When He Was Wicked (Bridgerton Series #6)

When He Was Wicked (Bridgerton Series #6)

4.2 171
by Julia Quinn
     
 

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In every life there is a turning point.

A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one's life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London's most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton.

After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be

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Overview

In every life there is a turning point.

A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one's life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London's most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton.

After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing. Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca's surname was to remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer -- the occasion of their meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin.

But that was then . . . Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but still she thinks of him as nothing other than her dear friend and confidant. Michael dares not speak to her of his love . . . until one dangerous night, when she steps innocently into his arms, and passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Unlike the hero of Quinn's newest Regency-era romance, who falls in love with his cousin's wife upon first sight, readers won't be swept off their feet by the protagonists of this tale. Indeed, while Michael Stirling, dubbed the Merry Rake, is charming enough, subdued Francesca Bridgerton rarely seems worthy of his pursuit. All is well at the novel's outset, aside from the fact that Michael covets his cousin, the Earl of Kilmartin's, wife. Then, barely two chapters into the book, his cousin suffers an aneurysm and dies. Devastated and unable to cope with his new position as earl and his feelings for Francesca, Michael flees to India for four years, only to return still very much in love and suffering from malaria. In London, the two attend social events, trade quips and try to restore their friendship, but the more intimate they become, the more their feelings of guilt gnaw at them. Guilt is the only thing that stands in the way of the couple's happiness, and it's often frustrating to witness their slow, overwrought progression from denial to acceptance. While this book possesses some of the qualities that Quinn's fans have come to expect-sprightly prose, feverish love scenes and well-developed secondary characters-it is weighed down by the sheer intensity of the protagonists' grief. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060531232
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/29/2004
Series:
Bridgerton Series, #6
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
101,074
Product dimensions:
4.24(w) x 6.76(h) x 1.04(d)

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Read an Excerpt

When He Was Wicked


By Quinn, Julia

Avon Books

ISBN: 0060531231

Chapter One

... I wouldn't call it a jolly good time, but it's not as bad as that. There are women, after all, and where there are women, I'm bound to make merry.

--from Michael Stirling to his cousin
John, the Earl of Kilmartin,
posted from the 52nd Foot Guards
during the Napoleonic Wars

In every life there is a turning point. A moment so tremendous, so sharp and clear that one feels as if one's been hit in the chest, all the breath knocked out, and one knows, absolutely knows without the merest hint of a shadow of a doubt that one's life will never be the same.

For Michael Stirling, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton.

After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught and then turning the tables until he was the victor, of caressing and kissing and making love to them but never actually allowing his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and so hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing.

Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca's surname was to remain Bridgerton a mere thirty-six hours longer; the occasion of their meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin.

Life was ironic that way, Michael liked to think in his more polite moods.

In his less polite moods, he used a different adjective entirely.

And his moods, since falling in love with his first cousin's wife, were not often polite.

Oh, he hid it well. It wouldn't do to be visibly out of sorts. Then some annoyingly perceptive soul might actually take notice, and -- God forbid -- inquire as to his welfare. And while Michael Stirling held a not unsubstantiated pride in his ability to dissemble and deceive (he had, after all, seduced more women than anyone cared to count, and had somehow managed to do it all without ever once being challenged to a duel) -- Well, the sodding truth of it was that he'd never been in love before, and if ever there was a time that a man might lose his ability to maintain a façade under direct questioning, this was probably it.

And so he laughed, and was very merry, and he continued to seduce women, trying not to notice that he tended to close his eyes when he had them in bed, and he stopped going to church entirely, because there seemed no point now in even contemplating prayer for his soul. Besides, the parish church near Kilmartin dated to 1432, and the crumbling stones certainly couldn't take a direct strike of lightning.

And if God ever wanted to smite a sinner, he couldn't do better than Michael Stirling.

Michael Stirling, Sinner.

He could see it on a calling card. He'd have had it printed up, even -- his was just that sort of black sense of humor -- if he weren't convinced it would kill his mother on the spot.

Rake he might be, but there was no need to torture the woman who'd borne him.

Funny how he'd never seen all those other women as a sin. He still didn't. They'd all been willing, of course; you couldn't seduce an unwilling woman, at least not if you took seduction at the true sense of the word and took care not to confuse it with rape. They had to actually want it, and if they didn't -- if Michael sensed even a hint of unease, he turned and walked away. His passions were never so out of control that he couldn't manage a quick and decisive departure.

And besides, he'd never seduced a virgin, and he'd never slept with a married woman. Oh very well, one ought to remain true to oneself, even while living a lie -- he'd slept with married women, plenty of them, but only the ones whose husbands were rotters, and even then, not unless she'd already produced two male offspring; three, if one of the boys seemed a little sickly.

A man had to have rules of conduct, after all.

