Married at Midnight

Married at Midnight

by Kathleen E Woodiwiss, Various

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380786152
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/01/1996
Series: A Birmingham Family Novella
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 157,882
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

(1939 - 2007) Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, creator of the modern historical romance, died July 6, 2007 in Minnesota. She had just turned 68. Her attorney, William Messerlie, said that she died after a long illness.

Born on June 3, 1939 in Alexandria, Louisiana, Mrs. Woodiwiss was the youngest of eight siblings. She long relished creating original narratives, and by age six was telling herself stories at night to help herself fall asleep. At age 16, she met U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant Ross Woodiwiss at a dance, and they married the following year. She wrote her first book in longhand while living at a military outpost in Japan.

Woodiwiss is credited with the invention of the modern historical romance novel: in 1972, she released The Flame and the Flower, an instant New York Times bestseller, creating literary precedent. The Flame and the Flower revolutionized mainstream publishing, featuring an epic historical romance with a strong heroine and impassioned sex scenes. "Kathleeen E. Woodiwiss is the founding mother of the historical romance genre," says Carrie Feron, vice president/editorial director of William Morrow and Avon Books, imprints of HarperCollins Publishers. Feron, who has been Woodiwiss's editor for 13 years, continues, "Avon Books is proud to have been Kathleen's sole publishing partner for her paperbacks and hardcover novels for more than three decades." Avon Books, a leader in the historical romance genre to this day, remains Mrs. Woodiwiss's original and only paperback publisher; William Morrow, Avon's sister company, publishes Mrs. Woodiwiss's hardcovers.

The Flame and the Flower was rejected by agents and hardcover publishers, who deemed it as "too long" at 600 pages. Rather than follow the advice of the rejection letters and rewrite the novel, Mrs. Woodiwiss instead submitted it to paperback publishers. The first publisher on her list, Avon, quickly purchased the novel and arranged an initial 500,000 print run. The novel sold over 2.3 million copies in its first four years of publication.

The success of this novel prompted a new style of writing romance, concentrating primarily on historical fiction tracking the monogamous relationship between a helpless heroines and the hero who rescued her, even if he had been the one to place her in danger. The romance novels which followed in her example featured longer plots, more controversial situations and characters, and more intimate and steamy sex scenes.

"Her words engendered an incredible passion among readers," notes Feron. Bestselling author Julia Quinn agrees, saying, "Woodiwiss made women want to read. She gave them an alternative to Westerns and hard-boiled police procedurals. When I was growing up, I saw my mother and grandmother reading and enjoying romances, and when I was old enough to read them myself, I felt as if I had been admitted into a special sisterhood of reading women."

New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips, a leading voice in the women's fiction arena, says, "We all owe our careers to her. She opened the world of romance to us as readers. She created a career for us to go into."

The pioneering author has written 13 novels over the course of 35 years, all New York Times bestsellers. Kathleen E. Woodiwiss's final literary work, the upcoming Everlasing, will be published by William Morrow in October 2007. "Everlasting is Kathleen's final gift to her fans," notes Feron.

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, who was predeceased by her husband and son Dorren, is survived by sons Sean and Heath, and numerous grandchildren.

HarperCollins Publishers is a proud supporter of First Book, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their own new books. The primary goal of First Book is to work with existing literacy programs to distribute new books to children who, for economic reasons, have little or no access to books. In this way, First Book effectively leverages the heroic efforts of local tutoring, mentoring, and family literacy organizations as they work to reach children who need help the most. First Book distributes millions of books to hundreds of thousands of children nationwide each year. For more information on First Book, please visit

Read an Excerpt

A long moment passed before either of them noticed a distant rumbling in the stillness of the night. A frown flickered across brow as he realized the sound was not born of the wind blowing through the trees. Indeed, no bridegroom could have been more determined to ignore the intrusion, but try as he might he could not banish the noise to the farthermost reaches of the universe. It grew increasingly louder until it became the rattle of many hooves thundering up the lane in front of the house.

Having failed to relegate the clamor to some distant clime, Jeff raised himself on an elbow and glared toward the bedroom door through which the offending clatter drifted, totally incensed that some of his blundering acquaintances might have chosen is precise moment to pay him a visit.

