In England, 1816, spinster Elizabeth Thorn has been more slave than servant as her father’s housekeeper. The courageous war stories shared by author Paul Silver inspire her to correspond with him. But after years of heartfelt letters, he stops replying...
Jonathan Silverton blames himself for the brutal death of his best friend. When he moves to the countryside and unexpectedly meets his correspondent, he chooses not to reveal his secrets. But he cannot deny his desire to marry her, while hoping she’ll never discover the truth. Shattered trust and faith may tear them apart...until they each learn a vital lesson.
"Matthew," Elizabeth hissed.
He grinned, unrepentant. "My sister instructs me I am not to ply you with my myriad questions, at least, not yet."
"You're incorrigible," she muttered. It was all she could do not to clamp her hand over her mouth. She'd never meant to utter the words aloud.
Mr. Jonathan Silverton turned his full attention on her, his gray-eyed gaze flicking over her from head to foot and back again.
Vague discomfort rippled through her. She knew she was unaccustomed to a man's attention, but had he lingered overlong in his perusal of her? Had she ever endured such scrutiny? Under her sire's critical gaze, of a certainty, and perhaps his cronies as well. This had felt different. The latter invariably filled her with the sensation of being one of her father's breeding mares, but not coming from Mr. Silverton. Instead, she had sensed something more -- familiarity or perhaps recognition -- and yet how could such a thing be when they'd never met before this moment? She would remember if they had, without a doubt. His brooding world-weariness and striking appearance were unforgettable.
She concentrated on keeping her own gaze directed to the gentleman's face, endeavoring not to notice his broad shoulders and chest, encased in a close-fitting coat and waistcoat, or his trim waist and lean hips and legs, in tailored trousers and boots, all of chocolate brown. In contrast, his shirt was stark white, and the cravat was tied with practiced carelessness. She suspected his piercing gray-eyed inspection of her discerned a great deal more than she wanted to reveal. Dragging her gaze away from his eyes to the rest of his face, she noticed it was tanned, his cheekbones high, his forehead broad, framed with light brown locks curling in disarray. His straight nose drew her perusal to his bow-shaped lips, the lower being fuller than the upper, and accentuated by his square jaw.
He stepped forward, and she offered her hand, smiling, hoping her own nervousness did not show. As handsome as he was, a darkness overshadowed him, a burden on his soul.
Tucking away her contemplations, she interjected, "Please pay no attention to my brother. He may be three and twenty, but when it comes to horses he is more like three and ten."
"Ellie, never say so. Seven and ten, at least, was when I knew enough to appreciate quality, when I saw it, and even you cannot deny those horses were prime quality."
Though Mr. Silverton offered a pleasant smile, it did not reach his eyes.
Author: Laurel Hawkes
Length: Plus Novel
Photography/Artwork: Carol Fiorillo