His Saving Grace

His Saving Grace

by Sharon Cullen

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553391572
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/23/2014
Series: Secrets & Seduction , #4
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 284
Sales rank: 152,578
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Sharon Cullen is the USA Today bestselling author of the Highland Pride series (Sutherland’s Secret, MacLean’s Passion) as well as many novels of Regency romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. If you’d like to find out more about the author and her books, you can visit her blog or her website. She is addicted to social networking, so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion: books.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
England, 1855

Lady Grace Ashworth, the dowager countess of Blackbourne, ascended the steps of Blackbourne Manor.
She lifted the doorknocker and let it fall, proud that her hands did not tremble too awfully much. She waited several moments before the door was opened by a dear, familiar face that she hadn’t seen in nearly a year.

Despite her trepidation and trembling, she couldn’t help but grin. “Alfred, it’s so good to see you.”

The old butler’s lips twitched in what she knew was his way of smiling. “Likewise, my lady.”

She stepped in and handed her parasol to Alfred. “As I’m sure you know, I have an appointment with the earl.”

She’d practiced saying the words all the way here just so she wouldn’t choke on them.

“This way, my lady.” With his back straight, Alfred shuffled past the grand soaring staircase that she knew led to the earl and countess’s private chambers, and down the hall toward the study. Against her better judgment and the firm lecture she’d given herself, she surreptitiously glanced around and was surprised to see that very little had changed since she had been removed from the house. She’d been so certain that the new countess would have overhauled the entire manor, putting her own stamp on the stately home. Grace had been saddened to think of the lovely wainscoting gone, replaced with something garishly new. Alas, none of that had happened. At least not in the public rooms. She very much doubted she would be invited to view the private rooms.

Alfred shuffled to a stop and pushed open the door to the study, stepping back to let her in. “His lordship will be with you shortly.”

“Thank you, Alfred.” She settled into the chair opposite the current earl of Blackbourne’s desk.

“My lady?” Alfred moved farther into the room after a quick glance down the hall. “The cook wanted me to tell you that you are missed.” He leaned forward to whisper, “The entire staff wanted me to convey that as well.”

Grace smiled through an unexpected stab of sorrow. She missed these people so much. “Thank you, Alfred. They are well?”

“Best as can be expected.”

“And Cook’s rheumatism? How is that faring?”

Alfred shook his head. “She’s in pain most of the time, I’m afraid. Not enough time in the day to put one’s feet up.”

Her smile faded. “No, I suppose not.” Did Clara, the current countess, know of Cook’s arthritis? Did she allow Cook time to put her feet up? From Alfred’s expression, Grace guessed not.

“Her ladyship—” Alfred’s back snapped taut, and he closed his mouth.

Nigel Ashworth, the earl of Blackbourne, also known as Grace’s brother-in-law, entered with a wave of his hand. “That is all, Alfred.”

The butler stepped into the hall and quietly closed the door, but not without a final sympathetic look at Grace that set her heart to thundering once again.

“Grace.” Nigel sank into the desk chair with a loud sigh. He wasn’t an ugly man, but Grace’s opinion of him colored her perception. He was ugly within, and for her, that tainted the outside. Though he had the black hair and green eyes of the Ashworths, unfortunately, Nigel had not inherited the regal bearing of his brothers. Nor the common sense. Or, for that matter, the business acumen. He was the youngest of three and had not been raised to take on the earldom, although one had to admit, he had done so with enthusiasm. He definitely enjoyed the prestige, if the rumors Grace had heard were true.

“So.” He folded his hands on his desk and looked at her. He was the shortest of the Ashworth brothers, and since his ascension to the earldom, he’d gained some weight that made him appear paunchy and fleshy.

But the eyes. It hurt to look into his eyes. They reminded her of Michael.

“I have heard that you and Sir Clayton Timmons have been spending some time together,” he said.

The tremors Grace had managed to quell returned tenfold. When she had been summoned to the manor house, she’d had no idea why. Out of the dozens of scenarios she’d considered, this was not one of them. “We’ve taken a few strolls through town, and he’s called to convey his condolences. Nothing serious, I assure you.”

