Dark of the Moon is a sizzling classic tale of forbidden romance from New York Times bestseller Karen Robards—an author who the Chicago Sun-Times says “penetrates the steamiest of women’s fantasies.” The highly sensual tale of an orphaned beauty’s dangerous love for the outlaw nobleman who rescued her from an unspeakable fate, Dark of the Moon has enthralled readers everywhere (“I enjoyed every minute,” says romance superstar Johanna Lindsey). Now a new audience can discover the remarkable Karen Robards and her intense and enthralling “Romance—with a difference” (Orlando Sentinel).
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Caitlyn O'Malley was a lass, but none would have known it who saw her swaggering along Dublin's narrow cobbled laneways on that misty April afternoon in 1784. For the last eight of her fifteen years of life, she had aped the role of a male. So successful was she at it that she herself forgot her true sex for days at a time. Her unkempt black hair was cropped into a ragged bob that just touched her shoulders. A constant layer of grime obscured delicate features. Thick-lashed kerry blue eyes, big as agates in her hunger-pinched face, passed almost unnoticed amidst all her dirt. With her spindly frame clad in shabby, castoff coat and breeches that were two sizes too large, she looked as much like a ragged twelve-year-old boy as her companion, who could lay claim to the condition in truth.
"B'God, O'Malley, would ye take a whiff o' that, now?" Willie Laha, stopped to sniff enviously at the tray of meat pastries that the vendor was setting out on the counter of his cart. They were so fresh steam was rising from them. Staring at the golden-brown crusts, sniffing their delicious aroma, Caitlyn felt her mouth water. Pangs of hunger twisted her stomach. Neither she nor Willie had eaten the night before nor all that day, and it was nigh onto evening again. Pickings for supper were likely to be slim. The gangs of urchins and beggars that haunted the mews intersecting O'Connell Suva had become so notorious that the merchants were going about armed. It was worth a lad's life to pinch so much as an apple. With the street fair in progress and the workers from the quays crowding the street every night, pickingsshould have been plentiful. But revelers were guarding their purses, and merchants were watching eagle-eyed over their wares. Only a week ago, Tim O'Flynn, one of the loose gang of boys that was the closest Caitlyn had to family since her mother died, had been hanged for stealing two plums and a chunk of bread. With that example fresh in mind, Caitlyn was more cautious than was her wont, although hunger was beginning to override her unaccustomed prudence. If she did not steal, she would not eat.
"You there! Move along or I'll be takin' me stick to your hides!" The growl came from the red-faced merchant, who had noticed their interest and was glaring ferociously at them, stout stick in hand. Caitlyn made a rude gesture in return but did not resist as Willie pulled her along the street, Which was lined on both sides by vendors' carts displaying everything from meat pasties to leather shoes.
"We'd best hold off until Doyle and the rest come up to us. Two alone's not good odds."
Caitlyn scowled at Willie's caution. O'Flynn's fate was making women out of the lot of them. They had to shake the specter of it if they were to eat on anything approaching a regular basis. It was foolishness pure and simple to think -- as Willie and some of the others did -- that they were cursed by bad luck. O'Flynn just hadn't been careful enough or fast enough. The lesson to be learned there was not to stop stealing, but to make certain sure not to be caught. And she wouldn't be. She'd always been careful, and she was fleet of foot, the fastest of them all. No fat merchant would catch her, like had happened to O'Flynn. And Jamie McFinnian, who'd been taken the month before O'Flynn, had always been clumsy. That he'd escaped capture as long as he had was a miracle, nothing less. No, it was not bad luck dogging them at all, at all. It was bad judgment, pure and simple.
"Look there." With a nudge she directed Willie's attention farther down the street. A tall, lean man in a froth of lace and finery was making his way with fine unconcern through the dirty, bare-armed quay workers who with their doxies were beginning to fill the street. As they watched, he pulled a gleaming gold watch from his pocket, flipped it open with a polished thumbnail, and looked at it for a brief moment before carelessly replacing it. Scorn twisted Caitlyn's mouth into a sneer. Obviously the gentleman was new-come from bloody England, one of the hated Ascendancy, and none had thought to warn him not to venture into the city's dangerous Irish quarters. He strolled along as though he hadn't a care in the world, completely oblivious to the sullen looks he was receiving from the shabby tides of the oppressed surrounding him.
"A right lamb for the fleecin', Willie, me lad." Caitlyn's eyes gleamed with a combination of avarice and hatred as they fixed on the gentleman. The hatred had nothing to do with him personally. The Irish hated the English from birth onward. It was bred in blood and bone. "Sent straight from the Holy Mother to brighten our path. These boyos'll have every stitch off him before he goes much further, so we'd best be gettin' the cream off the top."
Willie looked around uneasily. He was redheaded and freckle-faced under the layers of grime, but instead of being bold and hot-tempered, as redheads were supposed to be, he was both cautious and easygoing by nature. O'Flynn's fate had merely aggravated unfortunate qualities that he already possessed. "Whisht, now, O'Malley, there's too many witnesses about. It's caught we'll be for certain sure."
"Don't be daft, Willie, there's naught that's different from always." She was impatient. "We hit him and run, just like we've done more times than you can count. We'll have his pockets cleaned and be off before..."Dark of the Moon. Copyright © by Karen Robards. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.