By Judith Ivory

A Dutiful HeartAs befitting her identify, beautiful put up Channing-Downes used to be the right kind, obedient spouse of an getting older marquess -- until eventually her husband's loss of life left her penniless and alone...with one final marital legal responsibility to satisfy. Entrusted with supplying a small black field to its rightful proprietor, she calls upon Graham Wessit, the infamous Earl of Netham, lifestyles has been ceaselessly marred through rumor and scandal. yet Graham wishes not anything to do with a bequest from the fellow he holds chargeable for his destroy -- or with thebewitching emissary who brings it. within the face of breathtaking erotic secret -- within the throes of an infected ardour unbeckoned yet most unlikely to disclaim -- a rogue's hardened middle will be undone by way of love...and a staidbeauty in straits may well study the beautiful, sensuous freedom of hand over.

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Then damp, wrinkled, and breathless from her mad dash, she leaned back into the cushions and let out a sigh of satisfaction. Another calamity averted. As the time stretched out, she even began to feel content, listening to the storm raging around her on all sides. She liked a good storm, so long as she was sheltered, dry and secure inside. Indeed, she could have conceivably felt less than dry and secure. She had spent the morning with a barrister, discussing how to put a roof back over her head: William Channing-Downes had not only contested Henry’s will, he had also put Henry’s properties, including her home in East Anglia, into the custody of a probate court.

She whispered, leaping to get the lamp. As she fumbled with the tinderbox, her hands shook. The surface of the writing desk blazed into light. She spread the pictures—there were an even dozen of them—as best 46 Ju≥itπ Ivor¯ she could under the bright kerosene lamp. She could not believe what she saw. They were illicit pictures, sketches of naked men and women doing God knew what to each other. Submit’s heart began to pound. She looked up suddenly, as if someone were about to find her with these.

He saw himself as older, more experienced; he was sure he knew more than she. And yet she paid no obeisance to these facts. William’s bitterness was the lament of a man cheated. “Let me just tell you, young lady, it was no simple matter of the prodigal son. There was no fatted calf. You never saw Graham at Motmarche Castle, I would wager; neither by invitation nor by his own accord. Henry severed him. Like a gangrene. ” William seemed suddenly and immensely pleased with the euphony of his own judgment.

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