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?
She was desperate for his help...
When a mysterious lady, her face hidden by a black veil, begs Gabriel Cynster for his help, he cannot refuse her plea. For despite her disguise, Gabriel finds the woman alluring and he is powerless to deny her. But he exacts payment as only a Cynster would demand: with each piece of information he uncovers, she must pay him - in the form of a kiss.
He was powerless to resist...
Lady Alathea Morwellan knows Gabriel is intrigued, but despite the sparks that fly between them, they have never passed a civil moment together. Yet as the stakes get higher, so does Gabriel′s desire for payment. And with each overpowering kiss, each passionate embrace, Alathea knows that she will not be able to resist his ultimate seduction...but what will happen when she reveals the truth?
The Honorable Miss Mary Cynster always gets what she wants. As the last unwed Cynster of her generation, she is determined to remain in charge of her life and of the man she will marry. At the very bottom of her list of potential husbands is Ryder Cavanaugh, the daring and devastating Marquess of Raventhorne, an overwhelming and utterly unmanageable lion of the ton. But destiny has a different plan.
Ryder needs Mary as his wife, not just because she is delightful, fiery, and tempting, but because he values all she could be. When fate and circumstance hand him the chance, he claims Mary as his marchioness...only to discover what he truly desires is not just to take her hand in marriage, but to capture her heart.
Was he the husband of her dreams . . . or a devil in disguise?
When Devil, Duke of St. Ives, and the most infamous member of the Cynster family, is caught in a compromising position with governess Honoria Wetherby, he astonishes the entire ton by proposing marriage.
Honoria, however, isn't about to bend society's demands and marry a man simply because they'd been discovered together unchaperoned. She craves adventure and longs to see the world—and though she's more than happy to assist Devil in solving the murder of a Cynster cousin, once the crime is put to rest she intends to bid Devil farewell forever.
But she underestimates the seductive power of this daring, dangerous man and the scalding heat of her own unsated desire. Does she dare let passion carry her into Devil's embrace . . . and into the most perilous adventure of all?
A Rake's Vow
He vowed he'd never marry
Vane Cynster knew the wind was blowing in a marrying direction. Other Cynster men might not mind stepping up to the altar, but Vane never wanted to be leg-shackled to any woman. Bellamy Hall seemed like the perfect place to temporarily hide from London's husband-hunters. But when he encounters Patience Debbington, Vane realizes he's met his match and soon he has more than seduction on his mind.
She vowed no man would catch her
Patience wasn't about to succumb to Vane's attentions. Yes, his kisses left her dizzy and his caresses made her melt, but he was arrogant, presumptuous . . . and, despite his protests, bound to be unfaithful, just like every other man. Patience has promised herself that she will never become vulnerable to a broken heart. But is this one vow that was meant to be broken?
"He will father your children . . . "
When Catriona Hennessy, Scottish Lady of the Vale, receives this prediction, she is aghast. How could she unite with a rake like Richard Cynster—a masterful man with a scandalous reputation? More shocking still was her guardian's will that decreed she and Richard be wed within a week! Though charmed by his commanding presence and wooed by his heated kisses, she would not—could not—give up her independence. So she forms a plan to get the heir she needs without taking wedding vows.
Richard is just as stunned by the will's command. Marriage hadn't been on his agenda, but lately he'd been feeling rather restless. Perhaps taming the lady was just the challenge he needed. But can he have the rights of the marriage bed without making any revealing promises of love?
Felicity knows Demon was one of the town′s most eligible bachelors and a rogue of the worst sort, but he was the only one capable of getting her friend out of trouble. She knows Demon will never yield her the love she desperately seeks, but could a marriage of passion alone be enough?
To achieve true contentment, Simon must find a lady accomplished enough to be his wife, someone who will spend her days as a member of one of England's most influential families ... and her nights pursuing duties of a more private—and personal—nature.
