My Surrender

My Surrender

by Connie Brockway

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416540915
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 12/26/2006
Series: Rose Hunters Series , #3
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Connie Brockway is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous historical romance novels and series, including Bridal Favors; The Bridal Season; the McClairen's Isle trilogy, featuring the novels The Passionate One, The Reckless One, and The Ravishing One; and the novels of the Rose Hunters trilogy: My Seduction, My Pleasure, and My Surrender. She also coauthored the acclaimed saga Once Upon a Pillow. A two-time RITA Award winner, she lives in Minneapolis.

Visit her website: www.conniebrockway.com.

Read an Excerpt

My Surrender (The Rose Hunters)


By Connie Brockway

Pocket Books

Copyright © 2005 Connie Brockway
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7434-6324-2


Chapter One

Culholland Square, Mayfair July 14, 1806

"La, Mr. Fox, if your eyes occasionally strayed above my neckline you might find it easier to guess what I am miming during the game," Charlotte said archly. The redheaded young man, heir to a merchant's vast fortune and as of last Wednesday owning a suspiciously acquired baronetcy, colored violently.

Charlotte took no pity. The bran-faced upstart had been staring at her bosom since he'd arrived in the company of the young people she'd invited to her town house for games and refreshments - her first "at home" since she had taken possession of the fashionable Mayfair address, a scandalous move since she intended to live as a spinster. Alone.

As Lady Welton was chaperoning the occasion, it was all perfectly respectable - even though the baroness had fallen asleep in a patch of sunlight hours before. At least, Charlotte amended with a nod to her conscience, it was supposed to have been respectable. But then nothing she ever did seemed to turn out quite as respectably as her lineage, lofty associations (she was, after all, the sister-in-law of Ramsey Munro, marquis of Cottrell, as well as the renowned Colonel Christian MacNeill) and delightful manners would suggest.

And that, Charlotte fully appreciated, was a great deal of her appeal. Within Charlotte's charmed circle, things could be said that one daren't utter elsewhere, a few steps of the notorious waltz might be demonstrated, the ladies' gowns were more fashionable and less substantial, laughter came more freely, and the verbal ripostes that most unmarried young girls didn't dare serve their potential suitors Charlotte doled out regularly to hers. Thus, Charlotte's set-down of the goggle-eyed Mr. Robinson brokered as many giggles among the females as guffaws from the males.

"Sorry. Don't know what I was thinkin'," Mr. Robinson sputtered.

"I don't think thought entered much into it, do you?" Charlotte asked sweetly, giving rise to another round of scandalized laughter. "Come, my friend, let us practice looking at a lady's face ... no, no, no! Not my lips - the whole of my face. See? Two brows, a pair of oddly colored eyes, an inconsequential nose, a rather too decisive chin. Ah! There. Bravo!"

The young ladies and gentlemen, acknowledged by all to be by far the fastest set of unmarried young people in the ton, clapped appreciatively and Mr. Robinson, as determined to be one of them as he was to charm Miss Nash, found the self-confidence to laugh at himself, bowing in turn to her and the rest of the company.

The byplay ended, her guests began taking turns at charades again and Charlotte, realizing that the punch bowl was growing woefully low, popped out into the corridor to find a maid. She had gotten no further than the kitchen door when a masculine voice hailed her in breathless tones.

Knowing all too well what would follow, she turned around. But it was not Mr. Robinson. It was Lord LeFoy. Tall, sandy-haired Lord LeFoy. Well, here was a surprise. She'd thought he had all but offered for the Henley girl.

"Miss Nash," he breathed, coming toward her with his hands outstretched. She waited politely. His hands, finding none waiting to secure, fell to his sides.

"Yes?"

"I must have a moment of your time."

"Yes."

"Alone."

She glanced tellingly around the short corridor.

"Yes."

He frowned. Apparently this was not going as he'd hoped. Poor Lord LeFoy. Things seldom did where she and gentlemen were concerned. At least, for the gentlemen.

"You had something you wished to impart of a private nature?" she prompted.

"Yes," he said, nodding eagerly. "Yes. I ... I ..."

"Yes?"

"I adore you!"

"Ah."

He reached down and grabbed one of her hands, snatching it to his lips and pressing an ardent kiss to the gloved surface. "I am your slave. Ask me anything, anything, and I shall do it. I am yours to command. I worship you, you angel, you devil!"

