Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From the elegently appointed drawing rooms of London's most exclusive clubs to an imposing country estate in the heart of Dorset, comes a provocative tale of a free-thinking beauty, a dignified lord, and a mad impetuous love that defied all logic . . .
Augusta Ballinger was quite sure that it was all a dreadful mistake. The chillingly pompous and dangerous Earl of Graystone could not possibly wish to marry her. Why, it was rumored that his chosen bride must be a veritable model of virtue. And everyone knew that Augusta, as the last of the wild, reckless Northumberland Ballingers, was a woman who could not be bothered by society’s rules.
That was why the spirited beauty had planned a midnight encounter to warn the earl off, to convince him that she would make him a very poor wife indeed. But when she crawled in through his darkened study window, Augusta only succeeded in strengthening Harry’s resolve: to kiss the laughter from those honeyed lips and teach this maddening miss to behave! How could he possibly know that it was he who was in for a lesson . . . as his brazen fiancée set out to win his heart—and an old and clever enemy stepped in to threaten their love, their honor, and their very lives?
safely into his pocket. “Let us be off. We have much to do before dawn.” “What do you want me to do?” Augusta asked quickly. Harry smiled grimly and readied himself for the battle ahead. “You must go home and awaken the household. Then you will see that you and Meredith are packed and ready to leave for Dorset by seven o’clock.” She stared up at him. “Seven o’clock this morning? But Harry, I do not want to leave town now that we are so close to finding Sally’s killer and the identity of the
The question surprised him. It also annoyed him, although he knew he should have been expecting it. Augusta was not the type to let a subject drop easily. “There are any number of sound, logical reasons,” he told her brusquely as he paused at the gate to check that the lane was empty. “None of which I have time to go into tonight.” Cold moonlight revealed the cobbled pavement quite plainly. The windows of Sally’s house glowed warmly at the far end of the narrow lane. There was no one in sight.
comes from the wild branch of the Ballinger family. From what I have heard that lot never could do anything with propriety. Augusta’s parents scandalized Society by making a runaway marriage, Sally tells me.” “That is an old piece of business and need not concern anyone now.” “Well, then, how about more current news?” Peter said, beginning to show some interest in the conversation. “There’s the rather mysterious manner in which Miss Ballinger’s brother was killed two years ago.” “He was shot
a student of the classics, just as was her uncle, Sir Thomas Ballinger. The earl devoted himself to the study of the ancient Greeks and Romans and produced imposing books and treatises that were well received by people who knew about that sort of thing. If Graystone had been one of the exciting new poets whose burning prose and smoldering eyes were currently all the rage, Augusta would have understood her own fascination for him. But he was not that sort of writer at all. Instead he penned dull
But what was done, was done.” Harry shrugged. “She told me she regretted everything but that she would endeavor to be a good wife to me. I believed her. Hell, I wanted to believe her.” “And it would not have been right for you to hold her lack of virginity against her,” Augusta said, frowning seriously. “Unless you yourself were, uh, untouched?” Harry quirked a brow and did not respond to that comment. “In any event, there was little I could do about the situation except make the best of it.”