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About the book: Mine Till Midnight pdf Lisa Kleypas. Author: Lisa Kleypas. Series: Hathaways Book. Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks. New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas graduated from Wellesley College with a political science The Ravenels (Series) Hathaways (Series). For two years Catherine Marks has been a paid companion to the Hathaway Author: Lisa Kleypas. Category: Romance,Historical,. Series: The Hathaways.

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When an unexpected inheritance elevates the Hathaway family to Lisa Kleypas ' historical romance series is sensual and compelling, with lords and ladies. The Hathaways Complete Series: Mine Till Midnight, Seduce Me at Sunrise, Tempt Me at by Morning, and Love in the Afternoon - Kindle edition by Lisa Kleypas. story that continues the saga of the Hathaway family." "Kleypas's effortless style makes for another sexy exploration of 19th- . Author: Lisa Kleypas .. As they reached the top of the stairs, a series of muffled coughs came from a room at the .

Biography[ edit ] Kleypas began writing her own romance novels during her summer breaks from studying political science at Wellesley College. Her parents agreed to support her for a few months after her graduation so that she could finish her latest manuscript. Approximately two months later, at age 21, Kleypas sold her first novel. At approximately the same time, the 5'2" Kleypas was named Miss Massachusetts. During her competition at the Miss America pageant, Kleypas sang a song she had written, earning her a "talented nonfinalist" award. Kleypas has been a full-time romance writer since selling that first book.

It didn't seem possible that such a letter could have come from the arrogant Christopher Phelan. It wasn't at all what she had expected. There was a vulnerability, a quiet need, that had touched her. That would only encourage more complaining. I'll be silent, and perhaps that will spur him to write something more cheerful next time. Just write him a few lines. A few words of comfort. It would take no time at all. And about the dog, I have some advice--" "I am not writing anything about the dratted dog.

He doesn't want to hear from me. He thinks I'm peculiar. Just because you brought Medusa to the picnic. When you pick up a hedgehog--" "No, there's no use telling me, since I'm never going to handle one. As for Captain Phelan.

You're acquainted with his family, and you're very close to his sister-in-law. And I wouldn't say that Captain Phelan is my suitor, either. At least not my only one. I certainly won't promise to marry him until he comes back from the war with all his limbs intact.

I don't want a husband I would have to push around in an invalid's chair for the rest of my life. There was nothing of love in his letter to me. Just write something cheerful and encouraging.

Inwardly she argued with herself, reflecting that it never ended well when one did something morally questionable for the right reasons. On the other hand. And a ragged dog whining in the corner. She felt entirely inadequate to the task of writing to him. And she suspected that Prudence did as well.

She tried to imagine what it was like for Christopher, leaving his elegant life behind, finding himself in a world where his survival was threatened day by day. Minute by minute. It was impossible to picture a 16 spoiled, beautiful man like Christopher Phelan contending with danger and hardship. Beatrix stared at her friend pensively, their gazes meeting in the looking glass. Tell him yours. Audrey has a problem with honesty.

She wouldn't send the letter if she knew I hadn't written it. Oh, Pru, please change your mind and write to him. It would be so much easier. He's probably even forgotten that he's written it. How lovely Prudence was, with her heart-shaped face, her brows thin and delicately arched over round green eyes.

But how very little of a person the looking glass reflected. It was impossible to guess what Prudence truly felt for Christopher Phelan. Only one thing was certain: it was better to answer, no matter how ineptly, than to withhold a reply.

Because sometimes silence could wound someone nearly as badly as a bullet. In the privacy of her room at Ramsay House, Beatrix sat at her desk and dipped a pen nib into a well of dark blue ink. A three-legged gray cat named Lucky lounged at the corner of the desk, watching her alertly. Beatrix's pet hedgehog, Medusa, occupied the other side of the desk. Lucky, being an innately sensible creature, never bothered the bristly little hedgehog.

