Cover Designer: Anna Spies
ONE WILD NIGHT . . .
Widowed & lonely, Bridget O’Shaughnessy Black indulges herself in a night of pleasure.
After all, she’s in disguise. And the baby girl? An unexpected blessing…until an old flame claims the child as his own to force Bridget to marry him.
ONE DETERMINED LADY. . .
Many women pursued Colin Warren, but only one climbed in his bedchamber window. When Bridget does it for the second time, she doesn’t have fun in mind. Colin is unfit to be a parent, and yet he has no choice but to acknowledge the little girl.
RISKING EVERYTHING FOR LOVE
Circumstances force Bridget and Colin together, yet grave differences divide them. Can love bridge the chasm that keeps them apart?
Bridget crept past the mews in the murky London darkness and into the tiny garden. She’d planned it all ahead of time, so she knew exactly where to go. She knotted her skirts front and back, climbed onto the rain barrel, shinned up the drainpipe, and pulled herself onto the roof of the bump-out behind Colin Warren’s lodging house.
The bump-out housed the landlady; conveniently for Bridget, Colin occupied rooms on the first floor at the back. His windows could be accessed from its roof.
It wouldn’t have come to this if Colin Warren wasn’t a lazy, good-for-nothing rake.
Well, perhaps not good-for-nothing at all. He’d been incredibly exciting in bed years ago. What a pity that one wild night was the cause of so much trouble now.
She crept slowly across the roof, keeping low. There were two windows; when she reached the one behind which a light showed, she raised herself slowly until her eyes cleared the sill. She peered through a gap in the curtains.
There he was, the good-looking devil, slouched on the sofa, running his hands through his thick, wavy, annoyingly gorgeous hair. The fireplace glowed with fading coals; a wine bottle and a chipped cup sat on the table beside a pile of newspapers.
The very papers in which she’d advertised! She would gladly strangle him if she didn’t need his help. She sneaked to the next window, which she knew from the previous evening’s reconnaissance was Colin’s bedchamber. He slept with it open, impervious to the smoke and grime. She would never understand why anyone chose to live in this filthy city. Colin had a perfectly good estate in Lancashire a few hours’ ride from her own house, in the brisk, clean countryside.
Gently, she pushed on the window sash. She eased it up, four, eight, twelve, sixteen inches. Listened—no sound from within. She glanced about—no one. Now or never.
She rose, shoved the window up hard, and climbed through, one leg, then her body, then the other leg. The bunched-up skirts of her gown caught on the sill, ripping as she yanked it through. She lost her balance and tumbled to the floor.
“What the bloody hell?”
Ah, well. She’d hoped for a more dignified meeting, but this would have to do. She stood and began calmly untying her skirts. Calmly in appearance, at least; her heart thudded chaotically and her fingers fumbled with the knots.
Colin Warren appeared in the doorway of his bedchamber, a branch of candles in one hand. Her breath caught, just as it had the first time she’d seen him, several years ago. What was it about him? Certainly, he was a handsome fellow. He had enough charm for ten men and knew his way around the bedchamber. But otherwise he was useless. She shouldn’t be so profoundly affected by him.
He stared, bemused and not particularly disturbed, as she got the knots undone and her skirts fell to her ankles where they belonged.
“You’ve got lovely legs, darling,” he drawled, “and it’s kind of you to offer, but I’m not going to take you up on it.”
Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. When they grew up, she turned to writing for grownups, first the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries and then Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Some of her Regencies have magic in them and some don’t (except for the magic of love, which is in every story she writes).
Barbara loves to cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks (or maybe tea cozies). She’ll manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth (hence the tea cozies, which she hasn’t tried yet). She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.