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After two London seasons--and a score of resoundingly dull society suitors--Juliet Laverick finds herself longing for one man: Morgan Pryce, the dashing scoundrel who kidnapped her two years ago. But her determination to bring the rogue to justice hasn't waned--until Morgan's twin brother, Sebastian, arrives with some shocking news: Juliet's mysterious paramour has disappeared.
Sebastian, Lord Templemore, dares not tell Juliet the truth: he is the man she seeks--it is his kiss she yearns for. Confessing to the abduction would bring devastating scandal upon them both. But how can he persuade her to forsake her dedicated pursuit of her dream lover, when all he dreams of is holding her in his arms again?
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Immortal locks fell forward from the lord's deathless
Lady Juliet Laverick tried to ignore the pounding of her heart. Tried to blot out the thunder of horse's hooves on frozen earth, carrying her closer and closer to a confrontation with her past. Tried to pretend her hands were icy from traveling in winter, and not from her raw nerves.
But she couldn't. After more than two years, she was finally going to set her past to rest and see justice done. So how could she possibly remain calm, with Charnwood estate only a few miles away?
"That Llanbrooke inn was dreadful," came her sister's voice from across the carriage. Rosalind sat beside her husband Griff Knighton with a tambour in her lap that she was pointedly ignoring.
Juliet leaped at any excuse to keep her mind off the appointment at hand. "I've never seen cobwebs on top of a mantel before. Underneath it, perhaps, but on top? And that tankard sitting on the table -- did you see the scum in it? That innkeeper ought to be drawn and quartered for keeping such a filthy common room.
"I wouldn't give him quite so harsh a punishment, dearest ," Rosalind retorted, "but then I'm not attuned to domestic matters the way you are."
"I assure you," Juliet said, "attuned to domestic matters or not, you'll be ordering the same punishment after a night spent among the bugs under soiled linens. I dearly hope we can avoid returning there."
"It will depend on what the baron reveals this afternoon, " Griff stared out the window, scanning the quiet Shropshire forest with the wary eye of a man used to trouble. "If Lord Templemore proves uncooperative, we mayfind ourselves back at the Peacock's Eye until we finish questioning the townspeople."
Juliet grimaced at the thought.
"Surely his lordship won't continue to shield his ward once he hears what Pryce did to Juliet," Rosalind protested.
They both glanced to her, faces full of their usual sympathy and concern. It made her want to scream. She hated being treated as if she might break under the least strain.
But that came of being the youngest of three sisters, the only one not yet married. And the only one foolish enough to run off with a scoundrel like Morgan Pryce at eighteen, endangering herself and her family after he turned out to be kidnapping her, not eloping with her.
Pasting a blithe smile to her lips, she said to Griff, "Didn't the innkeeper say that Morgan doesn't reside with the baron?"
"Yes. But that was as much as I could discover. No one will identify the man in Helena's sketch as his lordship's ward."
Helena was Juliet's oldest sister and gifted with a paintbrush. She, too, had cause to see Morgan brought to justice, but with her first baby's arrival imminent, neither she nor her husband, Daniel, had dared journey to Shropshire.
Griff went on, "Templemore's father might have tarnished the family name and run the estate into the ground, but Templemore himself has an unassailable reputation as a worthy gentleman. So no one in town would speak of him or Pryce to a stranger."
"But you're sure that Morgan and Lord Templemore's ward are one and the same," Juliet said.
"I'm sure. The Bow Street runner's evidence proved it incontrovertibly."
"Still, it's odd that a man with such lofty connections would stoop to kidnapping."
"It's Pryce's lofty connections that make me suspect we've hit on the truth," Griff said. "Everyone described your kidnapper as a man of refinement and education, who acted and talked like a gentleman."
He didn't kiss like a gentleman....
After the AbductionBy: Sabrina Jeffries