"Like Lucifer?" she asked, letting her hand lie like a dead thing in his. Really, to encourage him would be too cruel, and she already had a bit too much of a reputation for heartlessness. Added to which, she rather liked the Henleys. They would be relieved of a great deal of worry with the marriage settlement Lord LeFoy's father would offer.

"Eh?" Lord LeFoy blinked owlishly.

"Angel and devil. If I have my catechism correct, only one being qualifies on both counts and that is Lucifer."

"Ah. Yes. No. I meant that you are an angel but that your angelicness bedevils me." He seemed quite pleased with this explanation. "You must be mine!"

"Oh, dear. Are you declaring yourself, Lord LeFoy? Because I would rather think not, if you wouldn't mind. I like you, you see. And I should lead you a merry chase if we were to wed." At his blank expression she gave a little sigh.

"Allow me to enumerate my shortcomings," she said kindly. "I haven't it in me to be faithful. I detest jealousy and possessiveness in any degree and should react strongly and in a possibly scandalous fashion if presented with either. I should think I would be deuced expensive to keep. Added to which I have no desire now, or in the near future, to produce offspring." She smiled pleasantly.

Lord LeFoy's round eyes grew rounder. She could almost see Reason trying to assert itself in that beleaguered expression. But then Reason was not a man's strong suit when he had decided he must have something.

"I don't care. I adore you!"

"Of course you do," she answered, patting the hand still clutching hers. "The point isn't what you feel. It is what is best. I should hate for your adoration to turn to misery. I dislike being around miserable people. They are tiresome. And it would turn to misery. Your father ...?" She laughed at the thought of the lecherous Earl of Mallestrough as her father-in-law. "I suspect I should have to lock the bedroom door against him whenever you left the house. Not a very winning prescription for matrimonial harmony, now is it?"

At the mention of his father, Lord LeFoy went quite still. At least he respected her enough not to challenge her estimation of his sire.

"No, no," she said. "We are far better off as we are now with you adoring me and me wallowing in it. Very romantic. And more civil, too, because this way neither your adoration nor my wallowing in it need interfere with our lives. You will wed Maura Henley, who will make a lovely bride and a fine mother for your children and who will never throw your things from her room or cause a scene at Almacks. You shall be very happy. Except that for my vanity's sake, might you occasionally be gentleman enough to sigh wistfully when we meet in public so that I might happily hear it?"

"You would make a scene at Almack's?" he breathed in horrified wonder.

"Oh, I should think eventually it will become inevitable, don't you?" she asked sweetly, tilting her head.

He dropped her hand. "Begad, yes. You would. You will."

"Now, before some of the others decide that this little conversation amounts to your having compromised me, you had best return while I see to the punch bowl," she said brightly.

He gulped, turned, hesitated, and turned back. "Ah. Thank you, Miss Nash. You are a very ... levelheaded woman."

She leaned forward and whispered, "Don't tell anyone."

Lord Lefoy nodded, just as eager to leave as he had been to press his suit five minutes ago, and all but trotted back to the parlor, leaving Charlotte to raise her eyes heavenward with a mumbled word of thanks.

She had no sooner begun down the corridor once more when her maid, a pert, sharp-eyed girl named Lizette, appeared. "I beg your pardon, Miss Nash, but there's a ... man here that insists on seeing you."

A man. Not a gentleman. And not a tradesman or Lizette would have dealt with him herself. Charlotte's curiosity was piqued.

"Who is this man?"

"He says he's a thief taker, Miss Nash, and come with word of some jewels he's recovered." Lizette's pretty, round face scrunched in consternation as she scoured her mind for memory of missing jewels. She wouldn't find any. Probably because Charlotte wasn't missing any jewels. Charlotte's heart began beating faster and a shiver ran along her skin.

"Where is he?"

"I didn't know where to put him, so I put him in the morning room, miss."

"Very well," Charlotte said. "Please explain to my guests that I may be a while."

Without waiting to see that her orders were obeyed, Charlotte followed the hall to the morning room and entered.

Her heart was still racing.

"Thief taker?" Amused, Charlotte slowly circled her favorite chair where Dand Ross slouched, legs straight out, his shoddy boot heels crossed on the clean surface of her favorite inlaid table. His unannounced appearance filled her with excitement. Not that she would tell him that. He would preen, or worse, be amused. And it was only because he always brought with him an air of tantalizing danger that she reacted thus.

