Tied With a Bow

Tied With a Bow

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Overview

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh headlines a paranormal romance anthology that turns up the holiday heat.

Come, as these four bestselling authors invite you to savor the sweet anticipation of unwrapping these novellas of searing sexuality, rapturous romance, and paranormal pairings....

Experience the feral fire of #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh’s novella of the Breeds. Feel the incendiary passion that cannot be extinguished in New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra’s tale of the Children of the Air. Explore the outer limits of carnal craving in USA Today bestselling author Eileen Wilks’s World of the Lupi, and enter national bestselling author Kimberly Frost’s delicious world of desire and devotion.

As intimate as they are imaginative, these unique holiday stories reveal the flush of surprise and joy when the most unexpected package turns out to be just what you always craved.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101547595
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/01/2011
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 81,263
File size: 551 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Lora Leigh is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Nauti Boys series and the Nauti Girls series, as well as the Breed novels. She dreams in bright, vivid images of the characters intent on taking over her writing life, and fights a constant battle to put them on the hard drive of her computer before they can disappear as fast as they appeared.

New York Times bestselling author of the Dare Island novels and the Children of the Sea series, Virginia Kantra has won numerous industry awards, including Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award and two National Readers’ Choice Awards.

Eileen Wilks is the New York Times bestselling author of the Novels of the Lupi. She is also a three-time RITA Award finalist and the recipient of a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times.

Kimberly Frost is currently at home in a small town known as Houston where she is taking dictation from her characters and working on the next book in the Southern Witch series.

Read an Excerpt

Upon a Midnight Clear

VIRGINIA KANTRA

 

To Carolyn Martin, who knows a thing or two about angels.

 

Chapter One

PARIS, FRANCE, DECEMBER 1792

The angel came down in the long gallery of the Conciergerie prison, the notorious antechamber to the guillotine.

Stone walls could not keep him out. Stench and darkness offered no deterrent. He was a child of the air, elemental, immortal, one of the First Creation. As long as he did not materialize completely, he could go anywhere.

Cold seeped through the blocked grates and up from the flagstones along with the miasma of human misery. The corridor was alive with sighs and sobs and vermin. In the bloody wake of revolution, the prisons of Paris were filled to bursting with the ci-devant aristocracy and their suspected sympathizers. Few had the money or influence to secure the comforts of a private incarceration, a bed, food, firewood, perhaps a chamber pot. Cells intended for one or two prisoners held four, six, a dozen men, women, and children, packed together on the filthy straw like so many bottles of wine.

In the stone blocks adjoining the exercise yard, some poor soul had scratched BIENVENUE EN ENFER. Welcome to Hell.

But this was not Hell. There were still those here who called on God in their distress. So the angel had come, drawn by a dying mother’s prayer to provide . . .

Not escape, the angel acknowledged. He felt the brush of some unusual emotion, threatening his angelic detachment. Frustration, perhaps.

The children of air were forbidden from interfering directly in worldly affairs. With rare exceptions, humans must work out their own fate, their own salvation. But the angel could offer comfort to ease the woman’s soul from this life to the next.

His frustration—if that’s what it was—deepened. Tonight, solace did not seem enough.

He flexed his shoulders at the admission, feeling a prickle between his shoulder blades. He was an angel of God. Comfort was his stock in trade. It must suffice.

A woman’s hoarse Latin slipped through the bars to hang like frost in the air. “Sancta Maria, Mater Domini nostri, ora pro nobis pec-catoribus.Holy Mary, Mother of our Lord, pray for us sinners.Nunc et in hora . . .” A cough. “Et in hora . . .”

More coughing, deep, wracking.

“Lie quiet, Maman.” A girl’s voice, sweet and clear and welcome as water in this dirty hole, speaking the King’s French. “You must save your breath.”

The angel followed the voice through the square iron grate into the cell. Two women—a woman and a girl, rather—huddled on the straw inside. The girl knelt on the brutally cold floor, supporting her mother’s shoulders, trying to ease her breathing.

The child was very pretty, the angel observed dispassionately, with a delicate nose, a heart-shaped faced blunted by a firm, rounded chin, and eyes as blue as an October sky. But it was the mother who had called him here. Citoyenne Solange Blanchard, former Comtesse de Brissac, convent bred and barely thirty.

Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae,” the comtesse whispered. Now and at the hour of our death.

“Maman, you must rest,” the girl scolded gently. “You need your strength.”

The angel could have told the girl that no amount of rest would make any difference. The infection in the comtesse’s lungs had attacked her already weakened system.

But the girl’s tenderness moved him anyway.

