From a magnificent ballroom ablaze with lights to an imposing country house steeped in shadows comes a breathtaking tale of an impetuous miss--and a passion that leads to peril...
At five and twenty, Prudence Merryweather knew very well tht risks a woman took by visiting a gentleman in the dead of night. But bearding the notorious Earl of Angelstone in his den was the only way to stop him from engaging her hot-headed brother in a duel. And that was why she found herself ushered into Sebastian's frobidding presence at three int the morning--and thoroughly kissed before dawn.
She was a country-bred innocent--and an intriguing experience for a man who dwelt more in the shadows than in the sunshine. Yet as her boldness drew Prue into one dangerous episode after another, Sebastian found himself torn between a raging hunger to possess her and a driving need to protect her. And the reckless beauty would soon need all the protection she could get...
Quick's latest work, a flimsy and fairly routine piece, lacks the panache that made her earlier Regencies interesting. Prudence Merryweather and Sebastian Fleetwood, the ``legendary'' Earl of Angelstone, hit it off after meeting at a ball because they share an element of ``intellectual curiosity'': she hunts ``spectral phenomena,'' and he (courtesy of a Bow Street Runner who slips him intriguing cases) hunts criminals. When, at another party, Prue and Sebastian are caught pussyfooting in the hostess's bedroom, an impromptu engagement results, giving them ample opportunity to poke into each other's investigations. Sebastian, whose parents were ill-treated by the family, has wanted revenge on his kin for years; when his aunt publicly insults Prue, he is ready to exploit his role as head of the family and get them booted out of society. However, Prue's moderating influence persuades him to set aside revenge and act as a benevolent patriarch, a scenario that may sound familiar to readers of Wildest Hearts, this author's most recent contemporary romance (written as Jayne Ann Krentz). (May)
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March 31, 1993
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Excerpt from Dangerous by Amanda Quick
One It was the darkesthour of the night, nearly three o’ clock in the morning, and the chilling fog clung to the city like a ghost. Prudence Merryweather reluctantly concluded that it was an uncomfortably suitable time and setting in which to pay a call on the man known as the Fallen Angel. She shivered in spite of her bold resolve as the hackney drew to a halt in front of the mist-shrouded door of the town house. The new gas lamps that had been installed in this part of town were useless against the thick mist. An eerie silence gripped the cold, dark street. The only sounds were the rattle of the carriage and the thud of the horses’ hooves on the pavement. Prudence briefly considered ordering the coachman to turn the hackney around and drive her straight home. But she banished the thought as quickly as it had come. She knew she must not falter now. Her brother’s life was at stake. She summoned up her courage, adjusted her spectacles more firmly in place, and stepped down from the cab. She tugged the hood of her aging gray wool cloak down to shield her face as she started determinedly up the steps of the town house. Behind her the hackney began to roll forward down the street. Prudence stopped and whirled around in alarm. “Where do you think you’re going, my good man? I said I would give you an extra few coins to wait for me. I’ll only be a few minutes.” “Don’t fret yerself none, miss. I was just adjustin’ the reins, is all.” The coachman was a featureless dark blob in his heavily caped greatcoat and a hat that was pulled down low over his ears. His voice was slurred from the gin he had been drinking all evening to ward off the bitter chill. “I told ye, I’d wait for ye.” Prudence relaxed slightly. “See that you’re still here when I return. Otherwise I shall be quite stranded when I finish my business.” “Business, huh? Is that what ye call it?” The coachman sniggered as he tipped his gin bottle and poured the contents down his throat. “Pretty fancy piece o’ business, if you ask me. Mayhap yer gentleman friend will want ye to warm his bed for the rest o’ the night. Bloody damn cold this evenin’.” Prudence scowled at him but decided there was nothing to be gained from engaging in an argument with a drunken coachman at this late hour. She did not have the time for such nonsense. She gathered the enveloping cloak more tightly about her and hurried on up the steps to the front door of the town house. The upstairs windows were unlit. Perhaps the notorious owner of the house was already abed. From all accounts that would be an unusual state of affairs. It was said that the legendary Earl of Angelstone seldom went to bed before dawn. The Fallen Angel had not earned his formidable reputation by keeping reasonable hours. Everyone knew the devil preferred the cover of night. Prudence hesitated before raising her gloved hand to knock on the door. She was well aware that what she was about to do carried a certain risk. She was country bred and new to London, but she was not so naïve as to think it was normal for ladies to pay calls on gentlemen at any hour, let alone at three in the morning. Prudence rapped sharply on the door. It seemed to take forever until a disgruntled-looking, half-dressed butler opened the door. He was a balding, heavy jawed man who put Prudence in mind of a large, ferocious hound. The candle he held in one hand revealed first annoyance and then growing disgust on his black features. He took in the sight of Prudence’s cloaked and hooded figure with severely disappointing eyes. “Yes, miss?”<