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Ritual Sins [Kindle Edition]

Anne Stuart
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
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  • Length: 396 pages
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Book Description

Rachel Connery is a woman with a mission—to destroy Luke Bardell, the charismatic man who seduced millions of dollars from her dying mother, thus robbing Rachel of her inheritance. Now Rachel wants revenge—and she’s willing to enter Luke’s lair and risk the lure of his magnetic personality to get it. Luke Bardell is a master manipulator. He always gets what he wants from people, and Rachel Connery looks like an especially easy mark, She is beautiful and angry and spoiled, and the challenge of melting her icy exterior inspires him. For Luke it is a standard ritual. But desire is a dangerous weapon that cuts two ways. Rachel could get trapped in a nightmare of forbidden feelings…or she could use her strength and intelligence and fierce will to find a way into Luke’s heart and force his utter surrender to her—body and soul.

Editorial Reviews Review

Anne Stuart specializes in the dark, tormented hero. She loves to keep you guessing--is he good or evil? Luke Bardell, who some believe is evil incarnate and who others think is angelic, is the charismatic leader of a New Age group, "The Foundation of Being." When Rachel Connery's mother dies suddenly, bequeathing 13.5 million dollars to the group, Rachel contests her mother's will and loses. Luke invites Rachel to visit the group, ostensibly to prove the group's innocence. Rachel, who knows better than to fall into the trap, sets out to destroy Luke and the cult, but finds herself attracted to this dangerous and potentially evil man. Anne Stuart loves to flip-flop your expectations--this romance is not recommended for the faint of heart!

From Library Journal

When Rachel Connery's mother ostensibly dies of cancer and leaves all her money to the cult she has recently joined, Rachel heads for the Foundation of Being to confront the charismatic leader, Luke Bardell. But evil is rampant in the New Mexico retreat, and although Rachel eventually makes sense of it all, it's almost too late. Two protagonists with dark and twisted pasts and sizzling, occasionally sadistic sex scenes make this one of Stuart's (Lord of Danger, Zebra, 1997) darkest novels to date. More fiction than romance, the story might be too intense and erotic to appeal to some; nevertheless, it is a compelling story for all readers, and Stuart's many fans will be waiting for it. Stuart is a member of the RWA Hall of Fame and lives in Greensboro, Vt.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 591 KB
  • Print Length: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Onyx/Dutton (September 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005NJYLV2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,978 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Contemporary with Darker Hero May 18, 2003
By V
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was my first Anne Stuart book. I was riveted as I read the darkest romance novel I have EVER read. It was fantastic reading! Stuart is such a unusual romance writer. She invents a hero like I have never read - not even close to the other heroes I have read in romance novels.
Ritual Sins' hero, Luke, is a real bad boy. He is a con artist - truly! You don't know how bad Luke is for the majority of the book. He is an extremely dominant and alpha male. Luke is the leader of a cult. Visions of Jim Jones swirl in your head. He is so charismatic that you don't know if you will be able to trust him - if ever. He has easily taken in his followers and all of them love him dearly.
Rachael is a heroine who is hard to like. Her character could have been a little kinder for my tastes. But - if a real, live woman was in Rachael's shoes - I don't think she would have been kind or tolerant of Luke either. Her estranged mother has just died and left over twelve million dollars, Rachael's inheritance, to Luke's organization (cult), The Foundation of Being. Rachael is enraged and suspects foul play. Her mother has never been kind to her or given her love. Much of the plot revolves around Rachael's empty life, her cold treatment of the world, and the results of having a mother that really cared little for you. Rachael doesn't like to be touched, hates men, and is frigid. There are reasons in her background for her inhibitions. Without giving the plot away, I can safely say, she is a wreck of a person.
Luke, on the other hand, truly seems to know a lot about living a quality life. He can see most of Rachael's weaknesses within minutes of meeting her. He has her pegged right and it scares her badly. Rachael considers Luke to be a master manipulator - which he really is.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Isn't This Still In Print??? September 4, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book used as a result of a Listmania recommendation, and boy, am I glad that I did! This is a great romantic suspense story, with a strikingly original, morally ambiguous male lead character. It really pushes the envelope on what type of behavior in a hero is acceptable, and succeeds in making the reader accept it all.
Rachel Connery is a woman consumed by pain, hatred and fear - a product of her mother's constant neglect and her stepfather's abuse. Her mother recently died, but before she did she liquidated all of her assets, drained Rachel's trust fund, sold off some of Rachel's possessions, and willed everything to the Foundation of Being, a New-Age type of spiritual retreat headed up by Luke Bardell. Luke, who as a child found his mother after she committed suicide, who survived the beatings of his stepfather, who was convicted of manslaughter and served time in prison, and who has been a con man most of his life, is now running the best con of his life - a Foundation where he is viewed as virtually a messiah. Rachel suspects that the Foundation is all a sham, that the cancer deaths that have been occurring in the hospice there have had more to do with the patient's bank balance than actual illness, and has vowed to expose Luke in order to recover her lost inheritance.
The story reveals the souls of these two emotionally scarred people as they play a cat-and-mouse game with both the truth and their mutual attraction. Luke is the ultimate bad-boy hero, and Ms. Stuart has managed to make him as attractive as sin. The reader keeps waiting for him to behave in some standard heroic fashion, yet he continues to follow his own path to achieve his goals. Rachel is gradually transformed from an embittered person who just exists, to a person who actually lives.
If you can find a copy of this book, get it. It's definitely worth your time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Rachel Connery is understandably furious when her rich mother dies and doesn't leave her a dime. She lost in court. Now she's out for revenge. She wants to destroy Luke Bardell's Foundation of Being for seducing her mother and swindling her out of her inheritance. The entire time I was reading I was so hoping Rachel would give in to Luke's dark, sensuous appeal (his charisma radiates off the pages). But Rachel is stubborn, & intelligent, with a bottomless well of fury to fuel her resistance. Which makes it so much more thrilling when she finally does give in to the temptation. For anyone who likes bad boys (& Luke is such a GOOD bad boy), I challenge you to this: 3 minutes; give it just 3 minutes & see if you can put it down. Why only 4 stars? Read Night Fall by Anne Stuart and find out (it's darker, edgier, sexier, more disturbing -- just the way I like 'em).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book by the romance genre's resident genius August 16, 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Stella Connery, being of sound mind, knew what she was doing when she
learned that she was dying from cancer. She changed her will, disinheriting
her twenty-nine year old daughter Rachel and leaving her millions of
dollars to the Foundation of Being in New Mexico. When her mother finally
died and the will was read, Rachel sued, but lost because one cannot take
to court a religion especially since the benefactor was mentally sound.

