McAlistair's Fortune

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Overview

Miss Evie Cole isn’t one to take a threatening letter too seriously. To her, the much greater danger lies in losing her heart to the retired assassin sent to protect her.
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Overview

Miss Evie Cole isn’t one to take a threatening letter too seriously. To her, the much greater danger lies in losing her heart to the retired assassin sent to protect her.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781477806517
  • Publisher: Montlake Romance
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Sales rank: 1,036,745
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Read an Excerpt

McAlistair's Fortune


By Alissa Johnson

Dorchester Publishing

Copyright © 2009 Alissa Johnson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8439-6251-2


Chapter One

Miss Evie Cole had long ago come to the conclusion that, contrary to popular opinion, ignorance was not bliss.

There were, after all, a great many miserable fools in the world.

Furthermore, she was a perfectly happy young woman, and no one who knew her well would ever accuse her of ignorance. She was always in the know.

She made absolutely certain of it.

Just as she was making certain of it now, crouched outside the thick burl wood doors to the Haldon Hall library, her weight shifted to her stronger leg and one dark brown eye peering through the keyhole. Probably she should feel a bit guilty at eavesdropping on a private conversation. But having found herself the subject of that conversation, she experienced not so much guilt as fascination, amusement, and no small amount of annoyance at having stumbled across the scene too late to ascertain all the details.

What she understood well enough, however, was that her aunt, the dowager Lady Thurston, and two family friends, Mr. William Fletcher and Mrs. Mary Summers, were currently sequestered on the other side of those lovely old doors, arguing over how best to go about finding the stubborn Evie Cole a husband.

It was nearly as amusing as it was insulting. Nearly.

Mr.Fletcher, seated on the small settee in the center of the room, leaned forward and spoke with some excitement. "What better way to win a lady's heart than to rescue her from certain danger? I can have a threatening letter drawn up and sent to Evie from London next week. Have her young man here the following day to protect her. It's fast, simple, and effective."

Clearly impressed with neither Mr. Fletcher's scheme nor his enthusiasm, Lady Thurston added a deliberate dollop of milk to a cup of tea and calmly handed it to Mrs. Summers. "It will never work, William."

He settled his stout frame back against the cushions. "Have you a better plan?"

"The plan, though I do not approve of it, is not the problem." She poured her own cup. "The problem is the objective itself-it simply cannot be done."

"You cannot make someone fall in love," Mrs. Summers pointed out, straightening her rail-thin shoulders.

"Least of all those two," Lady Thurston added. "I am not at all certain they're well suited. What's more, Evie has categorically refused to marry."

"I refuse to accept that." Mr. Fletcher ran a hand through what remained of his hair. "I made a promise to a man on his deathbed."

Mrs. Summers sent him a pitying glance. "You were tricked into a promise by a man who would-were he still alive-be the first to admonish you for taking this matchmaking business quite so seriously. The late Duke of Rockeforte was a reasonable sort, despite his penchant for jests. I very much doubt he expected you to succeed in marrying off five children."

"You weren't so dismissive when it was your Sophie we set out to match. Nor you," he added, turning to Lady Thurston, "when it was Whit and Mirabelle."

"Yes, but that was Sophie, Whit, and Mirabelle," Lady Thurston returned evenly. "Not Evie."

"Nevertheless, the promise was made, and I intend to keep it." Mr. Fletcher held out against the ensuing silence for a solid thirty seconds-an impressive show of fortitude to Evie's mind. She'd been subjected to that knowing silence from the inestimable Lady Thurston. It was daunting.

"I intend to at least try," Mr. Fletcher finally added.

Lady Thurston gave a delicate shrug of her shoulders. "If you feel you must."

"I do. I'll begin by-"

Evie would never be entirely certain of how, exactly, Mr. Fletcher intended to begin, because the sound of laughter and approaching footsteps necessitated her immediate retreat to the small parlor across the hall. It was doubtful that the intruding staff would tattle, but it was best to not take chances.

No matter, she'd been privy to the most important bits of the conversation, or at least enough of them to be quite confident that she was, once again, very much in the know.

As Evie slipped out the side door of the parlor, Lady Thurston and Mrs. Summers patiently listened as William Fletcher finished outlining his plan, again.

Lady Thurston smoothed the pale green silk of her gown. A diminutive woman with a soft voice and round, rosy cheeks, she was sometimes taken, by those who didn't know her well, for a kindly sort who perhaps needed a bit of looking after.

A mistaken impression invariably short-lived.

"Your plan is certainly ... detailed," she allowed when William finished. "Unfortunately, it is also poorly conceived. Such a scheme would only serve to frighten Evie. I will not allow it. And I will not agree to using her work with mistreated women as the source of your faux threat. It touches too close to the truth."

