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Their romance seems as doomed as the clashing forces of Victorian England itself—science versus spirit, propriety against compassion, appearance over truth. But there’s a plaintive cry for understanding under the surface of the cool, capable investigator that rends Olivia deBaine’s soft heart and draws her to him like a scone draws Devonshire cream. Nor has Harrison Pell ever met a woman like the lady of the Manor, full of spirit and life, warmth and healing. Not even the shocking evidence he uncovers while investigating the attacks on her father’s life can keep him away.
Despite secrets and deceit, harsh accusations and ancient evil forces, Olivia and Harrison battle to save those in their care, while treading the treacherous path to one another. Just when their future seems assured, Harrison learns what must turn him away forever. On the rocky cliffs of Devon, the two struggle, grasping for the shattered glass of a moonraking mirror. Will its broken surface reflect a relationship that has grown strong enough to hold their differences, or merely shards that kill?
The clatter of a carriage destroyed the fog-stilled quiet like a thunderclap. Under the rain-soaked rhododendrons, Olivia deBaine dropped her spade and clambered up just as the driver cried out and horses whinnied, badly spooked. Through the mist she strained to watch the elegant figure leap from the carriage, white scarf fluttering at his neck. Relief caught in her throat.
Thank God, he’s come--help is here at last.
The stranger scooped up his tossed bags as Olivia hurried forward, opening her mouth to speak, surprised that nothing came out. How capable and in control he seemed. A tall, fine figure, with strong, brooding looks and a thick shock of coal black hair skimming his neck.
Though why she should notice such frivolous details when it was her father’s safety that beset her she had no idea.
As she continued toward him, her steps more measured now, she watched his gaze survey Chambercombe Manor. His strong, straight slash of a mouth drooped and he stumbled backward. Did he find her family home so distasteful, crouched low and cheerless, a pale and crumbling island in the towering wood and rising mists? She saw his head jerk up toward an upstairs window. His startled words carried on the fog.
"Bloody ghost house it well may be!"
Behind her the boy digging in the dirt guffawed and the maid shushed him. Olivia moved briskly toward the grim figure. His head jerked toward her. The look of disapproval on his face made her shiver. She swiped her soiled fingers on her dress as she covered the last ten yards of soggy lawn and held out her hand.
A soft growl escaped his throat. But when his eyes met hers his look softened, took her in, and, somehow, wouldn’t let go. She barely breathed.
"Doctor Pell? I’m glad you’ve arrived safely. Please pardon my, uh--I collect herbs for healing remedies." Her glance dropped from his commanding deep blue eyes and she felt a warm flush cover her, despite the dankness of the day.
For a moment he ignored her outstretched hand, then reached forward and snatched it, even as he leaned his tall form backward. He glowered at her tiger cat winding himself around his ankles.
"I’ll need to see Sir William deBaine," he said, staring at the grit in his palm from her touch and shaking a leg to send the feline off.
Olivia straightened. "He’s not at home but I welcome you in his place. We’ll get your bags in and get you started."
"Can’t the boy--?"
"Sorry, Doctor. At least, I assume you are the learned gentleman from the Society for Psychical Research?"
He gave a cursory nod.
"Good. Then you and I shall manage. We have little staff and the lad is busy at something more--important."
As she moved around him to grasp his largest valise, the man huffed.
"More important?" He spoke through clenched teeth. "I was told there was a certain urgency. Did I miss Professor Sidgwick’s seminar for nothing? See here. Where is your mistress? I’ll see Miss deBaine at once."
How funny he was, with his air of self importance. Yet his steely eyes flashed something else, too, a command of every situation despite that jot of vulnerability and humor that made Olivia want to grasp his hands and warm them.
"It is I who sent for you to save my father’s life. I am Olivia deBaine."
"But I thought--"
She reached for a valise and he gave up the smallest one to her, grabbed the others and followed through the damp grass. At the entrance he paused to study the building’s façade, and she waited patiently.
"Welcome to our haunted home, Doctor."
"Hmph. We’ll see…"
"As I wrote you, there have been tales of unusual wailing sounds in and around Chambercombe for hundreds of years. I’ve heard them all my life, although they always seemed friendly until now." A shudder ran through her.
His eyes narrowed. "We’ll consider all relevant facts, of course. The building is Norman, I suppose."
Eleanor Sullo writes a monthly food and spirituality column and gardens voraciously all-year-round. Between traveling and writing assignments, she directs programs for families and adults. Her own “exceptional” husband and extended family offer unique support, living together on a self-sufficient family farm in rural Connecticut. Her ongoing commitment to help others face life’s trials and grow has evolved from her training as teacher and spiritual guide. As with the beseiged characters in The Moonrakers, so often love is the answer, says Ms. Sullo, and faith and trust put the frosting on the cake!
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 400
Paper Weight (lb): 16.6
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