She hadn't known she would find danger so ... appealing when she'd entered Dand Ross's shadowy world. But she could not deny it, any more than she could resist it. Though she was loath to let Dand know the degree to which she looked forward to his unheralded arrivals.

She tapped one perfectly manicured nail pensively against her lips as if pondering a conundrum before leaning forward and sniffing delicately. Her face alit with sudden inspiration. "I have it ... Lizette misheard you. You must have said rat taker!"

He looked up at her through thick chocolate brown lashes. "You know, Lottie, me love," he said thoughtfully, "they are actually wearing bodices in Paris these days instead of just admitting to the concept."

His gaze fell on her daring decolletage before lifting to meet hers. She returned it calmly. If he expected to raise a blush in her cheeks, he was doomed to disappointment. More men than she could easily count had ogled her not-all-that-bountiful bounty without so much as warming her cheeks.

Besides, in the years since they'd met and in dozens of meetings since, he had sometimes teased her with a feigned sexual interest, but he had never acted on his bold words. He was the consummate professional: detached, cynical, uninvolved.

She studied him as he tipped a glass of claret into his mouth. The years had broadened him and lengthened him and hardened him, too, but he still had that loose-knit, damn-your-eyes sort of grace one saw in the more successful tomcats.

Dusky brown hair, hooded smoky brown eyes, a lean face with a wide mouth and thin lips and a square jaw that currently hid beneath a thick beard along with a piratical scar. Though he cheerfully admitted that mark had been the result of falling off a ladder while stealing apples and not the dueling wound she had once imagined.

She wasn't certain she believed him. She wasn't certain of what she really knew about Dand and what he wanted her to believe she knew. He kept his own counsel, his feelings - if he had any - well hidden.

"Really?" she drawled sweetly. "Well, we are at war and there are embargos on and I consider it my duty to see that my dressmaker doesn't stress the economy overmuch by any extravagant use of material."

"Such patriotism, Charlotte," he rejoined dryly. "I am struck dumb by your sacrifices. Or should I say sacrifice in the singular? It doesn't look as if you are denying yourself too much in the way of creature comforts."

His ironic gaze traveled about the exquisitely decorated sitting room, touching on the slate blue walls accented by the clean lines of white painted woodwork and on to the furniture: the settees with their beautifully fluted legs upholstered in bishop's blue watered silk, the open-backed chairs carved into elegant lyres, the pillows and cushions fitted in expensive jonquil-colored brocade. At a japanned side table his perusal checked on a riot of yellow roses and waxy white gardenias that spilled from an enormous Chinese urn.

"Are those yellow roses?"

"You recognize them."

"Oh, yes." His voice was quiet. "I nourished them with my blood. Where did you get them?"

"They came from the plant you and your companions gave us so many years ago. I brought cuttings with me from York. First to the Welton's town house and now here," she said, "to remind me of the good old days. You should see the sensation I cause when I dress them in my hair or use them to decorate what I think of - apparently erroneously - as my bodice." She grinned. "I do so like causing a sensation. Besides, they suit the decor," she added, surveying the room with satisfaction.

"New address. New paint. New furniture," Dand was murmuring as he too, looked around. "One must ask oneself: Is it quite respectable, though? A young woman living alone?"

"Oh, I don't think so," she answered glibly. "But then ... what do I care for respectability when it only ties my hands and prevents me from being as useful to you and your associates as I am here, alone?"

"So practical, Lottie. You've become rather a tough little article, haven't you?"

"I should like to think so."

"I know you would," he said with a lazy smile. "How many hearts have you broken this week, cruel little Miss Nash?"

"Hearts?" She pondered. "None. Pride? A few."

"Poor bastards." He set the goblet by his feet and tipped his chair back, balancing on the back legs and crossing his hands across the hard, flat plane of his belly.

After all these months, she still could not get over the wonder that he was one of England's premier secret agents. It seemed so improbable. Disreputable, devious, and dangerous - she couldn't believe that her first impression of him emerging from the shadows in Father Tarkin's library had been so off the mark.

There had been an instance then, before a word had even been spoken between them, when their eyes had met and her breath and heart had stilled. Time had disappeared and she'd felt she could live there, held forever in his bright, fierce gaze. Except then he had spoken - dismissing her, dismissing that instant of communion. Ah, well. It was all fantastical anyway. There were no sacred bonds, no deeper union. There was purpose and duty. And that was more than enough to anchor a life.

