Aubrey St. Clare, Viscount Lovell, fled to the Continent when confronted with stories about the woman he loved. He has now returned to find out that what he was told is untrue.
Lady Lucilla Blount was abandoned five years earlier. Now Aubrey has returned and Lucy must confront him to find out why he left and if he will stay this time.
Does she dare trust her heart once again? Will they have a second chance at love?
Read an excerpt:
As he came around a corner Aubrey stopped and grinned at the sight ahead of him. How like Lucy. Her boots were lying on the ground and she had looped her habit up over one arm. She was standing on a limb of a tree overlooking the path, reaching up to the next branch. A nursemaid and a young girl were standing nearby, their arms waving frantically as they implored her to be careful. He could see a small grey animal above her head that she was reaching for with care. Aubrey moved circumspectly until he was somewhat under her, just in case he needed to break her fall if the branch gave. He could see her trim ankles and her stockinged feet. Her back arched as she reached above her head, trying to coax the small creature, a kitten mewling piteously as it clung to the branch.
“Please be careful, my lady,” the nursemaid begged. The little girl, a pretty thing with blonde hair and blue eyes still glistening from tears was jumping up and down in excitement.
Lucy had finally got the kitten to release its claws from the branch and was cuddling it close to her, one arm looped around the tree. Aubrey judged that he could speak without startling her.
“Hand it to me and then I will help you down,” he said. Lucy just looked at him, apparently aware that he had been there all along. She reached down with the kitten and placed it in his hand. The kitten immediately latched onto his cuff, digging into the broadcloth with sharp little talons. His valet was not going to be happy when Aubrey returned from this excursion.
Aubrey took the kitten over to the nursemaid who opened the lid of the basket that was lying by her feet.
“Oh, thank you, my lord, and my lady. I don’t know what I would have done, but Mary would bring her pet.” Mary was crouching down by the basket peering in at the kitten. Aubrey bent down next to her, aware that Lucy was still in the tree behind him.
“Well, Mary, Lady Lucilla has rescued your kitten. I think you owe her some thanks.” The little girl stood up and with a careful gravity, curtseyed to both Aubrey and to Lucy, then charmed Aubrey by leaning forward and giving him a soft kiss on the cheek.
Lucy watched their interaction, pain shooting into her heart and clenching that poor organ in her chest. Aubrey was so kind to the child. The little girl clearly adored him, crediting him for the rescue of her pet even if Lucy had done most of the work. What if, but she shook her head and blinked away the sudden tears.
Aubrey smiled and then turned to Lucy to help her down. She supposed that she could have swung down without too much trouble, but since he was here she would take advantage. There was a guilty part of her that longed to touch him, but she ignored it. He lifted his arms and clasped her waist while she rested her hands on his broad shoulders. The smile left his face as he looked up at her and his eyes grew hot as he stared silently up at her face. Flustered, Lucy pushed off the branch a little too hard and ended up pushed against his chest. He caught her and gradually let her slide down, her breasts rubbing against his hard torso. She caught her gasp by biting her lower lip and something flared in his eyes, fiery and scalding. Lucy realized that, at least for that moment, he still wanted her and a quiver started deep in her belly. His hands were burning at her waist as she hit the ground and he held her steady when she stumbled a bit.
Lucy swallowed and stepped away as his hands fell from her. She bent and slipped on her half boots, then fussed at her riding habit, straightening the dishabille and not meeting his eyes. She glanced over at the maid and young girl, kitten safely ensconced in its basket, but they were walking away, so there was no help there.
Jerusha Moors grew up in Connecticut, but currently lives in Portland, Maine. Her sister introduced her to the books of Georgette Heyer and she never outgrew her love of romance books, especially from the Regency period. She hopes you enjoy her stories and books about those times and will follow her on social media.