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Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Ivy Books
Hero: Jordan Hays
Heroine: Gabrielle Antoine
Date of Publication: March 28, 1998
Started On: August 1, 2010
Finished On: August 1, 2010
When Gabrielle Antoine who was brought up in a convent since she was five years old receives word of an inheritance that a woman she has never heard of has left for her, Gabrielle decides to travel Central City, Colorado by herself and find out more about the woman and what has been left for her. Though her best friend Julia St. Etienne tries to warn her that what she may find may not be to her liking, Gabrielle who has always yearned to find out who her mother and father were and where she belonged to does not pay heed to her friend’s gentle warning.
Upon her arrival at Celeste’s Palace, Gabrielle finds out that the woman Celeste DuBois who had bequeathed her half the proceedings from the sale of Celeste’s Palace, is actually her mother and that Celeste’s Palace is a whorehouse which she had managed with her partner Jordan Hays. The shocking revelations that come one after the other definitely shatters whatever illusions that Gabrielle may have harbored about her parents.
At first, knowing that her mother had been alive all along sends a sharp punch of betrayal through her but as she starts spending time with the enigmatic and compelling Jordan who stirs all her senses something fierce, Gabrielle has to admit that her mother made the wiser choice by shielding her from the cruel ways of life in a whorehouse.
Gabrielle is at first more than ready to get rid of the whorehouse and say good riddance to what she has stumbled upon, but her sense of integrity refuses to allow her to sell a whorehouse and use the profit to start up a school for girls, a dream that as a teacher Gabrielle has always harbored within her. And when she comes to find out that her mother was killed and that everyone suspected Doug Slaughter, a man who ran all sorts of establishments through out the county who had wanted to buy Celeste’s Palace from her mother, Gabrielle decides to dig her feet in and refuse to sell the place to a man of such vile character.
Jordan wants nothing more than to be left alone with the dark memories of all that he had lost in his life. The haunting nightmares of how his wife and unborn babe died at the hands of drunken soldiers is a constant reminder to Jordan that he is a man who has nothing left to give to a woman or anyone else. But the daughter of his business partner who has taken residence at their establishment tempts him beyond reason and Jordan fights it with everything in his being, knowing that an innocent like Gabrielle would be devastated if he were to love her and leave like Jordan is used to doing.
But little by little, as Jordan and Gabrielle spend time together, it becomes a battle worth losing when all Jordan wants to do is to lose himself in the arms of the woman who bewitches him so. For Gabrielle who is determined to change the establishment into a girls school and provide the women at Celeste’s Palace with better jobs, it is an uphill battle all the way when Doug fights dirty every step of the way just so he can get his hands on the property.
The story of how the sweetly innocent and undeniably sensual Gabrielle captures the unwilling heart of the lithe and handsome Jordan who thinks of himself as the soulless one is a sweet and taut one. And the fraught danger that lurks deep within the shadows at every turn makes this book a quick page-turner.
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