When Strangers Marry

When Strangers Marry

3.6 116
by Lisa Kleypas

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Lysette buried her face against Max's throat. "But he's going to take me away. Don't let him, don't — "

"You're not going anywhere," Max interrupted. "Calm yourself, Lysette. It's not good for you to become excited." His possessiveness made her strangely giddy. As far as he was concerned, she was his, and no one was going to take her away from him.



Lysette buried her face against Max's throat. "But he's going to take me away. Don't let him, don't — "

"You're not going anywhere," Max interrupted. "Calm yourself, Lysette. It's not good for you to become excited." His possessiveness made her strangely giddy. As far as he was concerned, she was his, and no one was going to take her away from him.

Max stared at Etienne. His voice was soft, but it contained a note that chilled Lysette's blood. "If you so much as disarrange a hair on her head, I'll tear you apart."

Lysette couldn't believe it, but she didn't care about her ruined reputation. The only thing that mattered was that she wouldn't have to marry Etienne.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kleypas has given Only in Your Arms, her first title for Avon, a makeover, and the resulting book boasts a tighter plot and richer characterizations. Set in New Orleans in the early 19th century, this atmospheric tale portrays the romance between Lysette Kersaint, a strong-willed Creole who is on the run from her abusive stepfather and an arranged marriage to a man she loathes, and Maximilien Vallerand, a notorious rake and widower who is rumored to have strangled his adulterous wife. Lysette finds protection in Maxs home, but she soon learns that he plans to use her as a pawn to exact revenge against her intended, Etienne Sagesse, his sworn enemy. The tension between the two quickly heats up, but before they can find happiness together, they must settle the mysteries of Maxs past. The romance between Max and Lysette is compelling, but what really sets this book apart is Kleypass ability to make the period come alive. With the ease of a skilled seamstress, Kleypas weaves in dozens of details, touching on everything from the political tensions between Mexico and the American territories to the cultural differences between Creoles and Americans. Kleypas doesnt shy away from developing her characters either. Max emerges as a tortured but admirable hero, and even secondary figures like Maxs mother and brothers take on a life of their own. (Aug.) Forecast: Kleypass fans will undoubtedly be eager to get their hands on this long-out-of-print gem, so expect strong sales. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

New Orleans

Philippe and Justin Vallerand wandered through the woods and down to the bayou, finding their way around mud holes, pines, and sycamore trees. The boys were tall for their age, lanky and thin, not yet having attained their father's heavily muscled build.

Their features were stamped with the inborn arrogance of all the Vallerands. Heavy black hair fell over their foreheads in untidy waves, and their blue eyes were framed with long dark lashes. Strangers were never able to tell them apart, but inwardly they were as different as it was possible for two boys to be. Philippe was gentle, compassionate, someone who followed rules even when he didn't fully understand the reasoning behind them. Justin, on the other hand, was ruthless, resentful of authority and proud of it.

"What are we going to do?" Philippe asked. "Should we take the pirogue and look for pirates downriver?"

Justin gave a scornful laugh. "You can do as you like. I Plan to visit Madeleine today."

Madeleine Scipion was the pretty black-haired daughter of a town merchant. Lately she had displayed more than a casual interest in Justin, although she was aware that Philippe was smitten with her. The girl seemed to delight in pitting one brother against the other.

Philippe's sensitive face revealed his envy. "Are you in love with her?"

Justin grinned and spat. "Love? Who cares about that? Did I tell you what Madeleine let me do to her the last time I saw her?"

"What?" Philippe demanded with rising jealousy.

Their eyes locked. Suddenly Justin cuffed him on the side of the headand laughed, fleeing through the trees as Philippe gave chase. "I'll make you tell me!" Philippe scooped up a glob of mud and threw it at Justin's back. "I'll make you -- "

They both stopped short as they saw a movement near the pirogue. A small boy dressed in ragged clothes and a floppy hat was fumbling with the craft. The tethering rope dropped from his hands as he realized he had been found out. Quickly he picked up a knotted bundle of cloth and fled.

"He's trying to steal it!" Justin said, and the twins ran after the vanishing thief with warlike yells, their quarrel with each other discarded.

"Head him off!" Justin ordered. Philippe swerved to the left, disappearing behind a cluster of cypress trees that trailed their moss down to the soft, muddy brown water. Within minutes he succeeded in cutting the boy off, coming face-to-face with him just beyond the cypress grove.

Seeing the boy's violent trembling, Philippe grinned triumphantly, drawing a forearm across his sweaty brow. "You'll be sorry you ever thought of touching our pirogue," he panted, advancing on his prey.

