Midnight Without a Moon [The Sinful Gentlemen 2]
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by Emma Wildes
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Trenton Wyatt usually disdains gossip, but when it involves the younger sister of one of his best friends, he is forced to interfere before disaster strikes. Rescuing her from suspicious revenue officers by pretending she is his mistress brings both scandal and the wrath of her family down on his head, and before he knows what's happening, he is forced to wed the very beautiful, very reckless Jessica. Finally having the attention of the man of her dreams isn't exactly the fantasy Jessica Fairman imagined. For one thing, her arrogant new husband is both controlling and difficult to know...except, of course, sexually. In that way, the infamous rake performs predictably with exquisite skill and tireless passion, filling her nights--and days--with unbelievable pleasure. An unexpected union binds an aristocratic rogue and a determined young woman together in the dangerous darkness of midnight without a moon... [Erotic Historical: Contains graphic sexual content and adult language.]
eBook Publisher: Siren-BookStrand, Inc./Erotica Romance, 2006 2006
eBookwise Release Date: September 2006
218 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [210 KB]
Reading time: 128-179 min.
"Jessica Fairman has been in love with her brother's best friend, Trenton, since she was just a small child, but he had never noticed her, even when she became a breath-taking beauty. When Jessica's bow in society ends abruptly due to her father's overwhelming debt, she begins a risky venture to reduce the ever-growing bills, never imagining her nightly activities would arouse the suspicions of the gossips in town. Trenton Wyatt, Earl of Declan, finds Jessica sneaking around the cliffs of her country home after hearing gossip about her illegal affairs. Fearing she could be spying for the French yet knowing the rumors couldn't possibly be true, he realizes the only way to clear her name is to make it appear she is his mistress, an action that will not only anger her family but also create a scandal. To save her reputation, he takes her as his bride, which is a price he's willing to pay to help his friend. But when his desire to keep her safe from her reckless adventures becomes confused with his growing need for her love, will his choice be more dangerous to his heart than to his reputation as an aristocratic rogue? While I'm not usually drawn to historical romances, I couldn't help but become helplessly drawn to Midnight Without a Moon. While this is the second in the Sinful Gentlemen Collection series, it is not connected to the previous story and is a stand-alone book. What made this book so invigorating is the intelligent and strong-willed Jessica. She is clever with an intelligent mind and a strong sense of self-worth. Both endearing and believable, she exudes a personality that shines with her glib comments and reasonable choices. Likewise, I greatly enjoyed Trenton. His father was a ruthless rogue and his talents with the ladies became Trenton's talents as well. This leaves a slight undercurrent of coldness to Trenton's personality as he is such a rogue that he doesn't believe love is a possibility. This uncertainty makes you wondering if, or when, he's going to slip up and become the cheater his father was. Trenton's desire to fight the possibility of love drew me to him, along with his gentle yet firm ability to leave Jessica gasping with pleasure. These sex scenes are delicious, being both carnally passionate and delightfully descriptive. The plot has several slight twists, with enough action to keep me engaged by the storyline. There never was a dull moment and I found myself re-reading chapters because of how intense they were. Overall, I greatly enjoyed Midnight Without a Moon and will be placing Emma Wildes on my must-read list of authors. 5 Stars/Hot"--Francesca, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
"Trenton Louis Wyatt, the Seventh Earl of Declan, is a wealthy, sophisticated, handsome man with compelling charm. He's also the one man that Jessica wants but never dreams of having. She's been in love with him for as long as she can remember but his wild exploits and reputation as a rake have led her to keep her distance. Trenton discovers that the lovely and aloof Lady Jessica Fairman is in quite a predicament. When her situation becomes precarious, he has no recourse but to help the youngest sister of his best friend. While his suggestion that she become his mistress is a bit unconventional and highly scandalous, he's convinced that it'll keep her out of prison. I thoroughly enjoyed Midnight Without a Moon and believe that you will too. Trenton's honesty not only made him endearing but also earnest and trustworthy. The manner in which both Trenton and Jessica came to each other's defenses so soon after their marriage was heartwarming. The historical accuracy of Emma Wildes' work always adds to its allure. Jessica has just enough sass to make this tale entertaining while Trenton is all sexy hot male! The beautiful and romantic writing style that Ms. Wilde's employs makes Midnight Without a Moon a charming page-turner. 4.5 Kisses"--Kerin, TwoLipsReviews
"In Trenton Wyatt, we have a hero of the high-calibre we have come to expect from Emma Wildes. He is outwardly a rake, but inwardly a tender-hearted lover and the masterful rescuer of the reckless Jessica. Their journey of discovery together is as enjoyable as the espionage thread that runs within the story and proved to be an excellent platform for introducing the impetuous Jessica. Ms. Wildes' talent for description draws the reader into her stories right along with her characters. No detail is ever overlooked, from the feelings that race through Jessica as she enjoys the first kiss with Trenton to the lavish descriptions of her clothing. In Midnight Without a Moon, Ms. Wildes has woven a tale of delightful adventure-both in and out of the bedroom ensuring that she is always a joy to read. 4 Blue Ribbons"--Deborah, Romance Junkies
"Midnight Without a Moon satisfied my romantic heart. I love nothing more than a hero coming in and saving the day and that is what Trenton did. So what if he is a bit controlling? Controlling aside, he was just plain luscious. Jessica was the picture of poor gentility trying to keep her head above water. I loved her loyalty to family and how she loved Trenton. Midnight Without a Moon by Emma Wildes was a naughty romp with intrigue, suspense, and just the right amount of bed play. This is book 2 of The Sinful Gentlemen series and I, for one, can't wait for more!"--Talia, Joyfully Reviewed
"Well, it took you long enough, my lady."
