At six and twenty and unwed, Penny accepts her status of spinster. She helps her father with the local parishioners of the duke's estate, often lending an ear to those too uncomfortable to speak to the vicar. Her simple life satisfies her. Serve the people of the estate, read to her heart's content, and stay out of the duke's way.
The Duke's Son
At six and twenty, Fitzgerald's goal in life is to avoid his father like the plague. That and chase down a ruthless criminal. Nowhere in his strategy is the renewing of a childhood friendship, even if she was his best friend.
The Inescapable Past
A duke desires to protect his secrets at any price. A vicar is helpless to protect his daughter. Is a son willing to defy his father to do what's right?
He strolled into the library and stumbled to a stop. All the air vanished from his lungs. His heart raced faster than a runaway horse.
Beside the window posed an unfamiliar woman. The light haloed her blond head. A forester's green kerseymere dress, cut in a simple style and embroidered with jonquil primroses, clung to the voluptuous beauty, a book in her delicate hands.
How had his mother found a debutante he hadn't met, and what was she doing on the estate unaccompanied? A trap? A stupid one, to be sure. He could compromise her, and no one would be the wiser, not that his honor would allow such base behavior. But she didn't know it. "Who gave you permission to be in here?"
She didn't startle, despite his sharp tone, only raised her head and blinked azure eyes at him, reminding him of an owl, a stunningly beautiful owl. Ridiculous. Smooth silken skin begged for his caress. He fought for breath. Plump lips, the shade of ripened raspberries, promised summer and more.
Her gaze focused, and rather than blushing in embarrassment, she glanced around the room. Searching for another occupant? She'd find none. She brazenly met his steady gaze, as an equal.
"You did." Her tone suggested his wits had gone begging.
"Do you not know how to address your betters?" Not the question he'd meant to ask but the one that popped out.
One perfectly shaped eyebrow lifted. "You did, my lord."
The impertinent chit managed to make the obligatory title sound anything but respectful.