“She loved him when he was nothing
and she made him whole…”
Susan Evans knows better than anyone how hard life can be. Tormented her entire life because of her heterochromic eyes, she finally decides to run away. Until she comes across the enchanting Marquess’ Manor and she comes face to face with desire…
Alastair Hargreave is a man of many secrets; cold and distant. Having lost his wife and parents in a tragic accident years ago, his days are spent in despair and self-pity, convinced he will never find love again. But one day, he finds a peculiar woman on his doorstep, who sees him for who he really is. Will her love show him the truth?
As their passion and love grow, their self-hate quickly manages to take control. Convinced that they will never be loved by one another, they soon learn a deadly lesson when Susan goes missing and Alastair is left with a single decision: push your grief aside or lose the woman who loved you forever…
Susan shows up on the doorstep of the Marquess estate, battered and worse for wear. Her eyes covered with a blindfold we are informed she is blind so assume it’s to hide some injury.
Alastair is not one to turn someone in need away but he isn’t prepared for this woman to stay in his household. That is until his housekeeper gives him an ultimatum. Now Susan is his daughter Grace’s companion and as they get closer the child tells her some of her fears. One of which Susan knows she must discuss with Alastair.
Now Alastair is fighting the feelings he has for Susan, he feels like he’s betraying his deceased wife. However he also feels more alive and happy than he has in years.
This is a favorite scene.
Her cheeks turned pink under the pale skin. For the first time, he noticed that she had some freckles dotting her cheeks – just enough to look sweet. “Do not misunderstand me, please,” she said. “By all means, fetch a maid. I simply do not wish to be overheard, for what I have to say is Grace’s private business.”
Alastair struggled with that for a moment, then he stood and closed the door most of the way over before returning to his seat. “Nobody will overhear,” he said. “We are alone.”
To his surprise, she stiffened at that. Her mouth twisted and she nervously played with her hands in her lap.
“But,” he said, confused by her reaction, “The door is only partly closed. We aren’t completely lost to inappropriate behavior, as unorthodox as this situation may be.”
She didn’t say anything, but he saw how the tension evaporated from her at that. Had she issues with being alone with men, perhaps? Had it something to do with the state she had been in that night when she’d turned up at his door?
He couldn’t bring himself to ask, and so instead he leaned forward on the desk and said, “I brought you here to speak about Grace, but it seems you have something to say as well. Is it related to why she turned up in tears, alone?”
“Yes,” Susan replied. She didn’t even flinch. Her face was pointed toward him and, though she couldn’t see him, he found himself feeling as though he was trapped in her gaze anyway. “Grace told me today that she believes that she is cursed. She says that none of the children of your acquaintances will befriend her as a result.”
Alastair swore under his breath. “I thought she’d grown away from that,” he muttered. Then, more clearly, he said, “I wasn’t aware that this was still a problem. I have told her time and again that what happened to my parents and her mother was not her fault.”
“Yet she doesn’t believe it,” Susan replied. “Which is a severe problem which, as her companion and her father, I feel that we are bound to deal with as soon as possible.”
Alastair was amazed by how openly she spoke, especially compared to her usual nervous manner, but it seemed that, for Grace’s sake, she had taken on a much more confident attitude. He found that he rather liked it. It made him happy to think that in just two short weeks, Grace had bonded so well with this woman – even if he himself still wasn’t quite sure what to feel about Susan.
“Are you aware of what fate befell my parents and my late wife?” Alastair asked.
“Grace said there was an accident,” Susan replied. “She said that she was supposed to be with them, but…”
“It was the driver’s fault,” Alastair replied darkly. “He was drunk. If he had confessed and allowed someone else to drive, my family would still be alive today. Common folk, they’re all the same – they act as they please and allow us to clean up the mess.”
He had not meant to say that, and he regretted it almost instantly when Susan’s tension returned. “My parents were farmers, My Lord,” she replied coolly. “They spent their lives making up for errors made by the nobility. I am sorry about what happened to your family, but to denounce us all! Without my parents, you would never have had food on your table. Without Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins, I doubt you would be running a functional household.”