The Foundation's founder, con artist Luke Bardell sees the angry,
frustrated and emotionally distraught Rachel as his next manipulative
challenge, planning to melt and conquer her heart and soul like a Svengali.
He invites her to spend some time at the Foundation. Rachel accepts because
she plans to obliterate the Foundation and destroy its founder. When an
immovable force meets an irresistible object and love enters the equation ,
bodies and souls are changed forever. However, will the relationship
between Luke and Rachel metamorphoses into a lasting love or an eternal

RITUAL SINS is an exciting, extremely well written relationship
drama. As usually found in an Anne Stuart novel, the lead characters are
not lovable, (in fact almost detestable) though very interesting, and the
support cast adds much to the story line. This novel is an excellent look
at the darker side of human emotions that turns Ms. Stuart's characters
into some of the more realistic protagonists in fiction today. Though not
for readers who enjoy escapist, up beat romances, it would be a sin for
those who enjoy a realistic, very dark relationship drama, not to read

Harriet Klausner
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars nah!
I found the first half of the book slow moving and redundant . The author could have saved 100 pages at least if she would have just got on with it ! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Angie
3.0 out of 5 stars Dismaying
Anne is a powerful writer who goes out of bounds substituting constant rape for sex. She did develop significant characters but rushed them through a rudimentary plot. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Laryohn
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings.
This book! I want to rate it a big fat five, I want to rate it a big fat one.

Luke... was really. Really. Really, really hard to like! Really. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Always enjoy it.
Read this book several times through the years. Always enjoy it.
Published 6 months ago by Terra Moriarty
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!!
Dark, hot, sexy well written story! Many twists and turns! My favorite new author!
Published 7 months ago by Desert Queen
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME HARD TO PUT DOWN
I got this because it sounded good And I'm so glad I got I could not put it down
A must read if you like romance suspense and a book that will have you reading well into the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by misscuddie
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a typical romance
Classic Anne Stuart. She is the only author who could make me root for a murdering cult leader who molests the heroine while she is asleep. Read more
Published 8 months ago by mom lisa
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark and oppressive.
Not one of my favorites Anne Stuart, Luke being one of her darkest heroes so far. But she does know how to spin a tale and make a dark 'hero' and a spineless 'heroine' into... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Ritual Sins - A dark and sinister novel
I picked this story because I have read Anne Stuart's "Ice" novels and was a big fan of her style. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great love-to-hate Hero
As I have said many times Anne Stuart knows how to write the bad "bad boy" she is so good at it. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Shannon the Romance addict!
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More About the Author

I've been writing since the dawn of time. A child prodigy, I made my first professional sale to Jack and Jill Magazine at the age of 7, for which I received $25 (admittedly my father worked for the publisher). Since then I've written gothics, regencies, romantic suspense, historical romance, series romance -- anything with sex and violence, love and redemption. I misbehave frequently, but somehow have managed to amass lots of glittering prizes, like NYT, PW and USA Today bestseller status, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America, and a decent smattering of Romantic times and RITA awards.
I live on a lake in Northern Vermont with my incredibly fabulous husband. My two children have flown the coop, but the three cats do their best to keep us from being lonely.
In my spare time I quilt and play around with wearable art, and the rest of the time I write write write. Apparently women of a certain age get a rush of creativity, and I'm currently enjoying it. Too many stories to write, not enough hours in the day.

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