Stealing a stranger’s carriage is the second most reckless thing Lady Catryn Gryffin de Warrenne has ever done. The first is succumbing to her powerful attraction to the carriage’s owner. Catryn has heard the rumors about Sir Orion Wherlocke’s family and their otherworldly gifts. He’s the one person who can keep her son and his inheritance safe from her late husband’s ruthless brother. As for how to protect herself…it may be too late for that.
Orion is facing the worst danger a man of his ilk can find: a woman he can’t walk away from. Catryn is an intoxicating blend of innocence and sensuality, and for the first time, seduction is far more than a game. But her beauty and fortune have made her a target—one that will dare him to risk everything he’s known—in pursuit of everything he’s ever longed for…
Just as she was rubbing her aching bottom, a young voice said from behind her, “Arse hurting you, is it?”
Catryn spun around so quickly she stumbled back several steps as she struggled to keep her balance. A young boy stood there, grinning at her, his blue eyes shining with laughter. With his thick black hair tumbling around his face in waves that came perilously close to being curls, he was an astonishingly pretty boy. She judged him to be several years older than her son and wondered where he had come from. It was late in the day for a boy his age to be wandering the countryside alone.
“Who are you and where did you come from?” she asked.
“I am Giles Wherlocke and I was sitting in the carriage you nicked. Who are you?”
“Lady Catryn Griffin de Warrenne.”
By the time she finished telling him her name the full import of what he had said seeped into her mind. Catryn stared at the boy in growing horror. There was no denying the truth that now blazed across her mind, however. In her blind desperation to get her son back, she had stolen away another person’s son.
“Sweet mercy,” she muttered. “Your parents are going to see me hang for this.”
“Only have one parent, m’lady. Only have my father, Sir Orion Wherlocke. Truth be told, a fair number of people have taken to stealing his carriage of late, though those people were all his own kin. You are not kin, I am thinking. Not with that red hair. So why did you have such need for my father’s carriage? And, I do say, you held off Cody right fine, you did. Did not know a proper lady could hold a pistol that steady.”
Even though she was a little bemused by the way he spoke with an odd mixture of proper and not so proper English, Catryn did notice that the boy did not assure her that she would face no punishment for what she had done. “I needed it.”
“Why? You be a proper lady and all. You must have one of your own.”
“My horse came up lame and I needed the carriage to continue my hunt for the man who stole my son. I could not afford to take the time to return home to get another horse or the carriage.”
“Why did some man take your son? He want money for the boy?”
She dragged her hands through her hair, idly noting that it had fallen free from the neat style her maid had spent a great deal of time perfecting. “I need to see to the horses right now.”
Giles did not push her for an answer to his question but moved to lend her a hand. As they worked together to unhitch the team, rubbed the animals down with handfuls of grass, and then watered them, she told Giles all about Morris and his fight to gain control over Alwyn and his inheritance. Her openness with the boy surprised her, but she decided she just had a deep need to speak her thoughts aloud to someone and he was there, watching and listening, his pretty eyes sharp with intelligence. At times Catryn felt as if she spoke with an adult while at other times, especially when the boy asked why again and again, she could see the young boy beneath the air of toughness and maturity.
Just speaking of all Morris had done, stirred her anger. The moment the horses were tethered so they could graze, she began to pace as she talked. Spitting it all out, her father would call it, and that was just what she was doing. She cursed Morris for his greed, his inability to accept what was right by law and his brother’s will, and even for his fanciful blue-and-gold carriage. Even telling herself that a young boy should not be subjected to her fury at Morris and her fear for her child, she could not stop talking. Or pacing.
“Morris is headed to the coast,” she said, abruptly changing from ranting about all of Morris’s past crimes and thinking only of the one he had committed this time. “He may be trying to take Alywn out of the country. He may even be thinking to just toss my baby overboard once he is out to sea."
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Author Info: Hannah Howell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 30 Zebra historical romances. Howell, twice awarded the Golden Leaf Award, has been a Romance Writers of America RITA Finalist and received RT Book Reviews’ Career Achievement Award for Historical Storyteller of the Year. She lives West Newbury, Massachusetts with her family. Visit her website at hannahhowell.com.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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