"I'll kill them!" he growled low. "So help me, if this is some kind of prank my friends have concocted, I'll kill the whole bloody lot of them!"

Sharing his disappointment, Raelynn trembled in frustration beneath him. Even now she could feel the fires cooling in his loins, while the ones in her own body still raged, yearning to be sated. "Who would visit at such an hour?"

Jeff heaved a frustrated sigh. "I'm afraid, my love, we're about to find out."

In the next instant, the front door slammed open, reverberating throughout the house, and a loud shout, heavily tinged with an accent, filled the halls. "Vhere is zhe master of zhis house? Vhere is zhat rat who stole my voman?"

Raelynn gasped, vividly recalling her revulsion and rage when her uncle had tried to sell her to the German. "That voice! Oh, Jeff! I'd know it any. where!" She claspedhis arm in distress. "It's Gustav Fridrich!"

Jeff muttered a curse as he rolled from her and came to his feet. Scooping up her chemise, he tossed it to her. "Quickly, my love! Dress yourself!"

As he reached for his breeches and pulled them on, Raelynn slid to her feet and hurriedly settled her undergarment into place. "What will you do, Jeff?"

"Gustav may reign like a ruthless barbarian over feeble old men, but here at Oakley, he'll soon learn he faces a different kind of adversary," he answered. "No man forces his way into my house without answering for it."

His words made his young bride quake with fear. " 'Tis foolishness to think that you can confront Gustav and his men alone, Jeff. You'll not remain unscathed. You've got to flee to safety before it's too late!"

"'Pon my word, madam. What kind of man do you think me?" Jeff stared at her in astonishment. "I cannot flee and leave so many of mine at the mercy of that brute. I'd be a coward in my own eyes, as well as in yours.

Even before uttering her plea, Raelynn had known he would deny her request, but she had felt strongly compelled to beg him just the same. His reply was no different than her father's had been when Evalina had begged him to make haste and flee from England on a ship. Having had truth on his side, Lord Barrett had thought he'd be victorious over his enemies, but of course that had not been the way of it Intuition had warned Raelynn that Jeff was a man who took honor and responsibility seriously, even at the expense of his own life, but lofty principles offered little solace to a bereaved widow.

"It didn't take long for Gustav to find out about us," she said, knowing only too well where the in formation had come from.

"I was wrong to think Cooper Frye would leave us alone," Jeff conceded. " 'Tis sure that he has had some hand in this matter and has deliberately sent the German to vie with me."

"You will be careful, won't you, Jeff!" Raelynn pleaded in deep consternation. "No one can predict what Gustav will do if he's crossed. He could even kill you if he gets the chance."

" 'Tis not my intent to yield him the opportunity, madam," Jeff replied, tossing her a grin as he strode across the room. "Now that I've found you, I have much to live for."

Opening the doors of a large armoire, he took a wooden box from the middle shelf and removed a pair of matching flintlocks. After checking the priming on both, he slid one into the top of his breeches and clasped the other firmly in hand as he went to the bedroom door. Laying a hand on the knob, he turned to face her. "Lock the door behind me, Raelynn, he urged. "I'd not take it kindly if some way ward rogue slipped past me and bundled you off to Gustav's lair."

The door swung closed, and Raelynn stared in frozen dismay at the portal. She waited, expecting to hear some slight sound as Jeff moved down the hall, but there was only the commotion created by the invasion of the brigands. The loudness of their entry Stripped away any hope that Jeff would be successful in holding so many men at bay. To be sure, if Kingston no longer was in the house, then her husband would be completely alone when he faced the ruthless rogue and his lawless band.

Her conscience reared up accusingly. This was her fault! Gustav Fridrich would never have come to Oakley if she hadn't defied her uncle and run away! Burdened by a growing dread of what terrible disaster might befall her husband, Raelynn cringed inwardly as a deep gloom settled its murky shroud over her spirit, coming nigh to smothering her. If the dreaded reaper wreaked the same degree of havoc upon the one she now loved as he had those she had cherished in the past, then surely calamity would have its day. She'd be powerless to stop it!

Copyright ) 1996 by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

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