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My Heart's Desire Mass Market Paperback – October 30, 2001

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (October 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671735845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671735845
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,095,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Dear Readers,

I've been a "cerebral" type all of my life. I have a non-stop, questioning, analytical mind. I love doing crossword puzzles. To this day, I snatch the Sunday New York Times magazine section every week before the rest of my family can get to it. I then labor over that puzzle until I've exhausted myself (or finished the whole thing). In school, I read Agatha Christie books one after the other, and tried feverishly to outsmart Hercule Poirot.

On the other hand, I'm a die-hard sentimentalist. I cry at old movies and believe in striving for happily-ever-after. Relationships and family mean the world to me, not only in films and novels, but in real life, as well. The bonds we form with each other are often what sustain us in our most difficult moments, and what enhance our most jubilant celebrations.

To sum it up, I'm an interesting combination of idealist and pragmatist. And that works perfectly with what I write. The idealist in me loves writing romance, and the pragmatist in me loves writing suspense. I feel very fortunate that I'm able to combine the two, and give you books that keep you at the edge of your seat, but at the same time, make you care.

To keep up with me and my novels (past, present and future), visit my website at:

You can email me at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From "Chapter One"

She was free.

The irony of the thought made Alexandria smile. Here she stood, in the unprotected shadows of night, amid the deserted warehouses of London's unsavory docks. She was totally alone but for a relentless dream and a well thought out plan to guide her. Yet she felt no fear, only exhilaration. She had waited long enough. It was time.

She inched her way through the narrow path between the buildings and paused to listen. Instinct told her it was safe. Cautiously she stepped out into the inky blackness. The March night was cold and gloomier than usual due to the heavy fog that clung to the wharf and hid the Thames from view. But Alexandria could feel the river's presence. She had a sixth sense for the water; a born sailor, her father had once grudgingly admitted. Of course, sailing in a sheltered cove off the English Channel was quite different from sailing the ocean in a storm. But then, the weather was the captain's concern, not hers. All she had to worry about was getting to the ship. The ship that, according to the answers to her discreet questions, would be departing at daybreak.

Alexandria stretched her cramped limbs. She had stood pressed against that blasted brick warehouse wall since four o'clock when the gatekeeper officially closed the docks for the day. Hardly daring to breathe, she had heard the sounds of the busy wharf subside -- the hoists and winches ceasing to unload cargo, the workers filing out, jovial at day's end. At last all had grown quiet. But still she'd dared not move; not until she could be concealed by darkness. Until now. It had seemed an eternity.

The pungent smell of beer accosted her, together with a burst of raucous laughter that caused Alexandria to start. But it was only the sailors who frequented the numerous alehouses along the docks, celebrating their last night of freedom before taking to the sea. Soon the intoxicated revelers began to sing a cheerful bawdy tune in exuberant though slightly off-key voices. Alexandria grinned. There was no danger here. The men were too deep in their cups to notice her. Unless, of course, they mistook her for one of their doxies, she thought with a troubled frown.

Another howl of laughter sent her scurrying along. The blood pulsed through her veins faster and faster. A delicate apparition in the night, Alexandria looked anything but a doxy. Her muslin gown was of a rich Devonshire brown, its simple skirts rustling about her ankles with each rapid step of her slippered feet. To avoid tripping, she stilled the movement by clutching the soft folds between her nervous fingers. Although she possessed an innate regal carriage and grace that bespoke noble birth, Alexandria was aware that soon she would be transformed from a well-bred miss to an outcast of the haut ton.

Pushing these thoughts aside, she moved silently over the wooden boards of the dock.

She could make out the dim outlines of the ships now, their wooden hulls bobbing and tugging to be set free. But the powerful hawsers that bound them securely to the dock were stubborn and would not relent. The tall masts, bare and waiting for their sails to be hoisted, towered above the decks and were but vague shadows in the murky sky. Waves lapped gently at the shoreline, their caressing motion causing the ships to sway slowly from side to side.

Alexandria slowed, caught her breath, and paused before each ship. She squinted, studying the carefully lettered names one by one. It was difficult to make out the words, so dense was the fog. Thus far it had served in her favor. Now she found herself fervently hoping it would lift by morning, else she'd be going nowhere and all her scheming would have been for naught.

At the end of the dock she found her mark and caught her breath in wonder. The ship was more splendid than she had ever imagined, sleek and powerful, the words La Belle Illusion boldly printed on its impressive bow. Compared to Alexandria's small skiff, The Sea Spray, on which she did her own covert exploring, La Belle Illusion was positively grand.

Tearing her gaze from the vessel, she glanced furtively left, then right. The night was still but for an occasional shout of laughter from far away. Triumphant, the taste of victory on her tongue, she hurried up the ramp and onto the ship.

