Title: The Serpent Prince
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Published in September 2007 by Warner Romance
Genre: Historical Romance
Related Books: The Raven Prince, The Leopard Prince
Other Books by Elizabeth: To Taste Temptation, To Seduce A Sinner
She is a woman of character, a very sheltered and determined young woman. Miss Lucy Craddock-Hayes wants to live life but her father and the community in the Kentish countryside where she lives seem to think she shall marry the vicar. That particular marriage might have been good for her, and sheíd set her cap in that direction until she finds a naked man, a very handsome, and definitely injured stranger almost on her doorstep. He has apparently been left for dead in the ditch, but a moan lets Lucy know something must be done and done fast. With her discovery, comes a new world. She is anxious to find out about the man, where he came from, what happened to him, and yet none of those questions can be answered until he recovers. Actually it is more like IF he recovers because the doctor has his doubts. The man has remained unconscious for far too long, and the local physician is not sure if her good looking mystery man will ever come around. In spite of her fatherís disapproval, and the possible danger to her reputation, Lucy refused to let the man die. She is certain he will regain consciousness, and is doing whatever she can to assure his survival.
When the stranger awakens, she learns she is playing host to one of the most eligible bachelors of the ton, a man who probably would never notice her otherwise. Lucy is captivated by his easy charm, his witty and slightly sardonic conversation, the irony he finds in his situation, and by his devastating good looks. What passed for handsome before has been magnified by the personality behind the face and form. Learning the circumstances by which her patient, the Viscount Simon Iddlesleigh, found himself lets her know he is a force to be reckoned with, and nobodyís fool. But that doesnít stop her from falling for the man, and doing what she can to bring light into the dark places of his soul. She is unprepared for a man such as Simon, but finds herself falling under his spell. Now Lucy has to make things right in her world, not only for her own peace of mind, but for Simonís too. She sees him bent on revenge, and although she canít understand what motivates him, she knows she must try to help him, stand by him.
Simon Iddlesleigh is bent on revenge. There were four of them as far as Simon knows, and he is determined to find and destroy each and every one for his crime against Ethan and his family. His brotherís death left Rosalind, his widow, and her small daughter at the mercy of the wolves. As jaded as Simon is, he cannot and will not let this insult to his family go. He has to get revenge for them, for Ethan, and for what they stole from his family. These upstanding members of society murdered his brother in cold blood for his honesty. Unfortunately for the new Viscount Iddlesleigh, he cannot have them brought to justice for their crime in the usual way. They covered their tracks far too well, and the evidence remaining is not conclusive, or usable in a court of law. Any legal trail has long gone cold in the time it took him to return from his travels, and pick up the unwanted mantle of the title. Ethanís death was not something Simon expected, but as honest and straight forward he was, it is not beyond Simonís belief considering the nature of the business he was engaged in and the partners with whom he chose to be involved.
It is not a matter of legalities for the handsome and talented Viscount. He is a master swordsman, and he is willing to call these men out, putting them in positions where cheating at cards, or any number of other slights will allow the duel. He has already rid himself of one of them, and has ended up on the doorstep of a very lovely young woman. Of course he has her attention because showing up nearly beaten to death has a tendency to call oneself to the notice of others, but Simon finds himself in a position where he desires so much more from his angel. There is one thing Simon never thought he would desire, a wife and family. No wager would have him courting, or allowed him to succumb to a womanís wiles, yet there is something Different about Lucy Craddock-Hayes. Something in her stirs Simonís soul, fills his need for companionship, and chases away the darkness threatening to overcome him. Something about Lucy makes him smile. It is the same thing driving him to spin a silly story about a Serpent Prince in order to see her smiling and happy. This is not his normal behavior, but then again these are not normal circumstances. He is captivated by his country miss, and Simon soon comes to the realization things, as he once knew them, may never be ďnormalĒ againÖ
Elizabeth Hoyt has done it again. She as taken two unlikely characters, put them together, and we get another delightful tale of love in an unlikely place, and another story within a story. The Serpent Prince is a tale about the very lovely and determined young lady, and a scandalous and jaded peer of the realm. Events that brought Simon to Lucyís door are again spiraling out of control. As long as certain parties thought him dead, Simon was relatively safe, however, with his recovery that too has changed. For now both Simon and Lucy are in grave danger. Help is closer than they think, and the danger from a source closer to them than either are expecting. As events unravel, they find themselves pitted against more than just the threats against Simon. The villainous plans of the men behind Ethanís death are broadened, and even his sister-in-law is threatened as they attempt to stop Simonís revenge.
All this leads to love and a wonderfully satisfying story told in the best tradition of Historical Romance with just a touch of suspense. Set in a lush regency background, Elizabeth spins a story of treachery, murder, suspense and love with her usual aplomb. With a delightfully witty style, she allows you to laugh and enjoy the foibles of her pair of lovers, as well as taking you into the darkness that plagues Simon, and drives Lucy to remain by his side. The Serpent Prince is going to be available in September of 2007 in a bookstore near you. If you wish, you can look for it on Amazon.com soon and pre-order your copy of this exciting tale. Warner Romances have a lot to offer, and if you liked The Raven Prince, and The Leopard Prince, keep Elizabeth Hoytís The Serpent Prince on your to buy list because you are sure to love it too. Get ready to enjoy another great read!
Yours in good reading,