Publisher: Kate Moore
Series: Warrior's Return Book 3
Published: August 31, 2020
Level of Sensuality: Sensual
“You once told me that to cling too long to a single hope can bring ruin. Let it go. Marry me.”
Originally published in print as Winterburn’s Rose
When Leigh Nash has a vision after being wounded on the battlefields of Portugal, he shrugs it off, but when he returns home and inherits the title, Earl of Winterburn, he seeks to become an Anglican vicar in spite of his family’s objections. His first post is the village of Rowdene. His new neighbor, Rosalind Merrifield, knows he’s not a parson at all, but a haughty lord, cold as a November frost and hot as a Guy Fawkes bonfire. However, when her fortunes take a turn for the worse, Rosalind turns to Leigh for help. He can’t refuse, and his aid lands them both in the midst of scandal and in the path of a dangerous enemy that threatens their dreams. The style is straight out of Jane Austen, with some Thomas Hardy thrown in. (Perhaps Theo James plays the earl in the film version!)
"Highly recommended.” Soda Creek Press
A Romantic Times K.I.S.S. [Knights In Shining Silver] Award for hero, Leigh Nash.
“The plot may sound similar to other Regency historicals, but in Moore’s talented hands it is wonderfully fresh. … Like Austen, Moore pays careful attention to fine points of character and the complexities of family relationships, and she does it well.” –Romancing the Tome
“Kate Moore weaves her cast of characters skillfully, and the intrigue and conflict keep the pace quick without overshadowing the romance.”
“a searing love story”—Romantic Times
A round-faced maid in an overlarge cap brought Leigh clothes and water, staring curiously until he sent her on her way. He thought that Miss Merrifield would not return, but he misjudged her. He had just managed to get his boots on when he heard her voice at the door. He called out, and she slipped inside the room, her hand still on the knob. She saw him and turned away to hide a smile.
“What?” he asked.
“Your face,” she said. “My father’s shirt and breeches are not to your liking?”
“They were made for a man with thinner legs and shoulders,” he said stiffly.
“Should I send for your tailor?”
“Irony, Miss Merrifield?” He watched her. “You suffered no lasting harm then from our kiss?”
She studied the floor, but the cowardly impulse passed and she looked up again. “I wanted to know. Now I know. It needn’t happen again.”
“Then I’d best leave you now.”
He heard the quick indrawn breath, imagined her tight grip on the doorknob. With slow deliberate steps he crossed the room to the little table where shepherd Braithe had left the cheese. “Before I go, Braithe and I have a proposal for you.”
She watched him warily. He recognized the vulnerability of senses newly stirred.
“Have you ever milked a ewe, Miss Merrifield?”
She shook her head. He told the tale again, surprised to find it undergo a transformation. He heard himself describe the softness of the ewe’s wool, the fluttering beat of her pulse, the satisfying weight of the full pail.
“And this is the cheese?” she asked, relinquishing her stand at the door.
Leigh opened the cloth that Braithe had wrapped around their sample, inviting her to taste it. She was within his reach again, but he held himself easy and let her crumble a morsel of the cheese, watching it disappear between her lips.
“You and Braithe made this?”
“Mrs. Cole helped,” he said, looking at her significantly.
A slow happy smile drew up the corners of her mouth. “The butter in Braithe’s hat melted?”
“It did.” If it was difficult to resist Rosalind Merrifield when she was solemn, it was impossible when she was pleased at something he’d done. He reminded her of the proposal.
“You want me to milk my sheep?”
“Braithe says your tenants will do as you do. Mrs. Cole has cheese presses to spare at her dairy.”
“And what will you do with the cheese?”
“Sell it at the next fair, or feed it to hungry children.”
She was looking at him as if he were a puzzle she could not work out. “You’ve done something good.”
“Be careful,” he said. “You’ll be wanting to kiss me again.”“Never,” she said.