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Newmarket, in the Regency period as well as now, was the center of the English horse-racing world. Its a landscape of open heath and thoroughbred racing stables, one in which Demon Harry Cynster, a thoroughbred of a different sort, feels entirely at home. In the fourth volume of the Bar Cynster series, Demon retreats to his racing stable on the Heath intent on avoiding the designs of the matchmaking mamas, as well as any other feminine distraction Fate might think to set in his path. He succeeds in giving the matchmaking mamas the slip, but Fate is a rather more
determined lady.

In researching the world of horse-racing, its ruling body, the Jockey Club, Newmarket and surrounds, I was amazed to discover how much of what was present in the Regency time has endured to this day. By the time of the Regency, the major races that define the English racing calendar were already established: the Craven Stakes, the Guineas and the Nell Gywnn Stakes. These highlights of the Spring Carnival at Newmarket already had a history. The major tracks at Newmarket, Doncaster, Cheltenham, Epsom and Ascot already had their special races and flavors.

In the stables, the trainer reigned supreme over his empire of lads and apprentices. The jockeys were a group apart, riding for different trainers on a race-by-race basis. Every morning at dawn, the Heath would fill with thoroughbred strings exercising, pounding up the prepared gallops, walking, trotting and walking again. The aroma of horseflesh, the smell of earth and turf, the jingle of harnesses, the breathy snorts of horses, the creak of saddles, slap of whips, and a great many colorful oaths would have filled the crisp morning air.

The town itself was a racing town: the racing fraternity constituted so much of the towns population that inevitably they impinged greatly upon the towns social life. The racing world was an all-male enclave. While there were lady owners, usually part-owners, of racing thoroughbreds, no ladies were involved in the day-to-day round of racing.

Which was why Demon was so sure he would be safe in his stable.
Fate has always shown a special interest in the Cynsters, from the storm that drove Honoria into Devils arms, to the downpour that turned Vane from his road and into Patiences orbit, to the scheming of an old man that sent Richard to Scotland to meet the fiery Catriona. Fate is nothing if not determined to see each Cynster at the altar with the lady he deserves on his arm. To find out what Fate has in store for Demon, read A ROGUES PROPOSAL.

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Pausing before the open doors of the stable, he swung around, squinting in the slanting sulight. Some of his horses were ambling in the paddocks, their lads in close attendance. On the Heath, other stables strings were exercising under the eyes of owners and trainers.

The scene was an exclusively male one. The fact that he felt entirely at homeindeed, could feel himself relaxingwas ironic. He could hardly claim he didnt like women, didnt enjoy their company. Hadntdidntdevote considerable time to their conquest.

He couldnt deny he took pleasure in, and derived considerable satisfaction from, those conquests. He was, after all, a Cynster.

He smiled. All that was true. However

While the other members of the Bar Cynster, as wealthy, well-born gentlemen, had accepted the fact that they would marry and establish families in the time-honored tradition, he had vowed to be different. Hed vowed never to marry, never to tempt the fate with which his brother and cousins had fenced and lost. Marriage to fulfill societys obligations was all very well, but to marry a lady one loved had been the baneful fate of all male Cynsters to date.

A baneful fate indeed for a warrior breedto be forever at the mercy of a woman. A woman who held ones heart, soul and future in her small,
delicate hands.

It was enough to make the strongest warrior blanch.

He was having none of it.

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