A life-long love of stories and adventure, it was either become a stuntwoman for the movies or live out those adventures from the safety of her PJ's and computer. Award-winning author, Robyn DeHart chose the latter and couldn't be happier for doing so. Known for her unique plotlines and authentic characters, Robyn is a favorite among readers and reviewers. Publishers' Weekly claims her writing to be "comical and sexy" while the Chicago Tribune dubs her "wonderfully entertaining." Robyn is an award-winning author as well as being a four-time RT Bookclub Reviewers' Choice award nominee, and a three-time RomCon Reader's Crown nominee. Robyn lives in Texas with her brainy husband, two precocious little girls and two spoiled cats. You can find Robyn on-line at her website or at one of her group blogs, the Jaunty Quills or Peanut Butter on the Keyboard.
Places to find Robyn:
Jaunty Quills: http://jauntyquills.com/
Peanut Butter on the Keyboard: http://peanutbutteronthekeyboard.wordpress.com/
A lone witness finds her protector...
Since losing her sight in a childhood accident, Mia Danvers has resided in a small cottage on the vast Carrington estate. Thought to be dead, Mia lives a life of virtual seclusion—until one night, while walking home, she happens upon a horrendous crime.
Alex Foster, Eighth Duke of Carrington, lives according to society’s expectations for him. He’s never met the woman who lives in the cottage at the edge of his property. But when she arrives at his door in the pouring rain terrified and claiming she has witnessed a murder, she seizes his attention.
Mia is determined to help the authorities track down the culprit, even though the only person willing to accept her aid is the handsome, arrogant duke. Working closely together proves difficult as Mia’s beauty and independence tempts Alex to ignore convention and follow his desire. But what neither of them know is that this murderer has struck before in Whitechapel, taunting the British press only to vanish—a ruthless killer who knows that Mia is the only living witness to his crime…
She returned to her seat on the sofa and reached over to the pile of rags beside her. Neatly, she folded one of the rags in her lap, then placed it in the folded pile.
“This cottage is in complete disrepair,” he said. As he took a seat on the sofa next to her, the springs groaned beneath his weight. The thing had lost a good bit of its padding and the hard coil of springs pressed against the upholstery, making it a rather uncomfortable piece of seating furniture. “I shall hire a contractor immediately to come and fix everything that warrants repair. It would make things go much faster, though, if you and Rachel could prepare a list.”
Surprise crossed her features briefly before she schooled her expression. “That won’t be necessary,” she said. She retrieved another rag.
The cottage was clean and obviously well cared for, but the need for reparations was so obvious. Alex felt a pang of guilt at the fact that she’d lived here for nearly nine years and he was the first person to come and check on the state of affairs. And that wasn’t even the true reason he’d come today, though now that he was here he could not ignore the neglect. She wasn’t technically a responsibility of the Carrington family, but still she was a person, one whom her own family had walked away from. Someone should see to her welfare.
“It’s not about necessity, it’s about taking care of my own property,” he said.
“I do not require your charity,” she said tartly. Then she took several deep breaths. “My apologies. I did not mean the disrespect. I, of course, am very grateful to live here; I only meant that it is not your responsibility to pay for repairs. The cupboard doors work well enough.”
He didn’t bother to ask how she’d known he’d been glancing at them. He’d learned in the last couple of days that Mia Danvers was exceptionally observant. “What of the draft beneath the front door?” he asked. “Or the way the floor creaks. There are also signs that the roof needs patching. Am I not allowed to restore my own property?”
“Of course.” She dropped the rag into her lap. “Alex, I have lived in this cottage for nine years and no one has ever visited to see of the state of affairs. What is the true reason for your visit?” She tossed him a rag. “Here, you want to be helpful, help me fold.”
A duke folding rags? The square fabric lay across his lap in a haphazard manner. She really had no notion of propriety, or if she did she simply didn’t seem to care. But then what had Society ever done for her? Turned its back on her, banished her here to live without family or a husband or any manner of protection?
She passed him three additional rags, though he had yet to fold the first one. She then proceeded to fold the one on her lap. Her long fingers moved gracefully and methodically as she folded one side and then the other so that she ended up with a neat little square. He tried, in vain, to mimic her movements, but his efforts resulted in an uneven mess. He watched her for several moments before he spoke again.
“I wanted to apologize again,” he said to her.
“For what?” Mia asked. She placed the folded rag onto the stack of others, then reached for the remaining one.
“Taking liberties with you,” he said.
“The kiss?” Her hands stopped moving, but she worried the fabric between her thumb and forefinger. “Why should you apologize for that?”
He tried again to fold as she had done, but he seemed all thumbs. He reached over and placed the remaining rags in her lap. “There is a reason men don’t do this.”
She smiled briefly.
“I need to apologize because you are unmarried, I had no right to touch you.”
“My virtue is still intact.” She shrugged, but Alex couldn’t help but think she looked somewhat sad. “There was no harm done.”
“Still, there could have been significant damage had someone seen us,” he said.
She rounded her shoulders and sat straighter. “Well, I found the entire experience particularly enjoyable,” Mia said. “I am rather offended you feel the need to apologize.”
“That makes no sense,” Alex said.
“So you came all the way over here under the pretense of inspecting my cottage, then you proceed to degrade my humble abode, and now you’re apologizing because you and I shared one tiny kiss.” Her voice overflowed with indignation.
“It was not a pretense, your cottage is my responsibility,” he said. While the statement was perfectly true, he still lied when he said it. Hell, he’d come here partially to apologize for kissing her, but also to see if he was tempted to kiss her again. And he was. More than he’d been tempted earlier. But he couldn’t kiss her now. Not when he’d seen the truth of her situation.
She’d lived at the edge of Danbridge Hall for nearly a decade in acceptable accommodations, though they were clearly beneath her station. And he’d allowed it. He and his father and his brother before him. They’d sat over at Danbridge on their plush upholstered chairs, eating their fine dinners while Mia had resorted to stuffing a blanket beneath her door simply to keep warm.
“Tell me the truth.” She turned her body to face him, the rag half-folded in her lap. Her eyes met his and he would have sworn that she saw him, saw into him, she looked so deeply. “The real reason you’re apologizing is because you’re afraid I will cry foul and try and force you to marry me.”
He took a sobering breath. She wanted him to be honest. “I won’t lie, the thought did cross my mind,” Alex said.
“Might I remind you that I never asked you to marry me, nor do I have any desire to marry,” she said. “You or anyone else.”
“Well, that’s ridiculous, every woman wants to get married,” Alex said.
She was quiet for a moment, then she spoke, “You honestly believe that, don’t you? That women simply sit around waiting for some man to come along and save them from their lives of boredom and ignorance? Well, as you can see, I’m doing quite well here on my own,” she said, doing nothing to hide her anger. “Despite my broken cupboard doors.”
“Might I remind you that were it not for my family’s generosity, I don’t believe you’d have a cottage to live so well in,” he pointed out. He regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth, but damn if she wasn’t infuriating. How could she be so bloody pompous wearing that ugly wool dress?
She came to her feet, her eyes flashed with anger. She tossed the remaining rags onto the sofa. “I will need some time, but I do believe I could find other arrangements. I should like to find somewhere that I don’t have to endure not only male advances but then suffer through their humiliating apologies afterward.”
Robyn DeHart will be giving away winner's choice of the following:
· Amazon Paperwhite
· Nook Glow
· $120 Gift Card for Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Open for US shipping ONLY.
a Rafflecopter giveaway