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A Secret Love

(Cynster #5)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  7,802 ratings  ·  210 reviews
All of Regency London knows that no Cynster male would ever walk away from a lady in distress...but their protection can come at a tantalizingly high price. And now, Stephanie Laurens has created her boldest Cynster yet--Gabriel--a man who has known the pleasure of many women, but who has given his heart to no one.

She was desperate for his help...When a mysterious lady, he
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 3rd 2000 by Avon (first published 2000)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,802 ratings  ·  210 reviews

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Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Book 5 in the Cynster series focuses on Alathea and Gabriel Cynster. I gave this a 2 star rating which may be a harsh rating but I was so disappointed with this book! I'm disappointed with myself for being disappointed!! I just didn't connect with the story at all! Which is such a shame as I really enjoyed book 4 and was looking forward to the rest of the series, I thought "finally I am looking forward to what comes next" and then I read this.

I think the whole reason I didn't connect with this
Sammy Loves Books
Gabriel's sexy widow has him all hot and bothered!!

Lady Alathea

This book had great promise and the first 50% was wonderful as Lady Alathea disguised as a widower seeks the help of Gabriel. Gabriel was immediately intrigued and determined to seduce the sexy widow.

The story loses steam and passion once Gabriel discovers the identity of the widow.


Gabriel turned out to be one of my least favorite Cynsters. He admits to himself that he is a coward for demanding that Alathea tell him she loves him, y
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned, romance
A three-star rating for a book I didn't finish? Really?

Well, the thing is that this book was pretty darn good for the first 3/4 or so. Then it was done, but the author didn't seem aware of the fact. I tried to stay with her throughout all the tedious questing for the three magic words, but there were only so many times and so many ways the heroine could say (or think), "He's honorable, passionate, sexy, a great friend, and I love him but he hasn't said he loved me so I can't marry him" before I
Chitra *CJ*
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Alathea, the ideal daughter, has given up her dreams and become a spinster to help her family. When she finds them in financial ruin, she decides to pretend to be a widow countess and take help from her childhood friend turned nemesis, Gabriel under a disguise, and what follows is a beautiful love story.
I loved the chemistry, the deception, the strength of the characters, and ofcourse their very hot lovemaking scenes. I especially enjoyed once Gabriel realizes his feel
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, adult, romance
Oh My Books!

I believe this is my first book from Stephanie Laurens, pero now I know why she's one of the favorite historical romance writers.

Alathea Morwellan has a huge problem. Her family's fortune is on danger. She's the only one who can save her family, like always, but she knows she need help from her friend, Gabriel Cynster.

Gabriel Cynster is, like every Cynster, looking for adventure. When a sexy woman asks for his help, he's is glad to help receiving kisses for payment. He doesn't know w
C Joy
Loved it!!! Definitely 5 stars ++!!! Devil may be my favorite Cynster, but so far this is my favorite story. I've always liked childhood friends turning to sweethearts because in those old relationships, new things could be discovered. I don't mean offense to the author but this heroine has the most beautiful name, and I loved her character too. Gabriel, in terms of nicknames, has the most angelic one as it does not concern anything evil unlike the other Bar Cynsters (Devil, Scandal, Demon, Luci ...more
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Once again continuing on with the Cynster family with some friends in Romance Lovers for the Challenge-Impaired. We're talking about it over here. I was again hoping to be impressed, but Gabriel was really just another Cynster like the others before him. Same type. Sure, I imagined him as all sexy and stuff, but as far as his high-handedness and controlling ways, yep, he's a Cynster. Not necessarily a bad thing, the whole family has these similar traits, but Gabriel wasn't my favorite. Alathea w ...more
Juliette Cross
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
REREAD: May 2019

Just as fabulous as the first time. Swoony friends to lovers with mystery and intrigue. All the stars.
Ivana Azap Feješ
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Nice story, liking it ;)
Recommendations :D
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Author: Stephanie Laurens
First published: 2000
Length: 374 pages
Setting: London, 1820 (Regency).
Sex: Explicit. Reasonably frequent. Appropriate for the storyline.

Ah, that's better. This is what a good regency romance should be.

A good story with hot sex that's appropriate to the (more mature) characters. A believable romance with an HEA we know will last. Two strong individuals who, together, are more.

Back to the quality of Devil's Bride.

Cynster Family Saga Series, Bar Cynster:
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
20 April 2015: Ah re-read time. I've just read through my previous review (please see below) and most of my points still hold valid. However, I am moved this time round to point out that Gabriel (bless him) must be incredibly stupid. You meet a mysterious "countess", you are fairly sure she is lying about a lot of things but for some reason you take her word she is a widowed countess and don't question it. OK. But then you realise she looks really familiar. She is very tall, unusually so, and yo ...more
Oleta Blaylock
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember this story and I know that I read it when I read the rest of the series. I do remember the first little bit of it but the rest of the story is a blank. I do like that we got to see more of Chillingworth. He is such a character and I am glad that Ms. Laurens wrote a story for him. I also like that we got to see so much of Alathea's family and the life of getting girls ready for their debut to society. There is also more of the things a family might have done for entertainment in ...more
Head in the clouds
Nov 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
Dammnit I really wanted to like this...but it is missing that romance and that spark, and that magic that draws me in and makes me care for the characters. It feels like I am reading a poorly scripted soap opera - and people are going through the motions but there is little to anchor them emotionally. I can see where I am supposed to feel the passion - but I don't - I just want to get it over with.
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite romance novels of all time! This is the book that made me fall in love with the "childhood friends/romance" plot, but really, no other books with that plot have come up to snuff with this one. I keep trying, but I guess I'll just have to keep rereading this one. I would elaborate on the plot, but I don't want to spoil anything. Highly highly recommend!
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
3 stars

The concept that drove this story was a little weird but I went with it. The story had a solid and entertaining beginning but somewhere around the 70% mark it all started to get boring and unbelievable, especially the ending itself. And the romance itself was just kind of meh. Ok, so it wasn't my favorite but it was ok.
Michelle Connolly
It took me a while to get into the story. The truth is it was boring as hell for the first few chapters and the plot wasn't really making that much sense to me.
Then, it started to get a bit better. I started to enjoy the interaction between the characters and the weird relationship they had. It somewhat began to make a little sense and everything went well for a part of the book... UNTIL it all went downhill once more...
-*Spoiler alert*-
As soon as Gabriel finds out who the Countess really is,
Lubnaa (Romance Library)
Wow! I loved it so much!!! I knew I was going to love this one and I was right.

Contrary to its predecessors, Gabriel's book started off differently. Rather than the usual Cynster male meeting his mate and holding onto her, the heroine was the one who summoned the hero. Gabriel did not know that the veiled countess who asked for his help was his childhood friend, Alathea. Of course, Gabriel being a Cynster male, we all knew where a midnight encounter with a veiled widow would eventually lead.

A Secret Love
3 Stars

When Lady Alathea Morwellan learns that her loving yet gullible father has inadvertently risked the family fortune on an obvious scam, she seeks the aid of her childhood nemesis, Gabriel Cynster. Convinced that Gabriel would refuse her request, Alathea dons the disguise of a mysterious veiled woman and in doing so incites not only his curiosity but his passion as well. Will Alathea be able to keep her secret and can she withstand Gabriel’s wrath when he learns the truth?

Apr 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, romance
2 1/2
A standard fare in romance. It was fun too. Unfortunately my experience was somewhat marred by the clear tricks to keep the story going. There were three jarring moments for me that took me out of the flow of the story.

1) At the beginning, when the author was setting up the romance, there really was no reason for the heroine to go with Gabriel at the meeting to frame the villain. As a scene it was clearly absurd and there only so he can seduce her. He may not know her, but she knows him per
Bronwyn Rykiert
Gabriel,aka Rupert, is the next in line to get married. At least that's what everyone is saying. His cousin Demon has just gotten married to Flick and now its only Gabriel and his brother Lucifer left of the unmarried Cynsters and they plan to stay that way. That is until Gabriel meets a mysterious woman in a black veil. She needs his help desperately but has taken great pains to keep her identity a secret from him. He must never find out that she is old friend/adversary Lady Alathea.

Alathea's f
Jun 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book, romance-histo
A good surprise. I was afraid the rhythm of the series might decrease and the stories might start being too similar, but this one definitely is not too similar with the previous ones.
The heroine, Alathea, despite her Cartlandesque first name, cannot be mistaken for one of the former writer's heroine. She's old (29 years), very responsible, in charge of her family finance for the last 11 years. I liked the barbs she and Gabriel spent their whole time together sharing.
Her transformation into the
May 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My favorite Stephanie Laurens book. I read it often, not sure why it's my favorite but I do love it. Lady Alathea Morwellen has been protecting her family's financial fortunes for years, ever since her father first brought them to the brink of collapse during her first season. Since then, her life has been on pause.
Gabriel Cynster grew up next to Alathea but the two haven't been friendly for over a decade. However, Alathea needs help and she knows that Gabriel is her best choice. So she concocts
I just adore this series.
The stubborn Cynster males vs. the strong females! I've gotten attached to the Cynster ways, to have and to hold, only letting their wives ride with them in the carriage around the park, only waltzing with their wives...just too adorable.
I really enjoyed Alathea and Gabriel's story, the fact that they had a history of friendship was really romantic to me, especially once they work out their past tension. I always love stories with love found in friends. Alathea's under
Kay Bolton
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical Romance Fan
Shelves: 5-star
Review taken from my Blog in October 2010:

