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Ravished by the Rake Mass Market Paperback – January 24, 2012


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373296762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373296767
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,921,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Louise Allen has been immersing herself in history for as long as she can remember. She finds landscapes and places evoke powerful images of the past - Venice, Burgundy and the Greek islands are favourite destinations. Louise lives on the Norfolk coast. She spends her spare time gardening, researching family history or travelling in search of inspiration. Please visit Louise's website – www.louiseallenregency.co.uk, or find her on Twitter @LouiseRegency and on Facebook.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

7th December 1808—Calcutta, India

It was blissfully cool, Dita assured herself, plying her fan in an effort to make it so. This was the cool season, so at eight o'clock in the evening it was only as hot as an English August day. Nor was it raining, thank heavens. How long did one have to live in India to become used to the heat? A trickle of sweat ran down her spine as she reminded herself of what it had been like from March to September.

But there was something to be said for the temperature: it made one feel so delightfully loose and relaxed. In fact, it was impossible to be anything but relaxed, to shed as many clothes as decency permitted and wear exquisitely fine muslins and lawns and floating silks.

She was going to miss that cat-like, sensual, indolence when she returned to England, now her year of exile was over. And the heat had another benefit, she thought, watching the group of young ladies in the reception room off the great Marble Hall of Government House: it made the beautiful peaches-and-cream blondes turn red and blotchy whereas she, the gypsy, as they snidely remarked, showed little outward sign of it.

It had not taken long to adapt, to rise before dawn to ride in the cool, to sleep and lounge through the long, hot afternoons, saving the evenings for parties and dances. If it had not been for the grubby trail of rumour and gossip following her, she could have reinvented herself, perhaps, here in India. As it was, it had just added a sharper edge to her tongue.

But she wanted so much now to be in England. She wanted the green and the soft rain and the mists and a gentler sun. Her sentence was almost done: she could go home and hope to find herself forgiven by Papa, hope that her reappearance in society would not stir up the wagging tongues all over again.

And if it does? she thought, strolling into the room from the terrace, her face schooled to smiling confidence. Then to hell with them, the catty ones with their whispers and the rakes who think I am theirs for the asking. I made a mistake and trusted a man, that is all. I will not do that again. Regrets were a waste of time. Dita slammed the door on her thoughts and scanned the room with its towering ceiling and double rows of marble columns.

The Bengal Queen was due to sail for England at the end of the week and almost all her passengers were here at the Governor's House reception. She was going to get to know them very well indeed over the next few months. There were some important men in the East India Company travelling as supercargo; a handful of army officers; several merchants, some with wives and daughters, and a number of the well-bred young men who worked for the Company, setting their feet on the ladder of wealth and power.

Dita smiled and flirted her fan at two of them, the Chatterton twins on the far side of the room. Lazy, charming Daniel and driven, intense Callum—Mama would not be too displeased if she returned home engaged to Callum, the unattached one. Not a brilliant match, but they were younger brothers of the Earl of Flamborough, after all. Both were amusing company, but neither stirred more than a flutter in her heart. Perhaps no one would ever again, now she had learned to distrust what it told her.

Shy Averil Heydon waved from beside a group of chaperons. Dita smiled back a trifle wryly. Dear Averil: so well behaved, such a perfect young lady—and so pretty. How was it that Miss Heydon was one of the few eligible misses in Calcutta society whom she could tolerate? Possibly because she was such an heiress that she was above feeling delight at an earl's daughter being packed off the India in disgrace, unlike those who saw Lady Perdita Brooke as nothing but competition to be shot down. The smile hardened; they could certainly try. None of them had succeeded yet, possibly because they made the mistake of thinking that she cared for their approval or their friendship.

And Averil would be on the Bengal Queen, too, which was something to be grateful for—three months was a long time to be cooped up with the same restricted company. On the way out she'd had her anger—mostly directed at herself—and a trunk full of books to sustain her; now she intended to enjoy herself, and the experience of the voyage.

'Lady Perdita!'

'Lady Grimshaw?' Dita produced an attentive expression. The old gorgon was going to be a passenger, too, and Dita had learned to pick her battles.

'That is hardly a suitable colour for an unmarried girl. And such flimsy fabric, too.'

'It is a sari I had remade, Lady Grimshaw. I find pastels and white make me appear sallow.' Dita was well aware of her few good features and how to enhance them to perfection: the deep green brought out the colour of her eyes and the dark gold highlights in her brown hair. The delicate silk floated over the fine lawn undergarments as though she was wearing clouds.

