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Ritual Sins

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  718 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Rachel Connery is on a seek-and-destroy mission, out for revenge against the mysterious, charismatic man who enticed millions of dollars from her dying mother and cheated her out of her inheritance. She wants retribution and is willing to use every seductive trick at her disposal to obtain it. But desire is a dangerous weapon that cuts both ways, and her trap could end up ...more
Paperback, 396 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Onyx
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Black Ice by Anne StuartRuthless by Anne StuartIce Blue by Anne StuartCold As Ice by Anne StuartIce Storm by Anne Stuart
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8th out of 65 books — 129 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,489)
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I can see that I'm alone in this, but I absolutely hated this book. I think that mainly, it was the heroine that ruined it for me. At first she appears to be strong and determined, a real fighter out to get revenge on the man who stole her inheritance from her. Unfortunately, as pages go by, it becomes obvious that her tough, strong facade is only that: a facade, ready to crumple at the slightest sign of trouble. And Luke Bardell's definitely more than slight trouble: He's Trouble with a capital ...more
May 19, 2010 Crista rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of Anne Stuart's for life. After reading Nightfall and now Ritual Sins she has pushed her way to the top of my favorite authors list. There is simply NO ONE else out there quite like her. She can create the most unlikely characters that one can imagine. In Nightfall, the hero was a convicted serial killer and in Ritual Sins the hero is a cult leader and ex-con.....interested? You should be!

Read other reviews for the plot synopsis. I will spend this review commenting on the book inste
4.5 stars. As I read Ritual Sins, I mentally shuddered thinking about the times I've heard women say thing like, "It's easy for men to find out what women want -- just read a romance novel!" God forbid any man should read this particular romance novel in search of dating tips.

Rachel Connery visits the spiritual retreat of "The Foundation of Being" after receiving a letter claiming her mother was murdered there. Rachel can't help wanting to believe the letter -- if her mother was seduced and dec
Cat The Debaucherous (Catherine)
First of all pay attention to the title. It's "Ritual Sins". Don't want to read anything sinful? Then skip it. I have read reviews I think are very unfair on here. I never really liked a too perfect heroine or hero. Flaws make for interesting characters. The heroine has good reason to hate the hero. He's very seductive, devious and almost rotten to the core. However, there is an attraction. Have you ever been attracted to someone you knew was bad for you? You usually avoid them in real life but ...more
Jess the Romanceaholic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather *live on coffee & flowers*
I've been reading a lot of Anne Stuart lately, and I haven't had much success. The books have either been silly or way too offensive for me to enjoy.

Before I started Ritual Sins, I had some doubts I'd be able to like a love interest who's a cult leader. (Unless we're talking about Alexander Skarsgard in Cut Copy's "Free Your Mind" video, in which case ... duh.)

I was like, BRING IT, Anne Stuart. Bring it.

Well, she brought it.

Luke Bardell is a con man.

Well, not quite. He's a little, hmm, smoother.
As with the last book by her I had read, I found myself wishing that I wasn't so busy or had so many other distractions while reading this book. Some day, when things calm down, I'll have to do a re read.

Luke (H) was an abused child, with an alcoholic stepfather, a loving but weak mother who killed herself wich left him with no one to love or protect him. When a bar fight that he's in leads to the death of a man he ends up in jail were he meets Calvin,some one small and weak but willing to follo
Dec 29, 2011 Rinou rated it did not like it
I did not like it! I started without a priori because I could not remember the synopsis, and from the beginning I thought "it's not possible, he is not the hero". But he was.

Luke is a perfect anti-hero. He is a self-centered, cynical liar (everything you imagine for sect guru). I hated that he absolutely wants to "break" Rachel, just because it pleases him. Besides he is quite blind to what is happening around him (no suspicion for the deaths?)

Rachel is annoying and totally neurotic. It reminded
A. Bookzilla.
This book! I want to rate it a big fat five, I want to rate it a big fat one.

