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The Velvet Promise (The Velvet Montgomery Annals Quadrilogy Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Jude Deveraux
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)

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Book Description

All of England rejoiced on her wedding day. But Judith vowed that her husband would get only what he took from her!
At the flower-bedecked altar, the first touch of their hands ignited an all-consuming passion. Gavin Montgomery looked deep into her golden eyes and burned with desire for her...but his heart had been pledged to another.
Humiliated and alone in a strange castle, Judith resolved to hate this husband who took her body, but rejected her love...never admitting her fear of losing him.
But destiny held another fate for Judith...a fate that would keep at last...The Velvet Promise.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jude Deveraux is the author of more than forty New York Times bestsellers, including Moonlight in the Morning, The Scent of Jasmine, Scarlet Nights, Days of Gold, Lavender Morning, Return to Summerhouse, and Secrets. To date, there are more than sixty million copies of her books in print worldwide. To learn more, visit JudeDeveraux.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One
May 1892
Houston Chandler walked the block and a half to her house as sedately as she could manage, halting before a three-story, red brick French Victorian house that the town called the Chandler Mansion. Composing herself, smoothing her hair, she mounted the steps.
As she put her parasol in the porcelain holder in the little vestibule, she heard her stepfather bellowing at her sister.
"I'll not have language like that in my house. You may think that because you call yourself a doctor you have a right to indecent behavior, but not in my house," Duncan Gates shouted.
Blair Chandler, as like her twin sister as another person can be, glared at the man, who was a few inches shorter than she was and built as solidly as a stone building. "Since when is this your house? My father -- ."
Houston stepped into the family parlor and put herself between her sister and her stepfather. "Isn't it time for dinner? Perhaps we should go in." With her back to her stepfather, she gave a pleading look to her sister.
Blair turned away from them both, her anger obvious.
Duncan took Houston's arm and led her past the staircase and toward the dining room. "At least I have one decent daughter."
Houston winced as she heard the often repeated remark. She hated being compared to Blair, and worse, hated being the winner.
They were barely seated at the big, mahogany table, each setting laid with crystal, porcelain and sterling, Duncan at the head, Opal Gates at the foot, the twins across from each other, when he started again.
"You'd think you'd want to do something to please your mother," Duncan said, glaring at Blair, as an eleven-pound roast was set before him. He picked up carving utensils. "Are you too selfish to care about anybody else? Doesn't your mother mean anything to you?"
Blair, her jaw clenched, looked at her mother. Opal was like a faded copy of her beautiful daughters. It was obvious that what spirit she'd ever had was either gone or deeply buried. "Mother," Blair said, "do you want me to return to Chandler, marry some fat banker, have a dozen children and give up medicine?"
Opal smiled fondly at her daughter as she took a small helping of eggplant from the platter held by a maid. "I want you to be happy, dear, and I believe it's rather noble of you to want to save people's lives."
Blair turned triumphant eyes toward her stepfather. "Houston's given up her life in order to please you. Isn't that enough for you? Do you have to see me broken too?"
"Houston!" Duncan thundered, clutching the big carving knife until his knuckles were white. "Are you going to allow your sister to say such things?"
Houston looked from her sister to her stepfather. Under no circumstances did she want to side with either one of them. When Blair returned to Pennsylvania after the wedding, Houston'd still be in the same town with her stepfather. With joy, she heard the downstairs maid announce Dr. Leander Westfield.
Quickly, Houston stood. "Susan," she said to the serving maid, "set another place."
Leander walked into the room with long, confident strides. He was tall, slim, dark, extremely good-looking with green eyes to die for, as a friend of Houston's once said -- and exuded an air of self-assurance that made women stop on the street and stare. He greeted Mr. and Mrs. Gates.
Leander leaned across the edge of the table and gave Houston a quick kiss on the cheek. Kissing a woman, even your wife, and certainly your fiancée, so publicly was outrageous, but Leander had an air about him that allowed him to get away with things other men couldn't.
"Will you have dinner with us?" Houston asked politely, indicating the place set next to her.
"I've eaten, but maybe I'll join you for a cup of coffee. Good evening, Blair," he said as he sat down across from her.
