An explosive encounter leads to . . .
After Mary Kate Bennett becomes a young widow, she's left to fend for herself without a penny. When she is in a terrible carriage accident, Mary Kate awakens in the bed of the mysterious Archer St. John—and to a life more luxurious than she could have ever imagined. But more unsettling is the desire this wickedly handsome stranger sets off in her.
The most intoxicating passion . . .
The whispers about Archer follow him wherever he goes. Did the reclusive nobleman murder his unhappy countess? When Mary Kate enters his life so unexpectedly, the bold earl is convinced that she has all the answers he's been searching for. So why can't he think of anything else besides her decadently red hair, her luminescent skin, and the feelings she evokes whenever she is near? Their love can be a fantasy— or it can be strong enough to seal their destinies forever.
KAREN RANNEY wanted to be a writer from the time she was five years old and filled her Big Chief tablet with stories. People in stories did amazing things and she was too shy to do anything amazing. Years spent in Japan, Paris, and Italy, however, not only fueled her imagination but proved that she wasn't that shy after all. Yet she prefers to keep her current adventures between the covers of her books. Karen lives in San Antonio, Texas, and loves to hear from her readers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Karen Ranney wanted to be a writer from the time she was five years old and filled her Big Chief tablet with stories. People in stories did amazing things and she was too shy to do anything amazing. Years spent in Japan, Paris, and Italy, however, not only fueled her imagination but proved she wasn't that shy after all.
Now a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, she prefers to keep her adventures between the covers of her books. Karen lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Read an Excerpt
My Wicked Fantasy
Ye've a gift for dreamin', lass. Don't ever loseit. The world can be a right cruel place if ye've not the knack to ignore it from time to time."
Her father's words echoed in Mary Kate's mind like the sound of a long-ago bell. What would Patrick O'Brien say about her actions? Would he understand that this journey was the culmination of a dream she'd had for so many years? Or would he simply counsel her that she was being foolish, that nothing would come of stirring up trouble?
Mary Kate would never hear his opinion. Da resided with the angels, and had for too many long years.
She knew what she was doing was probably unwise. She might not find what she wanted at the journey's end. But on the chance that she would, she'd sold every belonging she'd managed to acquire over the last four years, walked away from the small house on Bell Street, and was heading north, away from London. Memories of ten years ago provided her cluesthe name of her mother's father, a tiny village called Denmouth, a dream of whispers and plans.
She'd made better time than she'd expected, being able to secure a ride here and there, when she'd planned on having to travel most of the distance on foot. This morning she'd taken advantage of a farmer's kindness and now sat perched in the back of his empty wagon.
"Took my produce to London town," he'd said, bragging of the amount he'd made from the lot of it. She had smiled and congratulated him, climbing up into the back of the wagon with what grace she was still able to muster after five days on the road.
It had not been a hard journey, even though it was early November. The mornings werebrisk, but the afternoons warmed so that the walk was pleasant enough. Strange, though, how the quiet had been so loud. Oh, there were the sounds of the forest, the infrequent vehicle making its way toward London. Occasionally Mary Kate would pass a farm or skirt a village. But it was the absence of conversation that had been a strange and novel experience. She had always been surrounded by people.
The wagon bed was commodious, wide enough that Mary Kate could sit and stretch her legs out before her, fold her cloak over her exposed ankles. In the corner was a crate, wrapped twice around with a length of cord, bearing the mark of the Etruria pottery works. She guessed the box was filled with cups and saucers, small plates, perhaps a gift for the farmer's wife. Her own precious hoard of creamware, lovingly collected and regretfully sold to pay for this trip, had borne the same symbol.
There had been no money left for clothing, but had there been, she would have purchased a length of linsey-woolsey and made herself a decent dress and cloak to travel in, clothing not so fine and dust-gathering, both traits apt to stir a question or two. For the most part, however, people simply looked at her with curiosity and rarely spoke what was on their minds. And she probably would not have known what to tell them.
There was nothing about traveling to the City that endeared itself to Archer St. John. There would be no welcome in London. Only idle gossip and whispered conjecture, the enforced alienation from those individuals Archer had disliked long before they'd decided he was not fit for their company. A curious dichotomy, that. To be refused admittance from the very place he'd always shunned.
But word had come of the arrival of a St. John ship, the Hebrides, and there was still the possibility of news about Alice. A hint of that would coax even St. John the Hermit from his ]air.
A corner of one lip curved upward as he reflected upon his nickname. His dislike of his innumerable relatives had spawned the name at school. His boredom at those events so cherished by the ton resurrected the name. Events of the last year had made it stick. St. John the Hermit. Not so much a man withdrawing from the world as one who created his own, more preferable, existence around him.
He read prodigiously, an occupation that was not generally shared by his peers. While he rode because it was the most expeditious manner of traversing his estate, he wasn't horsemad, a possession of temperament he found exceedingly silly in men of his age and station. He spent his time in pursuits that would riot interest any of the people who spent their days lolling about in the salons of the day, Still, it was odd to be so aptly named by those who had no deeper interest in him than the cut of his coat.
One tanned hand reached out and gripped the leather handle above the door as the carriage careened around the corner. Another small smile, in deference to his coachmanabsolute interpretation of his employer's every wish.Archer had indicated the Hebrides would be Corning in from the Spice Islands and he wanted to be present at the interview with its captain; therefore, Jeremy would see that such a feat was accomplished. With any luck, the captain would bring word of Alice. Mary Kate peeked her head up above the high walls of the wagon. The sound of hooves approaching was growing louder, a warning of noise. The road was narrow, little more than an overgrown lane, barely able to accommodate two vehicles at once, and the turn that loomed a short distance ahead was surely one that urged caution. Mary Kate had, after several abortive attempts at conversation, realized the farmer was nearly deaf. Surely that was the reason, and not sheer foolhardiness, for his stubborn refusal to pull off on the side of the road and wait for the other vehicle to pass. The steady drone of hoofbeats seemed oddly portentous, a rhythmic melody, a low and tuneless echo that announced the sight of flashing bridles and deep-breasted horses. My Wicked Fantasy. Copyright © by Karen Ranney. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I just could not get into it. I wished that I could get my money back. I hate when you buy a book you cannot return. I read a lot of different historical romances and I was bored as soon as this one started. It did not have a hook as far as I was concerned. I am not even going to attempt to get another of her books as I am afraid I will get stuck with another five dollar book I cannot return....
Ranney is the queen of psychological characterization. If you love knowing the characters in depth thoughts then you will enjoy her writing. Of course, twisted minds, a ghost, and tender love scenes could make this one of your favorite books.
Sweet and emotional Ghost story
One of the worst I have read, and I don't generally review books. This one was just so disappointing.