The Wild Baron (Baron Series)

( 6 )

Overview

Catherine Coulter introduces the dashing Carrington brothers with the story of Rohan, a man with a rakish reputation but a heart of pure gold...

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter presents a special gift to her fans--a paperback original Regency romance full of mystery, magic and passion. The back cover includes an address for readers to write in to the author with comments on this title.

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The Wild Baron (Baron Series)

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Overview

Catherine Coulter introduces the dashing Carrington brothers with the story of Rohan, a man with a rakish reputation but a heart of pure gold...

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter presents a special gift to her fans--a paperback original Regency romance full of mystery, magic and passion. The back cover includes an address for readers to write in to the author with comments on this title.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Charade meets Raiders of the Lost Ark in this Regency-period romantic adventure from the author of Rosehaven. Coulter, renown for off-the-wall plotlines, offers a little of everything -- spice, mystery, murder and the search for the Holy Grail -- as she tells the story of the Carrington clan. The Carrington brothers are not what they seem; Rohan, famed for his debauchery, is actually quite saintly. His late brother, George, thought to be a scholarly wimp, had been a heartless rake. When commoner Suzannah Hawlworth announces that she is George's widow, her life is threatened by someone who believes she possesses a valuable map. To protect Suzannah and her young daughter, Rohan brings them to his London townhouse and marries her. They soon discover that a locket George had given her contains not only a map, but a key to a cask that holds a magical chalice and the future of humanity. The sudden switch from Jane Austen to Steven Spielberg is disconcerting to say the least, but Coulter's sense of humor and solid writing manage to make it work in the end. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
YA-This romance has it all -- mystery, treasure-hunt adventure, and humor. The society gossips of London in 1811 are stunned: Rohan, popular rake and ladies man, has had a wife and child for five years. Readers know this is not the complete truth: Rohan is not the cad of his reputation and he has only recently married Susannah to help her and to try to solve several mysteries concerning his dead brother, George. Coulter is careful to work in the historical background details necessary to understand the secrets within the story. The dialogue is witty and the plot moves rapidly. Susannah's youth and innocence in believing that her marriage to George was genuine will appeal to impressionable teens.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780515120448
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Series: Baron Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 536,596
  • Product dimensions: 4.26 (w) x 6.74 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine  Coulter
Catherine Coulter
Catherine Coulter is the author of numerous historical romances, including the Bride series, and contemporary romantic thrillers, including the popular FBI series.

Biography

The author of dozens of bestsellers, Catherine Coulter made her Romance debut with 1978's The Autumn Countess, a fast-moving story she describes as "a Gothic masquerading as a Regency." Six more Regency romances followed in quick succession; then, in 1982, she penned her first full-length historical novel, Devil's Embrace. She counts several trilogies among her most popular historicals, notably the Bride Trilogy -- which, in turn, spawned an ongoing story sequence featuring the beloved Sherbrooke family of Regency-era England.

In 1988, Coulter tried her hand at contemporary romance with a twisty little page-turner called False Pretenses. Her fans ate it up and begged for more. Since then, she has interspersed historicals with contemporary romantic thrillers (like the novels in her bestselling FBI series) in one of the most successful change-ups in the history of romance publishing.

Good To Know

Suspense writer Catherine Coulter tells us her top ten sleuths and her top ten heroes. We think you'll be as intrigued by her answers as we were ...

TOP TEN SLEUTHS:
Hercule Poirot
Jane Marple
Columbo
Inspector Morse
Jack Ryan
Indiana Jones
Pink Panther
Sherlock Holmes
Sid Halley

TOP TEN HEROS:
Harry Potter (Every Single Book)
Colin Firth as Darcy
S.C. Taylor from Beyond Eden
Lucas Davenport
Dillon Savich
James Bond (Sean Connery)
Jack Bauer
John McClain (All Die Hard)
Shrek (l & 2)
Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Read an Excerpt

The Mountvale Townhouse, Cavendish Square

London, April 1811

ROHAN CARRINGTON, FIFTH BARON MOUNTVALE, BELLOWED

at his brother’s portrait, ‘‘If you did this, George, and if you

weren’t already dead, I’d thrash you within an inch of your

bloody life. You little bounder. Were you even capable of

such a thing?’’

