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Enchanting Pleasures

 

Gabrielle Jerningham cherishes the portrait of her betrothed, the perfect Peter Dewland...until she meets his commanding older brother Quill. But it is Peter to whom she has been promised. And how can she possibly transform her voluptuous, outspoken self into the poised gentlewoman Peter requires?

 

When Gabby's shocking décolletage plunges to her waist at her first ball, Peter is humiliated. But Quill comes to the rescue, to the peril of his heart. An accident years before has left Quill plagued by headaches--the kind that grows more excruciating with strenuous exercise. Needless to say, this hardly bodes well for siring progeny. But the very sight of Gabby leaves Quill breathless. One forbidden kiss and Quill vows to have her, headaches--and Peter--be damned! But it will take a clever man--and a cleverer woman--to turn the tables on propriety and find their way to true love...

Enchanting Pleasures is Book 3 of the Pleasures Trilogy. Read more from the Pleasures Trilogy:

 

 

April 2002

Enchanting Pleasures
Book three in The Pleasures Trilogy
I'm the kind of writer who can't seem to think in terms of one book: I invariably design a world that takes up three or four books. This leads to a virtual web of connections between my books. So what I offer below is something of a family tree, a way of chasing the characters whom you particularly like through several books, or of figuring out why a character's name sounds so very familiar to you.

Warning! In describing relations between characters, I may wreck a book for you by making it clear who someone marries, or the outcome of a book. Please do not read about The Inside Take if you're wary of knowing who is paired with whom!

» The Pleasures Trilogy should be read in this order: Potent Pleasures, Midnight Pleasures, Enchanting Pleasures.

» My editor during this book, the enchanting Jackie Cantor of Bantam Dell, suffers from migraines. Writers take their ideas from everywhere: Quill's ailment was a combination of my wish that a scientist would discover a real cure for migraines, and an article in The New Yorker that talked of African tree frogs and the possible pain relief contained in their venom.

» In some ways, Enchanting Pleasures really is my first book. The plots of the first two in this trilogy leapt to mind with the help of research I'd done for my doctorate in early modern drama (check the historical notes in the back of Potent and Midnight for my sources). But the frolicking, silly, utterly improbable plot of Enchanting Pleasures is all my own. If you'd like to read a brief history of the East India Company (the source of nefarious colonialist dealings), read my article The East India Company .

» Along the same lines, Alexander (and his twin Patrick) were modeled to some extent on my husband Alessandro (who has silver-shot hair), but Quill came into being all on his own.

» When Gabby's dress falls to her waist, it reflects my firmly held belief that those Regency dresses look as if they'd be very hard to keep up -- I mean the ones that never properly hit the shoulders at all, but drape themselves somewhere around the bosom. Plus, I was so shocked by the heartbreak I ended up writing about in Midnight that I kept telling myself: farce! Write farce!

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IN HOLLAND


IN GERMANY

Finalist for a RITA, the romance industry's top award

National Reader's Choice Awards Best Long Historical of 2001

Ten Best Romances of 2001 -- Borders.com

Ten Best Historical Romances of 2001 --Amazon.com

Best Over-All Historical of 2001 -- Affaire de Coeur


"Enchanting Pleasures by Eloisa James is an enchanting romance delving into the complicated relationship between Gabby and Quill."

- The State, Columbia, South Carolina (posted February 4, 2004)

"Enchanting Pleasures is a rollicking wonderful time... Gabby is one of the finest heroines I've met in some time -- she is not perfect in looks or deeds, but she is so endearing that you, like Quill, will fall in love with her nearly on sight... This volume has earned a spot on my keeper shelf; I am sure it will do the same for yours."

- America Online's Romance Fiction Forum (posted June 29, 2002)

"Eloisa James offers romance readers what they love in an 'enchanting' package -- humor, tear-inducing romance mixed with just a hint of heartbreak, a strong and likable heroine, and a happy ending."

- The State, Columbia, South Carolina (posted August 25, 2001)

"Of all the Pleasures books, I believe Eloisa James saved the best for last in the telling of Quill and Gabby's story in Enchanting Pleasures. Ms. James' witty prose is something to behold. This is a book that will make you laugh out loud at Gabby's outrageous behavior, and give pause at the quiet behavior of the magnificent Quill as he finds himself falling in love with his brother Peter's fiancée.... Eloisa James is a 'Must Buy' for me. Her characters are hilarious, tender, loving, and sensuous, and rolled into some delightfully delicious plots that captivate and titillate you to your toes!"