"But-"

"She is quite right," Mrs. Summers cut in. "Evie faces very real danger as a result of her work. Adding a contrived threat would be unconscionable."

William blanched. "Unconscionable seems a bit-"

"Did I tell you what happened to Mrs. Kirkland last summer?" Lady Thurston asked, turning to Mrs. Summers.

Mrs. Summers nodded sadly. "Exposed by the very woman she sought to help."

"And her home burned to the ground the very next day. She was lucky to have escaped."

Mrs. Summers took a sip of her tea. "The authorities ruled it an accident."

Lady Thurston gave a most genteel sniff . "Shameful."

"That is most unfortunate." William tried again. "But I hardly intend to start fires or-"

Mrs. Summers shook her head. "It is no good, William. Not only does your plan go too far, the strategy itself is flawed. In order for the ruse to work, Evie would need to believe in the threat. If she believes in the threat, she will be too preoccupied to notice the attentions of a young man. No sensible young woman would be thinking of love whilst her life was in jeopardy."

"Sophie did," he pointed out quickly, rather surprised he was able to get a word in edgewise.

Mrs. Summers pursed her lips thoughtfully. "True, but Sophie, though I adore her, is not always the most sensible of women."

Lady Thurston nodded in pleasant agreement.

William scowled. "And you're absolutely certain Evie is a sensible young woman?"

"Yes," both women answered simultaneously.

"Blast." He frowned a moment longer before sighing and finally reaching for his own cup. "Well, I still say it was a clever idea."

Mrs. Summers smiled at her old friend fondly, if a bit condescendingly. "Exceedingly. But you shall have to think of something else."

Chapter Two

Two Weeks Later

It was conceivable that ten years ago, Mr. James McAlistair would have laughed out loud at the notion that he might one day fall in love. It was easier to imagine, however, that he would have simply hooked up one corner of his mouth in the sort of cool and unfathomable expression that can really only be successfully affected by either a profound poet or a talented assassin.

Anyone looking at him now-standing on the grounds of Haldon Hall, his dark gaze unreadable, and his tall frame honed to the muscled leanness of a panther-would have a difficult time mistaking him for the former.

Pity, that.

Because despite what his reaction may, or may not, have been ten years ago, McAlistair had indeed fallen in love. And a man in love could always use the gifts of a poet.

Particularly when burdened with the sins of an assassin.

Reflecting on those sins now, he rolled his shoulders in a rare, albeit barely perceptible, show of nerves.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from McAlistair's Fortune by Alissa Johnson Copyright © 2009 by Alissa Johnson. 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 4
( 27 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A fun frolic Regency

    Miss Evie Cole knows eavesdropping is unladylike behavior, but relishes listening in to other people's conversations anyway. However, she has overheard a discussion between her guardians that gives her the shivers; they plan to find her a spouse. Evie has vowed to never get married so she must find away to disrupt the scheme.

    Her guardians take an alleged threat to her seriously by hiring former government assassin James McAlistair as Evie's bodyguard. However, she knows he is a ploy as there is no threat to her. Still she never forgot his kiss from ages ago and would not mind more from him. When the fake threat turns real with incidents made to look like accidents, James vows to keep his beloved safe; Evie feels safe with her beloved protecting her.

    The follow-up to the amusing Regency romances (see AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT and TEMPTING FATE) is once again a fun frolic although with a different twist to the woman in peril saga. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing as both sing the refrain "I'm Not in Love", but cannot resist the lure of the other. Talented Alissa Johnson provides her fans with a great historical filled with jocularity and suspense.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Clever, fun, worth reading

    This well written story has really engaging characters that are smart, funny, believable. The author deftly creates a compelling male lead who is strong and sexy enough to keep things interesting without being obnoxious, and to make his undoing by the wee heroine thoroughly entertaining. The plot moves along nicely but it is the great dialogue and even unspoken communication between the two main characters that really makes this book worth reading. A keeper!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    McAlistair's Fortune

    Miss Evie Cole has a bad habit and now it's got her in trouble. After eavesdropping on a conversation that had to do with her guardian's scheming to marry her off. Evie doesn't take seriously a threat to her safety. Her guardian's call in ex assassin, current hermit McAlisaitr to take Evie to safety. When her carriage is tampered with and breaks midway to her destination, McAlisaitr takes Evie cross country to Suffolk. While on the run Evie and McAlistair go through many adventures, that McAlistair believes would make a gentlewoman swoon. But Evie is enjoying herself. Unknown to Evie there is a real threat and soon McAlistair declares his love for her.

    I really enjoyed Evie's story. Evie had a lot of backbone for the adventures she had. But I knew that McAlistair and Evie would get together. That's just something that's known from the start. I can't wait to see if Evie's sister Kate gets her man. Whether he's Mr. Hunter or not

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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