Sabrina Jeffries is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-five novels and eight works of short fiction (some written under the pseudonyms Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas). Whatever time not spent writing in a coffee-fueled haze of dreams and madness is spent traveling with her husband and adult autistic son or indulging in one of her passions—jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music. With more than 6 million books in print in eighteen different languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction, and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world.
Virginia Waverly could hardly contain her excitement as the carriage hurtled toward Marsbury House. A ball! She was going to a ball at last. She would finally get to use those waltz steps her second cousin, Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, had taught her.
For a moment, she let her mind wander through a lovely fantasy of being danced about the room by a handsome cavalry officer. Or perhaps by their host himself, the Duke of Lyons! Wouldn’t that be grand? She knew what people said about his father, whom they called “the Mad Duke,” but she never paid attention to such gossip.
She did wish she had a more fashionable gown—like the one of pink gros de Naples she’d seen in The Ladies Magazine. But fashionable gowns were expensive, which is why she had to make do with her old tartan silk one, bought when Scottish garb was all the rage. How she wished she’d picked something less . . . distinctive to make over. Everybody would take one look at her and know how poor she was.
“I can see that you’re worried,” Pierce said.
Virginia stared at him, surprised by his insight. “Only a little. I tried to make this gown more fashionable by adding a net overlay, but the sleeves are still short, so now it just looks like an outdated gown with strange sleeves.”
“No, I meant—”
“Surely people won’t fault me too much for that.” She thrust out her chin. “Though I don’t care if they do. I’m the only woman of twenty I know who’s never been to a ball. Even the farmer’s daughter next door went to one in Bath, and she’s only eighteen!”
“What I was talking about—”
“So I’m not going to let my gown or my inexperience on the dance floor keep me from enjoying myself,” she said stoutly. “I shall eat caviar and drink champagne, and for one night pretend that I’m rich. And I shall finally dance with a man.”
Pierce looked affronted. “Now see here, I’m a man.”
“Well, of course, but you’re my cousin. It’s not the same.”
“Besides,” he said, “I wasn’t talking about your gown. I meant, aren’t you worried about running into Lord Gabriel Sharpe?”
She blinked. “Why would he be there? He wasn’t at the race today.”
A few years ago, the Duke of Lyons had started an annual race—the Marsbury Stakes—run on a course on his property. This year her grandfather, Pierce’s greatuncle, General Isaac Waverly, had entered a Thoroughbred stallion from their stud farm. Lamentably, Ghost Rider had lost the race and the Marsbury Cup.
That’s why Pierce was accompanying her to the race ball tonight, instead of her grandfather—Ghost Rider’s poor performance had keenly disappointed Poppy. It had disappointed her, too, but not enough to keep her from attending the ball.
“Sharpe is Lyons’s close friend,” Pierce said. “In fact, he was at the race in Turnham Green with Roger.”
Her stomach sank. “That can’t be! The only people there were Lord Gabriel and some fellow named Kinloch—”
“The Marquess of Kinloch, yes. That was Lyons’s title before his father died and he ascended to the dukedom.”
She scowled. “No wonder Poppy refused to attend tonight. Why didn’t he tell me? I wouldn’t have come.”
“That’s why. Uncle Isaac wanted you to enjoy yourself for once. And he assumed that Sharpe wouldn’t be there since he wasn’t at the race.”
“Still, I’ll have to face the duke, who let Roger run that awful course in Turnham Green despite knowing the risks. Why did he invite us? Doesn’t he realize who we are?”
“Perhaps he’s holding out the olive branch to you and Uncle Isaac for his own part in Roger’s death, small as it was.”
She snorted. “Rather late, if you ask me.”
“Come now, you can’t blame Lyons for what happened. Or Sharpe either, for that matter.”
She glared at Pierce. They’d had this argument many a time in the seven years since her brother had died in a dangerous carriage race against Lord Gabriel. “His lordship and Kinloch—Lyons—took advantage of Roger’s being drunk—”
“You don’t know that.”
“Well, no one knows for sure, since Lord Gabriel refuses to speak of it. But Poppy says that’s what happened, and I believe him. Roger would never have agreed to threading the needle with Lord Gabriel when sober.”