The writing of letters was hardly Beatrix's forte. Although she came from a highly articulate family, she had always valued instinct and action more than words. In fact, she could learn far more about a person during a 17 short walk outdoors than she could by sitting and conversing for hours. After pondering various things one might write to a complete stranger while masquerading as someone else, Beatrix finally gave up.

He'll probably be too battle weary to notice that the letter doesn't sound like Pru. A purring sigh escaped her. Beatrix began to write. Dear Christopher, I have been reading the reports about the battle of the Alma. According to the account by Mr. Russell of the Times, you and twoothers of the Rifle Brigade went ahead of the Coldstream Guards, and shot several enemy officers, thereby disordering their columns.

Russell also remarked in admiration that the Rifles never retreated or even bobbed their heads when the bullets came flying. While I share his esteem, dear sir, I wish to advise that in my opinion it would not detract from your bravery to bob your head when being shot at.

Duck, dodge, sidestep, or preferably hide behind a rock. I promise I won't think the less of you! Is Albert still with you? Still biting? According to my friend Beatrix she who brings hedgehogs to picnics , the dog is overstimulated and afraid. As dogs are wolves at heart and require a leader, you must establish dominance over him.

Whenever he tries to bite you, take his entire muzzle in your hand, apply light pressure, and tell him "no" in a firm voice. My favorite song is "Over the Hills and Far Away. The dahlias are no longer in stem, and frost has withered the chrysanthemums, but the air smells divine, like old leaves and wet bark, and ripe apples.

Have you ever noticed that each month has its own smell? May and October are the nicest-smelling months, in my opinion. You ask if there is a peaceful place in the world, and I regret to say that it is not Stony Cross. Recently Mr. Mawdsley's donkey escaped from his stall, raced down the road, and somehow found his way into an enclosed pasture.

Caird's prized mare was innocently grazing when the ill-bred seducer had his way with her. Now it appears the mare has conceived, and a feud is raging between Caird, who demands financial compensation, and Mawdsley, who insists that had the pasture fencing been in better repair, the clandestine meeting would never have occurred.

Worse still, it has been suggested that the mare is a shameless lightskirt and did not try nearly hard 18 enough to preserve her virtue. Do you really think you've earned a place in hell? I don't believe in hell, at least not in the afterlife. I think hell is brought about by man right here on earth. You say the gentleman I knew has been replaced.

How I wish I could offer better comfort than to say that no matter how you have changed, you will be welcomed when you return. Do what you must. If it helps you to endure, put the feelings away for now, and lock the door. Perhaps someday we'll air them out together. Sincerely, Prudence Beatrix had never intentionally deceived anyone. She would have felt infinitely more comfortable writing to Phelan as herself.

But she still remembered the disparaging remarks that he had once made about her. He would not want a letter from that "peculiar Beatrix Hathaway. And wasn't a letter written under false pretenses better than nothing at all?

A man in Christopher's situation needed all the words of encouragement one could offer. He needed to know that someone cared. And for some reason, after having read his letter, Beatrix found that she did indeed care.

Like everyone else on the estate, Beatrix was occupied with the harvest and the local festival that followed. A massive al fresco dinner and dance was held on the grounds of Ramsay House for more than a thousand guests, including tenants, servants, and townspeople. To Beatrix's disappointment, Audrey Phelan had not been able to attend the festivities, as her husband John had developed a persistent cough. She had stayed home to care for him.

The dark-branched trees seemed to have been dipped in crushed sugar. As the sun cracked through the veneer of clouds, it struck brilliant glints on the frost. The soles of Beatrix's sturdy shoes bit through the frozen mush of dried leaves and moss. She approached the Phelan house, formerly a royal hunting lodge, a large ivy-covered home set among ten forested acres. Reaching a charming paved path, Beatrix skirted the side of the house and headed toward the front.

Audrey was wearing a simple day gown, the gray fabric blending into the woods behind her. She had been so silent and still that Beatrix hadn't even noticed her. There was a certain kind of friend one only visited when one had no problems--that was Prudence.

