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Three brothers--each as wickedly handsome and scandalous as the next--must wed or surrender their fortunes. They're the Rayborne men, and their quest for the perfect woman will send them on an unforgettable excursion of pleasure and excitement. . .

Her Thirst For Passion. . .

Lily Winthrop's marriage to her recently deceased husband was a loveless one. She wishes to never wed again. But when she meets the devilishly charming Victor Rayborne, he...

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Three brothers--each as wickedly handsome and scandalous as the next--must wed or surrender their fortunes. They're the Rayborne men, and their quest for the perfect woman will send them on an unforgettable excursion of pleasure and excitement. . .

Her Thirst For Passion. . .

Lily Winthrop's marriage to her recently deceased husband was a loveless one. She wishes to never wed again. But when she meets the devilishly charming Victor Rayborne, he stirs a scorching hunger deep within her. She yearns to be taken by him, to feel the heat of his body entwined with hers. . .

His Irresistible Desire. . .

The fact that Lily is older than him does not deter Victor from seeking out her lovely company. Instead, he finds the alluring woman a welcome breath of fresh air amid the insufferably dull prospects paraded before him in the ton. And when he kisses Lily, an overwhelming lust is ignited--one that begs to consume them beyond all control.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758238160
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Series: Rakehells of Rochester Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 916,798
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Read an Excerpt




Copyright © 2010 Julia Templeton
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-3816-0

Chapter One

Victor Rayborne looked out over the grounds of his family's country estate. It had been a fortnight since his mother had made the announcement that he and his brothers must find brides or lose everything. His eldest sibling, Sinjin, had succeeded in winning the hand of the beautiful Katelyn Davenport, a woman who at the beginning of said party had been engaged to another man.

A man who now lay dead by his own hand.

Releasing a sigh, he scrubbed a hand over his face. Unlike his brother who had fallen in love so quickly, Victor had not found a woman who caught his fancy among the young debutantes that his mother had brought to Claymoore Hall. However, he had found a chaperone who intrigued him.

Lillith Winthrop, Lady Nordland, widow and aunt to Katelyn and her sister, Marilyn, was a beautiful blonde with striking hazel eyes and a body built for pleasure. The attraction had been instantaneous, and yet everything he'd heard about Lillith revolved around her virtuous reputation for being the very picture of decorum, an example of what every young lady should aspire to be.

In short, she was the opposite of what kind of woman he usually was attracted to. Actresses and dancers had always been his type, much like his last mistress, the beautiful twenty-five-year-oldSelene.

The door to his chamber opened and his brother Rory appeared, his messy dark hair and rumpled appearance saying he'd just come from a liaison. Rory had been gifted with striking good looks that women found irresistible. When he entered a room, men held tight to their wives, daughters, and mistresses.

"You look like hell. Where have you been?"

Rory flashed a wolfish smile. "With the incomparable Lady Anna."

Lady Anna had entertained both Victor and Rory in her chamber just days into the party. Since that event he had steered clear of the woman, but apparently Rory could not get enough of the sexually voracious young lady. "I'm surprised her chaperone has not caught on yet."

"Yes, well, there is something to be said about having a chaperone who is hard of hearing and has weak eyesight." Rory fell into a chair beside the fireplace.

"Perhaps you should ask Lady Anna to marry you?"

Rory snorted. "Anna is an excellent lover, to be sure, but I cannot imagine her as a wife. I could never trust her."

"Isn't that a bit like the pot calling the kettle black?"

"Yes, well ..." Rory brushed his hands through his hair and yawned loudly. "What of you? I noticed you dancing with a certain widow last night. Do I sense interest on your part?"

His brothers knew him better than anyone, so it was no use denying it. "Yes, I find Lillith intriguing."

"She's lovely. Hard to believe she's the aunt. I would have taken her more as the sister, especially given that remarkable figure," Rory said, a smile on his face. "Oh, and you'll love this; Lady Anna says that Lillith is unattainable."

Unattainable? Ironically, the news fascinated him even more. A woman as beautiful as Lillith, and a wealthy, titled widow at that, should have men beating down her door. Chances were she wasn't interested. Little wonder given what he now knew of her husband.

Every time he approached Lillith she looked ready to bolt-until last night. Last night he had sensed a change in her when they danced. She had laughed and smiled the entire time. He did take into account that said happiness could have been more about the fact that her niece had become engaged and less about her dancing partner, but he'd felt elated nonetheless.

"Oh my God, you really like her." Rory sat up straight now. "I'll wager you one hundred pounds that you can't get her into bed."

