Love Is in the Heir [NOOK Book]

Overview

Fiddlesticks! I am sure the ladies Letitia and Viola Featherton are wrong when it comes to matchmaking. They insist that it has all to do with love. I, Miss Hannah Chillton, believe one has only to bring a couple together and let nature take its true course. To prove my point, I secretly plan to match the ladies themselves. Lud, what a challenge! They are practically in their dotage.

And love certainly does not signify in the match the ...
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Love Is in the Heir

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Overview

Fiddlesticks! I am sure the ladies Letitia and Viola Featherton are wrong when it comes to matchmaking. They insist that it has all to do with love. I, Miss Hannah Chillton, believe one has only to bring a couple together and let nature take its true course. To prove my point, I secretly plan to match the ladies themselves. Lud, what a challenge! They are practically in their dotage.

And love certainly does not signify in the match the Featherton sisters are making for me. True, when Lord St. Albans and I first met, he fair took my breath away. But after we accidentally ran him down with our carriage, I became convinced he belongs to that most despicable class of men: rakes. His arrogance is insufferable...except when he appears so shy and considerate that I almost think St. Albans is two different men. But that cannot be possible. Or can it?

(76,000 words)
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Editorial Reviews

John Charles
"Caskie brings her fabulously fun Regency historical series featuring the matchmaking Featherton sisters to a brilliant conclusion with this deliciously clever, superbly sexy romance."
Kathe Robin
4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK! “Caskie's wit shines... Love and laughter, madness, matchmaking and mayhem ensue in pure Caskie style in this delightful, lighthearted romp.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446553797
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/14/2008
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 204,559
  • File size: 732 KB

Meet the Author

Kathryn Caskie has long been a devotee of history and things of old. So it came as no surprise to her family when she took a career detour off the online super highway and began writing historical romances full time.

With a background in marketing, advertising and journalism, she has written professionally for television, radio, magazines and newspapers.

Kathryn lives in a 200-year-old Quaker home nestled in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family, her greatest source of inspiration.

Learn more at:
KathrynCaskie.com
Twitter, @KathrynCaskie
Facebook.com/KathrynCaskieParker
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Read an Excerpt

Love Is In The Heir


By Kathryn Caskie

WARNER FOREVER

Copyright © 2006 Kathryn Caskie
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-61610-9


Chapter One

Kirkwell Abbey Churchyard

Devon, England

The Earl of Devonsfield was having a bad heir day. And now his eternity looked equally bleak.

He removed his beaver hat, then lifted his freshly curled wig to scratch his bald head with ragged, chewed fingernails. "Well, what say you, Pinkerton, can it be done?"

His manservant, who was as clever as he was shrewd, was a lean, hawkish-looking gent, who at the moment was dangling precariously from a rowan branch high above the mausoleum. "I fear the reverend's man is correct, my lord; there is no way, at least none I can see, to add a second level to the crypt without compromising the existing structure."

This did not please the earl, who had hoped for an altogether more positive answer, but during his long life he'd learned that adaptation was necessary for one's own survival. "Then we have no other choice. We shall have to expand outward. Surely, with the right inducement"-the portly lord retrieved the single surname from the quartet of headstones beside him-"the Anatoles could be persuaded to move their family plot across the way."

Pinkerton glanced down at the earl. The expression on his long face made it clear that he was dubious about a favorable outcome. Still, he was nothing if not loyal. "Ishall contact the family to determine your plan's viability, my lord."

With hat and wig in hand, Lord Devonsfield walked through the dried grass that poked up through the crisp, withered leaves alongside his family's crypt.

He sighed wistfully as he ran his pudgy fingers along its marble wall. This was just his sort of horrid luck-after two hundred years, the Devonsfield mausoleum was full, just when his own time on earth was at an end.

It was his brother's fault, of course. Even after Lord Devonsfield's entire remaining family was killed in a dreadful accident last month-both of his sons-there was still one space left and, damn it all, it had been meant for him. But then his brother, Thelonius, nearly ten years his junior, unexplainably expired while sitting atop his chamber pot, thereby claiming the last eternal resting place in the family crypt.

"My lord, may I descend from the tree now?" Pinkerton, habitually dressed from hat to boot in ebony, nervously straddled a thick branch.

"What? Oh, certainly. We're finished here." The earl flicked his wrist dismissively and waved his man down. "Though while we are on the subject of trees, will you explain your concern about my family tree-more specifically the branch where my heir might be found? It has been a month since the accident, and still you have not located the heir to the Devonsfield earldom."

