Star Bright

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Overview

Colonial beauty Diana Fairbourne dailed to London to find a titled husband—and succeeded brilliantly with her betrothal to the wealthy Marquis of Roxby. But as her wedding day nears, Diana discovers troubling proof that her groom doesn't love her—or her Yankee ways—as much as he should. In desperation she seeks out a lucky kitten like the one that brought her brohter, Alexander, to his bride, Cora.

Playing with love's magic has surprising results, though, when the kitten leads ...

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Overview

Colonial beauty Diana Fairbourne dailed to London to find a titled husband—and succeeded brilliantly with her betrothal to the wealthy Marquis of Roxby. But as her wedding day nears, Diana discovers troubling proof that her groom doesn't love her—or her Yankee ways—as much as he should. In desperation she seeks out a lucky kitten like the one that brought her brohter, Alexander, to his bride, Cora.

Playing with love's magic has surprising results, though, when the kitten leads Diana to a common sailor whose plain clothing cannot disguise his rough-hewn handsomeness. He boldly wins Diana's heart from the ruthless marquis, with no thought for the consequences beyond her happiness. But even when Diana learns his true identity—Captain james Dunham of His Majesty's Navy—there can be no alliance. For James has orders from the admiral to eliminate that dangerous band of American smugglers...the Fairbournes of Cape Cod.

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Editorial Reviews

Kathe Robin
As the companion to Starlight, Star Bright twinkles just as brightly with shining humor, poignancy and magical charm that enchants. Ms. Jarrett’s ability to always draw the reader into a fast-paced tale peopled with likable and realistic characters and a thrilling plot is a crowning achievement, and Star Bright delivers what readers expect from this colonial romance luminary.
Romantic Times
Literary Times
A marvelous author...One of romantic fiction's finest gems.
Literary Times
A marvelous author...One of romantic fiction's finest gems.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743403566
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 11/1/2000
  • Series: Sonnet Bks.
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.74 (w) x 4.28 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Ashburnham Hall,
Hampshire
1747

From the outside, the letter seemed innocuous enough: a sheet of thick, cream-colored paper, neatly folded, sealed with a blob of dark green wax, and addressed in a well-bred lady's hand. It stood on its edge, propped between the chocolate pot and the porcelain cup on the silver breakfast tray, demure and unprepossessing and waiting to shatter the blissful perfection of Diana Fairbourne's life.

"Thank you, Mary," said Diana as she hurriedly finished braiding her dark hair into a single thick plait and flipped it back over her shoulder. She plucked a slice of toast from the tray, eating it as she knelt to hunt beneath the bed for her old walking shoes.

"I'll find them for you, miss," volunteered Mary, more than a little shocked to see Diana crawling about on the carpet, and dressed as plainly as any farmer's daughter, too. For a lady and a famous beauty who'd taken fashionable London by storm, Diana showed far too much initiative in making do for herself. No wonder that since arriving at Ashburnham Hall, she'd become the subject of much head shaking and talk in the servants' quarters. "You sit now, and have your breakfast proper."

"But you see I've found them already," said Diana, sitting back on the floor to buckle her shoes on her feet in a way that was quite shamelessly common. "You may go, Mary. I won't need you, truly. I'll be on my way myself in a moment."

"But your breakfast, miss," said Mary, stern with disapproval, her hands clasped at her waist. "You must eat, miss."

"I'll be fine, Mary," said Diana, looking toward the late-summer morning beyond her bedchamber's windows. The dawn wasn't longpast, the first pale sunlight drifting in through the curtains, and the hour far too early for anyone other than the servants to be awake in the great house.

Diana grinned as she flung a light shawl over her shoulders. All her life she'd risen early, and not even the fact that in four short weeks she'd marry Ashburnham Hall's master and become the Marchioness of Roxby would make her sleep beyond daybreak. "Madame Lark," the marquess had dubbed her, and promised that once they'd wed he'd give Diana reason enough to keep to their bed and forget her peculiar colonial propensity for early morning rambles.

But Diana had only laughed and kissed him on the cheek. She still could scarcely believe he'd fallen in love with her as quickly as she had with him, or that he'd asked for her hand after only two weeks' acquaintance, while showing her his collection of Roman intaglios and before she'd even learned his Christian name. He'd called her his destiny, the most romantic declaration she'd ever heard. How could she not love a man who spoke like that?

