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Cover Copyright ©2007
Trace Edward Zaber
by Patricia Harrison
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-057-2 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-983-4 (Paperback)
Thane, Lord Welford, bitterly resents his position: he must marry Miranda Armitage, an heiress unknown to him, or lose Earlsthorpe, his ancestral home. Miranda faces the marriage with trepidation, but, disowned by her guardian aunt, she has no choice but to submit. Thane resolves to make the best of a bad situation, when his life is further complicated by the unexpected arrival of his former lover, Claire, and her friends who have come to attend the wedding. Miranda suspects a relationship between Thane and Claire, and when Thane denies it, she cannot wholly believe him.
Facing together the sudden danger that threatens from outside Earlsthorpe, however, draws Thane and Miranda closer. He thinks she will make a fine Lady Welford; she begins to love him.
But things are not what they seem. They are unaware of the dangers within the great house. Then, on the eve of their wedding, a murderer claims a victim. The villain is known, his capture anticipated, but no one feels safe.
Tensions mount. Lies and deceptions abound, until Miranda’s trust is broken by the greatest deception of all...
Romance / Historical Romance / Regency Romance
Length: Extended Novel (109k words / 292 paperback pages)
~ Purchase ~
Read what the reviewers are saying...
“9 Gargoyles!...Deliciously diabolical! Wicked schemes, the lure of sensual pleasures and greedy desires all come together in a plot packed with passion and promise. Set in the Regency era, these pages shiver with restrained emotion as the characters stay within the boundaries of a genteel society, while struggling to consummate personal agendas. Lord Welford needs to marry a rich woman. Miranda Armitage is chosen to be his bride. Although this marriage was made in a parlor rather than heaven, Miranda’s youthful innocence entertains visions of a happily-ever-after ending. Yet, the love of money is a powerful force, causing an enemy to step between this couple with a desperate plan. As the pages turn, the level of tension increases until the full scope of the murderer’s intention is revealed. The final pages offer a breathless encounter with evil as hopes are dashed and hearts are melted. Opening this book is like stepping back in time to an age of grace and gentility. Author Patricia Harrison captures the beauty and the elegance of the Regency period, while adding an intriguing mixture of murder and mayhem. Expertly written, this story transports readers to a society of refinement and courtesy, while highlighting the ageless denominators of greed and lust. The characters, the dialogue and their actions come together naturally and are consistent with this era. The niceties and the naughtiness create a strong contrast, which is superbly shown in sedate walks through a garden one moment, followed by a trail of terror the next. This combination of emotions is both engaging and exciting. As the final scene closes the curtain on the lovers, the sighs of pleasure will not only be coming from the characters."--Joyce Handzo, In The Library Reviews
"...Detailed with many characters. These people are solid, even if not all upstanding citizens. The plot is believable and very interesting. Ms. Harrison has an interesting way of telling a story, which makes it hard to stop reading. There is drama and intrigue; there is murder and liaison. The confusion over exactly why Thane is marrying Miranda has a big impact on the overall story. Exciting action comes to life as the guards are called in. It seems there will never be an ending to the mystery of who and why. This book will definitely keep the attention of the readers right to the surprising outcome. I recommend this book if you enjoy historical fiction with suspense and mystery thrown in."--Brenda Talley, The Romance Studio
"...With excitement, danger, and a cast of well-drawn characters, there is never a dull moment. The relationship between Miranda and Thane survives misunderstandings to become a moving part of the story...character interaction is paramount...Narration, dialogue, and character development are all well done, making it an excellent read and meriting a strong recommendation from this reviewer."--Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today
"...Begins with a popular device often used in traditional Regency romances, the marriage of convenience, but then the plot takes off in several directions. With excitement, danger, and a cast of well-drawn characters, there is never a dull moment. The relationship between Miranda and Thane survives misunderstandings to become a moving part of the story. While the plot has several threads, the character interaction is paramount. For instance, several persons might have done the murder, and though clues are there for readers who pay attention, the interest lies in Thane and Miranda unraveling the mystery...Narration, dialogue, and character development are all well done, making it an excellent read and meriting a strong recommendation from this reviewer."--Jane Bowers, Romance Review Today
"4 Blue Ribbons!...Patricia Harrison's fascinating and emotionally stirring regency romance Dangerous Deceptions is filled with edge-of-the-seat suspense. So many lies and so many betrayals, no one can be trusted. Colorful and compelling characters find themselves in danger and just when you believe you know the truth and have it all figured out…guess again. This story has so many twists and turns you are definitely in for a surprise. This is the story of Thane and Miranda. The pain that comes from being lied to can only be healed through love, but it will take time to learn to trust again. When someone plots against them they may not have time...I found myself captivated by this story and could not help but hope somehow everything would turn out well..."--Anita, Romance Junkies
"...A good, classic historical romance..."--Tori, Joyfully Reviewed
Read a short excerpt...