Even as he yelled, Rohan felt a knot swell in his throat.

George had been dead nearly a year. No, George couldn’t

have done this. George was studious, a scholar with no interest

in matters of the flesh. Rohan remembered once, a long

time ago, their father had taken him and George to Madame

Trillah’s on Cliver Street. At the sight of a very voluptuous

redhead with magnificent breasts, George had blanched and

then run half the way back to Mountvale Townhouse.

After that, their father had left George alone. George had

stuck to his maps and his studies. At least so Rohan had

always believed.

‘‘No,’’ Rohan said, his voice low and deep now, his eyes

still on his brother’s portrait, painted when George was eighteen.

‘‘I don’t believe this damned letter. It was another young

blood using your name, wasn’t it? Did you really manage

to bring yourself to the sticking point and ravish a young

lady? Hell, did you even know what ‘ravish’ meant?

‘‘What does this man who calls himself her father want

from me? Stupid question. Money, of course. Damn you,

George—or rather damn the man who did this in your

name.’’

George didn’t answer.

The last Carrington to ruin a young lady and find himself

shackled as a result had been Rohan’s great-grandfather, the

fabulous Luther Morran Carrington. Old Luther would shake

his head, according to Rohan’s grandfather, and mutter that

he’d only tossed up Cora’s skirts one miserable time and

he’d nailed her but good. He’d continued to nail Cora fourteen

more times, eight of his children surviving into adulthood.

Rohan pulled the bell cord behind the immaculate mahogany

desk. His secretary, Pulver, must have been standing just

outside the door, his face pressed against the wood, for he

was in the library in but a moment, not a bit out of breath.

He looked pale, gaunt, and put-upon, all three of which he

deserved, because, as his friend David Plummy had told him,

‘‘It serves you right, slaving like you do for the Wild Baron.

Just look at all those uncivilized hours he keeps, and he

works you harder than a dog in all the hours in-between.

What’s more, he beds more women than you and I will ever

even speak to in our lives and everybody loves him for it,

just like they love his mother and his father. He’s a philanderer.

It isn’t fair, damn him. As for you, Pulver, you deserve

to look like you’re on your last legs.’’

Pulver would shake his head mournfully, but the truth of

it was that Pulver enjoyed himself immensely. Working for

Baron Mountvale gave him a certain cachet. He’d even been

set upon by several ladies trying to bribe him to get them

into the baron’s bedchamber.

Pulver came to a halt in front of the baron, who looked

bilious and whose fair hair was standing on end. He was

curious to know what news had sent his master over the

edge. It wasn’t every day that the baron talked to himself.

‘‘Pulver, get my solicitor Simington over here. No, wait.’’

The baron broke off, staring at the portrait of his mother that

hung beside George’s above the mantel. It had been painted

when she was twenty-five—nearly his age now. She’d been

glorious when she was young, and she was still incredibly

beautiful at forty-five. In her younger years she had been

wilder than a storm-tossed night, and he’d been told from

his earliest memories that he was just like her, and like his

proud papa, of course. They’d told him that he’d been

blessed with their wild blood and tempestuous natures.

‘‘No,’’ he said, bringing himself back to the problem at

hand, ‘‘I will see to this myself. It’s strange and I don’t

believe a word of it. Besides, if there’s no bastard, how can

one prove ruination? And there’s no mention at all of a bastard.

Surely there would be mention in the bloody letter if

there was a bastard, don’t you think?

‘‘No, I must do it myself. I don’t want to, but I must,

dammit. I will be gone for three days, no more.’’

‘‘But, my lord,’’ Pulver said, near desperation in his voice,

‘‘you must need me to do something. You are agitated. There

is even a wrinkle in your sleeve. Your cravat is crooked.

Your fair locks need a brushing. Your valet would not approve.

Perhaps you are not thinking too clearly.’’

Rohan waved the letter in Pulver’s face. ‘‘I am thinking

clearly enough to know that I will probably put a bullet

through this bleater’s brain. The man’s a damned liar—that,

or someone else is.’’

‘‘Ah,’’ Pulver said. A woman has managed to get hold of

him. Was she a former mistress he didn’t want to see anymore?

She wanted money?

