Cover image for Moonlit
Jensen, Emma.
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Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Publishing Group, [2002]

Physical Description:
323 pages ; 18 cm
General Note:
"Ivy Books"
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X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

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Award-winning author Emma Jensen returns with the heartfelt tale of a man shattered by life--and the woman destined to heal his broken spirit . . .

Bearing the scars of a violent past, Viscount Trevor St. Wulfstan relishes his sinful reputation as much as he enjoys his dangerous clandestine missions for the British army. His fortune depleted, Trevor cannot afford to take a lover, let alone compete with the rest of the town for the affections of one remarkable lady's. Yet he is powerless to resist the passion she stirs in his soul.

They call her Mrs. Nolan. A notorious courtesan from Ireland, she has been sought out by the men of London, eager to sample her skills. But all Nell Nolan wants is a quick entr#65533;e into society to collect an old debt, and then she will be done with her sordid charade. Until she meets St. Wulfstan--so completely, so dangerously unlike any man she has ever known outside her dreams. A single glance at Trevor's ravaged face, and an unforgettable night spent in his arms, seals her fate. For once, long ago, Nell had wished upon the moon. . . .

Author Notes

Emma Jensen is the author of Entwined and Fallen . She grew up in San Francisco and among the vines of the California wine country. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, with degrees in nineteenth-century literature, sociology, and public policy. Her books have won numerous awards, including a RITA and the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award. Emma, her Dubliner husband, and son divide their time between Pennsylvania and Ireland.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Combining all the elements that have endeared readers to the previous books in Jensen's Regency-era series (Entwined; Fallen), this magical romance offers two deeply affecting portraits one of an angst-ridden Irish aristocrat who cannot live down the ghosts of his past and one of a young Irish widow who has come to London to settle an old score. When Nell Nolan's companion and protector, the Duke of Clonegal, dies, she visits her friend, renowned courtesan Anastasia Balashova, ostensibly to find a new protector. No one appeals to her until she meets the scarred Trevor Robard, Viscount St. Wulfstan, who agrees to escort her to the Golden Ball in exchange for a night with her. Unbeknownst to Trevor, Nell doesn't intend to fulfill her end of their bargain. Trevor's persistence and kindness slowly wear away her defenses, however, and a complex and compelling relationship evolves between the pair as they return to Trevor's impoverished ancestral home in Connemara to lay his demons to rest. In a genre ripe with superficial characters, Jensen has created a cast of characters that sparkle with surprising depth and personality. Jensen's knowledge of Ireland's traditions and language is impressive as well, and the seaside region of Connemara serves as a fitting backdrop for this enchanting entry. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



