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The Prince of Midnight by [Laura Kinsale]
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The Prince of Midnight Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 167 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Romance readers should be enchanted with Kinsale's ( Seize the Fire ) unlikely 18th-century duo: a staunchly unsentimental heroine and the has-been highwayman who joins her quest for vengeance. Leigh Strachan's parents and sisters are dead, and she's determined to murder the man responsible: The Right Reverend James Chilton. To this end, she tracks down S. T. Maitland, once the infamous robber called the Prince of Midnight but now a recluse--he can teach her how to handle a gun and a sword. But her "prince" is a disappointment: he's deaf in one ear, inclined to dizzy spells, a hopeless romantic starved for female company--and he fancies a wolf as a housepet. Just as Leigh concludes that S.T. is useless, he decides to become her champion. As they travel to Leigh's home to challenge Chilton, each emerges from a kind of cocoon: S.T. regains his skills, Leigh her capacity to feel affection. Unfortunately the unscrupulous reverend and his deluded followers are far less interesting than the bantering Leigh and S.T., and the prolonged confrontation seems more drab than dramatic. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

La Paire, foothills of the French Alps-1772

The lad had the deep, burning eyes of a zealot. S.T. Maitland shifted uncomfortably on his wooden bench and glanced again over his wine across the murky depths of the tavern. It was damnably disconcerting to find that measuring stare still fixed on him, as if he were up for admission to heaven and not particularly likely to get in.

S.T. lifted his tankard in a lazy salute. He wasn't proud. He reckoned he was a long enough shot for paradise that a nod was worth the trouble. If this comely youth with the absurdly black lashes and vivid blue eyes should turn out to be St. Peter, Jr., best to be decently civil.

Rather to S.T.'s dismay, the youngster's gaze intensified. The straight, dark brows drew into a frown and the boy stood, slim and silent, a figure of blue velvet and shabby gentility amid the usual lot of peasants chattering in Piedmontese and Provençal. S.T. rubbed his ear and brushed his tie wig nervously. A vision of eating his déjeuner in the clutches of an earnestly holy adolescent made him swig the last half of his wine and stand up in haste.

He reached down for the packet of sable paintbrushes he'd come into the village to procure. The string loosened. He swore under his breath, trying to capture the precious sticks before they scattered into the rushes that covered the dirt floor.

"Seigneur."

The soft voice seemed to be behind him. S.T. came upright, turning quickly to the left in the hope of escaping, but his bad ear tricked him amid the babble of laughter and conversation. His balance fluctuated for an instant; he grabbed instinctively for the table and found himself face-to-face with the youth.

"Monseigneur du Minuit?"

A bolt of alarm shot through him. The words were French, but it was very stilted French, and a name he hadn't been called in three years.

He'd been half expecting to hear it-for so long that it didn't even sound remarkable. 'Twas the voice itself that seemed improbable, gruff and toneless, coming from this infant with the fresh, high-colored face. When S.T. had envisioned the hunters who might track him for the price on his head, he'd hardly imagined a greenling who hadn't even started a beard.

He relaxed against the table and gazed glumly down at the youth. Was this youngster all he was worth? He could kill the poor cub with one hand, for God's sake.

"You are le Seigneur du Minuit," the boy stated, nodding stiffly, managing the pronunciation of "seyn-yuhr" and "minwhee" with careful dignity. In English, he added, "I am correct?"

S.T. thought of answering in a torrent of annoyed French which would undoubtedly go right over the fellow's head. His schoolroom accent sounded none too steady. But those eyes of burning deep blue had a force of their own, enough to keep S.T. wary. Fresh faced or not, the child had managed to locate him-a disturbing fact on all counts.

The boy was tall for an adolescent, but S.T. still topped him by a head and certainly outweighed him by a good six stone. With that slender elegance and full, solemn mouth, the young whelp looked more like to grow into a dandy than a thieftaker. He dressed the beau, to be sure, even if the lace at his cuffs and linen jabot was frayed and grimy.

"Qu'est-ce que c'est?" S.T. demanded brusquely.

The dark, winged brows drew into a deeper line. "S'il vous plaît," the boy said with a little bobbing bow, "will you speak English, monsieur?"

S.T. gave him a suspicious look. The lad was really outrageously beautiful, his black hair drawn back off high cheekbones into a short queue; a classical, perfect nose...and those eyes, alors, like the light through deep water: nightshade and violet and bluebells. S.T. had seen that effect once, in a rocky cave at the edge of the Mediterranean, with the sun shafts piercing aquamarine shadows and playing off jet-black stone-and this against skin soft and fine as a girl's. The superbly modeled face held high color, a pink that looked almost feverish. Against his better judgment, S.T. found himself growing curious about the brat.

"Little speak Eng-lish." He made up the worst accent he could humanly execute, speaking loudly above the tavern noise. "Little! Good day! Yes?"

The youth hesitated, staring intensely from beneath those slanted brows. S.T. found himself vaguely embarrassed by the farce. What a silly language, French-it made a man sound like some backstage cardsharp to imitate the proper Gallic inflections.