Pinkerton cautiously settled his feet to a lower branch, bouncing a bit to test its soundness. "Oh, no sir, I know exactly where to find your heir. The gentleman resides in Cornwall. He is your late second cousin's son."

The earl's mouth fell open in disbelief. He scurried to the base of the rowan tree and rapped at its trunk with his cane. "Devil take you, Pinkerton. Why haven't you informed me until now?" Lord Devonsfield peered up through the branches. "I must speak with him at once. What is the man's name?"

Pinkerton lowered himself to the ground, then brushed the bark shreds from his breeches. "I do not know ... exactly. For I must inform you that your heir is-"

"What-a Whig? An invalid? A madman?" The earl sucked in a breath. "He's not ... a wastrel?"

"No, my lord. He's a ... twin."

"A twin? Is that all? What in blazes does that matter?" The earl huffed his frustration. "Determining which twin is heir is not half so difficult. It is simply a matter of knowing which child was born first."

"That's just it, my lord." Pinkerton peered down his hawkish nose at the earl, his eyes clouded with worry. "As preposterous as it might seem, no one knows which boy is firstborn. Even the parish baptismal records are unclear on this point."

"The hell you say." The earl slumped against the tree's trunk.

"From what I've been able to learn, theirs was a difficult birth, with a goodly amount of blood. Their mother did not survive, and since the boys had no hope of inheriting anything of consequence, their distraught father, your cousin, made no effort to name one twin or the other firstborn."

"Oh, good heavens." Lord Devonsfield wrung his pale hands. "Do you know what this means? Why, I dare not think what the House of Lords will do should I die without an heir-which of course I shall within the year, for you yourself heard the physician. I am not a well man."

"Actually, my lord, the physician only said that spending your days obsessing over death will see you to an early grave," Pinkerton muttered, but the earl paid his comment no heed. He knew the truth of it, what his physicians were really saying but sought to keep from him.

"One of the twinsmust beacknowledged as firstborn." The earl bit at his thumbnail as he paced back and forth between the tilted and crumbling gravestones. "We simply must find a way to see this oversight corrected."

"Indeed we must, my lord, for if no legal heir can be determined, upon your passing, the Devonsfield earldom will revert to the Crown."

The earl wished he could somehow stuff those blasphemous words back into Pinkerton's mouth and force him to recant ever saying them. But what he stated was true, and there was no way that truth could be ignored.

"I cannot allow the earldom to be lost. You know I cannot." The earl stood upright. His mission was clear. "We've not a moment to lose. Pinkerton, see that my portmanteau is packed. We must away to Cornwall-tonight!"

The Lizard

Cornwall, England

Griffin St. Albans adjusted the aperture of his telescope by the golden rays of the setting sun. The cliff above Kennymare Cove was the perfect spot for measuring the constellations on what promised to be the clearest night sky all month.

He bent and eased his eye to the lens, meaning to check his settings, when suddenly a falcon, riding the warm sea air, swooped straight at him and clipped his shoulder. Griffin's feet rolled across the gravel, sending pebbles plunging over the cliff's edge. He slipped and fell hard to the ground, his back slamming down against the short, wind-shorn grass.

A faint feminine voice sailed out from under the cliff's lip. "Is someone up there?"

Griffin sat up, startled. He rose and warily peered over the rocky ledge. There, clinging to the wall, was a young woman stretching out her arm to reach a beribboned hat caught on a protruding root. His foot accidentally sent another bit of gravel her way.

She glanced up with the sharpest look of annoyance in her eyes. "Do take care not to pummel me with pebbles, sir. As you can see, the wind is strong this day, and my foothold is precarious enough as it is."

Good Lord, she could fall to her death at any moment! Griffin flattened himself onto his stomach, inched to the edge of the cliff, and reached out a hand. "Take hold. I can pull you up."

"Take hold? Are you mad? Without my bonnet? Not likely. My brother paid two guineas for it. Two. And you can be sure he'll not do that ever again." She stretched out her hand, straining for the hat, but it remained just beyond her fingertips. "Blast!"

"Let the gentleman help you, dear," called an old, twig-thin woman who was looking up at them from the lower cliff trail.

The rounder matron beside her cupped her hand to her brow and looked up at the girl struggling to reach the hat. "Viola is right, dove. Take his hand. Perhaps your bonnet will be easier to reach from above."

The dark-haired young woman peered down at the two women, then turned her pale blue eyes up at Griffin, considering. "It seems I must trust you not to drop me into the sea."

"Take my hand, miss. You have naught to fear. My back is strong."

