By Design by Madeline HunterBy Design by Madeline Hunter

By Design

byMadeline Hunter

Mass Market Paperback | January 2, 2001

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Bound by honor...

The moment Rhys saw the stunning young woman selling her exquisitely crafted pottery in the marketplace, he was captivated. But the wealthy freemason would never have guessed that just a few days later, a misunderstanding would land Joan in the town stocks and he would become her unlikely savior. After the grueling ordeal, Rhys tenderly cares for Joan's bruised body—and her bruised pride. Yet he longs to do much more ... to satisfy the fire that sparks between the pair the moment they are alone.

Rhys could not have known that Joan once enjoyed a more privileged life. She'd had no choice but to become an indentured servant, but she is determined to avenge the crimes that ruined her family and destroyed her world. When Rhys meets with her employer to buy pottery—and buys her instead —Joan is furious. She vows to resist falling under the spell of the handsome, imposing Rhys. But she finds that her resolve quickly softens when tempted by Rhys's powerful charms—and she can only hope to find a way to avoid surrendering to her potent desire....
Madeline Hunter is a nationally bestselling author of historical romances who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. In a parallel existence to the one she enjoys as a novelist, she has a Ph.D. in art history and teaches at an East Coast university.
Title:By DesignFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 6.9 × 4.1 × 1.1 inPublished:January 2, 2001Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553582232

ISBN - 13:9780553582239


Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Love This Book! I really love this author and her series. This book was very well written and I cried at the end. She really knows how to evoke emotions.
Date published: 2003-11-21

Read from the Book

CHAPTER 1     She looked like a statue of calm dignity placed in a sea of vulgar chaos.   The market roared and splashed all around her motionless body. Peddlers of skins and barrels, of pigs and fish, crowded the small space that she had claimed for her wares. Her ragged gown, of a pale silver hue and displaying remnants of elegant needlework, contrasted starkly with the practical browns and flamboyant colors filling the square. Along with her blond crown and braid, the gown created a column of light tones in a very mottled world. She was all gentle fairness, except for her skin. Bronzed from the sun, it possessed a golden sheen that brightened her blue eyes.   It was the respite of pale serenity that first caught Rhys’s attention as he walked through the market in front of the Cathedral. Then the unveiled hair. And the eyes. He had already slowed to see her face more clearly before he noticed her wares.   She did not hawk them. She stood silently behind the crude, upturned wooden box that showed what she sold. Her delicate face remained impassive, as if she did not notice the bodies jostling by, sometimes pressing her—sometimes deliberately. He was not the only man to notice that this tattered dove was very pretty.   He did not recognize her. Most of the vendors were old faces, seen here regularly. She was an alien most likely, and not from the city. She had come for the day to make a few coins.   He felt a little sorry for her. Despite her rigid poise, she struck him as vulnerable, in danger of being broken. He doubted that she was doing well. The box was low, no higher than her knees, and the wares were almost invisible. He had to stroll very near in order to inspect the items set out on it.   Crockery. He had no interest in such things, but he did have an interest in her. He casually lifted the closest cup and a spark of hope lit her cool gaze.   The cup was simple but well made. Surprisingly, it was not ordinary sunbaked terra-cotta. It had been fired, and its shine indicated that it had been glazed.   “The walls are very thin. Do you have a potter’s wheel?” he asked while he examined it. And her. She really was very pretty, but up close he could read fatigue in her lax expression, and discouragement in her blue eyes.   “Nay. I just used coils.”   “With great care, though. The shape is very regular.”   His interest attracted others, as was the way with markets. A stout woman, a wealthy merchant’s wife from her dress, paused and peered down critically. Something caught her eye. Poking her chubby hand amidst the cups, she lifted a small figure.   He had been so distracted by the potter that he had not noticed the little statues. The merchant’s wife held a standing Virgin, maybe a hand’s span tall. It had been carefully modeled with swelling drapes, and painstakingly painted with colored glazes.   The woman examined the little figure, running her fingers along the face and back, holding it upright to judge its look. Rhys made his own inspection alongside.   “How much?” the woman asked, sharp-eyed and ready to bargain hard.   “Eight pence.”   “Eight pence!”   “Five, then.”   The woman groaned and sighed and dawdled and debated. Finally the five pence emerged from her purse.   The potter seemed well pleased.   Rhys dipped into the wares, moving some aside. Two other statues were there. A Saint Agnes with her lamb, and a Saint Catherine with her wheel. She might have just repeated the figure and changed the attribute, but she had not done so. Each was unique in pose, and very realistic.   “Do you seek to buy something?”   Her voice had a little edge to it. Her blue eyes regarded him skeptically.   He knew what that look revealed. He had not been the first man to loiter around, pretending to be interested in crockery.   “You craft the statues, too?”   “When I have the time, and the clay.”   “They are all fired.”   “I know a tiler who lets me use his kiln.”   He lifted the Saint Agnes. “What are they for?”   “That flustered her. “They are statues.”   “Aye, but what is their purpose? The cups and bowls have a purpose. Everyone needs them. What is this saint for?”   “Devotion.”   “There are churches for that, with much larger statues.”   “Some people might like to have one in their homes,” she said defensively.   “Have you sold many?”   She grimaced, conceding the point. “At most one a day when I come to market.”   “Then you should charge more than five pence.”   She rolled her eyes. “If I sell only one at five pence, I will sell none higher.”   “You will sell just as many, but receive what they are worth, and they will be more valued by those who buy them. These are not practical things. Most will give you nothing, but those who will pay five pence will pay a shilling.” To prove it, he fingered a shilling out of his purse and placed it on the box.   She eyed the coin hungrily, then glanced at him, suspicious again.   Her caution did not insult him. A pretty thing like her, alone in the marketplace, probably received a lot of propositions. “For the statue only. But I must warn you. I am a freemason, and I may steal the pose for a stone saint someday.”   Her gaze raked him with a quick assessment. He knew what she thought. He did not look like a mason today. His dress was too fine for work. A man did not wield a chisel and hammer in a long tunic and tall boots.   Rhys drifted away, carrying Saint Agnes. He looked down at the little figure and laughed at himself. A man who could make stone statues hardly needed to purchase clay ones.   He supposed he had bought it as a form of praise, from one craftsman to another. And as a type of flattery, from a man to a woman. There had been a bit of pity to it, too. He liked the idea that he had made the day a success for her.   He laughed again. A shilling for ten minutes with a pretty woman. Still, even without the statue, he would not have felt cheated.  

Editorial Reviews

"Hunter skillfully keeps the relationship fresh and her readers wondering whether Joan can overcome her past in order to embrace the present" Publishers Weekly

"An immensely gifted new author."—Jane Feather, author of The Least Likely Bride