She was just releasing her breath when she saw the man. He sat on the deck, directly in her path. Obviously he was here to guard the ship against trespassers. Her heart sank to her feet. How could she have been so stupid?

She was trapped. Trapped. Frantically her eyes searched for safety. Any place where she could hide. But there was no escape. Her plan had failed.

Tears wet her lashes as she imagined what fate would await her at home. Her mother would suffer an immediate attack of the vapors. Upon recovering, she would deliver lectures and accusations, resulting in more stringent chaperoning and a more structured life.

Worst of all, it would mean a Season of introductions aimed toward a loveless, empty marriage to a cold, uncaring nobleman. Life was already intolerable. Alexandria couldn't bear for it to be more so.

She stepped forward, prepared to beg. Perhaps the man would take pity on her, allow her to escape and find other means of arriving at her destination.

"Sir..." The word was barely a whisper. The man gave no response. "Sir?" she murmured, a bit more audibly. He responded with a loud snore.

Alexandria couldn't help herself; she began to giggle. It was all so preposterous, and her nerves were taut to the breaking point. The poor man was out cold, his head sagging on his shoulder, an empty bottle lying beside him. Hardly a fearsome adversary. She said a silent prayer. The fates continued to smile down upon her.

Sweeping past the ineffective sentry, Alexandria hurried to the stern of the ship, then down the cramped stairway. Here she hesitated. Which door to try? She put her ear to the widest one, listening intently. No sound came from within. She reached out hesitantly, pressed the handle, and pushed the door open.

In the darkness she could barely make out the outline of a desk and a trunk in one corner and a narrow bed in another. The bed caught her eye. Perfect! Quietly closing the door behind her, Alexandria hastened across the room and slid beneath the neatly made berth. She offered herself hearty congratulations on the excellent choice of a hiding place.

Judging from the sparse contents of the room, she hoped this cabin would be unoccupied during the voyage. It would serve her well.

As she settled herself on the hard floor, prepared for a long and uncomfortable night, Alexandria smiled.

Her new life had begun.

She was free at last.

"Off on another adventure, are we?" The caustic words received no immediate reaction from the powerful, virile man who strode down the seemingly endless marble hallway of the mansion. Ignoring the butler's attempt to assist him, he flung open the heavy door and glanced toward the waiting carriage. Assured that all was ready for his departure, Drake Barrett turned cold green eyes to address his younger brother's mocking comment.

"You were well aware of my intention to sail today, Sebastian," was the icy reply.

The slighter, thinner man considered his brother's response. "I suppose I should be used to your comings and goings by now, Drake. Tell me, does Father know you are leaving today?"

Drake leaned against the open doorway, a humorless smile on his face. "Of course."

"Then I need not ask what sort of mood I will find him in. We both know how he feels about his beloved elder son, Marquis of Cairnharn and heir apparent, pursuing his less than acceptable activities, now, don't we?"

Drake folded his arms across his broad chest. "I'm sure you will do your best to comfort him, Sebastian. You always do."

Sebastian gave him an innocent look. "Well, someone has to be here to look after him. After all, his health is not what it used to be. "

"Yes, I know. So try to remember that and spend less time gambling at White's and more time at home."

"Is this touching concern all for Father, or is it for Samantha?" Sebastian asked shrewdly, his cool blue eyes watching Drake's face.

Drake frowned at the mention of his sister's name. "Sebastian, she's just a child. Yes, I worry about her. When I'm away, you are the only one here to look after her. "

Sebastian gave a derisive laugh, turning away. "We both know how little comfort she takes in my presence, Drake. As far as our little sister is concerned, the sun rises and sets on you."

Before Drake could respond, a tall, slender young girl flew into the room and flung her arms about his waist.

"Drake! Were you planning to leave without saying goodbye?" she asked, her voice quavering, her soft green eyes brimming with tears.

Drake's hard expression softened as he stroked the sable hair back from her lovely, anxious face.

"Of course not, Sammy," he soothed gently. "I was planning to go to the stables and search for you. I have never left without seeing you first, have I?"

She shook her head, a worried pucker forming between her brows. "You will be careful? You will come home safely?"

"Yes and yes." He laughed, giving her a hard hug. "And I expect you to behave yourself while I am away. Is that understood?"

She nodded, wiping her eyes. "Just come home soon...please?" "As soon as I can," he promised, squeezing her hands. He glanced over her head and met his brother's cold stare. "I need to talk to Sebastian before I leave, little one. Why don't you go for your ride now? I'll be home before you have time to miss me."

With a pang of guilt he watched Samantha go, then turned toward Sebastian. "As soon as I reach Canada, deliver the supplies to York, and load the timber for our shipbuilding company, I will return."

