In this powerful and passionate novel from Liz Carlyle, one of romance fiction's brightest new stars, a high-society murder brings scandal to the lords and ladies of the ton -- and unexpected desire to a pair of unlikely lovers.
No True Gentleman
Lady Catherine Wodeway knows that no true gentleman would presume to kiss a lady senseless without a proper introduction -- not even to save her life. yet somehow, Maximilian de Rohan's dark good looks, brooding manner, and mysterious past make it all too easy for Catherine to forget that she's a lady.
Although Max is stunned by Catherine's beauty, honesty, and charm, he knows that getting mixed up with a noblewoman can end badly, especially when her brother is a murder suspect. But when Catherine stumbles onto the key to Max's murder investigation and unwittingly places herself in the killer's hands he will risk everything to pull her out of danger and into the arms of love.
The trend in romance novels has been to throw the bedroom door open as wide as possible, and Carlyle (A Woman of Virtue) succeeds in doing so in this steamy romantic intrigue. Set in Regency-era London, this book chronicles the adventures of Catherine Wodeway, a vivacious country widow who has recently come to town, and Maximillian de Rohan, an enigmatic Westminster magistrate. Despite their disparate social backgrounds he hails from a family of Italian vintners and she's a lady Max and Catherine share a scandalous kiss in Hyde park. A few days later, the two meet again when a murder among the aristocracy takes Max to the home of a mutual acquaintance. Caught up in her desire for Max and her curiosity about him, Catherine seeks to seduce him, but Max's inability to trust may keep him from giving up his heart. When Max isn't puzzling over his emotions, he's fending off his meddlesome grandmother and working to solve a murder. Although Max is no gentleman according to the standards of the time which were defined by Lord Chesterfield's The Fine Gentleman's Etiquette, a book Max tries and fails to read he is an extraordinarily well-developed and believable romantic hero. Catherine is also a strong heroine, and together, they make this one of the year's best historical romances. (July) Forecast: Despite this book's superior quality, its sales are unlikely to equal those of romance giants Stephanie Laurens and Christina Dodd, due to Carlyle's relative newness to the genre. Readers who whet their appetites with Tea for Two, Carlyle's recent collaboration with Cathy Maxwell, will be hungry for more, however, and booksellers may see increased sales if they feature the authors' recent books together. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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July 01, 2002
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Excerpt from No True Gentleman by Liz Carlyle
A true gentleman must take care never to seem dark and mysterious.
-- LORD CHESTERFIELD, 1776,
The Fine Gentleman's Etiquette
Terrible accidents can befall anyone who plunges into the unknown. Catherine knew that all too well. And yet the fog which lay before her, slate gray and cloying, did not give her pause as it should have done. Instead, she pressed heedlessly forward, allowing the damp to envelop her like cold, wet wool. Orion's rapid hoof beats were muted by the soft earth as she mindlessly urged him into the thatch of rhododendron ahead.
Much of her behavior had been just so of late, impelled not by logic but by an inexplicable need to flee something which lay behind, with little thought to what risk might lie ahead. She had let grief and confusion drive her from Gloucestershire. Then into London. But perhaps she should not have permitted it to drive her into this fog alone. Perhaps she should have waited until full daylight, instead of rushing into the distant reaches of Hyde Park before dawn had scarce broken. But as usual, the silence inside the house -- inside her heart -- had been suffocating.
With an impatient signal, she urged Orion on, vaguely considering how her brother Cam would scold if he learned of her recklessness. Suddenly, a noise sounded in the fog ahead. Sharp yet muffled, like the snapping of a twig beneath a layer of wet leaves. And then she saw him -- at the precise instant Orion did. Like a pagan warlock summoning up a dragon's breath, the big man loomed up before them, his long black cloak swirling in the mist, his height eclipsing the path beyond.
With a shrill cry, her horse reared and spun right, pawing wildly at the mist. Floating from the fog, the man snared the gelding's bridle, dragging down his head as if the beast were little more than a willful pony. Orion's eyes flashed with white, his hindquarters wheeled nervously, kicking up divots of turf. But with relentless calm, the tall man held his head. At last, the horse gave a final snort of censure and yielded.
For a long, uncomfortable moment, silence held sway in the gloom.
"Your pardon, ma'am," the man finally said, his voice like gravel. "I fear the dampness muffled your approach."
Catherine stared down at him, then let her gaze slide to his impervious grip on her bridle. "I can hold my mount, sir," she snapped. But, inexplicably, blood was pounding in her ears.
At once, his spine stiffened, and she watched, intrigued, as his long, elegant fingers slid away from the leather. "I thought perhaps you could not," he said coolly, his gaze burning through her. "Apparently, I was mistaken."
"Quite," she managed.
Suspicion was etched on his face, and as he glanced up and down the path, Catherine had an uneasy sense that the man could see things which she could not. "Madam, you ride unaccompanied?" he asked, his tone deceptively casual.
Catherine realized her folly at once. She was completely alone in a pea-soup fog with an intense, intimidating stranger. Straightening herself in the saddle, she looked down her nose and feigned her elder brother's haughty glare. "My business is my own, sir," she retorted. "But if we're to remark upon the obvious, one might mention that you were strolling rather carelessly on the bridle path."