Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (Cynster Sisters Trilogy #1)by Stephanie Laurens
The Cynsters are back in a brilliant new series from USA Today and New York Times bestseller Stephanie Laurens! Fans adore Laurens’s irrepressible fictional family of sexy scoundrels and passionate ladies and their amorous Regency Era exploits. In Laurens’s sensational new Cynster historical romance, it’s Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue when feisty Heather Cynster steps out of her safe, dull social circle in search of a dashing hero to wed…and ends up kidnapped, scandalized and whisked out of London, with her only hope for salvation—and love—resting with a notorious rogue lord.
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Viscount Breckenridge to the RescueA Cynster Novel
By Stephanie Laurens
AvonCopyright © 2011 Stephanie Laurens
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMarch, 1829
Wadham Gardens, London
Heather Cynster knew her latest plan to find a suitable
husband was doomed the instant she set foot
in Lady Herford's salon.
In a distant corner, a dark head, perfectly
coiffed in the latest rakish style, rose. A pair of sharp hazel
eyes pinned her where she stood.
"Damn!" Keeping a smile firmly fixed over her involuntarily
clenching teeth, as if she hadn't noticed the most
startlingly handsome man in the room staring so intently
at her, she let her gaze drift on.
Breckenridge was hemmed in by not one but three dashing
ladies, all patently vying for his attention. She sincerely
wished them every success and prayed he'd take the sensible
course and pretend he hadn't seen her.
She was certainly going to pretend that she hadn't seen him.
Refocusing on the surprisingly large crowd Lady Herford
had enticed to her soiree, Heather determinedly banished
Breckenridge from her mind and considered her prospects.
Most of the guests were older than sheall the ladies at
least. Some she recognized, others she did not, but it would
be surprising if any other lady present wasn't married. Or
widowed. Or more definitively on the shelf than Heather.
Soirees of the style of Lady Herford's were primarily the
province of the well-bred but bored matrons, those in search
of more convivial company than that provided by their usually
much older, more sedate husbands. Such ladies might
not be precisely fast, yet neither were they innocent. However, as by
common accord said ladies had already presented their husbands with an heir,
if not two, the majority had more years in their dish than Heather's twenty-five.
From her brief, initial, assessing sweep, she concluded
that most of the gentlemen present were, encouragingly,
older than she. Most were in their thirties, and by their
stylefashionable, well-turned out, expensively garbed,
and thoroughly polishedshe'd chosen well in making
Lady Herford's soiree her first port of call on this, her first
expedition outside the rarefied confines of the ballrooms,
drawing rooms, and dining rooms of the upper echelon of
For years she'd searched through those more refined
reception rooms for her herothe man who would sweep her
off her feet and into wedded blissonly to conclude that he
didn't move in such circles. Many gentlemen of the ton,
although perfectly eligible in every way, preferred to steer well
clear of all the sweet young things, the young ladies paraded
on the marriage mart. Instead, they spent their evenings at
events such as Lady Herford's, and their nights in various
pursuitsgaming and womanizing to name but two.
Her heroshe had to believe he existed somewhere
was most likely a member of that more elusive group of
males. Given he was therefore unlikely to come to her, she'd
decidedafter lengthy and animated discussions with her
sisters, Elizabeth and Angelicathat it behooved her to
come to him.
To locate him and, if necessary, hunt him down.
Smiling amiably, she descended the shallow steps to the
floor of the salon. Lady Herford's villa was a recently built,
quite luxurious dwelling located to the north of Primrose
Hillclose enough to Mayfair to be easily reached by
carriage, a pertinent consideration given Heather had had to
come alone. She would have preferred to attend with someone
to bear her company, but her sister Eliza, just a year younger
and similarly disgusted with the lack of hero material within
their restricted circle, was her most likely co-conspirator and
they couldn't both develop a headache on the same evening
without their mama seeing through the ploy. Eliza, therefore,
was presently gracing Lady Montague's ballroom, while
Heather was supposedly laid upon her bed, safe and snug in
Giving every appearance of calm confidence, she glided
into the crowd. She'd attracted considerable attention;
although she pretended obliviousness, she could feel the
assessing glances dwelling on the sleek, amber silk gown that
clung lovingly to her curves. This particular creation sported
a sweetheart neckline and tiny puffed sleeves; as the evening
was unseasonably mild and her carriage stood outside, she'd
elected to carry only a fine topaz-and-amber Norwich silk
shawl, its fringe draping over her bare arms and flirting over
the silk of the gown. Her advanced age allowed her greater
freedom to wear gowns that, while definitely not as revealing
as some others she could see, nevertheless drew male eyes.