The sound of that softly drawled sentence made Jessica stumble, almost plowing into the tall figure that had ominously materialized in front of her. Two strong hands shot out to steady her, and she recoiled, panic flaring through every nerve ending in her body.
Dear God, no!
For a long moment, terror held her immobile before she began to struggle. "Let me go."
"That's not likely. Calm down, you reckless little fool. It's me."
A second before her foot connected solidly with her assailant's shin, she registered the familiar deep timbre of the man's voice, her eyes widening in surprise. His grunt of pain was real enough and his hands tightened on her shoulders through her cloak. Jessica gasped, "My lord, what on earth are you doing here? You frightened me half to death."
"And you've crippled me for it. By the devil, woman, that hurts."
"What do you expect, looming out of the dark like that and grabbing me!" she exclaimed tartly, her heart still pounding at a rate that made her feel dizzy.
His hold slackened, and in the dim light, Jessica made out the glint of his gaze and the clean, straight line of an unsmiling mouth. "I think the more appropriate question would be, what on earth are you doing here, Jess?"
It was damning, of course, to be caught out like this, for no respectable young lady had a good reason to wander the cliffs in the middle of a stormy night. Since she couldn't think of a single believable response, she simply said stonily, "It's none of your business."
"I think it is." Letting her go, Trenton Wyatt, the Earl of Declan, stepped back a pace, his chiseled features washed to bone and angle by a sudden flash of lightning. "My horse is tethered a few paces away. Come on."
Jessica shook her head, feeling the rising wind tug on her cloak and blow teasing wisps of hair across her face. Above, the branches sighed mournfully. "I'll get home on my own. It's just a short way."
"You aren't going home, my dear." His faint smile was a glimmer of white teeth in the shadows.
That kind of statement was high-handed, even for someone as infernally arrogant as Trenton, but there was a certain unsettling conviction in his voice. A stab of unease rippled through her. Jessica didn't move but stood rooted in the thatch of woods, staring up at him. "What do you mean?"
"I mean that I think you've finally outdone yourself, Jess. You aren't a child any longer, climbing trees and swimming in the cove against your mother's wishes. This particular escapade is a little more serious. In case you haven't been informed, smuggling is a crime."
When she responded after a long heartbeat, her voice shook like the withering leaves overhead. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"I think you do. What's worse, I'm not the only one who has deduced the beautiful female smuggler being whispered about on this coast just might be the lovely and aloof Lady Jessica Fairman."
This truly could not be happening. He was wrong. Her reputation was pristine. "What nonsense."
"Is it?" Harshly, Trenton rasped, "Devil take it, you rash, headstrong wench. Did it ever occur to you that the state of your family finances is not a secret? Servants talk, merchants gossip. It's the way of the world. When you can suddenly pay your bills and the money has no legitimate source, people begin to wonder. Tell me, my dear. Have you heard the latest rumor? The revenue men have started calling the ringleader of the local smugglers the Golden Angel. They believe she is a French spy, selling secrets to Bonaparte for boatloads of contraband brandy and wine."
The blood drained from Jessica's face, and she felt herself go cold.
Relentlessly, he went on, the lash of the wind no worse than the stinging content of his words. "We can count on the possibility they are watching the house as we speak, waiting for you to slink back from your damnable rendezvous."
"I am not a French spy," she said hotly, fear making her lose all sense of discretion. "Just the opposite."
His laugh cracked through the wild night. "Oh, wonderful. Now, I suppose you're telling me you've been spying for us, carrying messages for communication to Wellington? That's not any better, Jess. If the French realized you've been using the smuggling ring to further our cause against their emperor, you'll be marked a target."
That had been a possibility all along. She had been just desperate enough to risk it.
One long-fingered hand reached out and snared her wrist, jerking hard. "Look." Trenton Wyatt, the man she'd known all her life, her brother's oldest friend, pulled her nearly off her feet, his face thrusting close. "We're leaving now. You are getting with me on my horse, and we're riding to Declan Manor. Understand?"
Wildly, she shook her head. "No."
Hands grasped her waist, and suddenly, she found herself swung into a pair of uncompromisingly strong arms. "Yes."
Desperate and frightened, she shoved ineffectually at his broad shoulders. "Trenton, put me down. I have to return home. If I'm not there in the morning, what will people think? Don't be daft. I can't go home with you. If you want to play the rescuing angel, take me home and help me get safely inside."
His expression was dark as he strode out of the woods, his mouth tight and implacable, his hair wind-tossed and unruly. Sure enough, his horse grazed quietly on tufts of grass that grew in haphazard straggles by the cliff. "Sorry, love. If I'm an angel, it is only of the darkest sort."
It was warm in his embrace, and his chest felt strong and secure. Jessica resisted the irrational urge to cling to him. "If I am under suspicion, not going home won't help that situation. Don't you see? You'll simply be labeled my accomplice."
"No, I won't." He promptly swung her onto the back of his horse and then vaulted into the saddle behind her, picking up the reins with competent hands. "I'll be labeled your lover."