But there was another kind of friend one went to in times of trouble or need--that was Audrey. Beatrix frowned as she saw that Audrey's complexion was bleached of its usual healthy color, and her eyes and nose were red and sore-looking. Beatrix frowned in concern. She shook her head and made a staying gesture as Beatrix took off her heavy wool cloak and went to drape it over Audrey's slender form.

She sat beside her friend on the icy stone bench. A wordless moment passed, while Audrey's throat worked visibly. Something was seriously wrong. Beatrix waited with forced patience, her heartbeat in her throat. In fact, a packet of letters arrived from him yesterday.

One of them is for Prudence. That would be helpful. Slowly Beatrix reached out and put her hand over Audrey's. They were both silent, while a chilling wind crackled the trees. The enormity of the unfairness was difficult to grasp. John Phelan was a decent man, always the first to call on someone when he had heard they needed help. He had paid for a cottager's wife to have medical treatment that the couple couldn't afford, and had made the piano in his home available for local children to take lessons, and invested in the rebuilding of the Stony Cross pie shop when it had nearly burned to the ground.

And he did it all with great discretion, seeming almost embarrassed to be caught in a good deed. Why did someone like John have to be stricken? And someone has to be the one out of the five. It will be John. They both knew that consumption was a particularly virulent disease, devastating the lungs, causing drastic loss of weight and fatigue.

Worst of all was the consumptive cough, turning ever more persistent and bloody, until the lungs were finally too full for the sufferer to breathe any longer. The Rom live in nature, and they know all about its power to heal. I'll ask Cam to make up a tonic that will help Mr. Phelan's lungs, and--" "John probably won't take it," Audrey said.

The Phelans are very conventional people. If it doesn't come from a vial in a doctor's case, or the apothecary's shop, they won't approve. I'm going to need you in the coming months.

Another breeze whipped around them, biting through Beatrix's sleeves. Audrey shook herself from her dazed misery and stood, handing back the cloak. It seemed every hearth in the house had been lit, heat rolling gently through the tidy rooms.

Everything in the Phelan house was muted and tasteful, with stately furniture that had reached a comfortably venerable age. A subdued-looking housemaid came to take Beatrix's cloak. The news is especially difficult for her. Phelan adored both her sons, the only children she had left after two of her other children, also sons, had died in their infancies, and a daughter who had 22 been stillborn.

But it was John in whom Mrs. Phelan had invested all her pride and ambition. Unfortunately no woman would ever have been good enough for John in his mother's eyes. Audrey had endured a great deal of criticism during the three years of her marriage, especially in her failure to conceive children. Beatrix and Audrey ascended the staircase, past rows of family portraits in heavy gold frames. Most of the subjects were Beauchamps, the aristocratic side of the family.

One couldn't help but notice that throughout the generations represented, the Beauchamps were an extraordinarily handsome people, with narrow noses and brilliant eyes and thick flowing hair. As they reached the top of the stairs, a series of muffled coughs came from a room at the end of the hallway.

Beatrix winced at the raw sound. I put the letter on the dresser. The room was dim. Beatrix went to open one of the heavy curtains, letting daylight slide across the carpeted floor in a brilliant rectangle. The letter was on the dresser. Beatrix picked it up eagerly, her fingers itching to break the seal. However, she admonished herself, it was addressed to Prudence.

With an impatient sigh, she slipped the unopened letter into the pocket of her walking dress. Lingering at the dresser, she surveyed the articles arranged neatly on a wooden tray.

A small silver-handled shaving brush. Unable to resist, Beatrix lifted the top and looked inside. She found three pairs of cuff links, two in silver, one in gold, a watch chain, and a brass button. Replacing the lid, Beatrix picked up the shaving brush and experimentally touched her cheek with it.

The bristles were silky and soft. With the movement of the soft fibers, a pleasant scent was released from the brush. A spicy hint of shaving soap. Holding the brush closer to her nose, Beatrix drew in the scent.

She imagined Christopher spreading lather over his face, stretching his mouth to one side, 23 all the masculine contortions she had seen her father and brother perform in the act of removing bristle from their faces.

I abhor dark rooms.

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While he rests, I'm going downstairs to talk with Cook. John thinks he might be able to eat some white pudding. It's for Christopher's sake that I agreed. I will admit to being surprised that Prudence took the time to write to Christopher.

I warned Christopher about her before he left, actually. But he was so taken with her looks and her high spirits that he managed to convince himself there was something genuine between them. Or at least. I'm trying to. Because of you. Oh, I wouldn't do that. Haven't you noticed how odd I am? I think you regard them as you do your creatures--you're patient, and you observe their habits and wants, and you don't judge them.

She hurried back home, saddled a horse, and rode to Mercer House, an elaborately designed house with turrets, intricately turned porch posts, and stained-glass windows. Having just arisen after attending a dance that lasted until three 24 o'clock in the morning, Prudence received Beatrix in a velvet dressing gown trimmed with spills of white lace.

There were so many handsome young gentlemen there, including a cavalry detachment that is being sent to the Crimea in two days, and they looked so splendid in their uniforms--" "I've just been to see Audrey," Beatrix said breathlessly, entering the private upstairs parlor and closing the door.

Phelan isn't well, and--well, I'll tell you about that in a minute, but--here's a letter from Captain Phelan! Now, about the officers I met last night.

Prudence gave her a quizzical smile. You want me to open it this very moment? Importing a fox for a hunt. I call that very unsporting. Miss Prudence Mercer Stony Cross Hampshire, England 7 November Dear Prudence, Regardless of the reports that describe the British soldier as unflinching, I assure you that when riflemen are under fire, we most certainly duck, bob, and run for cover.

Per your advice, I have added a sidestep and a dodge to my repertoire, with excellent results. To my mind, the old fable has been disproved: there are times in life when one definitely 25 wants to be the hare, not the tortoise. We fought at the southern port of Balaklava on the twenty-fourth of October.

Light Brigade was ordered to charge directly into a battery of Russian guns for no comprehensible reason. Five cavalry regiments were mowed down without support. Two hundred men and nearly four hundred horses lost in twenty minutes.

More fighting on the fifth of November, at Inkerman. We went to rescue soldiers stranded on the field before the Russians could reach them. Albert went out with me under a storm of shot and shell, and helped to identify the wounded so we could carry them out of range of the guns.

My closest friend in the regiment was killed. Please thank your friend Beatrix for her advice about Albert. His biting is less frequent, and he never goes for me, although he's taken a few nips at visitors to the tent.

May and October, the best-smelling months? I'll make a case for December: evergreen, frost, wood smoke, cinnamon. As for your favorite song. It seems nearly everyone here has fallen prey to some kind of illness except for me. I've had no symptoms of cholera nor any of the other diseases that have swept through both divisions. I feel I should at least feign some kind of digestive problem for the sake of decency. Regarding the donkey feud: while I have sympathy for Caird and his mare of easy virtue, I feel compelled to point out that the birth of a mule is not at all a bad outcome.

Mules are more surefooted than horses, generally healthier, and best of all, they have very expressive ears. And they're not unduly stubborn, as long they're managed well. If you wonder at my apparent fondness for mules, I should probably explain that as a boy, I had a pet mule named Hector, after the mule mentioned in the Iliad. I wouldn't presume to ask you to wait for me, Pru, but I will ask that you write to me again. I've read your last letter more times than I can count.

Somehow you're more real to me now, two thousand miles away, than you ever were before. Ever yours, Christopher P. Sketch of Albert included 26 As Beatrix read, she was alternately concerned, moved, and charmed out of her stockings.

