Must Have Been the Moonlight

Must Have Been the Moonlight

by Melody Thomas, Tsang (Editor)

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In this brilliant follow-up to her Avon debut, Melody Thomas captivates us again with a rich and emotionally satisfying 'marriage of convenience' story that will delight fans of Judith McNaught.

Michael Fallon is the third son of a Duke, and when the love of his life was betrothed to his older brother, Michael left England to serve in the military. Now he's a captain stationed in Cairo, and he inadvertently rescues Brianna Donally from the deserts. Michael is the most exciting man Brea has ever known, and the attraction between them is undeniable. A 'modern' woman, she sees nothing wrong in initiating an affair, but when Michael unexpectedly inherits the family dukedom, the 'marriage of convenience' Michael proposes is anything but, and Brianna suddenly finds herself falling in love with a man she vowed never to trust with her heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060564483
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/30/2004
Series: Donally Family Series , #2
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Melody Thomas is a wordsmith, a creator of dreams, and a passionate believer in happy endings. A product of thirteen schools and twenty-two moves stretching across the United States and Europe, she is a self-proclaimed gypsy. Her fascination with historical romance began when, in her teens, she visited the Tower of London and learned that Henry the Eighth had beheaded two of his wives. This was great fodder for her teenage imagination and the start of a love affair with history, intrigue, and irresistible heroes.

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Must Have Been The Moonlight

Chapter One


Major Michael Fallon squatted on his heels, his face dark with a beard, and squinted against the harsh glare of the Western Sahara. He looked for the object that had caught his eye when he'd crested the last dune -- a dark flutter of silk on sunlight. Finding it now amid the loose clutter on sand -- a wisp of cloth snagged on rock -- he brought the veil to his nose. English roses and something else uniquely feminine touched his senses. Turning the cloth over in his hands, Michael turned his attention to a steel-dust Arabian trailing its reins some distance away. Where was the second rider he had been following?

Bending over the field glasses beside him, he adjusted the leather hood over the lenses to prevent the fading sunlight from reflecting off the glass. An ancient watchtower and stone wall, relegated back to the desert some centuries before, made a somber landmark against the indigo sky as nightfall lowered its sleepy eye over the terrain. He knew that good rifle scope would pick him off at this range if he stepped into the open.

He swore softly as he looked back at his white camel, couched in the sand like some bored Sheba oblivious to the growing chill. He pulled out a tin of peppermints, slid one beneath his tongue, and again brought the veil to his nose before shoving it into his shirt.

Holding the carbine in one hand, his burnoose slapping at his boots, he remained on the backside of the dune and trailed the Arabian on foot through the growing darkness to the outer perimeter of the watchtower. Three days without sleep -- or perhaps it was the beating three Kharga slavers had given him last month -- made him feel every muscle in his legs as he kept low to the ground.

The horse ambled up a path -- and stopped.

Michael dropped to his haunches, his fist tightening around his rifle. He carried a brace of pistols across his chest and a knife in his other hand. Such ancient watchtowers had been built around springs. He didn't see any livestock, but guessed they were corralled behind the tower against the rocks. One small heel print crossed the worn path almost at his feet. Shifting his weight, he raised his eyes to the rocks a heartbeat before he heard the click of a pistol behind him.

And froze.

"The only reason you're still alive," said a decidedly feminine voice, "is because my rifle is out of bullets."

Michael rose to his feet and turned slowly. His tagilmust hung loose and draped his shoulder. Each hand gripped a weapon. Their eyes met, and for a breathless heartbeat they faced each other. He wasn't sure how many people were present in the camp. Whatever he'd expected to find, it wasn't a blue-eyed houri in the Sahara Desert holding a lethal-looking revolver on him.

Wearing a dark robe, half draped in moonlight, her body was detailed against the flimsy cloth as she stood between two boulders. Her cheeks were pale, and a wisp of dark hair had fallen from the wild braid down her back.

His gaze glinting with hard humor, Michael respected grit as much as he did the seven-inch barrel aimed at his chest. "It is fortunate for me that your rifle had no bullets, amîri," he said impassively, raising his arms in a gesture of submission.

His movement revealed to her the baggy white sirwal beneath his robes, trousers tucked in soft leather knee-high boots.

Her light-colored gaze held his. Those striking eyes had kept him from possibly killing her. That and the fact that she'd spoken in English -- and he'd answered in kind.

He didn't hear movement behind him, only felt the stars explode in his head. Then he was falling, and his face hit the sand.

Brianna Donally could barely breathe as she held the field glasses to her eyes and scanned the desert, the sick feeling in her gut increasing with every moment. The white camel she'd been watching earlier had not moved from its solemn place in the sand. She would have to go out there. Yet, she knew there was someone else in the darkness. Somehow, despite all of her efforts, they'd been tracked. First by the pair this morning. Then by the man on the white camel.

She knew that one man lay on the desert floor because she'd put him there earlier that morning, and the man on the white camel lay behind her.

Her sister-in-law slumped against the stone wall, her breath coming in quick heaves. They'd both been running.

