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Master of Temptation

Master of Temptation

4.0 23
by Nicole Jordan

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In her dazzling new novel, Nicole Jordan tempts readers with a tale of breathless splendor and soul-searing passion.

Lovers in paradise . . .

He is a brilliant military commander . . . and every woman’s temptation. When Max Leighton unexpectedly comes to her golden Mediterranean island, Caro Evers longs to heal his emotional battle


In her dazzling new novel, Nicole Jordan tempts readers with a tale of breathless splendor and soul-searing passion.

Lovers in paradise . . .

He is a brilliant military commander . . . and every woman’s temptation. When Max Leighton unexpectedly comes to her golden Mediterranean island, Caro Evers longs to heal his emotional battle scars. But during one glorious night in his arms, she discovers a sensual master whose mere touch drives her to wild abandon.

She is the bewitching angel he can’t forget. Jaded by the glittering ballrooms of Regency London, Max returns to Cyrene to find the temptress who haunts his dreams . . . only to learn that Caro leads a dangerous double life. She’s a warrior as well as a healer—a member of a secret society of protectors, sworn to fight evil and tyranny across Europe.

Afraid to lose her heart to Max again, Caro vows to conquer her fierce tenderness for him and thwart his campaign to win her. Then a perilous mission of adventure takes them far from Cyrene’s sun-splashed shores, entwining their destinies and challenging their deepest desires.

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jordan's newest Regency-era romance (after Ecstasy) is appropriately set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Cyrene, which is headquarters to the clandestine Guardians of the Sword. Formed in the Dark Ages by legendary British warriors exiled to the island, the "secret society of protectors" now operates with input from Britain's Foreign Office. The first time war hero Max Leighton visits the island, he shares an intimate night with the enigmatic healer Caro Evers. Neither forgets that night, and when their paths cross again a year later after Max agrees to help the Guardians rescue a kidnapped noblewoman they pick up where they left off. Although Max is determined to win Caro's heart, she believes he wouldn't want her if he knew her secret: she's not only a healer but a well-trained Guardian. As the author illustrates time and again, however, Caro isn't immune to Max's charms, and the two fill the pages with love scenes to the point of redundancy. More compelling is their emotional relationship, which plays upon Caro's insecurities and Max's nightmares of war. Although the kidnapping subplot is merely a device to bring Max and Caro together, readers who prefer their romances more sexy than suspenseful and more fantastical than historically accurate will savor this sensual feast. Agent, Karen Solem of Spencerhill. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“A feast for the senses. Master of Temptation is an erotic and emotional experience, boldly seizing you by the heart and never letting go. . . . Ms. Jordan has created a novel to keep and to cherish.”
—LISA KLEYPAS, New York Times bestselling author of Again the Magic

“A feast for the senses. Master of Temptation is an erotic and emotional experience, boldly seizing you by the heart and never letting go. . . . Ms. Jordan has created a novel to keep and to cherish.”
—LISA KLEYPAS, New York Times bestselling author of Again the Magic

“Ms. Jordan proves herself a marvelous storyteller.”

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Paradise , #1
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Random House
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Read an Excerpt


The Isle of Cyrene, August 1813

The ruins seemed enchanted in the moonlight. Silver pools rippled luminously in the night shadows, fed by a hot spring that cascaded gently down terraced stairs of granite, the last vestiges of a Roman bath. Yet the spellbinding sight failed to soothe Caro Evers as usual. Her restless tension only heightened as she rode closer.

Halting at the foot of the terrace, Caro slid from the aging mare’s back. Beyond the cliff’s eastern edge stretched the shimmering Mediterranean, calm and serene beneath the brilliant disk of the moon. This was a spectacular place, even on an island known for its uncanny beauty, but tonight the serenity seemed a stark contrast to her disquietude.

She felt as nervous as a girl meeting her secret lover.

Which was absurd. The major wasn’t her lover, no matter what foolish fantasies her mind insisted on conjuring. She wasn’t even certain he would come.

In agitation Caro bent to pluck a delicate white orchid, then left her horse to graze on the wild grass and ferns that grew among the crevices as she made her way toward the baths. A fresh salt breeze ruffled her muslin skirts, scented by honeysuckle that twined among the ancient stones and with pine from Cyrene’s wooded mountain slopes. Although night had long fallen, the rock beneath her bare feet still held warmth from the summer sun as she climbed the carved steps that had been trod for more than a millennium.

When she passed beneath an arched portal, her heart leapt. A man stood at the parapet wall above her, gazing out at the vast, moonlit sea.

Major Maxwell Leighton.