One gentleman, suitably drawn and a touch bolder than
his fellows, broke from the circle surrounding two ladies
and languidly stepped into her path.
Halting, she haughtily arched a brow.
He smiled and bowed, fluidly graceful. "Miss Cynster, I
"Indeed, sir. And you are?"
"Miles Furlough, my dear." His eyes met hers as he
straightened. "Is this your first time here?"
"Yes." She glanced around, determinedly projecting
confident assurance. She intended to pick her man, not allow
him or any other to pick her. "The company appears quite
animated." The noise of untold conversations was steadily
rising. Returning her gaze to Miles Furlough, she asked,
"Are her ladyship's gatherings customarily so lively?"
Furlough's lips curved in a smile Heather wasn't sure she
"I think you'll discover" Furlough broke off, his gaze
going past her.
She had an instant's warninga primitive prickling over
her napethen long, steely fingers closed about her elbow.
Heat washed over her, emanating from the contact,
supplanted almost instantly by a disorientating giddiness. She
caught her breath. She didn't need to look to know that
Timothy Danvers, Viscount Breckenridgeher nemesishad
elected not to be sensible.
"Furlough." The deep voice issuing from above her head
and to the side had its usual disconcerting effect.
Ignoring the frisson of awareness streaking down her
spinea susceptibility she positively despisedshe slowly
turned her head and directed a reined glare at its cause.
There was nothing in her tone to suggest she welcomed
his arrivalquite the opposite.
He ignored her attempt to depress his pretensions; indeed,
she wasn't even sure he registered it. His gaze hadn't shifted
"If you'll excuse us, old man, there's a matter I need to
discuss with Miss Cynster." Breckenridge held Furlough's
gaze. "I'm sure you understand."
Furlough's expression suggested that he did yet wished
he didn't feel obliged to give way. But in this milieu,
Breckenridgethe hostesses' and the ladies' darling
was well nigh impossible to gainsay. Reluctantly, Furlough
inclined his head. "Of course."
Shifting his gaze to Heather, Furlough smiledmore
sincerely, a tad ruefully. "Miss Cynster. Would we had met in
less crowded surrounds. Perhaps next time." With a parting
nod, he sauntered off into the crowd.
Heather let free an exasperated huff. But before she could
even gather her arguments and turn them on Breckenridge,
he tightened his grip on her elbow and started propelling her
through the crowd.
Startled, she tried to halt. "What"
"If you have the slightest sense of self-preservation you
will walk to the front door without any fuss."
He was steering her, surreptitiously pushing her, in that
direction, and it wasn't all that far. "Let. Me. Go." She
uttered the command, low and delivered with considerable
feeling, through clenched teeth.
He urged her up the salon steps. Used the moment when
she was on the step above him to bend his head and breathe
in her ear, "What the devil are you doing here?"
His clenched teeth trumped her clenched teeth. The
words, his tone, slid through her, evokingas he'd no doubt
intendeda nebulous, purely instinctive fear.
By the time she shook free of it, he was smoothly, apparently
unhurriedly, steering her through the guests thronging
"Nodon't bother answering." He didn't look down; he
had the open front door in his sights. "I don't care what
ninnyhammerish notion you've taken into your head. You're
Hale, whole, virgin intacta. Breckenridge only just bit
back the words.
"There is no reason whatever for you to interfere." Her
voice vibrated with barely suppressed fury.
He recognized her mood well enoughher customary
one whenever he was near. Normally he would respond by
giving her a wide berth, but here and now he had no choice.
"Do you have any idea what your cousins would do to me
let alone your brothersif they discovered I'd seen you in
this den of iniquity and turned a blind eye?"
She snorted and tried, surreptitiously but unsuccessfully,
to free her elbow. "You're as large as any of themand
demonstrably just as much of a bully. You could see them off."
"One, perhaps, but all six? I think not. Let alone Luc and
Martin, and Gyles Chillingworthand what about
Michael? No, waitwhat about Caro, and your aunts, and . . .
the list goes on. Flaying would be preferablemuch less
"You're overreacting. Lady Herford's house hardly qualifies
as a den of iniquity." She glanced back. "There's nothing
the least objectionable going on in that salon."
"Not in the salon, perhapsat least, not yet. But you
didn't go further into the housetrust me, a den of iniquity
it most definitely is."
