Emmanuel, Chevalier de Cantière, youngest son of a baron, is happiest raising horses far from his complicated family. When news comes his mother is deathly ill, he races to her side only to find she has apparently recovered and moved on, leaving behind her companion, Catherine.
Catherine de Fouet blends into the background, saving up so she’ll never have to wait on waspish, scheming old ladies like the baronesse again. She has no interest in a resentful gentleman, estranged from his mother, no matter how broad his shoulders or intriguing the wounded soul behind his handsome face. She just needs someone to escort her back to Versailles.
But Catherine is suspected of poisoning the baronesse. She rebuffs a pushy courtier who tries to use blackmail to make her his mistress, and her reputation hangs by a thread.
The chevalier wants more than anything to protect this woman whose prickly exterior hides sweetness and passion. They need his family to help him through court intrigues—almost as much as they need each other.
Manu swung down at the front door and hesitated for just a moment, looking up at the gray stone portico. He handed the horse’s reins to a groom and leapt up the stairs. The majordomo opened the door and bowed to him.
“My mother?” he barked, sounding angrier than he intended.
“She is gone, Monsieur Emmanuel.”
“Gone?” His mother had died? He had come as quickly as he could. His knees wobbled.
The majordomo steadied him, then apologized for grabbing him. “She left this morning for Paris.”
Manu’s spine snapped straight. “Paris?”
“Oui, Monsieur. She woke up two days after your father sent for you.”
Manu brushed past the servant, the heels of his traveling boots ringing on the marble floor of the entryway. She couldn’t wait for me to come home? She didn’t know I would come? He opened his mouth to say as much but decided against complaining to a servant. “Is my father in residence?”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Philippa Lodge has a hundred stories in her head and a social media addiction. She writes historical romance set in Louis XIV’s France (sometimes with the king himself!); New Adult romantic women’s fiction-type stories set in small-town, small-college, modern America; and contemporary romance with nerdy beta heroes and cranky heroines whose pasts can be healed with the love of a good man. She lives with one husband, two cats, and three kids in the inland valley of California.
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