A part of Victor rebelled at making such a wager, yet the rake in him couldn't resist the challenge. He and Rory had always had a strange rivalry, and it's not like this would be the first time they'd bet on getting a woman into bed. "Make it your gold pocket watch and we have a deal."

Rory frowned. "The one Grandfather gave me?"

"Yes, the very one, which you never wear." Victor had secretly coveted the piece for years. When Rory had received the treasured antique after their grandfather's passing, he had been crushed. He shouldn't have been so surprised since Rory had always been their grandfather's golden boy.

Rory's eyes narrowed as he contemplated the wager, and Victor had a sneaking suspicion he would not go for it, when finally Rory released an exasperated sigh, stood, and extended his hand. "Very well, you shall have the pocket watch, but only if you seduce Lady Nordland. And you will not just bed her and be done with it, but rather captivate her completely and make her your mistress."

Victor wasn't sure about his ability to "captivate her completely" and make her his mistress, but bedding her he could do, despite the fact her flawless reputation suggested otherwise.

He shook Rory's hand. "Done," he said with more confidence than he felt.

Lillith lifted her face to the sun. It was a glorious day, and she felt extremely gratified as she watched her niece Katelyn and her fiancé Sinjin walk hand in hand along the grounds under the watchful eye of Sinjin's proud mother, Lady Rochester.

Any misgivings the countess might have had about her eldest son marrying Katelyn had apparently been put aside, for she positively beamed as she took tea with her friends.

If only Marilyn had found love with one of the Rayborne brothers or one of their male guests, then the party would have been an even greater success. For a short while Lillith thought her niece had fallen in love with Victor, especially when she had happened upon them kissing in the labyrinth.

However, Marilyn had assured her that Victor was nothing more than a friend. Lillith didn't push for more answers, as a part of her honestly didn't want to know the truth. Admittedly, she'd been more than a little jealous when she'd witnessed the kiss, and worried that both she and her niece had feelings for the renowned rakehell.

Victor was a decade younger than Lillith, in his prime, and he made her feel small and feminine, and yes, even desired-something she had not felt for many, many years. True, she had been pursued by older gentlemen intent on taking a well-respected widow as their wife, but none of those men thrilled her the way Victor Rayborne did.

Victor brought out something in her that made her feel like a girl again. Indeed, he made her wonder what it would be like to behave badly; a new concept given she had spent the past two decades playing the elegant, loyal, ever virtuous wife to a detestable man who paraded his many male lovers before her.

She had hoped to have children of her own, but her fifteen-year marriage had yielded no such blessing. Little wonder given her husband had rarely visited her bed. The night of her wedding had been the stuff of nightmares, and she had come to hate Winfred's drunken visits. What a fantastic actor he had been during their courtship. If she could have only guessed that behind the sheep's clothing lay a malicious wolf, she would have run for her life.

But there was no use in crying over what had happened. Those days were long behind her. She could only move on to what could be.

"Lady Nordland," a deep voice said from behind her, and she turned slowly.

Victor's brilliant blue eyes slid down her body and up again. His dark, wavy hair fell to his broad shoulders in wild disarray, and he had the most arresting features: square jaw, jutting cheekbones, and lovely full lips. He was dressed in black from his shirt and snug trousers that hugged muscular thighs to the slightly worn Hessians. The dark attire made his light eyes even more vivid, she realized.

"Lord Graston, good afternoon." She managed to keep her tone casual; a difficult feat when exhilaration rushed through her veins, making her heart pound as if she'd run a race.

"May I?" he asked, motioning to the chair beside her.

She nodded, "Of course."

He sat in the chair, his long legs stretching out before him. He made her thoughts turn positively scandalous, and she wondered if the rumors she had heard this past week were true: Lord Graston was a gracious, extremely well-endowed lover with incredible stamina and skill. A flash of what he must look like naked came to mind and Lillith shifted in her seat. Truth be told, she had never been so attracted to a man in all her thirty-eight years.

Nearby, someone laughed aloud and Lillith straightened her spine. She glanced at a nearby table to see a young woman and her chaperone watching her closely and talking behind their fans. The chaperone lifted a brow as though to say, "Who do you think you are, you old maid?" Indeed, were they laughing at her because Victor was showing interest, or that she was so obviously taken with him?

"Lily, Lily, Lily, when will you stop worrying about what others are thinking or saying?" Victor whispered, his voice far too intimate.

"I am a chaperone, Lord Graston. And people talk if said chaperone, and a widow at that, spends too much time in the company of a single, young man."

He sighed heavily. "Who cares what they say? Let them speculate."

