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Flawless (The Christies) (英語) マスマーケット – 2011/9/27

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"Lofty's splendidly original romance will dazzle readers with its multi-layered characters, passion-rich plot, and unique historical setting." —The Chicago Tribune

“Carrie Lofty writes adventure romance like a born bard of old.”
Romantic Times Book Reviews

“Heartwrenching and gorgeous!”
- USA Today Bestselling author Victoria Dahl


Cape Town
March, 1881

A lthough Miles stood well back from where the Coronea had docked, the push and crush of humanity threatened even his studiously crafted calm. Hordes of disembarking passengers wrestled with their belongings as they forged toward land, a never-ending snake creeping down off crowded decks.

The ripe stench of coal fires, harbor rot, and hundreds of bodies overpowered the clean salt of the ocean. Seabirds circled and swooped in a chaotic dance. Beyond the prickly masts of anchored ships, the sky had lost the garish colors of dawn, given over to the glare of midmorning. Miles touched the back of his neck where a light wind teased his hair. The cool seaside air reminded him of Southampton.

I watched thee on the breakers, when all was storm and fear.

But Lord Byron’s words offered Miles no comfort, only an odd sort of foreboding.

Four months had lapsed since the will reading, when Viv’s siblings had also learned the details of their assigned companies. There in the library, Miles had passed the time glaring at his wife’s exquisite neck and marinating his lustful, resentful thoughts in Hennessey. He’d awoken to find himself alone in a guest room in Old Man Christie’s brown-stone.

He grimaced and shifted his gaze across nearby faces, baffled by an embarrassment he rarely suffered. But the emotion refused a lengthy stay. Anger took its place. The whole Christie clan had decamped to their mansion in Newport. Holidays with the family, but that hadn’t included Miles.

Viv had left him a note. Yet another elegant, prissy note to say she was leaving.

So he’d sobered up. And made a decision.

After catching the first steamer back to England, he’d evaded his father long enough to gamble his way into a bit of ready cash. Then it was off to Cape Town. But damned inconvenient timing, the war against the Boers. Passenger traffic had slowed to a trickle, with Viv stuck in the States until the February armistice. The ink had yet to dry on the official peace accord. Time wasted, yes, but also time spent resolving how to get what he wanted.

Vivienne Bancroft would come back to him. Willingly.

With a hand to his brow, he looked toward the luxury clipper’s topmost deck. Viv would be up there among that tangle of people, along with the manservant he’d sent to intercept her luggage.

Intercept . . . and then hold hostage.

Impatiently swiping at a cluster of midges, he craved a drink—not just any drink, but a long, stinging, obliterating swig of cognac. But he hadn’t touched a drop since leaving New York that fateful morning. A good game required sobriety, which few of the world’s casual card players understood. And Vivienne was anything but an easy mark. He would need all his wit and wile to keep from falling under her spell like a bloody fool.


Miles found himself twirling his wedding ring. That little hypocrite—all decorum and indignation until her mouth met his.

Had beastly Sir William given his daughter a plump dollop of cash, she would’ve had the financial means to end their marriage. Miles would’ve gone back to London, alone, solvent enough to keep the family estates intact. But little else remained of her dowry.

Instead, the challenge of Old Man Christie’s bequest offered an unexpected one-million-dollar reprieve. Stretching his arms, Miles stood away from the crate and sucked in cooling gulps of air. Damn and blast. Far, far too much money to ignore.

His scant head start aside, during which he’d secured accommodations in Kimberley and completed banking transfers, he and Viv would need to learn quickly: every major player, every aspect of the diamond trade, and even the bloody weather. They were starting near to zero. He should have been terrified but a sharp thrill sped the beat of his heart.

Beyond the challenge of earning that rich sum, he had a score to settle. Viv had left him. The surprise of finding their London town home abandoned still made him shake. One year spent fending off polite rumors about his marriage had been one year too long.

The crack of a whip snapped his attention toward a man sitting atop a heavily laden wagon. The road leading away from the docks, clogged with dark bodies, permitted no room for the vehicle to pass. Burly and dough-faced, the wagon master wasn’t directing his whip at the donkeys straining against their tethers, but at people.

“Get off there,” the driver shouted. He threw his weight into the next strike of braided leather.

