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More than once during the past four hours, he had berated himself for pressing on from Glen Shiel in the face of such strong storm warnings. But he had wanted to reach Kyle Rhea and the ferry crossing to the Isle of Skye before nightfall so that he could return his borrowed horse and sail home to Lochbuie.


However, much as he wanted to feel his own boat beneath him again, no man of sense would risk oarsmen or vessel, not to mention himself, by trying to pole a ferry or row a longboat anywhere tonight. He needed to find shelter, and quickly. By noon that day, the clouds had hung so low over nearby hills as to make him wonder idly if, by standing atop his saddle, he might touch them with his whip. Then darkness had drawn nearer, the clouds had turned purple-black, and the winds had attacked, roiling them into frenzied harbingers of what he presently endured.

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The wind chose that moment to pick up again, and the rain, too, slanting sheets of it that threatened to drown both him and the horse. Lightning flashed again but more distantly, and the crack and roll that followed took time to reach him. The worst of the storm, at least this part of it, was moving on. He had complete sympathy with the horse, for if the truth were known, the crackling bolts frightened him witless and had done so since his childhood, when he had feared that such a bolt might crack open the sky and drop God right out of heaven to smash headlong into the ground or the sea.

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And even if the lightning failed to get God, it could certainly get him. Maturity had eventually persuaded him that an all-powerful God could survive lightning, but it had not yet persuaded him that his own mortal body was any match for it. He had fought to conquer his fear, and he certainly did not admit its existence to anyone but himself, because he had his reputation to maintain. With gust-driven rain beating down on him again and increasingly distant sheets of lightning providing the only light ahead, he bent his thoughts sternly toward finding shelter.

He knew of only one landowner nearby who might provide acceptable hospitality on demand, and although he might find a crofter sooner, a croft would provide few amenities for himself and his horse. You are a good girl, Anne. Indeed, I do not know what we shall do here without you to make peace when the others choose to quarrel.

But, as I told your mama, it is quite rare luck to find such a good match for a third daughter. She is convinced that whatever rakish propensities he has not already left behind him in order to manage his nephew's affairs will be put right out of his head by marriage. Furthermore, not only is he the son of a duke, but the lad's got a respectable estate of his own.

Not a large one, mind you, but it ought to bring in quite a snug little income now that he seems of a mind to manage it properly. You'll be comfortable, in any event, since you will be living for some years, at least, at Upminster Priory, which is a ducal seat, after all. Indeed, thanks to my godfather's generosity, and yours, my own portion is quite respectable enough for comfort. He did not meet her gaze. Michael had some pressing problems That need not concern you, of course, but I found it necessary to give in to certain demands he made with regard to the settlements.

I hope the news don't distress you. She was shaken, albeit not by the news that her husband-to-be had a rakish reputation, or that he was expensive. In her experience, many young men shared those qualities, and despite the fact that her great-aunt Martha had married a rake, and in direct consequence, had died of a dread disease, Anne did not anticipate such an eventuality for herself. But to know that she would have no say in how her money was spent was far more alarming, for she was well aware that to have even the smallest authority would give her an independence in her marriage that she would otherwise lack.

She knew better than to express her feelings to the earl, however, or indeed to anyone in her family, for they were all too concerned with their own needs to consider hers. She reassured him, as it was her habit to do, and agreed at once when he said they ought to join the others in the family chapel. The group awaiting them was a small one, since only immediate family members and close friends had been invited to witness the marriage of Lady Anne Davies to Lord Michael St.

Anne smiled at one familiar face after another, hoping she looked more composed than she felt as she walked at her father's side up the narrow center aisle, preceded by her eldest sister, Catherine, who was to support her through the ceremony. The younger of her two sisters, Beth, standing between her tall, handsome husband, Tony, and Lady Rendlesham in the front row, grinned impishly over her shoulder at Anne. Harry, at twenty-three, was the eldest and had acquired some dignity, but Bernard shifted impatiently from foot to foot, wanting the ceremony to begin. Ahead of her, standing between the one friend who had come with him to Rendlesham and the thin, elderly parson who would perform the ceremony, was her husband-to-be.

Though she had exchanged only a handful of sentences with Lord Michael in the short time they had been acquainted, once the ceremony was over, she would be his wife, subject to his every command until death parted them. The thought sent a shiver up her spine, but whether it was a thrill of anticipation or one of terror, Anne herself did not know. Dark-haired Lord Michael St. Ledgers, fashionably attired in buff knee breeches and a dark, well-fitting coat, towered over both his friend, Sir Jacob Thornton, and Parson Hale. His broad shoulders were squared, his carriage that of a military man—which indeed, he had been for a few years after leaving Oxford.

He was nine-and-twenty, nine years older than Anne, and although his stern demeanor made him look older, she thought him handsome.

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As she approached, his gaze caught hers and held it. She was aware that Sir Jacob also watched her. Indeed, he seemed to make a habit of watching her, and his manner was not what she was accustomed to in a gentleman, for his style was too familiar. A sandy-haired man of medium height and florid complexion, older than her bridegroom by some ten years or more, he had laughed when Lord Michael presented him, saying he thought it a great kindness in himself to have agreed to support him through the ordeal of his wedding, and was doing so only because he had pressing parliamentary business in Derby and Rendlesham took him no more than twenty miles out of his way.

He had lost no time in informing everyone that he was a Member of Parliament, making it clear that he held an exalted opinion of his stature. My "convenient marriage" spree is off to a good start, apparently. I'm super duper glad I took risks by ignoring the low rating of this book. IMO that almost screams "skip this shit and get the hell out of here.

Yes folks. Red herring. Suskoday I love this shit.

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Oct 06, Myrtha rated it it was ok. This book had an interesting start. It promised something different though sort of predictable but different nonetheless. Do not want to be spoiler just want to say that editors are supposed to check for scenes that contradict themselves later in the narrative. I'm sorry the book was not more realistic. I was disappointed! Oct 31, Elis Madison rated it really liked it Shelves: a-bit-of-mystery , era-georgian , hidden-identities , marriage-of-convenience.

The story starts with a bang—a murder, from the POV of the victim. The usual references to the lack of women's rights is much stronger with themes of forced prostitution, rape, violence and murder. If you're looking for a light a fluffy regency romance then give this one a miss. If you're looking for a bit more grit, with villains to truly despise then this might be worth a go! By: Amanda Scott. Narrated by: Joanna Daniel.

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Length: 12 hrs and 45 mins.