Learning To Waltz by Kerryn Reid is a beautiful historical! Get a free sample of this book!
Deborah Moore has learned her lessons well–feel nothing, reveal less, and trust no
one. Now widowed with a child of her own, she leads a lonely, cloistered existence,
counting her farthings and thinking she is safe. When five-year-old Julian is lost one
bitter December day, she discovers how tenuous that safety is.
Evan Haverfield has lived thirty carefree years, hunting, laughing, and dancing among
London’s high society. His biggest problem has been finding excuses not to marry.
But his life changes when he finds Julian Moore half-frozen under a hedge and carries
him home to his mother. The young widow hides behind a mask, hard and reserved,
but Evan sees glimpses of another woman, wistful, intelligent, and passionate. She’s
vulnerable, desirable—and completely unsuitable for the heir to Northridge.
Alone in the earliest hours of a new year, Evan teaches Deborah to waltz. Can he teach
her joy and laughter? Will love sweep away the shadows of her past and reveal the
luminous woman she could be?
It could have been a fantasy world. Early morning sunlight flickered through the budding branches outside his window, the new leaves wet from last night’s rain and so vivid, that exuberant shade of green seen only in the springtime. A blackbird sang just out of sight and won a response from somewhere farther away. Passion in the treetops. And in the fields and forests and barnyards as well, no doubt. Evan brooded. Does me no good.
The flies were certainly breeding. He made his third attempt to swat one pesky youngster who was after his breakfast. The whole extended family was much in evidence in the stableyard as he awaited the phaeton. But once the luggage was loaded and they were underway, this annoyance was left behind. Jory and Bess, who had plodded half-heartedly through the previous afternoon’s rain, were in high spirits this morning, tossing their heads and nipping each other fondly. If Evan could not claim such high spirits for himself, he at least felt alive, and that felt pretty damn good….
If Evan had felt Deborah’s presence in Plymouth, how much more so in Dawlish, where one could traverse the whole town in an easy morning’s walk and meet all its inhabitants in the course of a few days’ stay. He strolled out that afternoon and found her everywhere. Every street might have seen her pass. Every shop owner might have sold her bonnets or books, every tea room might have served her. The assembly rooms, the library, and the church had surely held her within their walls. The people he passed might have seen her, met her. Some of the gentlemen might have danced with her at assemblies. Would they remember her? A dark, pretty girl, naïve and serious, graceful and shy?
His vision of her was so real, it took a moment for his brain to register surprise when he saw her, pointing out something in a shop window to her companion. Her height, her figure, the color of her hair, that particular shade of the gown she had not worn to the ball on New Year’s Eve…
His heart stopped for a moment, leaving him disoriented. It could not be her, of course.
It wasn’t. The face she turned to her gallant was too young, too round, and much too happy.
Somehow he found the way back to his lodgings. It was a wonder because he could not remember doing so. He must have earned wary looks from passersby as he staggered down the hill. Probably they thought him drunk.
Grady seemed to know better. He jumped up from a chair at first sight of his master’s face.
“Why, sir! What’s happened? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”
Hit the nail on the head, Grady. “No, no. Just a … a bit of the headache.”
He let Grady help him out of his coat as he spoke and stripped off his cravat, which felt like a noose around his neck.
“Let me get you out of your boots, an’ I’ll get you a headache powder.”
He didn’t need the powder, but it was far easier to comply. He took it with a brandy, drunk much too fast. “Thank you, Grady. I’ll just lie down for a bit.”
He made the effort to smile reassuringly, though judging by the look on Grady’s face, he failed in his objective. Well, it was the best he could do.
He went into his bedchamber and shut the door. Dear God.
Had he really thought he’d need to see her again to sear her face into his memory? Right now, her image burned so clearly in his mind that the fixtures and furnishings of the room appeared as faded, nebulous things.
He pressed his hands over his eyes but fancied he could smell her scent on them, that compound of citrus and rosemary and other things he could not name. He cradled his elbows in his hands, but instead of the fine lawn of his shirt, he felt the silk of her gown and the silk of the skin beneath as he peeled the fabric away, inch by intoxicating inch.
Leaving the support of the door, he threw himself prone across the bed. He could, possibly, have shaken off the delusion, but he had little desire to do so. He would take what he could get of her, though it be fallacy. And after a time, the waking vision followed him into sleep, where most any delusion could be deemed sane.
Kerryn grew up the daughter of a professor in a New England college town. But her mother was a devotee of ‘Olde’ England – its antiques, mystery novels and vacation opportunities. As a girl, Kerryn spent a year in England and another in Ireland, with several shorter trips for good measure.
After high school, she traveled around the British Isles with her best friend, using trains and thumbs. Perhaps inevitably, they fell in love with a couple of Irish lads – oh, those gorgeous accents! Roaming the Rock of Cashel in the dark with your first love? Totally illicit, totally romantic! Her love for the man didn’t last. But a piece of Kerryn’s heart still lives “across the pond,” where so many adventures took place – as well as the Regency romances she loves. So when the itch to write needed scratching, that’s where her imagination took her.
Kerryn married another man, acquired a house in Florida, a dog and two children. The boys have flown the coop now, but one has brought his awesome wife into the family. The dogs are different, but there are still dogs. And the love of her life is still at her side, trimming the hedges and dreaming up tag lines. He’ll never have an Irish accent, but he’s amazing!
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