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The Velvet Promise [Mass Market Paperback]

Jude Deveraux
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 1 1991
All of England rejoiced on her wedding day. But Judith vowed that her husband would get only what he took from her!
At the flower-bedecked altar, the first touch of their hands ignited an all-consuming passion. Gavin Montgomery looked deep into her golden eyes and burned with desire for her...but his heart had been pledged to another.
Humiliated and alone in a strange castle, Judith resolved to hate this husband who took her body, but rejected her love...never admitting her fear of losing him.
But destiny held another fate for Judith...a fate that would keep at last...The Velvet Promise.

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About the Author

Jude Deveraux is the author of more than forty New York Times bestsellers, including Moonlight in the Morning, The Scent of Jasmine, Scarlet Nights, Days of Gold, Lavender Morning, Return to Summerhouse, and Secrets. To date, there are more than sixty million copies of her books in print worldwide. To learn more, visit JudeDeveraux.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One
May 1892
Houston Chandler walked the block and a half to her house as sedately as she could manage, halting before a three-story, red brick French Victorian house that the town called the Chandler Mansion. Composing herself, smoothing her hair, she mounted the steps.
As she put her parasol in the porcelain holder in the little vestibule, she heard her stepfather bellowing at her sister.
"I'll not have language like that in my house. You may think that because you call yourself a doctor you have a right to indecent behavior, but not in my house," Duncan Gates shouted.
Blair Chandler, as like her twin sister as another person can be, glared at the man, who was a few inches shorter than she was and built as solidly as a stone building. "Since when is this your house? My father -- ."
Houston stepped into the family parlor and put herself between her sister and her stepfather. "Isn't it time for dinner? Perhaps we should go in." With her back to her stepfather, she gave a pleading look to her sister.
Blair turned away from them both, her anger obvious.
Duncan took Houston's arm and led her past the staircase and toward the dining room. "At least I have one decent daughter."
Houston winced as she heard the often repeated remark. She hated being compared to Blair, and worse, hated being the winner.
They were barely seated at the big, mahogany table, each setting laid with crystal, porcelain and sterling, Duncan at the head, Opal Gates at the foot, the twins across from each other, when he started again.
"You'd think you'd want to do something to please your mother," Duncan said, glaring at Blair, as an eleven-pound roast was set before him. He picked up carving utensils. "Are you too selfish to care about anybody else? Doesn't your mother mean anything to you?"
Blair, her jaw clenched, looked at her mother. Opal was like a faded copy of her beautiful daughters. It was obvious that what spirit she'd ever had was either gone or deeply buried. "Mother," Blair said, "do you want me to return to Chandler, marry some fat banker, have a dozen children and give up medicine?"
Opal smiled fondly at her daughter as she took a small helping of eggplant from the platter held by a maid. "I want you to be happy, dear, and I believe it's rather noble of you to want to save people's lives."
Blair turned triumphant eyes toward her stepfather. "Houston's given up her life in order to please you. Isn't that enough for you? Do you have to see me broken too?"
"Houston!" Duncan thundered, clutching the big carving knife until his knuckles were white. "Are you going to allow your sister to say such things?"
Houston looked from her sister to her stepfather. Under no circumstances did she want to side with either one of them. When Blair returned to Pennsylvania after the wedding, Houston'd still be in the same town with her stepfather. With joy, she heard the downstairs maid announce Dr. Leander Westfield.
Quickly, Houston stood. "Susan," she said to the serving maid, "set another place."
Leander walked into the room with long, confident strides. He was tall, slim, dark, extremely good-looking with green eyes to die for, as a friend of Houston's once said -- and exuded an air of self-assurance that made women stop on the street and stare. He greeted Mr. and Mrs. Gates.
Leander leaned across the edge of the table and gave Houston a quick kiss on the cheek. Kissing a woman, even your wife, and certainly your fiancée, so publicly was outrageous, but Leander had an air about him that allowed him to get away with things other men couldn't.
"Will you have dinner with us?" Houston asked politely, indicating the place set next to her.