- The Belles & Beaux of Romance (posted July 2001)

"Georgette Heyer fans will find much appeal in James' work, for this New Jersey author's Regency-author romp has many similarities to the works of the prolific British novelist. Like Heyer's heroines, Gabby is temperamental and independent, resisting convention and shocking her well-mannered peers. Like Heyer's heroines, Quill is a strong, silent type, prone to scowling, seemingly disinterested in women and inclined to observe society from a distance."

- Newark NJ Star-Ledger (posted Sunday July 8, 2001)

"Eloisa James' title of her newest book is truly a worthy reflection of her creation. Enchanting Pleasures is an engaging romp, filled with loads of humor and two loveable lead characters. No goofy title here, Enchanting Pleasures delivers exactly what the title promises and more... Ms. James has a wonderful way with words and brings the two lead characters to delicious life in this charming love story."

- Baton Rouge Advocate (posted June, 2001)

"In keeping with the previous installments of James's regency trilogy, this final volume offers dual romances, charismatic characters and a healthy dose of humor... Once again, James weaves a story as rich in plot as in character."

- Publishers' Weekly (posted May 21, 2001)

"Enchanting Pleasures is a true original! Readers will be delighted with the engaging cast of characters, the sensitive handling of Quill's headaches, the addition of a mystery that follows Gabby from India and the magical, stirring style that is uniquely Eloisa James. Different and refreshing, Enchanting Pleasures is sure to charm you."

- Romantic Times BOOKreviews (posted June 2001)

"Enchanting Pleasures is a page-turning, heart-gripping, sigh-inducing joy to read."

- Affaire de Coeur

"Enchanting Pleasures is a lighthearted, spirited romp with likeable characters, a zesty sense of humor, and, of course, plenty of breathtaking chemistry. Being perfectly honest, the romance is so captivating the author should be applauded for avoiding the usual clichés... Author Eloisa James draws beautiful, light pictures with her words and creates a simple, yet thoroughly enjoyable tale."

- The Romance Reader

"Lovely lady sets out to cure her new husband's migraines--which improves their sex life to no end -- in another winner from Regency-romancer James... Delightful heroine, masterful hero, and an ingenious plot: intelligent, sexy fun."

- Kirkus Reviews (posted April 15, 2001)

 

"Enchanting Pleasures is marvelous. Though Gabby and Quill often tug at one's heartstrings, the overall tone is light, romantic, and sometimes hilarious. For a most enchanting, pleasurable reading experience, I can't recommend it highly enough."

- Romance Reviews Today (posted June, 2001)

"It is rare for me to anxiously await the release of a new book. However, I find myself keeping an eye out for the latest from Ms. James. Her three books - Potent Pleasures and Midnight Pleasures, in addition to this one - are all intertwined with snippets of the same characters. Quill was introduced in a previous book, and I sincerely hoped he'd get his own shot at love. And oh, what a shot! Quill's an appealing hero, and Gabrielle is charming. Ms. James has the gift of immersing you in another world, so much so that you don't want to return to your own."

- Old Book Barn Gazette (posted June, 2001)

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IN FRANCE


IN RUSSIA

 

Quill pressed his lips together. Better to get the difficult matter out of the way first. "I'm pining to marry you," he said.

The scowl disappeared from Gabby's face, replaced by a look of utter astonishment.

"I'm burning and pining to marry you," Quill said. Then he remembered the whole line. "Burning, pining and perishing," he added.

"Perishing?" Gabby repeated blankly.

"Precisely."

There was a moment of silence while Quill prepared his next lines. This wasn't as hard as he had anticipated.

"When I saw you on the dock, your breath perfumed the hair."

Gabby looked perplexed.

"Sorry," Quill corrected himself. "Air! Air. When I first saw you on the dock, your breath perfumed the air. And then I discovered that your eyes were like spangled stars." He was taking a few liberties with Shakespeare, but he liked his version better.

Gabby still hadn't said anything, so Quill walked over and stood just before her. He looked down at her downcast head. "Everything I see about you is sacred and sweet."

Quill took Gabby's chin in his hand and forced her head up. It was evident in a second that his plan had gone awry. Gabby was shaking all over like a blancmange. It didn't take a lubbox to realize that she was nearly killing herself trying to restrain her laughter.

"Forgive me," Gabby said in a choked tone, "I…I ---" She gave up, breaking into a gloriously husky shout of laughter.

Heat rushed up Quill's legs and into his chest. He had the impulse to violently shake the woman before him. It was all her fault that he had behaved like a nodcock. Ice replaced the embarrassment, and he stepped back. He began turning over cool, mocking phrases, shaping a comment that would make it absolutely clear that he, Erskine Dewland, had never in his life compared a woman's eyes to stars.

But then he remembered. He had promised Peter that he would marry Gabby. He couldn't snub her.

Besides this was all gibberish, nothing more than a silly fable to make a romantic woman marry him. He needn't feel embarrassed. It was all lies, after all. Not for nothing had Quill attended Drury Lane when the great actor, John Philip Kemble, was performing. If Kemble could do it, so could he. Gabby was still giggling to herself. Quill reached out and dragged the minx into his arms.

She fit there as if she were designed to melt against him, as if every one of her curves was matched by a hollow in him.

She stopped giggling but her voice was still husky with laughter. "Quill?"

"Gabby." He swooped, bending her over his arm with Kemble's own dramatic flair.

She tasted like laughter. She tasted like Gabby.

His lips were everything his words had not been: carnal and dangerous, sure in their approach, commanding her attention.

Gabby twisted in his hands, trying to pull away from the undertow of desire. She didn't want this again. Not the drugging feeling that turned her stomach into liquid fire, sent her up against Quill's body, trembling and making pleading noises. It was morning. It was indecent to feel this way, even at night. Especially –

But he wouldn't let her go. His large hands held her against his muscled thighs. He pressed her indignant eyes shut with his lips, and then kissed his way back to her mouth.

Despite herself, Gabby stopped pulling away and shuddered closer, her arms coming up around his neck, her mouth opening to his demands.

And there was again: the burning, the loss of breath in her chest, the sweet fire in her chest, lower, in her stomach, lower… Gabby's tongue met Quill's, her heart speeding to a beat that sent a rhythm through her entire body.

"I burn," Quill said, tearing his mouth away from hers. He was unable to keep his hands steady – or keep them in gentlemanly bounds. He ran his fingers down her neck and then ruthlessly pulled down the delicate muslin of her morning gown.

Gabby gasped but didn't protest. Her little cap sleeve slid without resistance to her elbow and her chemise followed.

Quill's voice was a low rumble, dark with passionate need. "I burn, Gabby. I pine, I perish." He kissed the sweet cream of her shoulder, his hands tracing a bold demand. His lips drifted to her neck, breathed the words against her skin. "I am burning, Gabby."

She sighed as his palm rounded her breast, sending a wave of tiny shivers down her body.

"You must…You must." His voice died against her skin and was replaced by silence.

Quill raised his head to find Gabby speechless, perhaps for the first time in her life. He kissed her lips gently, a butterfly kiss, and then took her face in his large hands, holding its perfect oval. His fingers trailed a caress over her curved eyebrows, down the sweep of her high cheekbones. With his hands, he marveled. With his fingers, he sang a poem, trailing over her lips. Gabby's eyes were a brandy golden color that a star would weep to call its own. "What stars do spangle heaven with such beauty," Quill said quietly, "As those two eyes become that heavenly face?"

Gabby's hands came up to cover his. She met his eyes. "That's not fair," she whispered. "Bianca hasn't a decent line in the whole play."

"Sod the play." Quill pulled her into his arms again and spoke against her mouth. "I want you, Gabby. His hand was on the sweet curve of her bottom, pulling her against his hard body. "Oh God, I can't live without you. I am perishing."

Gabby heard the rough plea in his voice and gave a little sob, twisting up to put her mouth against his lips. "Kiss me, Quill. Kiss me again."

End of Excerpt

This is book three of The Pleasures Trilogy. Read an excerpt from Potent Pleasures, book one in the set.

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ISBN: 978-0440234586

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