She glanced down at the waves crashing upon the jagged rocks far below. "That may be, sir, but 'tis not your backI worry about." Despite her biting comment, the woman lifted her left hand and clutched his wrist with a grasp so firm that a lesser man might have been put to shame.

Griffin wrapped his fingers tightly around her wrist. "I've got you. Let go of the rock."

"Only if you promise to retrieve my hat before it blows into the ocean." Her eyes conveyed her complete seriousness.

"I vow it," he huffed with frustration. "Now, please, let go!"

With one more cautious look at him, the girl released her hold on the wall. For a moment, she dangled from his arm like a limp rag doll, her momentum sending her swinging back and forth in a pendulum's motion.

All the blood in his body seemed to surge into Griffin's head, and he struggled to raise her to the cliff's lip. Finally, after two perilous minutes, her head appeared level with the ledge.

"We're almost there, miss. Just a moment more and I'll have you by my side."

"Indeed."

Then, with a level of agility Griffin could never have imagined, the woman slapped her free arm over the lip, kicked her right foot up, and swung her body onto the ground beside him.

"Damn me!" While Griffin might have expected such an athletic feat from a performer at a fair, never in all his life would he have guessed it from a young lady such as the one who now gathered her breath beside him.

Griffin leaned back on his heels and stared with amazement at the fearless woman. Her hair was as dark as a starless night, and her skin was pale, save the pink flush that had risen into her cheeks. But it was her eyes that intrigued him most. Inside a ring of vibrant indigo was a burst of a pale silvery blue that made her eyes glimmer like a pair of stars.

"My bonnet, sir." Her voice was still thin and breathy from the exertion. "You promised."

"That I did." Griffin couldn't help but grin at her stubbornness regarding a ridiculous hat. "I just need something to hook it." He glanced around for a stick.

The woman looked around as well, until her gaze fixed firmly on his telescope. A surge of worry shot through Griffin as she rose and started for his most prized possession in all the world.

"Perhaps we can lower part of this contraption over the edge and catch the brim of my hat." She reached out her hand for the brass instrument.

"No!" Griffin grabbed her wrist, perhaps a bit too roughly, for she whirled around, eyes widened with surprise.

"Not my telescope," he added, softening his voice. "'Tis very expensive, and I do not exaggerate when I tell you there is no other like it."

The woman lifted her chin and twisted her wrist from his grip. "I might claim the same about my hat, sir. Did you see the peacock feather on the band?" She nodded knowingly, as if this comment should make the great value of her hat plain to him.

Griffin knew what a ludicrous notion that was. There was no comparison. His reduced-sized Shuckburgh telescope had been custom-made to his exact specifications by a protege of Jesse Ramsden, London's premier instrument maker. He doubted there was as fine an astronomical instrument in all of England.

The woman folded her arms across her sprigged gown. "I do not see anything else that might serve as a tool ... so well as your telescope."

"I-I have a sheep hook at my cottage." Griffin smiled at the lovely woman, deciding that he'd like to know her a bit better. Still, finessing a woman had never come as easily to Griffin as it did his brother, and he knew he'd likely bungle it. But he would try. "Uh ... if you like, you and your lady friends may take your ease in my home while I return for your bonnet. 'Tis just down the trail to the east. Not far, I assure you."

The young woman suspiciously raked him up and down with her gaze. "I thank you, but no. My bonnet might be caught by a gust of wind and whisked into the sea. I daren't leave it. Besides, I do not even know your name."

"St. Albans ... Mr. St. Albans." He tipped his head to her. "And you are ...?"

Her pink lips formed a smirk. "Not so addled as to follow a man I do not know to his lair."

"Lair? My dear lady, I believe you misunderstand my intentions-" Griffin began.

"Oh, sir, please do forgive her. She meant nothing by it," said the heavier of the two old women, who now stood nearby huffing and puffing from the exertion of climbing the steep cliffside path.

"She is Miss Hannah Chillton, our charge." The thinner old woman pinched the girl's arm, eliciting a clumsy curtsy from her.

Just then, the falcon that had struck him earlier spiraled low over the four of them. Griffin watched, with great astonishment, as Miss Chillton withdrew a leather glove from her sash, slipped it onto her hand, and allowed the bird of prey to land on her forearm.

The thinner elderly lady laughed at Griffin's surprise. "And that would be Cupid ... Hannah's kestrel."

"He is your bird?" Griffin stared at the young woman incredulously.

"Yes. Why is that so difficult to believe?" Miss Chillton said rather smugly.

Why, indeed? Griffin thought about it for several moments. Why should he be surprised that a woman he discovered fearlessly climbing a cliff wall, a woman with the strength to propel herself over the rock ledge, might have a hunting falcon as a pet?

