Several of these gothic romances have been reissued by Open Road Media in kindle format. I bought this one for the low, low price of $3.82, and at 60%, I've already gotten my three bucks worth.
In Jennifer Wilde’s spine-tingling Gothic romance, a young woman is plunged into a treacherous world of secrets, lies, and murder when she moves into a mysterious mansion by the sea
When Lauren Moore is left penniless by the death of her mother, the invitation to live with distant relatives in Cornwall seems like the answer to her prayers. But Falconridge, perched on the edge of a steep cliff, waves crashing onto the rocks below, is a place of shadowed halls and locked doors. Why does the housekeeper warn Lauren to leave and never come back? What secrets does the house hold?
Most intriguing of all is Norman Wade, Lauren’s cousin by marriage and heir to the brooding ancestral mansion. The devilishly handsome playboy warns her of the perils that could befall her at his home. More determined than ever to stay and unlock Falconridge’s mystery, Lauren begins to suspect that the greatest danger comes from the seductive Wade himself. Then tragedy strikes—and no one is safe.
This one is set in Cornwall, the location that launched a hundred thousand gothic romances, in a mansion called Falconridge. It is described thus:
It was a formidable place, massive in size and beautiful in a rough-hewn, rugged kind of way. It was two stories high, constructed entirely of huge gray stones with a dark green roof. There were many turrets, and many towers, with two huge wings that spread out over the hill. A circular drive of crushed shell led one up to the portico, four flat gray slabs of steps before it. The woods came up almost to the house on the left side, and to the right there were terraces and gardens, all of them untidy and ragged looking and desperately in need of work. I could see a corner of the carriage house, and my uncle told me that there was a courtyard in back. Falconridge perched on the edge of the hill like the bird of prey that gave it its name and behind the house the lawns stretched down to the edge of a cliff that fell sharply down to the rocks and waves below. I could hear the sound of the waves pounding on the rocks as we drove around the drive and up to the portico. The house would never be free of that sound, I thought. It was like the labored breathing of some gigantic monster who constantly watched over the place, waiting for an opportunity to claim it as its own.
Something like this:
So far, our intrepid heroine Lauren has managed to piss off all of the men in the vicinity, whilst managing to avoid an actual rape. Norman Wade, the erstwhile hero - I suspect - did not come off well in their first meeting, where he assaulted her, thinking she was naught but a housemaid.
He took my wrist and pulled me into his arms. He swung me around, holding me casually yet firmly against him. He was grinning as he covered my lips with his own. I tried to struggle, but his arms kept me imprisoned.
He released me, laughing. “There,” he said, “paid in fulll.”
I slapped him across the face as hard as I could. My hand stung with the force of it, but Norman Wade merely laughed. Then he seized me again, cupping his hand about my chin. “That calls for another,” he said, and he kissed me again. Then he let go of me.
I stepped back, biting my lips. My eyes were blazing. I was angry with myself for letting the masquerade go so far, even angrier at Norman Wade for his intolerable conduct.
“Now do you know who I am?” he asked.
“You’re the Devil!” I cried.
“With the ladies, yes. Ask the girls about Norman. Wade. They’ll tell you some pretty stories, lass.” “I’m sure of that!” “La, la, such a temper. Now run along, lass, and you’d better not let me find you on this property again, or the toll will be much dearer, much dearer.”
Nothing says "hero" quite so well as "assaults non-consenting young ladies because he is the lord of the manor." A knee to the testicles would not have gone amiss here (noting that this may be one of the reasons that these gothics have gone out of fashion. Heroes with broken testicles would present an on-going problem for the romantic resolution).
Is he redeemable? Inquiring minds want to know. Read on.