"Do you think that I killed him, Brea?" Lady Alexandra removed the wide-brimmed beater hat from her head and dropped it onto the sand. A visible bruise marred her cheek. "We can't just leave him to . . . to the scavengers. Like the other one."

They had escaped two assassins. Closing her eyes, Brianna lowered her forehead against the stone wall. It was cold against her cheek. How long would it be before those who had pillaged the caravan sent more people to hunt down the two Inglizi missies who had escaped the massacre? She would not allow Lady Alexandra's compassion to intrude on her conscience. Nor was she going to expend her energies to bury murderers. Some things were better left alone.

Unlike Brianna, her sister-in-law wore a long-sleeve cotton shirtwaist and collared jacket over a divided skirt, the blouse and jacket torn and spattered with blood. How much came from the wound on her mouth or shoulder, or from the soldier who'd been beside her when he was shot, Brianna didn't know.

"If that man wished to be buried in accordance to his custom, then he should not have attacked us, my lady."

Blinking to clear her vision, Brianna forced herself to refocus. The moon was a scimitar in the sky, lying over the desert terrain like a half-lit lantern ...

Must Have Been The Moonlight. Copyright © by Melody Thomas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Must Have Been The Moonlight 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous 4 months ago
This second book kept my interest from the very beginning. I’m actually saddened it came to an end
theshadowknows on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved the setting for Must Have Been the Moonlight - late 19th century Egypt. The opening scene particularly is riveting and full of promise. Brianna Donnolly and her sister-in-law Lady Alex from the previous book have been stranded in the desert for days after their caravan was attacked. They barely managed to escape with their lives, but are being pursued. Major Michael Fallon, who was supposed to meet up with the caravan, is on their tail, but for the women it's very uncertain whether he's friend or foe. Must Have Been the Moonlight was kind of rough in places - the prose especially could do with some polishing, but still the characters managed to shine through and capture my attention. Brianna is strong and intelligent, and I ended up liking her a lot - she's a suffragist, a photographer, a philanthropist, and something of a troublemaker. Michael Fallon is your disreputable rake type, but I like that he really lives up to the vocation and can be very naughty indeed. He certainly doesn't harbor any noble intentions towards Brianna. But what I like best about the book, about their romance and these two characters, is that Brianna doesn't either. She wants an affair, and ends up having to be the one to do the pursuing. Her aversion towards marriage seems sincere, credible, and consistent with who she is, especially with her suffragist leanings. I was impressed that Brianna didn't end up seeming desperate in her continued pursuit of Michael. Even after they do the deed, and he has no intention of contacting her again, and she can't keep away, it's clear that she's the one being honest with herself and him. Michael wants her just as badly but holds back for various reasons. He finds himself unable to disentangle from Brianna as easily as he would have liked - and ends up wanting to keep her.While I liked the characters well enough, and their romance, the action/adventure bits and the plot got tamer as the book progressed. Still, I love the initial setting and the way Thomas describes the landscape of Egypt ¿ beautiful. When we move to England about half way through, though, and the book settles into the more conventional frame and events of a romance novel, I'm disappointment to say the least ¿ especially when the mystery element of the plot kicks in full force. The rest of the book was ok, the mystery not the best. The change in setting made it seem conflicted, and the second half wasn't nearly as interesting as the first. I have to wonder at this fixation on England for romance settings. It's a big world out there. Romances should try and venture out into it once and a while, and not turn tail and scamper back to the mother country whenever a first tentative step is taken beyond its hallowed shores.
Schemar More than 1 year ago
Great book! Superbly written, great characters, and well-crafted plot. One of the best books I've read this year.
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writingirl_15 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I really loved both the characters and you could practically feel the chemistry between them. The romance was superb and the action was dynamite. A must read!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1870 in the Western Sahara, Major Michael ¿El Tazor¿ (barracuda) Fallon rescues Lady Alexandra Donally and Brianna Donally, wife and sister of the Minister of Public Works Sir Christopher from assassins. He escorts the two women to Christopher¿s camp only to learn the man left in a rage having though his beloved spouse and sibling murdered. Brianna is attracted to her rescuer and tries to seduce him, but though tempted especially after a heated kiss he rejects her temptation as he does not want to get involved with the sister of a superior................................. Instead he has a trusted Khedive escort the women to Cairo while Michael goes after Christopher. Later Michael offers Brianna a marriage of convenience, which she accepts. He sees this as a way to continue his activities without female interference while she knows a husband provides respectability while she goes about seeking social reform. However, as they head to England, Brianna falls in love with Michael; he refuses to reciprocate her feelings until an abduction opens his mind to his heart............................ This is an exciting Victorian romance that uses Egypt as an intriguing setting for much of the plot; the locale provides freshness to the tale and enables Brianna¿s courage and independence to flow freely. The story line is fast-paced as Brianna seems more like Pauline and Michael her rescuer. Fans will appreciate these two protagonists as she softens her hardened champion (no pun intended) through love and want to read the second chance at love tale between Alexandra and Christopher (see IN MY HEART)............................ Harriet Klausner