But Simon knows what to expect if he reveals his intention to choose a bride; nothing could be more tiresome than having every blushing miss on the marriage mart thrust upon him. So he discreetly begins his search at a house party at Glossup Hall . . . and is astonished that the lady who immediately captures his interest is Portia Ashford.
Simon has never considered Portia as a potential wife. He's known the raven-haired beauty since childhood; she's willfully independent and has always claimed to be uninterested in marriage. But an unexpectedly heated kiss abruptly alters the rules of their decade-long interaction. Soon they begin to long for the moments they can spend in each other's arms.
But all is not as it seems at Glossup Hall. As Simon and Portia begin to explore the depths of their mutual passion, a shocking murder is committed ... and it appears that the next victim will be Portia herself. And even more shocking than the fact that a murderer secretly walks among them is the realization that all of Simon's considerable strength and influence may not be enough to protect Portia—his once and always perfect lover . . .
Gerrard Debbington, Vane Cynster's brother-in-law, is one of London's most eligible gentlemen. Uninterested in marriage, his driving passion is to paint the fabled gardens of Lord Tregonning's Hellebore Hall -- an opportunity that is now at hand...if Gerrard agrees to create an honest portrait of Tregonning's daughter as well.
Gerrard chafes at wasting his talents on some simpering miss, only to discover that Jacqueline Tregonning stirs him as no other. Certainly, she is beautiful, but it is her passionate nature that strikes sparks with Gerrard's own, igniting desire and sweeping them into each other's arms, convincing Gerrard that he has found his ideal soul mate -- the lady he must have as his wife.
But something is horribly wrong at Hellebore Hall. Evil and lies are reaching out to ensnare Jacqueline -- and Gerrard will have to move Heaven and Earth to protect the remarkable woman who, for him, personifies the truth about love...
1822. After years of adventuring in exotic India, wealthy rakehell Lord Dyan St. Laurent Dare has been forced to return to England and assume the title of the 4th Duke of Darke, along with the attendant responsibilities, chief of which is to marry and produce an heir.
Seeking to escape familial pressure, Dyan drops in on old friends whose house parties are a scandalous secret among society's elite, but, along with his hosts, Dyan is astonished when his childhood sweetheart, Lady Fiona Winton-Ryder, nicknamed Lady Arctic, unexpectedly arrives. Fiona had scornfully dismissed him fifteen years before, and Dyan had left not just her but England, yet their long-ago, simmering attraction has only intensified...now it sizzles.
Fiona has come to save a friend from a compromising situation, but the shock of encountering masterful, arrogant, senses-stealing Dyan after so many years takes her breath away and leaves her emotionally teetering. Nevertheless, coolly assured and every bit the earl's daughter, she remains determined to rescue her friend, but will she be able to ignore her lifetime fascination and evade Dyan?
Dyan knows this party is no place for a lady like Fiona, but, by using the heat of the moment, could he - just possibly - melt Lady Arctic's ice, and, at last, capture her heart?
A classic Regency-era historical romance novella, includes explicit love scenes.
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
Reggie Carmathen needs to marry. His mother insists, and even his friends are hinting, so before he has some young chit thrust upon him, Reggie decides to choose his own bride.
But then he stumbles over Anne Ashford, a quiet, gentle English rose and a long time family acquaintance, who, shockingly, seems determined to go where ladies should not tread . . . unable to refuse a damsel in need, through their adventures Reggie uncovers hidden depths—in both Anne and himself. Could fate at last have sent Cupid after Reggie?
Celebrate summer love and sunny skies! Avon Books is delighted to present this free e-book sampler, which includes excerpts from classic Avon tales as well as eight new or upcoming Avon and Avon Impulse novels, and a special introduction from bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
An Introduction from Susan Elizabeth Phillips
New Summer Releases
When I Find You by Dixie Lee Brown
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
My Notorious Gentleman by Gaelen Foley
And Then She Fell by Stephanie Laurens
It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long
An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands
Anything But Sweet by Candis Terry
Love at First Sight by Lori Wilde
The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux
Love Me Forever by Johanna Lindsey
Nobody's Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss