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Goddess of the Hunt

Cover of Goddess of the Hunt

Goddess of the Hunt

The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy, Book 1
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In this lush and seductive novel, exciting new author Tessa Dare takes desire to brazen heights.

Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother's best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion--one that could send all her plans up in smoke.

Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart and claim her for his own?

From the Paperback edition.

In this lush and seductive novel, exciting new author Tessa Dare takes desire to brazen heights.

Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother's best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion--one that could send all her plans up in smoke.

Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart and claim her for his own?

From the Paperback edition.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One Autumn, 1817

    A knock on the door in the dead of night could only mean disaster.

    Jeremy pulled a pair of worn breeches on under his nightshirt and stumbled toward the bedchamber door. A fire? He didn't smell smoke. Perhaps a Waltham family emergency? An urgent message from his steward, maybe--unrest at Corbinsdale would not come as a surprise.

    A memory assailed him, unbidden. Unnerving. His heart thudded wildly in his chest. He paused, clutching the door handle, cursing his body for recalling so quickly what he'd worked long years to forget.

    Logic caught up to his racing pulse, reining it in. The dim glow of banked coals cast ominous shadows, but Jeremy forced the room into focus. This was not that night. He was in his usual bedchamber at Waltham Manor, not wandering Corbinsdale Woods. More than twenty years had passed, and he was no longer a boy. Whatever surprise awaited him on the other side of the door, he was fully equipped to face it.

    When he slid back the rusted bolt and wrenched open the door, Jeremy was prepared for the worst.

    "Hold still," came the whispered command.

    He had an instant to register a feminine silhouette, a tangle of dark curls, and two hands grasping his shoulders. Then Lucy Waltham, the younger sister of his oldest friend, popped up on her toes and pressed her lips to his with such force, he stumbled against the doorjamb.

    Good Lord. The girl was kissing him.

    Well, he thought ironically, he'd been prepared for the worst. And of the many kisses Jeremy Trescott had experienced in his nine-and-twenty years, this was, undoubtedly, the worst.

    Lucy kissed with her lips perfectly puckered and her eyes open wide. And if she lacked in finesse, she compensated with bold enthusiasm. Her hands were everywhere at once--tangling in his hair, skimming his shoulders, exploring the broad expanse of his chest.

    This wasn't a kiss. It was a siege.

    Furthermore, it was incomprehensible, wholly illogical, and a dozen different shades of wrong.

    Somehow Jeremy's hands found their way to her elbows, and he wrested himself from her eager embrace. "Lucy! What the devil do you think you're doing?"

    "Shhhh." Her eyes darted to either side, scanning the darkened corridor. Then her gaze tilted back up to his, narrowing with a disturbing intensity, and Jeremy fancied briefly--absurdly--that someone had painted a target on his face.

    "I'm practicing," she whispered, her fingers tightening over his arms. "Let me try one more time."

    She swooped up for another kiss, and he instinctively ducked, pulling her into the room and shutting the door behind them. In a more rational moment, it might have occurred to him that the impropriety of kissing his host's sister in the corridor would only be compounded by yanking her into his bedchamber. But Jeremy's faculties of reason had temporarily vacated Waltham Manor.

    Lucy had, quite literally, kissed him witless.

    "Did it work, then?"

    He stared at her, mute with confusion. Did what work? At the moment, it seemed that nothing worked, least of all his brain. Shock had frozen his limbs. He certainly couldn't force an answer from his lips.

    Stepping back, she crossed her arms over her crimson velvet dressing gown and surveyed his form boldly. As her gaze traveled downward, Jeremy grew uncomfortably aware of his own dishabille, from nightshirt to worn breeches to bare feet.

    A satisfied smile spread across her face. "It must have worked. You did pull me into your bedchamber." She reached for the door handle. "Very well, Jemmy. I suppose that's enough practice. I'll see you at breakfast."

    She cracked open...

About the Author-
  • Tessa Dare is a part-time librarian, full-time mommy, and swing-shift writer. She makes her home in Southern California, where she shares a cozy, cluttered bungalow with her husband, their two children, and a dog.

    From the Paperback...

Reviews-
  • Eloisa James "The sweetest, sexiest romance you'll read all year."
  • Library Journal "From the time Toby Aldridge had whimsically crowned her Goddess of the Hunt, 11-year-old Lucy Waltham had adored him. Now, eight years later, with Toby intending to propose to someone else, naïve Lucy boldly plans to seduce him but needs practice--and an ally. Who better than her emotionally chilly best friend, Jeremy Trescott, Earl of Kendall, to make Toby jealous? This is an exceptional debut novel, from the first hilarious "practice" session to the gradual melting of Jem's outward reserve and ­Lucy's maturing realization of whom she really loves. A beautifully crafted tale that captivates with sassy wit, a lush, sweetly intense sensuality, and an abundance of beautifully articulated, appealing characters."
  • Romantic Times "A daring debut...Dare is on the path to stardom."
  • Fresh Fiction "Debut author Tessa Dare bursts upon the scene with a high-energy and high-drama romance. She tells the story with provocative words and feverish action. Her cast of secondary characters is unforgettable and set the stage for the next book in this back-to-back series."
  • Romance Reader's Connection "Highly original... Tessa Dare is an author to watch!"
  • Teresa Medeiros "I fell in love with Goddess of the Hunt and Tessa Dare from the very first page! Goddess of the Hunt is a romantic delight sure to satisfy every reader."
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    Random House Publishing Group
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The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy, Book 1
Tessa Dare
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