"Still. Something must have prompted your change of address," Dand persisted. "What happened, Lottie? Did you finally perpetrate some social crime even the Baron and Lady Welton couldn't overlook? Did you wear diamonds before noon? Don the same gown twice in a month?" he asked. "Tell me. What did you do that made the Weltons hide the front door keys so you couldn't run tame about their house?"

"Nothing at all. It is simply that Maggie Welton had the audacity to get married," she answered airily. "And her husband, poor creature that he is, refused to invite me to live with them.

Continues...


Excerpted from My Surrender (The Rose Hunters) by Connie Brockway Copyright © 2005 by Connie Brockway. 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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My Surrender 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
theshadowknows on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I suppose I could have enjoyed this book a bit if I had been able to take seriously the idea of the heroine as a spy - but alas, it never rang true for me, and I couldn't suspend my disbelief, no matter how willing. This was a significant impediment to enjoying the book because Brockway spends a lot of time spinning out the intricacies of innumerable intrigues that never seem to matter or go anywhere - they just make the plot *seem* complicated and sacrifice depth of feeling and meaning where it's most needed: the romance between Charlotte Nash and Andrew Ross. As for the brilliant super spy plan - its too tedious and silly to detail here. Suffice it to say it involves our intrepid heroine hobnobbing with a spy prostitute, putting on the typical, seemingly inevitable Scarlet Pimpernel show, recovering a recriminating stolen letter and, last but not least, prostitution for God and Country - should I be surprised? Because if Charlotte does not become the mistress of a Comte St. Lyon who holds the letter ransom, millions of innocent men, women, and children will die and Britain will be overrun with evil Frenchmen. The straw that broke my back was a well timed letter from Charlotte's sister Kate going on and on about just that. She doesn't suggest Charlotte should do it for Britain in so many words (she doesn't know what Charlotte is contemplating, after all), but the transparency of this letter's guilt trip is rivaled only by a feed the hungry commercial as Kate bewails the suffering of innocents and wishes she could do something. Heretofore Charlotte has been having second thoughts, but this saccharine letter suitably stiffens her resolve. She can "do something" and proceeds with her much vaunted martyrdom. I can't tell you how frustrating this bit of authorial manipulation was. And I'm supposed to believe that the heroine is intelligent and practical. She was kind of interesting as a hoydenish flirt always skirting scandal. But I ask you, can a woman be a spy without being a prostitute? Any potential Charlotte had for being a credible spy was curtailed by this ridiculous plot. Besides the spy element, My Surrender is best summed up by the words of one of its characters: "I don't know what Dand is thinking." Ditto. I certainly never caught on to who Dand is - leaving a crucial, jarring gap in this last installment of the Rose Hunter's Trilogy. I can only suppose she left him such a mystery because she wanted to create a red herring and lead the reader to suspect he might have been the bad guy - which is an interesting tactic and a valiant attempt at something daringly unconventional (if that's even what Brockway was about, because I'm honestly at a loss here, and within the confines of the romance genre such a possibility doesn¿t really make sense¿ does it???) But for those who could spot the evil mastermind a mile away, the attempt was wasted. Even when it comes time for the bad guy¿s unmasking and long-winded monologing, we're never afforded a glimpse inside Dand's head. My Surrender is therefore all Charlotte¿s story, and I frankly wasn¿t interested in her agonized efforts to force herself into a sacrifice she really doesn¿t want to make, nor in the pretense of Dand and Charlotte conspiring to ruin her reputation in order to hook her up with St. Lyon. This last became the focus of the book, so for a long while I was very bored. My Surrender did manage to pick up about halfway through, once the two had dispensed with the charade of Dand as Charlotte's lover, and then the sparks really did fly between Charlotte and Dand. I kept turning the pages, if only because I was desperate for some coherency that would resolve the convoluted madness of so many plot threads, mysteries, and spy nonsense. When the denouement and explanations came, however, I was disappointed. I felt like Brockway had created such a beautiful romance of later day knights pledging themselves fervently to their cause, each other, and
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had a lot of fun reading this one!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I only read the first rose hunter of the series (my seduction), and thoroughly enjoyed it. This one I found was leaving a very bad taste in my mouth, so I put it down half way through. I agree with the critic who said Charlotte's pending prostituion cast a pale over the book, because that is exactly why I put it down. I just wasn't comfortable with her insistence on ruining herself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent tale of Dand and Lottie, and definitely the best of Connie Brockway's Rose Hunter Trilogy...Here is where we understand saving the best for last...as this was by far the best. I have truly enjoyed all Ms. Brockway's books, and as you will see, this story deserves 5 stars..