"I've eaten, but maybe I'll join you for a cup of coffee. Good evening, Blair," he said as he sat down across from her.
Blair only glanced at him in answer as she poked at the food on her plate.
"Blair, you'll speak to Leander properly," Duncan commanded.
"That's all right, Mr. Gates," Leander replied pleasantly, but looking at Blair in puzzlement. He smiled at Houston. "You're as pretty as a bride today."
"Bride!" Blair gasped, standing and nearly upsetting her chair before she ran from the room.
"Why, that -- ," Duncan began, putting down his fork and starting to rise.
But Houston stopped him. "Please don't. Something's upsetting her badly. Perhaps she misses her friends in Pennsylvania. Leander, didn't you want to talk to me about the wedding? Could we go now?"
"Of course." Leander silently escorted her to his waiting buggy, clucked to the horse and drove her up the steep end of Second Street and parked on one of the many dead ends in Chandler. It was beginning to get dark and the mountain air was growing cold. Houston moved back into the comer of the carriage.
"Now, tell me what's going on," he said as he tied the horse's reins, put on the brake, and turned to her. "It seems to me that you're as upset as Blair."
Houston had to blink back tears. It was so good to be alone with Lee. He was so familiar, so safe. He was an oasis of sanity in her life. "It's Mr. Gates. He's always antagonizing Blair, telling her she's no good, reminding her that even as a child he thought there was no hope for her, and he's always demanding that she give up medicine and remain in Chandler. And, Lee, he keeps telling Blair how perfect I am."
"Ah, sweetheart," Lee said, pulling her into his arms, "you are perfect. You're sweet and kind and pliable and -- ." She pulled away from him. "Pliable! You mean like taffy?" "No," Lee smiled at her, "I just meant that you're a pretty, sweet woman, and I think it's good of you to be so worried about your sister, but I also think Blair should have been prepared for some criticism when she became a doctor."
"You don't think she should give up medicine, do you?"
"I have no idea what your sister should do. She's not my responsibility." He reached for her again. "What are we talking about Blair for? We have our own lives to live."
As he spoke, his arms tightened around her and he began to nuzzle her ear.
This was the part of their courtship Houston always hated. Lee was so easy to be around, someone she knew so well. After all, they'd been a "couple" since she was six and he was twelve. Now, at twenty-two, she'd spent a great deal of time near Leander Westfield, had known forever that she was going to be Mrs. Westfield. All her schooling, everything she'd ever learned was in preparation for the day she'd be Lee's wife.
But a few months ago, after he'd returned from studying in Europe, he'd started this kissing, pushing her into the buggy seat, groping at her clothes, and all she'd felt was that she wished he'd stop fumbling at her. Then Lee'd get angry, once again call her an ice princess, and take her home.
Houston knew how she was supposed to react to Lee's touch. For all its appearance of staidness, Chandler, Colorado, was an enlightened town -- at least its women were -- but for the life of her Houston felt nothing when Lee touched her. She'd cried herself to sleep with worry many times. She couldn't imagine loving anyone more than she loved Leander, but she was just not excited by his touch.
He seemed to sense what Houston was thinking and drew away from her, his anger showing in his eyes.
"It's fewer than three weeks," she said with hope in her voice. "In a short time we'll be married and then..."
"And then what?" he said, looking at her sideways. "The ice princess melts?"
"I hope so," she whispered, mostly to herself. "No one hopes so more than I do."
They were silent for a moment.
"Are you ready for the governor's reception tomorrow?" Lee asked, pulling a long cheroot from his pocket and lighting it.
Houston gave him a trembling smile. These few minutes after she'd turned him down were always the worst. "My Worth gown's steamed and ready."
"The governor will love you, you know that?" He smiled at her, but she sensed he was forcing the smile. "Someday I'll have the most beautiful wife in the state at my side."
She tried to relax. A governor's reception was a place she felt confident. This was something she was trained for. Perhaps she should have taken a course in how not to be a cold, sexless wife. She knew that some men thought their wives shouldn't enjoy sex, but she also knew Leander was like no one else. He'd explained to her that he expected her to enjoy him and Houston'd told herself she would, but mostly she felt annoyed when Leander kissed her.