Alastair felt heat and ice wash over him. He had been reprimanded in the exact same way by Mrs. Jenkins several times when he had accidentally let such a comment slip. This, however, was the first time he had felt so exposed and ashamed.
“I… you are right, of course,” he said, because he didn’t know what else to say. “Forgive me. I did not mean to slight your parents.”
“you are not the only one who knows loss, Lord Westbridge,” Susan replied in almost a whisper.
Alastair shifted uncomfortably in his chair and did not reply. What more could he say?
“Let’s return to Grace,” Susan suggested. “The child believes that she is cursed. The noble children shun her, and you will not allow her to approach the children of the village. She is a lovely girl, but outside of the Jenkinses, you, and now me, she is shy and upset almost all of the time.”
“What do you suggest that I do?” he asked, frowning. Susan leaned forward, her own hands on the desk. Alastair tried to ignore the mad urge he had to take them in his. “Allow me to arrange a day out with some of the local children,” Susan said. “Yes, the common children. I shall accompany her, but she will not appear to them as their Lady. Just as a new friend.”
“Unheard of,” Alastair said immediately. “If news of such association got out, it could ruin her reputation.”
“If she continues with no associations at all, it could ruin her life,” Susan argued. “My Lord, I am not trying to tell you how to be a parent. I am not a noble and I do not know the intricacies of your Society. But I do know children, and I am pleading with you to allow me to give that little girl a chance at living.”
Alastair felt a lump in his throat and found himself leaning back in his chair, stunned by the power of her speech. “I… you feel passionately about this.”
“I do,” Susan replied. “I know how it is to be a cursed, lonely child.”
She whipped her head away sharply then, but not before Alastair thought he caught sight of wet tears staining her blindfold.
He was silent for a few moments, then nodded. “Very well,” he said. “Take the rest of the day off. In exchange, you will work this Sunday and accompany us to church. Afterward, if you can find a way to convince Grace, we may allow her to mingle with the young people there.”
Susan sniffed and raised her hand to her face, still turned away from him. “Excellent,” she said. “Then, if you do not mind, I shall retire to my rooms. Please tell Grace that she is being silly and that I will always be her friend.”
Alastair watched as she stood, then nodded, mostly to himself. “I will,” he said. “Do you need me to call for an escort for you?”
“No,” Susan replied. She walked to the side of the room, feeling along the wall until she found the door. “I will manage.”
Alastair nodded. When she pulled the door fully open, it felt like something – some tension, some pressure, something dark and intense but glorious – escaped the room. Once it was gone, he felt bereft.
Scarlett Osborne. A Night to Surrender to the Rake: A Steamy Regency Romance (Kindle Locations 741-798). Scarlett Osborne.
While Alistair has divulged much of his past to Susan she has not been as open to him. She has secrets she believes would have him throwing her out the door.
When Alastair takes on a new partner in his diamond business, the man is quite annoying when it comes to skimming the lines of morality. It’s this man who opens a whole can of worms where Susan is concerned.
The tension and heat between Alastair and Susan evolves into a romance and quite a few steamy scenes.
This is a fun and suspenseful historical romp.
5 Contented Purrs for Scarlett!
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Born in the Sunshine State of Florida, but of both British and Nordic descent, Scarlett Osborne grew up reading historical romances from the land of her ancestors. Fascinated with the British society of the 1800s and armed with a wild imagination, she obtained a degree in Creative Writing and immediately started her career as a Regency romance author.
A daydreamer extraordinaire, Scarlett likes to jump in the shoes of her heroines, immersing herself in her own stories, living the adventures that she wished she had experienced as a child. An avid reader and fan of the outdoors, Scarlett spends her free time either reading or going on long horseback rides along with her two sons.
Get lost in a land of enchantment, where adventure and love await around every corner…Scarlett hopes that through her heroes, you too will get to live a whirlwind romance in the Regency era, when fairytales were real and all dreams possible!