Once upon a time, four superstar storytellers—New York Times bestselling authors Stephanie Laurens and Mary Balogh, along with Jacquie D'Alessandro and Candice Hern—came up with a delicious idea. What if they each wrote a story about a proper young lady stranded at a remote inn away from society's constraints? What would happen? And how long would it take for her to give in to desire?
In these four amazing tales, four heroines will come face-to-face with the men who got away . . . only to discover that, instead of anger, there is still a passionate connection that cannot be denied. And while each of their lives is quite different, and their pasts utterly unique, they will all make a common discovery—that one night can change everything . . . forever.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science, a hobby that quickly became a career. Her novels set in Regency England have captivated readers around the globe, making her one of the romance world's most beloved and popular authors.
New York Times bestselling, multi-award-winning author Mary Balogh grew up in Wales, land of sea and mountains, song and legend. She brought music and a vivid imagination with her when she came to Canada to teach. There she began a second career as a writer of books that always end happily and always celebrate the power of love.
Growing up on Long Island, New York, Jacquie D'Alessandro fell in love with romance at an early age. She dreamed of being swept away by a dashing rogue riding a spirited stallion. When her hero finally showed up, he was dressed in jeans and drove a Volkswagen, but she recognized him anyway. They married after both graduating from Hofstra University and are now living their happily-ever-afters in Atlanta, Georgia. They have one grown son, who is a dashing rogue in the making. The author of more than thirty historical and contemporary romances, Jacquie loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website.
Candice Hern is the award-winning author of historical romances set during the English Regency, a period she knows well through years of collecting antiques and fashion prints of the era. She travels to England regularly, always in search of more historical and local color to help bring her books to life.
Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to "Spinster Cove" and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.
Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn't dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week's employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother's "duchess training"… and fail miserably.
But in London, Pauline isn't a miserable failure. She's a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff's desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won't be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?
Every girl—even convent-educated ones—dreams of forbidden kisses. So when a man literally falls at Helena's feet as she's walking through the courtyard one moonlit Christmas Eve, the pretty, young comtesse d'Lisle knows he's up to no good. He's clearly a bit dangerous... and obviously caught in the middle of a clandestine rendezvous. Why else would he have risked his neck and jumped out of a window into the snow?
It's wrong, it's outlandish . . . and it's the most utterly romantic gesture she's ever seen. So when the good sisters rush up, demanding to know ifshe has seen a man on the grounds, Helena ignores the years of strict upbringing that insist she reveal his presence.
To lie would be a sin, but 'no one can be good all the time.
As a reward for her silence, the stranger takes her in his arms and enticingly, unforgettably kisses her—and then departs, leaving a lingering if unspoken promise of all that might be, should fate decree that they meet again. Although Helena doesn't know it, her wild Englishman is Sebastian Cynster, Duke of St. Ives, a nobleman who will prove to be her destiny.
Seven years later, Helena has been transformed from a pretty schoolgirl to an aristocratic beauty. Her sparkling wit has made her sought after by London's hostesses; her considerable dowry has made winning her hand the aim of many a gentleman . . . but she is deadeningly aware of how boring so many ofthese gentlemen are.
Her manipulative guardian has unexpectedly allowed her to find a husband of her own choosing, and she has no intention of marrying any man who tries to tame her. There must be someone perfect for her . . . someone who can live up to the promise ofthat long-ago kiss.
Then, at a ball, fate strikes. Once again, it is the Christmas season, and across the crowded room Helena stands transfixed . . . for there is the man whose kiss she has never forgotten, the man of her memory whom no other has ever been able to supplant. Her wild, mysterious Englishman, Sebastian Cynster, Duke of St. Ives.
One look, and he's determined to reclaim her . . . .
A peerless American storyteller, Ray Bradbury brings wonders alive. The Illustrated Man is classic Bradbury— eighteen startling visions of humankind’s destiny, unfolding across a canvas of decorated skin. In this phantasmagoric sideshow, living cities take their vengeance, technology awakens the most primal natural instincts, Martian invasions are foiled by the good life and the glad hand, and dreams are carried aloft in junkyard rockets. Provocative and powerful, Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man is a kaleidoscopic blending of magic, imagination, and truth—as exhilarating as interplanetary travel, as maddening as a walk in a million-year rain, and as comforting as simple, familiar rituals on the last night of the world.