Her Master and Commander

Her Master and Commander

by Karen Hawkins

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060584085
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/28/2006
Series: Just Ask Reeves Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 729,821
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Karen Hawkins was raised in Tennessee, a member of a huge extended family that included her brother and sister, an adopted sister, numerous foster siblings, and various exchange students. In order to escape the chaos (and while hiding when it was her turn to do the dishes), she would huddle under the comforter on her bed with a flashlight and a book, a habit she still embraces to this day.

Read an Excerpt

Her Master and Commander

By Karen Hawkins

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Karen Hawkins
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060584084

Chapter One

A butler's primary purpose is to serve his employer thoroughly and discreetly. Valor is the first part of discretion. It also helps to possess a large dose of tolerance and a very, very short memory.

A Compleat Guide for
Being a Most Proper Butler

by Richard Robert Reeves

Rochester House
Somerset, England

Pristine and perfect, the river wound through carefully tended forests, flirting here and there with the stone-paved path before gently toppling into a wide, crystal clear pond. The deep blue waters reflected the flawless outline of a meticulously planned rotunda decorated with several columns and a pink marble fountain. Over the years, the rotunda had served as a trysting spot for lord, lady, prince, and pauper.

Over this astonishingly well orchestrated bit of idyllic beauty rose a nearby hillock. On it, set like a crown on a velvet pillow, sat a massive and stately manor house of lush gold brick, the mullioned windows sparkling enticingly in the late afternoon sun.

Rochester House was widely agreed to be the epitome of culture. The king himself had lauded the house and its furnishings as "the most exquisite in all of England."

The comment had been made almost two score years ago, and at the time, the sixth earl had merely bowed his head ever so slightly to acknowledge it. Privately, of course, he'd been quite pleased, but it would have been ill-bred to have appeared so. And a Rochester was never, ever ill-bred.

Still, the earl allowed himself a generous amount of time in private to savor the king's admiration. Each night, before closing his eyes, he remembered the words and the exact expression on the king's face as he uttered them. It helped Rochester fall asleep and often gave him the most delightful dreams.

Except now, of course. Now, he was far too busy with the irritating duty of dying with dignity.

The dying part was, he thought, rather simple. It was the "with dignity" portion that was a struggle. But then, anything worth doing was worth a good fight. The earl had learned that caveat long, long ago.

To be honest, Rochester should not have been surprised that he was dying. After all, he was well past his seventieth year of age, a fact he attempted to hide from his peers by keeping to powdered wigs for as long as fashion allowed, the liberal use of rouge, and a superb wardrobe that dazzled the eye and removed notice from his sagging skin and wrinkled brow.

To further add to the illusion of youth, he'd married a woman who was, by any count, more than half a century younger than he. Ostensibly, he'd married the lovely, vapid Miss Leticia Crowell for the express purpose of adding a beautiful woman to his household, much like purchasing a certain type of orchid to decorate one's dinner table.

The truth was, Rochester was desperate for a child. He'd thought to marry, produce a son, and thus secure his lands, fortune, and title. He winced even now at the crassness of it all. It was so tawdry, this breeding aspect. Sex for the purpose of pleasure was an art. Sex in an effort to bring forth a mewling child -- Rochester curled his lip.

He'd never thought he'd have trouble fathering a child. After all, he'd managed to father brats before he was married, why would he have any difficulties after? Which was why he'd waited so long before tying himself to the demands of some silly chit who had to be told twice that one did not wear diamonds to a morning visit. Yet as much as he'd disliked the notion, he knew his duty and so, with the greatest reluctance, he'd married.

Unfortunately, fate had a cruel sense of humor. Now, here he was, gasping his last breath, married to a chit with more hair than wit, and not a single legitimate son to inherit either his wealth or the Rochester name. The name he'd worked so hard to build into something unique, something memorable, much like this house, was destined to die with him.

His fingers curled over the single sheet of paper resting in his hand, the noise drawing his gaze. Ah, yes, the list. He smiled a little, relieved. There was hope, after all.

He would make right all the things he'd done wrong. Even from the grave, he would maintain the quality of the Rochester name and keep the house in the family. It was a bold plan. But then...he was a bold man.

He smiled, wincing when a sharp pain rattled through his shoulder, the pressure on his chest increasing. Damn it, he had so little time left. Why had he waited so long?

The huge mahogany door that led into the earl's chamber opened and a tall, perfectly groomed individual entered. The man was dressed in the deep black of a butler, his air stately and calm. He carried a silver tray covered with a linen cloth.

Rochester never allowed any but the most elegant of servants in his employ. Yet even he had to admit that his butler, the indispensable Reeves, was a gem among gems. There was something startlingly commanding about Reeves. Dark and slender, his hair traced over each ear with a distinguished stroke of gray. And his wicked way of putting a shine on boots had caught even Beau Brummel's attention.

Rochester had the world's best butler and the entire ton was aware of it. Four times in the last two months alone, other members of the nobility had attempted to hire Reeves away, but Rochester knew the man's worth and he paid the butler a fortune.

Reeves set the tray on the table beside the bed. He removed a silver cover to reveal an amber-filled glass.

