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by Jennifer Blake

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Wade Benedict has a job to do: infiltrate a treacherous land and rescue Chloe Madison. It was her father's dying wish — and Wade is taking it personally. The problem is, this stubborn, angry and courageous woman doesn't want to be saved.

Her rage at the oppressive treatment of women has pulled Chloe into the dangerous world of an underground


Wade Benedict has a job to do: infiltrate a treacherous land and rescue Chloe Madison. It was her father's dying wish — and Wade is taking it personally. The problem is, this stubborn, angry and courageous woman doesn't want to be saved.

Her rage at the oppressive treatment of women has pulled Chloe into the dangerous world of an underground rebellion. She can't desert the women with whom she forged a darling alliance, and this self-appointed rescuer can't force her to abandon her friends or her commitments — even though her own life is at stake.

But Chloe has met her match in Wade, a man as honorable and determined as she. As they make their escape through the treacherous mountains, unspoken passion wears away at the sharp edges that guard their hearts. And when deadly danger stalks them in Turn-Coupe, Louisiana, together they must face a battle that can only be won by the indomitable will of family . . . and of love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though nearly a year has passed since the World Trade Center attack, readers may be unprepared for Wade, the final entry in Jennifer Blake's Louisiana Gentlemen series (Clay, etc.). Since she was 14, American Chloe Madison has lived in Hazaristan, a fictional "mirror" country, under the rule of her hateful stepbrother, Ahmad. Despite her less than desirable circumstances-Chloe, like all the women, must wear a burqa, has no rights and may be beaten if she so much as speaks too loudly-she refuses to flee with Wade Benedict, an old family friend sent to rescue her. Inevitably, she has a change of heart, but in a particularly outrageous plot twist, Ahmad follows them to the U.S. and declares a personal jihad against the whole Benedict clan. Ever game for a challenge, the Benedicts rally together in an over-the-top, patriotic conclusion that will give readers cause to cheer.

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Louisiana Gentlemen , #5
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By Jennifer Blake

Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Copyright © 2002 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.

ISBN: 155166898X

Chloe Madison first saw the tall American at the Kashi stadium after a public execution. It happened as the throng, most of them Taliban militia officers, was leaving the sports arena.

The program had been a full one - the removal of the right hands of two thieves, the whipping of a woman who had refused the marriage arranged by her father, and finally the hanging from the goalpost of a man who had struck a holy mullah. The few women present were huddled together near the segregated section where they'd been seated while waiting for their men to push their way through the crowd to collect them. Chloe, waiting with her stepsister, heard her stepbrother's harsh call. Sickened by the barbarous spectacle and also by the suspicion that she'd been brought here expressly to see the woman punished, she was off balance as she swung around to locate him.

It was at that moment that the stranger shoved into her. She stumbled, caught her sandal in the hem of the voluminous burqa that covered her from head to foot and fell to one knee.

Immediately the stranger was beside her, grasping her cloth-covered elbow as he spoke in English. "I'm so sorry. Are you hurt? Let me help you up." Then in a lower, almost inaudible rumble, he added, "Your dad sent me to get you out of this hellhole. Meet me tomorrow in theAjzukabad bazaar."

It was a shock to hear her own language spoken after so many years in Hazaristan and amid the babble of Pashtu that was the lingua franca of a country with several different tribes and their dialects. Chloe lifted her eyes and met the man's gaze from behind the small rectangle of crocheted mesh that allowed her to see. It was an act of outright provocation according to all the precepts drummed into her these past few years, but she couldn't help it.

He looked down at her with clear, steady purpose, this American in his jeans, neatly pressed white shirt and engineer's boots. His broad shoulders filled her view. His chiseled, hickory-tan features, clean-shaven so they appeared ridiculously easy to read compared to the bearded males around her, were set in lines of determination. Shadowing the mint-tea-brown of his hooded eyes was an unnerving concern.

Seconds ticked past, stretching endlessly. The last time Chloe had been this close to a male person not of her stepfather's family, the last time she'd known casual male contact of any kind, was as a California teenager almost twelve years ago. His nearness was overwhelming, his grasp searing in its intimacy. She could catch the almost forgotten scents of American deodorant soap, warm denim, and clean male. The combination touched some powerful chord of memory, bringing the flashing images of loud music with a hypnotic beat, dune buggies in unlikely colors, hot sand, cold ice-cream cones, coconut-scented suntan oil, and clean ocean breezes. It was a vision from a time when she had been young and free. So young, so incredibly free. Before she could stop them or even guess they would come, tears rose into her eyes.

"Chloe! Imbecile, get up at once." That command in the harsh, unmistakable voice of her stepbrother struck like a lash across Chloe's nerves. She snatched her exposed foot back under the turquoise blue cloth of her burqa and lowered her gaze. Wrenching from the American's loose grip, she struggled to her feet within the hot, cumbersome folds. The American put out a hand again as if to steady her, but she stepped away from him. Moving swiftly, she rejoined Ahmad and her family. Her stepsister Treena reached to draw her nearer to where she stood with her husband, Ismael. A shiver for the close call rippled along Chloe's nerves. She could have been beaten for the exposure of skin above her ankle, might still be for appearing to encourage male attention.

The American took a hasty stride after her, as if he meant to insist on an answer to his suggestion.

"Be gone, infidel," Ahmad said with a growl in his voice, blocking the way with a hand on the knife in his belt and his turbaned head set at an arrogant angle. "You are not wanted here."

"I was just apologizing to the lady," the American said. "Didn't mean to knock her down."