She was smiling to herself as she reached for another piece of toast to take with her, and saw the letter. The handwriting wasn't familiar, but that meant nothing; since she'd become betrothed to Roxby, she'd received many invitations and notes of congratulations from people she'd never met. Curious, she slipped her finger beneath the seal to crack it open and unfolded the single sheet. The message was short, only a handful of words, but more than enough to do what its sender had wished.

Miss Fairbourne,
If you value your Heart & Happiness, you will break off yr. Match with Lord Roxby at once. He keeps a Mistress in London, & loves you Not. Ask him if you Dare, I do not lie.
A Friend who wishes you Well

Twice Diana read the letter to be sure she wasn't imagining it, then read the words through one more time, burning them into her mind, and her heart as well. Of course it couldn't be true. Of course it must be lies. And of course the letter was unsigned. Who would take credit for such vile, trouble-making calumny?

"Are you unwell, miss?" asked Mary with concern. "Not unhappy news, is it?"

"Not at all," said Diana, her fingers trembling as she refolded the letter. She could toss it into the fire, or tear it into tiny pieces, or take it to show Lady Waldegrave, her mother's oldest friend and Diana's companion until she was wed. Or she could do the one thing that the letter's author never expected her to do. "Mary, is his lordship awake?"

"Awake?" repeated Mary with the sudden blankness that practiced servants could muster in an instant. "Nay, miss, his lordship is never awake at this hour."

"Then I shall wake him." With the letter in her hand, Diana swept from the room, determined not to let suspicion fester. "His lordship's bedchamber is in the north wing, isn't it?"

"Aye, miss, but you shouldn't — you mustn't — go there!" protested Mary breathlessly, trotting to keep pace with her. " 'Tis not proper, miss, 'tis not right!"

"In a month no one will think anything of it," declared Diana, "or remember that I went there at all."

"But miss — miss! — his lordship's not there!"

Abruptly Diana stopped. "Not there? Wherever else would he be if not in his own bed?"

An unpleasant possibility, brought on by that dreadful anonymous letter, immediately came to Diana's mind, and just as swiftly she shoved it aside. Roxby loved her, and he'd never once given her reason to doubt him.

"His lordship's not at home at present, miss," said the maid uncomfortably. "After you and the other ladies retired last night, miss, he and Lord Stanver decided to go to Knowlewood to play faro. On a whim it was, miss, the way the gentlemen do."

Knowlewood was Lord Stanver's estate and known to be such a gamester's paradise that a faro dealer was as permanent a part of the household staff as a butler or cook. But what Diana considered now was Knowlewood's proximity to London, only a half-hour's ride at most from the gates of the house to —

But she would not think that, not of her Roxby. She was sure there were other ladies and women in his past — he was nearly thirty years old, after all — but she was equally certain that he'd be far too honorable to ask for her hand if his heart wasn't free.

Wasn't he?

Her only answer was the rustle of paper as she clutched the letter more tightly in her fingers.

"We expect his lordship's return any minute, miss," said Mary, almost apologetically. "We'll tell him you wish to speak with him directly."

"Please tell him I have gone walking," said Diana sharply, stuffing the letter into her pocket, "and that I shall speak with him as soon as I return."

But Diana wasn't even through the door before she regretted both her words and her temper. The letter wasn't Mary's fault, any more than Roxby was guilty simply because some anonymous coward said so. No: the problem instead lay with Diana's own habitual impatience. She tended to charge headlong through life, guided by impulse and so little ladylike caution that, before Roxby, her mother had despaired of her ever staying still long enough to attract a husband.

But Diana had never been good at waiting. She'd always wanted things settled now, just as she wanted to hear Roxby himself deny the letter's accusations. That was what she wanted and what she couldn't have and what made her stride so swiftly that she was practically running by the time she reached the rose garden, frustration and ugly doubts driving her footsteps over the neatly raked paths.

But when she reached the end of the paths, she'd still found no peace, and instead of following the white gravel back to the house, she cut across the open fields where, in the distance, grazed black-faced sheep and red cattle. The taller grasses brushed against her legs, the hem of her petticoats growing heavy with dew and the rising sun warm on her shoulders. Still she rushed on without stopping, farther than she'd gone on any other morning, at last coming to the stand of old oaks that marked the end of these tended fields and the beginning of the woodlands.

She blinked to let her eyes adjust to the shadows, the air cooler here beneath the trees, the ground under her feet soft with moss and old leaves. Through the branches, she could make out the glitter of reflecting water, and she remembered Roxby telling her about a long-abandoned mill and pond on his land that he fancied as his "ruin." Holding her arms out for balance, she skipped and slid down the hill to the pond's bank. A stone that she'd accidentally kicked loose rolled ahead of her, bouncing off a tree root to land in the water with a resounding plop.