She recognized him at once, even though they had met only three days ago. Few of the islanders possessed such a tall form, such powerfully set shoulders, such authoritative bearing. And no one else could make her pulse quicken with a mere glance from his compelling blue eyes, as he could.

Since the major’s arrival on a mission of mercy, she’d spent nearly the entire time with him, locked in a desperate battle, fighting for a dying man’s life.

You came tonight, Caro reflected with relief. He obviously intended to bathe. He had already removed his boots and the short blue jacket of his Hussars uniform, and wore merely breeches and a white shirt.

When he glanced over his shoulder at her, she suddenly became conscious of her own disheveled appearance: the skirts of her oldest gown swirling around her bare feet, her curling brown hair unpinned, spilling in even wilder disarray than usual. She tried to control her self-conscious flush.

He spoke in a low voice. “Are you certain you want me invading your haven?”

No, I’m not certain. She came frequently to the Roman ruins to bathe in the pools, usually when she was physically spent and aching after a hard bout of fencing practice. Rarely did she allow anyone to intrude on her solitude here. But after the strain of the past few days, the major needed the peace and beauty of the ruins to allay his exhaustion. Needed the soothing effects of the silken waters. They both did.

“I don’t consider your presence an invasion,” she replied honestly. “I asked you to come.”

Climbing, Caro moved to stand beside him at the crumbling stone wall, her heart beating faster simply at his nearness.

It was startling how her body responded to him. She had never felt such a primal reaction to any man. The island of Cyrene was said to have a mythical ability to seduce the senses, but until now she’d always thought herself immune to the spell. True, Maxwell Leighton was one of the most strikingly handsome men she had ever met, with his deep blue eyes, lean features, and raven hair. But she had known stunning men before. Quite a number of them, in fact, for Cyrene had more than its fair share.

She rarely had felt such powerful feminine feelings, though. For three days now she had tried to repress her fierce attraction to Major Leighton, as well as the missish emotions that were so uncharacteristic of her.

Most disturbing was the heat and intensity in those eyes; when he looked at her, he aroused a wild yearning in her blood, making her feel as if she couldn’t take a deep breath.

Willing herself to calm, Caro focused on the glimmering vista of the sea. She could hear the soft whisper of the waves below as they swelled in a gentle, timeless rhythm.

“Is Yates still sleeping quietly?” she asked, breaking the hush.

“Yes, thank God,” the major responded. “For the first time in weeks he has found a semblance of peace.”

Lieutenant John Yates had lost a leg in Spain during the most recent grueling battle against Napoleon’s forces, and the wound had refused to heal. When he’d grown weaker and more feverish by the day, he had begged his commanding officer to take him home to his island, but the raw wound had turned septic during the voyage.

Unwilling to abandon the dying man, Major Leighton had remained on Cyrene, waiting for the end that had never come. Miraculously the young lieutenant’s condition had turned around early this morning; his fever had broken, and he was expected to survive.

“I am immeasurably grateful to you,” the major murmured. “You saved Yates’s life.”

“It was not just I,” Caro demurred. “Dr. Allenby has the true medical skill. I merely helped.”

“No, you were the one who stayed by his side hour after hour.”

True, she had nursed the lieutenant constantly because the island doctor had other patients to tend. But Major Leighton had played a vital role as well—keeping vigil between his agitated pacing, obediently performing whatever tasks were needed without complaint, holding the delirious lieutenant down while she poulticed the terrible injury and poured noxious-tasting medicines down his throat and applied cold compresses to his burning body.

“Yates is alive,” Leighton insisted, “because you refused to let him die. I think it was your sheer willpower that saved him.”

Caro felt absurdly warmed by his praise. “Well, I am known for my stubbornness.”

That drew a fleeting smile from him. She had never seen him smile, and the charm of it made her breath falter. Still, it had been Leighton’s concern for his wounded subordinate, rather than his potent masculine appeal, that had drawn her to him from the first.

They had grown closer during the long, dark hours of their ordeal. They were no longer mere strangers, not after sharing such a turmoil of emotions: fear, despair, hope, and finally, profound elation. In winning their victory, they had formed a bond that was almost tangible.

She found herself fiercely regretting that he would be leaving on the morrow.

“I think you give me too much credit,” Caro said. “According to John, you were the one who saved his life by warding off a saber attack.”

“Yet he would never have been wounded in the first place if he hadn’t leapt directly in the path of a cavalry charge in order to shield me. I am greatly indebted to him. As I am to you.”

At the fervency of his tone, Caro turned her head and saw the major gazing down at her in intense contemplation. When she met his dark-lashed eyes, an unexpected heat washed over her, starkly primitive and unmistakably sexual.