'Humph. And what's this I hear about riding on the maidan at dawn? Galloping!'

'It is too hot to gallop at any other time of day, ma'am. And I did have my syce with me.'

'A groom is neither here nor there, my girl. It is fast behaviour. Very fast.'

'Surely speed is the purpose of the gallop?' Dita said sweetly, and drifted away before the matron could think of a suitably crushing retort. She gestured to a servant for a glass of punch, another fast thing for a young lady to be doing. She sipped it as she walked, wrinkling her nose at the amount of arrack it contained, then stopped as a slight stir around the doorway heralded a new arrival.

'Who is that?' Averil appeared at her side and gestured towards the door. 'My goodness, what a very good-looking man.' She fanned herself as she stared.

He was certainly that. Tall, lean, very tanned, the thick black silk of his hair cut ruthlessly short. Dita stopped breathing, then sucked down air. No, of course not, it could not be Alistair—she was imagining things. Her treacherous body registered alarm and an instant flutter of arousal.

The man entered limping, impatient, as though the handicap infuriated him, but he was going to ignore it. Once in, he surveyed the room with unhurried assurance. The scrutiny paused at Dita, flickered over her face, dropped to study the low-cut neckline of her gown, then moved on to Averil for a further cool assessment.

For all the world like a pasha inspecting a new intake for the seraglio, Dita thought. But despite the unfamiliar arrogance, she knew. Her body recognised him with every quivering nerve. It is him. It is Alistair. After eight years. Dita fought a battle with the urge to run.

'Insufferable,' Averil murmured. She had blushed a painful red.

'Insufferable, no doubt. Arrogant, certainly,' Dita replied, not troubling to lower her voice as he came closer. Attack, her instincts told her. Strike before you weaken and he can hurt you again. 'And he obviously fancies himself quite the romantic hero, my dear. You note the limp? Positively Gothic—straight out of a sensation novel.'

Alistair stopped and turned. He made no pretence of not having heard her. 'A young lady who addles her brain with trashy fiction, I gather.' The intervening years had not darkened the curious amber eyes that as a child she had always believed belonged to a tiger. Memories surfaced, some bittersweet, some simply bitter, some so shamefully arousing that she felt quite dizzy. She felt her chin go up as she returned the stare in frigid silence, but he had not recognised her. He turned a little more and bowed to Averil. 'My pardon, ma'am, if I put you to the blush. One does not often see such beauty.'

The movement exposed the right side of his head. Down the cheek from just in front of the ear, across the jawbone and on to his neck, there was a half-healed scar that vanished into the white lawn of his neckcloth. His right hand, she saw, was bandaged. The limp was not affectation after all; he had been hurt, and badly. Dita stifled the instinct to touch him, demand to know what had happened as she once would have done, without inhibition.

Beside her she heard her friend's sharp indrawn breath. 'I do not regard it, sir.' Averil nodded with cool dismissal and walked away towards the chaperons, then turned when she reached their sanctuary, her face comically dismayed as she realised Dita had not followed her.

I should apologise to him, Dita thought, but he ogled us so blatantly. And he cut at me just as he had that last time. Furthermore, he apologised only to Averil; her own looks would win no compliments from this man.

'My friend is as gracious as she is beautiful,' she said and the amber eyes, still warm from following Averil's retreat, moved back to hers. He frowned at the tart sweetness of her tone. 'She can find it in herself to forgive almost anyone, even presumptuous rakes.' Which is what Alistair appeared to have grown into.

And on that note she should turn on her heel, perhaps with a light trill of laughter, or a flick of her fan, and leave him to annoy some other lady. But it was difficult to move, when wrenching her eyes away from his meant they fell to his mouth. It did not curve—he could not be said to be smiling—but one corner deepened into something that was almost a dimple. Not, of course, that such an arrogant hunk of masculinity could be said to have anything as charming as a dimple. That mouth on her skin, on her breast..

'I am rightly chastised,' he said. There was something provocative in the way that he said it that sent a little shock through her, although she had no idea why. Then she realised that he was speaking to her as a woman, not as the girl he had thought her when he had so cruelly dismissed her before. It was almost as though he was suggesting that she carry out the chastisement more personally.

Dita told herself that one could overcome blushes by sheer force of will, esp...


More About the Author

Louise Allen is the author of over forty historicalromances, published by Harlequin and Mills & Boon.

