Synopses & Reviews
Chapter OneApril rain, ran in rivulets from rooftops to the street, gushed from gargoyle mouths to the gutters below and spread across paving stones to make streets slick. Deceptive puddles formed, shallow in appearance, yet hiding deep holes to suck at carriage wheels and send up geysers of muddy water as horses and vehicles splashed down Curzon Street.Sarah, Lady Winford, watched out the window, waiting. Baxter had brought the news that Holt had returned to London, and she should expect her grandson's arrival quite soon. Natural impatience did battle with rising annoyance as the gilt dock on the mantel chimed twice. Waiting always annoyed her.When at last, Holt appeared in the courtyard' below, there was no hint of. haste in his movements despite the rain. He dismounted, gave the reins to the horseboy waiting; his bare head glistened, wet and plastered to his head by the rain. Lady Winford released folds of heavy velvet drape to fall back over the window, turned, and moved without haste to the stuffed chair placed before the fire. A marble hearth reflected subdued color, but flames glowed bright gold and crimson on the brass firedogs; heat and light cast erratic pools that danced across the thick carpet as she sat down and arranged sprigged muslin skirts in a graceful drape.Age sat easily on her despite her years, and a potrait it on the wall in the third-floor gallery bore testimony to the beauty she had once been. It was still evident in her erect bearing, sculpted bone structure, and eloquent movements.Beyond the occasional pat of a slippered toe against patterned carpet, she betrayed no outer sign of impatience as she waited; Holt would be up soon enough. He always presentedhimself to her upon his return, whether out of duty or love was a frequent topic of conjecture. A faint smile curved her aristocratic mouth. He was too much like his father at times. Ah, Robert had passed along the same famous temper to his only son, yet with a major difference: Holt had restraint. It had been Robert's downfall, that tendency to loose his wrath on those around him, swift to anger, swift to action, thus swift to early death.She sighed, a soft sound lost in the muted hiss of rain against the windowpanes. A draft crept across the room, insistent and chilling her feet. She stretched them closer to the fire, watching reflected light glitter in silver threads embroidered on the toes of her slippers. A silly scene, depicting dogs chasing a rabbit, but comfortable shoes were a necessity these days.A log popped, sending up a shower of sparks; wood burned so much cleaner than coal. Perhaps it was less efficient, but it smelled nicer, reminding her of so many pleasant things....Footsteps sounded on the hall carpet, and she pulled her feet up under her chair, rearranged her skirts, took up a book from the ivory inlaid table at her side. Idly, she flipped a page, not looking up when the door swung open even before the light tap against it faded.Your manners need remedying, Holt, she said serenely, and turned a page. One usually waits to be granted permission to enter before doing so.The door closed with a solid click. Such formality. Can it be that you missed me after all, Grandme re?Idle mockery, tinged with real amusement. Lady Winford pursed her lips, studied the printed pages without really seeing them. She waited. In a moment, she heard the soft thud of booted feetcrossing the room, moving away from her and not closer. A surreptitious glance followed Holt to the gleaming cherry liquor cabmet, glass clinked, a muted sound as he uncorked a crystal decanter and splashed a small amount of brandy into a goblet.Then he turned, a study in casual elegance, tall, dark, handsome in riding garb with form-fitting fawn breeches and knee-high Hessians. Oh, he did remind her of Robert when he looked at her like this, a half-smile curl ing his mouth, his blue eyes a faint gleam beneath his lashes. Arrogance was a family trait, inherited from his grandfather and father, but somehow even more pronounced in Holt -- Robert Holt Braxton, now the ninth Earl of Deverell. Devil to his cronies, it was said, though of course, none but Baxter dared mention the preposterous epithet to his grandmother.And how is the war? she asked, when the silence stretched too long. She turned another page, aping Holt's casual indifference.Long and bloody. Futile. Dangerous. How is Socrates?She glanced up, frowned. Who?Socrates. He indicated the book she held, a wry smile on his mouth. A treatise on Socrates is usually best read right side up, Grandmere. Or has no one told you?Curse you, Holt. The book snapped shut, was replaced on the table. There was no rancor, in her tone or her words, and she surveyed him with a practiced eye. You look as if you've been dragged through the mud.An apt description of my day, I'd say. He lifted his glass to her, an ironic gesture. I suspect you are about to make it better.Yes, perhaps I am. The first hint of irritation crept into her tone. We are to have guests for a time.More of your country vicars, I presume. God save us all fromwell-meaning hypocrites.Mind your blasphemous tongue, Holt. Reverend Smythe was quite pleasant.He was a horror. Is he coming back?No. Though it might do you good if he were.It is most doubtful. I blame him and his mousy wife for your involvement in Reform. Life was much simpler before you were given a Cause, and much more peaceful. Now I am beset with vagabonds and vicars at every turn.
After rejecting a 16-year-old orphan girl who once lived with his godmother, an earl's passions for the beautiful woman are rekindled. Even though he suspects she is part of a plot to destroy his business holdings, he cannot deny the all-consuming desire he has for her.
Orphaned by a tragic accident, sixteen-year-old Amalie Courtland set sail from America for a new life in England with her godmother. What she didn't expect to find was Lady Winford's handsome rogue of a grandson, Robert Holt Braxton, Earl of Deverell. Immediately smitten by Holt's careless good looks and smoldering blue eyes, Amalie's naïve young heart fell in love. Little did she know Holt was trying to resist his own temptation -- by having his grandmother take Amalie away.
Years later, Holt is shocked by the change in the one-provincial Amalie. The tawny-skinned enchantress with raven hair and lustrous green eyes has become a cool, composed beauty. Soon Amalie is lost in the arms of this experienced rake as they succumb to the tempestuous passion of their hearts and bodies. Then, when Holt learns of her brother's plot to destroy his business holdings, he suspects Amalie has betrayed him and he vows revenge. But not even he can deny the all-consuming storm of desire that threatens to drown them both...Orphaned by a tragic accident, sixteen-year-old Amalie Courtland set sail from America for a new life in England with her godmother. What she didn't expect to find was Lady Winford's handsome rogue of a grandson, Robert Holt Braxton, Earl of Deverell. Immediately smitten by Holt's careless good looks and smoldering blue eyes, Amalie's naive young heart fell in love. Little did she know Holt was trying to resist his own temptation-by having his grandmother take Amalie away.
Years later, Holt is shocked by the change in the one-provincial Amalie. The tawny-skinned enchantress with raven hair and lustrous green eyes has become a cool, composed beauty. Soon Amalie is lost in the arms of this experienced rake as they succumb to the tempestuous passion of their hearts and bodies. Then, when Holt learns of her brother's plot to destroy his business holdings, he suspects Amalie has betrayed him and he vows revenge. But not even he can deny the all-consuming storm of desire that threatens to drown them both...
About the Author
Dubbed the "Queen of Historical Romance," Rosemary Rogers was born in Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka). She is the beloved author of fifteen bestselling romances for Avon Books, including such classics as Wicked Loving Lies, Surrender to Love, and Midnight Lady, and her novels have been translated into eleven languages. Rosemary Rogers left an indelible impression on the world with her passionate Steve and Ginny series -- Sweet Savage Love, Dark Fires, and Lost Love, Last Love -- and continues to touch the hearts of readers every year. She lives in Connecticut.