But this ... This was beyond the pale. Entirely unacceptable. This was the one transgression (and he'd had many) that was finally going to blacken his soul, or at the very least -- and this was assuming he maintained the strength never to act upon his desires -- make it a rather deep shade of charcoal. Because this ... this --

He coveted his cousin's wife.

He coveted John's wife.

John.

John, who, damn it all, was more of a brother to him than one of his own could ever have been. John, whose family had taken him in when his father had died. John, whose father had raised him and taught him to be a man. John, with whom --

Ah, bloody hell. Did he really need to do this to himself? He could spend a sennight cataloguing all the reasons why he was going straight to hell for having chosen John's wife with whom to fall in love. And none of it was ever going to change one simple fact.

He couldn't have her.

He could never have Francesca Bridgerton Stirling.

But, he thought with a snort as he slouched into the sofa and propped his ankle over his knee, watching them across their drawing room, laughing and smiling, and making nauseating eyes at each other, he could have another drink.

"I think I will," he announced, downing it in one gulp. "What was that, Michael?" John asked, his hearing superb, as always, damn it.

Michael produced an excellent forgery of a smile and lifted his glass aloft. "Just thirsty," he said, maintaining the perfect picture of a bon vivant.

They were at Kilmartin House, in London, as opposed to Kilmartin (no House, no Castle, just Kilmartin), up in Scotland, where the boys had grown up, or the other Kilmartin House, in Edinburgh ...

Continues...

Excerpted from When He Was Wicked by Quinn, Julia 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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Meet the Author

Julia Quinn started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since.

The New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four novels for Avon Books, she is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and is one of only fifteen authors ever to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

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When He Was Wicked (Bridgerton Series #6) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 171 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1818, the first time ever Michael ¿The Merry Rake¿ Stirling saw Francesca Bridgerton he knows he is in love although he never experienced that feeling before. However, he can not act on his emotion because Francesca is to wed his best friend, his cousin John in less than two days. Michael ironically thinks that he now has two new feelings: love and for the first time envy. Ironically, he never coveted the earldom or the wealth of the man he considers his ¿brother¿.------ Two years later, Michael hides his love for Francesca from her and his cousin. John complains of headache and soon afterward he, not quite thirty and in seemingly perfect health, is dead. At twenty-two, Francesca is a widow and Michael is the earl. He still hides his feelings while they mourn their loss until one innocent night he offers simple solace that turns into heated lovemaking. The aftermath is that both feel guilty as if they let down John. As they evade one another so as not to explore their feelings, Francesca begins to wonder if John arranged the whole thing as a heavenly matchmaker.------ Title aside as no one is ¿wicked¿ in a nasty sense; fans will appreciate this wonderful Regency romance starring a loving relationship triangle between three wonderful protagonists. John was a nice respected person loved by his wife and his cousin so that his memory serves as a ghostly barrier to Michael and Francesca following up on their feelings. The two illnesses that John and Michael respectfully suffered from provide a feel for the era as Julia Quinn uses that to anchor her sixth fabulous Bridgerton book.------ Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truly Exception!!! Hence the 5 stars.  This has been my favorite book int series , but I still have 2 more to go.  It much better if you read them in order, they are certainly stand alone books, but reading them in numerical succession adds to the bid picture of the is big family.  I think Julia Quin is one of the best romance novelist writing today.  This was my favorite book, because I love to read about the passion between the couple and these 2 had it in spades. I warn you the intimate scenes are quite steamy.  Like nothing I have read before.  I also found myself laughing out loud and sighing out loud too while reading this book.  He has a little bit of everything.  Those or the characteristics I look for in a good romance novel. I hope you enjoy it as I much as I did.    
Shermaria Major More than 1 year ago
I've read this book a number of times and it never fails to make me laugh and cry, and I fall in love with the hero, Michael Sterling, all over again. The herione is not the perfect herione that your used to reading about, but a woman who we all can empathize with. I've read hundreds of romance novels....When He Was Wicked is in my top 5. This is one of the best novels I've ever read:) You won't be able to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a really good book, could have a better epilogue, but still, was a beautiful one.
curlyloulou More than 1 year ago
This book was intriguing. It got me interested very quickly but there was a lot medical problems in this book. Overall, I liked it enough and it entertained me. Quick and easy read...nothing deep.
SexyGlaize More than 1 year ago
It made me fall in love over and over again. Nicely written and exceptionally told! ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deeply moving. After reading this, please read Frannie and Michael's second epilogue in Brigertons HEA. It is guaranteed to bring a smile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all of Julia Quinn's Bridgeton novels, however this one was entirely different. It touched on more of an emotional level and a journey that I found to be a great read.
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I love Julia Quinn's books, especially the Bridgerton series.
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My favorite of the series. Michael is one of the sexiest characters I've ever come across in a romance novel. A must read!
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