As a second son of an Earl, Catesby Burgoyne is free to do
what he wants. Leaving his family to serve Queen and
country is not an easy choice, especially since his father
forces a paid commission to get rid of the black sheep
second son. Catesby is finally returning home but before he
does he plans to enjoy an evening out at the clubs.
On his way back from such an evening, Catesby witnesses a
woman being attacked by ruffians and quickly decides to come
to her rescue, forever imprinting her on his mind. Shortly
after his knight-in-shining-armor moment, Catesby's brother
dies unexpectedly leaves him with the unwanted title of
Earl of Malzard and the pressure of needing a wife and heir.
Overwhelmed and unsure of his future, Catesby sets out to
look for the woman he saved only to find her in a situation
only he can get her out of.
Prudence Youlgrave is angry her brother is ignoring his
obligation to find her a husband after all of the sacrifices
both their mother and Prudence endured to make sure his
schooling was paid for and a wife secured. Prudence hasn't
forget about Catesby but he can't help her now.
Prudence forces her brother's hand by showing up on his
doorstep demanding his help to find a respectable husband.
His father-in-law reluctantly provides the necessary
dowry. Unfortunately, Prudence must accept the suit of a
man she has already turned down knowing her life will not be
a happy one. The day of Prudence's wedding, and the first
step towards her future, is interrupted as Catesby
comes striding into the chapel rescuing Prudence again by
marrying her himself. Prudence finally feels she can be
happy, that is until Catesby's secrets come to light.
The next Malloren novel, AN UNLIKELY COUNTESS, is
an historical romance with endearing characters, and
intrigue and mishap at every turn. The perfect read to
cuddle up on the couch with. Great Read!
Prudence Youlgrave is out to marry above her station and
secure a happy life. Catesby Burgoyne is out to continue his
noble family's good name. When fate pushes them together,
they are married-but this inconvenient marriage of
convenience quickly turns into something much more...
Northallerton, Yorkshire, March 1765
He was drunk, but could still
see well enough in
the dimly lit street. Well enough to detect ruffians at
work. And that the
victim was a woman. Catesby
Burgoyne grinned, drew
his sword and charged. At his battle cry the ruffians
whirled toward him, eyes
white-rimmed, mouths agape. And then they
Cate staggered to a halt, flailing his sword. "Come back!"
he roared. "Come
back, you scum, and meet my
blade!" Only their
fleeing footsteps answered.
"Damn your blasted
eyes," he muttered. "A bit of slaughter's just what I
need." A breathy sound made him
turn, sword rising
again, but it was only the woman, leaning against a house
wall, staring at
him. The narrow street was lit
only by two feeble
householder lamps, so all he could see was pallor and
shadows. Pale face
surrounded by loose, pale hair. A dark gown that covered
her neck to toe.
Gown was respectable. Hair wasn't. Couldn't be respectable,
could she, out
alone at night? He shoved his
sword back into its
scabbard. "You must be new to the trade, sweetheart, to
dress so dully."
Damnation, where were his manners? No need to be crass
because she was a whore
and he was at odds with the
world. He bowed.
"Catesby Burgoyne, ma'am, at your service. May I escort you
destination?" She shook her head,
mute. He walked closer to see her
better. She tried
to shrink back, but the wall was
relentless. "Please..." she
whispered. A thin hand
clutched a shawl at her chest as if it could be a breastplate.
Cate was trying to come up with
reassurance when a
door opened nearby and a flat Yorkshire voice asked, "Wot's
going on 'ere,
then?" The stocky man carried a
illuminated his face and straggling hair more than them.
Even so, the woman
turned away as if to hide her
face. She had a
reputation to lose? "The lady was
Cate said, striving to hide all trace of gin from his voice.
"The villains have
fled and I'll see her safely
home." The man peered,
but like all sane people he didn't go looking for trouble.
aristocratic tone helped him along that path. "Good night to
ye, then," he said
and shut his door. Cate turned
back to the woman.
