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Lady of Desire (Anglais) Poche – 1 janvier 2003

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London, 1816

The hackney coach rumbled under the arched stone passage and rolled to a halt in the torchlit innyard, but even before the driver could throw the brake, let alone descend to assist his solitary passenger, the door swung open and she jumped out—a tempestuous, tousle-headed eighteen-year-old with the fire of rebellion in her dark eyes.

Sans maid, sans chaperon, Lady Jacinda Knight thrust the carriage door shut behind her with a satis- fying slam. She turned, shrugged her leather satchel higher onto her shoulder, and passed a simmering glance over the galleried coaching inn with its double tier of white-painted balustrades as a pair of postboys dashed out to assist her.

“My luggage, please,” she ordered, heedless of them gawking at her slender figure wrapped in a ruby velvet redingote with rich sable fur at collar and cuffs. She paid the coachman, then marched across the cobbled yard, her guinea-gold corkscrew curls bouncing with her every determined stride.

At the threshold of the busy inn, she paused, warily scanning the motley assortment of bickering, rumpled travelers. A child squalled on his mother’s hip; plain, rustic-looking folk dozed on chairs and benches waiting for their stagecoaches to depart. A drunkard was making a nuisance of himself in one corner, while a beggar boy had crept in to escape the damp chill and huddled near the crackling hearth.

Lifting her chin a trifle self-consciously, she proceeded into the long room among what her count- less wellborn beaux would have called “the Great Unwashed.” She felt their stares following her, some rude, some merely curious. She noticed a man squinting at her feet as she passed and realized that beneath the long hem of her coat, her gold satin dancing slippers were visible.

She gave him a scowl that suggested he mind his own business and yanked the fur-trimmed hem over her toes. Doing her best to keep her feet tucked out of sight, she strode to the high wooden counter, where the booking agent sat ignoring the lobby’s chaos, safely hidden behind a crinkled copy of the London Times. Above him hung a chalkboard scrawled with a timetable of arrivals and departures, fares and destinations.

Jacinda tugged briskly at her gloves and hoped she looked like she knew what she was doing. “Yes, excuse me, I require passage to Dover.”

“Stage leaves at two,” he grunted without lowering his paper.

Her eyes widened at such rude, poor service. “You misapprehend me, sir. I wish to hire a post chaise.”

This got his attention, for only the wealthy could afford to hire the yellow-painted private carriages. He peered over his paper, then heaved up out of his chair and slouched over to attend her just as the two post-boys came laboring in under her hastily packed traveling trunks. The booking agent plucked his quill pen out of the inkpot and wiped his nose with ink-stained fingers. “Destination?”

“Dover,” she repeated crisply. “How soon can the chaise be made ready?”

He glanced over his shoulder at the dusty wall-clock, then shrugged. “Twenty minutes.”

“I shall want four horses and two postilions.”

“It’ll cost ye extra.”

“It does not signify.” Absently pulling her small leather money purse out of her satchel, she hurried to tip the postboys.

The booking agent’s eyes glazed over as he stared at her purse, plump with gold guineas and bright silver crowns and shillings. His quill pen hovered over the blank waybill, his whole demeanor improving at once. “Ahem, my lady’s name?”

“Smith,” she lied evenly. “Miss. Jane. Smith.”

He glanced around for her chaperon, footman, or maid, of which, for once in her life, praise heaven, she had none. He raised his scraggly eyebrows. “Will Miss Smith be traveling alone, then?”

She lifted her chin a notch. “Quite so.”

His dubious look alarmed her. Holding his gaze like a seasoned gamester, Jacinda slid a few coins across his desk. Pursing his mouth, he pocketed them with no further questions, and she breathed a sigh of relief. Then the booking agent entered her alias in his logbook and copied it onto the waybill. This done, he pointed with his quill pen to her two traveling trunks piled behind her. “That all your baggage, Miss, er, Smith?”

She nodded, laying her gloved hand oh-so-casually over the gilt-tooled coat of arms emblazoned near the clasp. Hiding her family crest from his view, she waited until he bent his head again to continue filling out the waybill, for if he saw it, she knew that no bribe would be sufficient to dissuade him from sending back to Almack’s for her tribe of formidable elder brothers, who would come rushing to drag her home in a trice. Aiding and abetting her escape, after all, was akin to crossing all five of the Knight brothers, a blunder no man in the realm dared make; but Jacinda refused to be thwarted. She was going to Dover and thence to Calais, and no one was going to stop her.

Soon the booking agent had collected her payment and had sent the lads out to ready the chaise. While they bore her trunks away to be loaded into the boot, she paced restlessly in the lobby, nearly jumping out of her skin each time the tinny horn blew, announcing another stagecoach’s arrival or departure.