...“I was at the boathouse.” He indicated a small building, barely discernable through the trees, which she had not noticed. Two footmen, looking unhappy with such menial work, were readying a small rowing boat. “You and the other ladies might enjoy a boat ride—why, Miss Armitage, you have gone quite white. Are you ill?”
For a moment, words failed her. She had thought her fears under control. Now visions of nightmare creatures, waiting for her beneath the waves, swamped her mind. Lord Welford, his coolness changed to concern, took her arm.
“I-I am not ill, sir.” She stepped back, embarrassed by her weakness. “’Tis silly of me, but the notion of being in a boat…deep water…brings back horrors I believed I had overcome.”
“Horrors?” He released her arm, looking puzzled, but almost instantly she saw comprehension in his eyes. “Of course. Your family perished while boating. Forgive me, I beg, for being so clumsy. I ought to have realized the remembrance would be hurtful to you.”
“You are not at fault, sir. I have never had to face my nightmares. At Rose Haven, the only water was a stream hardly deep enough to wet one’s shoes. ’Tis time I put away these irrational fears.” She breathed deeply of the sweet air, and, smiling, shook her head. “Not today, however. Today I shall sit on the soft grass and think of nothing else but the beauty of the day.”
“An excellent notion.” He continued to look down at her, frowning slightly and making no move to join the picnic. She waited with a tingle of apprehension at his seriousness.
“If—when you decide the day has come when you want to venture on the waters again, I hope you will allow me to take you. Pray do not attempt such a trial on your own, or with a servant. Only with me. Will you promise this?”
“Why, yes, my lord, if you ask it.” Touched by his concern, and thinking this an excellent chance to clear the coolness between them, she added, “Pray, sir, will you accept my true apology for my behavior in the garden? I acted in haste, without thought or propriety.”
“I will accept your apology, Miss Armitage, if you will accept mine. I offer the same reasons—haste, thoughtlessness, and impropriety, though I might add we were both tense and weary. Let us forget the incident.”
She nodded, unable to quench a spark of resentment that the issue of his relationship with Lady Rumboldt was left unsettled. Perhaps something of her feelings showed in her expression, for Lord Welford, unsmiling and looking deep into her eyes, took her hands in his.
“Miss Armitage, believe me, I beg, that no obstacle stands in the way of our marriage. I have come to admire and respect you greatly, and am honored and eager to make you my wife. I know you will be a fine Lady Welford.”
His words lightened her heart, yet did not bring the full relief she had hoped for. He had not disclaimed loving Lady Rumboldt, but surely such a love would be considered an obstacle to any marriage? She must believe that no such hindrance existed. Reassured, she leaned forward, ready for his kiss to seal the pledge. He raised her hands, turned them, and with tenderness and solemnity, kissed the inside of each wrist, just above the frill of her glove.
The touch of his lips on the tender skin sent a quiver of delight through her, but it was not enough. She wanted more: the strength of his arms around her, the pressure of his mouth against hers, the gentleness of his hands. He had not been miserly with his kisses in his bed that first night, nor, though she blushed at the recollection, had his hands been idle. If only she had not been so terrified!
“Thank you, sir, for your assurance and your trust,” she murmured.
“You have more than earned both,” he answered, releasing her hands. “Now let us join the picnic. You must be hungry after your walk.”
Hungry for something other than food, she thought, walking toward the spread tables. Some inner sense brought her head sharply around. Sir John, seated on the grass apart from the group, was watching her with a brooding intensity. Her gaze locked with his. He stared into her eyes, then, as if he recognized her dissatisfaction, he smiled slowly. Miranda shivered as though a cold hand had touched the back of her neck...
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