"No." Reaching the front porchthankfully deserted
he halted, released her, and finally let himself look down
at her. Let himself look into her face, a perfect oval hosting
delicate features and a pair of stormy gray-blue eyes lushly
fringed with dark brown lashes. Despite those eyes having
turned hard and flinty, even though her luscious lips were
presently compressed into a thin line, that face was the sort
that had launched armadas and incited wars since the dawn
of time. It was a face full of life. Full of sensual promise and
barely restrained vitality.
And that was before adding the effect of a slender figure,
sleek rather than curvaceous, yet invested with such fluid
grace that her every movement evoked thoughts that, at least
in his case, were better left unexplored.
The only reason she hadn't been mobbed in the salon was
because none but Furlough had shaken free of the arrestation
the first sight of her generally caused quickly enough to
get to her before he had.
He felt his face harden, fought not to clench his fists and
tower over her in a sure to be vain attempt to intimidate her.
"You're going home, and that's all there is to it."
Her eyes narrowed to shards. "If you try to force me, I'll
He lost the battle; his fists clenched at his sides. Holding
her gaze, he evenly stated, "If you do, I'll tap you under that
pretty little chin, knock you unconscious, tell everyone you
fainted, toss you in a carriage, and send you home."
Her eyes widened. She considered him but didn't back
down. "You wouldn't."
He didn't blink. "Try me."
Heather inwardly dithered. This was the trouble with
Breckenridgeone simply couldn't tell what he was thinking.
His face, that of a Greek god, all clean planes and sharp
angles, lean cheeks below high cheekbones and a strong,
square jaw, remained aristocratically impassive and utterly
unreadable no matter what was going through his mind. Not
even his heavy-lidded hazel eyes gave any clue; his expression
was perennially that of an elegantly rakish gentleman
who cared for little beyond his immediate pleasure.
Every element of his appearance, from his exquisitely
understated attire, the severe cut of his clothes making the lean
strength they concealed only more apparent, to the languid
drawl he habitually affected, supported that imageone she
was fairly certain was a comprehensive façade.
She searched his eyesand detected not the smallest sign
that he wouldn't do precisely as he said. Which would be
simply too embarrassing.
"How did you get here?"
Reluctantly, she waved at the line of carriages stretching
along the curving pavement of Wadham Gardens as far as
they could see. "My parents' carriageand before you
lecture me on the impropriety of traveling across London alone
at night, both the coachman and groom have been with my
family for decades."
Tight-lipped, he nodded. "I'll walk you to it."
He reached for her elbow again.
She whisked back. "Don't bother." Frustration erupted;
she felt sure he would inform her brothers that he'd found
her at Lady Herford's, which would spell an end to her
planone which, until he'd interfered, had held real promise.
She gave vent to her temper with an infuriated glare. "I
can walk twenty yards by myself."
Even to her ears her words sounded petulant. In reaction,
she capped them with, "Just leave me alone!"
Lifting her chin, she swung on her heel and marched
down the steps. Head determinedly high, she turned right
along the pavement toward where her parents' town carriage
waited in the line.
Inside she was shaking. She felt childish and furious
and helpless. Just as she always felt when she and Breckenridge
Blinking back tears of stifled rage, knowing he was watching,
she stiffened her spine and marched steadily on.
From the shadows of Lady Herford's front porch, Breckenridge
watched the bane of his life stalk back to safety.
Why of all the ladies in the ton it had to be Heather Cynster
who so tied him in knots he didn't know; what he did
know was that there wasn't a damned thing he could do
about it. She was twenty-five, and he was ten years and
a million nights older; he was certain she viewed him at
best as an interfering much older cousin, at worst as an
"Wonderful," he muttered as he watched her stride fearlessly
along. Once he saw her safely away . . . he was going
to walk home. The night air might clear his head of the
distraction, of the unsettled, restless feeling dealing with her
always left him prey toa sense of loneliness, and emptiness,
and time slipping away.
Of lifehis lifebeing somehow worthless, or rather,
worth lessless than it should.
He didn't, truly didn't, want to think about her. There
were ladies among the crowd inside who would fight to
provide him with diversion, but he'd long ago learned the value
of their smiles, their pleasured sighs.
Fleeting, meaningless, illusory connections.
Increasingly they left him feeling cheapened, used. Unfulfilled.
Excerpted from Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens Copyright © 2011 by Stephanie Laurens. Excerpted by permission of Avon. 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I enjoyed this book. A very original story with a believable heroine and so romantic.
