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Pride & Passion (Brethren Guardians) Mass Market Paperback – November 15, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Brethren Guardians
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780373776177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373776177
  • ASIN: 0373776179
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,811,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charlotte Featherstone writes erotic historical romance, and historical romance for Harlequin Spice, and HQN Books. Her writing style has been described as beautiful, haunting, emotional and sensual. Charlotte lives on Lake Erie's North Shore in Ontario Canada, with her husband, daughter and two lovable but ill behaved dogs.

Charlotte's website address is www.charlottefeatherstone.net

 

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"My dear, you have been looking forlornly out that window for half an hour now. Why do you not go and call on Lady Black?"

Lucy tucked the bit of lace she held in her hand between the voluminous folds of her rose-colored silk and velvet skirts, as she gazed over her shoulder at her father. It was early November, and the day was gray with drizzle that promised to turn to sleet. She pulled the fur shawl a little tighter about her shoulders. The fire that had been laid was crackling, the amber flames flickering with warmth, filling the room with the comfort that only a roaring fire in late autumn could bring. But still Lucy was cold. She had been for months. Nothing seemed to warm her.

"It is early yet, Papa," she answered. "Too early for calls."

"Nonsense, the new Lady Black is your cousin—I daresay almost your sister. It's never too early to call on family. Besides, I'll be leaving now for my club, and I would like to know that you're not at home, hanging about at loose ends."

A wry smile escaped her as she cast her gaze once more out the window, to the mammoth black iron gates that stood across the street. How strange it was, that after all these years—decades, actually—her father cared about what she might—or might not—be doing. Her loneliness, and it had been substantial, had never mattered to him before.

The Marquis of Stonebrook was neither a heartless nor an intentionally cruel man. Lucy could not say that about her father. Only that he wasn't mindful of others and their needs. He was emotionally absent—not mean or quarrelsome. Just.. absent. There was no other word for what her father, and her mother, had been. Although, perhaps uninterested might be a close second. The long-held adage of "seen and not heard" did not pertain to her upbringing. For her parents had seen very little of her, and heard her? Not at all.

Her parents had been more concerned with their own lives than that of their child. She had been of little consequence to them, bringing to them little enjoyment. Her conception had been an obligation to further the title, and when she had turned out to be a girl, and no other children followed her, her parents had resigned themselves to the fact that their legacy would live on through the husband they would choose for her.

And Lucy knew without a doubt who her father wanted her to take for a husband. The passionless and priggish Duke of Sussex.

The duke was a sedate, dull and frightfully proper man—nothing like the man she dreamt of when she imagined a husband. Nothing like those dreams she had entertained when she was younger, when the butcher's boy would come round with his master and keep her company in the kitchen while the butcher haggled with Mrs. Brown, their old housekeeper. Those had been silly, girlish fantasies of what it might be like to follow one's heart and dreams; those fantasies had swiftly been dashed by her father, and she soon learned what being a marriageable woman in her world truly meant.

And such was the essence of her life, until eight months ago when she had taken her future into her own hands, seeking out what she felt her life lacked in the arms of an artist. The warmth and acceptance she had found with him would not exist with the duke. Their union would be an alliance, not a relationship.

"Come, my dear, I've been watching you for a while now, sitting on that window box, lost in thought. Surely whatever it is you're hiding there beneath your skirts isn't so serious for one as young as you?"

A bit of Brussels lace, that's what she had buried beneath the folds of her skirts. It was embroidered with her initials, and given to her lover on the night she had offered herself to him. And then he had died, or at least, she had believed he'd died in the fire that had consumed his rented rooms.

She had grieved, wept and despaired over never feeling alive again, until a fortnight ago, when the lace had been resurrected and delivered to her hand. That it had been his grace, the Duke of Sussex, who had delivered the handkerchief to her never ceased to perturb her. Why he had been the one to return it to her was still something she mulled over during the long, lonely nights spent alone in her father's town house. She did not care for the notion that Sussex knew of her dalliance with another man. She didn't care what he thought of her, or what he made of the handkerchief—or if he thought her fast and immoral, and so far beneath him for indulging in base pleasures.

It did not matter what his grace made of it all, for Lucy cared about only one thing: Thomas was alive, she was sure of it. He had made her promises. He'd spoken to her of their future together. She had believed that future burned to ashes in the fire, but the lace that she rubbed between her fingers told her that everything she believed was about to change.

