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His Saving Grace
Secrets & Seduction # 4
Secrets & Seduction # 4
By: Sharon Cullen
Releasing December 23rd, 2014
Perfect for fans of Mary Balogh, Sharon Cullen’s captivating novel tells the deeply emotional tale of two devoted lovers facing the ravages of war.
For months now, Lady Grace Ashworth has mourned the death of her beloved husband—until the day a very-much-alive Michael arrives at her front door. It’s nothing less than a miracle. However, Grace soon realizes that this Michael isn’t the same man who left for the Crimean War. She’s stunned to learn that he has suffered a devastating head injury. Putting all her own desires aside, Grace resolves to devote herself to Michael’s recovery and to love him no matter what troubles may come.
Convinced that his wife is wasting her time on a broken man, Michael attempts to shield Grace from a life of inconvenience by driving her away. But Grace will have none of that. Despite every obstacle Michael throws in her path, she stubbornly soldiers on, fighting not only for their marriage but for the love they once shared. In the end, will her determination alone be enough to save Michael from the darkness that threatens to consume him?
“Timmons will make an excellent husband and will see to all of your needs,” Nigel said. “His status as a new baron is quite proper, as well as his annual income from his investments.”
Grace could care less about Timmons’s income. What bothered her was that she was being pushed off on a man for whom she held no feelings other than mild friendship. And that she would spend the rest of her life living with one man while mourning another.
“It’s a disgrace, I say.” Ida Fisher, Grace’s lady’s maid, cook, housekeeper, and companion all rolled into one, followed Grace around the sitting room of the dower house, her anger taking up all the air. Grace couldn’t blame Ida; she was just as furious. But really, she wished Ida would stop her indignation for just a moment so Grace could think in peace.
“There’s nothing to be done, then?” Ida asked. “Nothing?”
“I don’t believe so. Nigel has everything tied up in a neat bow, right down to the reading of the banns and the date of the wedding.”
Ida harrumphed. “I don’t like this. You have no family to turn to, and he knows that.”
Grace didn’t like it, either. Ida was right. Grace had no family to turn to, since both her parents had died in an influenza epidemic four years ago. She’d had only Michael for family.
“Seems the least he could do was let a lady decide her own wedding date,” Ida said.
Yes, it seemed.
“So what are you to do?” Ida picked up an antimacassar from the back of a chair to twist the lace.
Grace gently took the mutilated lace and smoothed it back into place on the chair. “What am I going to do? I’m going to attend the festival committee meeting, like I had been planning, that’s what I’m going to do.”
“But my lady, how can you even think of festivals at a time like this?”
“Because, Ida, I can’t think of Nigel or marriage or anything else right now.” Because going to the festival planning committee was the most she could do at the moment without falling apart. And she knew if she stayed within these walls and thought about what had happened up at the manor house, she would fall apart.
So she gathered her parasol, adjusted her hat in the mirror, and set off for Prudence Davison’s home. Prudence was the chair of the festival committee and the wife of the local solicitor, a very nice woman who managed to pull together the festival every year with her long lists and her ability to corral everyone together and browbeat those who tended toward laziness. No one dared to take her place; neither did anyone want the position of committee chair; so everyone deferred to Prudence and was happy to do so.
Grace had her driver and all-around handyman, George—also known as Ida’s husband—drop her off a few blocks from Mrs. Davison’s home, situated just off the main street. Grace enjoyed the exercise and nodded to the people she knew as she passed them. Hadley Springs wasn’t London, and that had been just fine with her and Michael. William, Michael’s older brother and the earl at the time, had allowed them the use of Blackbourne Manor because he preferred the excitement of London, while Grace and Michael were much more suited to country living. The arrangement had been simple and convenient for all parties involved. When he’d been home from his duties as an officer in the First Royal Dragoons, Michael would see to the vast expanse of lands and the income Blackbourne Manor generated, and William would see to all the other estates and investments.
The memories of Michael were sharp today and her grief fresh. Some days she missed Michael so much it took everything she had to get through the day. There were still moments when she made mental notes of things to tell him before she remembered that he would never walk through the front door again or laugh at a funny story she’d told.
Sharon Cullen is the author of the historical romances The Notorious Lady Anne, Loving the Earl, and Pleasing the Pirate, as well as many novels of romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. If you’d like to find out more about the author and her books, you can visit her blog or her website. She is addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion: books.