A Dangerous Beauty

A Dangerous Beauty

by Sophia Nash

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Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by the removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder.
The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce

A Courageous Outcast . . .

Rosamunde Baird has lost everything and has no choice but to accept an invitation to spend a season with a dowager duchess and her clandestine ladies club. Determined to stay in the shadows and live quietly, she has sworn never again to come face to face with adventure and temptation, two things that brought her ruin years ago. But then the Duke of Helston dangles before her the very things she craves most . . .

Lord Fire & Ice . . .

Mysterious Luc St. Aubyn has a much-deserved reputation for exuding blistering passion at night and frost the morning after. What demons drive this audacious war hero to hide secrets about the dowager's club and his devilish dictionary? When he's blindsided by his reactions to a virtuous siren, he has no choice but to reveal all during a scandal that will doom them . . . or save them, if only they dare to believe in love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061741128
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Widows Club , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 35,356
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Sophia Nash was born in Switzerland and raised in France and the United States, but says her heart resides in Regency England. Her ancestor, an infamous French admiral who traded epic cannon fire with the British Royal Navy, is surely turning in his grave.

Before pursuing her long-held dream of writing, Sophia was an award-winning television producer for a CBS affiliate, a congressional speechwriter, and a nonprofit CEO. She lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs with her husband and two children.

Sophia's novels have won twelve national awards, including the prestigious RITA® Award, and two spots on Booklist's "Top Ten Romances of the Year."

Read an Excerpt

A Dangerous Beauty

By Sophia Nash

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Sophia Nash
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061231360

Chapter One

Expectation, n. The state or condition of mind which is preceded by hope and followed by despair.
—The Devil's Dictionary, A. Bierce

It was said Rosamunde Isabella Maria Solange Magred Edwina Langdon was given so many names because she was the last child the seventh Earl and Countess of Twenlyne would ever have. But that was only half the truth.

The earl and his wife had carefully chosen names each time the countess had found herself with child. But while there had been great joy with the arrival of each of their first four children—all boys—there had been little surprise. For the last one hundred years the earldom had provided England with enough strapping males to make up a small regiment, but nary a single female.

All the present countess's sons looked like her—blond hair, brown eyes and a fine sprinkling of freckles on their upturned noses. And the earl was proud of his towheaded sons.

But he wanted a daughter. A daughter whose miniature he would carry in his pocket like his contemporaries. A daughter who would giggle and primp and twirl him about her jam-smeared little fingers. A daughter who would give him headaches and the ultimate heartache when she found another man who could make her eyes sparkle just a little brighter than they did for him.

And so, whenthe countess bore her fifth offspring—a daughter—after a long and painful breech delivery, the proud papa bestowed on this magical child the long string of feminine names he and the countess had chosen during her previous lying-ins. That they were the jumble of French, English, Spanish, Italian and Welsh names of each of the prior Countesses of Twenlyne was no coincidence.

In the rosy glow of the first morning after her birth, the earl hugged this miraculous girl child to his breast and reverently stroked her raven-black curls so like his own. From the glazed window, a shaft of sunlight bathed her slate-blue baby eyes as he gazed adoringly at her.

"You'll not have to put up with that ordinary color for long, my darling. I shall eat crow if they don't change into the proper Welsh Langdon colors by next midsummer's eve." And for the merest moment the earl felt his heart squeeze in recognition. Staring into her intelligent eyes, which were certain to turn into the smoky aquamarine shade of generations of Langdons, it was as if he had always known her. Their souls were destined to become entwined.

The entire household, in fact the entire county, celebrated the earl's happiness while the temporarily neglected sons only grumbled a little.

There was no question the frail countess would recover, for she knew her duty as a mother. And so she did. The earl refused to let doctors dampen his good spirits when his wife became with child soon after Rosamunde's birth.

The countess submitted to her discomfort with customary quiet grace, but it was not to be. She was delivered of another daughter, this one christened with her mother's name only, for there were no other ancestral names left to parcel out. Black-haired, brown-eyed Sylvia Langdon came into creation the same day the countess had nothing more to give this world and so passed on to the next.

If everyone held their breath when the countess died of childbed fever, it was for naught. For the earl, who had loved his wife quite devotedly, transferred that love to his children and never sought a new countess. In his mind, there were too many gothic stories about second wives who evolved into evil stepmothers.