"You're frowning. Your mama always said it would give you creases about your eyes."

Lucy found herself smiling. "Yes, she did say that. But I haven't gotten the wrinkles yet."

It was her father's turn to frown. "Dare I hope the reason for your deep rumination might be the subject of marriage, especially after you have witnessed the marital felicity between your cousin and her new husband?"

"I am afraid not, Papa."

"I thought not, but one can hope, and I haven't given up yet."

Her father would never give up. It was his desire to see her wed to the duke, and nothing less would do.

"And that is all that you intend to say on the matter, is it? Well, then I shall let it rest for now. Come then, Lucy, I must be off. I shall escort you across the street."

"Really, Papa, there is no need for concern. I am quite all right at home."

"Alone?" he guffawed. "Absolutely not, you're still recovering from your illness."

There was no fighting him on this. A fortnight ago she had been gravely ill—her own stupidity, which she refused to think on—and ever since, her father made certain that she was never left alone, although it was not him who was a constant presence, but Isabella, whose task it now seemed was to hover about and mind Lucy's activities.

Lucy thought back to those months ago, when, in an attempt to appease the loneliness left behind by the imagined loss of her lover, she had turned down many a dark and dangerous path, one of seances and scribing, and bargaining in her dreams if only she could find her lover once again. There had been that awful sense of incompleteness, having never had a chance to say goodbye. To see him one last time before he faded forever onto the other side, where breathing mortals could not follow.

Dabbling in the occult had been a way of idling her time away—and perhaps a somewhat foolish and desperate measure to find him in the ethers of the spiritual realm—it was then that she had come across the mysterious Brethren Guardians and their sacred relics—a relic she had stolen and used for her own purposes. The result had been disastrous, and nearly deadly.

It had terrified her father, and now he was hovering about, foisting her onto her cousin, and generally distrusting her, treating her like a child.

"Come, Lucy. I insist," her father muttered in that voice that would brook no refusal. "There is no moving me on this. You will join Lady Black today and attend to those things that ladies do during morning calls."

"I will just change," Lucy sighed, quite resigned in the matter.

"Balderdash! You are quite appropriately attired. There is no need to waste time on changing your wardrobe."

Her father wouldn't hear of it. He was in something of a hurry to get to his club, and therefore, she was escorted out of the salon, and into the hall, where Jennings, their butler, assisted her with her cloak and umbrella.

"Damn this weather," her father grumbled as he reached for her elbow and ushered her down the stone steps to the waiting carriage. "We'll drive across the street, for there is no telling how long it will take Black's footman to open the gates. I have no desire to wait in the rain for the gates to open. Don't know why he needs them, anyway." Because he was a Brethren Guardian. But she couldn't very well inform her father of such a fact. She herself should know nothing of it. Lucy barely understood this strange Brethren that Sussex and Lord Black belonged to, but it didn't matter. During her study of the occult, she had stumbled across it, discovering not only who the Brethren were, but the relics they kept hidden. She had sworn an oath of silence, promising never to speak of their little group to anyone. And in return, her own shocking secret would be kept from her father, and the microcosm that was their world—the ton.

She knew only bits and pieces of the Brethren Guardians' secrets; it was an esoteric society made up of three influential peers: Black, Sussex and the Marquis of Alynwick.

Their business was mysterious and secretive, and dangerous. From what she knew of their secrets, there existed an onyx pendant, which was the very essence of evil, and some sort of chalice that they protected. But what they represented, she could not say, and could not find out.

Black, who had recently become the husband of Isabella, Lucy's cousin, had been shot a fortnight ago during what was termed Guardian business. Well on the mend, Black pretended that naught had happened, and Isabella, a true and honorable wife, would not speak of it. Lucy had tried, but Isabella had remained stubbornly tight-lipped. And the pendant…it had belonged to Black and his family, and purportedly contained seeds with magical powers. Lucy had taken it, ingested a seed inside the pendant and wished with everything inside her in the hopes she might once more see her lover and say her tearful goodbyes.

Of course, the rash action had caused her days of vomiting, and a strange feeling of po...