Please, Pru. I'll show it to you before I send it. Oh, very well, write to him again if it amuses you. She slipped the letter from Christopher Phelan into her pocket. A metallic handle. Blanching, she realized that she had unintentionally taken the shaving brush from Christopher's dresser. Her problem was back. Somehow Beatrix managed to keep smiling and chatting calmly with Prudence, while inside she was filled with turmoil.

Every now and then when Beatrix was nervous or worried, she pocketed some small object from a shop or residence. She had done it ever since her parents had died. Sometimes she wasn't at all aware she had taken something, whereas at other times the compulsion was so irresistible that she began to perspire and tremble until she finally gave in.

Stealing the objects was never any trouble at all. It was only returning them that presented difficulties. Beatrix and her family had always managed to restore the objects to their proper places. But it had, on occasion, required extreme measures--paying calls at improper times of the day, or inventing wild excuses to roam through someone's house--that had only fortified the Hathaways' reputation for eccentricity. She could do it the next time she visited Audrey. Beatrix took the cue without hesitation.

It's time for me to go home and attend to some chores. One Rifle officer was said to have been bayoneted. It wasn't you, was it? Are you injured? I'm so afraid for you. And I'm so sorry that your friend was killed.

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We are decorating for the holidays, hanging holly and mistletoe. I am enclosing a Christmas card done by a local artist. Note the tassel and string at the bottom--when you pull it, the merrymaking gentlemen on theleft will quaff their goblets of wine. I love the old familiar carols. I love the sameness of every Christmas. I love eating the plum pudding even though I don't really like plum pudding. There is comfort in ritual, isn't there? Albert looks like a lovely dog, perhaps not outwardly a gentleman, but inside a loyal and soulful fellow.

I worry that something's happened to you. I hope you are safe. I light a candle for you on the tree every night. Answer me as soon as you're able. Sincerely, Prudence P. I share your affection for mules. Very unpretentious creatures who never boast of their ancestry. One wishes certain people would be a bit more mulish in that regard. How did you guess? It happened as we were climbing a hill to overtake a battery of Russian guns.

It was a minor shoulder wound, certainly not worth reporting. There was a storm on the fourteenth of November that wrecked the camps and sank French and British ships in the harbor. More loss of life, and unfortunately most of the winter supplies and equipment are gone. I believe this is what is known as "rough campaigning. Last night I dreamed of food. Ordinarily I dream of you, but last night I'm sorry to say that you were eclipsed by lamb with mint sauce.

It is bitterly cold. I am now sleeping with Albert. We're a pair of surly bedfellows, but we're both willing to endure it in the effort to keep from freezing to death. Albert has become indispensable to the company--he carries messages under fire and runs much faster than a man can. He's also an excellent sentry and scout. Here are a few things I've learned from Albert Any food is fair game until it is actually swallowed by someone else.

Take a nap whenever you can. Don't bark unless it's important. Chasing one's tail is sometimes unavoidable. I hope your Christmas was splendid. Thank you for the card--it reached me on the twenty-fourth of December, and it was passed all around my company, most of them never having seen a Christmas card before.

Before it was finally handed back to me, the cardboard gentlemen attached to the tassel had done a great deal of quaffing. I also like the word "quaff.

Married By Morning (The Hathaways #4)

Here's one for you: "soleate," which refers to the shodding of a horse. Or "nidifice," a nest. Has Mr. Caird's mare given birth yet? Perhaps I'll ask my brother to make an offer.

Married by Morning Lisa Kleypas Book Trailer

One never knows when one might need a good mule. Dear Christopher, It feels far too prosaic to send a letter by post. I wish I could find a 30 more interesting way. I would tie a little scroll to a bird's leg, or send you a message in a bottle. However, in the interest ofefficiency, I'll have to make do with the Royal Mails.

I have just read in the Times that you have been involved in yet more heroics. Why must you take such risks? The ordinary duty of a soldier is dangerous enough. Have a care for your safety, Christopher--for my sake if not your own.

