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The Wicked Games of a Gentleman: A Novel (A Boscastle Affairs Novel Book 4) by [Hunter, Jillian]
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The Wicked Games of a Gentleman: A Novel (A Boscastle Affairs Novel Book 4) Kindle Edition

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Length: 384 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jillian Hunter is the author of twelve critically acclaimed novels. She has received several awards, including the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Hunter lives in Southern California with her husband and three daughters.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

London 1815

Lord Drake Boscastle had less than two hours to suffer through the party before his assignation with one of the most sensual women in all of Europe. If the evening went as well as he expected, he would make the celebrated English courtesan, Maribella St. Ives, his next mistress. He certainly hoped she would prove to be worth the rigmarole required for their rendezvous, or he would feel like a hell of a fool. He had spent a month corresponding with her and had presented her with a small fortune in gifts to prove his sincerity. Maribella’s private agents had conducted an investigation to research his character. The last Drake had heard, even his cook had been questioned on what his master ate for dinner.

His indigo blue eyes darkened with irony at the thought. Any thorough check into his past would have yielded a treasure trove of scandals and indiscretions. It seemed, however, that Miss St. Ives was not put off by his reputation. Apparently he had met whatever qualifications she desired in a protector. He had been summoned to meet her tonight in a private suite at Audrey Watson’s salon on Bruton Street. Salon, of course, being a euphemism for the exclusive bordello that its half-world hostess, Audrey, maintained.

His valet had efficiently packed a few personal necessities and a fresh change of clothes, not bothering to ask whether his master would be home before morning. Drake was rather hopeful he wouldn’t return for a week. His life had been curiously devoid of pleasure lately, sex included. His capacity for enjoyment seemed to be diminishing by the day. He couldn’t put his finger on the precise reason for his sense of dissatisfaction, but he was half-decided that if this affair with Maribella did not improve his outlook, he would return to soldiering.

“Counting the minutes?” his younger brother Lord Devon Boscastle asked from behind him.

Drake glanced around, grinning in reply. A small flock of debutantes stood gazing in breathless anticipation at Devon, whose openly playful charm made him appear far less of a threat than his more intense older brother. “I’m down to seconds at this point,” he said dryly.

Devon lowered his voice. “Do let me know if Miss St. Ives has any sisters in the market for a protector. That is, if you can talk coherently at the end of the evening.”

Drake shook his head and cast a sardonic glance across the room. “I’m going to be talking all night. Haven’t you heard that she’s famous for her wit?”

“And that’s why you’re interested in her? For conversation?”

He punched his brother on the shoulder. “Go dance with the debutantes, Devon. They’re dying for you to ask.”

“I can’t dance with all of them at once. Why don’t you help me out?”

He shook his head in amusement. “I’ll leave the innocents to you. Anyway, I think I ought to conserve my strength.”

One of their mutual male friends sauntered past them. “I suppose we won’t see you at the auction tomorrow, Boscastle,” he said to Drake in an envious voice. “Damn lucky devil.”

Drake’s answering laugh was suddenly drowned out by the blood-rousing strains of a country dance. He cast a halfhearted glance about for a partner. He’d prefer the sister or wife of a friend rather than a timid debutante who would gaze at him in hopeful trepidation or chatter her empty head off after the set.

His restless gaze lit on a young, nicely built brunette in a plain lilac dress who was staring across the dance floor. She looked lost and . . . maybe a little frantic. She had an interesting sense of panic about her and an even more interesting silhouette. Good enough for what he had in mind. He only wanted to squander a few pleasant minutes with the woman, not marry her.

He strolled up behind her, clearing his throat at the cursory glance she granted him before turning away. Ignore him, would she? That was a challenge his devilish impulses could not turn down. “Lost a sheep?” he asked quietly, his chin brushing her ear.

Her soft white shoulders stiffened. He knew perfectly well she was aware of him, even if she refused to turn to meet his regard. “Yes, in a manner of speaking,” she answered distractedly.

At that point another man might have taken the hint and melted away. Instead, he studied her profile, the imperfect patrician nose, her stubborn chin, a lushly shaped mouth. His gaze drifted in lazy appraisal down her shoulders to the ivory curves of her full breasts above her neckline. “Shall we look together?” he inquired, masking his thoughts behind a polite smile.

She angled her head slightly to regard him. Her oval face bore an expression of practiced disdain that slipped as her eyes slowly met his. She blinked. He stared at her, enjoying his own rush of pleasant surprise. She was really quite lovely. He saw her bite the edge of her full bottom lip a little nervously before she retreated in a half step. She wouldn’t ignore him now. She recognized a threat to female virtue when she saw it.

