When carefree rake Ewan McLean inherits an earldom, his plans for his new fortune are entirely in keeping with his lifestyle: to expand his collection of erotic art and expensive mistresses. Bride Cameron is beautiful, unmarried, and sole caretaker of her three younger sisters. Now its Ewan's duty to see that she is provided for. But to his amazement, the last thing the fiery lass wants is Ewan's help. The simplest thing would be to walk away. But Bride, with her sparkling gaze and fierce wit, is the most bewitching woman Ewan has ever met. And he intends to have her and to learn how she has managed to survive on her own.
When notorious seducer Ewan McLean reluctantly accepts the Scottish earldom left to him after a triple tragedy, he quickly learns that not all his new
duties are onerous. Keeping an eye on the welfare of lovely if stubborn Bride Cameron and her three sisters is a pleasure, especially when he's kissing Bride, and his government-backed investigation into a banknote counterfeiting ring proves quite intriguing. But Bride knows one important thing about the counterfeiting ring that Ewan does not: the fake banknote plates can be traced back to her dead father-and to her family, which would earn them forced transportation to Australia. And while she and Ewan can find common ground in each other arms, she well knows an earl wouldn't sully his reputation by marrying a criminal. Fortunately for her, Ewan still possesses a strong disdain for respectability. Snappily paced and bone-deep satisfying, Hunter's books are so addictive they should come with a surgeon general's warning. Each seems to grow a little more lighthearted than the last, yet Hunter (The Charmer) doesn't neglect the absorbing historical details that set her apart from most of her counterparts, engaging the reader's mind even as she deftly captures the heart. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 26, 2005
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Excerpt from Lord of Sin by Madeline Hunter
The Earl of Lyndale was dying.
He lay shriveled and frail in his bed, cheeks sunken and skin wan. His right hand rested over his heart as if he waited to feel its last pulse. He presented a pitiable image of an old man facing the end.
Ewan McLean was not impressed. His uncle Duncan pretended to lie at death's door at least once a year. Each imminent departure from the earthly realm summoned his sons and nephew so they could ease his passing. While on his deathbed he issued demands and extracted promises of outrageous presumption. Then he would "recover" and use those promises like a whip to get all the cattle lined up in the direction he had decided they should go.
"I fear the end will come tonight." The earl spoke it like a line in a stage drama. Which, for all intents and purposes, it was. "I need to set matters in order before I go."
He held out a trembling hand.
Ewan took it and smiled indulgently. He had been here for four days, waiting for the earl to decide when to finish the game.
"Since Hamish is not here, I must confide in you," the earl said, referring to his heir.
Ewan was all too aware that Hamish was not here. Right now Hamish and his younger brother were enjoying fresh air and sunshine on the Continent and not sitting in this drafty old castle in a room hung with heavy green drapes. The same faded fabric framed the earl's body on the big bed, falling in languid swags like stage curtains.
The interruption of Ewan's visit to London by the summons had been irritating enough, but the discovery that his cousins, the earl's own sons, had escaped the call by going abroad, really annoyed him.
"I will confess that I am glad it is you, my boy. Hamish would not have understood the matter that weighs on me. You know how he is."
"I certainly do." All too well. Hamish had grown into one of those purse-lipped, morality-spewing, judgmental Scots. When the earl eventually died, which Ewan expected would not happen for another decade or so, Ewan anticipated that Hamish would try to reform his cousin by threatening the allowance that augmented Ewan's income from his modest property.
His uncle had never been so intrusive in his private life, but then, his uncle had a history that did not permit umbrage over bad behavior without considerable hypocrisy. The current Earl of Lyndale had been a rake in his youth and a roue in his maturity. Ewan suspected that the fair-haired woman floating about the castle today was the current mistress.