She still stared at him, but the intervention of someone
from the ordinary
world seemed to have restored her
voice. "I must
thank you, Mr. Burgoyne," she said on uneven breaths. "But
please, there's no
need to delay you longer." A
well-bred voice. Her
left hand bore no ring. Where was her father or brother to
this? "I may not be the most
perfect of gentlemen,
ma'am, but I cannot leave a lady to walk the night streets
alone." "I live very close
by...." "Then this will delay me
He gestured her onward. He'd
commanded men in
battle. Surely he could command one ordinary woman. She did
move forward, stiff
with wariness. Or
anger? Now that was interesting.
He assessed her as
best he could in the gloom. Hard to judge her looks, but her
set in... resentment. Yes, that was it. Resentment. She
might have reason to
be wary of him, but why in Hades should she resent him? She
was also dawdling,
but he would not be put off.
ma'am?" She quickened her steps
as if she might
outpace him -- a thin, sour thing, all sharp angles and
antipathy. He kept up without
effort. "Unwise to
venture out alone so late,
ma'am." "I merely wished
to walk." "I have no pressing
engagements. If you
desire a stroll, I could escort you for
angles became harder, which vaguely amused him. A blessing
that, lightening a
dark day. They'd arrived at the
main street of the
town. He saw no one else on foot, but this was also the
Great North Road, lined
with inns, all still open, hoping for late trade. A coach
rattled by and turned
through the arch to the Black Bull, the best inn in
town. To the left lay the Queen
愀 Head, a mangy,
ill-run place where he'd failed to drown his sorrows. He'd
escaped into fresh
air, but fresh March air was cold up here in Yorkshire and
the next London
coach didn't pass by until early morning. He'd need a bed
for the night
somewhere, but could only afford to share a room with
others. The woman was simply standing
there. "Forgotten where you live,
drawled. She turned sharply to
face him. "Why are
you walking the streets at
night?" "A man is
allowed to, ma'am. Especially one with a sword who knows how
it." "Men are allowed anything,
whilst we poor
women have no rights at all."
Ah. "What man in
particular has offended you? I have a sword and know how to use
it." She gave a short laugh.
"You'll not call out
my brother." "He wouldn't
fight?" "Only in court. He's a
lawyer." "The lowest form of
scum." He meant it as the
general, common gibe, but
she said, "He is indeed." What
had the fraternal
scum done to her? Something he could avenge? He was done
with war, but at this
moment bloody violence would be immensely
satisfying. "His name and
ridiculous." "Perhaps he has an
scumliness if you flail him with such a razor
tongue." "You'd be sharp if...
Oh!" It was pure
exasperation. "I suppose, being a man, you'll insist on
having your way. Very
well." She marched across the
street and into a
lane lined by rows of small cottages where she stopped by
the fourth door.
"Good night, sir." The breathy
hiss was angry, but
cautious. So, she didn't want to alert the neighbors to her
The only light here escaped from a couple of shuttered
windows, but Cate could
tell her small house probably only had two rooms on each
floor. From her
bearing and speech, she'd come down in the
"Is your brother inside?" he asked
thank God." "Will he be back
soon?" "Live here? Aaron?" She
laughed, but quickly
covered her mouth with her hand.
wrong here, and he found lame ducks so hard to ignore. It
was the bane of his
life. "If you were to invite me
in, ma'am, perhaps
I could advise you." "Invite
you in?" She
looked around frantically, seeking listeners. "Go
away." "I'm not planning a rape.
You need help, but
we can't discuss your situation
here." "We can't
discuss it anywhere. Go away or I'll
"Truly?" She hissed in a breath.
drunken..." A door opened nearby.
Woyeruptuh." The old man's accent
was so thick Cate
could hardly understand the words, and he was Yorkshire born
and bred. The
meaning was clear enough,
however. He pressed down
the latch and pushed her inside. He followed, having to duck
to save his head,
and shut the door. They both froze in place,