Blair only glanced at him in answer as she poked at the food on her plate.
"Blair, you'll speak to Leander properly," Duncan commanded.
"That's all right, Mr. Gates," Leander replied pleasantly, but looking at Blair in puzzlement. He smiled at Houston. "You're as pretty as a bride today."
"Bride!" Blair gasped, standing and nearly upsetting her chair before she ran from the room.
"Why, that -- ," Duncan began, putting down his fork and starting to rise.
But Houston stopped him. "Please don't. Something's upsetting her badly. Perhaps she misses her friends in Pennsylvania. Leander, didn't you want to talk to me about the wedding? Could we go now?"
"Of course." Leander silently escorted her to his waiting buggy, clucked to the horse and drove her up the steep end of Second Street and parked on one of the many dead ends in Chandler. It was beginning to get dark and the mountain air was growing cold. Houston moved back into the comer of the carriage.
"Now, tell me what's going on," he said as he tied the horse's reins, put on the brake, and turned to her. "It seems to me that you're as upset as Blair."
Houston had to blink back tears. It was so good to be alone with Lee. He was so familiar, so safe. He was an oasis of sanity in her life. "It's Mr. Gates. He's always antagonizing Blair, telling her she's no good, reminding her that even as a child he thought there was no hope for her, and he's always demanding that she give up medicine and remain in Chandler. And, Lee, he keeps telling Blair how perfect I am."
"Ah, sweetheart," Lee said, pulling her into his arms, "you are perfect. You're sweet and kind and pliable and -- ." She pulled away from him. "Pliable! You mean like taffy?" "No," Lee smiled at her, "I just meant that you're a pretty, sweet woman, and I think it's good of you to be so worried about your sister, but I also think Blair should have been prepared for some criticism when she became a doctor."
"You don't think she should give up medicine, do you?"
"I have no idea what your sister should do. She's not my responsibility." He reached for her again. "What are we talking about Blair for? We have our own lives to live."
As he spoke, his arms tightened around her and he began to nuzzle her ear.
This was the part of their courtship Houston always hated. Lee was so easy to be around, someone she knew so well. After all, they'd been a "couple" since she was six and he was twelve. Now, at twenty-two, she'd spent a great deal of time near Leander Westfield, had known forever that she was going to be Mrs. Westfield. All her schooling, everything she'd ever learned was in preparation for the day she'd be Lee's wife.
But a few months ago, after he'd returned from studying in Europe, he'd started this kissing, pushing her into the buggy seat, groping at her clothes, and all she'd felt was that she wished he'd stop fumbling at her. Then Lee'd get angry, once again call her an ice princess, and take her home.
Houston knew how she was supposed to react to Lee's touch. For all its appearance of staidness, Chandler, Colorado, was an enlightened town -- at least its women were -- but for the life of her Houston felt nothing when Lee touched her. She'd cried herself to sleep with worry many times. She couldn't imagine loving anyone more than she loved Leander, but she was just not excited by his touch.
He seemed to sense what Houston was thinking and drew away from her, his anger showing in his eyes.
"It's fewer than three weeks," she said with hope in her voice. "In a short time we'll be married and then..."
"And then what?" he said, looking at her sideways. "The ice princess melts?"
"I hope so," she whispered, mostly to herself. "No one hopes so more than I do."
They were silent for a moment.
"Are you ready for the governor's reception tomorrow?" Lee asked, pulling a long cheroot from his pocket and lighting it.
Houston gave him a trembling smile. These few minutes after she'd turned him down were always the worst. "My Worth gown's steamed and ready."
"The governor will love you, you know that?" He smiled at her, but she sensed he was forcing the smile. "Someday I'll have the most beautiful wife in the state at my side."
She tried to relax. A governor's reception was a place she felt confident. This was something she was trained for. Perhaps she should have taken a course in how not to be a cold, sexless wife. She knew that some men thought their wives shouldn't enjoy sex, but she also knew Leander was like no one else. He'd explained to her that he expected her to enjoy him and Houston'd told herself she would, but mostly she felt annoyed when Leander kissed her.
"I have to go to town tomorrow," he said, interrupting her thoughts. "Want to come along?"
"I'd love to. Oh! Blair wanted to stop by the newspaper office. I believe someone sent her a new medical journal from New York."
Houston leaned back in the carriage as Leander clucked to the horse and wondered what he'd say if he knew his "pliable" intended was, once a week, doing something that was quite illegal.