A young woman screamed and fell. Those nearby snatched her arms and hauled her upright, saving her from the crush of feet and hooves. Blood streaked along her shoulder, and her worn homespun dress was torn and covered in dust.

With relentless clarity, the Cape’s autumn sunshine illuminated every face twisted by concentration and fear. The donkeys continued to bray. The wagon master raised his arm again. Leather sliced through the air, this time striking a tall shirtless man whose dark, scarred back had already suffered the bite of a whip.

“Out of the way, you kaffir scum!”

Across three months, the colony had subjected Miles to many such scenes. Perhaps the difference, on this occasion, could be traced to the bitterness Viv churned in his blood. His arms ached with the need to pummel his fretfulness into submission—or pummel someone . The lawlessness of the colony, the otherworldliness of it, gave him permission to do what his tedious title had never permitted: take matters into his own hands.

“Oh, bloody hell.”

He strode into the crowd, abandoning his role as a mere bystander. Fully a head taller than most of the hunched, scrambling people, he fixed on the wagon master. Every successive crack of the man’s whip filled Miles with sizzling indignation. Like most of the British Empire, Cape Colony hadn’t permitted slavery in almost fifty years. That didn’t stop some colonists from treating Africans as they would the lowest animals.

Miles didn’t consider himself a do-gooder, but such a flagrant abuse of power assaulted his most basic principles. It wasn’t sporting and it simply wasn’t British.

He elbowed his way through the throng until the wagon master loomed above him on the bench. Miles quickly climbed aboard, senses centered on his target. The wagon master turned just as Miles balled his fist and let it swing. A satisfying crack of bone rewarded him as his opponent’s nose gave way.

Blood streaked the man’s mangy beard with crimson. Narrow-eyed anger replaced his stunned grimace. He reared back the butt of his whip and brought it down like a cudgel. Miles used his forearm to deflect the blow, then retaliated with a flurry of jabs to the gut.

Foul exhales accompanied the wagon master’s sharp grunts, but his flab seemed to absorb the impact of each punch. Winded, he tottered slightly. His guard dropped. Miles snatched the whip. When the man’s expression bunched around the need to continue the fight, Miles jabbed the butt of the whip against that bloody, broken nose. The wagon master howled and clutched his face.

“Are we quite through?” Miles demanded, his throat stinging.

His opponent sank onto the bench and nodded once. Rage still flared across his expression but his shoulders caved forward.

“Good.” Miles slowly, deliberately coiled the whip. “Now I suggest that you notice the situation here on the docks. Too many people, for one. Laughably poor engineering. But that’s no excuse for whipping people.”

“They’re bloody kaffirs,” the man said, his voice muffled behind his hands. “Beasts like these here donkeys.”

Miles glanced across the sea of faces, more dark than light, and wondered again at the state of the Cape. Ripe, vital, raw, it perched continuously on the edge of violence. He tasted its bitterness in the air and felt it itching under his skin—a shocking sort of awakening.

“No more beastly than the rest of us,” Miles said.

He hopped down from the wagon, not so negligent as to disregard a defeated opponent. He’d often seen desperation or pride draw out a confrontation, and harbored no compulsion to go another round. Too much animal in that man.

As the immediacy of the fight seeped from his body, Miles shivered. He eased back into the crowd on legs just shy of steady, intent on returning to the machinery crate. Surely Viv had found her way off that damned clipper by now.

He bumped into a solid wall of ebony flesh and found himself looking up at a man—a rare occurrence. Before him stood the same shirtless African who’d taken one of the wagon master’s cruel strokes. His shaven head gleamed.

“Pardon me,” Miles said.

“Thank you.” The African’s deep bass was melodic, like the notes of a bassoon. Across his back would be those old silvery scars and a fresh line of split skin, but his expression was none so grim. “Boggs is a scourge.”

Miles raised his eyebrows. “A scourge? Nice word.”

“I speak the truth.”

“And I believe you. My hope is that I won’t require his services.”

“Hire a wagon,” the man said. “I’ll drive for you instead.”

Miles studied that dark African face. Every feature was as he’d seen in caricatures and even so-called scientific journals: the wide, flat nose, the large lips, and the fathomless black irises surrounded by white. Those demeaning illustrations hadn’t captured what it was to look upon such a man. Miles foun...