“Come on,” he said, gently taking her arm. “We’ll hunt for your sheep on the dance floor. It just so happens that I’m good at hunting.”

She stared down guardedly at his hand before returning her shrewd gaze to his face. The shadow of a smile lifted those lushly curved lips. “Wolves usually are.”

He laughed, pleased but surprised at her response, and drew her forward. She gave a strong twist of resistance, although there was no room for her to escape. Guests had already filled the void where they’d been standing. The ballroom was thronged elbow-to-elbow with elegantly dressed lords and ladies. Loud ones, too. Drake was reminded of a barnyard filled with clucking hens and braying asses, which didn’t exactly speak well of his opinion of Society as a whole.

He could barely hear what his reluctant partner was attempting to say above all the chatter and music of the orchestra. “Tell me about him later,” he said in answer to her distressed look.

He didn’t particularly want to talk, or dance for that matter. He simply wanted to pass time with this pretty stranger before a night of bliss-inducing sex with a courtesan he’d met only once; and even during that meeting he and Maribella had not exchanged more than a few provocative words. This whole affair hinged on rumor and innuendo, which was what probably made it so intriguing.

“It’s not a him,” his partner said rather forcefully as he drew her resisting figure into the steps of the dance. An unexpected surge of arousal stirred his senses at the pliant warmth of her body. There was a pleasant sturdiness about her that appealed to him. She was an accomplished enough dancer to follow the pattern without seeming to pay attention. She seemed to be more concerned with looking for whomever it was she’d lost than with his efforts to disarm her.

His hooded gaze studied her as she faced the stage. She wore her hair back from her face, a heavy cluster of chestnut brown waves that enhanced her creamy skin. No jewelry except for a pair of pearl earrings. Her lilac muslin dress hadn’t been designed to impress anyone, either. In fact, she looked like a governess, or a lady’s companion. Which would explain why she was looking for lost sheep. He’d probably get her dismissed for dancing with him.

A middle-aged gentleman bumped into her as the set reconfigured. Drake gave the man a look and reached out his arm without thinking to steady her. Her full breasts pressed through his white linen shirtfront, another flagrant shock to his senses. He allowed his hand to fall to the rise of her well-rounded backside. Oh, yes. She felt very nice, very promising. He preferred a substantial woman in his bed.

“I beg your pardon,” she said, reaching back to pluck his hand away. “Someone’s fingers are straying where they don’t belong.” Her pretty oval face reflected a frowning disapproval that made him smile. She had hazel eyes, he realized. Dark brown and green dappled light at the same time. Intelligent and not entirely innocent.

“You don’t need to beg me for anything.” All of a sudden his thoughts went a little wild. “Why don’t you enjoy yourself for a moment?”

She looked as if she’d swallowed a boiled onion whole. “Enjoy myself?”

He caught her wrist. “Aren’t you allowed any pleasure at all?”

“I’ve lost my client,” she said in vexation before the dance parted them again. “And I’m not here to enjoy myself.”

“Do you want to go outside and look for her?” he asked quietly, the epitome of chivalrous concern. It was as hot as an inferno in the ballroom, and he wouldn’t mind leading her astray in the dark for a minute or two.

“Outside,” she muttered, her arched eyebrows drawing into a deep scowl. “I’ll throttle the wits out of her if that’s where she’s gone.”

He started to laugh. He really wasn’t making much of an impression on her. He trusted he’d have better luck later in the evening. “Do you always have this much trouble keeping your missing lamb in line?”

“An army of Hussars couldn’t keep that girl in line,” she said in exasperation. “Not that she wouldn’t enjoy challenging them, mind you.”

“Is that what you do?” ...

Product Details

  • File Size: 864 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345487605
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 26, 2006)
  • Publication Date: September 26, 2006
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000JMKTO6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,746 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I rarely write a review for a book. However, after seeing many of these reviews, I felt the need to respond. I actually really liked this book. It got my attention immediately. The characters were well developed; even the minor characters. The interaction with Drake and his brother Devon were priceless. Some romantic novels can make you 'smile' at their humor. This one actually made me laugh out loud several times. Especially the picture of Heath and the references to it that kept popping up throughout the story. The sex was better than most. It wasn't the same stuff you read in every other book and much 'hotter' than many; which is a plus.... It was my first Jillian Hunter. It will not be my last. I want to read the whole series of this entertaining Boscastle family.
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Respectable lady's companion Eloise Goodwin is wooed (but not with marriage in mind) by the seductive Lord Drake Boscastle in this charming, fun, well-paced and sensual read. Drake is en route to an assignation with his intended mistress, a much sought-after courtesan whom he has pursued for months. Along the way, he stops by a society party where Eloise is chaperoning an engaged young miss with a wandering eye, whose fiancé is out of the country. Though plainly dressed, the lovely Eloise catches Drake's eye. She finds him attractive as well, but recognizes him for the wolf he is and has no desire to be his next meal. They dance and Drake steals a few kisses from her, but they soon part. Drake heads to his rendezvous with the courtesan, and Eloise returns home with her wayward charge, who was found necking with a known philanderer.