A overpowering debt that will ruin her family drives Lady Alathea Morwellan to seek help from her childhood friend and combatant Rupert (Gabriel) Cynster. Except that she feels she can only do so disguised as a Widowed Countess to ensure that she gains his full support, and he doesn't just leave the matter to his men of business.

As is always obvious with the Bar Cynster he will of course seek, and claim a reward ... her.

His desires get higher along with
Susan (susayq ~)
Nov 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, 2012books
3.5 stars

Sadly, this is my least favorite of the series. Gabriel just rubbed me the wrong way. He was very over bearing and always TOLD Alathea how things were going to be. Gabriel's one redeeming quality was that he did say the words "I love you" and when he sent Alathea the bouquet of poseys with the note, I melted :) Alathea's taking over of the family's finances at age 18 was unbelievable. She's a girl. In Regency times. No way that would've happened. I did like the action scene at the end
I'll admit to having a soft spot for the Cynster men, and Gabriel was no exception. There is something about a man who prefers a strong-minded woman, who likes a challenge. Althea's level of autonomy and responsibility at the beginning of the story seemed unrealistic to me, but were a good reflection of her commitment to the same ideal Cynsters hold above all else: family.
There were a few inconsistencies for me, just enough to pull me out of the story and think: hmm, really?! but overall this wa
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romantic-reads
Probably my favorite yet because it takes a different tack beyond the love/lust at first sight device. Gabriel (anyone remember why his nickname is Gabriel? and his brother's is Lucifer? no one blinks at these names and I don't remember there being an explanation in book 1) and Alathea grew up on neighboring estates and played together as children...then fell out in adolescence. Alathea is now 29 (and determined to be a spinster to sacrifice for her family) and enlists/entices Gabriel into helpi ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another one of the Bar Cynster leaves the bachelors ranks and despite being initially reluctant, he accepts his fate when the right woman comes along.

Thankfully, I liked the heroine of this book a lot more than the previous one and with the excellent narration by Simon Preble that brought the characters and story to life, this was an enjoyable, if not memorable, romance.

Next comes All About Love and the story of Lucifer, the last unmarried of the Bar Cynster, who is determined to remain a bachel
Meg Perry
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
So, I'm writing this review on the several books of this series related to the "Bar Cynster". I am enjoying them, definitely some books more than others; the secondary or to me the premiere parts of the stories, the mysteries, are much more entertaining than the heroine/hero relationships. Don't get me wrong. the sex scenes are HOT HOT HOT but there is never really anything else there. Some authors you can feel the love between the main character but to me not in Stephanie Laurens books.
There i
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Stephanie Laurens was born in Sri Lanka, which was at the time the British colony of Ceylon. When she was 5, her family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where she was raised. After continuing through school and earning a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in Australia, Stephanie and her husband moved to Great Britain, taking one of the last true overland journeys from Katmandu to London.

Once in London, Stephanie

Other books in the series

Cynster (1 - 10 of 28 books)
  • Devil's Bride (Cynster, #1)
  • A Rake's Vow (Cynster, #2)
  • Scandal's Bride (Cynster, #3)
  • A Rogue's Proposal (Cynster,  #4)
  • All About Love (Cynster, #6)
  • All About Passion (Cynster, #7)
  • On a Wild Night (Cynster, #8)
  • On a Wicked Dawn (Cynster, #9)
  • On A Wild Night / On A Wicked Dawn
  • The Perfect Lover (Cynster, #10)
“She searched his face. "Why did you do this -- go to all this trouble, indulge in what I'm sure will prove a shockingly hideous expense?
He returned he gaze steadily "You like music."
It was that simple -- he let her read the truth in his eyes. Then she shivered. He reached for the shawl she'd left over her chair and held it up. She hesitated, then turned so he could drape it over her shoulders. Releasing the fine silk, he closed his hands about her shoulders; leaning closer, he murmured, "As with other pleasures, my reward is your delight.”
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