  • マスマーケット: 416ページ
  • 出版社: Pocket Books; Original版 (2011/9/27)
  • 言語: 英語, 英語, 英語
  • ISBN-10: 1451616384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451616385
  • 発売日: 2011/9/27
  • 商品パッケージの寸法: 10.6 x 3 x 17.1 cm
  •  カタログ情報、または画像について報告

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星1つ で最も参考になったカスタマーレビュー (beta) 20 件のカスタマーレビュー
4 人中、4人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
Wonderful Historical Romance 2011/10/1
投稿者 Jacque - (
形式: マスマーケット
This love story is set in South Africa, not a likely place for a reunion of a barely married separated couple! I am a sucker for a great historical and when a book comes along with a totally new place in history for a romance I get excited. Not only was the diamond field in South Africa volatile with the dangers associated with digging for diamonds, the tension that was created by Vivienne and Miles was volatile in it's own way...and a whole lot of heat.
I loved the way that Ms. Lofty created a character that was quite an accurate portrayal of the men of that era. A man who thinks that he is the hero and can get whatever he wants, including his lovely wife, but also learns a lesson or two of his own along the way. While Vivienne herself portrays herself as a woman who knows nothing so she can gain access to important records, she doesn't let herself be led around by the nose. The ending was an explosive bomb that definitely generated heat and perhaps both characters learned a little more about each other.. It did take some time to get to know the back story, but I liked the fact that there was a lot of tension at the beginning that was unraveled throughout the book.
I loved being shown a different part of the earth that I know almost nothing about and getting a romance along the way. I can't wait for the rest of this series to come to print...but the next book isn't due to be released until next summer! Thank you for another great start to a collectible series!

recieved review copy from other compensation given
3 人中、3人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
Surprisingly Good! 2011/11/3
投稿者 Nikki B - (
形式: マスマーケット
Vivienne has been running from her estranged husband for over a year. He is a drunk, has a gambling problem, appears to love prostitutes and he just generally embarrasses her. She can't be held liable in the failure of her arranged marriage, she tried, she really did. She even thought she was falling in love with Viscount Miles Bancroft. Until one night he left her alone, panting after their sexual encounter under the stairs at a gala event. She fled to America to care for her ailing father, a business tycoon with interests all over the globe. Upon his death Vivienne learns that in order to receive her inheritance she has to take over a failing business and make it thrive. Knowing her inheritance could buy the pricey divorce she needs from Miles, she readily accepts.

Miles wants revenge. Revenge on his wife for leaving him and fleeing to America. She made him appear a fool and that cannot be tolerated. Knowing she needs his help if her business venture in South Africa is going to thrive he heads that way, with intentions to make her scream his name once more. Working closely allows Miles to begin to know the woman he married. Slowly she is cracking his hardened exterior. Vivienne is feeling the sparks as well, but with the lust comes fear. Fear that her secret ancestry may finally come to light. Something she has vowed never to allow Miles to know.

I will readily admit I was skeptical when I picked this one up. In fact I wasn't going to read it. I'm short on time this month and though the back blurb drew me in, this being a historical (which I don't read often) made it a harder sell to me. Then I picked it up on a whim and read the first couple of pages....and was hooked. I fell completely in love with Lofty's ability to paint a scene straight out of history and make me care, make me believe and give me a story with depth and vision. I finished all 384 pages in one afternoon and that is a feat for me!

Vivi is a complete handful and I loved how she straddled the polite English woman role with that of a outspoken, tough woman. She felt like the real deal. Often in a historical romance I get seriously annoyed with the heroine. They are way to polite, way to soft spoken and just generally annoying. Fainting over everything. Being prim and proper. I don't like it. Hence my aversion to a lot of historical romance. Vivi felt real. She talked and acted like I would suspect a woman of that time to be. Yes she still incorporated those qualities but she was more. She was direct when she needed to be and told Miles exactly what she thought when approached.

While I found Vivi to be real, I found Miles to be rugged and misunderstood. Ok, he was misunderstood because he was horrible at talking about his feelings. He spent the first half of the book alternating between being vindictive and just downright cold at times. He was as manipulative as he was sexy. Underneath the facade though, he did care for Vivi...a lot. Constantly at war with himself over wanting to take his revenge and his need for a wanton Vivi.

