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Ritual Sins by [Stuart, Anne]
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Ritual Sins Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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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)
  • Publication Date: September 15, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005NJYLV2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,450 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By V on May 18, 2003
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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
A devastatingly charming manipulator of the highest degree. There is nothing good or redeeming about this man. He is the perfect anti-hero (and one of the best she wrote, I think). Even though you know he's a murderer and a con-man, you still feel just as compelled as the heroine did. Which I guess just shows how good Anne Stuart is, because she never wrote one good thing about him yet she made you root for him, even if you never grow to like him.

Being in his head was even worse. You'd think it's all an act but it's not! He's not a good man. Period.

The heroine, Rachel, annoyed the hell out of me. I can understand her broken childhood which resulted in this skittish, frigid woman full of anger and hate and fear, but I didn't like how she was both TSTL and smart at the same time. For every no she said, she gave in eventually, and that bothers me. She acknowledges he's a dangerous man, yet she goes on sticking her nose and putting herself in his way any chance she got. I get he was this charismatic, devastatingly handsome man with beautiful hands, but for God's sake, the man is a convicted murderer and a professional conman. HAVE SOME FREAKING SENSE. Or stop playing hard to get, because we all know you're gonna give it up eventually. SMH.

On a different note, all Stuart's heroes have beautiful hands, so if you have a beautiful hands fixation like me, Luke seems to have the most beautiful hands of them all.

The plot is very interesting and unique with plenty of twists and turns, but I have to say that for the most part I sort of anticipated each of them.

The romance is... well.
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