Guest More than 1 year ago
I only purchased 'My Surrender' to finish the trilogy. I had very low expectations, as I did not care for the first 2 books. Even so, I had to know how the mystery ended, so I began reading. How wrong I was! This book was great! It was way better than the first 2. In fact, except for the storyline, it didn't even seem like the same book. Both Charlotte and Dand were very lovable..hmm..especially Dand:)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my first book by this author and I thought it was great. I'll have to read the rest of the series. Dand was a wonderful guy and Lottie was a delight. This was a love story with a plot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My Surrender is the last of the Rose Hunter's Trilogy. Connie Brockway truly outdid herself with this last installment. I loved Charlotte and fell hard for Dand! I also fully appreciated the return of Kit and Ram. A must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My Surrender completes the Rose Hunter trilogy by Rita award winner and two-time nominee for 2005, Connie Brockway. Charlotte Nash, the most headstrong of the three Nash daughters truly shines in this tale of intrigue, scandal and sacrifice. Charlotte has taken the role of spy very seriously, after all, who would believe that such a flibbertigibbet could carry out such a role. She has cultivated a ¿certain reputation¿ among the ton while still managing to keep her morals intact and above question. The questions about her morality don¿t bother Charlotte, but they do concern Dand Ross. Dand, Andrew, Andre, call him what you will, it is very obvious that this member of the Rose Hunters has his own secrets to protect. At first the reader isn¿t sure whether or not he even likes Lottie ¿ until one begins to see below the surface. Dand might be called carefree, but again, that is only the surface of this young man. And that, truly, is what My Surrender is all about in my view. Seeing what lies below the surface, seeing what lies below the faces shown to society and to our friends. This third in the series was definitely worth waiting for and anyone who is not touched by the strength of Dand and Lottie, by the fortitude they show to one another and to their cause, is not looking below that surface, not seeing what is truly important. Honor, courage, and above all, love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My Surrender completes the Rose Hunter trilogy by Rita award winner and two-time nominee for 2005, Connie Brockway. Charlotte Nash, the most headstrong of the three Nash daughters truly shines in this tale of intrigue, scandal and sacrifice. Charlotte has taken the role of spy very seriously, after all, who would believe that such a flibbertigibbet could carry out such a role. She has cultivated a ¿certain reputation¿ among the ton while still managing to keep her morals intact and above question. The questions about her morality don¿t bother Charlotte, but they do concern Dand Ross. Dand, Andrew, Andre, call him what you will, it is very obvious that this member of the Rose Hunters has his own secrets to protect. At first the reader isn¿t sure whether or not he even likes Lottie ¿ until one begins to see below the surface. Dand might be called carefree, but again, that is only the surface of this young man. And that, truly, is what My Surrender is all about in my view. Seeing what lies below the surface, seeing what lies below the faces shown to society and to our friends. This third in the series was definitely worth waiting for and anyone who is not touched by the strength of Dand and Lottie, by the fortitude they show to one another and to their cause, is not looking below that surface, not seeing what is truly important. Honor, courage, and above all, love.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1801 their father died; one year later their mother passed away. Within six months of their mother¿s death, the three Nash sisters being practical females all found work. The oldest Helena was a companion (see MY SEDUCTION); the middle Kate provided music lesions (see MY PLEASURE); the youngest Charlotte became a companion to Margaret Weston. --- By 1806 with her sisters married, Charlotte continues her father¿s work to uncover a French agent. She breaks the rules wildly flirting with Comte St. Lyon, hoping she can seduce him into revealing his work for Napoleon. Meanwhile, Dand Ross initially provides unwanted protection to Charlotte. However, as he gets to know her, he realizes they need to work together to uncover a spy. Neither expected to fall in love, but both intuitively knows that the world of espionage has no place for the feelings of desire towards others. --- Readers will appreciate the exhilarating escapades of Daring Dand and courageous Charlotte even with the story line is over the edge. The audience is hooked from the moment fans realize Charlotte is masquerading as a loose woman to capture a spy. Connie Brockway closes her wonderful Regency trilogy with a smashing climax that sub-genre fans will enjoy as much for the romance as for the action-packed at times jocular capers.--- Harriet Klausner