Nationally bestselling author Madeline Hunter has captivated fans with unforgettable romance novels filled with suspense, seduction, mystery, and love. Now meet "the Saint" in this sizzling tale of a mysterious aristocrat, a high-spirited American beauty, and an affair that begins with an innocent temptation...and leads to the most exquisitely dangerous of seductions.THE SAINT Vergil Duclairc was a man used to getting his way. And as the newly appointed guardian of Miss Bianca Kenwood, he was determined to find her and bring her back to live with his family. The last thing he expected was to find his new ward scandalously costumed and employed as a theatrical singer. Bianca had no interest in giving up her independence, but there was something compelling about this handsome and brooding viscount who seemed to think he owned her and her inheritance.
This conventional Regency-era romance from Hunter, who's best known for her medieval romances (Lord of a Thousand Nights, etc.), is a sizzling take on the guardian-ward formula. Vergil, Viscount Duclairc, is unexpectedly thrust into the role of guardian to high-spirited American heiress Bianca Kenwood when his older brother dies suddenly. Though high in the instep, the Duclaircs are dangerously low on money, and Vergil hopes to replenish their coffers by marrying Bianca off to his rakish younger brother, Dante. Though Dante is willing, the lady is not. Bianca wants to be an opera singer, not a wife. Nevertheless, she falls in love-and quickly into bed-with the mysterious Vergil, who finds himself taken with her despite her independent ways. Their relationship, though highly sensual, feels strained, and Vergil's opportunism concerning her money may trouble readers. Hunter weaves in an excellent subplot involving blackmail and suicide, but this tale-the second in a new trilogy (following The Seducer)-fails to meet the high standard set by her exceptional medieval novels. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from The Saint by Madeline Hunter
Vergil's grudging appreciation of Jane Ormond's aria did not salve his anger one bit. He resented like hell that he couldn't have her thrown into Newgate Prison where she belonged.
She had costumed herself like a French queen from the previous century, but she appeared uncomfortable with the illusion. She held herself stiffly whenever she moved, as if she expected the high white wig to topple off or the padded, hooped gown to tip her over. The confidence of her voice contrasted with her physical awkwardness. Poses of professional self-possession contrasted with short strolls of vulnerability.
He was not fooled by her calculated charm. With her wide eyes and full lips and intimations of frailty, she affected the most dangerous type of innocence. It was the kind that prompted a man to want to lay down his life to protect it, but which provoked another, darker part to imagine stripping off her clothes and destroying it.
She moved in his direction, raising her head for the high notes of a vocal display. Her gaze met his. A flicker of curiosity passed, as if she perceived that he would not be here if duty did not demand it.
He knew that nothing in his appearance told her that. This gaming establishment had added staged shows to cater to men of his class. They took breaks from their gambling to eat in this salon and enjoy a concert of opera, or, later, entertainment of a much baser sort.
She looked longer than she ought, boldly meeting his inspection with one of her own. He suppressed the alarming combination of protective and erotic inclinations that those wide eyes summoned, by concentrating on all of the trouble that she had caused him the last two weeks.
Morton slid into the other chair at his table. Morton did look out of place with his bearish form and unfashionable beard.
"The girl is here," he said. "In a room in back. Miss Ormond brings her every night, to wait there while she sings. I spoke with the man at the door and he saw them come in together tonight."