McClairen's Isle: The Ravishing One

McClairen's Isle: The Ravishing One

by Connie Brockway

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440226307
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/28/2000
Series: McClairen's Isle Series
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,137,480
Product dimensions: 4.15(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Connie Brockway is an eight-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. She has twice been its recipient, for My Dearest Enemy and The Bridal Season. Brockway lives in Minnesota with her husband, David, a family physician, and two spoiled mutts.

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Prologue
 
Some said Lady Fia Merrick was born bad, others that she’d only been raised to it. Whatever the case, it was generally agreed that she could not end up being anything but bad.
 
After all, her notorious father, Ronald Merrick, Earl of Carr, had killed her mother, his wife. Not that the little girl had any notion of this. She only knew that one day she had a doting mother and two brothers and then she did not.
 
No one came to explain. For the next several days her nurse arrived in a distracted, frightened, and silent state and then, one morning, after a tearful and furtive kiss she, too, disappeared.
 
Oh, people came. Meals appeared, someone aided Fia with dressing and undressing, and a long series of interchangeable faces arrived daily to mind her. This task usually fell to a maid-of-all-work no more than a decade older than Fia. The exhausted, frightened girls would set her down in whatever corner of the castle they were working and hiss at her not to move or speak while they went about their chores.
 
So Fia, by nature reticent, became more so. She cautiously followed, and silently watched, becoming a black-haired little shadow following in the footsteps of her servants. When she was noticed at all, it was with surprise and alarm and suspicion. As she was daughter of the Demon Earl, the servants considered Fia’s silence unnatural, never realizing that they themselves had inspired it with their unspoken threats to abandon her should she ever make herself a bother. Because it was Fia’s greatest fear that someday she would wake and find herself utterly alone. The wretched staff was too frightened of her father—and later of her—to adopt her into their circle, the other guests at the castle had no interest in the small doll-like creature, and her brothers were not allowed to see her.
 
Where other children learned their letters and numbers and were indoctrinated into the ways of their class by instructors, siblings, parents, and friends, Fia was uniquely alone. She knew nothing except that which she gleaned through observation. By six years of age Fia had learned to take her education where she found it. Instead of a classroom with books and paper and ink, her school was the castle-cum-gaming-hell known as Wanton’s Blush.
 
There had been a time when Wanton’s Blush was a proud and unassailable island fortress belonging to an equally proud and unassailable line of Scots, the McClairens. For three hundred years the castle had stood as Maiden’s Blush.
 
Then, one year in the early reign of George II, Ronald Merrick was chased out of England by a pack of creditors and found himself at Maiden’s Blush, the guest of Ian McClairen, a man as honest and open-hearted as Merrick was devious and selfish.
 
Now, Ronald Merrick may not have had money, but he did have charm aplenty and he used it to hide his true nature from his hosts. Gloriously handsome and urbane, he easily won over the score of Scottish ladies then living at the castle, the most important being Janet McClairen, Ian’s favored young cousin.
 
Seeing a plum ripe for his plucking, Ronald married the girl. For years after, he lived off the genial munificence of his Scottish hosts, feeding on their hospitality, gaining their confidence, and learning, to their everlasting regret, of their secret Jacobite loyalty.
 
After the Jacobites were routed at Culloden, Ronald testified against his wife’s family, achieving two goals in doing so: the first being the executions of the McClairen men; the second being Maiden’s Blush and the island on which it stood, a gift of a grateful monarch.
 
For years Janet refused to believe what she knew in her heart, that her husband had betrayed her people and that their blood had paid the price of turning Maiden’s Blush into a sumptuous, decadent palace, rechristened Wanton’s Blush.
 
When Janet could no longer hide the truth from herself she confronted Carr. And he, with no more guilt than he’d felt upon betraying the McClairens, pitched her from the island’s cliffs, claiming her death a terrible “accident.”
 
In truth, murder came so easily to Carr, and the rewards from it were so substantial, that twice more he wed and killed wealthy heiresses. At which point his once-grateful sovereign heard of Carr’s new habit and forthwith unofficially banished Carr to Scotland on penalty of death should he ever return to London and flaunt his ill-gotten gains.
 
