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.
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 . . . .
The Marquess Langston has more important things to worry about than a group of literature-loving ladies. But Matthew's grand plan to rescue the family from ruin could be lost when he discovers Sarah hiding behind his bedroom curtain. What is this meddlesome woman up to? And why are his desires inflamed by a chit who is too inquisitive for her own good? Well, two can play at this game . . . and when Matthew captures the beguiling Sarah in all her naked glory, the night of mischief has only just begun.
The last thing Daniel wanted was to be shackled by marriage vows. He lusted after Carolyn, sure, but he never imagined that once he lured her to his bed he'd never want to let her go. Yet only when a murderer targets his beloved will he be spurred to confess his true love . . . and claim Carolyn as his bride.
But Honoria wasn′t about to bend society′s demands and marry a man "just" because they′d been found together virtually unchaperoned. No, she craved adventure, and while solving the murder of a young Cynster cousin fit the bill for a while, she decided that once the crime was solved she′d go off to see the world. But the scalding heat of her unsated desire for Devil soon had Honoria craving a very different sort of excitement. Could her passion for Devil cause her to embrace the enchanting peril of a lifelong adventure of the heart?
Victoria cannot believe her father would send her to the middle of nowhere, and just when the the Season was in full swing! And with Nathan Oliver, no less! Of course, he's dashing and more interesting than the fops she's acquainted with in Town, and it would be so easy to fall in love with him. But why does he insist on searching through her luggage in the middle of the night? And why does he insist their lives are in danger?
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to rugged Scotland with a dramatic tale of passionate desire and unwavering devotion.
Restless and impatient, Marcus Cynster waits for Fate to come calling. He knows his destiny lies in the lands surrounding his family home, but what will his future be? Equally importantly, with whom will he share it?
Of one fact he feels certain: his fated bride will not be Niniver Carrick. His elusive neighbor attracts him mightily, yet he feels compelled to protect her—even from himself. Fickle Fate, he’s sure, would never be so kind as to decree that Niniver should be his. The best he can do for them both is to avoid her.
Niniver has vowed to return her clan to prosperity. The epitome of fragile femininity, her delicate and ethereal exterior cloaks a stubborn will and an unflinching devotion to the people in her care. She accepts that in order to achieve her goal, she cannot risk marrying and losing control of the clan’s reins to an inevitably controlling husband. Unfortunately, too many local men see her as their opportunity.
Soon, she’s forced to seek help to get rid of her unwelcome suitors. Powerful and dangerous, Marcus Cynster is perfect for the task. Suppressing her wariness over tangling with a gentleman who so excites her passions, she appeals to him for assistance with her peculiar problem.
Although at first he resists, Marcus discovers that, contrary to his expectations, his fated role is to stand by Niniver’s side and, ultimately, to claim her hand. Yet in order to convince her to be his bride, they must plunge headlong into a journey full of challenges, unforeseen dangers, passion, and yearning, until Niniver grasps the essential truth—that she is indeed a match for Marcus Cynster.
A neo-Gothic tale of passionate romance set in the uplands of southwestern Scotland
A Cynster Second Generation Novel – a classic historical romance of 114,000 words.
Praise for the works of Stephanie Laurens
“Stephanie Laurens’ heroines are marvelous tributes to Georgette Heyer: feisty and strong.” Cathy Kelly
“Stephanie Laurens never fails to entertain and charm her readers with vibrant plots, snappy dialogue, and unforgettable characters.” Historical Romance Reviews.
“Stephanie Laurens plays into readers’ fantasies like a master and claims their hearts time and again.” Romantic Times Magazine