My request is entirely selfish. I could not bear for your letters to stop coming. I'm so far away, Pru. I'm standing outside my own life and looking in. Amid all this brutality, I have discovered the simple pleasures of petting a dog, reading a letter, and staring at the night sky. Tonight I almost thought I saw the ancient constellation named Argo. You're not supposed to be able to see Argo unless you're in Australia, but still, I was almost certain I had a glimpse of it.

I beg you to forget what I wrote before: I do want you to wait for me. Don't marry anyone before I come home. Wait for me. Dear Christopher, This is the perfume of March: rain, loam, feathers, mint. Every morning and afternoonI drink fresh mint tea sweetened with honey. I've done a great deal of walking lately. I seem to think better outdoors. Last night was remarkably clear.

I looked up at the sky to find the Argo. I'm terrible at constellations. I can never make out any of them except for Orion and his belt. But the longer I stared, the more the sky seemed like an ocean, and then I saw an entire fleet of ships made of stars. A flotilla was anchored at the moon, while others were casting off. I imagined we were on one of those ships, sailing on moonlight. In truth, I find the ocean unnerving. Too vast. I much prefer the forests around Stony Cross.

They're always fascinating, and full of commonplace miracles. I wish you could see them with me. And together we would listen to the wind rushing through the leaves overhead, a lovely swooshy melody.

As I sit here writing to you, I have propped my stocking feet much too close to the hearth.

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I've actually singed my stockings on occasion, and once I had to stomp out my feet when they started smoking. Even after that, I still can't seem to rid myself of the habit. There, now you could pick me out of a 31 crowd blindfolded. Simply follow the scent of scorched stockings. Enclosed is a robin's feather that I found during my walk this morning. It's for luck. Keep it in your pocket. Just now I had the oddest feeling while writing this letter, as if you were standing in the room with me.

As if my pen had become a magic wand, and I had conjured you right here.

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If I wish hard enough. Dearest Prudence, I have the robin's feather in my pocket. How did you know I needed a token to carry into battle? For the past two weeks I've been in a rifle pit, sniping back and forth with the Russians.

It's no longer a cavalry war, it's all engineers and artillery. Albert stayed in the trench with me, only going out to carry messages up and down the line.

During the lulls, I try to imagine being in some other place. I imagine you with your feet propped near the hearth, and your breath sweet with mint tea. I imagine walking through the Stony Cross forests with you. I would love to see some commonplace miracles, but I don't think I could find them without you. I need your help, Pru. I think you might be my only chance of becoming part of the world again.

I feel as if I have more memories of you than I actually do. I was with you on only a handful of occasions. A dance. A conversation. A kiss.

I wish I could relive those moments. I would appreciate them more. I would appreciate everything more. Last night I dreamed of you again. I couldn't see your face, but I felt you near me. You were whispering to me. The last time I held you, I didn't know who you truly were.

Or who I was, for that matter. We never looked beneath the surface. Perhaps it's better we didn't--I don't think I could have left you, had I felt for you then what I do now. I'll tell you what I'm fighting for.

Not for England, nor her allies, nor any patriotic cause. It's all come down to the hope of being with you. Dear Christopher, You've made me realize that words are the most important things in the world. And never so much as now. The moment Audrey gave me your last letter, my heart started beating faster, and I had to run to my secret house to read it in private.

I haven't yet told you. It was on a distant portion of the Stony Cross estate that belongs to Lord Westcliff. Later when I asked Lady Westcliff 32 about it, she said that keeping a secret house was a local custom in medieval times. The lord of the manor might have used it as a place to keep his mistress. Once a Westcliff ancestor actually hid there from his own bloodthirsty retainers. Lady Westcliff said I could visit the secret house whenever I wanted, since it has long been abandoned.

I go there often. It's my hiding place, my sanctuary. I've just lit a candle and set it in a window. A very tiny lodestar, for you to follow home. Dearest Prudence, Amid all the noise and men and madness, I try to think of you in your secret house. And my lodestar in the window. The things one has to do in war. I thought it would all become easier as time went on.

