The New York Times bestselling author's very first historical romance... Kidnapped and taken to the beautiful city of Genoa, Cassie Brougham finds love in the arms of her captor, while she is betrothed to another man.
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April 12, 2004
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Excerpt from Devil's Embrace by Catherine Coulter
Edward Forsythe Lyndhurst, fifth Viscount Delford, drew a deep breath of sea air and guided his bay mare closer to the rocky cliff. The day was unusually warm for the end of March, and the early afternoon sun reflected brightly from the blue water as it rippled gently toward the shoreline.
He tugged at his unfamiliar waistcoat and wished again he was still wearing his comfortable officer's crimson and white uniform. He suspected that his batman and valet, Grumman, felt the loss as much as did he. The fiery little Irishman had been full of voluble complaints about the hoity-toity fashions newly affected by English gentlemen. "Just like the ladies you'll look now, m'lord," he'd said, smoothing Edward's light blue coat over his shoulders, "all lace and bright colors, a strutting coxcomb."
Grumman, Edward thought, had a point.
Edward shifted in his saddle, shaded his eyes, and looked into the distance up the coastline toward Hemphill Hall, an ancient stone structure that stood at the very edge of the cliffs. He felt a powerful sense of anticipation at seeing the home of the Broughams, Cassie's home.
He drew a small miniature of Cassandra, painted on her fifteenth birthday, from his waistcoat pocket and gazed into the young girl's smiling face. Even at fifteen, her face had begun to take on a young woman's contours. Her high cheekbones, set above a well-formed stubborn chin, were delicate and finely etched, her large blue eyes vivid and questioning. He smiled at the thick wheat-colored hair braided about her head, and remembered how it rippled in deep, natural waves to her waist. He had thought her beautiful even when she was but eight years old and he a lad of fourteen, intolerant of other girls. He had painted outrageous adventures for her, with himself the brave military man, and she had listened to his every word, her eyes serious and intent.
Edward shook his head, bemused by memories that had not come to him in years. What an ass you were, he grunted to himself. But Cassie hadn't thought that. He still pictured her looking at him solemnly, her hair in scraggly ringlets about her small face, saying in her soft child's voice, "You must wait for me, Edward. I shall be a woman grown soon and then we shall wed. I shall follow the drum with you and share all your adventures."
He gazed once again at the miniature and wondered if Cassie was still the same long-legged, skinny girl. He thought about a letter she had written him some six months before, hinting at some rather perplexing changes in her appearance, and grinned at her oblique way of informing him that she was becoming a woman.