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As the poor relation to a wealthy family, lovely Meg Shaw is obliged to be a governess companion to their daughter. But when her charge runs away, and Meg's position with the family is threatened, she embarks on a search of her own to find the missing heiress and clear her good name. Little did she expect that her path would cross Daffyd Reynard, a wealthy and dashing gentleman with the wild heart of a gypsy. Though Meg doesn't trust the glib and handsome rogue, and by polite society's rules cannot travel alone ...
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As the poor relation to a wealthy family, lovely Meg Shaw is obliged to be a governess companion to their daughter. But when her charge runs away, and Meg's position with the family is threatened, she embarks on a search of her own to find the missing heiress and clear her good name. Little did she expect that her path would cross Daffyd Reynard, a wealthy and dashing gentleman with the wild heart of a gypsy. Though Meg doesn't trust the glib and handsome rogue, and by polite society's rules cannot travel alone with a man, she reluctantly accepts Daffyd's help in her mission. Now all she has to do is find the missing heiress, keep her identity a secret, prevent her reputation from being ruined and fight the temptation of Daffyd's kiss...
After a hurried stop for refreshment, the Brighton-bound coach, the last coach of the night, left the muddy courtyard of the Ruddy Rooster and splashed off and down the main road again.
The flurry of excitement over, the guests at the Rooster prepared to settle in until morning. Most stayed at the tap, and most were locals, because the Rooster wasn't luxurious enough to attract many strangers apart from those on the public coaches. There were finer inns along the busy Brighton Road.
Still, it was crowded enough this night, maybe because of the rain, or maybe because there seemed to be some sort of entertainment going on.
"And so now that I've beguiled you," a smooth male voice was saying to the attentive listeners clustered around him at the long bar in front of the tap. "And bought you all another pint . . ."
This was met with a rush of laughter.
"Maybe some of you will loosen your lips?" the voice asked.
The speaker was a young man, dark as a gypsy, but dressed neatly and soberly, like a fellow with ambitions. He was certainly attractive. Of medium height, lean and trim, he wore clean linen and a devilish smile. He had ink black hair, regular features, an aristocratic nose, and in the light of the leaping hearth, his dark eyes sparked blue.
"After all," he went on smoothly, "I'm not asking after your grannies or your sisters, this is my fiancee I'm looking for. I think she may have passed this way this week. She's blond and shapely, with big blue eyes. The only man among you who could have missed her would be a blind one. Even if he was, he'd know her, because she speaks with a lisp like a highborn lady, though her father isn't any better born than mine, and mine's only as close to Quality as the bills he keeps sending them for their boots.
"I know she doesn't deserve my time after the trick she played me," the dark man continued, shrugging his shoulders, "running off on the eve of our wedding. But I forgive her because she's young and I love her madly. I do," he swore theatrically, his hand on his chest. "And so I only want to be sure she's safe. If she doesn't want me she doesn't have to take me, but I have to know she's not come to harm.
"Now," he said in a wheedling voice, "if you don't take pity on me, or her, is there anyone here who wants to earn a golden guinea? It's yours for a hint. Where is she, or have you seen her?"
The other guests at the Rooster shook their heads and shuffled their feet.
The dark young man looked around the room, and then his gaze sharpened. He saw a young woman at the back of the crowd, prim as a Puritan and just as shocked as one might have been if she'd seen the devil.
Daffyd was used to women staring at him, but not in obvious terror. His interest was caught. It would have been caught anyway. Once a man looked past her drab clothing, she was a charming little thing, with big brown eyes, a pretty face, and a neat little shape. Her only ornament was that flower face of hers; she was dressed all in gray, plain as a nun, and looked respectable as one. Not the sort of female who usually ogled him, at least not openly. He was definitely interested. And she was decidedly horrified. That interested him even more. So he looked away from her immediately, and turned his attention back to the locals he'd met at the tap.
"Not seen such a miss such as you're seeking, lad," one old fellow told him. "Leastways not here, and not of late. Blond, blue eyed, and talking like a lady? Be sure I'd remember that."
The others rumbled agreement.
"Here now," another fellow said, laughing, "You're not taking your pint back just because we can't help, are you?"
"Well you can't have mine," an old woman cackled, and then gulped down the contents of her mug. She plunked down the empty mug, wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and added, "Can't see as how any miss in her right mind would leave you, anyways. Bad cess to her. Could I interest you in a female of experience, instead?" she asked, with an enormous wink.
"You could, love," Daffyd said, "if I wasn't so afraid of all your gentleman friends."
That was met with laughter, and he remained at the tap, joking with them. He took expressions of sympathy on his bad luck as well as advice on how to mend a broken heart with the same good humor. No one had any information for him; he hadn't really thought they would. The trail was growing cold. But so was he, and it had been time for dinner when that trail brought him to the inn.
Still, he reasoned, the track he was on wasn't completely without promise. If a female looked at him with horror, there had to be a reason. Could the baron's daughter have a confidante? A maid? A friend? Someone getting the lay of the land for her before she set foot in a place? Could the runaway then be close by? That made sense. Even more reason to keep his eye on the gray-clad woman.
So, of course, he pretended he'd never seen her while watching her from the corner of his eye as she was shown to a table in a far corner. Even more interesting, he thought. She wasn't running away from him. Good, he didn't feel like leaving. He was hungry and the rain was going to be an all-night affair.
"And so now, thank you all," he finally told his audience, "but even though my heart is breaking, my stomach's growling. I must have dinner.
Excerpted from Gypsy Lover by Edith Layton Copyright © 2005 by Edith Layton.
Excerpted by permission.
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Posted May 15, 2006
When I read and reviewed Alas, My love..I assumed this was the author's first book and gave it 3 stars. However, this is a well published writer. This book does not rate more than a 3 star either. Once again, the author's lack of temerity filters through. The entire book is devoted to a chase for a runaway eloper. Meg spends the entire time trying to get Daffyd to make love to her (this is, of course, a switch to the usual tales of seduction). When she finally gets what she wants, the reader doesn't, don't blink when the time is right or you will miss the whole point of Meg's lust.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
Seventeen years old Rosalind Osborne has run away from her family. While her companion Margaret Shaw tries to find the headstrong young lady before she is hurt, former convict Daffyd Reynard also hope to locate her and bring her home. The two wannabe rescuers meet when Daffyd saves Meg¿s life. He attempts to persuade her to go home as the quest is dangerous, but she refuses. Though a staid on the shelf female, Meg tells him if he will not allow her to accompany him, she will go it alone. As they work together, they fall in love, but neither expects a future with the other. --- When they find the runaway and bring her home, Rosalind and Daffyd go their separate ways although her reputation is ruined. He still believes his past and his half-gypsy heritage leaves him beneath the woman he loves. However, a few days apart and he still cannot forget her, but wonders if she will still have him as her husband. --- The sequel to ALAS, MY LOVE is a fun Regency romance because of the escapades of the delightful lead couple who struggle with love, scandal and finding a missing young lady. Meg is a brave individual willing to risk scorn, scandal, and sacking to do what she believes is right while the daring Daffyd starts off feelings she is a nuisance, but soon wants her with him though he courageously rejects her under the mistaken belief of what he assumes is best for sake. Edith Layton writes a wonderful winner for her audience. --- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 23, 2012
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