Award-winning author Madeline Hunter transports readers back to the scandal and intrigue of nineteenth-century England in the enthralling tale of a magnetically sensual man, a virtuous woman, and a love story that will take your breath away. . . . She arrives at his home without warning or invitation, determined to win him to her campaign to reform women s rights. Instead, Charlotte, the widowed Baroness Mardenford, ends up being nearly seduced by Nathaniel Knightridge.
Aristocratic lawyer Nathaniel Knightridge and young widow Charlotte Mardenford hate each other-or so Hunter's lusty 19th-century romance would have readers believe, based on their inveterate insistence ("Mr. Knightridge and I truly do not care for each other") and their stagy arguments. Naturally, it comes as no shock to the reader when they realize their mutual attraction-the deeply meaningful looks they exchange get so much attention, they almost constitute separate characters. Complicating the woefully uncomplicated love/hate relationship is their soul-stirring encounter at an anonymous orgy, at which Nathaniel fails to recognize a masked Charlotte. Though their forced hostility quickly wears thin, a subplot concerning a mysterious young boy who may be connected to Charlotte's family lends the story some much-needed intrigue, and Hunter handles this thread well, doling out hints bit by bit and throwing in a few clever twists. Unfortunately, Hunter's protagonists lack the depth of those in her medieval-era romances (By Design, etc.), and her overblown language adds little to their relationship. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 27, 2006
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Excerpt from Lady of Sin by Madeline Hunter
Nathaniel Knightridge dwelled in a special hell, one where men of action and command are rendered powerless by events beyond their control.
Chained in that underworld of the spirit, he awaited the dreadful result of his impotence. The chill in his body could not be warmed by either the fire he sat beside or the brandy he freely imbibed.
The spirits dulled his mind enough to keep his futile fury contained, but not so much that he did not hear every damned tick of the damned clock. It constantly poked at his soul from its place on a far table in the sitting room of his apartment at Albany.
He stared at the fire's flames, all too aware that his vigil paled compared to another being endured a few miles away.
"Sir." The address came quietly. Tentatively.
Nathaniel slowly turned his gaze to the doorway. Jacobs, his manservant, stood there. Jacobs's aging, cherubic face wore a caution born of Nathaniel's angry outbursts all day long.
"A lady is here, sir. She went to your chambers and your clerk directed her here. She insists it is most important."
"If she is here, she cannot be too much a lady."
"Oh, but she is." Jacobs proffered a silver salver. "Her card, sir."
"Tell her I am not receiving."
"But it is--"
"Send her away, damn you."
Jacobs left. Nathaniel poured more brandy. He did not need to look at the clock to know the time. A half hour remained, no more.
He gulped enough of the spirits to send his mind flying for a few blissful moments.
It did not last. Soon he was back in the chair, half-foxed but mercilessly aware. Of the clock. And of voices. Jacobs's and a woman's. Their alternating high and low rumble approached and grew louder until the words became audible.
"I tell you again, my lady, that Mr. Knightridge is not receiving."
"And I tell you that this cannot wait. I do not have the leisure to waste another day looking all over town for him."
Despite the muffling effects of the thick door, that voice sounded familiar. Nathaniel's dulled sense tried to poke around his fogged brain to identify it.
The door opened. Jacobs entered, looking apologetic and helpless. A woman sailed in behind him.
Nathaniel took in the dark hair beneath the crepe bonnet's cream brim, the middling height of perfect posture, the crimson mantle trimmed in fur. Her hand grasped the ivory handle of a parasol.