Devil's Desire

Devil's Desire

by Laurie McBain


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402242410
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 11/01/2010
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 702,783
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 11.80(h) x 0.83(d)

About the Author

Laurie McBain became a publishing phenomenon at age twenty-six with her first historical romance. She is a winner of the Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Historical Romance Author. All of her romances were bestsellers, selling over 11 million copies. Laurie's books have been out of print for over 5 years.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair.
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

High in a cloud-laden afternoon sky, a free-spirited skylark soared gracefully; its spread-winged shadow traveling swiftly over the colorful autumnal countryside below. Its song pierced the primeval silence of the forest below as the cheerful cry carried through the chill air; the clear notes penetrated beneath the thick canopy of branches, and reaching the soft, loam-covered forest floor the sound was absorbed by the bright carpet of fallen leaves.

The woods seemed to come to life, humming with the chirpings and chatterings of busy forest creatures contentedly gathering food for the oncoming winter, until another sound intruded into the aimless animal chatter and sent a hush over the clearing. An uneasy silence hung over it as the threatening sounds of baying hounds and pounding horses' hooves echoed in the distance.

The gossiping birds took wing and the bushy-tailed squir­rels scurried into safe nests as a figure emerged from the trees, twigs snapping sharply as it moved into the clearing.

"Tally-ho!" Ribald laughter followed the cry of the hunt. "Where is that foxy wench? Damnation! Don't lose sight of her now, man!"

The excited voices drifted to a still figure, galvanizing it into action, and the raised voices became louder as the riders moved closer. Then the voices merged into one menacing sound as they intermingled with the snorting of their mounts.

As they came closer, Elysia could almost feel their hot breath against the back of her neck, as she held up her skirts and hurriedly climbed over a fallen tree. She stopped, pausing to catch her breath, panting heavily as she leaned against another tree for support. She could hear the raised voices of the men as they searched about the undergrowth, not far off, beating it back to find her hiding place. She shivered as she heard the throaty yelping of the dogs, and saw movement through the trees as the horsemen pressed on toward her; each passing second bringing them closer.

She stood still, frozen with fear, her eyes darting about like those of a trapped animal seeking safety. Suddenly, she noticed the hollowed out trunk of the fallen tree, the opening partially concealed by the full-fronded ferns and wild weeds that grew about the gaping mouth. She moved quickly into the cool, concealing darkness. Crawling past the thick ferns, she pulled them back into order as she stretched out full length on the rotted and damp bottom. She shivered as she felt the little crawling inhabitants of the decayed tree about her. Elysia's breath caught painfully in her throat as she heard the pounding of the horses' hooves coming straight towards her; shaking the earth beneath her body until she thought she would be trampled to death beneath them.

"Bloody fool. You've let her flee," said a petulant voice, startling Elysia by its closeness.

"Damn it all, it's you who slowed me up-thought you saw her in a dozen different places," another voice complained.

"First decent bit o' muslin I've seen in this damned county, and what happens?" demanded the first voice, self-pityingly. "She gets away. Did you see that glorious hair? A real little fox she was-and those long legs. By God, I'll not be cheated out of my prize after going to the trouble of giving chase."

Elysia heard the creaking of his saddle as the rider shifted impatiently, and the ominous snapping sound of a riding crop being tapped angrily against gloved hands.

"Where are those cursed hounds? We'd have had her flushed out by now if those hounds were on her scent. Could've sworn I saw something over here."

"Sounds like they've caught scent of something over that way," the other man spoke as the distant sound of raised voices and barking reached them.

"Damn! It'd better be the wench. I'll beat their hides off if they've cornered a bloody hare. I'm going to have that maid to warm my bed this eve. It's too damned cold in this blasted place to sleep alone." He sighed in exasperation. "We'd better find her soon, because I'm played out; too damned tired to even breathe, much less enjoy the wench. Wish I were back in London-don't have to hunt for my pleasures there. Plenty of high-steppers just begging for my favors," he boasted.

"You're getting soft, my friend. The hunt adds spice to the victory, but we'd best be off, or you'll only have your old housekeeper to warm your bones this eve," his friend snickered.