Later that night, the girl runs away with her no-good Lothario. Frantic to find her, Eloise goes to Drake for help, since he is a friend of the girl's brother. She locates him at a bordello, where her timing could not be any worse - he is about to "consummate" his arrangement with his mistress. Drake nonetheless extricates himself from his ladylove and agrees to help, inexplicably less bothered than he should be about the interruption. And so their adventure (and her seduction) begins - the world-weary and somewhat tarnished knight in shining armor, and his levelheaded and virtuous bundle of temptation.

The charm of the couple and their delightful interplay clearly make this story. Almost from the start, they enjoy each other with a sweetness and abandon that is truly endearing. Except for his aversion to marriage, Drake is a pretty stand-up guy.
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By A Customer on September 30, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In 1815 London, Lord Drake Boscastle is the envy of all aristocratic males (except for those happily married like his brother Grayson star of The Wicked Games of a Gentleman) as he has bought Maribella St. Ives as his mistress. Before finalizing their arrangement, Drake notices governess Eloise Goodwin; he steals a dance, a kiss, and a fondle or two from the shocked but willing innocent. However, his payment is helping her find her missing charge Thalia Thornton, who is with a lothario.

After taking the two women home as he promised her brother, Drake visits Maribella only to have his cousin Gabriel escort Eloise to the brothel. She needs his help again as Thalia has run off with her lothario. As Drake and Eloise work together to save Thalia from ruin while her sibling has run away to avoid a gambling debt, Eloise's former philandering fiancé Ralph Hawkens tries to blackmail her concerning her secret mistake and an upset jealous Maribella sets down the gauntlet.

This is a fun Boscastle regency romance that stars two likable protagonists and a strong secondary cast who add depth to the story line. Drake cannot help himself as he feels he must assist Eloise though he also enjoy playing "wicked" games with her. Eloise has a sharp wit that entices Drake. Sub-genre fans will appreciate Jillian Hunter's fine tale and look forward to brother Devon's wicked ways.

Harriet Klausner
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Lord Drake Boscastle, the dashing rake of the infamous Boscastle family, is bored with his life and hopes that an assignation with the highly sought after courtesan will cure his ennui. Mere minutes before leaving the ball to secure the courtesan as his mistress, he spots the lovely and voluptuous Eloise frantically searching for her "lost lamb". How can a wolf resist such a fetching sheep? He cannot.

What follows is a delightful laugh out loud romantic comedy with only a wee bit of drama. Drake is besotted at first site and prim Eloise has been hiding from her past for too long. When these two finally come together it's explosive as the sexual tension is palpable.

The love scenes are steamy, the tension is hot. Eloise is curvy and Drake is mad for every soft inch of her. JH revisits all the previous Boscastles and had me chortling during the part with poor baby Rowan when he was "ill". Lots of hilarious scenes in this read.

I cannot wait for Devon's book!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rarely do I enjoy an author who brings about various emotions as I read. Jillian Hunter is one of those rare finds - I absolutely love reading her books because I can be guaranteed a good laugh somewhere in her tale, as well as a love story that is anything but the norm. She has developed a unique style of writing that is sheer perfection.

Her last trilogy focused on the Boscastle clan (The Seduction of an English Scoundrel, The Love Affair of an English Lord, and The Wedding Night of an English Rogue) and I was instantly grasped by this rebellious lot. Their adventures captured me from the beginning and I only hoped Hunter would continue her story line with this dynamic family. Happily I can say that THE WICKED GAMES OF A GENTLEMAN once again has a Boscastle at the helm.

Lord Drake Boscastle is good looking, rich and the black sheep of the Boscastle family. He seems to be in a dark mood most of the time and cannot figure out why. He decides taking on a mistress is needed to help his mood, and he's interested in an arrangement with one of England's most famous courtesans. On the night of his introduction he is swept off his feet by Eloise Goodwin, a governess with a scandalous past of her own. She's innocent, spirited and very attractive. She's definitely not what Drake had in mind but he was blindsided by her nonetheless.

Soon Drake realizes that Eloise brings about all the good things in him - he wants to protect her, provide for her, and all of the other things people in love want. Yet he denies his emotions and figures it's just a good old dose of lust. Eloise is also smitten so much so that she agrees to become his mistress.

From here the story goes along the seduction lines and the reader thinks it will be the normal romantic journey.
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