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A Lady Never Surrenders (The Hellions of Halstead Hall) [Kindle Edition]

Sabrina Jeffries
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Book Description

New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries delights readers with the final novel in her sexy Regency Hellions of Hallstead Hall romance series, featuring Lady Celia Sharpe and the upstanding Bow Street runner, Pinter.

Lady Celia Sharpe has always been wary of marriage…but now her future depends on it.

With two months left to find a husband and fulfill her grandmother’s ultimatum, Celia sets her sights on three eligible bachelors. Becoming betrothed to one of these wealthy, high-ranking men will surely prove her capable of getting married, so hopefully the wedding itself won’t be necessary for Celia to receive her inheritance. Step two of her audacious plan is hiring the dark and dangerously compelling Bow Street Runner, Jackson Pinter, to investigate the three men she’s chosen.

With Lady Celia bedeviling Jackson’s days and nights, the last thing he wants is to help her find a husband. And when she recalls shadowed memories that lead his investigation into her parents’ mysterious deaths in a new direction, putting her in danger, Jackson realizes the only man he wants Celia to marry is himself!

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

By the time SABRINA JEFFRIES was eighteen, she’d eaten chicken heads and jellyfish, been chased by a baby elephant, seen countless cobras and pythons, had the entire series of rabies shots, and visited rain forests and rubber plantations. But that wasn’t enough excitement for her; to escape her mundane life as a missionary’s daughter, she read romance novels. Now she writes romance novels, and her bestselling, award-winning tales of strong women and sexy, dangerous men have been translated all over the world. Although she now lives a quiet life in North Carolina with her husband and son, her colorful past has given her plenty of inspiration for more novels.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

November 1825

When Bow Street Runner Jackson Pinter entered Halstead Hall’s library, he wasn’t surprised to find only one person there. He was early, and no one in the Sharpe family was ever early.

“Good morning, Masters,” Jackson said, inclining his head toward the barrister who sat poring over some papers. Giles Masters was husband to the eldest Sharpe sister, Lady Minerva. Or Mrs. Masters, as she’d chosen to be called.

Masters looked up. “Pinter! Good to see you, old fellow. How are things at Bow Street?”

“Well enough for me to take the time to hold this meeting.”

“I daresay the Sharpes have run you ragged investigating their parents’ deaths.”

“Murders,” Jackson corrected him. “We’ve determined that for certain now.”

“Right. I forgot that Minerva said the pistol found at the scene had never been fired. A pity no one noticed it nineteen years ago, or an investigation might have been mounted then and a great deal of heartache prevented.”

“Mrs. Plumtree paid off anyone who might have explored further.”

Masters sighed. “You can’t blame her. She thought she was preventing scandal.”

Jackson frowned. Instead she’d prevented the discovery of the truth. And that was why she’d ended up with five grandchildren stuck in the past, unable to go on with their lives. That’s why she’d laid down her ultimatum—all of them had to marry by the end of the year or none would inherit. So far, they’d obliged her. All but one.

In his mind arose an image of Lady Celia that he swiftly squelched.

“Where is everyone?”

“Still at breakfast. They’ll be trooping across the courtyard soon, I’m sure. Have a seat.”

“I’ll stand.” He strode over to the window that overlooked the Crimson Courtyard, named for its red tile.

Being at Halstead Hall always made Jackson uneasy. The sprawling mansion shrieked “aristocracy.” Having spent his early childhood in a Liverpool slum before moving to a terrace house in Cheapside at age ten, he found Halstead Hall too large, too sumptuous—and too full of Sharpes.

After nearly a year with them as his clients, he still wasn’t sure how he felt about them. Even now, as he saw them walking across the courtyard beneath a cloud-darkened November sky, he tensed up.

They didn’t look as if they planned to spring anything on him. They looked happy and content.

First came the great lord himself—Oliver Sharpe, the ninth Marquess of Stoneville, said to be a near copy of his olive-skinned, black-haired, and black-eyed father. Initially Jackson had despised the man, having made the mistake of believing the gossip about him. He still thought Stoneville had chosen the wrong path after his parents’ deaths, but since the marquess seemed to be making up for it now, perhaps there was good in him after all.

