Never does he imagine hope will come in the form of a quirky, quick-witted lady determined to win the heart of another gentleman. Thanks to a painfully awkward past, Lady Amelia De Vere long ago relinquished the notion she was a flower that had yet to blossom. Bound by the bet, Amelia and Aversley discover unexpected understanding and passion beyond their wildest dreams, if only they can let go of their pride, put trust in each other and chance losing their hearts.
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Click here to see the cover or to read an excerpt. Miss Sophia Vane, a hoyden of the first order, makes an unlikely match when she weds Nathaniel Ellison, the rich and wary Duke of Scarsdale. What starts with an unexpected friendship soon blooms into a fiery passion. But a betrayal plunges Sophia into the thorny world of London Society and entangles her in a labyrinth of manipulation and jealousy that will test the strength of her marriage.
To break through the barriers and reclaim their happiness, they must do more than simply cast away their pride. They must fight for their very lives. His asking price? Thankfully, there is a way out of her dilemma—ensuring the rake never asks for her hand. But what is Jemma to do when her ally is an all-too handsome silver-tongued lord with a penchant for poetry that makes her question giving her heart to another man? Philip De Vere, Lord Harthorne, wishes to marry for love, but inherited debt and family obligations force him to seek a wealthy wife. But when an unrepentant hoyden claims to know a thing or two about how to make a man a rake, Philip finds he cannot resist.
Click here to see the cover or to read a n excerpt. Before I could speak, he continued, the expression on his face tortured now.
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More memories. How could they sleep with such horrible memories lurking in their minds? And we truly could not disobey--when I am a Hound, I feel compelled to do whatever my Master wishes. But when I am in human form--when I am in human form, I realize what I have done. I thought I did, at least this part of it. But when you're in human form, you have one? I'm sorry. When had I left my job as Assistant Director and become a Psychologist?
I know you know that. And you certainly don't need me to tell you that. He licked his lips. But how--how do I live with the past? No matter how hard that might be. You'll never be able to forget what Gabriel forced you to do. You could hate him for it, but I don't see that happening. Instead, you seem to be working together to learn to be a family. Perhaps I did have a chance at being a Psychologist. Or would that be a Psychiatrist? Which, in essence, was true.
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Malachi was silent for a long moment. What if I have spent the last thousand years blindly obeying my Master, save for that one time? How can I change so swiftly? Besides hunt for prey? And that was the reason why the Council had bound the Hunt a century before.
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I knew that much, at least. From somewhere, Ivy had produced a photocopy of a journal written by one of those long-ago Council members, chronicling the Hunt's binding. I had read it a month ago. The photocopy had vanished soon after, and I'd not dared ask her where she had found it.
Or stolen it from. The story of the breaking of that bond was less than a year old. The original binding had been meant to last a century, and the Council had freed the Hunt honorably, thus allowing Gabriel and the Hounds to live as they pleased.
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Within reason, of course. I had gotten the impression from more than one person that in the beginning, the supernatural community had waited with bated breath for Gabriel to return to his murdering ways. And that, grudgingly, these same individuals had later agreed that perhaps the destruction of the binding had been a good thing.
So I make up stories. A librarian's first love is stories, after all, closely followed by research. Some children didn't even have the loving parents part of the equation, especially in this modern day and age. An idea slowly formed in my mind. It's sponsored by a local non-profit daycare, and we provide programming for the children twice a week. Most of them are prohibitively expensive.
Having no children of my own, it was a bit difficult for me to relate. Most of them have to work, or else there would be no food on the table. Sometimes we have guests come in, local authors or artists. Or storytellers.
Most of the local authors and artists in town had day jobs to make ends meet. It was difficult at times to schedule a guest even once a month. He opened his mouth, I thought, to refuse.
And then something passed across his face, an emotion I could not interpret. He bit his lip and looked down at his clenched hands. I watched him do a quick calculation in his head. The program usually runs until five. The Hunt was mercurial in its strangeness. What seemed normal for them one day changed the next. I could no more predict how Malachi would reply than I could predict which book would become the next bestseller.
And he did come. He was waiting for me when I pulled into my parking spot the next morning.
I climbed out of my car. I'd even beat Penny to work, which should have been engraved on a plaque and bolted to the front door for everyone to see. He wore different clothing today, greens and browns that would blend into the backdrop of the forest. He carried a long polished stick, too, the Hunt's version of a blind man's cane.
I would have to warn the librarians on duty, just so they wouldn't think it strange for a member of the Wild Hunt to be roaming the halls. We can't keep you out, even if you have library fines. Malachi stiffened. She's on vacation. After most of the interest had died down, Ivy had created an exhibit using one of the gold coins. The director had taken to standing in front of the display for hours on end, muttering about gold. We never Hunted them. I would not pretend to know the reasons behind the dragons' displeasure.
So far, the only dragon I'd met was the Director, and I half-hoped it would stay that way.
If our Director was any indication, dragons were eccentric, inhuman even in human form, and had a fetish for gold that no amount of money could satisfy. That would make it easier to show you around. We walked around the building to the front door. Malachi seemed to have no trouble navigating the steps or the sidewalk.