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Customer Reviews

Adrian and Lucy's road to everlasting love was quite a rocky one.
Amazon Customer
The love story part of the plot line is slowly built throughout the book until you get toward the end where the not so looked forward to wedding occurs.
Jennifer Scarpa
I waited impatiently for this book after reading the first in the series over the summer.
Megan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jen TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 22, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let me start out by saying how much I enjoyed this book. It spared me many of the frustrating tropes I usually find in historicals. The heroine isn't a ninny or a virgin. The love isn't instantatious. And there is no great misunderstanding. It was a solid romance, with good sex, and enough danger to kick it all up a notch.

We first met Lucy back in Seduction & Scandal. She is desperately trying to find her former lover Thomas, who she had thought died in a fire. But not only is he alive, but he is somehow wrapped up in a nefarious group, trying to obtain ancient artifacts of the Templar Knights. Adrian, the Duke of Sussex, even claims he saw Thomas kill a man. But Lucy holds out hope she'll be reunited with the man she thought she loved.

Sussex is on a mission to make Lucy his own. It's made very, very obvious from the beginning that he is hiding a secret. (And it doesn't take a rocket science to determine his true identity.) But no matter how much he pines for Lucy, she doesn't return his affections. It's really kind of sad, but the thing is... she can't love him because he hides who he really is. He presents himself with a mask of propriety, but once he begins to allow his mask to fall and his passion to shine through, Lucy doesn't stand a chance.

Even though the "big reveal" of Sussex's secret was no surprise, it was still very poignant. I just wanted to step inside the book and give him a great big hug. How could it take Lucy so long to see what was right before her eyes?? The love story is good... and the sex is hooooot. All this with the backdrop of the mystery set up in the last book. Who is trying to steal the ancient artifacts?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly on January 3, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lady Lucy Ashton has given into the spiritualism craze that has swept through Victorian London. But Lucy is no bored society lady dabbling in the occult; she wishes to make contact with her lover, Thomas, who perished in a fire. What Lucy does not wish is to believe the arrogant Duke of Sussex's claim that Thomas is very much alive - and a killer in league with a man who goes by the name Orpheus. Sussex and his fellow Brethren Guardians are determined to protect mysterious Templar treasures and are working to bring down Orpheus and anyone associated with him, including Thomas. If that wasn't enough to make Sussex Lucy's enemy, the fact that her father is determined to marry her off to the priggish duke would do it. Lucy wants passion in her life and Sussex can never give her that... Or can he?

Pride & Passion is a bit of a problematic book to review. There are a number of things I love about it, such as the sensuality, charm, and overall appeal of Sussex, interesting secondary characters, and the all-too-brief glimpses of Templar treasure intrigue and the occult craze in Victorian England. That being said, my reading experience was tainted by the fact that the negative points of Pride & Passion overwhelmed the positive ones.

Let us start with the good: Adrian, the duke of Sussex. He's a delicious hero with a scandalous secret. I loved the depth of caring he showed to Lucy and his sister, Elizabeth, and I couldn't help but hope he found happiness with Lucy (even though I didn't understand why he was in love with her). The only thing I didn't understand was his propensity for seducing Lucy in odd places.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PhantomRose on February 8, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I like Charlotte Featherstone's writing style overall and the characters and settings in this book were well done however, it was very slow moving plotwise. It has an interesting and somewhat unique plot but there just wasn't much of it; you can go through pages and pages and pages without very much actually happening. There are actually several storylines twisted together and you can tell once you get into it that this is obviously part of a series, though there was nothing to indicate that when I purchased it. The thing I disliked most about this book though is that it ends without even solving the main mystery that the story is built around. It just ends in the middle. At first I thought the last chapters must have been missing. It appears that the plot is chopped up in order to be used over a number of installments in this series which, in my opinion leaves the plot stretched too thinly throughout this book. While I enjoyed the story(what there was of it) this book just left me feeling cheated in the end. I have read many such intertwined series, but in most cases, each indiivdual book had a satisifying conclusion. Some left just enough intrigue to intice me to want to purchase others in the series or introduced a hint of a new storyline but it seems dishonest to me to sell a book as a stand alone story when it really is not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kari on December 26, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book by Featherstone. It's the second book in the series, and I can't wait for the next. Pride & Passion continues the story from Seduction & Scandal and pulls you in not only to the love story surrounding Lucy and Adrian, but the mystery of the relics that the Guardians protect.
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