Beside him walked Lord Jarret, whose blue-green eyes and black hair were said to make him look more a blend of his half-Italian father and blond mother. He was Jackson’s favorite of the brothers. No-nonsense and even-tempered, Jarret was the easiest to talk to. And once his scheming maternal grandmother, Mrs. Hester Plumtree, had allowed him to take over the family business, the man had flourished. Jarret worked hard at Plumtree Brewery; Jackson could admire that.

After him came Lord Gabriel with his new wife, Lady Gabriel, on one arm. No doubt the other two men’s wives were in their confinement—Lady Stoneville was expected to deliver within the month, and Lady Jarret wasn’t far behind. But Jackson wouldn’t be surprised to hear of an impending child soon from the youngest Sharpe brother. The couple seemed very much in love, which was rather astonishing, considering that their marriage had initially been contracted just to fulfill Mrs. Plumtree’s ridiculous ultimatum.

That august woman clung to Gabe’s other arm. Jackson admired Mrs. Plumtree’s determination and pluck—it reminded him of his beloved aunt Ada, who’d raised him and now lived with him. But what the elderly woman was demanding of her grandchildren reeked of hubris. No one should have such power over their descendants, not even a legend like Hetty Plumtree, who’d singlehandedly built the family brewery into a major concern after the death of her husband.

Behind her, the two Sharpe sisters came out to cross the courtyard. He dragged in a heavy breath as the younger one caught his eye.

Masters approached to look out the window, too. “And there she comes, the most beautiful woman in the world.”

“And the most maddening,” Jackson muttered.

“Watch it, Pinter,” Masters said in a voice tinged with amusement. “That’s my wife you’re talking about.”

Jackson started. He hadn’t been staring at Mrs. Masters. “I beg your pardon,” he murmured, figuring he’d best not explain.

Masters would never accept that Lady Celia was to her sister as a gazelle was to a brood mare. The newly wedded barrister was blinded by love.

Jackson wasn’t. Any fool could see that Lady Celia was the more arresting of the two. While Mrs. Masters had the lush charms of a dockside tart, Lady Celia was a Greek goddess—willowy and tall, small-breasted and long-limbed, with a fine lady’s elegant brow, a doe’s soft eyes. …

And a vixen’s temper. The damned female could flay the flesh from a man’s bones with her sharp tongue.

She could also heat his blood with one unguarded smile.

God save him, it was a good thing her smile had never been bestowed on him. Otherwise, he might act on the fantasy that had plagued him from the day he’d met her—to shove her into some private closet where he could plunder her mouth with impunity. Where she would wrap those slender arms about his neck and let him have his way with her.

Confound her, until she had come along, he’d never allowed himself to desire a woman he couldn’t have. He’d rarely allowed himself to desire anyone, only the occasional whore when he felt desperate for female companionship. Now he couldn’t seem to stop doing so.

It was because he’d seen too little of her lately. What he needed was a surfeit of Lady Celia to make him sick of her. Then he might purge this endless craving for the impossible.

With a scowl, he turned from the window, but it was too late. The sight of Lady Celia crossing the courtyard dressed in some rich fabric had already stirred his blood. She never wore such fetching clothes; generally her lithe figure was shrouded in smocks to protect her workaday gowns from powder smudges while she practiced her target shooting.

But this morning, in that lemon-colored gown, with her hair finely arranged and a jeweled bracelet on her delicate wrist, she was summer on a dreary winter day, sunshine in the bleak of night, music in the still silence of a deserted concert hall.

And he was a fool.

“I can see how you might find her maddening,” Masters said in a low voice.

Jackson stiffened. “Your wife?” he said, deliberately being obtuse.

“Lady Celia.”

Hell and blazes. He’d obviously let his feelings show. He’d spent his childhood learning to keep them hidden so the other children wouldn’t see how their epithets wounded him, and he’d refined that talent as an investigator who knew the value of an unemotional demeanor.

He drew on that talent as he faced the barrister. “Anyone would find her maddening. She’s reckless and spoiled and liable to give her future husband grief at every turn.” When she wasn’t tempting him to madness.

Masters raised an eyebrow. “Yet you often watch her. Have you any interest there?”

Jackson forced a shrug. “Certainly not. You’ll have to find another way to inherit your new bride’s fortune.”

He’d hoped to prick Masters’s pride and thus change the subject, but Masters laughed. “You, marry my sister-in-law? That, I’d like to see. Aside from the fact that her grandmother would never approve, Lady Celia hates you.”