‘‘I am a very good negotiator,’’ Pulver said with a modesty

he did not possess, not budging from in front of the

baron. ‘‘I can deal with almost any bleater in London. Give

me a bleater from outside London and I’ll mash him.’’

Rohan became aware that his secretary was bearing down

on him. ‘‘Negotiator?’’ he repeated, distracted. ‘‘Oh, you

must be thinking about Melinda Corruthers. She was a tough

little bit of leather, wasn’t she? That was well done of you,

Pulver. You convinced her that she was swimming up the

wrong creek since I had truly never heard of her before.

Well, this isn’t the same. I will handle it myself, I owe it to

my brother. Turn down all invitations for the next week.’’

He paused, frowning, looking into his secretary’s gaunt face.

‘‘Eat something, man. You look skinnier than you did just

yesterday. People already believe I pay you so little that you

can’t even afford a turnip for your dinner. Even my mother

thinks I torture you.’’

Pulver was left standing where he was, watching the baron

leave the library, that piece of foolscap wadded in his hand.

It had to do with a woman. A woman and his brother? Surely

that was beyond strange. Which brother? Neither of the

baron’s brothers was the least like him. It was a start. Pulver

mentally arranged the few facts already in his possession.

Not much, but he was patient. He could begin to imagine

the look of envy on David Plummy’s face when he heard

about this new exploit.

Rohan strode into his bedchamber and paced, muttering

about a straight-as-a-stick younger brother who must have

had wicked friends who had used his name. His valet, Tinker,

who didn’t hear the baron’s muttering, even though he tried,

packed a valise for him. Tinker wondered why his lordship

wasn’t in a better humor. Surely this trip must involve a

female. Nearly all the baron’s trips did. Everyone knew that.

The baron was famous for his trips to his little hideaways.

But more than lust and passion seemed involved here. What

could it be? Tinker was patient. He would find out soon

enough. He wondered if Pulver knew more than he did.

Rohan didn’t think of Lily until he was tooling down the

Reading road at a fine clip, some fifteen miles out of London.

He sighed. He’d forgotten to send a message to her to tell

her he wouldn’t see her this evening. Ah, there was so much

to be done. Well, he wouldn’t be gone more than three days.

T H E W I L D B A R O N 5

Who the hell was this Joseph Hawlworth of Mulberry

House, Moreton-in-Marsh, a town that wasn’t far at all from

Oxford, where George had lived and pursued his solitary

education?

Susannah raised her face to the sun. It felt wonderful. It had

rained continuously for two days, making everyone testy, but

today the sun was shining as if God himself had sent it blazing

down just for her. She gently patted the rich, black dirt

around the base of the rosebush. She moved on to a patch

of candytuft, her pride, sent to her by her cousin who had

spoken to one of the gardeners in Chelsea Gardens and

learned that the flowers had come from Persia to England

just a few years before. John had managed to spirit a cutting

out of Chelsea Gardens to her the previous fall. Now as she

lovingly traced her fingertips over the dark evergreen leaves

to the shower of white flowers atop the stem, she remembered

his note, telling her that the name ‘‘candy’’ had come

from Candia, the ancient name of Crete. She wondered if she

could ever work that bit into a conversation with her father.

Probably not. She wondered if she would ever be able to

work that bit into any conversation, with anyone in the environs.

Probably not.

She jerked out a particularly nasty weed, made certain that

the soil was well drained and moist, and prayed the sun

would continue shining, for the candytuft thrived with sun.

She turned on her heel at the sound of a curricle drawing

up in front of the cottage. Her father was supposedly in Scotland,

so he’d told her, but she knew he was very likely gambling

away his shirt with his cronies down in Blaystock. She

sighed and rose. A tradesman? No, it couldn’t be. She had

made very certain that all the tradesmen had been paid before

she allowed her father to leave Mulberry House, complaining

bitterly under his breath about what a shrew she had become.

Who would come in a curricle? She rounded the side of

the house to see a magnificent gray snorting and prancing to

a stop. The man driving the curricle was speaking to the

horse, a spirited conversation that drew an occasional snort

from the massive animal, who stood at least seventeen hands

high. When the horse quieted, the man looked about, probably

for a stable lad.

Susannah called out, ‘‘Just a moment and I’ll fetch Jamie.

He’ll take care of your horse.’’

‘‘Thank you,’’ the man called back.

When she returned with Jamie, who had been napping in

a mound of fresh hay at the back of the small barn behind

the house, the man was patting the horse’s nose, still speaking

to him.

‘‘Oh, aye,’’ Jamie said, sprinting forward now. ‘‘Yicks,

jest ley yer peepers on that purty boy. I’ll feed him good,

Guv, don’t ye worry. Wot’s the name of this beauty?’’

‘‘Gulliver.’’

‘‘Odd name fer sech a manly beast and that’s what ye

be—manly—despite they cut off yer conkers. Gulliver, aye,

the name niver come to me ears afore, but who cares? I’ll

take ’im now, Guv. All gray ye be, and that lovely white

star in the middle of yer forehead. Come with me, ye purty

boy.’’

Rohan had never heard such an odd rendering of the English

language. It was both illiterate and intriguing and very

nearly sung in a deep baritone. He watched the stable lad

lead Gulliver and his curricle toward the back of the house.

Gulliver was prancing beside him, shaking his mighty head

at the lad’s words, just as he did with Rohan, only it seemed

to Rohan that his horse was showing more enthusiasm with

the stable lad, a damned stranger, than he normally did with

his true master, the one who paid for his oats.

And Susannah watched him watch his horse. When Jamie

and Gulliver were gone around the side of the house, she

was left standing in the drive looking at the man in a very

elegant greatcoat with at least six capes. He took off his hat

and ran his fingers through his pale blondish-brown hair. He

was young, not above twenty-five or twenty-six, and very

handsome. Too handsome, and probably very well aware of

it. She frowned. He looked familiar, but she couldn’t place

him, not at first.

It took her ten more seconds. She sucked in her breath

and took a step back. She said, ‘‘You’re George’s brother.

You’re the Wild Baron. Goodness, I didn’t realize how alike

you looked.’’

She was so pale he thought she would fall over in a dead

faint.

‘‘Oh? You’re entirely wrong. George had black hair and

dark brown eyes. We looked nothing alike.’’

‘‘I don’t understand,’’ she said slowly. ‘‘Why are you saying

that? George had eyes nearly as green as yours—he said

his were the same color as his father’s—and his hair was

just a bit darker blond than yours.’’

Well, damn. His ruse hadn’t paid off.

‘‘Very well,’’ Rohan said. ‘‘It was George, then. You did

know him.’’ Perhaps it also meant that she wasn’t part of

this plan to skinny down his coffers. At least he now knew

one thing for certain. It had been George, as fantastic as it

seemed to Rohan.

‘‘So,’’ Rohan said, not bowing, not offering to take her

hand, not doing anything except standing there, looking at

the run-down house, bricks missing from one of the chimneys,

and the beautiful gardens that surrounded it. ‘‘Since

you guessed who I am, since you described George nearly

to his eyebrows, then you must be the girl my brother supposedly

ruined?’’

She stared at him. The black smudges of dirt on her face

stood out starkly against her pallor. She had become mute.

‘‘You’re not, then. Very well. You’re a maid, and a dirty

one at that. You simply saw George when he visited here?

You work at this house? For that paltry bugger who wrote

me that impertinent letter? If you do work here, you don’t

appear to do a very good job. The place looks like it’s ready

to fall down and crumble.’’

She got hold of herself. ‘‘That’s true enough, but I ask

you, how could a maid be responsible for how the house

looks on the outside?’’ That stymied him and she smiled to

herself. She realized, of course, that most self-respecting

maids would turn up their noses at her. Her hands were dirty,

there was black dirt on her muslin gown and under her fingernails,

her hair was straggling about her face.

She let him wriggle free from that one finally, saying, ‘‘I

not only work here, I also live here.’’

‘‘Then you are not a maid?’’

‘‘No, I’m not a maid.’’ She didn’t say anything more. She

watched him draw a piece of foolscap from his greatcoat

pocket. He waved it at her. ‘‘If you live here, then perhaps

you can tell me why this man named Joseph Hawlworth

wrote me this insolent letter telling me that George had ruined

you? It is you who are ruined, is it not?’’

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Customer Reviews

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