"I have to go to town tomorrow," he said, interrupting her thoughts. "Want to come along?"
"I'd love to. Oh! Blair wanted to stop by the newspaper office. I believe someone sent her a new medical journal from New York."
Houston leaned back in the carriage as Leander clucked to the horse and wondered what he'd say if he knew his "pliable" intended was, once a week, doing something that was quite illegal.

Blair lounged against the end of the ornate, canopied, walnut bed, one knee bent, showing the separation of her Turkish pants. Her big blue and white room was on the third floor, with a beautiful view of Ayers Peak out the west window. She'd had a room on the second floor with the rest of the family, but after she'd left Chandler when she was twelve, Opal'd become pregnant and Mr. Gates had made her room into a bath and a nursery. Opal lost the child and the room stood unused now, filled with dolls and toy soldiers Mr. Gates had bought.
"I really don't see why we have to go with Leander," Blair said to Houston who sat quite straight on a white brocade chair. "I haven't seen you in years and now I have to share you."
Houston gave her sister a little smile. "Leander asked us to accompany him, not the other way around. Sometimes I think you don't like him. But I can't see how that could be possible. He's kind, considerate, he has position in the community and he --."
"And he completely owns you!" Blair exploded, jumping up from the bed, startling Houston with the strength of her outburst. "Don't you realize that in school I worked with women like you, women who were so unhappy they re... --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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THE MOON CAST LONG SHADOWS OVER THE OLD STONE tower which rose three stories high and seemed to scowl down, in a tired way, at the broken and crumbling wall that surrounded it. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My absolute favorite series! April 6 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I absolutly loved this series. All the characters were so vibrant and realistic it was hard not to fall in love with them. No one wants to read about a character who is boring and plain, this is why I love Jude Deveraux. She never lets you down.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible writing June 29 2004
By Steph
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've given Jude Deveraux many chances and have come up disappointed and dissatisfied each time. I read Remembrance, The Duchess, and A Knight in Shining Armor before picking up Velvet Promise at the bookstore. And after reading it, I've come to the conclusion that I simply do not like Jude Deveraux. Velvet Promise contains all the elements I've detested in her the previous works I've read, leading me to the conclusion that each Jude Deveraux book I read was not simply "not her best," but a trend in her writing. Her writing style is childish, and the simplistic sentence structures are boring and do not lend to the sense of passion and feeling a romance novel should emit. I couldn't get into the characters at all - Gavin was childish, as was Judith, and Alice, well, she was too over-the-top as the jealous ex-girlfriend villan. The story was so uninteresting that I almost didn't finish it because I found myself not caring one bit what happened to any of the characters.
This is the end of my trial of Jude Deveraux. If you want to read some fast paced, fun, interesting romances with great dialogue and intreging characters and storylines, try anything by Judith McNaught, Julia Quinn, Suzanne Enoch, or Stephanie Laurens.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best love April 2 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book. I read many different books. This by far is my all time favorit. Jude Deveraux is one of my favorite romance writers I have run into. I have read it three times and am starting on a fourth. Judith becomes so real before you know it all her sorrows and joys are yours . I cryed over this book more every time I read it. This a masterful tale that will draw you in and never let go. Gavin is a little bit of all men sweet with a lot of pain ,anger,hate,and ,lust. May I also suggest the othere Montgomery novels... Highland Velvet, Velvet Song,Velvet Angel, And The Black Lyon which has a surprising connection to the Montgomery novels
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5.0 out of 5 stars best ! Feb. 12 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
its a wonderful book !
this was the first of the many jude devarauxe books that i read & i love it !
i read alot of romance books but this one made the hero a bit real to think abt , like a real life man would be , i mean who has insecurities & is harsh for no reason at all & then hes tender beyond words !
the story revolvs around a married couple who learns to trust each other & then finaly love one another
nice book must read
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1.0 out of 5 stars wooden, contrived and way too violent Feb. 10 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I object to any novel in which rape is seen as an acceptable way for a man to bring his wife into line. Ditto smashing her in the mouth, and sadomasochistic kinky sexual practices. there is way too much hot andheav stuff between Gavin the supposed hero and Alice, his mistress who has married another because she is ambitious. her husband is a savage who resorts to the abovementioned practices, and all the other women in the castle are like something from a Drcula film as they all satisfy their unnatural desires.