"That will take months. Aren't you concerned about the fate of Allonshire during your absence?" Sebastian's voice was laced with sarcasm.

"Allonshire is quiet during the Season. If Father were...

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
Love the characters - they are just so full of love.
A good read by Andrea Kane, in her innate classic historical fiction romance genre.
I loved that the main character was a strong-willed, intelligent woman.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read a lot of Andrea Kane's books and she's definitely one of my favorite historical romance authors. Kane always writes delightful heroes and heroines, interesting plots and mystery subplots, and engaging well-written secondary characters. Also, she doesn't employ a lot of the ploys and tactics other authors use that often drive me crazy: her villain subplots never detract from the book, only add; she doesn't have huge misunderstandings that overtake the book and leave the hero and heroine not speaking or being dishonest with one another for eons; her heroines aren't annoying, immature, haughty, or bratty and her heroes are never mean, bordering-on-abusive, or unlikable. My Heart's Desire is the first of two Barrett Family books (it precedes Samantha, whose heroine is (you got it!) Samantha Barrett, Drake Barrett's younger sister).

MAIN CHARACTERS, Alexandria (Alex) and Drake:
Lady Alexandria Cassel (18) is a wonderful heroine: honest, guileless, loyal, kind, intelligent, and adventurous. I knew I would like her right away just from how the book starts off - with her sneaking out in the middle of the night and stowing away on a ship because she doesn't want the life of an everyday-society-miss. Despite her youth, Alex is a very mature young woman and just dreams of a life very different from that which she seems bound to have - marriage to some titled gentleman who cares nothing for her and has no interest in getting to know her.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have never been so completely enveloped into a story! Andrea Kane's writing is phenomenal. I fell in love with both characters. I would recommend this book to every historical romance lover!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Ahlers on April 20, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Alexandria and Drakes story is great. Alex stows away on Drakes ship so she can escape the trials of the Season and to go visit her father. Drake is a strong willed man and is shocked to find her on board his ship. In the end he takes her to Canada and to her father the govenor there. He is less then please with his daughter and forces her to marry Drake.
This story has it all. Romance, Suspense, and the magic that you can find in between the pages of an Andrea Kane book. Take the time to read this story you won't be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 9, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am an avid Romance reader, and i especially enjoy regency romances. This is the first novel i have read by Andrea Kane, and i enjoyed it so much that i plan to purchase all her novels and read them as well. In My heart's desire, Kane is not afaraid in letting the couple go through experiences together, feel adventure, travel. Many regency romances are the same, with the hero and heroine staying in London. This book was a breath of fresh air. The love scenes are also exceptional.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lydia L. Jensen on April 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A most romantic, entertaining and enjoyable rendition of life on board a ship and the journey of an adventurous life. Like some of the other women of that 18th-19th Century, Alexandria is at the mercy of her family insofar as finding a suitable husband
for her. Unlike other heroines of that period, Alexandria thinks she can escape a tedious, meaningless life and embarks upon an adventure of her own. Although the adventure does not culminate in events she had anticipated, and she falls into the fate her father arranges for her, it is a story of unexpected events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ruthie on March 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First of the series and it pulls you into the storyline . Alex isn't just any girl, this is her first season of coming of age in the Ton but she has her mind set on other things until she stows away and meets the captain of the ship that is taking her to her father.Capt Drake Barrett has no use for women only for his bedding desires until he meets Alex She quickly gets under his skin And the very thought of him as titled is unthinkable.Very good plot and wonderful ending. A must read!!!
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Set in the early 1800s, the story begins in London with Lady Alexandria Cassel's first season. She disdains the nobility and has no desire to wed one of them. Instead, her passion is sailing and she longs for freedom and adventure. While her mother is in England, her father, the Earl is in Canada, serving as governor of Upper Canada. Alex wants to join him. Though neither parent seems to care much for her, she decides to stow away on a ship sailing for Canada, La Belle Illusion. This part of the story required one to suspend rational belief. (I just couldn't see an 18 year old virgin in the early 1800s stowing away on a ship where she knows no one.) Anyway, she gets lucky and the ship's captain is the eldest son of a duke, Drake Barrett, and an honorable man. They are wildly attracted to each other but Drake manages to preserve her honor and she arrives unscathed in Canada, unaware that Drake is aristocracy. He dreads her finding out as he knows her feelings about the nobility.

The story is a good one, including a shipwreck on an island. I did find their first love scene a bit unrealistic. She did not act like an innocent, but had moves an experienced courtesan would have treasured. It may make the action better but it didn't quite seem real. Nevertheless, the story held my interest and I can recommend it. Kane did a good job at developing the love between the hero and heroine. You actually felt it along with them. While I wouldn't put it in the 5 star category, it's a strong 4 star.
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