Since she had a bit of a wait, she sat down on the bench by the wall beneath the candle-branch. Loosening the ribbons of her bonnet, she reached into her satchel and pulled out her beloved, well-worn copy of Lord Byron’s The Corsair to read a bit while she waited. She tried to lose herself in the romance of the dashing outlaw, but she could not concentrate with the excitement of her adventure racing through her veins.

Nervously, she checked her travel documents one more time, securely tucked between the pages of the book, while memories of her Continental tour danced through her head. Two years ago, her straitlaced eldest brother and main guardian, Robert, the duke of Hawkscliffe, had been assigned to the British delegation at the Congress of Vienna. He had taken his wife, Bel; Jacinda; and her companion, Lizzie, with him on the trip to enjoy the lavish festivities celebrating the end of the war. With Napoleon locked away at last, it had been safe again to tour the Continent. Robert had led them on a roundabout course to the Austrian capital, visiting some of the most important and beautiful cities of Europe along the way—and at each one, a whole new crop of charming young gentlemen to flirt with, she thought in wicked pleasure. What fun it had been—though blind Cupid, devil take him, had continually missed her heart with his golden arrows. Of all the places she had seen, Paris, the city her mother had loved, had been holy ground to Jacinda.

Soon, she thought dreamily, she would be in Paris again, among her mother’s glamorous friends of the decimated French aristocracy. At last, she would be free. By heaven, she would not stay here and be forced to marry Lord Griffith, no matter how perfect he was or how advantageous the match, for their families’ lands adjoined each other in the northern wilds of Cumberland; no matter, even, that he was the only man her brothers unanimously trusted to become her husband, their friend from boyhood days and on through Eton and Oxford.

A handsome, sophisticated man of nearly forty, Ian Prescott, the marquess of Griffith, was possessed of a cool, steady temperament that was just the thing, her brothers had decided, to balance her “youthful passions” and “headstrong ways.” For his part, Ian was tranquilly prepared to marry her whenever she was deemed ready and willing, but Jacinda refused to be given in holy matrimony to one who was not her love, not her soul mate, but a man she thought of as an extra brother—yet another skilled, patient guardian who would gently tell her what to do, make all her decisions for her, try to buy her obedience with expensive baubles, and treat her like a pretty little fool.

Tonight at Almack’s, in the hopes that it was the one place she would not dare make a scene, Robert had told her that after her recent bit of mischief at Ascot, the much-anticipated match between their two powerful families must no longer be delayed. The negotiations for her marriage settlement were almost finished, he had said, and tomorrow they would set the wedding date. She had been nothing less than shocked.

The problem with her brothers was that they were a hundred times too protective and could not take a joke where she was concerned. It had been nothing but harmless fun, that day at the horse races, she thought innocently.

Informed of her fate, however, she had instantly realized drastic action was in order. There was no reasoning with Robert when he got that holier-than-thou look in his eyes. His wrathful gaze and rum- bling tone had reminded her afresh that he was not merely the starchy, lovable eldest brother whom she had cheerfully tormented throughout her childhood; he was also one of the most powerful men in England, an imperious, august personage whom even the prince regent found intimidating. So, she had slipped out of Almack’s; run all the way home; hastily packed her things; and whistled for the first hackney that came rolling down St. James’s Street around the corner from her home, the imposing Knight House on Green Park.

“Spare a penny, m’um?”

Startled out of her thoughts by a small, timid voice, she looked up from her traveling documents and instantly suffered a pang of compassion. Before her stood the bedraggled street urchin who, earlier, had been crouching by the hearth fire. The child stared at her imploringly, his small, grimy hand held out in hopeful expectation. He looked about nine years old. His puppy-dog eyes were huge and brown, his little f...

Présentation de l'éditeur

With the smashing success of Lord of Fire and Lord of Ice, Gaelen Foley has confirmed her place as one of historical romance’s hottest talents. Now with Lady of Desire, a sizzling tale in which a fiery young temptress tames the king of thieves, she delivers her most enthralling–and smoldering–novel yet. . . .

Impetuous Lady Jacinda Knight is the daughter of a scandalous woman. Though society predicts she’ll follow in her mother’s footsteps, the spirited beauty stands unashamed of her passionate nature. Then one night, in flight from a safe but loveless marriage arranged by her strict older brother, Jacinda finds herself alone on a dark and dangerous street face-to-face with Billy Blade, the notorious leader of a band of thieves. His stolen kisses awaken in her a longing for a man she can never possess.

A handsome scoundrel running from a secret past, Billy Blade has never met a woman like Jacinda–her fiery innocence and blossoming sensuality set his rebel’s heart ablaze. Having turned his back on the privilege and power of his tyrannical father’s house years before, he vows to return to his rightful place and reclaim his title, Earl of Rackford–to win the love of the ravishing beauty who has stolen his heart . . .

