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Imogen Waterstone has always prided herself on being a thoroughly independent young woman, but now she needs a man of implacable will and nerves of iron. That's why she invited Matthias Marshall, infamous Earl of Colchester, to her home in Upper Strickland. Who better than the legendary explorer to help her lay the perfect trap?

Her scheme is simple, really: She plans to let it be known that when she inherited her uncle's collection of antiquities, she also inherited a map to a fabulous ancient treasure. She's sure that her enemy would risk financial ruin in pursuit of the mythical artifact. And to make doubly sure the scoundrel took the bait, she wants Colchester to pretend that he's out to seduce Imogene so that he, too, could get his hands on her map.

Yet in all of her plotting, Imogene never anticipates Colchester's violent reaction to her request or her own electrifying reaction to him. Neither does she expect that a malevolent threat would emerge from the labyrinth of London--sinister enough to endanger her and Colchester's lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553527070
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/01/2000
Edition description: Abridged, 2 cassettes, 3 hrs.
Product dimensions: 4.45(w) x 7.01(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

Amanda Quick, a pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz, is a New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of contemporary and historical romances. There are nearly thirty million copies of her books in print, including Seduction, Surrender, Scandal, Rendezvous, Ravished, Reckless, Dangerous, Deception, Desire, Mistress, Mystique, Mischief, Affair, With This Ring, I Thee Wed, and Wicked Widow. She is also the author of Slightly Shady and Don’t Look Back, the first two novels featuring Lavinia Lake and Tobias March. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Frank.

Read an Excerpt

"You pass yourself off as a man of action, but now it seems that you are not that sort of man at all."

"I do not pass myself off as anything but what I am, you exasperating little--"

"Apparently you write fiction rather than fact, sir.  Bad enough that I thought you to be a clever, resourceful gentleman given to feats of daring.  I have also been laboring under the equally mistaken assumption that you are a man who would put matters of honor ahead of petty considerations of inconvenience."

"Are you calling my honor as well as my manhood into question?"

"Why shouldn't I? You are dearly indebted to me, sir, yet you obviously wish to avoid making payment on that debt."

"I was indebted to your uncle, not to you."

"I have explained to you that I inherited the debt," she retorted.

Matthias took another gliding step into the grim chamber.  "Miss Waterstone, you try my patience."

"I would not dream of doing so," she said, her voice dangerously sweet.  "I have concluded that you will not do at all as an associate in my scheme.  I hereby release you from your promise.  Begone, sir."

"Bloody hell, woman.  You are not going to get rid of me so easily." Matthias crossed the remaining distance between them with two long strides and clamped his hands around her shoulders.

Touching her was a mistake.  Anger metamorphosed into desire in the wink of an eye.

For an instant he could not move.  His insides seemed to have been seized by a powerful fist.  Matthias tried to breathe but Imogen's scent filled his head, clouding his brain.  He looked down into the bottomless depths of her blue-green eyes and wondered if he would drown.  He opened his mouth to conclude the argument with a suitably repressive remark, but the words died in his throat.

The outrage vanished from Imogen's gaze.  It was replaced by sudden concern. "My lord? Is something wrong?"

"Yes." It was all he could do to get the word past his teeth.

"What is it?" She began to look alarmed.  "Are you ill?"

"Quite possibly."

"Good heavens.  I had not realized.  That no doubt explains your odd behavior."

"No doubt."

"Would you care to lie down on the bed for a few minutes?"

"I do not think that would be a wise move at this juncture." She was so soft. He could feel the warmth of her skin through the sleeves of her prim, practical gown.  He realized that he longed to discover if she made love with the same impassioned spirit she displayed in an argument.  He forced himself to remove his hands from her shoulders.  "We had best finish this discussion at some other time."

"Nonsense," she said bracingly.  "I do not believe in putting matters off, my lord."

Matthias shut his eyes for the space of two or three seconds and took a deep breath.  When he lifted his lashes he saw that Imogen was watching him with a fascinated expression.  "Miss Waterstone," he began with grim determination. "I am trying to employ reason here."

"You're going to help me, aren't you?" She started to smile.

"I beg your pardon?"

"You've changed your mind, haven't you? Your sense of honor has won out." Her eyes glowed.  "Thank you, my lord.  I knew you would assist me in my plans." She gave him an approving little pat on the arm.  "And you must not concern yourself with the other matter."

"What other matter?"