Breathing heavily, the thief turned in the opposite direction and ran into Justin, who caught him with one arm and held him dangling sideways. The boy dropped his bundle and gave a high-pitched scream, which caused the twins to laugh.

Philippe!" Justin cried, fending off the boy's feeble blows. "Look what I've caught! A little lutin with no respect for others' property! What should we do with him?"

Philippe regarded the hapless thief with the censuring stare of a judge. "You!" he barked, swaggering before the wriggling imp. "What's your name?"

"Let go of me! I've done nothing!"

"Only because we interrupted you," Justin said.

Philippe whistled as he saw the red welts and bleeding scratches that covered the boy's thin arms and neck. "You've been a feast for the mosquitoes, haven't you? How long have you been in the swamp?"

The flailing child managed to kick Justin in the knee.

"Ah, that hurt! -- Justin shook the black hair out of his eyes and glared at the boy. "Now I've lost my patience!"

"Let me go, you mongrel!"

Annoyed, Justin raised his hand to box his captive's ears. "I'll teach You manners, boy."

"Justin, wait," Philippe interrupted. It was impossible not to feel sympathy for the child caught so helplessly in his brother's grasp. "He's too small. Don't be a bully."

"How soft you are," Justin mocked, but his arm lowered. "How do you suggest we make him talk? Dunk him in the bayou?

"Maybe we shouldn't ... Philippe began, but his brother was already heading to the edge of the water, dragging the screaming child behind him.

"Are you aware there are snakes in here?" Justin said, swinging the boy up, preparing to throw him in. "Poisonous ones."

"No! Please!"

"And alligators, too, all waiting to snap up a little bite like ... " His voice trailed off into silence as theboy's floppy hat dropped into the bayou and drifted gently away. A long, frizzled red braid swung over the child's shoulder, her delicate features no longer concealed by the hat.

Their thief was a girl, a girl their age or perhaps a bit older. She threw her Slim arms around Justin's neck, clinging as if he held her over a pit of fire.

"Don't throw me in. le vous en prie. I can't swim."

Justin shifted her in his arms, staring down at the small, dirty face so close to his. She looked like an ordinary girl, pretty but not remarkably so, although it was difficult to tell beneath the mud and mosquito bites. "Well," Justin said slowly, "it seems we were mistaken, Philippe." He shook the protesting girl to quiet her. "Hush. I'm not going to throw you in. I think I can find a better use for you."

"Justin, give her to me," Philippe said.

Justin smiled darkly and turned away from his brother. "Go amuse yourself somewhere else. She's mine."

"She is just as much mine as yours!"

"I'm the one who caught her," Justin said matter-of-factly.

"With my help!" Philippe cried in outrage. "Besides, you have Madeleine!"

"You take Madeleine. I want this one."

Philippe scowled. "Let her choose!"

They stared at each other in challenge, and suddenly Justin chuckled. "So be it," he said, his fierceness mellowing to lazy good humor. He jostled the girl in his arms. "Well, which one of us do you want?"

When Strangers Marry. Copyright © by Lisa Kleypas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas graduated from Wellesley College with a political science degree. She’s a RITA award-winning author of both historical romance and contemporary women’s fiction. She lives in Washington State with her husband Gregory and their two children.