Judith is too good to be true in some cases and a total fishwife in others, and Gavin has got to be the dumbest man alive not to see through Alice. For 2 whole years, no less. The ending is melodrama at its worst, and the miscarriage Judith suffers because of her is just as glossed over as the appalling violence toward women in the rest of the book. Their constant jealousy and bickering makes the book a chore to read after the first 50 pages. I kept hoping it would get better but it didn't. And of course evil Alice is left alive for revenge at the end of the book. I wish she had sapred us a sequel but she didn't.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome beginning to the Montgomery saga Oct. 22 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book starts out with a scene that bothered me quite a bit... but then I think that is what the author intended... it certainly drew me in and drove me to read more... very strong beginning to the story of Judith and Gavin. I love it when a book begins so wonderfully and intensely.
Gavin.... well he was handsome and his personality was very realistic for the period of time the book was written in. He was frustrated with Judith but still willing to listen to her thoughts. This made him even better in my eyes. However, I didn't like his reaction to her knowledge of he and Alice in the garden on their wedding day. I felt Judith had every right to be angry and he was angrier than she was because she had supposedly eavesdropped. He seemed kind of simple when it came to women and their feelings... but towards the end of the book... he redeemed himself in my eyes.
Judith was one of my favourite heroines. She was not raised as other girls had been and she had seen much pain and violence in her short life. These experiences made her so strong and unwilling to back down from any man. She was beautiful, but didn't seem to know it and that made her so endearing.
I really enjoyed watching these two fall in love, though they both frustrated me beyong belief at times. I despised Alice and found myself looking forward to the day when she would "get hers".
All in all... its a great book that brings out every possible emotion you could imagine... Can't wait to read the next in the series... Highland Velvet... It's about Stephan, the next brother who is just as hotheaded, yet endearing as his older brother. Should be a good read.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read; A Terrific Heroine; & A Very Flawed Hero & Plot
As my review title suggests, I did enjoy reading Jude Deveraux's "The Velvet Promise," primarily because I admire and appreciate her heroine Judith Revedoune Montgomery's... Read more
Published on Aug. 31 2003 by Jana L. Perskie
5.0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL
A very sweet & sour romance !
the heroine Judith is a real woman, she's sweet as long as Gavin is & sour if Gavin gets nasty
There's is an arranged marriage where none... Read more
Published on July 23 2003 by "crazyromancereader"
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a good one.
I liked this book and the characters, excluding Alice. Judith was smart, funny, and beautiful. Gavin did not deserve her though. I did not like his harsh ways of dealing with her. Read more
Published on June 5 2003 by "erin-nicole"
4.0 out of 5 stars Velvet Series Part 1 - Gavin and Judith's Story
This is Gavin and Judith's story, the first in the Velvet series. Gavin is the eldest of the 4 Montgomery brothers and he is in love with the beautiful but cold Alice, his... Read more
Published on May 28 2003 by Lealing
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually 4 and 1/2
This was the first in the velvet series and set the setting for the rest. Though it was good, this was my least favorite brother. Read more
Published on April 28 2003 by Michelle
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic medival love story....
Gavin Montgomery has finally gotten his family back on firm financial ground after eleven years of being the head of his family. Read more
Published on March 13 2003 by iheartjackbauer
1.0 out of 5 stars I Hated It!
I heard some great things about Jude Deveraux, but I am not impressed by Velvet Promise.
Let me just paraphrase this story: the heroine, Judith, is forced to marry Gavin. Read more
Published on June 20 2002 by "bigreader60"
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