And so, the reclusive earl chose to bury his heart in his love of the land and his children. His progeny gloried in his undivided attention during wild gallops and long nature walks amid the mystical circular stones abounding in the Cornish landscape of their home, Edgecumbe. Theirs was a working estate and the children were brought up to love country life—indeed, to know nothing of town.

It was heaven.

If the siblings noticed their father had a special place in his heart for Rosamunde, they tried to ignore it. The thing was, she was hard not to like. While she could pretend to be a proper, quiet young lady when forced into the role, there was no one who had a greater penchant for adventure—something guaranteed to endear her to her toad-loving, accident-prone brothers. She was always ready to race headlong into any escapade. If it included climbing trees, racing horses or lethal weapons, all the better.

And while her brothers might have been continually put out by her uncanny ability to outride them, outswim them, and even best them at every skill involving a target, well, it was something they tried to hide behind young male cockiness. Her generous nature, the only trait she had inherited from her English mother, was a useful balm in tending to bruised brotherly pride. That and her beautiful voice. For while all the siblings were musical by nature, especially Phinn and Sylvia, only Rosamunde could sing.

And oh how she could sing. Almost every evening they gathered in the music room, her father on the pianoforte, Sylvia with her harp and her brothers on various instruments, while Rosamunde sang Welsh songs of love and loss.

There was really but one fault she possessed. The earl called it "bloody pigheadedness" and refused to recognize he had inherited it himself from generations of strong-willed, hot-tempered blue bloods whose clashing characters boiled down to the same overriding element—passion. The cool British traits had melted away in the face of the overpowering heat of more unsteady temperaments. But this trait had benefits. When a Langdon loved, there was nothing insipid about it.

As her long, lanky coltlike limbs grew toward womanhood, Rosamunde began to wish she could trade in her sporting prowess for the cool serenity her younger sister Sylvia possessed in ample quantity. But Rosamunde was plagued with a face that revealed her every emotion.


Excerpted from A Dangerous Beauty by Sophia Nash Copyright © 2007 by Sophia Nash. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Dangerous Beauty 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Following her inappropriate behavior with Lord Sumner ending with her refusal to marry him in spite of their indiscretion on the beach and her father¿s ire, she settled for a loveless match with a squire. Having barely survived the scandal that shamed her beloved father, Lady Rosamunde Baird vows to avoid any impropriety. When she became a widow, the Dowager Duchess of Helston and her female minion allow her to join their flock for the season Rosamunde assumes this is easy cover to steer clear of discrediting her family name although her indiscretion eight years ago was with the Helstons.----------------- However, to her chagrin, her dowager hostess has a hunk of a grandson Luc ¿Lord Fire and Ice¿ St. Aubyn. His nickname comes from heating the passion of women until he cools them down by leaving them behind. He on the other hand initially assumes she is another of his grandmother¿s vapid friends until he goes riding with her. As they fall in love, scandal seems on the horizon with the exposure of him as the author of a sarcastic dictionary written under an alias.-------------- The roguish Luc turns this delightful Regency romance into a fast-paced tale as he takes up the challenge of Rosamunde, who goes out of her way to avoid scandal. Once they go riding, he is hooked as she is the best rider regardless of gender he has ever seen. Fans will enjoy his antics as he lives up to the first half of his nickname heating a despairing Rosamunde but finds he does not want to cool their ardor. With Bierce¿s Devil¿s Dictionary leading each chapter with fun asides, Sophia Nash provides a lighthearted entertaining historical romance starring two opposites when it comes to scandalous behavior. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this gender war.--------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't review many books,but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I found myself laughing on some places and crying in others. The sex scenes were hot! But also had a great story. Would definately reccomend this book to romance lovers everywhere.
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The lady on the cover looks crossed with a Hindi and Spanish. =) Now that's beauty.
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Ralph More than 1 year ago
As with her previous book, Lord Will and her Grace, one cannot help but ask if Sophia (or should we call her Sophie?) is pretending not to be flatteringly writing an auto-biography or stuggling to get over the abuses of her father (who must have made her feel insecure about her appeal and self-worth). She spends a great deal of effort trying to be "sexy" and "alluring" on her photo shoots (right down to pictures of her clear vinly fish bone high heels.... there's an unsavory vanity about all of her). Is she trying to "sell" herself or her books? There's something not quite right about her approach.

You decide what her game is.