He spread his power over the dying woman like wings, extending over her the peace of the presence of God.

Solange opened her eyes in the darkness, focusing on his face. “An angel,” she whispered. “Come to save us.”

He was hardly surprised that she could see him. She was very near death. “I cannot,” he told her gently.

Must not.

“Save her,” the woman insisted. Her daughter, thirteen-year-old Aimée. “When I am gone, she will be alone.”

The girl chafed her mother’s hands. “Maman, you must not upset yourself.” Doubtless the child believed the comtesse was talking to herself, out of her mind with fever and grief.

The whole country was mad. After centuries of privilege, the Old Regime was paying for its sins of pride and abuse of power. In three short years, the comtesse had been stripped of everything: lands, tithes, and titles. The life of her husband. Their son.

These humans went too far in redressing old wrongs. They had no concept of Heavenly justice, no understanding of divine mercy.

Comfort, the angel reminded himself.

“Your family will be reunited soon,” he assured Solange.

She would be dead by morning. And her daughter would follow, executed within the week, sacrificed to nationalist fervor and bloodlust.

Underneath the familiar flowering of compassion, anger stirred, like a worm at the heart of a rose.

Solange wet her dry lips. “One day. Not yet. You must . . .” Another cough rattled the comtesse’s frail frame. She met the angel’s gaze, the light of faith or determination in her eyes. “You will save her.”

Such faith should be rewarded.

Shouldn’t it?

“I will.” The words falling from his lips caught him by surprise.

He was an angel, bound to discern the will of God, to protect, and to obey. He regarded the dark sweep of the child’s lashes, the sheltering curve of her shoulders.

What if the charge to protect, the call to obey, pulled him in different directions?

He would be punished for his disobedience, of course. Not for the first time. Michael, leader of the Heavenly host, took a dim view of insubordination. But perhaps Gabriel would intercede for him. It was almost Christmas, after all. The season of miracles. There was some precedent for his intervention in human affairs.

“You promise,” Solange insisted.

Recklessness seized him. “I swear.”

The girl glanced up, almost as if she heard him. Those clear blue eyes narrowed. “Who are you?”

The angel jolted. She saw him? Was she that pure? That innocent? Or was she like her mother, close enough to death to feel the brush of his wings?

“The answer to our prayers,” Solange said.

“Can he get us out of here?” Aimée asked, direct as a child, pragmatic as any of her countrywomen.

“Of a surety he can save you,” Solange said. “You must go with him.”

The girl raised her head. He had no idea what she could make out in the dark. She should not have been able to see him at all.

“You will have to help my mother. She cannot stand.”

The angel held Solange’s gaze for a long moment.

“I do not go with you, mignonne,” the comtesse said softly.

Aimée stuck out her rounded chin. “Then we will not go.”

“My dear . . .” The comtesse coughed. “You have no choice.”

“I won’t leave you.” The girl’s voice rose, provoking glances and whispers from her fellow prisoners.

But the cell’s other inhabitants were too respectful of her grief, too fearful of fever or sunk in their own despair to intervene.

“I cannot remove her against her will,” the angel said.

“You promised to save her,” Solange said.

Irritation flickered through him, crackled like ozone in the air. Frustration with her, with himself, with the sins of men and the limitations of angels. “She does not wish to be rescued.”

Intervention was one thing. He might be forgiven for granting a dying mother’s prayer. But violating a human being’s free will was another, far more serious offense.

He looked at the girl, her springy dark curls, her clear, wide eyes, the jut of that childlike chin. She was old enough to make her own decisions.

His chest tightened. And far too young to die. Her goodness shone in this mortal Hell like a star.

Solange continued as if he had not spoken. “I have family in England. A cousin.” Her voice, her strength, flared and faded like a sullen fire. “Héloïse married an Englishman. Basing. Sir Walter Basing. You will . . . take my Aimée to them?”

“No,” the girl said fiercely. Her cheeks were flushed, her shoulders rigid. “It is my life. My choice.”

Stubborn. He would need to silence her to get her past the prison guards.

He did not look forward to taking solid form, to descending into the flesh and the stink and the pain of human existence to lug her through the barricades. He dare not save them all.

But the girl would live. She would be safe in England. He would be damned before he’d let this child’s light be extinguished.

His lip curled. He might be damned, anyway.

He breathed on the girl, catching her slight body as she slumped.

They didn’t have much time.