Ahmad's English was rudimentary since he scorned to learn the language of a people he considered to be demon-ridden aggressors. Without so much as a glance in Chloe's direction, he answered in his own tongue. "She does not require your apology as she received no injury beyond the filth of your touch. You will not know because you are a foreign dog, but it is forbidden to look upon our women, much less lay hands upon them. Do it again, and your ignorance will not save you."

"Even a cat - or a dog - may look at a queen." Chloe stifled a gasp at both the American's apparent understanding of Pashtu and the challenge in his reply.

Ahmad would not recognize the English saying, but would understand the defiance all too well. "And a dog may be blinded!" Ahmad began.

"Please," Treena said as she leaned toward Ismael, a slight figure with bowed head, drooping under the weight of her burqa. "The heat, the dust, the ... the terrible things seen have been too much ... I am unwell. Take me home, I beg you."

Ahmad's sister, pregnant for the fourth time in six years, should not have been present at this ugly spectacle at all. The Taliban government required every able-bodied citizen of Kashi to attend, however, and encouraged those from outlying areas to view the proceedings. It had been Ahmad's pleasure that his family make the drive from Ajzukabad for it today. Since he had become the nominal patriarch after his father, Chloe's stepfather, had been conscripted into the Taliban militia and sent to guard the northern frontier, his wishes must be obeyed in all things.

Ismael nodded at his wife's request, then squared his shoulders and looked toward his brother-in-law. "Ahmad, brother of my wife's heart ..."

"I heard," Ahmad said shortly. "Very well. Chloe must do the chores of my sister for the next week as punishment for her clumsiness. Come." Shouldering his way past the American as if he didn't exist, he led them all toward the exit.

Chloe did not dare look back at her countryman as she followed with Treena behind Ahmad and Ismael. It was Treena who turned her head. Her eyes mirrored both apprehension and satisfaction as she glanced toward Chloe once more. In a voice that was little more than a breath of sound, she said, "He watches."

"I care not," Chloe answered in the same whispery mouthing of air that women had perfected out of necessity in male-dominated Hazaristan. "Though I am grateful for your intervention just now."

"So was my brother, I think. These are troubled times. To take revenge against an American in some dark alley is one thing, but to do so in a public brawl would have been foolish."

Chloe, discovering that her hands were still shaking, closed them on the inside folds of her burqa as she walked. "Just so," she agreed. "But still."

"Yes, my brother has more pride than wisdom, more thought of his rank and consequence than of diplomacy."

Excerpted from Wade by Jennifer Blake Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Wade (Louisiana Gentlemen Series #6) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I also read this book in one day. It is the last of the Southern Gentlemen series. I loved them all. I will hate to see them go! This one is about Wade but has Luke, Roan, Kane, and Clay and their families in it also. It is a great read!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Blake is the best. It usually takes me five days to read the best of Nora Roberts books, but when I started to read Wade by Jennifer Blake I couldn't put the book down. I read Wade in one day. And what a story! I could never imagine Nora Roberts writing a romance story like this. Go Jennifer Blake.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wade Benedict, fulfilling his friend's final wish that his daughter be rescued from the Arabian land where she moved with her mother. Unfortunately, despite the harsh conditions, or rather, because of them, the lady in question, does not want to be rescued, preferring to stay, fighting for freedom. Wade, however, will go to any length to get her out, though when Chloe realizes she can continue her work back home in Louisiana, and that her cruel stepbrother's plans for her marriage to gain her money will place her life into a literal hell, she agrees.

The battle to get out of the country is bloody, but they manage to survive, only to find that it has followed them home, and is not a Jihad, a holy war, that pulls in the entire clan into even more fights, barely escaping with their lives. Perhaps of equal importance are the battles of the heart Chloe and Wade face as they must decide what to do with the relationship they have found themselves suddenly to be in, each with their own issues to face before they can claim the love that awaits them, if they survive.

***** In the most exciting novel of the series, WADE concludes Ms Blake's Bayou Brothers line, making me sorry I have missed all but one of the others, if they are all this fine.

Readers get to catch up with characters who have surely become their friends in past books, and to meet a dynamic new couple. Heart pounding excitement never lets up, though romantic interludes amidst it all light up the pages with passion instead of gunfire. Every character is vibrantly drawn, and the storyline is one that could be ripped from current life as the Taliban and their world seem to haunt our everyday lives. Brava, Ms. Blake. Perhaps she can find another Benedict cousin hiding in the swamplands, if we are lucky. *****

Reviewed by Amanda Killgore.

harstan More than 1 year ago
Wade Benedict reluctantly agreed to carry out the dying man¿s last wish that he rescues his daughter from the oppressive Taliban imitated reign in Hazaristan. Leaving the comfort of his Turn-Coupe, Louisiana home, Wade travels to Asia to bring Chloe Madison back to the United States. Chloe was born in America, but moved as a child with her family here when her stepfather relocated to his homeland following the Soviet pullout.

Wade is shocked when he fails to persuade Chloe Madison to leave with him. Chloe believes her work to help women obtain basic rights is important. However, soon she has no choice, but to flee with the American, as Taliban-like justice calls on her. As Wade and Chloe trek through the mountains, they fall in love. The terror follows them to the serenity of Louisiana.

Wade is a typical Benedict hero and Chloe is a strong woman trying to do the right thing, but the key to this novel is the descriptive plight of females in this part of the world. The story line starts at an incredible pace as readers learn swiftly how justice works. Though the book switches locale to the Bayou too quickly, as Jennifer Blake is a victim of her own Middle East portrait, the audience will appreciate this powerful romantic intrigue.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So sorry i havent been responding. My nook died and i couldnt find my charger. Im so sorry...