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Complete Abandon [Mass Market Paperback]

Cheryl Holt
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Sep 2003
Emma Fitzgerald, the Vicar's daughter, stuns the roguish Viscount Wakefield, by offering herself as ransom to save her village. Now, John Clayton brazenly sets out to introduce Emma to the art of love. Original.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press (26 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031298460X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312984601
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 10.7 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 792,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

National award-winning author Cheryl Holt is a lawyer, novelist, and mom who lives on the Oregon coast. Her varied employment history includes public school teacher, mediator, cook, bartender, lobbyist, musician, and political activist. A graduate of the University of Wyoming College of Law, she worked as a law clerk for the Attorneys General of Colorado and Wyoming. Later, she served as a deputy district attorney in metro-Denver. Cheryl's sixth novel, " Love Lessons," was nominated as the Best Erotic Romance of 2001 by the National Readers' Choice Awards. Her seventh, "Total Surrender," was recently nominated for the Reviewers' Choice Award as the Best Sensual Romance of 2002 by "Romantic Times "magazine. "Complete Abandon" is her tenth novel.

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First Sentence
EMMA Fitzgerald left the groomed path that skirted Wakefield Manor. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and titillating historic romance 8 July 2008
By josie82 TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
When Emma Fitzgerald, the local vicar's daughter, storms into the home of John Clayton, the new Viscount Wakefield, she gets more than an eyeful when she witnesses him in the middle of a tryst with his mistress. Despite her curiosity, she is still outraged over his treatment of his tenants and she plans to be the one to take this infamous rake to task.

John has never been treated like a naughty schoolboy and certainly never been admonished by a woman - especially one as spirited and lovely as Emma. Despite her prim exterior, she manages to shock him further when she proposes a bargain: in return for his kindness to his tenants, she will offer herself to him. Completely.

John is determined to win back the upper hand in their battle yet as he introduces Emma to the art of sex, she might just be introducing him to the art of love.

I very much enjoyed this uncomplicated story about two people, so wrong for each other, yet who cannot stay away from each other. How they come together and ultimately fall in love is a delight and I could barely put the book down.

Emma was such a refreshing heroine. Real, spunky, with morals, yet not able to deny her attraction and desire for John. John was also a wonderfully written hero. He was unashamedly arrogant, handsome and virile yet underneath was lonely and looking for someone to love him. The way that Cheryl Holt managed to have him be so needy yet still completely alpha male made him a joy to read about.

