Miss Sylvan Miles dreaded the moment she'd see Lord Rand Malkin again. Once a dashing rogue, he's returned from battle a changed man. Sylvan, too, has suffered. Sharpened by scandal and tragedy, she vows to heal Rand's body and spirit.But when Sylvan arrives at Clairmont Court, the man she encounters is far from the great pleasure in taunting her with stolen kisss and the legend of his ancestor's ghost. But Sylvan isn't fooled by his bravado and sets out to break down his defenses...while she fortifies her own against temptation.
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About the Author
New York Times bestselling author CHRISTINA DODD builds worlds filled with suspense, romance, and adventure, and creates the most distinctive characters in fiction today. Her fifty novels have been translated into twenty-five languages, featured by Doubleday Book Club, recorded on Books on Tape for the Blind, won Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart and RITA Awards, and been called the year's best by Library Journal. Dodd herself has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle.
Read an Excerpt
Somerset, England, April 1816
"A ghost walks the halls of Clairmont Court at night."
Miss Sylvan Miles clutched her bonnet in one hand and a strap with the other as the two-wheeled open carriage climbed yet another hill. With a throaty chuckle,she responded, "I'd be disappointed if one didn't."
The coachman hunched his massive shoulders. "Aye, ye may laugh. A meager woman might do so -- until she comes face-to-face with that awesome lord."
Jasper Rooney had picked her up at the Hawk and Hound Inn only two hours before, and she'd thought him a dour Young man with no imagination. Now she wondered if he didn't suffer from an excess of imagination. Telling herself she shouldn't encourage him, she tried to ignore the prod of curiosity. Instead she looked at the rugged moor that rolled past the fashionable Stanhope gig. She smelled the scent of the ocean as they neared it and hunched her shoulders against the nip of the breeze. And she burst out, "Have you seen this ghost?
"Aye, that I have. Thought myself mad when I saw him striding the grounds in his fancy suit. I told our Reverend Donald, and he said I wasn't the first to sight it. 'Tis the ghost of the first duke of Clairmont.
His voice throbbed with emotion, and he trembled, but Sylvan wasn't afraid.
She'd seen worse than ghosts in her time.
Briskly, she demanded, "How did you know that? Did you ask the ghost his identity?"
"Nay, miss. But he looks just like the portrait of Radolf. A fearsome man, tall and brawn. A warrior with mace and sword."
She grinned, secure in the knowledge the coachman couldn't see her. "If he'scarrying a mace, I'll do my best to avoid him. Warriors exhaust me."
"Ye're not a very respectful miss," jasper chided.
"You're not the first to remark on that," Sylvan agreed. Then the carriage topped the hill, and she cried .Stop!"
Before Jasper had pulled to a complete halt, she leaped off the steps and onto the ground . A tangled madness of ancient forest and moor, cliffs, and savage, ocean stretched before her. She waded into the new' green grass, absorbing the scent of it as she crushed it beneath her feet. Close at hand, heather and bracken rippled, and beyond that, the sea's surface undulated at, the command of the wind. Far in the distance, she could see squares of brown dirt that had been cleared an plowed and perhaps planted, but that had not yet pro duced an inkling of a crop. On the sea, a few fishing boats, dwarfed by distance, bobbed among the rocks. Clasping her hands at her breast, she tried to contain the welcome ache inside her.
It was a homecoming, but she'd never been here before.
"'Tis a god-awful primitive place, ain't it?" The coachman sounded as if he hoped she would agree. "Most ladies react just like you. I've had some of them want to turn back right here, but they always go on."
"I've never seen anything like this." Her lungs filled with fresh, brisk air, and it intoxicated her. She wanted to run and dance, to find a high place and jump off, trusting to the wind to carry her --
"Willing to brave the horrors of Clairmont lands for the prestige and wealth of the duke."
-- and then drop her gently to earth, there to rest and heal.
"'Course, you can't leave," Jasper said. "His Grace said you were the new nurse for Lord Rand."
Rest. God, what she would do for a good night's sleep.
"Told him it was foolish, I did. The other nurses were men -- as is proper -- and they couldn't deal with Lord Rand."
Jasper's derision jerked her focus to him. "Deal with Lord Rand? What do you mean?"
"The tantrums and the shouting and the swearing have sent four strong men running in eight months. How's a woman going to take it?" His gaze ran contemptuously over her. "'Specially a tiny thing like you."
Sylvan stood stock still, struggling with a sense of betrayal.
Garth Malkin, current duke of Clairmont, had claimed his brother was an invalid. He'd implied that ill fortune had crushed all spirit from Lord Rand. He had fostered the impression of a cowed man who needed careful handling. His Grace's reassurances were the only reasons she had allowed herself to be persuaded to come, for she had not escaped her last encounter with Lord Randolf Malkin unscathed.
But she had found she couldn't bear the thought of Rand's scalding blue eyes. bleak with defeat, nor his vibrant figure wasting away. She had imagined herself gently coaxing him back to life, bringing a smile to his pale lips and lighting the spark of his soul once more. Yet Jasper was insinuating ...
"Having second thoughts, miss?"
Second thoughts, indeed. Second thoughts were for cowards and ladies, not for Miss Sylvan Miles.
Squaring her shoulders, she looked up at Jasper on his perch and smiled "You'll have to wait and see, won't you?"
He stared down, slack mouthed, then an answering smile crept over his sullen face. "Perhaps you'll do. His Grace is no fool, is he?" Climbing down, he offered his enormous hand. "Best get in the gig."
Sylvan didn't move. "Where's the house?"
"Through the village, around the hill and up. Four hundred years ago, Lord Radolf built it facing the ocean, so the windows rattle in the mildest breeze. When a storm blows up, we're lucky to keep the fires lit and the smoke out of the house. The first duke acted just like today's Clairmonts. Not interested in good sense and comfort, only interested in struggle and challenge. Whole damned family's dicked in the nob."
Ho, now that was interesting. "Why do you say that?
"Best get in, miss. They'll be looking for you at the manor."Move Heaven and Earth. Copyright © by Christina Dodd. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Id have to say this is one of christina dodds good novels out of everything ive read and is definetly recommended. it had a good plot but wasnt as exciting as i thought it would be. I would recommend it for people who like christina dodd