Luke... was really. Really. Really, really hard to like! Really.
A devastatingly charming manipulator of the highest degree. There is nothing good or redeeming about this man. He is the perfect anti-hero (and one of the best she wrote, I think). Even though you know he's a murderer and a con-man, you still feel just as compelled as the heroine did. Which I guess just shows how good Anne Stuart is, because she never wrote
Alex is The Romance Fox
I love Anne Stuart’s books and have been reading them for years and Dark Rituals is one of my most favorites…I have read it over and over again…I always go back to my bookshelf and pick it up at least once a year. So being on my Anne Stuart mode, I began with this book.
It’s such a great book – so well written. I couldn’t put it down once I began page 1. Her heroes are always dark, sexy, powerful and totally on their own mission…nothing and no one will stand in their way…..but she always find som
I've never read a romance like this. Don't know how this author could turn a unscrupulous, con man, ex-murderer, into a hero. Or a frigid, broken woman into a heroine. And then make me root for them!! Found only 2 flaws - the heroine's too quick willingness to explore hero's body and the encounter of one of the villains with heroine at the end which seemed silly. The author wrote this 10 years ago, I wished I had discovered her earlier.
HERO is a Rogue, with a dark damaging past, numb feelings, c
Jun 02, 2010 Cindi rated it really liked it
I am an Anne Stuart fan; I became one after starting her fantastic "Ice" series. Since then I have been scrambling to find older books by her and so far have been thrilled and chilled by all of them. This one is no different in that respect, but Ritual Sins is a weird book.

RS is the tale of a daughter looking for answers after her mother's death at The Foundation of Being, a New Age place in the New Mexico dessert run by a charasmatic con artist who earlier spent 4 years in prison for murder.


I've only read a few of Anne Stuart's Ice series and none of her historicals. This book is an early contemporary with a bad boy hero and some of the angst of the later novels. I enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to Stuart fans, but it isn't her best work. Luke is an interesting hero, but nowhere near as cold as, say, Bastien (Black Ice). Rachel is similar to many Stuart heroines, a young lady definitely not equal to the charismatic and cold-hearted hero. One commonality
It's really a disturbing book. About a fanatic "cult" or scientology founded by an ex-con Luke Bardell. It's really a crazy idea to wrote a book about the H with this setting, but as usual Anne Stuart will give you an antihero that you'll want to scream murderer at the same time, can't help to fall in love with. Some girls are sucker for tarnished, cold, hearted SOB hero. And I'm a loss case.

The heroine, Rachel Connery, is just a pawn for the likes of The Foundation of Being and she totally fall
Monica Lombardi
Jul 15, 2012 Monica Lombardi rated it it was amazing
A novel that draws you in with its almost hypnotizing pace, two great characters, a very unlikely union. I kept expecting Anne Stuart to go overboard with it, with them - she kind of was close to doing so several times - but she never did. Great read.
Suzie Quint
Oct 28, 2014 Suzie Quint rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance, dnf
DNF at 69% Who thinks rape is sexy? I've read other books by Anne Stuart but I'm done. Never again.
Pat Cromwell
Feb 05, 2009 Pat Cromwell rated it really liked it
OMG I loved -- I MEAN LOVED -- me some Luke Bardel! I love me some Anne Stuart.
Nov 29, 2012 Cheyenne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Where to begin? I did not like this book. I did not like the characters. Is it possible for a character to have less than one dimension? If so, then that was the case in this here novel. I could not say who I liked less. Every character was beyond ridiculous.

I don't mind a good dark romance - as long as it does not involve vampires. I do not get the obsession with vampires -, but that was not what this was. Luke did not strike me as the usual brooding, tortured soul but as a -what's the word -
Rashika (is tired)
Anne Stuart's works are like crack. You cannot get enough.

I admittedly mostly read her stuff because of her male leads. She writes this wonderful anti-heroes that kind of just amaze you.