These two set the pages on fire with their push and pull throughout the book. I wanted them to break down their personal walls to find some happiness. Vivi had huge trust issues and so never wanted Miles to know that she was not adopted into the Christie family as he believed. Thinking he would abandon her if he knew she was a illegitimate child and daughter of a whore.

I loved the concept of the diamond mine and thought the back drop of South Africa made for lush scenery. Not knowing much about that area myself afforded me the ability to not think, to go with the picture Carrie had painted for me. What a picture Carrie painted....complete and well rounded I didn't have to imagine much of anything.

Flawless has a bit over everything, historical reference, erotic imagery and a story line that will suck you in and make you want to live it yourself. For just a moment in time, you too will want to be mining for diamonds in the 1800's, working the terrain and living a life free from the constraints of this day and age. I am eagerly awaiting book two, Starlight, in July of 2012. Where we will get to read Alex Christie's story.

I give Flawless by Carrie Lofty 4 stars!

Nikki- Ramblings From A Chaotic Mind
2 人中、2人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
Flawless is a Joyfully Recommended Read 2012/1/8
投稿者 M. Nix - (
形式: マスマーケット
Lady Vivienne Bancroft has tried so hard to fit into what she deemed was proper society and please her father by marrying Miles Durham, Viscount Bancroft. However, she couldn't handle Miles' vices anymore. The last straw for her was after his blatant seduction of her in public, walking away, hearing of the rumors of him spending the night in a house of ill repute, and then having the gall to ask her for more money! Viv fled England for New York and hoped that she wouldn't have to deal with her wayward husband until she could set herself free of him and exist on her own. Yet, their paths cross once again at the reading of her father's Will. It looks as though Viv may finally realize her dreams when she stands to inherit monies from her late father. However, there is a catch. In order for her to gain her inheritance, Viv must fulfill a duty given by her father. She must take control of a diamond brokerage in Africa that her father owns and make it turn a profit within a year. If she can do, this she will have the option of buying the brokerage and inheriting quite a bit of money. If she is unable to fulfill the mission, she will not get nearly enough to see her dreams come to fruition.

Miles Durham, Viscount Bancroft, enjoys his hedonistic ways, but he much prefers a challenge! He has heard that his father-in-law has recently passed away and his estates are in need of cash to remain solvent. Miles would also like to exact revenge on his estranged wife, Vivienne Bancroft . . . what better way than to kill two birds with one stone. He will get his revenge as well as some money to save his estates. Miles goes on to Africa and Viv arrives shortly thereafter to find her husband already ensconced in the life there. He offers to stay and help her as he can enter into more business situations as a man than she can, but she will have to agree to take up her wifely duties while they are in Africa. Miles longs to have her back in his bed and then he plans on walking away from HER. They embark on fulfilling the terms of the Will while also being forced to ferret out a villain amongst the locals. However, neither counted on discovering secrets that the other had carefully hidden, and Viv isn't sure that Miles will want his soiled wife when all is said and done. Can Miles convince Viv that he has changed and can offer her the security that she longs for if she will just trust him, or will Miles find that what he thought he wanted wasn't what he wanted after all?

Flawless is a surprisingly entertaining historical romance set in a different part of the world from the usual romances. Miles starts at the bottom of the barrel when Flawless opens, and I was actually hoping that Viv would meet a better hero in the end. Yet Miles soon grew on me as his point of view was explored and contrasted with Viv's.

Neither Viv nor Miles truly knew one another, but over the course of Flawless, they soon found that there were strengths in each other that could be tapped if one only searched for them. Viv wants security and Miles couldn't seem to give her that, but he never knew how desperately she needed it either. Miles wanted what Viv refused to offer and she was too scared to have that part of her revealed because of her past. He felt that Viv was a pretender and he wanted to break her polite mask that she hides behind. Miles really did come across as an ass in the beginning of Flawless, but as his emotions and feelings were explored and revealed, he redeemed himself.

Miles changes from what he was in England to a better person in Africa as he rises to the challenges set forth before him. Miles could have never been trusted with Viv's secrets in the beginning of their marriage in Flawless, but he and Viv grew with their experiences and learned to trust one another. Viv had entered the marriage of convenience with hopes of companionship and respect, instead she was forced to cope with what she had rather than what she lacked. Yet by the end of Flawless, Viv was taught that it's okay to ask for what she needs.

