The Devil's Bastard
Natchez on the river, 1794. The Spanish Fleet controls the Mississippi, and the Dons rule their rowdy British and American subjects with a patient hand. The location is strategic, the land fertile, and within two decades, cotton will be king, Natchez' citizens wealthy beyond their belief.
Into this web of international intrigue, the rich and powerful Elizabeth Boswell welcomes her orphaned grandniece Angelique Vielleux and introduces the sheltered, but impoverished beauty to a world of privilege. But power has its enemies and wealth demands a price. Rumor has it that Elizabeth’s success stems from dalliance with a lustful demon that still haunts her family farm of De Leau outside Natchez.
At the center of this ominous legend is Elizabeth’s grandson, the handsome and dangerous Mathias Douglas who saves Angelique from degradation and death near the end of her journey to Natchez. Mathias is the son of the doomed Juliana, Elizabeth’s only daughter. Mathias’ father, locals whisper, is Elizabeth’s demon.
Despite the dark rumors, Angelique cannot quell her feelings for Mathias, the man who saved her life and for whom she would make any sacrifice. An unlanded outcast, Mathias is
As the weeks pass, a more tangible menace replaces her self-doubt. Something in the swamps surrounding De Leau stalks her, and nightmares haunt her nights; and what she perceives as Mathias’ indifference to this threat leaves Angelique isolated and afraid. She begins to doubt her grandaunt’s true motives for sending her to De Leau, as well as Mathais’ role in Elizabeth’s plan. Resolving her doubts means uncovering the secret of Mathias’ sire. Mathias refuses to believe there is danger, but more importantly, he does not want to know who or what his father is. Only when the threat to Angelique culminates in a life-threatening replication of the kidnapping of Mathias’ mother does he confront his darkest fears.
From Mathias and Angelique’s first meeting to Elizabeth Boswell’s startling revelation at story’s end, The Devil’s Bastard is a splendid read. First and foremost a sensual romance, it is also a haunting mystery, replete with unforgettable characters, a rich plot, and the prerequisite happy ending.
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