The Earl's Ward (Heartsong Presents Series #1065) [NOOK Book]

Overview


ANGELLA DENNING NEEDS A PROTECTOR

After rescuing her from near ruin, the Earl of Lucashire dutifully takes in the vicar's orphaned daughter. But he discovers Angella is a beauty too lovely to ignore. Soon the rakish earl is falling for his innocent ward.

Despite his reputation, Angella has no choice but to place herself under the earl's protection. Even as she resists his charms, when he accepts her faith as his own, she finds herself drawn to...

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The Earl's Ward (Heartsong Presents Series #1065)

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Overview


ANGELLA DENNING NEEDS A PROTECTOR

After rescuing her from near ruin, the Earl of Lucashire dutifully takes in the vicar's orphaned daughter. But he discovers Angella is a beauty too lovely to ignore. Soon the rakish earl is falling for his innocent ward.

Despite his reputation, Angella has no choice but to place herself under the earl's protection. Even as she resists his charms, when he accepts her faith as his own, she finds herself drawn to him. But then a secret from his past threatens their growing bond. Is it possible her beloved protector is not the man she believes him to be?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460320594
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Series: Heartsong Presents Series , #1065
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 256,547
  • File size: 215 KB

Meet the Author


Carolyn's published credits include over two-dozen books, hundreds of articles and a regular newspaper column. She's worked as an editor, speaker/teacher and book reviewer, leading workshops, lecturing at both UNK and Central Community College. She has been interviewed on NTV, KHAS television and AFR radio as well as in numerous print and online publications and had a monthly book review segment on NTV when she was a regular book reviewer. IDealinHope.com
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Read an Excerpt

With dainty white hands, Angella Denning smoothed her worn gown, which hung limply from her frame. It had not been new for several years and even then had been painstakingly sewn of cheap material by her mother. Economies were always necessary on her father's meager living, not to mention his generosity with what little they had. The dress had fit once upon a time, before she lost two of the most important people in her life—her dear beloved parents.

When her father, the Reverend Andrew Denning, died of fever after ministering in the village unstintingly for the past ten years, the folks of the small village mourned with her grieving mother. When her mother died soon after of the same fever, Angella was allowed to stay until a new vicar was chosen. There was no place for her to go. No one offered to help, though she would gladly have worked for her board and room—not that she could do much.

Slight of stature, she was no match for the women who toiled all day in the fields or who worked at the Big House, as the Lucashire family residence was known. It was from the Lucashire family the vicar received his living. Not that anyone had so much as glimpsed the young earl since the death of the kindly old peer—his father.

The shopkeeper told her, "The new earl is not cut from the same cloth as his good father." Seldom in residence, he cut his dash in London. The village maidens squealed as they gossiped about the rakish antics of the young lord. Angella was disgusted. She had no use for men who refused to take their responsibilities to their people seriously.

Yet, on her deathbed, her mother made her promise to contact the earl if her grandfather would not have her, but she knew not how. No one wanted to take a message to the Big House. She doubted the profligate earl would wish to take as his ward some unfledged chit.

After her mother's death, she sent off a missive to her maternal grandfather, the Marquess of Monforg. It had been returned unopened like all the other missives sent to Monforg castle throughout the years. Angella knew her mother's story by heart. When her mother, the marquess's only daughter, defied him by marrying a "no-account" parson, he cut her off without a farthing. He never even acknowledged the existence of Angella or her older brother, Edward.

Angella expected nothing less than another rejection from the starched-up peer. It pained her that her grandfather did not care—not for his daughter or his grandchildren. Still, she had to make one final attempt. She'd promised her mother.

If only Edward was not so far away. She had also posted a letter to Edward, but there had scarcely been time for it to reach him in India and for him to return home. Besides, as he had told them in his infrequent letters, he was often far from the missionary compound.

Thus, Angella had no place to go and no money with which to travel, even if she did know where to go. From the empty flagpole others reported viewing at Lucashire Hall, Angella knew the earl was not in residence. Who knew when he would return!

When the new vicar first arrived, he had sympathized with her plight—or so she'd thought. At the time, she had been grateful when he'd told her with a strange smile, "You may stay at the vicarage, Miss Denning, for now."

While the situation made her uncomfortable, the vicar was old enough to be her guardian and the housekeeper did live there, too. How could she have guessed the man was not the honorable man of God her father was?

He thundered from the pulpit like some Old Testament prophet, but comported himself like some monster in his own home. He covered it well with his sanctimonious arrogance. Not even Mrs. Marsh, the elderly homebound woman who so loved Angella's mother, believed her hints that all was not well.

Never had a man frightened her as did the vicar. His son was a different matter. His cries drew her to the parlor when she found the vicar beating the child. "Stop! Stop!" She tried to grab the bloodied whip. Andrew, whose shirt hung in tatters from the whipping, stared up at her with frightened, glazed eyes.

"No, Miss Denning. Leave me be… I…can take it." The fear she witnessed in his eyes was for her. Staring into the face of his father, she understood. There was a strange glitter in the vicar's gaze as he held her at bay. He licked his thick lips in a way that sent chills down her spine.

"This is between me and my son. The boy incurred my wrath, and he shall be punished." There was no anger, only a deep gratification in the man's face as he eyed the object of torture.

"He's just a boy and he is your son. He's bleeding. Isn't that enough?" She'd intended to sound forceful, but the words came out breathless, frightened.

He noticed, and a slow dreadful smile stretched his mouth. "He is mine. I do what I will with what is mine, and I expect complete obedience. Just as it says in God's Word—Honor thy father and mother—which is the first commandment with promise. You'll understand…in time."

Her dark green eyes narrowed. "It also says in Ephe-sians 6:4, And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

The vicar's cheeks puffed out. His eyes reddened. "How dare you question the way I raise my son."

"I know God is a God of love. You know nothing of love." Though her insides quailed, Angella was not about to back down.

"I don't, do I?" His gaze roved her worn gown.

Crossing her arms over her bosom, she blushed. "That, Reverend, is not love and you well know it."

"We'll see about that," he growled. "One of these days you'll be grateful to me."

Angella felt like the terrified rabbit she'd once seen caught in a snare in the wood. She had nowhere to go and no one to whom she could turn. Lord, show me what to do.

As much as she would have liked to help the boy, she knew the man would never allow her, nor anyone else, to stand in his way. If he desired to beat his son, as he had several times the past month, she would not be able to stop him.

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