"What the devil are you doing?" roared a man's voice. "Or did you mean to drive every fish away just to plague me?"

"And who, pray, are you to speak to me in such a manner?" Diana shouted in return. She shoved aside the last branches and overgrown vines, determined to see who this impossibly rude man could be.

She didn't have far to look. He sat at the oars of a small boat just off the shore, drifting gently on the still water beyond the rushes. The line from his fishing pole trailed from the boat's side, and at his feet was one basket for keeping the fish with another holding an earthenware jug and his half-eaten breakfast. From the rough belligerence in his voice, she'd expected some gruff countryman, the kind that regarded poaching as an honorable art, and from the man's clothes — grimy leather breeches, a checkered shirt with the collar open, a faded dark linen coat, and a misshapen old black hat — that was exactly what he was.

But although the clothes had been predictable enough, the man inside them wasn't. His features were too strong to be called handsome, his nose a bit crooked from a long-ago break, his jaw pronounced and inclined to stubbornness. Living out-of-doors had browned and weathered his skin, with little lines fanning out from green eyes that seemed to reflect the water's liveliness. The hair that poked out haphazardly from beneath his hat was light brown, gilded by the sun. His shoulders were broad with laborer's muscles, earned by hard work.

He wasn't handsome at all, not really, especially since Diana's eyes had become trained to the well-bred Londoner's ideal of handsomeness. But there was a supremely male confidence to him that she couldn't ignore, a determined sort of physical masculinity, almost an arrogance, that reminded her of the men back home — precisely the kind of man that she'd left Massachusetts to avoid.

"Are you finished gawking, then?" he demanded, his green eyes glaring at her as if she were a witch who'd poisoned his well. "Or are you just considering which stone to heave next at me and my fish?"

Diana flushed. "Why must you insist on believing I've purposely spoiled your angling?"

"Because you've given me no reason to believe otherwise," he said, openly appraising her just as she had him. "The way you came crashing through the woods with your guns all a-fire, flailing your arms about and tossing stones — what else am I to believe?"

"I did not throw the stone. I merely dislodged it with my foot, and it tumbled into the water before me." She sighed impatiently, pushing her hat back farther from her forehead. She didn't know why she was continuing such a pointless conversation, except that she hated to be bettered by anyone, and right now this man clearly held the advantage in the conversation. "Don't you know whose land you're on?"

"I'm not on anyone's land," retorted the man, "but I am upon the Marquess of Roxby's water. Not that his high and mighty lordship needs the likes of you defending his property."

She gasped indignantly, then remembered how she was dressed. If she told him she was the future Marchioness of Roxby, he'd laugh out loud.

"You are still trespassing," she said instead. "I could report you to his lordship's gamekeeper. I should."

But the man merely stared up at her, his green eyes glinting. "So who the devil fouled your temper this morning, eh? Or do you begin every day picking quarrels with strangers?"

"I should hardly call this a quarrel," she began, then broke off once again. He was right, pox him. Her temper was most definitely fouled on account of that wretched letter in her pocket. "Though I could certainly accuse you of being quarrelsome."

"Aye, you could," he agreed, "and you'd be right. I won't deny it. I am not by nature a peaceable man, and I've started more quarrels than I'll ever remember."

He smiled, a lopsided smile burdened with bitterness, and pulled his fishing line from the water. "But I'm clearing off now anyway. No more fish to be had this day, thanks to you, and besides, I don't want you hauling me before old Roxby's gamekeeper. Why, I'm all a-shiver even thinking of it."

Pointedly he looked away from her, concentrating instead on settling the oars in their locks while Diana fumed. She wasn't accustomed to men talking to her like this — at least any man that wasn't one of her brothers — and she didn't like it, not at all.

But before she could answer, she noticed something odd: the man couldn't row to save his life. Oh, he did well enough with the oar in his left hand, but he'd absolutely no control with the one in his right, the blade first flopping clumsily over the surface of the water, then chopping deep enough to make the boat lurch unsteadily and the man swear with annoyance.

She watched and smiled sweetly. "You must dip both oars into the water, sir, and keep your elbows close to your body," she noted. "Else your vessel will never go anywhere."

He glared at her from beneath the brim of his hat, challenging, his expression black as a thundercloud. "I suppose a chit like you could do better."

A nearly-married marchioness was not a chit, but Diana let her temper simmer inside and instead widened her smile. "I could indeed."