For the first time Carr knew desolation. London had been the motive for his murders, his triumphant return to London the single goal to which he’d aspired.
 
But desolation shriveled and became the black seed of a tenacious resolve. He would return to London in splendor and power. He turned Wanton’s Blush into a gaming hell and made a career of collecting debts both monetary and otherwise, blackmailing, pressuring, and slowly accumulating enough wealth and power so that no one dared gainsay him his objective. The people he collected at Wanton’s Blush were the powerful, the wealthy, and the decadent.
 
And thus these were Fia’s tutors.
 
Indeed, she would have reached adulthood without even the most rudimentary academic skills had not, in the beginning of her seventh year, a disfigured, hunched Scotswoman with a black veil draped over half her face presented herself at the kitchen door. She came seeking employment, asking only for room and board in return for caring for Carr’s three children. Thus for the first time in two years Carr was reminded of his children’s existence.
 
Carr’s aversion to ugliness warred briefly with his greed, and greed—as was ever the case with Carr—won. The woman, Gunna, was hired. To Ash and Raine, well on their way to becoming the hell-spawned reprobates the locals deemed them, the old woman was a curiosity to be tolerated, ignored, and finally reluctantly respected. But to Fia, the ugly old woman was a revelation.
 
Gunna not only taught Fia the rudiments of reading and writing, but all her vast knowledge of Scottish lore and folk wisdom. But most important, Gunna, unfailingly honest in her acceptance of her own deformity and her own weaknesses as well as strengths, taught Fia to be honest with herself, to never turn from a truth, no matter how painful.
 
Gunna’s broken appearance had separated her from her fellow man just as Fia’s exalted status and otherworldly calm had set her apart. Perhaps ’twas the natural affinity of opposites, perhaps some sense of unspoken kinship, but the girl and the twisted old woman forged a deep, abiding bond.
 
Unfortunately the same providence that had supplied Fia with a caring counselor also drew her father’s attention to her.
 
For in being reminded of his daughter, Carr noted how pretty she was. If she kept the promise of her childish beauty, one day she would be a prize. It would be a waste not to spend the necessary time cultivating her, ensuring she was a willing accomplice in the future Carr envisioned for her—that future being in London, wed to power. He could not browbeat, belittle, or deride her as he did her brothers, for they were simply cubs to be driven from the pride, his pride, but she … Instead, Carr set about wooing his child.
 
Fia never stood a chance.
 

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "McClairen's Isle: The Ravishing One"
by .
Copyright © 2000 Connie Brockway.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
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.

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

Teresa Medeiros

If you're looking for passion, tenderness, wit and warmth, you need look no further. Connie Brockway is simply the best.

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McClairen's Isle: The Passionate One 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
As a little girl, Fia Merrick¿s mother confronted her father for his betrayal of her clan. The Earl of Carr simply killed his wife throwing her from a cliff. Avarice being his moral center, Carr killed off two more wealthy spouses. As an adult she fled her odious father by running off with an elderly aristocrat. Meanwhile, his daughter has learned one lesson from her sire and the only man she ever loved, Thomas McClairen: trust no one.

Thomas returns to England after spending time overseas as an indentured servant due to Carr¿s tricks. As part of his vengeance, he disguises himself as a Dunne and kidnaps Fia. He takes her to McClairen Isle where he and Fia fall in love with one another. Though he knows Fia is nothing like her public image of a depraved individual, he still cannot stop thinking that she is Carr¿s daughter.

The third novel in Connie Brockway¿s McClairen isle trilogy is an exciting historical romance centering on the redemption of two wounded charcaters through love. The story line is fast-paced as the ¿quartet¿ plays out between the two lead charcaters, her father, and the seemingly ghost of her mother. Fans who enjoyed the first two books will not be disappointed with the conclusion while new readers will seek the previous novels.