Rochester's hopes rose even more. "Bourbon?"

"Indeed, my lord."

"But Letty said she'd poured my bourbon out the window!"


Excerpted from Her Master and Commander by Karen Hawkins Copyright © 2006 by Karen Hawkins. 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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Her Master and Commander 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite authors love her writing, always a treat!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dying without an heir, the very wealthy Earl of Rochester gave his faithful and indispensable butler Reeves his final instructions ¿ find his two missing illegitimate offspring and make them worthy of their noble blood. Monumental tasks to not only locate them after 20 year absences, but to teach them the fine rudiments of gentlemanly behavior. Setting out on his mission, Reeves locates the elder twin sibling aka an ex-pirate, turned privateer, turned war hero at the battle of Trafalger with Admiral Nelson ¿ Captain Tristan Llevanth. ------ Tristan was found living in a cottage on a cliff overlooking the sea he could no longer captain a ship upon. Before he¿d had too much time to slip into a melancholic life, sailors once under his command sought him out, and he was now master and commander of a household of wounded warriors. Life was peaceful until his neighbor, the widow Prudence Thistlewaite, started storming through his doors demanding he keep his sheep out of her garden. Reeves, the consummate butler and purveyor of solutions to all sorts of mundane problems, showed up at about the same time. ----- After finally convincing Tristan to reconsider accepting his inheritance, Reeves now had the immense task of turning him into a gentleman. Recognizing a windfall of expertise, Reeves enlisted the aid of Prudence Thistlewaite, in dire need of funds to establish a school for girls, to teach Tristan the finer points of behaving in a gentlemanly manner and smoothing out his very rough edges. As these two banes of each others existence came to butt heads, it seemed only natural that the sparks would fly in passion as well as stubbornness. ----- *** Hawkins writes a fun-filled escapade as Prudence has her work cut out for her in bringing the irascible captain to heel. The secondary character of Reeves, along with members of the captain¿s land-locked crew and Prudence¿s mother filled out the cast to make this a merry adventure and an enjoyable fast-paced read. The sensuality is steamy and the carriage ride scene extremely memorable and not to be missed. All in all, I found this to be a very fine beginning to Hawkins newest series.
Anonymous 23 days ago
Great read. love this author
bhryk0 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Tristan Llevanth¿s life changed when he was 10 years old, his mother was taken to prison on a false charge of treason, he was separated from his twin brother Christian and he was impressed for a life at sea.The Duke of Rochester has not been able to father legitimate children and now that he is dying he needs to find his illegitimate twin sons so that he has someone to inherit his title. He concocts a plan to legitimise them and sets his butler extraordinaire, Reeves, the task of finding them and notifying them of their inheritance but it comes at a price ¿ he must make gentlemen of them.We meet Tristan again when he is 35 - he has been a pirate and is now a wounded war hero who can no longer sail because of his injury. He has settled on a property in Devon with men who had been part of his crew, just waiting for life to pass him by.Unfortunately his bothersome neighbor, the delectable widow Prudence Thistlewaite has other ideas. When Reeves meets her he hires her to teach Tristan the manners of a gentleman, it is a hard task, especially as passion takes over on more than one occasion.He eventually is reunited with his brother who lives life alternatively as a gentleman farmer and a highwayman. I have already read Christian¿s story and this ties them together nicely. It was a good read.
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Um. Not sure about this one. Well-written (aside from a couple of chapters where everyone, including the crusty sea-captain, constantly used the adjective "horrid"), interesting characters, the first of a series (I love family series). However, the basic premise is highly implausible, to the point where I kept stopping to say "But they wouldn't have done it that way!", which kind of throws me out of the story. The characters' actions were also rather implausible at times - she may be a widow, but that doesn't excuse her from everything. I don't know. I liked many parts of it, but in the end I'm unsatisfied. I may read the next one (because Christian is an interesting idiot - why in God's name would he attack the coach? Just stupid), but I don't think I'll reread this one. Oh, and the climactic scene with the trustees isn't shown at all - it's reported after the fact and very skimpily. It might have made the book longer, or shown "the trustees" as actual people...I don't know why she left it out. That's part of why I found it unsatisfying overall.
dukefn99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book is set in rural Englandin the early 1800s. Tristian is an injured sailor (and hero) and has retired to the countryside. Prudence is a widow who has recently moved to the countryside with her mother to set up a school for young ladies. Soon after the story begins, Tristian finds out that he has inherited the title of earl, but to receive the money that goes with the title, he has to pass a 'test' proving that he is a gentleman and worthy of the title. Prudence is hired to help him learn to be a gentleman. During the course of their lessons, Tristian and Prudence find friendship and love. This was a fun book. I came to care about the characters and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen to them. The secondary characters were a hoot (a couple laugh out loud moments). I'm looking forward to picking up the next book (it's about Tristian's brother).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Decent for a quick read, not as good as her other books though
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The story started out amusing but towards the end it became drawn out and then flat out dull. This is one of those stories that you want to read as quickly as possible because once you put it down you might not finish it.