The beauty in Flawless was the potential for so much between the characters of Miles and Viv. It was the knowing that they could be so much more if only they worked for things and learned to give and take in their relationship. It was the looking beyond the surface of what is presented and trying to understand Miles and Viv, to see what they will become.

For Joyfully Reviewed
2 人中、2人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
Flawless 2011/10/19
投稿者 Romancing Lady V. - (
形式: マスマーケット
4.5 stars

Lady Vivienne Bancroft has come to South Africa to secure her part of the fortune that her late father has left. One million dollars is hers to keep if Viv can turn a profit on his steadily failing diamond appraisal business within 2 years. She doesn't know anything about diamonds, but she is made almost immediately aware from the moment she steps off the boat that her drunkard of a husband, Miles Durham, Viscount Bancroft, has followed her there. Viv ran away from Miles over a year ago, heartbroken from his unloving ways, and is furious that he has chosen now to resurface.

What Viv doesn't know is that Miles has stopped drinking, smoking and gambling. In an attempt to make her feel as horrible as she has made him feel for leaving him he has proposed a deal; he will aid Viv on the condition that she performs her duties as a wife and enjoys it. After Miles has bedded her he fully intends to leave her. But Miles finds in coming face to face with Vivienne after spending a year drowning in alcohol, that there is only one thing he wants from his wife more than her body - her love. Viv knows that as a man, he has a certain social and physical advantage in running in a business, especially in such rough country and agrees to his deal begrudgingly. Africa brings new horizons and new hope to Miles and Vivianne for their future together, but they must trek through their past and fight their own separate demons and work together as a team for the first time in their marriage if they are going to succeed as entrepreneurs let alone lovers.

Overall Flawless was a great read. I loved that it was set in South Africa. It was a completely different place and the descriptions and scenes Lofty drew from it were vivid and thought provoking. There were only little things about this novel that brought it down, but just slightly. Learning about the diamond business throughout the story was great, but at times I felt it was a little bit like an aside to show off how much the author researched the trade. I also felt like this when Viv would have interchanges with Miles's 1/2 African, 1/2 Dutch hired hand. The beginning was a little heavy on ridiculous and unnecessary metaphors, but this eased up as the story began to unfold.

Both Viv and Miles were highly relateable in their resilience and unspoken love that they had for each other and the fact that they were afraid to recognize their passion as love. The tension was palpable through the WHOLE novel! On that note, the romantic scenes were solid and even a bit odd, which I didn't expect and not sure how I feel about the way Lofty chose to convey a particular scene in which Miles lets Viv do the choosing. I didn't like the food reference, but that's just my opinion. I will say no more on this because I don't want to spoil anything...

LOVE THE COVER. It's perfect.
2 人中、2人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
This book was flawless like a sparkled and shined. 2011/9/27
投稿者 Cheryl Koch - (
形式: マスマーケット
Vivienne, Alexander, Gareth and Gwyneth's father has passed away. It is now time for the reading of the will. Vivienne does not know what the will has in it as she was adopted. Luckily for Vivienne, her father loved her like his own and left her something. Actually their father left them all something, only there is a catch. Each of the siblings has to work for their fortune at different businesses. The businesses are failing and the siblings must make them successful within two years. If the siblings do so than they each will receive one million dollars but if the siblings refuse this offer than all they will receive is five hundred dollars.

Vivienne is to manage the Christie Diamond Brokerage House in Kimberley, Cape Colony in Africa. Vivienne thinks this is the perfect plan. She is stuck in a bad marriage and it costs money to keep up with her life style. She leaves her husband, Viscount Bancroft, Miles Durham behind. Vivienne should have realized that it would not be so easy to get rid of Miles. Miles plans to teach Vivienne a lesson.

Miles became even better when he adapted to his environment and got dirty. He was like Indiana Jones...rough, tall, handsome, and even carried a whip. He knew just how to get under Vivienne skin and push all the right buttons. It was entertaining. I could not wait to see what Miles would do next. Vivienne was a strong woman. This was great because if she was a wilting flower than I would not have believed that Miles and her belonged together. The build up until they both gave in was steamy. Or course this book was not just all about the romance, there was a good story line to go along with it. I can not wait to read Alexander's story next. This book was flawless like a sparkled and shined.
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