Blair lounged against the end of the ornate, canopied, walnut bed, one knee bent, showing the separation of her Turkish pants. Her big blue and white room was on the third floor, with a beautiful view of Ayers Peak out the west window. She'd had a room on the second floor with the rest of the family, but after she'd left Chandler when she was twelve, Opal'd become pregnant and Mr. Gates had made her room into a bath and a nursery. Opal lost the child and the room stood unused now, filled with dolls and toy soldiers Mr. Gates had bought.
"I really don't see why we have to go with Leander," Blair said to Houston who sat quite straight on a white brocade chair. "I haven't seen you in years and now I have to share you."
Houston gave her sister a little smile. "Leander asked us to accompany him, not the other way around. Sometimes I think you don't like him. But I can't see how that could be possible. He's kind, considerate, he has position in the community and he --."
"And he completely owns you!" Blair exploded, jumping up from the bed, startling Houston with the strength of her outburst. "Don't you realize that in school I worked with women like you, women who were so unhappy they repeatedly attempted suicide?"
"Suicide? Blair, I have no idea what you're talking about. I have no intention of killing myself." Houston couldn't help drawing away from her sister's vehemence.
"Houston," Blair said quietly, "I wish you could see how much you've changed. You used to laugh, but now you're so distant. I understand that you've had to adjust to Gates, but why would you choose to marry a man just like him?"
Houston stood, putting her hand on the walnut dresser and idly touching Blair's silver-backed hairbrush. "Leander isn't like Mr. Gates. He's really very different. Blair" -- she looked at her sister in the big mirror -- "I love Leander," she said softly. "I have for years, and all I've ever wanted to do is get married, have children and raise my family. I never wanted to do anything great or noble like you seem to want to do. Can't you see that I'm happy?"
"I wish I could believe you," Blair said sincerely. "But something keeps me from it. I guess I hate the way Leander treats you, as if you were already his. I see the two of you together and you're like a couple who've lived together for twenty years."
"We have been together a long time." Houston turned back to face her sister. "What should I look for in a husband if it isn't compatibility?"
"It seems to me that the best marriages are between people who find each other interesting. You and Leander are too much alike. If he were a woman, he'd be a perfect lady."
"Like me," Houston whispered. "But I'm not always a lady. There are things I do --."
"Like Sadie?"
"How did you know about that?" Houston asked.
"Meredith told me. Now, what do you think your darling Leander is going to say when he finds out that you're putting yourself in danger every Wednesday? And how will it look for a surgeon of his stature to be married to a practicing criminal?"
"I'm not a criminal. I'm doing something that's good for the whole town," Houston said with fire, then quieted. She slipped another hairpin invisibly into the neat chignon at the back of her head. Carefully arranged curls framed her forehead beneath a hat decorated with a spray of iridescent blue feathers. "I don't know what Leander will say. Perhaps he won't find out."
"Hah! That pompous, spoiled man will forbid you to participate in anything dealing with the coal miners and, Houston, you're so used to obeying that you'll do exactly what he says."
"Perhaps I should give up being Sadie after I'm married," she said with a sigh.
Suddenly, Blair dropped to her knees on the carpet and took Houston's hands. "I'm worried about you. You're not the sister I grew up with. Gates and Westfield are eating away at your spirit. When we were children, you used to throw snowballs with the best of them but now it's as if you're afraid of the world. Even when you do something wonderful like drive a huckster wagon, you do it in secret. Oh, Houston -- ."
She broke off at a knock on the door. "Miss Houston, Dr. Leander is here."
"Yes, Susan, I'll be right down." Houston smoothed her skirt. "I'm sorry you find me so much to your distaste," she said primly, "but I do know my own mind. I want to marry Leander because I love him." With that, she swept out of the room, and went downstairs.