“I had the opportunity to speak to Sir Timmons just yesterday. He is quite fond of you.”

Grace found it hard to catch her breath, unsure where this conversation was heading but knowing it wasn’t going to end well. None of her conversations with Nigel ended well. “He told you this?”

“But of course.” Nigel sounded entirely delighted. “He has offered for your hand.”

Grace blinked, her power of speech deserting her. Offered for her hand? As in marriage?

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His Saving Grace 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
jojoNE More than 1 year ago
As a disabled person I'm drawn to stories dealing with the issues surrounding living life in a body unknown to you at times. And with my father's recent head injury I found myself even more engaged in the journey the once proud Michael takes towards recovery as it resonates very deeply in my own life for many reasons. Grace has loved Michael since she was very young and each moment they were together is forever etched in her memory. When she heard of his death a little of her died too. After being shuffled off to the dower house by an uncaring and pompous brother-in-law life looks to be a lonely one until Nigel, the new Earl of Blackbourne, informs her of her impending marriage. As her intended is nothing more than a friend to her she's desperate to end her engagement. The arrival of a dark carriage might at first offer salvation but soon immerses her in the unknown as the return of her husband doesn't go as she dreamed it would. Michael is back but he's changed and to reach HEA they'll both have to work hard and let love be their guide. Michael went away to war with dreams of gallantry but returned lost and broken after a catastrophic head injury changed him irrevocably. The once proud Earl now has trouble remembering words and events, is sometimes overcome with rage, and has excruciating headaches and memories from the war. His body is like a stranger and it scares him. It kept him from returning home as he wanted to hide from what he'd become. He feels less than the man he once was and fears he won't be able to live up to his duties. His fears have him pushing Grace away instead of holding her close as he wants to do. It all leads to a marriage that was once so strong now rocky as insecurities from both of them weigh heavily. To be the man Grace and his earldom needs he'll have to accept that which can't be changed and let Grace in completely as an equal so they can stand together in solidarity when the outside world comes to judge him. Grace and Michael are a strong and compelling couple. Grace is smart and caring and through everything her love for him never waned. She felt frustrated and alienated by Michael's reliance on the stranger Tarik for help early on but it forced her to accept reality and from there on she was Michael's biggest champion. She was loyal and dedicated and had more faith in Michael than he had in himself. Michael's pain, physical and mental, was palpable. It was easy to get caught up in his frustrations and self-loathing at what he's become. The glimpses of the old Michael though remind us of what brought him together with Grace and give us hope for their future. This story puts readers through the emotional wringer with lots of tears and a few smiles along the way. It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming and I credit Ms. Cullen with its realism. It's an emotionally draining journey that I feel privileged to have taken as the characters are richly depicted, their actions believable, and the message of love conquering all vividly witnessed. Though this is the fourth installment in the Secrets & Seduction series it can be read on its own, but I hope to see this couple again in the future as they left an indelible mark on me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It didn't knock my socks off but it was nice to lay back and relax to.Very easy to follow.There were 255 pages,actually about 20 of the last of them were promotions for other books.I'm trying to include the number of pages in hope that other folks might do the same I know l appreciate it. Granny B.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Sometimes the ravages of war are oft repeated, and Sharon Cullen uses the remove and distance that comes with fiction and presents a story that is timely despite the setting.   Grace is a young woman, believing herself widowed and is oft bullied and harassed by her brother in law.  A particularly grasping and distasteful character, he is determined that Grace shall live by his rules as the ‘new’ head of household, a position previously not in his future.  Grace is amazingly strong-willed and determined to do ‘right’ as she sees fit, and she is not amenable to his determination to beat her down.  When Michael, Earl of Blackbourne and survivor of a traumatic head injury during the war returns to his home and wife Grace, everyone must make adjustments for the change in circumstances.  Most striking is the parallel of Michael’s situation with so many returning from far afield today, and Cullen uses that commonality of experience to enrich her portraits of these two characters, adding depth and emotional elements that bring their relationship to the forefront.  Rather than focusing solely on the historic or distasteful societal machinations of Michael’s brother, this story transcends time and place and gives us a look into the rekindling of the relationship between Grace and Michael, and the trials that come with his injury, anger and guilt from the trauma.  Grace is a stand-out character in this story; not only does she love and want the best for Michael, and is willing to overcome any obstacles in her path, she also is unwilling to capitulate to Nigel’s demands. In fact, she finds evidence to discredit his claims and grasping for the title, all while learning and coping with her newly arrived / recently returned husband.  With secondary characters that fill in the story nicely, holding the feel of the time and social station, as well as a villain that it is easy to mistrust in Nigel, this is a wonderful installment to the series.  I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*I cried and I never cry... A wonderful story of healing..
MTSmith More than 1 year ago
What an amazing tale of a love that was meant to be and two people who cannot be separated by anything but death. Can you imagine what it'd be like to be the widow Grace, to have the life you've lived for the past year completely upended when your presumed-to-be-dead husband turns up very much alive at your front door? I would've screamed, fainted, maybe even slammed the door in his face. Not Grace. She was shocked, understandably so, but she reacted so...well to Michael's return. It gave visual proof to how much she missed him, how much longed for him, how much she merely existed without him. I love how Grace dove into Michael's problems, and I love how persistent she was. There were times where I thought she'd give up, give in, admit defeat and leave him be. She didn't. She stuck to her guns and showed him that she not only wanted to be a part of his life, no matter what kind of life it was, but that she loved him regardless of how much the war had changed him. For the majority of this story, I sympathized for Michael. His frustration with his disability was sincere and bled through the pages. I admired his attempts at keeping Grace away, even though she managed to slip by his defenses a little at a time. But I was fed up with his self-pity by the time Grace left him. It wasn't her choice; he made it for her, just like he made every other decision concerning their relationship and her happiness. His wallowing nearly cost him the one thing he claimed kept him alive and sane while at war. It nearly cost him the reason why he'd come home. He was given a second chance to be with the woman he loved and he almost blew it. To say I was furious with his shortsightedness would be a huge understatement, because I. Was. Livid. Thank God that was totally short lived though. Thank you, Ms. Cullen, for not drawing out the last third of the book dwelling on their separation, instead delving into their relationship being repaired and made better. I've said before that I adore PTSD stories. They pull at the heartstrings, make me hate, sympathize, pity, and love the soldier who suffers from it. Michael and Grace's story did just that while making me sit with crossed fingers hoping everything turned out like it should. Everything did, of course, but that ending couldn't have been more perfect if not for the journey that got these two wonderful characters there. ***Received from NetGalley via Tasty Book Tours for an honest review***
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
Lady Grace Ashworth has been mourning her husband for almost a year. She is still madly in love with him and can't imagine loving another man. She is shocked when her brother-in-law decides it was time she re-married. That all changes when her husband shows up alive at her front door. Having received a devastating head injury during the war, Michael has finally made his way back home. But he is a different man than the one that left and he doesn't think that he deserves Grace's love. Despite all the obstacles that Michael puts in their way, can he and Grace capture the love they once had? This is definitely different from Cullen's other books, but I loved it just the same. The other books Cullen has put out have revolved around grand adventures and this is more sedate staying close to home. It also touched at my heartstrings more coming from a military family and knowing how war can change people mentally and physically. I loved that Grace was not willing to give Michael up. She had spend so much time mourning his loss that she knew whatever life they had together would be better than that and she fought for it. Michael on the other hand had to be convinced that even though he was not the same man he was before the war, he was worthy of Grace's love. This was a very moving and powerful story by Cullen. I can't wait for the next book Cullen puts out, which comes out in March 2015. Thanks go out to Random House via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
A deeply emotional, heart-achingly romantic read, His Saving Grace was a fantastic historical romance. I really liked this book. It was a different romance about the constancy of love and I really enjoyed it. Grace was a lovely heroine. No matter how difficult things became, she was determined to keep hold of her love and fight for her marriage. She was also realistic. She had her moments of grief and despair, but that didn't keep her from continuing her fight. And she proved that she could be a total badass and get things done (I loved how calmly and neatly she dug up information about Michael's scheming brother and blackmailed him into backing down). I thought she was a great character and I really liked her. Michael was an interesting character. He had a head injury from the war and it damaged his short term memory so that he easily forgot new information. He had to deal with a whole lot of hopelessness and anger and fear that everyone might have been happier if he had stayed away. But, through it all he always thought of Grace and valued her love above everything else. He was a sweetie and I really liked him as well. The romance was great. Grace and Michael loved each other deeply and I liked that, when things seemed darkest, they always made sure to say that they loved each other. And, they certainly had enough chemistry to turn up the heat. I thought they were a perfect couple. The plot was steadily paced, with the focus more on the internal conflict of the characters, and I was kept engaged the entire way through. I really liked how clearly and realistically the emotions were portrayed in a way that made me really feel them and sympathize with the characters. I absolutely loved the story and the ending was perfect. His Saving Grace was a gem of a read that I really loved. It was realistically and deeply emotional and wonderfully romantic and I enjoyed every bit of it. Romance lovers, this is a book you won't want to miss. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not connect with Grace...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looks good to me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This place looks sceetchy. Beth is tdog
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sure whats your name
kronan1 More than 1 year ago
Beautiful well written love story. But it was still rather depressing. I loved the couple and they did have a HEA. But I guess I like a little more hope in my HEA. Still I would definitely read this author again.
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
Not sure if I liked this story or not. For some reason it just was not interesting to me. The flow of the story was slow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very sweet book and really brought home how sometimes you have to really work for what you love!!
LesiaCh4 More than 1 year ago
A wonderful story with amazing characters that bring so much emotion to this story. In today's world, many people will be able to relate to this story, which make the characters all the more real. Grace has been mourning her husband, whom she thought was killed in the Crimean War, only to have him return to her a changed man instead. Michael is returning home, feeling like a broken man, and not deserving of Grace. Grace will have a battle of her own ahead of her if she is to keep her marriage together. This story will have a happy ending, but many battles full of deep emotion are ahead for these characters. This book is a change of pace from the traditional romances I've read, but I enjoyed this story and hope that you will too. Happy Reading.
celticmaggie More than 1 year ago
Sharon has gone above and beyond writing this book! I really liked this book but it was hard to read this story. This was another "tear you apart" book. Keep the tissues nearby! Poor Grace. She is barely living since her husband was listed as dead. Then her brother-in-law informs her he has found her a new husband. Whoa Nelly! She finally decides not to argue as she is tired of being alone. So, of course, Michael comes back to her after being injured. He has a bad head injury and has loss of short term memory. There are so many deep problems and spoilers. After all this it is a book one should read. If only to be glad our doctors can do so much more now. Please read story!
KimP65 More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely wonderful but I will warn you, it's very hard to read.  The intense emotions involved in this book made for a very difficult journey.  The love between the characters was never in question as you find with many romances, the absolutely loved each other.   The historical aspects of this book also didn't play too much into the book either because this wasn't a story of the times so much as a story that could fit into any timeframe and any life.  Watching these two people struggle to come to terms with the damage that was done by war was so painful but the beauty came shining through as they worked out a way to handle it together. By the time that I finished this book I was completely worn out emotionally and it's taken me a couple of days to be able to write this.  I have found that the true impact of the story had to sink in because it's a very personal, emotional impact that is delivered so expertly, crafted so well that you don't feel the full effects until you are able to step back from the reading and absorb it all. One thing I do have to say though, I think this books would be better stated as a "stand alone" than part of the Secrets & Seductions series.  I can only speak for myself but this didn't really fit with the rest of the books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nothing to add
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was good...not my typical read...I like my scoundrels , womanizing cocky men...this was a little to sweet for me...the love scene's were not passionate or emotional enough..I found them lacking...there were love scenes , I just didn't feel on there connection ...for a couple so in love they should have been better... that's just my opinion .