Coulter's revamped first novel-a gothic regency romance The #1 New York Times bestselling author's very first novel, rewritten as a Gothic. A woman who makes the wrong choice for a husband may not live to marry the man of her dreams...
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September 30, 1999
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Excerpt from The Countess by Catherine Coulter
Of course I didn't know who he was the first time I saw him. Nor did I really care who he was -- not at first. It was only three weeks after I'd buried my grandfather. My cousin Peter, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home from Paris until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king.
At the moment, unlike the French, I didn't feel much of anything.
Until I saw him.
I was in the park walking George -- my Dandie Dinmont terrier, whom some people believed to be ugly as a devil's familiar on a bad day -- oblivious of all the beautifully dressed people driving around in their landaus, riding their prime horseflesh, or simply walking, as I was. George and I were both silent, George out of habit, as there had been little else but silence since Grandfather had died. He was silent even when I picked up a small tree branch and threw it a good twenty feet away for him to fetch, an activity that usually sent him barking hysterically, leaping and bounding about until he clamped his jaws around the wild prey he'd captured and wrestled it to the ground. He was silent in his chase. He managed to get the branch, but it was at a cost.
The man beat him to it, picking up the branch, eyeing George, then giving my dog a blinding smile even as he threw it a good thirty feet. He stood there, hands on hips, watching George, again silent, run so fast his runty legs were a blur. Instead of bringing his beloved mistress -- namely me -- the branch, George trotted back to the man, tail high and wagging as steady as a metronome, and deposited the branch at his booted feet.
"George," I said, too loudly, "come away now. You know that you are the king of dogs. You have the silkiest topknot in creation. God looks down upon you daily and is very pleased. Come along. I don't want anyone to steal you."
"It's true he is a magnificent animal," the man called out, and I knew sarcasm when it punched me in the nose. "Yes, he is blessed with an amazing presence, but I swear I am not thinking of his abduction for a possible ransom. You know, though, there may be some people, dolts naturally, who just might say that with all that mustard and red hair, someone would steal him in order to blind an enemy."