The book is unashamedly erotic and the sex scenes, which are plentiful, fairly scorch the pages of this book.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read 5 Mar 2004
By Ladybubbles VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was an excellent book. The third I have read by this author, and it will not be the last. I found John fascinating, Dark, moody and wicked! And the herion a match for the hero. If you have read and enjoyed Love Lessons and Total Surrender by the same author then you will enjoy this book.
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1.0 out of 5 stars too gritty for me 10 Aug 2013
By Anna G
Format:Kindle Edition
when i read an historical romance, i want a relaxing escape; this is not it. with a heroine enduring breadline poverty and a gratuitous sub plot of paedophilia, i found this extremely harrowing.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 STAR BOOK ***** 20 July 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I FOUND THIS A GREAT READ,IT MADE ME CRY,HAPPY,LAUGH.WOULD RECOMEND THIS TO ANYONE.5 STARS *****
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific - this is Holt at her best 21 Jan 2004
By V - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have really enjoyed Cheryl Holt's books with the exception of Absolute Pleasure, her novel prior to Complete Abandon. Absolute Pleasure was average at best and disappointed me because I expect above average writing from Holt. But she is at her best once again with Complete Abandon and I was able to determine that within the first fifty pages of the book (and I'm not talking about the sensual scene from the first few pages).
Viscount Wakefield, John Clayton, is one of those immoral heroes who is too wealthy for his own good. He isn't too pleased with the many responsibilities required of a viscount who owns numerous properties. He has spent years in decadent living - always partying, gambling, womanizing, and whatever else he can do to provide a thrill to his very tainted life - a life that is becoming quite boring. He visits one of his estates, Wakefield, and begins the tedious task of making the estate profitable once again. Fearing boredom, John has brought with him to Wakefield his mistress, brother, and a crowd of equally decadent revelers who are ever willing to accept John's immense hospitality.
Emma is a heroine with a lot of zest, purpose, and down right audacity. She is the daughter of Wakefield's deceased vicar and is known to protect those she loves. The villagers petition Emma's assistance when many receive eviction notices from the newly arrived viscount. Emma is incensed when she realizes the eviction notices are directed to those retired, ill, or fatherless. She eagerly takes up the village's cause and tromps to the estate family's home to confront the viscount with his poor judgment, stingy inclinations, and downright villainous tendencies as he evicts the most needy from their homes. Emma has heard all of the horrible rumors about John Clayton's despicable behavior and it only makes her more determined to face him down and hammer some sense into him.
John is having a fairly boring morning, complete with a boring sexual encounter with his mistress. This is the opening pages scene that has been commented on in many reviews. Afterwards, he is holding a rather boring informal business meeting with his brother when this unknown woman demands entrance to his home. His butler is unable to keep her out of the house and this stranger barges straight into John's library where he sits with his brother and his mistress. Well, John is one of those alpha males who always want to be in charge but, as a gentleman, he attempts to placate this furious, beautiful lady and get her out of his house. Soon John is speechless as he learns this vicar's daughter doesn't think too highly of him and is actually criticizing him! And insulting him - a lot! She is dictating to him about his duties and detailing his many failures. As he attempts to speak to Emma, she keeps up her tirade and refuses his efforts to dismiss her. So John, ever the devil viscount that he is, makes a rude and shocking proposition to her in exchange for his withdrawal of the eviction notices. Of course, his intention is to cause her to run from his house - away from his evil, reprehensible suggestion - and the obviously depraved person he is. He expects this vicar's daughter to scamper away in fear and out of his home forever. But Emma is one step ahead of him and stuns him by taking up his challenge. This all occurs within the opening pages of the book and is one of the more entertaining scenes I have read in romance writing. I really savored this interaction between the two. John is stunned as Emma not only agrees to his proposition but also insists he put it in writing.
So, Complete Abandon is off and running fast. There is not a dull moment from page one and Emma and John's relationship is at once adversarial as well as intensely sensual. Their relationship is unlike most romance plots. Oh there are similar elements to mainstream historical romances but the situations between Emma and John are unusual and refreshing. Most of all they captivate you as they each try to outmaneuver the other. It is a rollicking story with many ups and downs as well as containing some serious overtones. John's continued shock at Emma's behavior is humorous throughout the book. Their relationship, as to be expected, does become physical eventually and these sensual scenes rate a strong 4.5 out of 5.0 (see More About Me for rating guidelines). John holds true to his alpha character but it does not rule the book, as is so often the case. Emma remains strong and resilient without becoming tiresome or irritating. The chemistry is strong between these two yet their situation is a bit sad since neither expects anything lasting from the other.
I highly recommend Complete Abandon. It goes on my keeper shelf - I have not had many of those lately. Thanks Cheryl Holt for a fantastic and fun story.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensually titillating! Very highly recommended 1 Oct 2003
By C. Penn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A scandalous observation leaves spinster Emma Fitzgerald with unfettered desire and outrageous daring. Rather than feeling appalled at witnessing a tryst between John Clayton, the new Viscount Wakefield, and his paramour, Emma longs to sample such risqué behavior. Unfortunately, she has arrived on a serious mission, as the Viscount has served eviction notices on many of her elderly and widowed neighbors, as well as her own family. Temporary distraction does not put her off from her purpose; rather, it prepares her.
Under the prim, proper exterior of a vicar's daughter, Emma conceals passions to match John's. Her saucy daring and bodacious maneuverings captures his attention, promising an allure far beyond what John has shared with the jaded women of London. Moreover, John's attempts to protect while dissuading Emma fail miserably when she turns the situation to her advantage. Suddenly this bad boy realizes he has met his match in the most unexpected of ways.
Cheryl Holt creates a searing tale of passion in COMPLETE ABANDON. Holt provides an amusing afternoon's read with vivid characterizations that spring to life. A study of complete opposites, Emma and John come together with unexecuted hilarity and outrageousness. Emma's sensual nature sparkles under this bad boy's touch. Remarkably, she does not attempt to tame his wayward ways; rather, she glories in both his strengths and in his flaws. John, however, has a lot to learn about women regardless of his varied experience if he wishes to ever keep the heart of this remarkable woman. Secondary characters likewise sparkle with Holt's characteristic style. Witty, daring and delightful, COMPLETE ABANDON comes very highly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sizzling Sensual Romance 13 Sep 2003
By Sheri Melnick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While Ms. Holt is rapidly achieving fame in the romance genre, it is clear that her sensual romances are not just an abundance of love scenes with a little plot added. In her latest, she very credibly integrates romantic interludes between an unhappy viscount and a deceased vicar's daughter with the caring nature that also binds the two in friendship.
Though Emma Fitzgerald decides to ask John Clayton, Viscount Wakefield, to rescind his eviction notices, she never thought she would agree to sexual interludes with him in exchange for his rescission powers and his visits to the tenants. But agree she does, and the two soon learn that there is more to their relationship than the sensual promises of the bedroom. And while Emma is a thoroughly refreshing heroine in a subgenre where most young virginal females are submissive, she is no simpering miss, as she barely earns her keep for her invalid mother and young sister caring for neighbors and delivering babies in the village.
With sensual love scenes between John and Emma amidst their verbal sparring, the plot continues at a fast pace, as John must determine the nature of their relationship before he returns to his mistress in London. Though the new local vicar's sensual proclivity for young girls seems a little over the top, the ever evolving romance between the two lovers is as entertaining as it is steamy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Make Whole 11 Oct 2003
By MaryGrace Meloche - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Don't be deceived by the hilarious beginning; this well-crafted book is hardly a comedy! Amazingly, Cheryl Holt plays with the reader's every emotion. She unwraps love, joy, sorrow, hate, and then throws in sexual prowling as an added bonus. Bravo Ms. Holt, what an exhilarating roller coaster ride through human endurance.

