A Rake's Vow (Cynster Series)

A Rake's Vow (Cynster Series)

by Stephanie Laurens

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He vowed he'd never marry.

To Vane Cynster, Bellamy Hall seems like the perfect place to temporarily hide from London's husband hunters. But when he encounters irresistible Patience Debbington, Vane realises he's met his match ...

She vowed no man would catch her.

Patience isn't about to succumb to Vane's sensuous propositions. Yes, his kisses leave her dizzy and his caresses made her melt; but Patience has promised herself she'll never become vulnerable to a broken heart. Is this one vow that was meant to be broken?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380794577
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/01/1998
Series: Cynster Series , #2
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 128,812
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science, a hobby that quickly became a career. Her novels set in Regency England have captivated readers around the globe, making her one of the romance world's most beloved and popular authors.

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A Rake's Vow

October 1819


"You want to get a move on. Looks like the Hounds of Hell are on our heels."

"What?" Jerked from uneasy contemplation, Vane Cynster lifted his gaze from his leader′s ears and glanced around, bringing Duggan, his groom, into view-along with the bank of lowering thunderheads sweeping down on them from behind. "Blast!" Vane looked forward and flicked the reins. The pair of matched greys harnessed to his curricle stepped out powerfully. He glanced over his shoulder. "Think we can outrun it?"

Considering the storm clouds, Duggan shook his head. "We got three miles on it, maybe five. Not enough to turn back to Kettering, nor yet to make Northampton."

Vane swore. It wasn′t the thought of a drenching that exercised his mind. Desperation dug in its spurs; his eyes on the road as the greys swept on, he searched for some option, some route of escape.

Only minutes before, he′d been thinking of Devil, Duke of St. Ives, his cousin, boyhood companion, and closest friend--and of the wife fate had handed him. Honoria, now Duchess of St. Ives. She who had ordered Vane and the other four as-yet-unmarried members of the Bar Cynster not only to pay for but attend the dedication service for the roof of the church in Somersham. village, close by the ducal seat. Admittedly, the money she′d decreed they surrender had been ill-gotten gains, their winnings from a wager of which neither she nor their mothers had approved. The age old adage that the only women Cynster males need be wary of were Cynster wives still held true for this generation as it had for those past. The reason why was not something any male Cynster liked to dwell on.

Which was why he felt such a driving need to get out of the path of the storm. Fate, in the guise of a storm, had arranged for Honoria and Devil to meet, in circumstances that had all but ensured their subsequent marriage. Vane wasn′t about to take unnecessary chances.

"Bellamy Hall." He clung to the idea like a drowning man. "Minnie will give us shelter."

"That′s a thought." Duggan sounded more hopeful. "The turnoff should be close."

It was around the next bend; Vane took the turn at speed, then cursed and slowed his cattle. The narrow lane was not as well surfaced as the road they′d left. Too fond of his high-stepping horses to risk injuring them, he concentrated, easing them along as fast as he dared, grimly conscious of the deepening gloom of an unnatural, too-early twilight and the rising whine of the wind.

He′d left Sornersham Place, Devil′s principal residence, soon after luncheon, having spent the morning at church, at the dedication service for the roof he and his cousins had paid for. Intending to visit friends near Leamington, he′d left Devil to enjoy his wife and son and headed west. He′d expected to reach Northampton and the comfort of the Blue Angel with ease. instead, thanks to fate, he would be spending the night with Minnie and her inmates.

At least he would be safe.

Through the hedges to their left, Vane glimpsed distant water, leaden grey beneath the darkening sky. The River Nene, which meant Bellamy Hall was close; it stood on a long, sloping rise looking down on the river.

It had been years since he′d visited--he couldn′t offhand remember how many, but of his welcome he had not a doubt. Araminta, Lady Bellamy, eccentric relict of a wealthy man, was his godmother. Unblessed with children, Minnie had never treated him as a child; over the years, she′d become a good friend. A sometimes too-shrewd friend uninhibited in her lectures, but a friend nonetheless.

Daughter of a viscount, Minnie had been born to a place in the ton. After her husband, Sir Humphrey Bellamy, died, she′d retired from socialising, preferring to remain at Bellamy Hall, presiding over a varying household of impecunious, relatives and worthy charity cases.

