Masquerading as an American, Eallair, a Guardian Steward from another world, is searching Victorian England for the kidnapped mate of a fellow Guardian. When he meets Miss Harriet Cartwright, he knows her for the spirited, intelligent mate he has longed to find.
Since the death of their parents, Harriet has used her intelligence and sharp tongue to guard her sister from fortune hunters, but now that Prudence is close to choosing a husband, Harriet can consider her own future—one hopefully filled with adventure. When she meets Eallair, an American rancher who likes to travel and isn’t put off by her outspokenness, she is intrigued.
But before Harriet and Eallair can explore their attraction, she and her sister are kidnapped. While Eallair scours the countryside for them, Harriet discovers Eallair’s off-world origins. Now she must decide: just how much adventure does she want in her future?
Harriet squinted at the unknown man towering over her. The sun behind him deepened the shadows of an angular face. Hollows carved the area beneath prominent cheeks, and a sharp jawline led to a pointed chin. Where some men might have chosen to sport a beard to relieve the harshness, he did not. His lips were rather full and his nose a tad crooked, as if broken and never properly reset. Focusing on each individual feature, he was rather unattractive, but coupled with strange tawny eyes and golden hair, he was arresting, an American mountain lion among English lapdogs.
Her heart leaped though she told it he was probably seeking permission to speak with her sister. She sighed. After all, it was the usual reason strange men approached her.
He bowed. “Miss Cartwright, might I have the pleasure of your company for a stroll in the gardens?”
Her pulse raced at his accent—an American mountain lion in truth. If he was looking for an introduction to Prudence, surely he wouldn’t want to stroll in the gardens?
Her eyes narrowed. But, why would he be interested in her? Every other man of her acquaintance considered her difficult to manage at best, a termagant at worst. Perhaps he was another American in need of an heiress? She sniffed. She hated fortune hunters.
“Sir, you are unknown to me.” Sudden silence descended, even the birds ceased singing, but she refused to apologize for the bite of disdain in her voice. What do I care what a stranger thinks?
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