The course was called “threading the needle” because it ran between two boulders with room enough for only one carriage to pass. The racer coming behind had to rein in to allow the other to drive through. Roger hadn’t pulled back in time and had been thrown into a boulder. He’d been killed instantly.
She’d hated Lord Gabriel ever since.
“Men do stupid things when they’re drunk,” Pierce said. “Especially when they’re with other men.”
“Why do you always make excuses for Lord Gabriel?”
Pierce cast her a shuttered look from eyes the exact shade of brown as Ghost Rider’s. “Because although he may be a reckless madman who risks his neck every chance he gets, he’s not the devil Uncle Isaac makes him out to be.”
“We’ll never agree on this,” she said, tugging at her drooping gloves.
“Only because you’re stubborn and intractable.”
“A family trait, I believe.”
He laughed. “Indeed it is.”
Virginia gazed out the window and tried to regain her buoyant mood, but it was no use. The ball was doomed to be ruined if Lord Gabriel showed up.
“Still,” Pierce went on, “if Sharpe does come, I hope you’ll refrain from mentioning the challenge you gave him a month and a half ago.”
“And why should I?”
“Because it’s madness!” His eyes narrowed on her. “It’s not like you to do something so irresponsible. I know you didn’t mean to issue that challenge—you were just angry—but to continue would be foolish, and you aren’t that.”
She glanced away. Sometimes Pierce had no clue what went on inside her. He and Poppy insisted upon seeing her as some pillar of domestic virtue who kept the farm running and wanted the same things all women her age wanted—a stable home and a family, even if it was just with Poppy.
It wasn’t that she didn’t want those things. She just . . . didn’t want them at the sacrifice to her soul. To the part of her that felt boxed in sometimes by constant work and responsibility. The part of her that wanted to dance at a ball.
And race Lord Gabriel Sharpe.
Pierce went on lecturing. “Besides, if Uncle Isaac ever hears that you challenged Sharpe to a race on the same course that killed Roger, he’ll put a stop to it at once.”
True. Poppy was a mite overprotective. She’d been only three years old when he’d left the cavalry to take care of her and Roger after their parents, his son and daughter-in-law, had died in a boating accident.
“How will he hear of it?” Virginia batted her eyelashes at Pierce. “Surely you wouldn’t be so cruel as to tell him.”
“Oho, don’t try your tricks on me, dear girl. They may work on Uncle Isaac, but I’m immune to such things.”
She stiffened. “I’m not a girl anymore, in case you haven’t noticed.”
“Actually, I have. Which is why you must stop tormenting Lord Gabriel. This ball is your chance to find a husband. And chaps don’t like it when women go about challenging men to foolish races.”
“I’m in no hurry to marry,” she said, giving him the same lie she always gave her grandfather. “I prefer to stay with Poppy as long as possible.”
“Virginia,” Pierce said softly, “don’t be naïve. He’s sixty-nine. The likelihood of him living much longer—”
“Don’t say it.” The very thought of Poppy dying made her stomach roil. “He’s in good health. He could live to be a hundred. Surely one of our horses will win a good prize in the coming years, enough to increase my pathetic dowry.”
“You could always marry me.” Pierce waggled his dark brown brows. “You wouldn’t even have to leave home.”
She gaped at him. Because of Roger’s death, Pierce would inherit Waverly Farm, but he’d never before suggested marriage. “And who would be sleeping in the room adjoining yours—me or your mistress?”
He scowled at her. “Now see here, I’d give up my mistress.”
“For me? The devil you would.” She smirked at him. “I know you better than that.”
“Well,” he said sullenly, “I wouldn’t keep her in the same house, at least.”
She laughed. “Now that is the Pierce Waverly I know. Which is p...
Sabrina Jeffries is the NYT bestselling author of 36 novels and 9 works of short fiction (some written under the pseudonyms Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas). Whatever time not spent writing in a coffee-fueled haze of dreams and madness is spent traveling with her husband and adult autistic son or indulging in one of her passions--jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music. With over 7 million books in print in 18 different languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction, and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world.