She did indeed. The chit had taken an instant dislike to him when he’d interfered in an impromptu shooting match she’d been participating in with her brother and his friends at a public park. That should have set him on his guard right then.

A pity it hadn’t. Because even if shedidn’t despise him and weren’t miles above him in rank, she’d never make him a good wife. She was young and indulged, not the sort of female to make do on a Bow Street Runner’s salary.

But she’ll be an heiress once she marries.

He gritted his teeth. That only made matters worse. She would assume he was marrying her for her inheritance. So would everyone else. And his pride chafed at that.

Dirty bastard. Son of shame. Whoreson. Love-brat. He’d been called them all as a boy. Later, as he’d moved up at Bow Street, those who resented his rapid advancement had called him a baseborn upstart. He wasn’t about to add money-grubbing fortune hunter to the list.

“Besides,” Masters went on, “you may not realize this, since you haven’t been around much these past few weeks, but Minerva claims that Celia has her eye on three very eligible potential suitors.”

Jackson’s startled gaze shot to him. Suitors? The word who was on his lips when the door opened and Stoneville entered. The rest of the family followed, leaving Jackson to force a smile and exchange pleasantries as they settled into seats about the table, but his mind kept running over Masters’s words. <P...

Product Details

  • File Size: 3517 KB
  • Print Length: 420 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00GYPHECW
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Original edition (January 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OOR3RU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,377 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This entertaining georgian romantic farce is the fifth and last in a series of romances featuring the five brothers and sisters of the Sharpe family of Halstead Hall. The heroine of this one is Lady Celia Sharpe, the baby of the family, notorious for being a far better shot than most men. Celia is the brother of Oliver, niinth Marquis of Stoneville, who appeared in a number of previous books by the same author before this "Hellions of Halstead Hall" quintet.

I would strongly recommend that if you plan to read this series you do so in sequence, which is:

1) "The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall)" (Oliver's story)

2) "A Hellion in Her Bed (Hellions of Halstead Hall)" (Jarret)

3) "How to Woo A Reluctant Lady (The Hellions of Halstead Hall)" (Minerva)

4) "To Wed a Wild Lord (The Hellions of Halstead Hall)" (Gabe)

5) This book, "A Lady Never Surrenders" (Celia)

Celia is a fiery, spirited girl with a willowy figure, who is fascinated by guns, and has a tendency to terrify men because she is forever challenging her friend's brothers and her brothers' friends to shooting matches, and wiping the floow with them. In this novel we discover a little more about how she came to be interested in guns.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heart stoping January 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
this was the 5th book of our beloved hellions. It was the best and that was hard to do because they were all so very good. I have read all Mrs.Jeffers has writen and each book is better than the last I cant wait tell the next book comes in nov. with lord devamont. You will laugh and cry as your heart races with celia and jackson. You see how they each find there true target with in each other hearts. five stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Wrap Up! January 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sabrina Jeffries is a automatic pre-order author for me, and she wrapped up the Hellions series with many "happy ever afters"... I recommend reading all the books in order for maximum enjoyment, and even going back to Let Sleeping Rogues Lie, to meet Oliver Sharpe first hand. The characters are all unique - and as I have reviewed before - Sabrina is the QUEEN of dialogue. Ladies will love Celia - who hasn't heard voices from the past undermining their confidence? And Jackson's back story is very interesting. There is heart-wrenching pain in these characters' lives, and their love for each other is heart warming :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Ending to a Wonderful Series January 24, 2012
By Jess
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a perfect ending to a wonderful series, and I for one am sad to see it end.

As the final book in the series, I would not recommend this one to those who have not read previous novels, for several reasons. First, I think newcomers to the series might feel that Jackson and Celia give in to each other a little bit too soon in the book. However, fans of the series will quickly recognize that their strange courtship, dancing the fine line between animosity and attraction, has been played out over the course of four previous novels, and as such, it didn't feel rushed to me at all. Second, there's the mystery behind Celia's parents' death, which finally comes to a wonderful conclusion. No spoilers, of course, but I know I for one got great satisfaction of finally finding out the truth behind their deaths, and I think newcomers wouldn't appreciate the mystery as much.

Overall, I adored it. Jackson and Celia are absolutely perfect for each other, but both have quite a few insecurities and a bit too much pride to let things progress smoothly. I have waited for this book ever since Celia and Jackson first stepped onto the pages together, and I will tell you, it was certainly worth the wait.

