Jude Deveraux touches the heart with this captivating novel of unexpected passion, adventure, and second chances.
Forsaken by her guardian and narrowly escaping marriage to a money-hungry suitor, Regan flees Weston Manor, the only home she's ever known, determined to rule her own destiny. When Travis Stanford, a big, rugged American, finds Regan on London's docks, he vows to protect her -- unaware of the magnificent, iron-willed beauty she would become, or the dangerous, passion-filled future that awaited them both. From England's bawdy wharves to Virginia's elegant mansions, their love was kindled by chance, and flamed by the thrilling pursuit of unknown tomorrows.
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December 31, 1984
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Excerpt from Lost Lady by Jude Deveraux
WESTON MANOR SAT SERENELY AND QUIETLY IN THE MIDST of two acres of garden. It was a small house, unpretentious, looking like what it was -- an English gentleman's lodging in 1797. Only the keenest observer would notice that two of the gutters had fallen somewhat or that a corner of one of the chimneys was broken away or even that some of the painted trim was beginning to peel.
Inside, the only room that was fully lit was the dining room, but here, too, could be seen evidence of neglect. In the shadows, the Georgian chairs' upholstery was frayed and faded. Tiny bits of the plaster decorations on the tall ceiling had started to chip, and on one wall there was a lighter space where a painting had once hung.
But the young girl sitting on one side of the table was oblivious to any imperfections in the room, for her eyes were glued to the man across from her.
Farrell Batsford curved his wrist in such a manner that the ruffled silk at his cuff would not be stained by the juices from the roast. Taking only a bit of the meat onto his plate, he gave a thin smile to the girl across from him.
"Stop gawking and eat your dinner," Jonathan Northland commanded his niece, before looking away from her. "Now, Farrell, what were you saying about the shooting at your country place "
Regan Weston tried to look at her food, even to eat a few bites, but she couldn't manage to swallow any of it. How anyone expected her to be calm and eat at a time like this, when the man she loved was sitting so near her, she couldn't begin to understand. She stole another glance at Farrell, looking up at him through her long, dark lashes. He was aristocratic-looking with his long, thin nose and his almond-shaped blue eyes. The velvet coat he wore with the gold brocaded vest perfectly suited his looks and his slim, elegant body. Blond hair was arranged artfully around his narrow head, waving just a bit at the edge of his pure white cravat.
As Regan uttered a deep sigh, her uncle gave her another quelling look. Farrell wiped the corners of his thin lips delicately.
"Perhaps my bride-to-be would like to take a walk in the moonlight " Farrell asked quietly, pronouncing each word carefully.
Bride! Regan thought. This time next week she would be his wife, and she'd have him all to herself to love and cherish, to hold, to belong only to her. Overwhelmed by emotion, she could not speak; she could only nod in acceptance. As she tossed her napkin on the table, she was aware of her uncle's disapproval. Once again she wasn't acting as a lady should. From now on, she reminded herself for the thousandth time, she must remember who she was -- and who she was to become: Mrs. Farrell Batsford.