London, 1813 "They call her Mrs. Nolan." Trevor Robard, Viscount St. Wulfstan, gave the object of his inquiry a long, appraising look. She was seated in a small alcove across the room, half-concealed by a filmy drape the same dull white as her dress, a colorless figure at the edge of a peacock-bright crowd. "Is she any more attractive when viewed up close?" he asked. "I could not say." At the viscount's side, Edgar Rickham swung his quizzing glass in a lazy arc. It was, Trevor noted, suspended on a long ribbon made of braided titian hair. According to rumor, the man cut thick strands himself from the lovely head of whichever woman he had in his keeping. His jewelry box boasted raven, red, and countless shades of blond, the ribbons changed at his whim. "I believe," Rickham continued, his nasal drawl nearly as annoying as the back-and-forth, back-and-forth swing of his glass, "I will have La Belle Balashova introduce me. Apparently Clonegal scarce left his bed during the several years Mrs. Nolan was under his protection." "Clonegal died in his bed," Trevor said drily. "Precisely," was the tart response. "Just my point. With a smile on his face, no doubt." From what little Trevor knew of the late duke's death, it had been prolonged and not at all a smiling matter. But that was neither here nor there. He didn't care how the man had died. He was, however, intrigued by his peers' unsuppressed interest in Clonegal's mistress. Demireps were common as fleas in London, hopping from expensive bed to bed on lithe legs. They were invariably greedy, usually shrewd, and more often than not rather beautiful. This Mrs. Nolan, as best he could tell from this distance, was not even pretty. Yet a steady stream of men begged introductions from their hostess, the glorious Anastasia Balashova who, in her heyday some twenty-five years earlier, had been the most famous and sought-after cyprian in England. Certainly approaching fifty now, La Belle Balashova was still lovely, still fiery of wit and temper, and still reliable for a lively party. She had outdone herself tonight. The grand salon of her elegant Bruton Street house was crowded with London's elite: Society's men and the Demimonde's women. The room pulsed and glittered under the lights of countless candles. Wellington had been known to tip a glass in this room, as had Palmerston, Rievaulx, and several of the king's lusty sons. The lovely Dubochet sisters, Harriette Wilson among them, had held court within these walls. Anastasia Balashova was responsible, albeit indirectly, for the depletion of countless fortunes, two marriages--for not every gentleman insisted on marrying respectability--and one very scandalous divorce. Entrée into her soirees was coveted more than invitations to Almack's. There was no question that the lady took devilish delight in entertaining on the very same night as Almack's weekly Assembly. The multitude of black knee breeches and white waistcoats attested to the fact that a good half of the men present had left those hallowed, deadly dull halls--probably at a sprint--to revel at La Belle Balashova's. Trevor thought he might have seen Brummell and his circle lounging in one corner. A trio of French opera dancers fresh from Paris had arrived on Kildare's arm and were as colorful and loud as an entire flock of parrots. There was a country dance going at one end of the room, a lively game of five-card loo at the other. The Earl of Haddley's recently discarded mistress appeared to be emptying the pockets of that man's young heir. And in the midst of it all, their hostess glowed like a jeweled Russian samovar. The center of attention, however, was seated all but in the shadows. Trevor had never known La Belle Balashova to play procuress. She entertained lavishly, of course, throwing these famed soirees where the most exclusive courtesans and the ton's gentlemen rubbed shoulders, elbows, and whatever other body parts they so desired. She had arranged the introduction between many a wealthy man and his next mistress. But she had never brought a cyprian out for perusal. It appeared she was doing just that with the still, quiet woman in the alcove. "Well," Rickham murmured, "it seems Poole has passed the test." So it did. Madame Balashova was guiding Henry Poole to the alcove. Poole bowed, his ludicrously tight coat parting to display a portly bottom. Trevor saw Mrs. Nolan raise a pale hand. Then the rest of the tightly encased Sir Henry blocked her from sight. Their hostess glided back to her own settee. Hopeful men: Walcott, Carmody, and Lord William Paget among them, hovered nearby like lurkers at the Pearly Gates. "So who in the hell is this Mrs. Nolan?" Trevor demanded, finding himself reluctantly impressed when something the courtesan said sent Poole skulking away with a flush that glowed even on the bald spot atop his head. "Good God, man," came Rickham's drawl, "where on earth have you been? Any gentleman who has come within a quarter mile of St. James's these past weeks has heard of the notorious Mrs. Nolan." Trevor bared his teeth in what he knew the other man would not mistake for a smile. He wondered what sort of effect the truth regarding his recent whereabouts would have on Rickham. It sat grimly enough with Trevor. The infernal war dragged on, and he was not finding his brutal, clandestine part in it as easy to live with as he used to. He drained his glass before saying, "I do not come anywhere near the St. James clubs if I can possibly avoid it." "Of course. I forgot to whom I was speaking. Careless of me." Rickham gave his own parody of a smile. "Sin Wulfstan, scourge of all things polite, despair of the respectable matron. Tell me, did Rotheroe really threaten to have your eyes on a skewer if you so much as looked at his sister again?" "No," was Trevor's bland reply. "I did not think so. Walcott is always so desperate to be considered a wit that he is forced to create the bulk of his tales. I will roast him most soundly--" "It was Benning, not Rotheroe. Speaking of his wife, not his sister." "Oh. Well." Rickham shrugged. "Still hardly worth--" "And it was not my eyes he vowed to skewer." He saw Rickham wince, one hand sneaking down to hover briefly below his waist. There was no question of the man not believing the tale. Rickham swallowed such gossip like air, countless such anecdotes followed Trevor like a dirty shadow, and this one was absolutely true. "Hardly worth the effort, Lady Benning," Rickham muttered. "Closed up tight as an oyster." Trevor saw no reason to report that he regarded Lady Benning as perhaps his most impressive conquest, a steady and persistent crusade and a glorious pearl ultimately. Rickham was a toad and the fact that he had clearly had a go at the young wife of the choleric old Benning--just as clearly unsuccessfully--would ordinarily have called for a bit of smug crowing. But Trevor held his tongue. Scruples had little to do with it; he possessed few. He simply couldn't be bothered. Trevor cared for Rickham as little as Rickham cared for him, probably less. But it was an animosity dulled somewhat by their hostess's excellent wine. As Trevor had been curious about this shrouded mouse in the corner and Rickham was never happier than when displaying his superior knowledge on any subject, they had formed a very temporary and not particularly cheerful accord. "Tell me about Mrs. Nolan." Rickham twirled his glass. "No one knows much, actually. She's from Ireland--" that said with a faint sneer, then, "Oh, I do beg your pardon. So are you." "So I am." Trevor could easily have taken offense. But he'd been accustomed to slights against the place of his birth since his first days at Eton. He'd black- ened eyes and bruised ribs over it then. Now he ig- nored it. After all, his being Irish was only part of what so many of his peers disliked about him. "She's Irish . . ." "Illegitimate daughter of some lordling's younger son and a maid, rumor has it. Came over with Clonegal when he returned last year. They say she's been in a sort of mourning for him and is now looking for a new protector." "An entire eight weeks of mourning," Trevor murmured. "Ah, how the need for money has a way of trampling sentiment into the dust." "And damned fortunate for some happy fellow." Rickham smiled his reptilian smile. "I can afford her." Trevor didn't doubt that. Rickham's money was perhaps his only recommendation to the world. He simply wasn't certain why the man had settled on this particular extravagance. The room was full of stunning women who could be bought. Trevor himself had been eyeing a raven-haired opera dancer. He was an admirer of a lush and limber form. "This ought to be amusing," Rickham drawled. Mrs. Nolan was entertaining a new admirer. Lord William Paget, usually a loud and eloquent fellow, actually seemed to be stammering as he bent over her hand. Trevor's mouth thinned. He rather liked young Paget. Not yet five-and-twenty, the fellow was altogether too cheerful and enthusiastic in general, and had an impressive habit of showing up just when Trevor had ordered an expensive bottle of something or other, but he was entertaining enough company. Beyond that, Trevor had served in the same elite military corps with Paget's brother, the Marquess of Oriel, a bond that was firmer and more enduring than Trevor would have liked if given the choice. For some reason, that loyalty seemed to have extended itself to Oriel's brother. Excerpted from Moonlit by Emma Jensen All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.