One of the reviewers below put 'It starts off with mystery, moves to adventure, and turns to romance' and that was a perfect way to say it! 4 1/2 stars! I was thrilled when I saw Pam from Avon post on Facebook asking if anyone was interested in previewing the new Stephanie Laurens book. Um, yes! She is one of my 'Must Read' authors and up in my special bookcase so I would love to get my grubby hands on that ebook! Especially a full month early... I did a little dance as I downloaded it! Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue is the 1st in a new trilogy yet it's the 16th Cynster novel. If you haven't read Laurens before, don't fret, you can easily start with this one. The book starts quick and captures your attention. I must admit I had to flip back to the beginning (scroll back, rather...) and read it again to try and figure out who exactly was speaking in the prologue. The first few chapters had me hooked. Heather was taken away in a coach yet there was a maid/chaperone to watch over her so technically they were keeping it all very proper. Yet, when Heather finds out that Viscount Breckenridge has followed her to rescue her, she tells him that she can't leave. She needs to find out who is behind this because she wasn't sure that she was the actual target. If her cousins/sister could be harmed, well, she had to find out what was going on. Completely sequel bait but I'm along for the ride. The Cynster's are a beloved family that are quite distinctive in Laurens world. My favorite Cynster novel is 'A Secret Love' but I really love that 'friends become lovers' trope. The current novel, Breckenridge, has a little of the same vibe but most of it is tied up in the kidnapping so it has a different tension. A few of the things I didn't like. It was hard to believe that she wouldn't just leave. Why in the world would you keep staying with your kidnappers? Get out of there! She gave good reasons though. Once they did in fact escape, Laurens takes you on quite a jaunt in a few different ways. It gets a little tedious as it goes back and forth to keep the tension going in the last half of the book. It did give her an opportunities to get in quite a few sexy-times, so I guess there is that... She also throws in a little fate/magic which seems is just done to bring us some closure with a few of the past characters. It felt a little too much which is why I didn't completely love this novel. Having said that, I really like how Stephanie Laurens writes. She is a solid writer and takes you deliberately through every feeling and thought. Laurens also uses crazy language. Adamintine? My Wordpress spell check doesn't even recognize that word! She tends to do that in all her novels, so it is like an exciting learning experience. It's all very deliberate. So the tension is very sizzling. I was thrilled to get a chance to read this book early, as I would have purchased it anyway. If you get the chance to read this novel, or any of Stephanie Laurens, I highly recommend it. It comes out August 30, 2011!
Well-bred Heather Cynster is 25 and sitting on the never getting married shelf. The one night she decides to live life outside the boundaries of proper society two terrible things happen - she meets the bane of her existence Timothy Danvers, Viscount Breckenridge, and finds herself being kidnapped. Now for most women the kidnapping would be the worst of it but Heather really does dislike Breckridge so for right now that encounter is worse than the carriage she is in bound up like a goose, not knowing who kidnapped her or why. Breckenridge watched in horror as they stole Heather away and the last thing he wanted was to be her savior but that is the only recourse to this action. Breckenridge follows stealthy behind them and due to her captors being so remiss about watching her Heather is able to sneak out every night so they can try to hatch a plan of escape. But the more information Heather learns about her kidnappers tells her that the threat is so much larger than just to Heather. With this information Heather is prepared to stay the course of being kidnapped until they find out who is behind it and what this mysterious someone who no one really knows truly wants. When the tide turns and she no longer can pretend to being kidnapped Heather and Breckenridge set out for her cousin's home and safety. While the trip is long and dangerous Heather shows she is a sturdy Cynster woman. From the moment Breckenridge involved himself in Heather's kidnapping he knew in that he would have to marry her as she is now compromised. Despite the dire circumstances no one inside proper London society will accept any other result. Breckenridge assumes that Heather understands this as well but to his surprise she does not and so the battle begins over what will happen. Cynster women are strong and opinionated so Breckenridge has to try every tactic in his arsenal to make sure she understands his offer is being offered with sincerity. Heather does not want a savior she wants to be shown love and affection - can Breckenridge provide that as well as a well-funded estate? This book has great elements of suspense, romance and some battle of wills, which I always enjoy. The Cynster women are fascinating and the men involved with them are driven crazy, which makes it even more fun to read. I thought perhaps this might have wrapped up quicker at the end but that is never a problem as I enjoy the book going on forever.