Once, when he′d asked why she surrounded herself with such hangers-on, Minnie had replied that, at her age, human nature was her main source of entertainment. Sir Humphrey had left her wealthy enough to stand the nonsense, and Bellamy Hall, grotesquely gargantuan, was large enough to house her odd menage. As a sop to sanity, she and her companion, Mrs. Timms, indulged in the occasional bolt to the capital, leaving the rest of the household in Northamptonshire. Vane always called on Minnie whenever she was in town.

Gothic turrets rose out of the trees ahead, then brick gateposts appeared, the heavy wrought-iron gates left ajar. With a grimly satisfied smile, Vane turned his horses through; they′d beaten the storm-fate had not caught him napping. He set the greys trotting down the straight drive. Huge bushes crowded close, shivering in the wind; ancient trees shrouded the gravel in shifting shadows.

Dark and somber, its multitude of windows, dull in the encroaching gloom, watching like so many flat eyes, Bellamy Hall filled the end of the tunnel-like drive. A sprawling Gothic monstrosity, with countless architectural elements added cheek by jowl, all recently embellished with Georgian lavishness, it ought to have looked hideous, yet, in the overgrown park with the circular courtyard before it, the Hall managed to escape outright ugliness.

It was, Vane thought, as he swept about the courtyard and headed for the stables, a suitably esoteric dwelling for an eccentric old woman and her odd household. As he rounded the side of the house, he saw no sign of life.

There was, however, activity in the stables, grooms hurriedly settling horses in preparation for the storm. Leaving Duggan and Minnie′s stableman, Grisham, to deal with the greys. . .