The Regency is her passion, an endlessly fascinating era full of contrast and change, danger and elegance, luxury and squalor. Women had freedoms that would shock their Victorian granddaughters, yet lived within social codes that both intrigue and appal us now. Men in Society could win fortunes at the turn of a card and lose their lives in the hazard of a duel all in the space of twenty four hours. It is all so different, with the glamour of the past gilding it - and yet the characters seem to reach out and touch us now.

Find out more at www.louiseallenregency.co.uk

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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The heroine is one tough cookie!
bookworm2bookworm
This book gets the trilogy off to an excellent start, and I look forward to reading the next two books.
Jo
The characters came to life, the romance sizzled with nice tension, all good.
Harley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By avid reader on February 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first Louise Allen novel I've read and I really enjoyed it. The heroine is strong and not conventionally pretty but wins the dashing roguishly hero in the end. A good read with plenty of angst that draws you in to the story. Couldn't put it down. The setting is a little unusual-- 3 month sea voyage from India to England and heroine n heron have shared past. A wonderful read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lady Perdita Brooke is not your typical lady of the ton, and frankly, she never was.

At sixteen, she was an awkward, skinny but tall girl with a crush on a neighboring marquis' son who was six years older than she, and who always thought her a nuisance until one unforgettable night, which left both with yearning dreams of each other.

Many years later, in a faraway India in exile for putting her family through a scandal, she's shocked to see that boy who is now a man that she still finds fascinating, handsome and infuriating, all at the same time.

Lord Alistair Lyndon is not a boy any more but a man whose experiences for the past few years have left him scarred inside and out, and while the scars that could be seen are intriguing and attractive to most of the women, the ones that are hidden are haunting his dreams and keeping our hero awake at night.

As both, Alistair and Ditta, are finally ready to return to their families, they're faced with a voyage that will set the course for their future.

The heroine is one tough cookie! She's witty and smart but not a great beauty, which made her more real.

The hero, while Alpha all the way, Ms. Allen made sure he had the shades of Beta and that made him more real.

Together, they were a force to be reckoned with!

The setting, while it starts off in India, is made more unique by having our pair stuck on a ship for duration of three months, and there's a lot that can happen during that time, trust me.

Ms. Allen has managed to tell an amazing character driven story that will touch your hearts. It's also very well written, action filled and entertaining while still sensual and touching with secondary characters well-developed and waiting for their own HEA's.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harley on April 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this even though I am a bit of a purist and prefer the stories in this genre to stay in English drawing rooms. Ms Allen has done well, bringing to life Calcutta, the realities of travel from India to England and making her characters feel human and likeable. I have no idea if she paints an historically accurate picture of how ship travel was, but it felt great to me. The characters came to life, the romance sizzled with nice tension, all good. Looking forward to some more!
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By Bookworm on February 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is admittedly light reading, but of the three novels spun out of travelers on the Bengal Queen, this one was most difficult to suspend disbelief over. It took some effort to swallow the fantasy of English people in India as presented here, to forget the usual tales of 'travelers of the Raj' and all the stereotypes: completely wrong Hindi will make you wince if you happen to know the language at all (e.g. hilo dulo naha'? 'move swing bathe'?? Ch 7 The publisher might have paid $10 for a fact checker in the country described, no? ); descriptions of bazaars and smells seem to be too modern for the historical setting and seem to be borrowed from travel journals and plates or modern package tours/blogs, and oddly enough, many of the sounds common to the times are missing--calls to prayer, chants and bells, calls on the river--as are colors and light (the sun makes everything look different in the tropics, just as it does in the Mediterranean or in the polar regions); treatment of natives is still too condescending (doesn't really matter, unless impressionable readers begin to replicate those attitudes and beliefs)...The ever-valiant Englishmen and women running out to defend the natives from tigers and mad dogs... er, Jim Corbett is infinitely more entertaining, and I wonder if the latter incident is a twist on the saying 'only mad dogs and Englishmen venture out in the noonday heat'? ... In short, if you are from India, please try not to read this; and if you are planning to visit India, please don't use this as your preconception. I quite understand the desire to spin romantic fantasy out of the British Empire's exploits, but please remember that the English speaking readership of such novels likely include those who were familiar with this sort of setting, so some verisimilitude would go a long way to endearing that readership.
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By Maria R. Bame on November 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved this book! Super-romantic and it was nice that the hero pursued the heroine every chance he got, for a change
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