"The hell you could," he growled. He pulled the oar free of the lock and clumsily thrust it deep into the soft, shallow bottom of the pond, pushing the boat forward that way. With two shoves, he'd reached the bank, bumping up against the moss where Diana stood.

"Aboard with you, then," he ordered, holding his hand out to her. "Come along. Take the oars and prove to me you can do what you claim."

"I'll do nothing of the sort," she said as she scuttled backward, away from him. "I don't have to obey your orders."

"I'm not asking for obedience," he said impatiently. "I'm asking for proof."

She withdrew further, shaking her head. This was madness; no, this man was mad, challenging her like this. If she'd any sense at all, she'd turn around and run and not stop until she'd reached the safety of the house.

"All bluster and empty air, are you?" His green eyes narrowed, scornfully skeptical. "If you don't show me how you can handle this boat, then I'll have to believe you lied about doing better. I'll have to think you don't want to show me because you can't."

That did it. She might be able to do nothing about that cowardly lady who'd written the letter, but she could put this challenging rascal in his place.

"Across the pond to that bank and back," she declared tartly, bunching up her skirts with one hand as she came down the bank to the boat. "More than enough to prove I can row circles around you."

"You've proved nothing yet," he said as he shifted benches, holding the boat steady for her. "Keep low now. I've no wish to be tipped overboard."

"Oh, yes, and be sure to warn me about tiptoeing across the lily leaves, too," she answered as she nimbly climbed over the side. She'd been born in a seafaring town on Cape Cod, clambering in and out of boats and ships since she'd been a tiny girl, and she certainly didn't need any advice about keeping low. She centered herself on the bench with her feet against the stretcher, primly tucked her petticoats around her ankles, and with practiced ease set the first oar into its lock.

"I'll need that one, too, if you please," she said, taking the second oar from him. "Otherwise we'll keep making a circle, much the way that you already were."

He grumbled wordlessly, a disdainful growl deep in his throat, and with his left hand pushed the boat free of the bank. The boat was long but narrow, with scarcely space for one man his size, let alone for them both, and as he sat facing her, she was all too aware of how their knees nearly touched.

Chin in, spine straight, she tried to concentrate on posture instead of him. Confidently she drew back the oars, dipped the blades into the water, and pulled. The little boat glided forward, and she pulled again, the rhythm of her rowing easy and sure.

But each time she leaned forward with the oars she also leaned close, closer, to the large man sitting across from her. She couldn't help looking at him, because he blocked everything else in her view. Against her will she began noticing more about him, small, intimate things: how his jaw still gleamed from his razor's morning rasp, how the neck of his shirt was open enough to reveal a fascinating patch of curling dark hair on his chest, how that same freshly washed shirt smelled of soap and iron scorch and his own male scent, a scent she'd no right whatsoever to be smelling.

"You've stopped," he said, faintly accusing. "Are you tired already?"

"Not at all," she answered quickly, though she let the boat's momentum carry them forward while the oars trailed idle in her hands and her face stayed safely apart from his chest. "I learned to handle a boat in the ocean, against the waves. To row on this pond is like rowing in a bucket of wash water."

"Then why quit? You promised you'd row to the bank and back, wash water or not."

" 'Tis not that," she said, hedging. Belatedly she pictured what another would see, the two of them so close together in a boat on this isolated pond, and tried to imagine how she'd explain this particular impulsiveness to Roxby. " 'Tis not that at all."

"No?" he asked, his eyes glowing in the shadow of his hat's brim, challenging her yet again. "Then perhaps you're simply afraid of me."

Diana's chin rose defiantly. "I'm not afraid of you, sir. Not with an oar in my hand."

"You'd use it, too, wouldn't you?" he asked, his lopsided smile now amused but also strangely approving at the same time. "Strike me across the nose like a recalcitrant donkey?"

"If you deserved it." Her brothers had taught her how to defend herself, a necessary skill for a woman in a seaport full of randy sailors. "If you were too forward."

"Ah, well, we cannot have that, can we?" To her surprise, he shifted on the bench, giving her more space. "Row on, then, coxswain, or we'll never make our landfall. Handsomely now, handsomely!"

Once again she dipped the blades into the water, considering not so much what he'd said, but how he'd said it. "You don't speak like a landsman. Have you ever been to sea?"

"Aye," he said, his expression abruptly turning guarded. "But not now."

Close to the bank, she neatly brought the boat around. But now he wasn't noticing, instead lost in his own thoughts as he stared out over the water.

