He doesn't need a wife. She doesn't want a husband. Destiny's not listening.
Book 2 in the Gypsy Legacy Series
As children, Brand Waring, heir to the Duke of Warringham, and his brother were kidnapped and sold to a plantation in the West Indies. Now Brand is back to wreak vengeance on those responsible for his brother's subsequent death. The last thing he wants, or needs, is to be distracted by an instant attraction to a flighty Society belle.
Felicia Collings has found it easy to refuse every marriage proposal, thanks to a ring left to her by her gypsy great-grandmother. Reportedly it will lead her to the man whom she is destined to marry. To her relief, the ring has been blessedly silent on this issue. Until Brand recognizes it, and sparks fly.
In spite of himself, Brand finds himself drawn to the beauty, and to the wounded soul reflected in her eyes. At his gentle hands, Felicia begins to learn what it means to be cherished and loved.
Then the past rears its head to threaten their fragile happiness. As Brand begins to doubt whether vengeance is as sweet as a lifetime with Felicia, he finds himself racing to save them both from not one cold-blooded killer--but two.
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August 25, 2008
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Excerpt from Gypsy Legacy by Denise Patrick
Brand stood at the window, a glass of whiskey in his hand, blindly staring out over the street. Pymm had done what he could, but found little to go on. There were rumors, he'd told Brand, but none he could confirm. Most of the rumors led to men long dead. Those who were still alive remembered nothing or denied participation, and not even gold could jog their memories. In the end, he asked the detective to dig into his stepmother's background. There was probably nothing there either, but it made him feel like he was doing something.
He closed his eyes momentarily and his brother's face swam before him, forever frozen at age six. If not for the kidnapping, Michael might still be alive. His hand clenched the glass he held. Someone would pay for Michael's death. He would not give up his search for answers.
Turning from the window, he froze. Lady Felicia stood just inside the door, watching him. For a moment, they took each other's measure, then she closed the door and crossed the room toward him.
He watched her approach warily. The skirts of her light blue morning gown swished around her legs as she walked and curiosity lurked in the blue depths. Her skin, fresh and unblemished, dared him to touch it, and he wondered if her lips were as soft and sweet as they looked. All sailors knew stories of the sirens of myth, but here was one on dry land and he was afraid drowning might be the least of his worries.
"Where's Jon?" she asked, coming to a stop in front of him.
It took a few moments for her question to register, but it shook him out of the daze he seemed to be in. Finishing off the contents of the tumbler, he put down the empty glass and moved further into the room, away from the window. It wouldn't do for either of them to be seen by a passerby.
"He's not here. He was called away this morning."
"Away?" She frowned. "Where?"
"To Wynton Abbey," he replied. "There was a groom waiting for him when he returned last evening with a report of a fire. The damage was apparently minimal, but he left early this morning to view it for himself. Said he'd be back in a week or so. He may have left a note for you with the housekeeper."
"Oh." Disappointment laced her words. She hesitated a moment, then followed him into the center of the room, where she seated herself on a settee as he took up a stance by the fireplace, one arm negligently resting on the mantle. He tried not to stare at her, but the puzzled expression on her face made him curious. He did not expect her next words. "And when do you leave for The Downs?"
The question hit him like a blow, but his reaction obviously surprised her because her own eyes widened in apprehension before she hurriedly continued.
"You and Eliza are obviously related. And since she has been hoping for the appearance of her brother for three years now, it did not take much to come to the conclusion you might be he. Of course--" she grinned impishly, "--you could tell me I haven't the faintest notion of what I'm talking about."
"I see," he said, his equilibrium restored somewhat by her grin. "And you reasoned it out for yourself?" His lips quirked and she responded with a bright smile, unaware of its effect on his temperature.
"Of course," she said. "It didn't come to me until the middle of the night when I finally realized where I'd seen eyes that unusual color before. No one who knows Lady Barrington and meets you would think anything except that you must be brother and sister. The resemblance is remarkable."
"Your brother warned me you might figure it out."
"Did he?" she asked. "Well, yes, I guess he would. No matter. Edward will be thrilled. I hope your father will let him purchase a commission now. It's all he really wants."
He stiffened and his smile vanished.
"And do my brother's wants mean so much to you?"
She frowned. "Well, yes. He'll be much happier once he has a chance to be himself."
"And where do you fit? Do you plan to help him be himself?" Why did he care?