Houston tried her best to push Blair's words from her mind but she couldn't. She greeted Leander absently and was vaguely aware of a quarrel going on between Lee and Blair, but she really heard nothing except her own thoughts.
Blair was her twin, they were closer than ordinary sisters and Blair's concern was genuine. Yet, how could Houston even think of not marrying Leander? When Leander was eight years old, he'd decided he was going to be a doctor, a surgeon who saved people's lives, and by the time Houston met him, when he was twelve, Lee was already studying textbooks borrowed from a distant cousin. Houston decided to find out how to be a doctor's wife.
Neither wavered from his decision. Lee went to Harvard to study medicine, then to Vienna for further study, and Houston went to finishing schools in Virginia and Switzerland.
Houston still winced whenever she thought of the argument she and Blair'd had about her choice of schools. "You're going to give up an education just so you can learn to set a table, so you can learn how to walk into a room wearing fifty yards of heavy satin and not fall on your face?"
Blair went to Vassar, then medical school, while Houston went to Miss Jones's School for Young Ladies where she was put through years of rigorous training in everything from how to arrange flowers to how to stop men from arguing at the dinner table.
Now, Lee took her arm as he helped her into the buggy. "You look as good as always," he said close to her ear.
"Lee," Houston said, "do you think we find each other...interesting?"
With a smile, his eyes raked down her body, over the dress that glued itself to her tightly corseted, exaggerated hourglass figure. "Houston, I find you fascinating."
"No, I mean, do we have enough to talk about?"
He raised one eyebrow. "It's a wonder I can remember how to talk when I'm around you," he answered as he helped her into his buggy, and drove them the six blocks into the heart of Chandler.
Copyright © 1985 by Deveraux Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 506 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0671739743
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reissue edition (January 1, 1991)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC0W88
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,148 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As my review title suggests, I did enjoy reading Jude Deveraux's "The Velvet Promise," primarily because I admire and appreciate her heroine Judith Revedoune Montgomery's character. Judith's qualities of intelligence, ingenuity, courage, inner strength, her loving, kind heart and unselfish nature make her truly admirable. Judith, however, is far from perfect. She has her flaws, as all people do. And these flaws, along with her many excellent traits, form a very believable young woman. I wish I could say that Ms. Deveraux is consistent in her character development, but she is not. The characters of her hero, Gavin Montgomery, and his lover, Alice Valence, are so flat they are almost caricatures. I found that these distorted, comic-book-like figures, intruded and impeded my enjoyment of the novel.
Wealthy heiress, Judith Revedoune, is forced by her brutal and abusive father to agree to marry Gavin Montgomery. Judith was raised to enter a convent and become a prioress; ruling lands, estates, villages, and knights. Her two elder brothers have recently died, and now she is the only heir. Her father desperately wants grandsons and the continuation of his bloodline. The Montgomery family is an old and noble one, dating back to the Norman conquest. The Montgomery brothers, led by Gavin, also offer protection from the Scots for the Revedoune borderlands.
Gavin Montgomery, at first glance, would seem all that a maid could ask for in a mate. Yes, he is a handsome hunk - aren't they all? He is intelligent, in the I.Q., "left side of the brain" sense of the word, knightly, of noble birth, bearing, and sensibilities, and has assumed responsibility for his entire family since his parents' deaths when he was sixteen years old.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Promise me I won't have to read it again. August 13, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Gavin Montgomery is deeply in love with Alice, a young, impoverished lady from a neighboring estate. Alice's father rejects Gavin as a suitor and then promises her to another man. Devastated that his lover will be marrying someone else, Gavin succumbs to pressure from his family and decides to marry an heiress whose lands border his to the north.