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Format: Poche
Another of Gaelen's wonderful novel !
One of my favorite this one and I've read all of them.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x948686fc) étoiles sur 5 65 commentaires
23 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x95c758c4) étoiles sur 5 Another wonderful and touching Foley read! 9 janvier 2003
Par baltimore0502 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
After meeting Billy Blade in "Lord of Ice", I was so looking forward to this book that I was a bit worried that it would not live up to my expectations. I worried for nothing. I loved this book. As others have pointed out, contrary to the title, this is really Billy's story and if Billy doesn't touch your heart either you don't have one or it's made of stone!
After fleeing his abusive father at 13, Billy eventually winds up a gang leader in London's slums. He may be a criminal, but he's got principles, taking responsibility for his people and also covertly assisting the government on occasion - that's how he knows Jacinda's spy brother Lucien. And Lucien is the only person who knows his true identity - second son of the Marquess of Truro and St Austell! That Lucien sure can keep secrets!
Lady Jacinda is the spoiled baby sister of the Knight clan. Her protective older brothers are practically smothering her and when they arrange a marriage to Ian, Lord Griffith, it's more than she can bear. Though she adores Ian, he's more like another brother to her and so she decides to flee to Paris. At a coaching inn she's pickpocketed and pursues the thief into an alley - and into the middle of a turf battle between two of London's toughest gangs. She is discovered by Billy and taken back to his headquarters refusing to tell him who she is or why she's out alone in the streets.
Over the next few hours they talk, with Jacinda sharing more than she intends about her hopes, plans and her infamous mother, while both notice a budding attraction. Jacinda is amazed to find that he actually listens to her - something no one else does. I fell in love with Billy when he says to himself in astonishment "she likes me"! How cute. But when Billy discovers who she is, he returns her to her family much to her displeasure.
Events force Billy to reunite with his father and reclaim his title, Earl of Rackford, and so Billy and Jacinda meet again. He pursues her, she tries to elude him for she has her own plans. But a relationship develops and it's very sweet and fun to watch. He evolves from street tough to gentleman while she matures after seeing Lizzie's heartbreak at the hands of her rogue brother Alec as well as learning more about Billy and his difficult past. Their mutual affection and respect make you root for this great couple!
As always, I look forward to the next installment. It's Lizzie's so we'll see if Alec can redeem himself! And once again we are teased with mention of black sheep Jack whose story I am just dying for! I love this family - reading these books is like spending time with old friends. Keep 'em coming Gaelen!
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96027474) étoiles sur 5 Foley does NOT disappoint -- EXCELLENT read! 6 janvier 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Jacinda Knight, sister to the infamous Knight brothers featured in books such as "The Duke", "Lord of Fire," and "Lord of Ice" is a headstrong, spirited girl who attempts to flee London instead of facing an arranged marriage to a very nice, but brotherly-type man.
By pure accident, she meets Billy Blade, a gang leader, on the London streets at night. Billy is captivated by Jacinda's charm, wit, and beauty, and after a course of events, decides to pursue her.. as the Earl of Rackford, his birthright.
This, I'd have to say, was one of Gaelen Foley's best works.. if not the VERY best. From page 66, I was in love with Billy.. sensitive, gorgeous, charming.. with a slight shy streak that is so arresting. This is more Billy's story than Jacinda's, in fact.. because even though you will love Jacinda as the heroine, you will see Billy mature from a street thief to an Earl. You will feel his embarassment, his longings..
An extremely touching read, and one that I'd highly recommend. Even if you haven't read the previous books in the series (I mentioned them above), you will not feel lost to the storyline. Another book that I highly recommend in this series is "Lord of Fire", which is also extraordinarily written, about the sensual Lucien Knight, and prudish Alice.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x945739d8) étoiles sur 5 Not the best of the series 21 août 2004
Par S. Reader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
This is a book I have mixed feelings about. There were moments I really enjoyed it and others that had me going elsewhere for entertainment.

Billy is definitely the star of the book, but he's not as streetwise or as physically powerful as one would expect of a man in his position. His transformation into a gentleman is too easy for one who moved into a life of crime on the streets at 13.

Jacinda is described as spirited, rebellious, vivacious, and so on, but for me she came across as rather staid and placid as a general rule. In the following book (Devil Takes a Bride), I hardly recognize her; they seem to be different charactaers. That Jacinda is the one described but rarely making an appearance here.

