By Anne Stuart
Longing for the downfall of Nicholas Blackthorne, the infamous rake whom she holds chargeable for the lack of her advantage and her relatives fortune, Ghislaine de Lorgny is by surprise kidnapped via her so much hated enemy.
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I'm a sad case, Ellen. " She'd laughed, ignoring the very faintest remnant of a twinge. "I'm already old enough to get married, Tony. " he demanded lazily, a mocking glint in his cool gray eyes. " He'd shouted with laughter at that, and she'd had no compunctions about her flat-out lie. But she hadn't lied about one thing. Tony would be the last man she'd marry. Simply because he'd never ask her. One never got one's hopes and dreams handed to one on a silver platter. She'd arrived at Meadowlands still feeling uneasy, but the word that Tony had decided to make a last-minute visit went a long way toward banishing her concerns.
A matter of time, the doctor said. The next apoplectic fit would carry him off, and unless his black-sheep son made himself scarce, that fit would come all too soon. Nicholas felt no guilt. None at all, he told himself, as he watched his father struggle. He would have been more than happy to stay and watch his father die, if it hadn't been for the implacable decision of his elderly Uncle Teasdale. His mother's older brother was a bachelor, one of high-living tastes and an amazing amount of tolerance.
In Ghislaine's case it would have done no good. Ghislaine never listened to warnings, never seemed to listen to a word Ellen said. It was a wonder they were friends. She also, however, kept her distance from men, and from the world abovestairs. She allowed her mistress to be her friend, but only on her terms. When visitors were around, Gilly remained in the kitchen. When Ellen was alone in the house with only the half-deaf Binnie for companionship, Ghislaine would join her. If only she didn't have this miserable sense of foreboding that leaving Gilly at Ainsley Hall had been tantamount to sealing her doom.