A very delicious 4.5/5 Stars

{I received this title free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Full review available on The Romanceaholic.}
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lady Never Surrenders January 29, 2012
By Margo
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very entertaining book. I have read all the books in this series (Actually I have read all of Sabrina Jeffries books) I loved the ending. Summed up everything perfectly I also from the beginning loved Jackson I loved the way he brooded, the way he respected women. I was so glad it was Celia and Jackson who got together. Another awesome book from one of my favorite authors as I knew it would be. All of her books are wonderful and entertaining can not wait for Pierce's story.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fifth book hits the target as series finale January 24, 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it.- Mark Twain

Gran is pragmatic. She runs a brewery. Gran encouraged her daughter to marry the Marquess of Stoneville, resulting in five children. When Lord and Lady Stoneville died under questionable circumstances, Gran tried to protect the children from the scandal. Understandably, the five children looked at marriage with skepticism. Gran grew impatient and issued an ultimatum - marry within a year or forfeit her fortune. Since the estate (and the siblings) needs the funds, they sought to outmaneuver their Gran.

One by one, they married - Lord Oliver in THE TRUTH ABOUR LORD STONEVILLE, Lord Jarrett in A HELLION IN MY BED, Lady Minerva in HOW TO WOO A RELUCTANT LADY, Lord Gabriel in TO WED A WILD LORD, and finally Lady Celia in A LADY NEVER SURRENDERS.

With each book, Jeffries delivered unique characters, unbridled passion, and a clue to their parents' death. The final book, A LADY NEVER SURRENDERS, serves as a metaphor as Jeffries never surrenders her trademark story telling of "lighter, sexier historicals romance." The lady in question, Lady Celia, feels the pressure as her four older siblings found love while complying with Gran's ultimatum. She invites three bachelors to attend a house party, intending to secure a fiancé long enough for Gran's deadline to pass. Her partner in deception - Jackson Pinter. He's conveniently available as he has been working for Oliver in solving the parents' murder. But he is inconveniently attractive to Lady Celia, an attraction that is mutual. Hence, the dance begins between employer and employee; a lady and a commoner, a free spirit and a straight arrow.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This. was. the. best. freaking. book!
I love the Hellions of Halstead Hall series but A Lady Never Surrenders was by far my favorite. I'd been looking forward for Jackson Pinter's book and damn it was good. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Anna's herding cats
5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner!
Great read! A great series to read regarding, The Hellions! Had a romantic murder mystery theme behind it! LOVED IT,
Published 1 month ago by Joseph T. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Sabrina Jeffries
She has written many wonder books. I would highly recommend you buy this book or any of her books because you will never be disappointed
Published 1 month ago by J. Schildgen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Great book and great series, this was the last book of a 5 book series that I was reading and enjoyed
Published 2 months ago by Mary A Dove
5.0 out of 5 stars Next to the last Hellion.
Good story, well plotted and of course well written as her books always are. I really enjoyed it and couldn't wait to get the next one to find out if they got the money or not.
Published 2 months ago by TessieLassie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lady never surrenders
Enjoyed the Hellions very much. They kept me enthralled. And solving the murder was such a great turn of events.
Published 3 months ago by Diana,Floyd knerl
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite of the series
I highly looked forward to this book and it didn't disappoint at all. I love Sabrina Jeffries and her stories always have a little mystery to them that gives a little twist to the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Isa
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Perfect Ending to Hellions of Halstead Series!
In my review of the last book in the Hellions of Halstead Series, I said I did not know why I read series. Well, this book reminds me of why. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Book Maven
4.0 out of 5 stars A lady never surrenders
Loved it !
I would recommend it to all romantic people all over the world. I am ordering another Sabrina Jeffries romance novel right away!
Published 6 months ago by Lorraine Sniadajewski
3.0 out of 5 stars book
this was a free e-book from the kindle store. it look interesting so I got it, any reader would have.
Published 6 months ago by sandra j allen
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More About the Author

Sabrina Jeffries is the NYT bestselling author of 36 novels and 9 works of short fiction (some written under the pseudonyms Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas). Whatever time not spent writing in a coffee-fueled haze of dreams and madness is spent traveling with her husband and adult autistic son or indulging in one of her passions--jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music. With over 7 million books in print in 18 different languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction, and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world.

She always dreams big.

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