"I'll be warming myself against that red-haired wench. You can have my housekeeper, or one of the scullions-more your style," he said laughing loudly.

"You don't have her yet, and who knows, she might prefer me after she's caught a glimpse of you."

"Damned if she will," he answered rising to the bait. "I'll wager my team of blacks she begs me to take her back to London before the night's out."

Elysia heard their laughter, and then trembled as she felt the fragile walls of her sanctuary shake as the riders urged their mounts over the fallen tree, and moved off into the trees toward the excited barking of the hounds.

Elysia waited, scarcely breathing as she listened to the retreating hoof beats. Breathlessly, she peered out between the lacy, interwoven fronds, seeing only emptiness in the clearing beyond. At last, they were gone.
Slowly, like a hunted animal, she crawled from the safety of her hole and paused, as if sniffing the air for the scent of an enemy, poised for flight at the first sign of danger. As she made her way through the trees Elysia felt tears of rage and fright well up in her eyes.

Her lips quivered as she thought of herself like some animal being hunted for pleasure. No wonder the villagers kept their young daughters close to their sides when the wild bloods, the fancy London gentlemen, paid their irregular visits to their estates in the country. Attired in their finely cut coats and lacy cravats, jewels glittering from their long white fingers, they demanded, and expected, anything they wanted, causing havoc the few days they took up residence on their country estates. They abused their landlordly rights by browbeating their tenants, and seducing their daughters. From upstairs maid to milk maid-not one comely face was safe from their lust.

And now she, Elysia Demarice, daughter of aristocratic parents, was humiliated and reduced to cowering like a fright­ened beast afraid for her life. She had to suffer the indignity of being pursued by fun-seeking young bloods from London, out to satisfy their carnal desires. Were she still under the protec­tion of her father's house, they would not dare to approach her; she was their equal-in name and position. Possessing beauty was a liability when one did not have the protection of one's family.

But a far greater outrage, Elysia thought, was her aunt's perfidy. She had sent her out here to the north end of the property, well aware that young Lord Tanner was visiting with a party of his disreputable friends. The possibility of their paths crossing while she innocently searched for acorns, had probably wriggled in the back of Aunt Agatha's mind like a worm in a rotting apple.

Aunt Agatha seemed to derive some sadistic pleasure in reducing her to the lowest level of human existence. What sin had she committed? What gods had she angered to deserve such a fate, Elysia wondered despondently. If only she could turn back the clock and return to happier days. The happier times, the innocence of her childhood-those were the things of which she dreamed.