If only it were that easy. She didn't want to destroy her hard-earned reputation in a few days' time. And yet, he was right. Why was it that she always worried about what others thought of her? Perhaps in the past it had been because she'd tried to save herself the humiliation of a horrific marriage and a husband who despised her. She had wanted to be liked so desperately that she had lived her life as an example of what a woman should be.

And she was bloody miserable.

"You are leaving today?" he asked, his voice hinting at disappointment.

"We had planned to, but my nieces have talked me into staying on another day."

His face lit up and her pulse skittered. "I am glad to hear it. Perhaps your nieces will persuade you into staying another week."

Honestly, she would not mind staying another week, but she feared spending seven more days in this man's company. It was not so much that she did not trust him, but rather, she did not trust herself. "I am afraid a week is out of the question," she said, feeling a blush work its way up her neck. "I have obligations I must attend to in London."

"Can I visit you in London?" he asked so nonchalantly he might have been talking about the weather.

It was not unusual for her to welcome friends and new acquaintances to her home, but usually those "friends" were women, not men. Her neighbors would be all aflutter if a handsome young man started calling on her.

"We will be family soon, Lily," he said, as though reading her thoughts. "You need not worry what others would think."

Yes, they would be family soon; but given his reputation, no one would misconstrue what his visits meant. "Of course you can visit me in London, but I thought you were returning to Rochester."

"I am, indeed, returning to Rochester, but not for long." His gaze shifted from her lips to her breasts. "I suddenly have a strong desire to see London again."

Her stomach tightened as his gaze shifted back to hers. She understood innuendos well enough-the heated glint in his gaze, the way his stare burned into her, down her body, taking everything in with a glance. The question was why, when he had a bevy of beautiful young women at his disposal, all aching for the chance to get to know him better in the hopes of marrying him, did he want to spend time with her, an old widow. A barren widow, she thought with growing dismay.

"Will you not ask me why I have such a strong desire to see London again?"

He could be so very exasperating! "Very well, Lord Graston, why do you yearn to see London again so soon after leaving?"

He reached for her hand, his long fingers sliding between hers. "Because I want to be near you, Lily. I would follow you to the ends of the earth if need be."

She knew the ways of rakes and scoundrels well enough-all the charming phrases they used in order to get what they wanted. Do women actually fall for this drivel? she wondered.

His piercing, long-lashed eyes held her pinned to the spot and she found it very difficult to breathe. Apparently, she was not so very different from other women who had fallen victim to his charm.

She abruptly pulled her hand away, hoping that no one else had seen the exchange.

Victor's lips quirked. "You have grown quiet, Lily."

"Have I?" she asked, her voice coming out harsher than intended. "I suppose I do not know what you want me to say. A part of me wonders if you are toying with me."

"Why would I toy with you, Lily?"

It seemed that he enjoyed making her uncomfortable. The main objective was to not let him affect her, or at the very least not let him know he affected her. "It goes without saying that your parents want you to marry, and I am obviously not the best choice."

His brows rose. "Why would that be?"

She cleared her throat. "I am widowed, and I am-a good deal older than you."

"I have had many lovers older than yourself," he said, his eyes intense as he stared at her.

The admission made her strangely intrigued and set her mind at ease. She had not planned on getting into such an intimate discussion with him, but it was comforting to know that he'd had lovers older than she.

Feeling warmer by the second, Lillith reached for her fan. Flicking it open, she waved it vigorously in order to cool her heated cheeks. Good Lord, she was beginning to perspire, and the more he stared, the more uncomfortable she became.

He leaned near and whispered in her ear, "Perhaps I can visit your bedchamber this evening?"

The breath lodged in her throat. Clearly she had not heard him correctly? Who would be so bold as to ask to visit her bedchamber? A rakehell, that's who. "I do believe you are trying to unnerve me, Lord Graston."

His grin was altogether devastating, his eyes heavy lidded and suggestive, and for a breathless moment she envisioned him naked, making love to her with expert skill, bringing her to climax for the first time with his well-endowed manhood. Heat swept through her body, making her nipples pebble against her bodice and the flesh between her thighs tingle.

It seemed he could read her every wicked thought, because as he watched her watch him, his smile deepened. Oh, but he was all confidence and pomp. "And am I succeeding in unnerving you, Lily?"

He rested his elbow on the arm of the chair and brushed his thumb over his full lower lip. The movement was strangely sensual, which did not help her current state of arousal in the least.

She sat up straighter and squared her shoulders. "Lord Graston, certainly there is another woman present who might be more receptive to your invitation."

"I think you are receptive, Lily. I think you want to be made love to and let your inhibitions go. Have you not wondered what it would be like to have a lover warm your bed? A younger lover who would appreciate you and perhaps even surprise you in the bedchamber."

