She dazzled readers with Devilish, hailed by Library Journal as ld"fast-paced, violent, and exquisitely sensual.rd" Now, New York Times bestselling author Jo Beverley delivers a sizzling new novel of treasure-and temptation-and tantalizing pleasureshellip; The Earl Con Somerford, the new Earl of Wyvern, returns to his fortress on the cliffs of Dover to find a woman from his past waiting for him-with pistol in handhellip;. The Housekeeper Susan Kerslake, the new housekeeper at Crag Wyvern, was drawn back to Conrs"s home by rumors of hidden gold and to oversee its smuggling operationhellip;. The Second Chance The magic they once shared was destroyed by youthful arrogance and innocence. The years at war have hardened him, and the years at home have softened herhellip;but can time teach them both to seize the passion that comes along only once-or twice-in a lifetime
Con Somerford, now the earl of Wyvern, and smuggler Susan Kerslake knew each other for only for two brief romantic weeks as teenagers 11 years ago. But when they meet again at gunpoint on a windswept Devon cliff, they are disconcerted to realize that the attraction is still there if only they can get past the old hurts and the new complications that hang between them. A pair of complex protagonists, a grim, faux-medieval castle filled with appallingly lewd artwork and "entertainments," courtesy of the earlier insane Dragons of Wyvern, and a wonderful cast of secondary characters many of whom have appeared in Beverley's earlier works combine in what begins as an apparently simple reunion story but becomes more intriguing and darkly complex as the layers of the plot are cleverly peeled away. The author's classic mix of simmering sexual tension and satisfying sensuality will please her fans, old and new. Beverley is a popular, best-selling author (Devilish) and a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Hall of Fame; she lives in British Columbia. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 26, 2005
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Excerpt from The Dragon's Bride by Jo Beverley
The south coast of England
The moon flickered briefly between windblown clouds, but such a thread-fine moon did no harm. It barely lit the men creeping down the steep headland toward the beach, or the smuggling master controlling everything from above.
It lightened not at all the looming house that ruled the cliffs of this part of Devon-Crag Wyvern, the fortresslike seat of the blessedly absent Earl of Wyvern.
Absent like the riding officer charged with preventing smuggling in this area. Animal sounds-an owl, a gull, a barking fox-carried across the scrubby landscape, constantly reporting that all was clear.
At sea, a brief flash of light announced the arrival of the smuggling ship. On the rocky headland, the smuggling master-Captain Drake, as he was called-unshielded a lantern in a flashing pattern that meant "all clear."
All clear to land brandy, gin, tea, and lace. Delicacies for Englishmen who didn't care to pay extortionate taxes. Profit for smugglers, with tea sixpence a pound abroad and selling for twenty times that in England if all the taxes were paid.
In the nearby fishing village of Dragon's Cove, men pushed boats into the waves and began the urgent race to unload the vessel.
"Captain Drake" pulled out a spyglass to scan the English Channel for other lights, other vessels. Now that the war against Napoleon was over, navy ships were patrolling the coast, better equipped and manned than the customs boats had ever been. A navy cutter had intercepted the last major run, seizing the whole cargo and twenty local men, including the previous Captain Drake.
A figure slipped to sit close to him, one dressed as he was all in dark colors, a hood covering both hair and the upper face, soot muting the pallor of the rest.
Captain Drake glanced to the side. "What are you doing here?"
"You're shorthanded." The reply was as sotto voce as the question.
"We've enough. Get back up to Crag Wyvern and see to the cellars."
"No, David. Maisie can handle matters from inside the house, and Diddy has the watch. I need to be out here."
Susan Kerslake meant it. This run had to succeed or heaven knew what would become of them all, so she needed to be out here with her younger brother, even if there was nothing much she could do.
For generations this area had flourished, with smuggling the main enterprise under a series of strong, capable Captain Drakes, all from the Clyst family. With Mel Clyst captured, tried, and transported to Botany Bay, however, chaos threatened. Other, rougher gangs were trying to move in.