Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on December 5th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Lord Marcus Bowles has stained his family's reputation for the last time. Only after spending a scandal-free year restoring some far-flung property can this second son return in good graces. But Marcus isn't one to abandon a lone damsel on a dark country lane.
One stolen kiss and Genevieve Turner's handsome midnight savior disappears. Typical. No matter, Gen is finally on the way to her new post, and hopefully to finding her grandmother as well. Instead she finds her mischievous hero is her new employer. Surely a few more kisses won't hurt...
Midnight Meetings Series: Meet the Earl at Midnight (Book 1)The Lady Meets Her Match (Book 2)The Lord Meets His Lady (Book 3)
“Have you kissed her yet?” Samuel asked.
Marcus and Samuel rode along the pasture’s perimeter with an eye to the cottage. Miss Turner’s vibrant red cloak stood out against mellow sandstone. Shovel in hand, she jabbed the earth with determined thrusts. The weeds didn’t stand a chance.
“I assume we’re speaking of my housekeeper.” Marcus halted Khan. “A hardworking, respectable woman of excellent character. She’s done a fine job with Pallinsburn. I wouldn’t besmirch her honor with talk like that nor should you.”
Samuel rode on, his shoulders bouncing with laughter. “And every night she ascends to heaven on angel’s wings.”
If his friend saw right through him, how soon before others did?
“Came on strong, did I?”
Samuel pinched a small space between his thumb and forefinger. “A little.”
He urged his horse forward. “I don’t want her reputation damaged.”
“Should’ve thought about that before making her your housekeeper. People will talk.”
Marcus searched Miss Turner out again, a gust boxing his ears like some admonishing aunt.
Was it so wrong to want to help a woman in need?
His housekeeper cleared the last weedy invaders off his front step. Her serious exterior belied deep-seated passion, evidenced in the way she dove into every task. The enthusiasm fascinated him.
And yes, he admired her other parts.
“What will people talk about? Her youth?” he retorted. “Does a woman have to be long in the tooth to hold a decent position?”
“No, but it’d help if you were toothless. Or married.” Samuel stared ahead, the wind assaulting his queue. “We don’t set the rules, but we both know them.”
“You hired her, and you’re not a married man.”
Samuel’s gaze pinned him. “Nor do I have your unsavory reputation.”
“I’d wager my housekeeper has more honor, more determination in her little finger than any woman of my acquaintance,” he said fiercely. “Who I am should have no bearing on her.”
“Me thinks you doth protest too much…or whatever that drivel is. A clear sign you have it bad for her, but haven’t touched her. Yet.”
Why did Samuel hunt for sordid details? Likely he’d seen through Miss Turner with her low-cut bodices and saucy skirts. Didn’t matter. She worked hard. He didn’t care if she fit the proper housekeeper stamp or not.
He ought to buy a dull grey gown for her, if only to aid her reputation. Smiling against his collar, he guessed she wouldn’t wear it. Nor should she have to. One look at his red-cloaked gardener and he was certain of one thing: he’d do his anything to keep his friend, or any man, on the straight and narrow when it came to Miss Turner. She deserved a fresh start.
His housekeeper had nabbed a piece of his heart.
But the afternoon ride wasn’t meant to discuss his housekeeper’s allure. Samuel pulled his hat low, failing to look him in the eye.
“Quoting Shakespeare,” Marcus said. “You must be reading with Adam again.”