The plot was only so-so. The book's a solid 3 stars: a decent read but nothing to make it stand out from the crowd.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x962dd7f8) étoiles sur 5 Billy Blade shines, Lady Jacinda underwhelms... 26 avril 2006
Par CoffeeGurl - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
The year is 1816. Lady Jacinda Knight runs away from the Knight estate to escape an arranged marriage with Ian, who is a good friend of her family. While she waits for the coach that will take her away from London and closer to Paris, she is robbed by a young trickster. Chasing the boy takes her straight to the London slums, where she witnesses a gang brawl. And that's where she meets the infamous "Billy Blade" for the second time (the first time was in Lord of Ice). She had felt instant attraction and curiosity for the man when she first met him at her house, but now she fears the street-smart, handsome blonde with a Cockney accent. However, Billy Blade isn't what he appears to be at first. To many, he is a Robin Hood type of criminal who likes to help the poor and the working class, but in reality, Billy Blade is the Earl of Rackford, and hides a terrible childhood that keeps him from returning to the nobility for many years. There are various twists throughout the novel.

This novel entertained me like the other offerings in the Knight series. It is filled with romance, eroticism and suspense. I loved Billy Blade. He is an interesting, gorgeous and sexy character from beginning to end, but he is especially appealing during the second half of the book. He shows just the right amount of complexity and flaws to make him real and palatable for the reader. And even though I am not partial to blond-haired heroes, and despite the fact that the Knight twins are my favorite heroes in the series thus far, I found him very attractive and very compelling. I pictured the very scrumptious Christian Bale as Billy Blade. Lady Jacinda, on the other hand, is a major disappointment. Throughout the entire series, she is portrayed as spirited, independent, rebellious and uninhibited (well, as uninhibited as a virgin could possibly be), and other than defying her brothers and running away in the beginning, she is docile, ladylike and downright underwhelming. Miranda from Lord of Ice showed more strength of character in the aforementioned book than Jacinda did in this one. The only "spirited" personality trait she seems to possess is arrogance. The subplot centering on her best friend Lizzie and her feelings for Alec was good though unsurprising to me because I read Devil Takes a Bride (book five) before reading this one. As for the setting, I like that Foley concentrates on developing London's underbelly. That to me was far more entertaining than the overdone storylines centered on the ton and its parties and balls. I liked that bit of the novel very much. This offering had its villains as usual, and for once I wish Foley would concentrate on the relationship between the protagonists as she had done with The Duke, as opposed to spending so much time with suspenseful sequences that are over the top at times. All in all, Lady of Desire is middling compared to the other offerings in the Knights Miscellany series. Billy Blade and the dark, slumming streets of London are the real highlights here. One Night of Sin (book six) is next for me. I look forward to reading wild Alec's story.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x962dd81c) étoiles sur 5 Truly inspiring hero, heroine was not, 2.5 stars 14 novembre 2011
Par Melissa - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
What could have been a sweet tale of star crossed lover was instead a tale of a snooty heiress who took way too long to evolve into a better person and a rather charming chap from the wrong side of the tracks.

Jacinda Knight heroine of this tale is running away from an impending betrothal. Her strong willed brother has ordered her to marry a neighbor and Jacinda will have nothing to do with it. Instead of just standing her ground, she plans to run away to Paris and live a life worthy of her deceased mother. Let me stop here and say that Jacinda's deceased mother has a big part to play in this novel. The reader knows her only through Jacinda and Jacinda has greatly romanticized her mother. This woman cuckolded her husband with no less than three different men, and she had children by these Don Juan's too. She abandoned her infant daughter to run off with a lover to Paris where she was killed helping her lover get some aristocrats out of Paris during the revolution. This last fact Jacinda focuses on mightily, her mother is a hero, forget the fact that she all but forgot about her children and her husband, Jacinda longs to be like this woman.

Before Jacinda can leave England, her purse is snatched and she chases after the little thief unaware she has stumbled into London's seedy area. She is saved from cutthroats and all kinds of evil doers by Billy Blade, a handsome lord of the underworld. Jacinda is imperious and haughty with Billy but she later warms up to his charming self. She does not reveal her name but Billy can deduce she is from a wealthy family. He almost seduces her, with Jacinda being accommodating to his advances. When he discovers she is a member of the powerful Knight family he sends her home and she is furious.

Billy has a secret past which he would like to remain secret but when it looks like his friends will hang, he calls on his own powerful family to save them. There is a price to pay though; he must step back into a role he eschewed years earlier. The one advantage he has though in his new role is he can court Jacinda.

I liked Billy, one thing Ms. Foely knows how to do is write an awesome hero. Billy is complex, and his emotions though hidden from others are well told to the reader. His shame, anger, bitterness and hurt are heart wrenching. His struggle to overcome these feelings are the best parts of this novel.

Jacinda is a different story. She is so prickly and proud that I never warmed up to her. She does little introspection on her own actions until late in the novel. She tends to use people and her sense of self importance is off putting.

This story although, well written when it comes to the hero, was a disappointment. Compared with the other stories in this series, Jacinda's tale is not as heartwarming.
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