Harriet Klausner

theshadowknows on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I like The Ravishing One but more for sentimental reasons that are quite divorced from the practical merits of the book itself ¿ it¿s of that batch of romance books that first came my way around the time of high school and I loved the McClairen Trilogy then. Rereading them more recently, I still love the books, but have to acknowledge the weaknesses of this last installment. As always, Connie Brockway writes beautifully, and the atmosphere of the previous two books, haunting, tragic, wild and dramatic, permeates The Ravishing One as well. I think Lord Carr is a great villain, a big evil spider spinning his webs of manipulation, blackmail, and power plays throughout all three books. He¿s a bit over the top, especially in this last book as he slips into madness, but I¿m happy to go with it. As for the hero and heroine, even though the set up for their romance was perfect, they still managed to fall a little flat somehow. Fia Merrick didn¿t really grab my attention. She¿s supposed to be ¿bad¿ ¿ she has that evil Merrick blood flowing in her veins, after all. She¿s Carr¿s favored daughter, his creation, his (s)pawn. But it¿s soon apparent that she really isn¿t bad at all. She¿s just good at pretending, and hides her sweet, shy, mushy interior very well. But not good enough to keep Thomas Donne from eventually finding it out and falling in love with her. As for Donne he seemed kind of stiff and one dimensional to me. A very upstanding, strong type of guy, but not as thrilling or arresting as some other heroes I¿ve come across. Though when he starts battling all comers in defense of Fia¿s honor near the end, I admit I was moved by such dramatics. All the same though, I would have liked a bit more from their relationship, especially some more development for Fia, and wish the series could have ended on a stronger note.
Anonymous 12 months ago
The mark of a good book is that one dreads it ending. I so enjoyed all the books and the character's evolving.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down. down!
jdh2690 More than 1 year ago
I was blown away by this Scottish historical romance.  This author certainly has a descriptive style that draws you in as if you were witnessing the story in person in a front row seat.  Both the hero (Ash) and the heroine (Rhiannon) were badly damaged from war and familial incidents so that both are hesitant to get involved.  But difficult circumstances and dangerous conditions bring them together as they get to know one another quite well, all the while avoiding many hurdles before they understand how the past damaged them and how they could achieve their much-deserved happy-ever-after ending. This is only the first book of a trilogy and I am anxious now to read the other two books in the series.
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This is my first Connie Brockway book. I came to her from an anthology with her, Eloisa James, and Julia Quinn, both of whom I like. This was a good book. Loved the main characters, loved the back story, loved the intrigue and suspense. The only thing that kept me from loving the book entirely was that it was a bit dark, a little too muc hostility between the main characters in the middle of the book. But i liked it, and I'm looking forward to the next one in the series!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Do not start reading Connie Brockway's latest release, McClairen's Isle: The Ravishing One, unless you don't have to be anywhere or do anything for awhile! The Ravishing One grabs your attention and keeps it for the duration of the story. The Ravishing One is the third installment of the McClairen's Isle trilogy. It's a wonderful conclusion to the Merrick saga, but can easily survive as a stand alone book. The back story is deftly woven throughout The Ravishing One, giving any reader a solid foundation. I would recommend The Ravishing One to anyone wanting a great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This one is the end of the trilogy. Lord Merrick was an evil man through-and-through. He kept his true self hidden from most who only saw his wealth. He cared not for his two sons (from the first two books), but the daughter is a different story. She could be used for his gain! This is Fia's story!

Fia was as intelligent as she was beautiful. Society called her The Black Diamond. Many duels had been fought over her. Long ago she cared for Thomas McClairen, but he broke her heart. When the traitor returned to London, she vowed to remain aloft. But he believed Fia was flirting and endangering his best friend, Pip. Knowing how dangerous the Merrick clan can be, he decided to abduct her to Scotland to save Pip. He did not understand how Fia was really different from her father. Neither expected the passion between them to erupt.

*** Author, Connie Brockway, has done an incredible job of making the characters misunderstand each other, but the reader understand perfectly! Usually books like that make me want to strangle the two main characters, but not in this one. The hero and the heroine each have valid reasons to keep quiet. Fantastic conclusion to this trilogy! ***