||Simon & Schuster
||May, 2, 2006
A wildly original and sexy debut novel set in Victorian England, Rabbit Heart tells the story of a French temptress who literally loves men--to death.
Nicollette Caron is every man's ideal mistress. Pity, then, that all of her lovers die trying to satisfy her insatiable appetite. Forced to flee town after town so that no one will discover her terrible secret, Nicollette is haunted by the ghosts of her dead lovers as England's top crime inspector circles ever closer.
Renowned for his tenacity, handsome detective Jackson Lang will stop at nothing to prove that Nicollette is a murderess. Powerful Lord Baston is equally determined . . . to make Nicollette his mistress despite her breathless warnings. A .fortuneteller foresees that only one man is strong enough to save Nicollette. But how will she know which man to trust--until it is too late?
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August 4, 1891
There was a dead man in my boudoir. He lay spread-eagle as I dressed his still figure in the midmorning's dark. It was a difficult task, as he was a tall man to manage and death seemed to have doubled his weight. I had to rock him back and forth to re-dress him. And with each cumbersome move, I stopped to mourn the loss of my lover with a prayer or a tear.
"Dear Father in heaven, help me," I cried.
But I don't think he was listening, for I saw no sign of his holy presence, nor do I think he was anywhere nearby. Perhaps my God had another commitment overseas, or was involved in the creation of a better world than this one. In any case I interpreted his absence from my crisis as a godly commentary about my person and a direct reflection of my soul.
I wished for the outcome of a fairy tale: my tears would fall upon my pale lover's cheek; my longing sentiment would enliven him. And then we would ride off together to his castle, where our embraces would have no consequence other than pleasure.
I hoped my lover could still feel my loving caresses as I pressed my cheek upon his. I wanted my lively blood to make him gasp a reborn breath and his cool cheek rush to its rosy color. And then I thought if I pressed his hand, I might invite his dormant blood to again flow freely within his body. But none of my wishes materialized in my loving partner, and my hopes dwindled with each moment he rested on the other side of death's veil.
My maid had prepared my room that day with bouquets of roses and scented my bed with Parisian lavender talc. Now the sweet air of flowers and lace was fouled by the creeping pallor of death.
Once a horror has taken place in a room, the room is never the same. It forever bears the mark of the event's sadness, and I felt my boudoir respond to its recent trauma. Though I was alone, I didn't feel alone. I sensed a thousand eyes examining me -- even the lamp, bed, and chair were witnesses to my lover's expiration. And if they were not enough, I had Denton's sweet face seeing all. All of it. His eyes were startled, yet his lips still smiled, as if he might come back from the dead to resume our courtship. That smile made me shiver in my abandoned state -- and daggered my guilty soul deeper still.
Oh walls, do not tell of me. Lace curtains, do not proclaim my wrongdoing. Let my shoes hold their tongue. Please, none of you tell of my crime --
I heard footsteps coming to my door and a quick hand rattle the doorknob.
"Don't come in. I'm -- "
"Mademoiselle Nicollette, do you have need of me?"
Marie stumbled on the garish scene. It was too late to wish her away.
She was my confidante and closest friend. She would have the right to be horrified at the demise of the vital man she knew to be alive just moments ago. Instead, she closed the door quietly, took my hand, and knelt next to me. So calm was her demeanor that the pause settled me.
She looked at me with a pure heart, not that of someone who would endanger me or spill my secrets -- with no mind to their scandal or consequences. I trusted her.
I didn't know what to say to explain my dilemma, and so I remained kneeling near the body -- as if I were praying over Denton.
But I did not pray for Denton. I prayed for the impossible: an understanding spirit that could soothe my soul.
RABBIT HEART REVIEW by Laurel
RABBIT HEART by Colleen Hitchcock
Pocket Books, 368 pp
May 2006 RABBIT HEART REVIEW by Laurel
5 PINK HEARTS (5 out of 5) SUPERB
Nicollette Caron was born under dire circumstances and with love, faith and maybe a little bit of a mystical influence she was saved from certain death. Many years have gone by since that fateful night and Nicollette has grown into a beautiful woman that every man covets from France, Italy, and England. Unfortunately she is the most wanted woman in three countries for the murder of fifteen men. Nicollette is not a murderess with the intentions of murdering these men, they just happen to drop dead after spending a night of pleasure in her bed.
On the run in England she settles down in Glastonbury, England with the hopes that finally she may be able to have a normal life, with children and a husband. But even in the small countryside disaster strikes and it's caught the attention of Queen Victoria who insists that she wants her head. Conflicted and confused she is haunted by her former lovers in her sleep and waking hours that she fears she is also going insane. While man pursues her relentlessly and rejoices in his eventual arrest another man will risk everything to make Nicollette his wife.