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When Strangers Marry 3.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 116 reviews.
LadyHester More than 1 year ago
I love almost all of Lisa Klepyas romance novels and this is another good one. The man is incredibly sexy and masterful. Read it!
Historical_Romance_Junkie More than 1 year ago
I found this book very enjoyable. From the first chapter, my attention was caught and never let go. It starts off with a heavy scene that gives you so much character&plot insight, which was cleverly done. I thought it was well paced and didn't dwell too much on any particular aspect. We jump right into the meeting of the two main characters right around the end of the 2nd chapter, into the 3rd. The instant attraction was evident, but i didn't quiet like how fast he took to the idea of her. It wasn't 100% for me, but It was a minor thing I didnt pay attention too once the plot started picking up a bit. The one thing I didn't like in this book which prevented me from giving the 5 stars was the political element. It turns out to be SOMEWHAT significant towards the end, but I just didn't care to much for the political aspect and the meeting of the french dude. That part I just barley paid attention to... The action was well balanced and early on we have (my favorite relationship building tool) an illness which shines light on true intentions and helps set up the floodgates of love. There were duels and murders and mysteries, and ofcoarse ROMANCE.The romances in this book is well written and touching and worked within the story.I enjoy the direction miss kleypas took us. I didn't expect some of the twists I saw, but the most shocking one I guessed at somewhere along the middle (which was the point of the foreshadowing and i have no tiff with) all in all this was a great book, and i haven't read the original (cause this is the only in your arms makeover) but I wouldn't change a thing (not even the boring politics cause it played a role in the end).... READ THIS BOOK and read the other story in this series (my recommendation book)...and the fact that it was set in New Orleans (weird cause the superbowl's tonight and the N-O Saints are playing), didn't really set me off as it did some other reviewers... it didnt take away from he book at all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Altough at times the book slowed down to a snails pace, the rest of the book worked for me. I enjoyed it. The characters where so well written I could imagine them vividly. I think this is one of her best books. Altough I didn't read the first one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVE Lisa Kleypas and was anxiously awaiting the release of this book- only to discover that it is a book I have read already. Romance authors seem ever so fond nowadays of rereleasing the same books over and over again- with new titles and covers... I never thought I would have to investigate into whether or not what I am reading- and what is being marketed as a 'new' release- is actually a new release... Nevertheless, Lisa Kleypas is right up there with Julie Garwood and I simply can NOT wait for her next original novel to be released...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Bigedsgirl1 More than 1 year ago
Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite authors of historical romance and suspense.  She will have you laughing and crying with Lizette and Max, especially the escapades of his twin sons.  Don't miss out on this one, and do yourself a favor and check out  these other books by her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know I've read a great book when after years of reading it I can recall how the characters met and fell in love!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!
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Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by ANN & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog Though WHEN STRANGERS MARRY has the same eloquent writing as her work now, I don’t think this book possessed the same magic that some of her more recent titles have. ~ Under the Covers Lysette Kersaint is being abused by her stepfather and her futures lies with a man whom she despises. In a desperate attempt to escape her fate, she flees…right into the arms of Maximilien Vallerand, where he takes in her to protect her. Little does she know that Max has his own plans for her. As a loyal fan of Lisa Kleypas, I decided to go back to her earlier works and see what her writing was like then. Though WHEN STRANGERS MARRY has the same eloquent writing as her work now, I don’t think this book possessed the same magic that some of her more recent titles have. I felt as if some of the scenes were cut at odd times and the hero, Max didn’t particularly shine for me. He’s a lovely character, but not the type of hero that I’m used to with Kleypas. I find reviewing this title very hard because I liked the book. It had all the right parts for an enjoyable book – good pacing, intriguing plot, solid characters and stellar writing – but I just didn’t particularly feel it, if you know what I mean. I will definitely be giving the next book a shot, hoping that Kleypas can make me laugh and cry and fall in love with her books, as she always does.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bevstar More than 1 year ago
I really did like the book but I felt it wasn't her best. It just kind of seemed not well thought out. I could understand at the beginning Lysette wanting to get away from her step-father and ultamitly her fiance, she wanted her freedom so bad that she ran away and put herself in great danger wondering around the swamps of Louisiana. Yet she seemed to kind of give up real easy whenever Max asked her to marry her. I could also understand why Max would be ruthless and heartless to the point of being really cold, especially to women, if the person I had loved and married treated me so calously I probably would be too, but yet he offered to marry Lysette without any real fight. First he just wanted to bed her so he can, as he claims, get revenge on the man that he hates, even says to his mother that he doesn't cares that what he would do would ruin Lysette, but yet after all is said and done he marries her. Then Lysette claims she wont lay with him till she sees some evidence that he cares for her but yet she is so easly seduced by her own desires and gives in. Even after hearing people talking about how Max will never love her. There were just too many inconsistancies for my liking. It leaves me wondering if she had two different ideas on how the story would progress and kept switching back and forth between the two without realizing it. Like I said I enjoyed the book but not a favorite. Now the book that is sort of a sequel to this book, the one that is about Max's twin son's (Only with your love), now THAT was a really good book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Lisa kleypas and all her books. This one was good but for me it was not as good as others she has writen. But I still love Lisa kleypas and is one of my favorite authors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dream man and a woman who challenges him... Great cajun/old english historical setting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of her better stories, there was more to the plot and while most of her books have quick conflict resolution this one had more depth to it making it a much better read. Characters were great, lysette is very spunky and original. One of my favorite characters because of her attitude and personality
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The romance of this story and the character development is good and classic LK. The entire book is slowed down by a political subplot that the author believed to be interesting. But it wasn't and bored me to no end.
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