"Why, your lack of direct experience with bold feats and daring adventure.  I quite understand.  You need not be embarrassed by the fact that you are not a man of action, sir."

"Miss Waterstone-- "

"Not everyone can be an intrepid sort, after all," she continued blithely. "You need have no fear.  If anything dangerous occurs in the course of my scheme, I shall deal with it."

"The very thought of you taking charge of a dangerous situation is enough to freeze the marrow in my bones."

"Obviously you suffer from a certain weakness of the nerves.  But we shall contrive to muddle through.  Try not to succumb to the terrors of the imagination, my lord.  I know you must be extremely anxious about what lies ahead, but I assure you, I will be at your side every step of the way."

"Will you, indeed?" He felt dazed.

"I shall protect you." Without any warning Imogen put her arms around him and gave him what was no doubt meant to be a quick, reassuring hug.

The tattered leash Matthias was using to hold on to his self-control snapped. Before Imogen could pull away, he wrapped her close.

"Sir?" Her eyes widened with surprise.

"The only aspect of this situation that truly alarms me, Miss Waterstone," he said roughly, "is the question of who will protect me from you?"

Before she could reply, he crushed her mouth beneath his own.

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Mischief 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story starts out slow and in the beginning I almost gave up, but I warn you read on my friends! As it turns out this happens to be my favorite Amanda Quick book and I've read almost all her books! I love the way she writes!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent. Amanda Quick has so far never disappointed me. Her books, including this one have been page-turners which I have read over and over. I also like how her female characters are not weak uninteresting creatures but are possessed with unusual interests and it is in this that draws them to the man of their dreams. Imogen Waterstone is no exception. If it were not for her unusual interest in ancient Zamar, she could never have fulfilled every fantasy of the Cold-Blooded Colchester....
Anonymous 6 months ago
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While a fun installment in her slightly alternative universe with the finding of a mysterious island called Zamar, which has captivated the historical period (which feels more victorian than regency), this somehow just didn't quite do it for me. I think that the pacing was a little off for me and I really didn't feel a sense of menace from the major bad character. Imogen Waterstone has a plan to get her revenge on Vanneck, a man who married a friend and then broke her heart. Who also was involved in getting Imogen in disgrace. She turns to Matthias Marshall the Earl of Colchester for help and finds herself more involved than maybe she should.It's fun, light and interesting but the characters never really came to life for me. Still it's a good one to borrow.
SlySionnach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my first romance novel. I remember it fondly - I read it back, maybe six years ago, and had to read it all over again. I always associated romance with Harlequin and that stuff my mother would tell me as a kid, "You can read anything you want, just not in that section until you're older." Looking back, I'm surprised I listened...Regardless, the book itself I enjoyed immensely. It circles around "Immodest" Imogen Waterstone and "Cold-Blooded" Colchester. Imogen is on a hunt for the real reason her good friend died, and what better way than to enter society again? After all, that's where all the Lords and Ladies are normally.So she comes up with this fantastic way of asking Colchester to help, based on a debt he owed to her Uncle...which her Uncle left to Imogen in his will. He'll pretend to pursue her because she supposedly owns the map to an ancient Zamarian (yes, made up) artifact that they're both interested in, being lovers of that ancient culture. It helps bind them together throughout the four hundred or so pages.I think the part that made me like the novel so much more is the fact that during this conversation, Imogen gets it into her head that "Cold-Blooded" Colchester suffers from weak nerves. The way the author plays on that throughout the rest of the novel is good for some laughter.All in all, I really enjoyed reading this. The characters made me smile, the situations were just ridiculous at some points (in a good way), and there's even a touch of mystery in it to keep me guessing. Would (and have) read it again anytime.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She follows him in
Tangen More than 1 year ago
suspense, murder, artifact, romance, mystery, historical-novel, reread, social-issues Another one from the prolific Quick that I have reread in print and own in audio. Yes, it is romantic suspense, has erotica, and the snarks sneak up on you. Publisher's blurb suggests the plot, but there is more fun to it, and the characters do remind me of a few folks that I have worked with. It is a lightweight, fun read with a mere hint of supernatural and a side order of social issues still present today.
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Felt the story was very slow to get into. Also, did not like the heroine very much. Seems like the author always makes the heroine the same in every book. Not quite sure why the hero loves her so much. Very bossy. I usually don't give up on reading a book but I am tempted to with this one. I'll keep reading this but so far I am not enjoying this one.
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I enjoy Jayne's writing, regardless of which name she uses.
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