"You are not the Seigneur," the boy said in his husky, toneless voice.

"Seigneur!" Did the young dullard suppose that S.T. was going to announce it to any English stranger who happened along? "Mon petit bouffon! I look a seigneur, no? A lord! But yes!" He gestured down at his jackboots and paint-stained breeches. "Bien sûr! A prince, of course!"

"Je m'excuse." The youth gave a second awkward bow. "I seek another." He hesitated, looked hard at S.T., and then began to turn away.

S.T. clamped his hand on the slender shoulder. He couldn't afford to let the cub go quite so easily as that. "Seek an-oth-er? An-o-ther? Pardon; but this I comprehend not."

The boy's frown deepened. "A man." He moved his hand in a slight gesture of frustration. "Un homme."

"Le Seigneur du Minuit?" S.T. put just a trace of patient patronage in his tone.
"The Lord-of the Midnight, eh? Zut! Is a name absurd. I know not he. You seek? Pardon, pardon, monsieur, for why you seek?"

"I must find him." The youth watched S.T.'s face with the intensity of a cat at a mouse hole. "It doesn't matter why." He paused and then said slowly, "Perhaps he goes by a different name here."

"Of course. I give to you help, hm? Ah-the hair." S.T. tugged at the queue on his tie wig. "Color? The color, you know it?"

"Yes. Brown hair, monsieur. I'm told he doesn't like a wig or powder. Brown hair, dark, but with gold in it. Streaked with gold, all over. Similar to a lion, monsieur." S.T. rolled his eyes, playing Frenchman. "Alors. Le beau!"

The boy nodded seriously. "Yes, they say he is handsome. Quite good-looking. Tall. With eyes of green. Comprenez 'green,' monsieur? Emerald? With gold in them. And gold on his eyelashes and brows." The boy stared at S.T. significantly. "Very unusual, I'm told. As if someone had sprinkled gold dust over him. And his eyebrows are quite distinctive, too, so they say-" He touched his own. "With a curl at the arch of them like the horns on a devil."

S.T. hesitated. The blue eyes held constant, no change in expression, just a shade too level, the tone of voice a trace too mild-he looked down at the youth and saw someone a thousand years old gazing out of that unfledged face. It chilled him. There was a devil inside this one, and it knew full well who he was but chose to play the game S.T. had started.

He carried on with the performance anyway. The only other recourse was to lure the poor pup out back and hold a stiletto to his throat. S.T. needed to know how he'd been found... and why.

Tapping his forehead, he said wisely, "Ah. Eye-brow. Je comprends. See this eye-brow you, and think...I is he. This seigneur. Yes?"

"Yes." The boy smiled faintly. "But I was wrong. I'm sorry." The smile erased all trace of subterfuge. It was sweet and wistful and feminine, and S.T. had to sit down to keep from sinking under the sudden shock of revelation.

For the love of-
She was a girl.

--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00J84KU5E
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Open Road Media Romance; Reprint edition (April 1, 2014)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ April 1, 2014
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 5078 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 408 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 167 ratings

About the author

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Laura Kinsale is a New York Times bestselling author and both winner and multiple nominee for the Best Book of the Year award given by the Romance Writers of America. Her novel FLOWERS FROM THE STORM was chosen by readers of Glamour Magazine and the Washington Post as one of the Greatest Love Stories of All Time.

Laura believes that a romance novel can be more. More fascinating characters than you ever anticipated. More unexpected depth. Emotion to engage your heart and your mind. Stories that keep you awake and words you will remember long after you close the book.

Whenever readers list their "Desert Isle Keepers," the books they couldn't live without, Laura Kinsale's award-winning historical romances are included near the top.

AND NOW...AUDIOBOOKS!

You’ve heard of Nick and Norah…well, now you can listen to Nick and Laura. Find out all about my audiobooks, read by the incomparable Nicholas Boulton, at www.hedgehoginc.com

I personally chose Nick to narrate my books, and it’s been phenomenal. Not only does he have the World’s Wickedest Sexy Voice, he's brought a true artist’s creativity and respect to my books. Every single audiobook is a unique work of art in itself—these are very, very special recordings. Many listeners have said it’s like reading one of my novels again for the very first time—that’s an amazing compliment to Nick’s ability to bring my characters to vivid life.

His mesmerizing performance of For My Lady’s Heart was a 2014 Audie Finalist. (The Audies are the Oscars of the audiobook world) And Flowers from the Storm? Well, just listen to the sample clip on Audible www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Flowers-from-the-Storm-Audiobook/B00D5IJ5T6

Even if you’ve never tried an audiobook, Nick Boulton will wow you. Go to http://www.hedgehoginc.com for a list of my currently released titles, audio samples and links to the story of how I chose Nick for my narrator. Or just go straight to Audible.com.

Why a puppy for an author photo? There have been a few fake author pages on the web purporting to be Laura. So whenever you see a picture of Ventoux the Peter Pan of Great Pyrenees dogs, you know it's authentic Laura Kinsale.

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
167 global ratings

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5.0 out of 5 stars until love begins to melt her 'stone-like' heart
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