He drives a hard bargain, but the pleasure is all hers.
London financier Rafe Pendragon has a reputation for ruthlessness, and exotic beauty Julianna Hawthorne is determined to clear the debt her brother owes him. Captivated by Rafe's virile good looks, weakened by his intoxicating mix of danger and sensuality, Julianna boldly agrees to Rafe's shocking terms: six months as his mistress. As Rafe's intense green eyes pierce her body and set it afire, Julianna can only imagine what emotions his kiss may unleash.
Surrendering to the pleasures of seduction and carnal delight, Rafe never anticipated that love would be the cost of his bargain. When he realizes that a vindictive enemy may harm Julianna should their clandestine liaison be exposed, Rafe must choose between loving her and protecting her. To save his fair mistress, Rafe must risk what he has already lost: his heart.
From the Paperback edition.
Warren's latest Regency is the lighthearted tale of Lady Julianna Hawthorne, a young and beautiful widow, whose brother, a profligate gambler, is in danger of losing the family estate to financier Rafe Pendragon. To forgive his debt, Julianna strikes a deal with Rafe, agreeing to become his mistress for six months. As time wears on, Julianna finds herself unexpectedly falling for the ruthless businessman, and even more unexpectedly heartbroken when he must separate himself from her, lest she become the target of his villainous, spiteful half-brother, Viscount St. George. An unpredictable villain capable of real harm, St. George is a menacing standout among a lackluster supporting cast; similarly disappointing dialogue between Rafe and Julianna doesn't get far beyond the expository, but their overwhelming chemistry should keep romance readers hooked. Warren's attempt at creating a world beyond her lovers may fail, but the three principles create enough drama to keep the pages turning. (Nov.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
October 29, 2007
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from My Fair Mistress by Tracy Anne Warren
The rented hackney rolled to a stop. Lady Julianna Hawthorne leaned forward and stared out the carriage window, surprised by what she found. Instead of the average, unremarkable row home she'd been expecting, an imposing townhouse rose upward, its three stories nearly blocking out sight of the cloudless blue sky above. Clean and genteel, the Georgian residence boasted an elegant stone facade, a fine green iron railing, and a bright white door that appeared recently painted.
Perhaps the driver has mistaken the address, she mused. Surely this beautiful home could not belong to the man she had come to see. Hand trembling, she reached into her silk reticule and drew out a small square of paper inked with the financier's direction.
36 Bloomsbury Square.
Her gaze flashed back to the townhouse--the numbers three and six plainly displayed next to each other on the door.
Her heart sank. No, there was no mistake. Whether she liked it or not, this must indeed be the villain's abode.
She passed the driver a generous handful of coins, with the promise of more to come to ensure he would still be waiting once her business inside was concluded. In a quiet, residential neighborhood such as this, finding another hackney cab would be all but impossible. And she hadn't dared take her own private coach, the one with her late husband's family crest prominently emblazoned on the side. No one, absolutely no one of her acquaintance, must ever know she'd been to this place.
Before she had a chance to change her mind and let fear send her scurrying back home like some timid brown mouse, she forced herself to alight from the carriage.
She paused, brushing a nervous hand over the folds of her warm woolen pelisse and the cerise satin day dress underneath. Knowing she couldn't afford to delay further, she forced her feet to action. Climbing the stairs, she lifted the knocker and gave two smart raps.
At length the door opened on a set of silent, well-oiled hinges. Hard black eyes peered down at her out of a long, brutish face. As a woman of diminutive stature, Julianna was well used to craning her neck backward in order to look up at men. But this man, this towering mountain of flesh, was the tallest human being she'd ever seen. He reminded her of a tree. A very large, very dense oak that grew in the deepest, oldest woodlands.
But it was the gruesome, crescent-shaped scar bisecting his left cheek from temple to jaw that made her gasp, saliva drying in her mouth.
"Yeah? What d'ye wants?" he demanded, his bass voice as scary as the rest of him.
Her tongue, usually one of her most nimble allies, lay limp behind her teeth, failing to come to her aid.
The brute scowled harder as she fought for composure.
On a sharp inhale, she made herself begin. "I--I have come to speak with Mr. Rafe Pendragon. Might you be he, sir?"
Merciful God, she prayed, let this not be him.
The Tree scowled harder, thick black brows scrunching like a pair of angry caterpillars on his smooth, bald pate. "Dragon's busy and he don't have no time for no morts today, however tasty they might look. Take it somewhere else, ducky."
Then, in the most appalling display of rudeness she'd ever encountered, he slammed the door in her face.
Shivering from shock, she stood immobile, the cold February air creeping in and around her skirts. She drew her pelisse closer.
What was it that brute had said? Something about tasty morts. What on earth was a mort? If it was what she suspected--affront rushed through her, erasing the worst of her chill.
And he'd called her ducky. Ducky!
Lips tight, teeth clenched, she raised her gloved hand and knocked again.
The door opened, the Tree reappearing. "What now? Don't yer ears work? Told you already The Dragon ain't interested."
Drawing herself up as tall and straight as her five feet one inch would allow, she raised her chin.
"My good man," she declared, speaking in an aristocratic tone that would have made her late father beam with pride, "you have obviously made some sort of mistake. My name is Lady Julianna Hawthorne and I have a pressing matter of business to discuss with your master. Pray give him this and inform him that I await him directly."
Using her most formal manners, she extended a small white calling card engraved with her name.
Fingers the size of sausages reached out and took the delicate rectangle of paper in their grasp. He barely glanced at it, leaving her to wonder if the oaf could read. Crushing the card inside his hand, he began to close the door. But before he could manage the deed, she raced forward and slipped inside.