And I'm sorry to say I was right. I fear for my soul. The things I have done, Pru. The things I have yet to do. If I don't expect God to forgive me, how can I ask you to? Dear Christopher, Love forgives all things.

You don't even need to ask. Ever since you wrote to me about the Argos, I've been reading about stars. We've loads of books about them, as the subject was of particular interest to my father. Aristotle taught that stars are made of a different matter than the four earthly elements--a quintessence--that also happens to be what the human psyche is made of.

Which is why man's spirit corresponds to the stars. Perhaps that's not a very scientific view, but I do like the idea that there's a little starlight in each of us. I carry thoughts of you like my own personal constellation.

How far away you are, dearest friend, but no farther than those fixed stars in my soul. Dear Pru, We're settling in for a long siege. It's uncertain as to when I'll have the chance to write again.

This is not my last letter, only the last for a while. Do not doubt that I am coming back to you someday. Until I can hold you in my arms, these worn and ramshackle words are the only way to reach you.

What a poor translation of love they are. Words could never do justice to you, or capture what you mean to me. I love you. I swear by the starlight.

I will not leave this earth until you hear those words from me. She didn't realize she was crying until she felt the stroke of a breeze against her wet cheeks. The muscles of her face ached as she tried to compose herself. He had written to her on the thirtieth of June, without knowing she had written to him on the same day. One couldn't help but take that as a sign. She hadn't experienced such a depth of bitter loss, of agonized longing, since her parents had died.

It was a different kind of grief, of course, but it carried the same flavor of hopeless need. What have I done? She, who had always gone through life with unsparing honesty, had carried out an unforgivable deception. And the truth would only make matters worse. If Christopher Phelan ever discovered that she had written to him under false pretenses, he would despise her.

And if he never found out, Beatrix would always be "the girl who belonged in the stables. How had these feelings crept up on her? Good God, she could hardly remember what Christopher Phelan looked like, and yet her heart was breaking over him. Worst of all, it was entirely likely that Christopher's declarations had been inspired by the hardships of wartime. This Christopher she knew from the letters. Nothing good would come of this situation. She had to put a stop to it.

She could not pretend to be Prudence any longer. It wasn't fair to any of them, especially Christopher. Beatrix walked home slowly.

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As she entered Ramsay House, she encountered Amelia, who was taking her young son Rye outside. Rye is going to ride his pony. Every member of her family was quick to include her in their lives. They were all extraordinarily generous in that regard. And yet she sensed herself being cast, incrementally and inexorably, as the spinster aunt.

She felt eccentric and alone. A misfit, like the animals she kept. Her mind made a disjointed leap, summoning recollections of the men she had met during dances and dinners and soirees. She had never lacked for 34 male attention. Perhaps she should encourage one of them, just pick a likely candidate for attachment and be done with it.

Perhaps having her own life was worth being married to a man she didn't love. But that would be another form of misery. Her fingers slipped into the pocket of her dress to touch the letter from Christopher Phelan. The feel of the parchment, which he had folded, caused her stomach to tighten with a hot, pleasurable pang. Is something troubling you, dear? Phelan's illness. According to Audrey, he has taken a turn for the worse.

Her charges' older brother, Leo Hathaway, is thoroughly exasperating. Cat can hardly believe that their constant arguing could mask a mutual attraction. But when one quarrel ends in a sudden kiss, Cat is shocked at her powerful response—and even more so when Leo proposes a dangerous liaison. She is not at all what she seems Leo must marry and produce an heir within a year to save his family home. Catherine's respectable demeanor hides a secret that would utterly destroy her.

But to Leo, Cat is intriguing and infernally tempting, even to a man resolved never to love again. The danger Cat tried to outrun is about to separate them forever—unless two wary lovers can find a way to banish the shadows and give in to their desires List Chapter or Page Page 1 2. Page 2 3. Page 3 4. Page 4 5. Page 5 6. Page 6 7. Page 7 8. Page 8 9. Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57