John Clayton, Viscount Wakefield, suffers with the company of artificial friends - "hanger-ons." He is rich; they are pathetic. He is attractive; they are fascinated. He is influential; they are unimportant. He permits their company; they oblige him. So rests the worthless life of a self-centered viscount.

Emma Fitzgerald, a deceased vicar's daughter, is astute, spirited, and extremely poor. What started as a humorous liaison, between these two mismatched people, quickly becomes a fragile bond. Sadly, their intimacy has no gratified future; Emma is far below Clayton's social view and position.

Further enhancing her story, Cheryl Holt touches upon more human shortcomings. Rustling through the pages is John's offensive mistress, his tolerant fiancee, and his bastardly brother. Emma, too, has her life sharpened with a fresh, delightful sister, a vile admirer, and the daily issue of destitution. Oh what a twisted web the author has brilliantly woven.

The novel's weak points: the lengthy deliberations, in and among key scenes, are distracting. Such pondering, by the characters, weakens the scene development. Additionally, the author did not soothe the Clayton brothers' relationship. Their future friendship was uncertain -- an unanswered curiosity. However, this confusion and use of sexual language, that at times, seemed too modern are insignificant objections. Cheryl Holt has written a creative story that captivates her reader's interest. Well done.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I was not a Cheryl Holt reader before this book. 17 Feb 2004
By SusieQ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
And I kind of doubt I will be again. But I'm going to try to be fair here. I thought I would read something by Ms. Holt since I had never read anything by her before, and I was looking for a new romance author. The two stars I grant Complete Abandon might actually be a 2.5. This is not a badly written book -- its story moves along, and it's not boring (though I found myself skimming toward the end, I must admit).

I've discovered that the type of writing/character development/plot devices chosen by this author are not my preference in romance fiction. Ms. Holt reminded me a little of Bertice Small's older novels, which is good as far as that goes, (she's certainly very, um, direct, like Bertice, with a touch of perversity) but nowadays I generally prefer a little subtlety in my romance reading. So the hero's oversexed "cockstands" (yes, that's what she calls 'em), and the immediately horny heroine, kind of put me off. It all seems so smutty - but that's my opinion, it might not be yours! If you prefer your romance reading very "up front", with a touch of perversity (in this book, the Vicar with the taste for little girls comes to mind --uggh.) then Cheryl Holt is the author for you. Ms. Holt just isn't one that I prefer.
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