The acclaimed author of The Devil You Know pens a shimmering novel about a Scottish noblewoman on the run from her past and a powerful English lord brought to his knees by desire.
Aubrey Montford claims to be a widowed housekeeper. Desperate to keep her new post -- and her secrets -- she transforms desolate Castle Cardow into a profitable estate. Yet soon after her employer, Lord Walrafen, returns from long years of absence, Aubrey is suspected of murder. Sparks and tempers ignite whenever she and the smoldering earl meet, but he may be her only hope.
Walrafen returns reluctantly to the childhood home he loathes. Cardow is said to be haunted -- by more than the earl's sad memories -- but it was no ghost that murdered his uncle. Is the castle's beautiful chatelaine a murderess? At the very least, she's a liar -- he has proof. Yet the truth of his soul is that he's drawn to her with a kind of fierce passion he's never known....
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February 24, 2004
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Excerpt from A Deal With the Devil by Liz Carlyle
In Which Lord de Vendenheim is Not Amused
It was a lovely afternoon in Mayfair. The windows of shops and homes alike had been flung open to take in the autumn breeze, and up and down Hill Street, housemaids were seizing the chance to sweep down their front steps while the sun was still warm. Coachmen doffed their hats more readily when they went clopping past, and along the pavement a half-dozen footmen lingered, taking in the fresh air and waiting for something -- or nothing -- to do.
The Earl of Walrafen's library was perfectly situated to enjoy such a day, positioned as it was on a second-floor corner. All four of his sashes were up, and behind him he could hear pigeons warbling as they preened and picked at their feathers. But unlike the housemaids, Walrafen was not content -- he rarely was -- and so he tossed the letter he was reading onto his desk and scowled across the room at his clerk.
"Ogilvy!" he bellowed. "The pigeons! The pigeons! Get them off the bloody windowsills!"
Ogilvy's face went blank, but to his credit, he leapt from his writing table and charged, a yardstick in hand. "Shoo, shoo!" he cried amidst the thumping and fluttering of wings. "Off, you wee devils!"
That done, he bowed stiffly and returned to his copying. Walrafen cleared his throat and felt a bit foolish. Perhaps young Ogilvy was not yet a full-fledged man of affairs, but it really was not the lad's job to chase pigeons, was it Walrafen opened his mouth to apologize, but in that instant the breeze shifted to a gale and blew open the file on his desk. Two years of correspondence went whirling through the room, a tiny tornado of foolscap.
Walrafen cursed aloud. "Is it not enough, Ogilvy, that that woman must plague me weekly with her harangues " he grumbled as they gathered up the papers. "Now it seems Mrs. Montford's file is possessed by the devil, too."
And it did indeed seem to be so, for the air was perfectly still now. Ogilvy tapped the file's edge lightly on Walrafen's desk. "No harm done, sir." He handed the file back to Walrafen. "It's all here."
The earl smiled wryly. "That's what I'm afraid of."
The lad grinned and went back to his work. Walrafen opened the file and began the topmost letter again.