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Devil's Desire 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
AAR More than 1 year ago
DEVIL'S DESIRE by Laurie McBain is an exciting, thrill ride of historical romance/suspense set in Regency England. It is a reissued work from 1975. It is well written with details, depth, fast paced, twists, turns and thrill ride to be sure. It has romance, deceit, betrayal, passion, spies, smugglers,defiance, stubborn-willful woman, a determined, arrogant man, adventure,intertwined story throughout, colorful characters, and love of country. The hero, Alex, is arrogant, seductive, a rake, considered the Devil himself, lucky at everything he does and about to meet his true love. The heroine, Elysia, is beautiful, penniless, strong willed, independent, hair red gold, and about to meet Alex, the Devil himself and her true love. Alex is bewitched by Elysia. They are throw together a scandal together. Alex determined to marry her for he has ever meet anyone so bewitching. They marry, out necessary for Elysia, but sparks fly, wits matched. What Alex believes is betrayal does and say hurtful things to Elysia, who has fallen in love with him. Things are amidst, as a smuggler ring is close, Elysia's brother who she believes is dead is not. He is actually undercover to capture a French spy. Alex knowing little of Elysia's past, feels betrayed, distance himself from her. Elysia, believes Alex is in love with someone while Alex believes she has a lover.This is a wonderful, compelling story of how to learn to trust, love and find true happiness.This is the first of this author's books I have read, and I will be looking forward to her next. I would highly recommend this book especially if you enjoy a happy ending, adventure, suspense and finding yourself.You will laugh, cry and set on the edge of your seat hoping everything will work out for this wonderfully matched couple. This book was received for review from the publisher and details can be found at Sourcebooks and My Book Addiction and More.
gl More than 1 year ago
In Devil's Desire Laurie McBain is not afraid to have her romantic lead go through a tortuous path of trials and tribulations. It opens with Elysia after she'd been orphaned and been taken advantage of by an aunt that she'd had no previous contact with. As the nonstop abuse is destroying her spirit, Elysia takes matters into her own hands and runs away. Her first attempt at freedom shows how unprepared she is for the world. But she's smart, beautiful and in the right place at the right time - and we all know how that last one is key. Alex, the man she meets during her first adventure has the worst reputation but he takes her under his wing, offers her protection. They're both surprised at how quickly they bond. Although there are obstacles to their happy ever after, such as jealous former mistresses, the usual hurt feelings and misunderstandings, Devil's Desire is a fun romantic escape with its likable characters, plot twists and satisfying ending. I think it's a keeper. ISBN-10: 1402242417 - Paperback Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; Reprint edition (November 1, 2010), 312 pages. Review copy provided by the publisher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this as a teen after reading Moonstruck Madness. Once again, I was sucked in by LM's writing. She had such flow and flair. I love her style and stories. My only request is that the publisher would hurry up and publish her full library of books NOW! I wore out my original copies years ago and want to rebuild my collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Devil's Desire is a great book. The story has a steady pacing of the plot so you are glued to the book. I highly recommend it!
sukie More than 1 year ago
Laurie McBain is the ultimate romance writer.  She defined the genre for me in my teens.  I didn't have YA novels in the 1980's that were geared toward my immature ideals of love and romance.  This woman created exciting, thrilling novels full of romance, intrigue and history.  Every single book she created is just as good as the next.  I laughed when I saw a review that explained why they didn't like the book.  ie.  too complicated or he was too mean....  That was the fun of the book, seeing a proud and arrogant man brought down by this beautiful and tragic heroine.  It is the ultimate Cinderella story but waaaaay better!   All I can say is that I am not a personal friend of this author's and have been devastated that she did not continue her career as a writer, since I am a devoted fan and still have all of her books, some of them first editions that I will keep til the day I die (and I still read every once in a while)  She is my Jane Austen, the writer I compare all other writers to.
blodeuedd on LibraryThing 17 days ago
Plot:Elysia is an orphan and is staying with her horrible aunt who treats her like dirt. Trying to get away she is caught in a marriage of convenience, with Lord Alex Trevegne, a man called the Devil. She takes her away to his castle, and they clash at every turn. My thoughts:I am going to be brutally honest, I hated the hero. I mean I love a good tortured hero, but Alex, was an ass. He was cruel, angry, hot tempered, mean, hated him. He wants her, he plays games with her to get her to succumb to his will, he is jealous, and ok I can't seem to have anything nice to say about him. Except that he is good to his servants and horses.Elysia was sweet, and she didn't let him put her down, her tongue was poisonous, and I liked her. The Devil got what he deserved from her. Their love affair, suddenly she knew she loved him..why? And even when he expressed his love, I didn't know what to feel. Also the first them they had sex, I was not approving of it. Even lost in passion, the way he brought it forward didn't suit me. I fear it might come from the book being published in the 70s. Like that was how men should be then.I am not hating the book, no it was actually ok, I enjoyed it even when hating her aunt, him, and his evil ex mistress. Then there was action because of a smuggler ring, and that brought the tempo up. And I still wanted to see if these two could get a HEA, cos honestly it seemed impossible, and I would just have left if I was her. He was never physically enforced his will or anything, no no, then I would thrown the book at the wall. I just wished he could have been nicer, but the thing was, he just needed a wife, he didn't need to love her.Final thoughts and recommendation:No here it's where it get tricky, if you have read something else by her then you will surely enjoy this one. But I feel there are more romantic books out there. I will give it a 2,5 because, it was ok, and I would like to see if she has a hero that is a bit less of a Devil. I liked the book, I just didn't like him
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I have read this book no less than 25 times. It is fantastic! I read it whenever I feel sad or in need of a good love story.
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