"There's no shame in going to sea, at least not to me," she said to fill the silence. She'd rather liked being called a coxswain, and she was sorry he'd turned moody and stopped. "My own family's thick with sailors. That's why I can row. Likely I should've told you that in the beginning."

He sighed gloomily. "Likely you should have, aye. Lucky for me I'd staked no money against you."

"Then you concede?" she asked. "You'll say that I can row better than you?"

"Aye, you do," he growled, shaking his head with undisguised disgust, "as you know perfectly well. Bettered by some chit of a girl. Jesus."

"I'm not an ordinary chit, you know," she said, almost apologetically. Because she'd won, she could afford to be magnanimous. "Another time, and you might well have done better."

"Not in this life," he said, the bitterness returning to his voice. "The damned French have seen to that, haven't they?"

"The French?" she repeated, mystified. Her brothers and father blamed much of their misfortunes upon the French as well, for it seemed that England and France had been at war as long as she could remember. But suddenly she understood what the man was saying, the truth that she'd so blithely, blindly overlooked.

"Your right arm," she said softly. "You were wounded by the French, weren't you? That's why you can't row properly now, isn't it?"

"How kind of you to remark it." Unconsciously he cradled his awkward right arm with his left against his chest, as if to shield it from her concern.

"I am sorry," she said, and she was. She'd seen her share of battle-scarred sailors with missing limbs or shocking disfigurements earned in the king's service, and she hated to think of this man, young as he still was, already crippled for the rest of his life. No wonder he was poaching, too; there'd be precious few opportunities left for a man with only one good arm and hand here in the middle of Hampshire. "I should never have — "

"No pity," he ordered sharply. "I don't want it."

"But I only meant — "

"I know what you meant, and I'd rather you'd strike me with that blasted oar."

"Then perhaps I should, just to be obliging, and to knock some sense into your witless brain, too." The boat bumped against the bank where they'd begun, and she briskly shipped the oars. If he mistook her kindness for pity, then that was his problem, not hers. "Pray hold the boat steady for me, if you please, so I may go ashore."

"Oh, aye, please may I, pretty as pie," he said, goading her as he jabbed one of the oars into the soft bottom as a makeshift anchor. "Going back to the first man who dared cross you this morning, are you? Eager to bedevil another poor bastard?"

"I am not!" she answered indignantly, wishing she hadn't at that exact moment remembered the letter in her pocket. "I never said I was!"

"You didn't have to," he said, grinning with the triumph she'd thought earlier was hers. "I told you I was quarrelsome by nature, and so are you. You can't help it, lass, anymore than I can. And of course it's a man that's provoked you. With a woman like you, it always is, isn't it?"

"You know nothing of me, sir, or of my situation," she said warmly as she scrambled from the boat and up the bank, "nor shall you ever have the opportunity to learn!"

"Go on, coxswain," he called after her. "Give the bastard the righteous hell he deserves. Remember how you're no ordinary chit!"

Fuming, she didn't give him the satisfaction of looking back, yet his mocking laughter echoed after her as she hurried through the trees back toward the house. She'd hoped her walk would calm her, but because of meeting this impossibly rude man she felt more unsettled than when she'd first received the anonymous letter. By the time she'd come through the last of the gardens and seen Roxby himself by the steps, she couldn't help running toward him, knowing that at last her doubts would be put to rest.

"Roxby!" she shouted as she raced toward him, her petticoats flying around her legs. "Oh, Roxby, I'm so glad you're home!"

Tossing the reins of his horse to a waiting groom, he turned toward her slowly. In that first moment she saw Roxby as the world did, an English nobleman posed on the wide marble steps of his favorite house in the country, generations of his family's wealth and position granting him unquestionable power and presence. That same presence made him seem taller than he actually was and gave the measured elegance to his bearing that had attracted Diana instantly. He had dark, deep-set eyes beneath black brows with a perpetually quizzical arch, and from his mother's family in the north he'd inherited the long aristocratic nose, one that seemed to echo the Roman profiles on the coins he collected.

Returning from Knowlewood, he was still dressed in the same clothes he'd worn to dinner — a dark red superfine wool jacket and waistcoat, only lightly embroidered with silver thread for the country, with matching breeches clasped at the knee with etched silver buckles. Even after being awake all night, nothing seemed in disarray, nothing soiled or mussed, though for riding to and from Knowlewood he'd changed into high black boots with dark red heels and silver spurs. He wore three rings on his left hand, and two on his right, four set with rubies in gold, and the last the heavy gold signet with the family's crest that had belonged to his great-grandfather.