A Rake's Vow. Copyright © by Stephanie Laurens. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Rake's Vow 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 140 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For 99 cents this book was a steal. Absolutely love the Cynster series. And this was one of the best in the series. Right in the beginning you knew it was going to be exciting and a great read. One of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was hard to read. Very slow. I couldn't get past the second chapter. It never got any better. I like historical romance fiction, but this one was very boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so boring i found myself wishing it would end already. Not her best work. Lets just say i had to end my misery and move on to something else.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just when you thought Stephanie Laurens couldn't get any better, she writes another stunning novel. Following Devil's Bride as the second book in the Bar Cynster series by Laurens, this book manages to top the first. Vane Cynster makes a mad run for it after his cousin Devil's wedding, as he refuses to be caught in the parson's mousetrap as well, but leave it to a thunderstorm to force him to take cover at his godmother's house, and introduce him to Miss Patience Debington. When Patience gets trapped in the intrigue surrounding a petty thief at the house party she's attending, things begin to look up for her and her brother Gerrard when Vane shows up and puts his investigating skills to good use. Though Patience hates the idea of getting tied to an 'elegant gentleman' for life, she finds herself falling in love with the handsome cynster. Laurens continues to amaze with her talent for writing. Hopefully she'll continue to pull off these wonderful romance novels for many years to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, that's a direct quote. The amount of disrespect the author shows to women is unbelievable. Not worth the 99¿ or the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I should have read the reviews first then bought. It was only 99 cents so I went ahead and bought. It's long winded. I'm only half through it and find myself skipping ahead just to get somewhere. The love scenes are just to many on top of the whole mystery going on. I know its a romance novel but really.Not enough written to even begin to speculate on the who,what,where and why of the mystery at hand. I like to try to figure out who done it. It just not coming along well. I will try to finish it since i paid for it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is actually the second book in the series (Devil's Bride is the first), and I think it is better than the first. It has a better plot, both character and story-wise. I've only read the first two books in the Cynster series so far, but they both started slow, and were very hard to get interested in...then got better/interesting within the last 100-150 pages. If you don't mind this fact, then by all means - read the books. I prefer a book that is interesting and enjoyable all the way through - when I read for fun, I don't want to have to work to get into the book. But, like I said, this one is better than the first - hopefully the books get better as the series progresses.
tmommy4 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though I liked this book, I did find Patience to be a bit annoying. On one hand she was a strong character, but on the other she was a whimp. Her constent refusal to look beneath Vane's out ward appreance just took too long to rectify. Though I did enjoy the mysteries of the thief and the Spectar, I felt it was just too drawn out. Lastly I felt the ending and the resolution of Pateience & Vane's relationship came out of the blue. I really thought I should have come alot sooner.
librarymeg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book started out really strong for me. There's a strong male hero and a stubborn female heroine, some great tension between them, and a fun cast of secondary characters. Add in some great, steamy scenes between our couple, and you've got a really fun read. It lost a little momentum towards the end, and the happily-ever-after felt a little bit abrupt to me, but it didn't ruin my fun at all. I look forward to reading more from the Cynster series, and can recommend this one to anybody looking for a fun, romantic read. (Just don't get too invested in the background mysteries. You may be disappointed.)
itsamekatrina on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the love story, but not real crazy about the "Clue" like mystery involving the characters.
jeffersonsambrosia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You have to love the Cynster¿s on a purely girly level you have to. A group of strong virile males who love family and protect it at all cost? Not to mention just how handsome the whole lot of them are. But ah this all seems to play against one Vane Cynster (as in weather vane thank you very much) because right of the bat Patience labels him an ¿elegant gentleman¿ which of course he is. But in her terms this means a man who doesn¿t love and feels fit to sleep with anything he wants while keeping a wife and nursery at home. Ah but Miss Patience doesn¿t know the Cynster¿s very well now does she.The second book in the thrilling series by Stephanie Laurens A Rakes Vow kept my attention throughout. While it was not quite as exciting as the first book Devil¿s Bride, but not to worry it is wonderful. You get to follow Vane as he is leaving the dedication ceremony for the church he and his Cousins had to help re-roof thanks to Honoria. And true to his name while Vane has no plan at all to be leg shackled and seeks to get out of the storm at his Godmothers house, but fate has another idea in mind. And from the moment he seems Miss Patience Debbington, he knows fate had another idea in mind.We follow Vane as he isn¿t sure what to do about fates plan, and than his inevitable acceptance. And Patience having some issues of her own with the whole idea. All the while we have aback cast of characters, and someone who is stealing things. Now the plot with the thief and the scepter at times drama drags. But in the end it is curious and you do follow some sweeps and turns. Although I knew one person involved in it from the moment they mentioned a certain clue, (no I am not going to give it away.). Truly though bar a few small blips is fantastic. Huzzah to Stephanie Laurens and Huzzah to the Cynster men bring on the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the message of the importance of family.
Tangen More than 1 year ago
Originally published in 1998 as part of the Cynster series, but since it is set some time after the cousins served at Waterloo, and only one of them is titled, but all are filthy rich, it makes no difference. The Cynster men are all accomplished skirt chasers, elegant, well mannered, and well dressed, and are known by their nicknames rather than their given names. This one runs away after Devil's wedding, but winds up at the home of a favorite relative. There he meets the antagonistic woman who will become his undoing. She has an artistic younger brother, and they and the other houseguests become embroiled in a suspenseful hunt for a reckless thief. And the plot thickens. Don't think too hard about it all, just enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A 310 page book and second of the 1800's family Cynster's series. Vane's unexpected stop at a manor because of bad weather embroils him in an attraction, thievery, ghostery, mystery, and a house of odd characters. An 1800's Clue game, anyone? Romance and several hot adult sex scenes.
camaibarb More than 1 year ago
I am not going into detail on this review as I read this entire series years ago. I saved all the books and even have them installed on my Nook. I loved the series and continue to read everything Stephanie Laurens writes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RRPNC More than 1 year ago
Great book and great series!!!  Recommend Very Highly!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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BANGLEDANGLES More than 1 year ago
Vane is on his way home from his cousins,Devil,wedding when a storm causes him to stop at a childhood friends home. When he sees Patience in the garden searching for he knows not what, he knows fate has brought them together. He doesn't know how but he knows she belongs to him. All he has to do is convince patience. The second book in the Cynster series does not disapoint. Stephanie Laurens has a way with creating characters that will become a part of your favorite memories. It is enjoyable to live through the eyes of her characters.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once again a great read with hot romance and an intriguing mystery to keep you guessing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago