Till Next We Meet

Till Next We Meet

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by Karen Ranney

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In a departure from her nationally bestselling Highland Lord series, Karen Ranney brings us another emotionally intense and passionate story that will speak to her fans.

When Adam Moncrief, Colonel of the Highland Scots Fusiliers, agrees to write a letter to Catherine Dunnan, one of his officers' wives, a forbidden correspondence develops and he soon becomes


In a departure from her nationally bestselling Highland Lord series, Karen Ranney brings us another emotionally intense and passionate story that will speak to her fans.

When Adam Moncrief, Colonel of the Highland Scots Fusiliers, agrees to write a letter to Catherine Dunnan, one of his officers' wives, a forbidden correspondence develops and he soon becomes fascinated with her even though Catherine thinks the letters come from her husband, Harry Dunnan. Although Adam stops writing after Harry is killed, a year after his last letter he still can't forget her.Then when he unexpectedly inherits the title of the Duke of Lymond, Adam decides the timing is perfect to pay a visit to the now single and available Catherine.What he finds, however, is not the charming, spunky woman he knew from her letters, but a woman stricken by grief, drugged by laudanum and in fear for her life. In order to protect her, Adam marries Catherine, hoping that despite her seemingly fragile state, he will once again discover the woman he fell in love with.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This retelling of the Cyrano story begins promisingly with the return of Colonel Moncrief to Scotland from the French and Indian wars to apprise Catherine Dunnan of husband Harry's death in battle. Married only a few months, she'd truly fallen in love with Harry through the letters he'd sent faithfully from the New World. What she doesn't know is that the author of those letters was not the callow Harry but Moncrief, who has fallen in love with her. Determined to rescue Catherine from her grim surroundings, Moncrief marries her in haste-and then must decide how to reveal his secret. The story glides along evenly, offering glimpses of other mysteries at its core, but even the revelation that someone is trying to kill Catherine feels unexciting. The earnest, noble lovers have little external conflict to keep them apart, and after a while, readers get the sense that they're just marking time waiting for one of them to eject Harry's ghost from their marriage once and for all. Though Ranney (So in Love, etc.) is known for her darker, almost gothic stories, this outing lacks the heightened drama that would push it out of the drawing room and into the bedroom. Agent, Damaris Rowland at the Rowland and Axelrod Agency. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Till Next We Meet

By Karen Ranney

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Karen Ranney
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060757373

Colstin Hall, Scotland
October 1761

Catherine Dunnan stood at the window and pushed it ajar, feeling the sudden tenseness in the woman behind her. She almost wanted to reassure the young maid that she had no intention of throwing herself to the ground, but that would have required speech, and conversation was simply beyond her at the moment.

So many things were difficult, like rising in the morning and washing her face and hands. She preferred to stay abed, preferably asleep, but the world seemed to think that she should be awake and alert. So, she occasionally left her bed in order not to further worry her servants.

In actuality, she didn't care if the day was advanced or early, if it rained or was filled with sunshine outside her window. It had been six months since the letter and the trunk had come, but it might have only been yesterday for the pain she felt.

The day was overcast, any sight of the sun obscured by a white sky. A dampness clung to the air, making the leaves curl on the branches of the trees outside her window. Fog hugged the ground, as if the clouds had fallen from the sky.

The world looked upside down.

Behind her the maid puttered, placing a luncheon tray on a small circular table, arranging silverware, all the while prattling on about the morning'sevents. A litter of kittens had been born in the barn, Cook's bones were aching, the footman had a rash, a squirrel was found dead below her window.

Taken individually, each event was miniscule, almost unimportant. But added together, it became a sure and certain progression, the transcribing of life itself.

Once she had been interested in what went on around her. Now, however, her existence had narrowed, become fixed and immutable. She breathed in and out, and that was the extent of her focus.

An ache lodged bone deep in her chest, as painful as a spear wound. Never easing nor ceasing, it remained a constant thing against which to measure her hours. She awoke and it was there. She lay on her bed and prayed for sleep and it kept a vigil within her, a succubus that fed on her despair.

Air brushed across her skin, making her shiver. A squirrel scampered up from the fog, leaping from one branch to another. Through it all, the maid chattered. Catherine neither wanted to see nor hear nor feel anything, but however much she wished it otherwise, she was still alive.

And the living endure.

If she could only die. How could God not answer a simple enough prayer?

The vicar said she was wrong to pray for such things.

God would see to it that she died when He was ready and not she. The vicar was obtrusive in his care for her, assiduous in a way that was grating. How did one tell a man of the cloth that he was an irritant?

"What time is it?"

"Two o'clock, madam," the maid answered, quick enough that she must have anticipated the question.

So, she had slept most of the day after all. She would spend the night in restless nightmares.

"You look pale, madam. Are you feeling well?"

Did it matter? She slept and dreamed and slept and dreamed and sometimes she awoke, sat up against the headboard feeling adrift in a mindless confusion. At times like those she took another draught of the laudanum and waited to sleep again.

"You should eat something, madam," the maid said, finally done with the chore of arranging dishes and cutlery.

Catherine didn't turn from her survey of the strange fog-laden countryside. "I'm not hungry," she said. How many times would she have to repeat those words until her staff learned from them?

"Cook said you didn't eat dinner last night or breakfast this morning. You should eat a bite or two. Just that, madam. Please."

The girl's name was Betty, and she was adept at her tasks. She was walking out with a footman, and had a sparkling laugh and a habit of covering her mouth with her hand to hide her bad teeth. She was deferential and pleasant enough in the before time. The before time-that achingly innocent period when life had been halcyon and beautiful, ripe with promise and heavy with anticipation. The before time, before the letter had come, before Harry's body had been returned in a pitch-soaked coffin, before the world became shadowed and black, wearing mourning as deep as night.

She'd confessed in one of her letters to him that she was afraid of the dark.

The shadows of darkness, he'd written in reply, give an ominous appearance even to friendly things. Think, instead, of evening as a time of welcome rest, and darkness as the Almighty's way of forcing peace upon his creatures. The owl and the field mouse will be night's sentinels.

She had held that letter to her chest, cherishing the near poetry of his words. That night she'd tested herself by standing in the hallway outside her chamber with no candle or lantern to light her way.

I cannot promise you, my dearest, she'd responded, that I met the darkness with any degree of comfort, but my loathing of it has eased somewhat.

The night held no terrors for her now. Instead, daylight tested her courage. Being awake was a measure of her bravery.

"I'm not hungry," she repeated, hoping that the girl would have sense enough to hear the resolve in her tone. Food sickened her. Sleep did as well, bringing nightmares that were torturously confusing and colored red and purple and blue, but even those visions were preferable to being awake.

"Glynneth made me promise," Betty said.

Catherine forced a smile to her face. "Tell her that you succeeded." Her companion would not hesitate in hiding behind another in order to accomplish her aims ...

The foregoing is excerpted from Till Next We Meet by Karen Ranney. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022


Excerpted from Till Next We Meet by Karen Ranney Copyright © 2007 by Karen Ranney. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author

Karen Ranney wanted to be a writer from the time she was five years old and filled her Big Chief tablet with stories. People in stories did amazing things and she was too shy to do anything amazing. Years spent in Japan, Paris, and Italy, however, not only fueled her imagination but proved she wasn't that shy after all.

Now a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, she prefers to keep her adventures between the covers of her books. Karen lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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Till Next We Meet 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1761 Canada Catherine Dunnan loves the romantic letters her military deployed spouse Harry sends her. Unbeknownst to Catherine, Harry is too busy womanizing to write her let alone read her replies. Instead trying to do a good deed, his leader Colonel Moncrief responds pretending he is Harry. Catherine comes to Scotland to surprise her Harry.--- However, Moncrief informs her Harry died. Stunned and filled with grief, Catherine overdoses with an opiate; Moncrief saves her life. As they become acquainted, he offers her protection by marrying her. As Moncrief and Catherine fall in love, apparently Harry¿s ghost wants to keep them apart though the Colonel wonders if the culprit might be more mortal like one of the deceased philanderer¿s lovers. --- This terrific Georgian romantic suspense combines a mystery with a Cyrano like plot as the audience ponders paranormal or human and what will happen to the relationship when (readers will expect the ethical Moncrief will tell the truth) the hero reveals his secret. The lead couple is a likable pair as Catherine has fallen in love with her letter writing ¿spouse¿ and Moncrief reciprocates even before they have met. Fans will enjoy this fine historical take on the Edmond Rostand classic.--- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first book by Karen Ranney that I have read. I was really pleased after finishing ¿Till Next We Meet¿ as it contained all the elements I like: passion, intensity, deep character development, an entertaining plot and sizzling love scenes. A few things I found the most compelling in this story were: 1) How the book focused heavily on the letters written between heroine Catherine and her husband Harry (or so she thought) while he was away in North America doing military work. The letters were passionate and deep and beautiful. They progressed from barely strangers as husband and wife to soul mates via this correspondence. 2) I liked how realistic Captain Moncrief/The Duke of Lymond our hero¿s emotions were. He was oozing loneliness from his childhood and adult life and the letters he secretly penned to Catherine in place of her husband opened up his heart and mind in ways he never believed. I especially enjoyed his ¿honest¿ reaction to meeting her the first time: she was gaunt, pale, high on laudanum and had stringy brown hair and empty brown eyes ¿ she was not the beauty he pictured in his mind. Moncrief was appalled at the woman he found. Not his dream gal. I liked this touch by the author ¿ it made Moncrief a very much a real man. For once¿she wasn¿t the perfect princess of every man¿s fantasy. Fortunately¿as the book went on, the real Catherine re-emerged from the fog of pain, drugs and loss and she became greater than any dream Moncrief could ever imagine. She became everything he ever wanted. He was not a rake, rogue, scoundrel, gambler, womanizer or debaucher of young gals. He was truly what a man should be when you hear the word, ¿hero¿. 3) The love scenes between Catherine and Moncrief were wonderful. I liked how she didn¿t want to be intimate with him in the beginning because she couldn¿t let go of the past and her late husband but, Moncrief very wisely played with her mind more than her body and that caused interest and attraction to begin. Once they did get together, the fireworks flew like the fourth of July. The scenes were tastefully written, powerful and believable. The other situations going on in this book of who really wrote the love letters, what is going on with Catherine¿s housekeeper/friend Glynneth and who might be trying to poison Catherine were all worthy side plots in this story. If you have ever had a man write love letters to you - you understand the power of the written word! I give this book a hearty two thumbs up or as ratings go¿.4 plus stars! I would like to give it 5 stars but, I am picky with giving a perfect rating to any book. I only give that to really, really rare finds. This book came close though! If you have not read this author before, do pick her up. This one was definitely worth the lack of sleep I got reading it all night long¿sigh! Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Karen Ranney just keeps getting better and better. Having read and enjoyed the entire series about the MacRae family, I was hoping her latest offering would not be a disappointment. Far from it - I am now looking forward to the next one!!
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