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romancejunkie27 More than 1 year ago
It was a good romantic novel if very predictable. Need more twists.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Her Master and Commander by Karen Hawkins Reviewer: Pamela Ackerson (author of the Home of the Braves trilogy) Delightful and Delicious The ingredients of a bestseller consists of one author extraordinaire, originality, imagination, wit, humor, romance, unexpected twists, and the power to captivate, mixed in with a few spices and you have a novel written by Karen Hawkins. The sea is a pirate's mistress and when a pirate/turned war hero is anchored to the land, he does not make a very happy man. Enter Reeves who must now take this uncivilized being and create a new and improved Earl of Rochester. Impossible you say? Not if you have the enchanting Prudence Thistlewaite as your tutor...or can she tame the wild and simply irresistible captain? Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
HER MASTER AND COMMANDER is fabulous!!!.................................. Most proper butler, Richard Robert Reeves arrives unexpectedly at Captain Tristan Paul Llevanth¿s cottage to tell him of the death of his father and to inform him, that surprisingly, Tristan has inherited his father¿s title and is now the new Earl of Rochester. However, unless he can prove to a demanding board of trustees that he is civilized and a true ¿Gentleman¿ worthy of assuming the mantle of an earl, he will only get the title and NOT the 20,000 pounds per year income that goes with it. Tristan for many reasons wants nothing to do with his father¿s title or money, but when he realizes he could use the money to provide better food, housing and doctor¿s care for his needy shipmates, he reluctantly agrees to allow Reeves to try to turn him into a proper gentleman. Reeves decides the most suitable person to teach Tristan would be none other than his than his lovely widowed neighbor ~ Prudence Thistlewaite. When Prudence and Tristan get together¿ the sexual tension mounts because Tristan clearly has seduction on his mind he wants to be the one to give his teacher lessons ~ in love........................... I loved this book. It has everything a great romance novel should ~ a delightfully captivating, heartwarming and humorous love story, with a marvelous pair of leading characters that are interesting, engaging, irresistible and whose chemistry together positively sizzles........................ The Hero ~ Tristan Llevanth is blond, tall, handsome, sexy, strong, brave, proud and honorable. Due to a painful injury that forced him to give up command of his ship, he is also at times surly, demanding and brusque he mimics a caustic and formidable sea captain, but that just hides a heart of gold. Tristan¿s a bold ex-pirate turned naval hero, after having served with Admiral Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar who exudes sensuality and excitement ~ the perfect fantasy hero........................ The heroine ~ Prudence Thistlewaite is pretty, caring, loving, compassionate, and intelligent. She¿s a feisty widow who is just outspoken and spirited enough to tame a gruff, rude and arrogant pirate. Even one whose intense looks of barely restrained lust and highly potent desire enthrall her against her will as they suggest nights filled with passion and exquisite pleasure ~ she realizes she¿d never experienced with her first husband......................... The large secondary cast of characters is made up assorted family members, employees and a collection of charming rogues that were formerly the captain¿s crew all are comical, entertaining and endearing. Then add to that Richard Robert Reeves the ¿PERFECT¿ butler. Reeves is someone who manages to anticipate everyone¿s needs and then seems to effortlessly and efficiently do whatever¿s necessary to pull everything together ~ and bring peace and harmony to his charge¿s lives....................... Karen Hawkins has written another winner in HER MASTER AND COMMANDER ~ one that¿s destined for the keeper shelves!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great read but I don't know why the title had to border on bondage and the cover had to have a Fabio look alike. But, if you have a book cover to place it in, it's a great read for the beach or pool. Funny, witty and sweet.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1806 the Earl of Rochester knew he was dying, but regrets having sired no legitimate heir. Uninterested in his illegitimate children until he faced death¿s door, he assigns his perfect butler Richard Reeves to find his offspring, five for sure, but maybe nine in all, and train them to act as if they were raised amidst the Ton rather than the gutter where he left them. Reeves knows he will need the key elements of being a good butler, tolerance and amnesia, if he is to succeed in his final endeavor for his employer.------ Reeves¿ first 'civilize' project is the Earl¿s son Captain Tristan Llevanth, a former pirate wounded while fighting under Nelson¿s banner. Unable to go to sea anymore due to his injuries, Tristan is uninterested in Reeves¿ gentlemen lessons remembering the earl failed to recognize him when he desperately wanted that twenty-five years ago. However the sly butler pays the ex-pirate¿s enemy Prudence Thistlewaite to help smooth the Captain¿s barbaric tendencies knowing women can go where no man dare. Their neighborly war soon includes a new weapon of mass destruction in each of their respective arsenals that neither can resist nor fight against, love.------ HER MASTER AND COMMANDER is a strong Regency romance starring two dearest enemies, but made fresh by that ¿Most Proper Butler¿ Reeves. He realizes that to quietly nudge the sea captain he needs the ideal tool a woman for only a female can civilize a barbarian. The lead couple is a delightful pairing somewhat typical of the sub-genre, but the master Machiavellian of the servant class turns this fine tale into a wonderful historical reading experience with everyone agreeing ¿God bless Reeves¿.---- Harriet Klausner
dssalts7 More than 1 year ago
Fast shipping, pages alittle yellowed but still very happy. Thanks,Sheila
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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