Having inherited a family estate she’d never heard of, Minerva Goodridge travels to Cornwall to take charge of her new home. But fatal memories lurk in the shadows of Trekellis Manor. As the locals keep away from the house, Minnie accepts the help of a stranger. Can she trust him?
Gideon Drake, 8th Earl of Rothdale, is on a mission to uncover a family secret linked to Trekellis Manor. But the arrival of Minerva, the new owner, disrupts his investigation. Attracted to the headstrong heiress, he decides to take action - and ends up uncovering more than he expected.
Gideon must weigh up his family’s reputation against Minnie’s, but will the revelations tear them apart?
I think you should leave now.
Minnie remembered her words to Gideon Drake as she pummeled the pillow into submission before lying back. Crossing her arms, she stared at the ceiling in the light of a solitary candle. How dared he!
A wave of indignation washed through her. She brushed aside a pang of conscience. No, she had most definitely not enjoyed the kiss. Gently, she touched her lips with her fingertips. Four days had passed, yet she could still taste him. At first, her lips had felt sore, then she’d begun to crave more, the fire between her legs burning stronger with every day she didn’t see him.
This had to stop. She crossed one leg over the other, ignoring the warmth spreading from her center. Lord Drake was just an adventurer, a rake, here on a whim to play lord amongst the locals.
After she had–politely–kicked him out of the house, Minnie had thrown herself into a tidying frenzy. Two further reception rooms, four bedrooms including Walker’s, and all the servants’ quarters had fallen prey to her cloths and dusters. She giggled, remembering Beth’s astounded face when she’d rolled up the sleeves of an old gown of hers and, gritting her teeth, set to wiping surfaces, removing curtains and drapes, beating the dust from padded chairs and settees. Not that the maid had stopped either. Her skills at cleaning floors, doors and windows had worked wonders. Together, they’d finally managed to make Trekellis Manor sparkle again.
Apart from the study.
Claiming a headache, she’d refused to see Lord Drake when he visited the day after the kiss. But watching him ride away from behind the curtains of a reception room hadn’t been as satisfying as she’d have preferred. Somehow, the man made her blood boil, and the longer she left it to simmer the more miserable she became.
True to his word, he’d sent Eaton’s gardener to attack the overgrown shrubs, the high grass, and the moss stuck to the weathered stone of the building. Even the towers were slowly cleared of their encroaching ivy. The piles of cut branches burnt for hours on the pyres he built close to the cliff’s edge–at safe distance from the house.
Then, the day before, Gideon Drake hadn’t come. Nor today had he stopped by. His absence irked her but her pitiful attempts at questioning the gardener to discover whether Lord Drake had left Cornwall altogether led to shrugs. The Cornishman minded his own business, apparently.
Minnie blew out the candle and turned on her side, drawing her knees up, her arms draped loosely around them. She had to establish her life here, and her name as the owner of Trekellis Manor.
That was important, not some lord on a fancy quest into his family history.
She firmly closed her eyes, determined to banish all thoughts of Lord Drake.
At 99c / 77p, it's a steal! :-)