It took me over two weeks to finish this book, and I usually go through a romance in 24 hours - it wasn't a painful reading; it simply wasn't a captivating work. This fourth installment of the Hellions of Halstead series is mired in romance genre tropes, daubed with apparent and annoyingly interminable internal struggles, and is unoriginal in its implausibility.
The novel opens at a ball, excluding the preface, where the reader discovers that Virginia Waverly has brazenly challenged Lord Gabriel Sharpe - even naming Sharpe "Gabriel" is unoriginal- aka the Angel of Death, to a race, wanting to defeat him and humiliate him in front of all to see, avenging her brother's death. Gabriel, of course has other plans - he shall court and marry Virginia to make amends for "causing" the death of her brother (and his beloved friend) Robert Waverly in a racing accident, simultaneously fulfilling his grandmother's ultimatum that all the Sharpe children wed by a certain month in order to gain their inheritance. But of course there is a problem - Virginia will never allow such a blackguard to court her. However, as anticipated, the two reach an accord. If Gabriel wins, Virginia will allow him to court her, and if Virginia is the victor, Gabriel shall race her a second time on the same deadly course where Robert lost his life. Gabriel wins - shocking!!!
Now, as to our protagonists - Virginia Waverly is a very nice young lady; she is 22-years-old; she is an overly devoted granddaughter, a romantic at heart, impetuous at times, however practical, perceptive, and adept at managing estate affairs.Read more ›
4 out of 5 stars! To Wed a Wild Lord is a sweet, mysterious, and romantic novel about two families trying to get through some major tragedies the best way they can. Even though Amazon.com has recommended I read Sabrina Jeffries' books before this is the first time I have actually read one of her books, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised!! This novel and series has two plots the one that deals with the main character's hopes and dreams and another that deals with the past tragedy of losing parents and the mystery surrounding their deaths. Each plot in this novel was captivating and moving .... the love for those who were lost and how those who've past away have impacted the lives of those that are still around.
The characters in this novel were spectacular too!! The relationship between Gabriel and Virginia was something I could not get enough of, especially when their chemistry seemed to fly off of the page. Then I really liked the relationships each of them had with their own families---very sweet to read about. And then to top it off ... we have their grandparents whom could have probably had a short story of their own as they had soo much spunk!!
I would recommend this to fans of the series (of course) and to any Sabrina Jeffries, Loretta Chase, and/or Susan Elizabeth Phillips fans!
Review By: From Me to You ... Book Reviews (read more of this review and a few teasers on my blog)
"To Wed a Wild Lord" is the 4th book in the 5 book Hellions of Halstead Hall series. While most romance series do not need to be read in order for complete comprehension, the Hellions series really should be read in order. The mystery of the siblings' murdered parents unravels slowly throughout each book and all of the siblings appear in each book with the plot for the next book being set up in the previous one. Reading them in order is definitely recommended. Virginia Waverly's brother Robert died 7 years ago in a carriage race accident against Lord Gabriel (Gabe). Although Robert was Gabe's best friend, the Waverly's, including Virginia, hold long-held anger and hatred towards Gabe because them blame him for Robert's death. In Book 3 of the series, "How to Woo a Reluctant Lady", Virginia loudly challenges Gabe to race the same course on which her brother died racing Gabe. This dredges up the past for Gabe and his veneer of uncaring chips away as he has to deal with reliving that horrible race. This book takes place 2 months later and Gabe has somehow decided that he should marry Virginia in order to right the wrong of racing her brother to his death. Obviously, Virginia is having none of that idea, but she is so eager to race Gabe and put him in his place that she agrees to a wager that ultimately leads to him being allowed to court her. The storyline was rather predictable in this book and I was disappointed that more of the parents' murder mystery was not revealed. I was hoping for more fire and banter, as there was in "How to Woo a Reluctant Lady" (my favorite in the series so far). But Virginia falls for Gabe pretty rapidly, but this is a romance novel afterall. This is a cute story and well worth the read, but not the strongest in the series.Read more ›
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I loved it. I think, so far it my favorite in this series. Bit by bit the story peels away the secrets not only the hero has kept to himself but also the characters around him and the heroine in the middle trying to piece all together.
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