VISCOUNT BRECKENRIDGE TO THE RESCUE is awesome! Best Stephanie Laurens story yet! It has mystery, adventure, and romance (of course). The Cynster women are as intelligent as the Cynster men, and thankfully, their consorts know it. It starts off as a mystery, moves into an adventure, and ends with romance. This story will grab you in the beginning and keep you even after the end. This is a great way to start the stories of the Cynster Sisters.
So unlike previous Stephanie Laurens books. This the most boring book I have read in a long time. Half the book is about a kidnapping that really wasn't, and did we have to read about every stop they made with their supposed kidnappers? Why didn't they get back to London the same way the maid did. Will this fiasco of a story ever end.........and so it continues across Scotland.
Loved the story line, but found myself bored.
After reading some of these reviews, makes me think I read a different book. (NOT) The book started out good then the next 150 pages were hard to get thru. Skip the middle of the book, read the last 30 pages and move on to the next book.
If you want a typical 'Laurens Love Story', you won't be disappointed. All of the gang are here and make for a comfortable escape into that other world.
All the suspense lead no where!
I had to skim through parts. Honestly, it doesn't take 5 pages to describe ONE feeling. This book certainly could have been done in half the pages. The story line was ok, but it could have been better. The antagonist gives up too quickly & doesn't care enough for the drama of the book to get up to a great height. So, as much as I hate to give a bad review - I would not reccomend this book.
I bought this after reading the summary. Very disappointed in how long it took to really get into the story. I literally skipped paragraphs because it just was blah blah blah. In the end though if you have no distractions its overall a good book. Just be prepared to be reading it for awhile.
In 1829 unmarried twenty-five year old Heather Cynster decides to no longer wait for her hero to sweep her off her feet or for her to be declared an on the shelf spinster. Instead she chooses to sweep the man of her dreams off his feet. Heather crashes a non-sanctioned gala only instead of her dream mate, notorious rake Viscount Breckenridge, Timothy Danvers, intercepts her. Timothy charmingly in a rage kicks her out of the party before she becomes the subject of scandal while Heather declares he is too old for her. However, hooligans abduct Heather, but once again Timothy comes to her rescue by pretending to be a clerk who seems to help her captors only to free her when the opportunity arises. This time he stays near her to keep her safe though he wonders who will keep her safe from him. Readers will relish the action packed first Cynster Sisters historical romantic suspense due to a strong lead couple and the villains whose motive for the abduction rings true to followers of the saga. Fans will enjoy this fun tale as the rake and the spinster fall in love but he must convince her that he is her hero. Harriet Klausner
Excellent. Absolutely one of her best.
I usually love everything by Laurens but this one just didn't grab me. There wasn't enough sexual tensions and alpha male protectiveness that I love about Laurens.
I enjoyed the book but it was a little slow at points...particularly getting to the actual resue. Other than that I enjoyed the exchanges between Heather and Viscount Breckenridge.
I liked it.
Kept my interest from start to finish. I throughly like the Cynster series, wish their were more...
i have to honestly say that i like her earlier work. i'm a classics and poetry major so it was sort of hard to read with all of her commas. great story and romance but the wording could be better.
It captured me from the start. A really good read- a fun romance. I look forward to the next two books in the series.
this is another one of her best in the series i have fallowed wonderful and kept me entranced. cant wait to see what is next
As she always does, Stephanie Laurens has come out with another great book to read: Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue is an exciting book to read. All Cynster Series have been great and can't wait for the continuing series books to come out.
Enjoy not knowing who the "bad guy" is until the third book in the series. not out until end of Jan. 2012. Waiting eagerly...
This was a good Stephanie Laurens' book. I love her stories and her writing. The Cynster series is alway sure to please. It moved quickly. Enjoy.
This was a wonderful book full of moments of intrigue and excitement. IU culdn't put it down!
I've struggled with the last several books by this author, actually not finishing some of the books I've bought (which is completely out of character for me, even if I don't like what I'm reading). I don't know what has happened but this author is no longer in my top 5. This book in particular was about 350 pages. Only 100 pages had interesting action, dialogue, and a storyline. The other 250 pages were angst-ridden inner dialogues of the two main characters, mainly centering around the uber mature theme of "I love him/her but he/she has to tell me first." It took me two weeks to read this book when normally it would take me a maximum of two days because I kept having to stop and roll my eyes. So, no, I can't recommend it. I really enjoy the first Cynster books but I think Ms. Laurens needs to take a break and try to find some fresh ideas and strategies for filling the pages.