But as she came closer, Diana saw beyond the marquess' rubies and silver lace to the man she'd come to love: a true gentleman with impeccably elegant manners, always in control of himself and his emotions, the very antithesis of the obstreperous, uncultured men she'd known in Massachusetts. Yet despite his reserve, to her joy Diana also saw pleasure light his eyes when he spied her, followed instantly by concern.

"What is wrong, Diana?" he asked, holding his hand out to her. "What has happened?"

"Nothing," she said breathlessly, barely stopping from throwing herself into his arms the way she longed to do. Roxby had warned her before that marchionesses were expected to behave with more decorum than that, more restraint, especially before servants like the curious groom. "That is, something has happened, but not what you think."

"Either it has, or it hasn't," said Roxby with exquisite patience. "At this abominable hour, only you know for certain, my dear Madame Lark."

"But I don't." She pulled the now-crumpled letter from her pocket, smoothing it with her fingers before she handed it to him. "This was brought to me this morning, posted from London."

She held her breath while he read, waiting for an outburst that never came.

"Vile and scurrilous," he said with a resigned sigh. "I regret that you have had to receive such a letter."

"That — that is all, Roxby?" she asked, stunned and wounded by his lack of reaction. "You are not — not surprised?"

"My dear innocent Diana," he said gently. "I fear I have seen a great deal more of the world than you, and nothing in it surprises me any longer. Except, that is, the depth of devotion I feel for you."

"Truly?" Anxiously Diana searched Roxby's face, longing for a more passionate assurance than was in his nature to give. How desperately she wanted to believe him! "But why would this woman have written such lies if — "

"Jealousy," he answered firmly. "Malice. The illicit sport of throwing mud at her betters. There could be a score of reasons, Diana, though whomever this wretched, unhappy female may be, she clearly envies us our joy. She won't, alas, be the last. But we must ignore her, my dear. She has the power to poison our happiness only if you grant it to her."

She should have known that Roxby would offer such a perfectly logical explanation, one that was beyond questioning. That was one of the things she loved about him, wasn't it?

Yet she couldn't quite keep the wistfulness from her voice. "I know you're more experienced in such matters, Roxby, and if I'm going to be your wife, I must learn to accept such — such jealous attentions from strangers."

"I fear so." He smiled tenderly, enough to make her want to weep. "You must learn to trust me, my little bride, in this and in all things. The life I've offered you won't always be an easy one, but I pray you'll never regret your decision to share it with me."

He held the letter up before her, the sunlight catching in the jeweled rings on his fingers as he slowly, deliberately tore the letter into ragged strips, then into still smaller pieces that he let fall to the steps. Swiftly the breeze caught the tattered fragments, swirling them like oversized snowflakes around Diana's feet.

"There," said Roxby, tipping her face toward his. "All you need do is trust me, Diana, and the rest shall follow."

She wanted to trust him as much as she already loved him. He was her Roxby, and soon to be her husband as well. But even as he kissed her, she realized he'd never once denied the letter's accusations, and although the letter lay torn and scattered at her feet, the hateful words remained as unchallenged as Diana's own doubts.

And she'd never given him hell about any of it....

Copyright © 2000 by Miranda Jarett

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Another winner for Ms Jarret

    In 1747 Hampshire, England, colonialist Diana Fairbourne and Lord Roxby are to marry. However, an unsigned note shakes Diana up as the letter claims Roxby has a mistress and ¿loves you not¿. As Diana¿s doubts mount, she meets an enigmatic stranger. To her shock she finds herself attracted to the man in spite of her efforts to keep even her thoughts faithful. <P>War hero James Durham is recovering from some nasty injuries he obtained while saving the lives of a naval crew. He enjoys the outspoken competency and competitiveness of Diana. Those same qualities that James finds so endearing simply drive Roxby to ire as he expects his future spouse to meekly obey his every word. As a matchmaking cat keeps pushing Diana towards James, they fall in love. However, there remains the matter of Roxby and their engagement. <P>STARBRIGHT, the sequel to STARLIGHT, is an entertaining Georgian romance. The story line is fast-paced, filled with twisting intrigue, and loaded with engaging charcaters. Although Diana¿s reaction to the memo seems a stretch at first, readers will soon understand that the note allows her marital doubts to gel, ultimately adding depth to the cast. Miranda Jarrett continues to provide some of the best historical romances on the market. <P>Harriet Klausner

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