The blood in her veins positively burned. She waved her fan faster and tried without success to dislodge the wicked images racing through her mind.

His gaze wandered over her face, down to the low neckline of her gown. "I wonder what you would look like with your hair down, the curls spilling over my pillow in wild disarray, and your luscious naked body wrapped in my sheets."

The passionate look in his eyes and the sensual tone of his voice were too much. Though no one sat close enough to hear their discussion, she was aware that they were being watched. Feeling trapped, she stood so fast she nearly upended the chair in her haste. She stopped herself before she stormed off. A lady never made a scene. She forced a smile and gave a curt nod. "Lord Graston, it was a pleasure."

"I have upset you." It wasn't a question, and to her surprise, the devilish smile had disappeared.

"I am unaccustomed to being talked to in such a manner, Lord Graston. I am no whore."

Oh dear. Victor had hit a nerve.

"Forgive me, Lady Nordland. I only know what others have said, and I understand your husband was not-the most gracious of husbands." Victor regretted the words the moment they left his mouth, and even more so when Lillith's mouth formed an O. Seconds later, she snapped her mouth shut, turned on her heel, and left him staring after her.

He pondered his choices: he could let her cool off and try and talk to her later, or he could settle matters now. Aware they had an audience, his mother included, he stood slowly and walked in the opposite direction Lillith had gone as not to cause further speculation.


Excerpted from VICTOR by JULIA TEMPLETON Copyright © 2010 by Julia Templeton. 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

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 25, 2010

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    an engaging historical

    Widow Lilith Winthrop chaperones her nieces around the London galas. Having suffered from an unfaithful husband who humiliated her all the time, Lilith has no interest in men. That is until she meets the virile younger Victor Rayborne, whose boudoir reputation is stratospheric; just ask his mother.

    He persuades her to enter into a tryst with him. As their lovemaking is hot, they begin to fall in love. However when his former mistress makes a bid to get him back, Lilith's doubts after a lifetime with a cheat drives her from her beloved. Even after he professes he loves her, she hesitates so he burns the sheets with his beloved to show he desires her and only her and to eradicate her last doubt as only a Rakehell of Rochester could.

    The latest Rakehells of Rochester Regency romance is an engaging historical starring a fascinating lead couple whose older woman premise beings some freshness to the plot. An entertaining tale, Victor's victory fails to match Sinjinn's sexy saga partly because fans already know mom caught her three offspring in a brothel. Still though lacking that mother originality, Julia Templeton provides a heated Regency as the younger man uses every seductive ruse he knows in order to live up to his name and win the heart (he has won the body) of the woman he loves.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2011

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    Too good not to read

    This book was actually my least favorite of the series but it was still very very good. Tempelton has done marvolus job with the rakeshells of rodchester!

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  • Posted November 5, 2010

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    A must read series

    I enjoyed the writing very much in this series.

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  • Posted October 22, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:


    These three sexy brothers are forced to tame their wicked, steamy ways when thier very wealthy parents tell them they either have to find and marry a bride or lose their very generous trust funds. Although the last thing each scandalous brother wants is a wedding or a bride. Loving their womanizing ways. But they search for the one woman that can make their hearts beat. But what they find in each book is the one they least expect to capture their hearts. This book is the second in this very well written series. And Victor being the middle brother has pressure to find a bride quickly since his older brother has found his one and only. But love is not easy and Victor finds himself in more than one sticky situation. I was totally captivated by these three gorgeous men and their stories. I'm very much looking forward to Rory's story (BOOK 3 DUE OUT IN JAN/ 2011) Julia Templeton is a gods gift to us romance freaks. I have searched out other books of hers and are looking forward to them.

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  • Posted October 8, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    The Rakeshells of Rochester - Victor!

    I loved it! This is the second book of the series of the rakeshell brothers (Sinjin, Victor and Rory). Victor is the middle son who has to find a bride before summers end (Sinjin found his in the first book of the series to Katelyn) due to his parents giving the ultimatum that they all marry or lose their fortunes. Victor sets his sights on Katelyn's aunt Lily, a widow and tens years older than Victor. Lily is a beautiful blonde that looks younger than her 38 years and holds herself with grace and dignity. Victor pursues Lily and the sparks fly with their passion and desire of each other. The only problem that may keep these two apart is an ex-mistress of Victors, Selene, who has her claws set on winning Victor back with a fake pregnancy. Will Victory and Lily overcome their obtacles and be free to love and continue their passionate affair? You will have to read this book to find out!!

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