Forced by her brute of a father to accept a betrothal to Gavin, Judith Revedoune is distraught over her fate. Her mother raised her to be a nun and she'd had no idea she would ever marry. Things look up, though, when she meets Gavin at their wedding ceremony. They seem to have instant chemistry and it seems that maybe marriage won't be so bad. Until, that is, she overhears Gavin swearing his undying love to Alice in the Garden during their wedding feast.

Jude Deveraux's books are really hit-and-miss for me. I've liked some of them, and I've really hated others. It had been quite a while since I read anything of hers, but I followed a listmania list and ended up buying a few titles in the "Velvet" series and was not impressed with any of them.

Judith is a so-so heroine. She's got the barebones of a heroine you'd enjoy, but she does some really dumb things and then rants about how she doesn't have to answer to anyone and then she readily participates in the "big misunderstanding" by acting like a spoiled child. Sure she was independent, and all of those tough heroine things, but the way her independent spirit was written made her seem bratty and petulant.

Gavin was an unintelligent jerk. He was one of those wholly selfish beings who is incapable of seeing the world from anything but his own point of view.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to the Velvet Quarter July 27, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Judith Revedoune has lived a sheltered life. Bearing the weight of her father's hatred for being born a female, she was raised by her mother away from the public eye, and prepared her for a life in a convent. But when her two brothers died, her father turned his attention to the daughter whose existence he barely acknowledged, and ordered her to marry so she could produce the heirs he so desired. When she refused, he broke her mother's arm in front of her and made further threats unless she complied. Fearing for her mother's life, Judith was left with no other choice but to marry the man chosen by her cruel father.

Gavin Montgomery was only sixteen when he and his brothers were orphaned. Being the eldest, he managed the Montgomery estate and has been the lord and protector of his brothers and people for over a decade. When Robert Revedoune offered his daughter's hand in marriage, the Montgomerys knew it would be a good match for Robert's daughter comes with a very large dowry, which would immensely help the Montgomerys financially. But Gavin had already given his heart to Alice Valence, a woman whose coldness is apparent to everyone but Gavin himself. A woman whom Gavin has put upon a pedestal.

When Gavin learns that Alice is to marry a wealthy earl, he is heartbroken but still falls for Alice's treachery, believing that her father forced her to marry the old earl, not knowing that it was Alice herself who chose the earl in the hope of advancing her current position. So Gavin reluctantly agrees to Revedoune's offer and accepts Judith for his wife. Come the wedding day, everyone rejoiced but nobody was more shocked and delighted than the bride and groom. Both were mesmerized by each other's looks and actually looked forward to getting to know each other better...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I found the book to be in good condition. It completes my set of the velvet series.
Published 15 days ago by Maryann
4.0 out of 5 stars Depends on what you are looking for...
Your enjoyment of this book will strongly depend on what you look for in a romance. The heroine Judith is (of course) impossibly beautiful, but she is also intelligent, practical,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Georgia Blue
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Excellent read, highly recommend if you like the love stories set way back in time.!
Published 3 months ago by Shelia Peek
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a great read.
I have read and re-read this book so many times and it never loses its appeal to me. Yes Gavin in a jerk but he's a lovable jerk in the end. When he loves its forever. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Wilma A. Keel
1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment
Seriously one of the worst books I've ever read. Usually I love Jude Deveraux, but not this time. The "hero" Gavin is extremely unlikeable. In fact, I come to hate him. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars UNREDEEMABLE MALE LEAD
I'm really trying to resist having a rant about this book. I've heard much about this author and being a lover of historical romances I'm not sure how I've not read anything by her... Read more
Published 5 months ago by L. Sims
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Deveraux's cavalier use of, and attitude towards rape is appalling.
Published 6 months ago by Abi Oyegun
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As described
Published 6 months ago by Betty Greer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Era of where promises were kept and dignity is everything. Something we have lost these days.
Published 6 months ago by Lily Vega
5.0 out of 5 stars The velvet promise
This book I'd the best. Absolutely loved it. Jude Deveraux always delivers. I am excited to read the next three.
Published 6 months ago by Thresa j Vaughn-Bowman
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Who do you think is a better author Jude Deveraux or Nora Roberts?
i agree that they are both wonderful story tellers. but jude deveraux's book ' remeberance' made me forever enthalled by the beauty of a true love lasting over time. it's became one of the most favorite to me. and i love both of these authors.
Mar 5, 2009 by Ann Silver |  See all 4 posts
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