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Tied with a Bow 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 82 reviews.
MOJO-ML More than 1 year ago
Upon a Midnight Clear - Virginia Kantra An angel rescues a human during the French Revolution and falls from grace because he was not suposed to intercede only observe.** First Light - Kimberly Frost An angel with amnesia falls in love with an aspirant, who is an investigative reporter, while avoiding the ventala (bad guys). *** Human Error - Eileen Wilks A Witch and a Wolfman (Lupus) are engaged to be married and she takes him home to meet the family. While there a murder takes place and they investigate. ** An Inconvenient Mate - Lora Leigh Malachi Morgan, Rule Breaker, Stygian, Ashley and Emma go to the Navajo Nation to meet the Navajo Council. They need their permission to look for missing persons on their reservation. At this meeting Malachi meets his mate, Isabelle. Isabelle has an abusive person after her that causes a tragedy to happen in the story. PS: A new breed is introduced, a tiger breed by the name of Gideon.****
anodein82 More than 1 year ago
Four of the Greatest Authors of Romance novels today collaborate to bring us this Anthology of Stories. First up- Virginia Kantra: Upon a Midnight Clear. Meet Lucien, an Angel, who hears a desperate pray for help from a dying mother in Paris 1792, and Aimee the child who's mother lays dying. A plea to save her daughters life, and choice, that changes his life forever. A wonderfully written story that takes you through the struggle of duty, and choosing love over that duty. Next in the Anthology is First Light, by Kimberly Frost, Journalist Kate has dreamed about 1 person most of her life, she always thought that he was just a figment of her imagination until she finds him half buried in the snow. He doesn't know who he is, but he slowly gains his memories back... Its a story of love finding its way to make a two people who were destined to find each other, stay with each other against all odds. In Human Error, by Eileen Wilks, it Wiccan meets Wolf in a love story that tosses its readers on a ride that includes Spirits, Skinwalkers, posessed animals and a kidnapped child. It's a story that you really don't want to miss. Finally, you've got Lora Leigh's: An Inconvenient Mate. We return, yet again, to the world of the Breeds. This time Maliachi, the feirce Coyote Breed, falls to his knees over Isabelle Martinez, while on a mission to the Navajo Nations to find a Rouge Breed. It's hot, it's tense, and oh god is it good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not a fan of anthologies. Stores seem too short and rushed. I bought the book for Lora Leigh's Breed series, always a winner with me. I think I've read everything she's written and this was another hit. I also have read all of Virginia Kantra's books. She usually has a very unique story but this seemed a bit ordinary. Haven't read the other two, but will as some future time.
RB_Loves_Romance More than 1 year ago
Buy this book for no other reason than the breed story. It is great. Great tension balanced with fragile emotional relationships. I love when the main characters can compromise and not spend the whole book disagreeing. Instant classic. PS: I haven't read the other stories yet :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was ok. The first story in the book I didn't read. I'm not a big fan of historicals. Second and third stories were nice, but I think part of series the authors are writing. The fourth story by Lora Leigh was the best for me and my reason for buying the book. If not, for Lora Leigh and the Breed series, I wouldn't have bought the book.
BookLoverElle More than 1 year ago
I bought this anthology for the Lora Leigh Breed story and completely loved all the stories. Of course I love the Breeds and can't wait for Lawe's Justice in December.
tondaVA More than 1 year ago
Each story in the breeds get better and better! Just wish for longer stories.
hdickers1 More than 1 year ago
Lora Leigh and her Breeds series...amazing every time! Without fail it is interesting and hot and always furthering the main story. Love it!
In_My_Humble_OpinionDA More than 1 year ago
Tied with a Bow by Virginia Kantra, Kimberly Frost, Eileen Wilks, Lora Leigh Upon A Midnight Clear by Virginia Kantra ¿ Unfortunately I was unable to get through this offering. I guess I just wasn¿t in the mood for a historical. First Light by Kimberly Frost ¿ I was impressed by this offering by Kimberly Frost. It was much darker than her Southern Witch series. I really enjoyed it and look forward to seeing where she goes with this. Human Error by Eileen Wilks ¿ I love Ms. Wilks World of the Lupi and Benedict has long been one of my favorite characters. It was good to revisit him. Also I could totally relate to the situation of being introduced to family traditions so different than mine. An Inconvenient Mate by Lora Leigh ¿ This is a Breeds world short that has nothing to do with the holidays. Not a bad story just wondering what it was doing in this anthology.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All the stories are entertaining but if Ms. Leigh would delete one sex scene and add a little more story, the book would have deserved a 4 Star rating. Bunny
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Another breed story. Another hit. More informatuon for the main story and a nrw character or his he. Coukd he be the guy in the tree in Dawn's story or do we think Dog is Cassie's mate. Keep reading it only gets better.
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