Caro looked away. It was foolish to feel such yearnings. She doubted she held much sexual appeal for this beautiful man. Her looks were comely enough, but she suspected he found her femininity wanting after observing her for the past few days.

She couldn’t blame him. Ladies of genteel station did not deal with blood and gore and dying men by choice, assisting the island doctor with patient surgeries and the injuries of unrelated men.

Nor did they engage in dangerous missions across much of Europe, wielding weapons in defense of a valiant cause—to root out evil and tyranny.

She was not like most other women. Her natural gift for healing set her apart from her peers, but her clandestine vocation separated her even further. She was a Guardian, a member of a secret society of protectors sworn to uphold the ancient ideals once championed by a legendary leader.

But her unconventional career was not a subject she could discuss with an outsider. Certainly not Major Leighton, who would leave Cyrene tomorrow, likely never to return.

The thought of his leaving sent a pang of distress welling within Caro. One thing was certain: She would never forget him. Although she fervently wished she could.

Maxwell Leighton made her long for things she’d convinced herself she didn’t want or need. At the ripe age of twenty-four, she had forgone the things most women considered important—marriage, children, husband . . . even lovers.

Lovers. Caro felt an ache constrict her chest.

From the Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Nicole Jordan is the nationally bestselling author of numerous historical romances. She recently moved with her real-life hero to the Rocky Mountains of Utah, where she is at work on her next sizzling tale of dangerous rakes and bold adventurers during the Regency era. You can e-mail her via her Web site at www.NicoleJordanAuthor.com.

From the Paperback edition.

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Master of Temptation 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first romance I ever read and I was blown away by the beauty as well as the horror of war and what the main hero had to endure. LOVED THIS BOOK.
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Seagalsdp More than 1 year ago
Very exciting, a page turner - romantic to the bone - this book is also a page turner - the story is so beautiful - the time and place is so alluring - I'd love to be there myself. Thank you for taking me there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the second book by Nicole Jordan that I have read recently. ¿Lord of Seduction¿ was the other book I finished ¿ it is actually the follow up book to ¿Master of Temptation¿ so, I read them out of order but, it really didn¿t make much of a difference. I liked this book a little less than the first. Reason¿I know Ms. Jordan is known for her steamy, sexy and passionate novels ¿ and I¿m all for that ¿ but, in this book, it became too much of a good thing for me. Why¿the opening chapter already had our hero Max and our heroine Caro in a hot spring giving massages and then having intercourse. They had only known each other for three days prior to this yet¿the attraction was so strong for both that they indulged quickly before he left her island of Cyrene for good. They don¿t meet up again for a year until Caro goes to the mainland to find a fellow guardian to help her recover her mother like figure Isabel who has been captured and taken away. The minute the two lead characters meet up again¿it¿s back to normal. Frequent sex. The passages were well written, tasteful and interesting but, it was simply TOO often for me. It was nice that Max recognized his attraction to Caro early and didn¿t fight it. Caro felt the same attraction but, fought it a little. But¿they still ended up having sex all the time. I prefer when an author allows characters to get to know one another, the attraction builds step by step and then it happens somewhere in the middle to ¾ of the way through the book. I know these two characters were strong willed, intelligent, courageous and determined and usually I would give three cheers to such main leads but, for some reason once again¿it felt like too much of a good thing. Max had plenty going on but, I still didn¿t connect or find him a stimulating main man. Especially when he orders her to ¿service him¿. Caro was more multi-dimensional so, she wasn¿t bad (almost a bit too adventuresome and heroic if you ask me). The plot kept you busy with questions of when would Max find out about Caro¿s real interests, if Max would join the Guardians too, if Caro and Max would get married and if Isabel would be returned alive. I have a few other books by Ms. Jordan I already bought and hope they are just a little more interesting to me. I still like her writing¿I just wish there was a lot more a-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-i-o-n.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Jordan does it again with another thrilling love story! This one takes place on the fictional Mediterranean island of Cyrene. The hero is a retired major named Max Leighton. He and his friend, Viscount Christopher Thorne go to Cyrene to help Caro Evers, who lives on the island. She is frantic because a dear friend of hers has been abducted and sold into slavery. Caro desperately needs the help of the Guardians of the Sword, an elite group of protectors that are based on the island. Viscount Thorne and Caro are actually part of this group and wish to enlist Max as one of their members. He is very hesitant to join because of all the time he has spent in the war. The problem is that he falls in love with Caro, but can¿t remain on the island with her unless he joins the Guardians. This story is a must read¿.. It has just the right amount of action and romance to keep the reader intrigued! I¿m looking forward to ¿Lord of Seduction¿ and the rest of the Guardians¿ stories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Major Maxwell 'Max' Leighton is a brilliant military tactician. In the year 1813, during the Peninsular War, Max went to an isle in the Mediterranean, Cyrene, on a mission of mercy. One of his lieutenants had lost a leg and was dying. Caro Evers nursed the lieutenant back to health and lost her heart to Max. Max and Caro spent one lovely time together before he went back into battle. ............................... In late 1814, Caro travels to London to seek out Christopher, Viscount Thorne. Caro and Christopher are part of a secret service, the Guardians of the Sword, based on Cyrene. The Guardians' leader, Sir Gawain Olwen, need Christopher to help on a mission. It seems that 'Bella' has been taken captive by Barbary corsairs (pirates) and enslaved in Algiers. Christopher is to travel to Algiers and locate her position. .......................... Max just happens to be with Christopher, his close friend, when Caro finds him. Of course, Max returns to Cyrene to help plan the rescue. Caro is not only worried that Max will learn about the Guardians, but also about her reaction to seeing him again. ........................ *** A fast paced book with an intricate plot that I cannot help but enjoy. However, there are too many adult scenes and it detracts from the story, itself. I finally reached the point of skimming the adult scenes just to get on with the plot. The love scenes became to seem as filler material. Overlooking that though, the story is excellent and the writing superb. ***
Guest More than 1 year ago
Master of Temptation is a cut way above the typical historical romance. Wonderful love story, great characters with an emotionally scarred hero and strong but vulnerable heroine, unique setting, intriguing plot, edge-of-your-seat pacing, heart-tugging emotion, excellent writing, intense sensual lovescenes, and a superb ending. One of my favorites by Jordan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The reveiwer below has givin you a outline of what the book was about, so I'm not going to repeat it. Nicole has done it again...another great book. Our heroine is a women ahead of her time. She had a diaster season in London when she was caught dress as a man at a medical lectures. Caro is a healer and a member of a secret organization. She can fight with the best of them. Max was a hero during the war with Napoleon. Max seen his best friend died trying to save his life and now has to live with his nightmares. What a beautiful story...two lonely people coming together to find love. The love scenes are hot and if you have read any other of Nicole's books who know what they are like. It takes awhile for our h/h to admit their feelings for each other but what a wonderful ending. Nicole has invented a beautiful isle called Cyrene for her next trilogy. Look for Thorne's story to come out in December called 'Lord of Seduction.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Set in England & Cyrene Island in 1813. Very very exciting, I enjoyed the book tremendously. The love scenes were fantastic, very sensual. While reading the book you feel like you're on the island with them. Read it you'll enjoy it. Look forward to reading Lord Thorne's story. I wonder if the Earl of Hawkhurst will have his own story?
Guest More than 1 year ago
What an absolutely refreshing novel! An instant re-read!! Being familiar with the elegant sensuality that is a trademark of any Nicole Jordan book, and lured by a promising Mediterranean paradise, I simply could not wait to get my hands on this book. I¿m happy to report that it exceeded any and all of my expectations and I whole-heartedly recommend this book. This novel has it all - an extremely tortured and brilliant hero; a strong, spirited and-not-a-beauty-queen-type heroine; intriguing storyline, excellent plot with lovely surprises; an incredible collection of secondary characters (this one I find quite hard to come by - I actually remember all of the characters well and wish I could read their individual stories). Excellent work Ms. J! Thank you!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1813, Major Maxwell Leighton takes Lieutenant John Yates home to the Mediterranean Isle of Cyrene to die. However, under the healing of Caro Evans, a Guardian of the Sword, John miraculously recovers. Before he returns to England, Mac and Caro make love......................... A year later, Max still dreams of Caro and ponders if she would receive him if he journeyed to her island paradise. However, to his elation, Caro is in London to inform Lord Thorne that Lady Isabella Wilde has been captured and probably held in Algiers. As Thorne plans a rescue, Max tries to court Caro, but she rejects his advances though she is extremely attracted to him. The cause to stop tyranny in Europe remains her first love unless Max can persuade her that she can have her quest and him too.......................... This is an intriguing Regency romance that provides the audience with plenty of suspense through the activities of a pan-Europe group actively thriving to end tyranny. Caro is an interesting lead character as her healing prowess and her mission makes her unique for the period. Readers will appreciate the lead male who is willing to go to the max even joining her group if accepted to keep Caro at his side. Though acceptance of the existence of the Guardian of the Sword group is somewhat difficult, fans will receive a strong suspense tale filled with fine characters........................... Harriet Klausner