"Miss Chillton, in the short time we've been acquainted, I have come to the conclusion that nothing about you should come as a surprise. For, indeed, you are the very definition of the word."

Miss Chillton looked uneasily toward the two old women, as if she had not the faintest notion how to respond to his assertion. Then, she turned her delicately featured face back to him and gestured to her guardians. "Mr. St. Albans, these are my duennas, the Ladies Letitia and Viola Featherton, of London."

"And Bath, of late," the woman she'd referred to as Lady Letitia added. "We reside in the spa city for a few short months each year."

"In fact, our visit to The Lizard was to be the culmination of our grand Cornish excursion." The thinner woman, Lady Viola, smiled brightly up at him. "We are headed back to Bath this very eve."

"Not until we have my hat." Miss Chillton turned toward the sea, took a couple of steps, and peered over the edge of the cliff. She gasped. "Oh, no. It's gone!"

Lady Letitia joined her at the cliff's edge and wrapped her arm around the dark-haired beauty. "The wind must have taken it after all, child."

Miss Chillton turned her head around and glared at Griffin. "You, sir, owe me a hat."

"I?" Griffin sputtered.

"Yes, for I would have managed to retrieve my bonnet eventually had you not interfered." She said something in a low tone to Lady Letitia, who upon hearing the words, reached into her miser bag and retrieved a card. Miss Chillton took it from her and shoved it at Griffin.

"The Oatland Village Hat is available from Mrs. Bell, Twenty-two Upper King Street in London. Ask her to add a peacock feather, please. Can you remember that? Good. When you have acquired it, you may deliver it to Number One Royal Crescent, Bath. The direction is listed on this card."

Her business with him concluded, Miss Chillton took each of the Featherton ladies by an arm and led them up the path to where, Griffin surmised, their carriage must await.

"Good day, Mr. St. Albans," she called back to him, a sentiment echoed by the two elderly women. "I do hope we shall see you soon-for the hat was my favorite."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Love Is In The Heir by Kathryn Caskie Copyright © 2006 by Kathryn Caskie. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 58 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

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(19)

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(17)

2 Star

(8)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 58 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    amusing, wacky, and fun Regency

    The accident wiped out much of the Devonsfield extended family tree. Lord Devonsfield assigned his servant Pinkerton to find the new heir. Pinkerton locates the heir, but there is a problem. There are twins with no one knowing who the older brother is their birth was difficult, the mother died and the father grieved. The Earl decides that the first one of the twins to marry a ¿lady¿ will inherit his earldom. --- The intellectual twin astronomer Griffin St. Albans meets Miss Hannah Chillton over an errant hat, a falcon and a cliff. Each is attracted to the other. Not long afterward in a coaching accident, the athletic twin Garnet also meets Hannah and realizes she is the one his sibling is half in love with. Being better with women, Garnet pretends to be Griffin to help foster his brother¿s cause with Hannah. As identities become muddled, Hannah feels fickle as one moment she thinks she loves the shy Mr. St. Albans and the next she wonders why she cannot abide the overly confident Mr. St. Albans. --- Any novel that contains the Featherton sisters (see RULES OF ENGAGEMENT and A LADIES GUIDE TO A RAKE) is going to be amusing, wacky, and fun as the elderly matchmakers turn the aristocracy upside down. The current tale is zany yet built off of a real event in 1822 with a genuine astronomer Miss Caroline Herschel that adds an anchor to the comet induced story. Still this entertaining historical belongs to a way out heroine and twins who change places to further the cause of one of them with the eccentric female protagonist. Readers will risk a bad heir day waiting in line for Kathryn Caskie¿s fine Regency. --- Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2011

    Worth 99c

    It was an ok book. Worth what I spent for it, 99c. Short read for me it was only 202 pages. Would read again in a few years.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2013

    Love is in the Heir  Love is in the Heir is a fun historical re

    Love is in the Heir 

    Love is in the Heir is a fun historical read that plays off the age-old story line of lies and deception but Caskie has such an enjoyable writing style and quick wit that she makes it a delight.   Full review available at BookTrib or RomanticReadsandSuch. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    too silly

    not very good, doubt I'll buy more from this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Ok

    It was a bit rambly to me.

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  • Posted February 13, 2012

    VERY GOOD READ

    IT WAS INTERESTING AND KEPT ME LAUGHING

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    Hard to get through!

    I'm a great fan of historical romance.... but I had a hard time reading this one! Something just didn't click for me. I can't recommend this one!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The beginning of something wonderful!

    This book begins a series of books for Kathryn Caskie. It is very entertaining.

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