In this dazzling new novel from bestselling author Vanessa Kelly, the wildest member of Clan Kendrick has found his purpose as a government agent. Now he must also meet his match…
Lady Sabrina Bell has never been so embarrassed in her life. Not only did her new suitor fail to appear for their morning rendezvous in Hyde Park, but a thief pushed her into the Serpentine. Being rescued by a burly Highlander just adds to her humiliation. Nor is he content with rescuing her just once. Even when Sabrina travels to Edinburgh as part of King George’s entourage, Graeme Kendrick is there, interfering, exasperating, and so very tempting…
Once notorious for being the most unruly Kendrick brother, Graeme now runs dangerous missions for the King’s spymaster. Yet nothing has prepared him for Sabrina. The only child of a wealthy earl, and the pampered goddaughter of the king himself, she is stubborn, impetuous, and far too good for him. He doesn’t deserve her, but he can protect her and then send her safely back home. But the bonny Sassenach has her own ideas—and a plan for seduction that no red-blooded Highlander could resist…
Lady Sabrina Bell was attacked by a thief in Hyde Park and pushed into the Serpentine River. Graeme Kendrick, who’d been tracking the thief, rescued her. He’s now taking her to the home of mutual friends, Aden and Vivien St. George, in the hopes of avoiding a scandal.
The hackney took a sharp turn, all but tumbling her into Kendrick’s lap. She once more became sharply aware of his muscled thighs and imposing body—aware in a way she found shocking. Especially since the front of his wet breeches perfectly outlined—
Sabrina righted herself. “I beg your pardon.”
“We’re here,” he brusquely replied.
He was already opening the door and swinging out before the carriage came to a complete halt.
Trying to ignore the heat rushing to her face, she took his hand and stepped down with as much dignity as she could muster.
“You’re very flushed,” Kendrick said with a frown. “I hope you’re not catching a fever.”
She mentally winced. “I’m sure I’m not. I rarely fall ill.”
There was an awkward pause.
“Oh, well, that’s splendid,” he replied.
This had to count as the most embarrassing day of her life, and the clock had yet to strike nine.
He steered her to a sturdy iron gate in the garden wall. Extracting a key from his waistcoat, he unlocked the gate and ushered her through, pausing to lock it behind him. His caution seemed excessive, but more to the point—why did he have a key to St. George’s garden?
Kendrick led her along a gravel path through a small but pretty enclosure. A tidy kitchen garden was tucked into one corner, while a wrought-iron gazebo, surrounded by beds of roses, took up the rest of the space. Even in the rain it was a charming retreat, and a great deal more welcoming than the formal Italianate gardens behind Musgrave House.
At the end of the walk stood a modern-looking brick townhouse. The St. Georges had moved to Cadogan Square shortly after their marriage, and now led a life of quiet domesticity. Since Lady Vivien, a vivacious and charming social butterfly, had once been one of the most popular beauties of the ton, Sabrina still found the change in her friend rather mind-boggling.
“There you are,” cried the lady herself as Sabrina stepped down into a low-ceiled and blessedly warm kitchen.
Vivien, in a frivolous dressing gown and an even more frivolous nightcap, dodged around the cook, the kitchen maid, and a footman, all of whom seemed unsurprised by either their mistress’s unconventional appearance or by a pair of bedraggled guests muddying up the clean stone floor.
Ignoring Sabrina’s bedraggled state, Vivien gave her a hug before turning to a neatly dressed, middle-aged man who appeared from the pantry with a stack of clean towels. “Ah, Simpson, thank you.”
She removed the damp coat from Sabrina’s shoulders and replaced it with a wonderfully thick towel. Then she turned to Kendrick.
“Graeme, I do hope you’re not responsible for Lady Sabrina’s condition. I’ll be most annoyed if you are.”
Kendrick, who’d taken a towel to dry his head, regarded her with disbelief. “I’m the one who pulled her pretty arse out of the Serpentine. She’d have been in quite the fix if I hadn’t come along.”
After recovering from the shock of his outré language, Sabrina bristled. “I would have been perfectly fine. The water wasn’t even over my head.”
“Yes, and I’m sure you could have then strolled right home through Mayfair. And let’s not even mention your idiotic maid.”
“What happened to your maid?” Vivien asked.
“She fainted when the cutpurse pushed me into the water,” Sabrina replied.
“How dreadfully unhelpful of her. Perhaps you might think about hiring a new maid, my dear.”
Sabrina blinked, nonplussed by her friend’s casual attitude toward the morning’s events. “Er . . . ”
“And what,” Vivien interrupted, leveling a glare at Kendrick, “were you doing while all this pushing and fainting was going on? Aden will be most displeased to hear that you allowed this to happen, Graeme.”
“That’ll be a change of pace,” Graeme sarcastically replied. “That fact is, I wasn’t close enough to stop the blighter from attacking the silly girl, or I obviously would have.”
Silly? Sabrina was never silly.
You were this morning.
“I was simply minding my own business when that dreadful man decided to rob me,” she said, adopting a tone of offended dignity.
“Minding your own business?” he said. “What young lady in her right mind goes larking around the park at that hour of the morning?”
Vivien scrunched up her nose. “Graeme does make rather a good point, my dear. Fashionable persons rarely stroll in the park before noon, and certainly not in a downpour.”
Sabrina’s cheeks heated again. This was not a conversation she wanted to have in front of the servants, although, to be fair, none of them seemed the slightest bit interested. Simpson stood with a patiently resigned attitude, as if these sorts of events happened on a regular basis.
“Vivien, I’m absolutely desperate to get out of these wet things,” she said. “Do you think we could hold off further explanations until I do so?”
Her friend was instantly diverted. “Goodness, we’re all brutes to keep you standing here. And I’m sure Cook is beside herself at the mess Graeme is making of her kitchen.”
“I’m not doing anything,” Kendrick protested.
“You’re dripping,” Vivien replied. “Drips make Cook positively demented.”
The cook, a tall, lanky woman with an impressively competent manner, rolled her eyes as she assembled a lavish tea service that Sabrina devoutly hoped was for her, since she was positively famished.
“Not to worry, my lady,” Cook said in brisk Yorkshire accent. “I’ve sent up hot water and a maid to assist her ladyship, and the tea tray will be up in a twinkle.”
Vivien beamed. “You’re a gem, Evans. What we would do without you?”
“Starve to death, most likely,” the woman responded.
About the Author
Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated in a number of contests, and she has won multiple awards, including the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her books have been published in nine languages.
Vanessa’s first Clan Kendrick book, The Highlander Who Protected Me, was a USA Today, Barnes & Noble, and BookScan bestseller. The Highlander’s Christmas Bride, her latest book, hit the top 50 on both the Barnes & Noble mass-market bestseller list and on BookScan. The Renegade Royals Series was a national bestseller, as was The Improper Princesses Series. My Fair Princess was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month and is a USA Today and BookScan bestseller.
When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, Vanessa is writing USA Today Bestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, May 26
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Tuesday, June 2
Review at Historical Romance Lover
Thursday, June 4
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Saturday, June 6
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves A Story
Tuesday, June 9
Review at A Bookish Affair
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