy's social circle gossiped about her, said horrible things about her, trashing her and when they overheard someone saying she sold herself on a street corner she felt the need to explain that those remarks weren't true. She felt she didn't fit in Luke's honorable life, they fought and Luke was angry because he wanted her to believe in him like he believed in her. It was hard for Luke to accept why she married a wealthy husband she didn't love and the money also bothered him. As for Maddy, she was afraid of getting hurt because most of her life had been full of that emotion. However, in the end this couple get their happy ending in a most glorious way. When I emailed Kelly to see if there was a behind the book story, you can see her answer. I can't wait to read another Bennett story.

    Behind the Book:

    "When I wrote my very first hmb 'Wife For A Week' and introduced my heroine, Hallie, I made the newbie mistake of giving her four completely over the top overprotective big brothers, all with ridiculously alpha occupations that I knew nothing about. They were wanderers, these brothers. Thrill seekers not inclined to settle down. And then I had to write them". K. Hunter

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

    Posted November 11, 2010

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    Posted April 26, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2010

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    Posted November 17, 2010

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