She doesn't write your usual tortured bad boys. Hell some of these guys do things that are definitely not right but the thing about her is that she doesn't try to romanticize their actions. They are wrong and should stay that way. Her male leads may not have the best moral compasses but then again their actions
Jul 04, 2014 Rose added it
I did not find this book interesting at all. The ending was too abrupt and cheesy with a "that was expected" feeling that leaves you totally annoyed. Rachel's personality in the beginning with her strong and fierce personality is what kept me reading as I liked where she 'seemed' to be going but I was quite disappointed when she turned out to be a total wimp. Luke was just boring in the end, maybe cause the whole long hair chick magnet kept putting me off which comes down to personal taste.. but ...more
Beret Brenckman
DNF - There are a few older Anne Stuarts that I LOVED and glommed onto when they first came out. But this one just didn't do it for me.
Oct 20, 2012 SW rated it it was ok
Shelves: free-kindle-book
I feel like I just been used and abused after this book. And seriously confused... The "hero" of the book is this crazy con dude that's killed some one in a bar fight (that we know of) and the "heroine" is this suicidal broken wisp of a girl. All the "love" scenes we uncomfortable and rape-like and unfortunately it's like she ends up with a bad case of Stockholm's syndrome. Luckily thus book was free other wise it'd be a waste of money. It certainly was a waste of time.
The one redeeming quality
Aug 14, 2016 Ira rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.

C.P. Mandara
Mar 30, 2014 C.P. Mandara rated it it was amazing
Amazingly, I picked this up for free. It's yet another wonderfully crafted romantic suspense, featuring a delightfully dark 'bad boy' hero.

Luke Bardell is delightful in the worst possible way. Arrogant, self-assured, manipulative - and several more vices besides. An ex-con and current scam artist, this isn't your average traditional romance by a long shot, and it's all the better for it.

Whilst this book isn't designed to put a 'fuzzy feeling' in the pit of your stomach, it did have me up all n
Megan Bryce
Nov 25, 2014 Megan Bryce rated it it was amazing
Anne Stuart is the master of bad boys, and Luke takes the cake. I still remember when I first read it, more than ten years ago, stopping after the first chapter and wondering just how in the world Anne Stuart was going to make me fall in love with this guy. He's horrible! And when I fell for him, because I did, it was so very memorable. I was so happy it was re-released as an ebook and when I read it again, I thought the exact same thing. He's horrible and how in the world. . .

This book is one o
Sep 24, 2011 PNR rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this so bad. I love traumatized heroines. But the storyline was just ridiculous.
Feb 28, 2012 Applefruit rated it it was ok
Just couldn't get into this book. The hero was uber-creepy.
Jan 26, 2016 natasha rated it it was ok

A good read thorougly but a bit dissapointing for me overall. Anne stuart has produced many dark charachters through her writing and luke was definitely on of them. cool, deceptive with a dark past and a tortured soul. The heroine is a lost woman in many ways and she finds herself in the arms of the man she swore she would destroy for taking her mother away from her. nevertheless the two make a good duet and the book itself does end before it begins to verge on the edge of boredom.
28 March 2014: $0.00 FREE on Kindle
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Anne Stuart is a grandmaster of the genre, winner of Romance Writers of America's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, survivor of more than thirty-five years in the romance business, and still just keeps getting better.

Her first novel was Barrett's Hill, a gothic romance published by Ballantine in 1974 when Anne had just turned 25. Since then she's written more gothics, regencies, romantic sus
More about Anne Stuart...

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“You don't believe in God, Rachel. You don't believe in goodness or love
or mercy, do you?"
"I haven't seen enough to form an opinion."
"But you believe in the devil?"
"When I'm sitting in a car with him, yes," she said.”
“You can find yourself a decent,
honorable man, one to love you, respect you, cherish you. Someone with
morals, with a decent job and a good future. That's what you think you
want, isn't it? Not some white trash from Alabama. Not some ex-con
who's running the scam of a lifetime. You're so good and decent, the very
thought of me disgusts you, doesn't it?" His voice was low and seductive
as he pushed the words at her.
She met his gaze with what she hoped was a fearless one of her own.
"Yes," she said.
"Then tell me, Rachel," he said, letting his hand toy with the loose
neckline of her tunic, "why aren't you out somewhere, fucking your little
gentleman's brains out? Why are you here with me, quivering when I
touch you?”
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