Rabbit Heart, was the most intriguing romance novel that I have read this year so far. It will certainly not appeal to the sector of the romance community that demands their heroines and heroes are for each other ONLY, and as a result will be missed by a lot of readers simply because it breaks from the norm. This novel is steamy, sexually dark and a fascinating read. It pulls you in from the first page where Nicollette takes you on a journey as you see how these lovers died and how one woman feared death for loving men, as they wanted to be loved. Yet she faced the fear and held her back up high and succumbed to what fate through her way. She was incredibly strong in character and her story wove into my heart leaving a lasting impression in this reader's mind.
Rabbit Heart, is the debut novel for author Colleen Hitchcock who may be best known for her poem Ascension and it certainly packs a wallop of a story. It is gripping, emotional, and tense keeping you guessing right up to the end, showing a side of a favourite era that was darker, not filled with balls and glittering devotions of undying love. It was mastered and penned to perfection and I would encourage everyone to read Rabbit Heart,, it will leave you crying and saying wow when can I have more?
She (Nicollette Caron) was incredibly strong in character and her story wove into my heart leaving a lasting impression in this reader's mind."
Laurel, Reviewer for The Mystic Castle
ROMANCE JUNKIES' RABBIT HEART REVIEW
"One of the most intriguing books Iíve read in years!
I anxiously await the next one in the series."
"5 out of 5 Blue Ribbons: Compelling Page Turner"
By Colleen Hitchcock
Simon & Schuster Pocket Books
Sheís the mistress every man wants and feels he must possess. How can you not be intrigued when the first line of the book reads, ìThere was a dead man in my boudoir?î It also puts a whole new slant on the phrase la petite mort, doesnít it? Unfortunately, that death was permanent.
Itís August 1891, and Nicollette Caronís thirteenth lover has just died in her arms trying to please her. She did her best to convince Denton not make love to her. He didnít listen and now heís paid with his life.
Nicollette is re-dressing Dentonís lifeless body when Marie stumbles upon the garish scene. They devise a plan to dispose of the body and make it appear Denton died from an accident. Once theyíve completed the task, Nicollette runs off to Glastonbury. Numbers fourteen and fifteen await her arrival.
Following her trail is Scotland Yardís best detective; Jackson Lang. Heís determined to find the person who murdered Denton. They meet when he journeys to Glastonbury on business and pleasure. He is quite intrigued with the young lady.
Two more bodies are found. A telegram reaches Jackson with news that twelve bodies were discovered in Italy and France in much the same condition. Heís convinced that Nicollette is guilty; however, he must have evidence to prove it.
Queen Victoria wants the murderer found and hanged. When she receives word the suspect is most likely a French woman, she asks that the guillotine be borrowed from France. What better way to execute a French citizen?
In the meantime, Nicollette has caught the eye of Lord Baston. Heís determined to have her and nothing she can say will prevent it. Will he be able to save her from kneeling at the feet of Madame Guillotine?
Colleen Hitchcockís RABBIT HEART is a compelling and somewhat dark Victorian story. She introduces a young woman whose heart is as innocent as a babeís but who is cursed with a physical flaw in her heart that kills people who get too close. Nicolletteís story is told in the first person and offers a glimpse into her tortured soul. She wants nothing more than to be loved as a woman should be without the complications.
The story reaches its climax, no pun intended, when Jackson is forced to arrest her. The trial that follows is filled with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat, chewing on your nails and turning the pages.
Jacksonís interest in the forensic sciences was incorporated into the storyline and became an essential piece of the plot. I was intrigued with his analytical mind and the questions he posed to the doctors. He had no qualms asking for detailed information about the conditions of the corpses.
RABBIT HEART is not for everyone. But if youíre interested in reading something a little out of the ordinary, this oneís great. This was one of the most intriguing books I've read in years! Itís a keeper and a recommended read. I anxiously wait for the next one in the series.
Claudia McRay, Reviewer for Romance Junkies
RENDEZVOUS - RABBIT HEART
"A book you will want to read again"
RABBIT HEART by Colleen Hitchcock
Nicollette Caron is a young woman that loves her man to death, literally. Her lovers have died enjoying the joy between her legs and she can't seem to make them believe her when she warns them. Lately the guilt threatens to overcome her and she leaves the city she loves to start over again. But this time England's top cop is getting closer. Detective Jackson Lang will stop at nothing to prove that she is a murderer. However, another powerful man, Lord Baston, wants her in his bed and, despite her warnings, he will have her. I thought this was going to be a story about a vampire but was I surprised. It is different and I wasn't sure I could believe that someone could actually love someone to death, but the agony the heroine feels after one such death makes it real and you soon want ti find a way to save her. The adventure and mysterious outcome of the two heroes add to this combination and makes for a book you will want to read again.
Denise M. Rembert, Reviewer for Rendezvous
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