What is Love? by Anne Kinsey

What is Love?

byAnne Kinsey

Kobo ebook | October 9, 2011

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Robert Guildford, heir to an earldom, is a pleasure seeker who believes in living life to the fullest. Accustomed to taking whatever he wants, he casts his eye on his sister's beautiful lady’s maid.

Julia Brandon may be destitute, but she is proud – and she has a few secrets.

While Robert is planning to seduce Julia, she contrives her own plot which may redeem her family's fortunes – or may land her in prison. When she disappears, Robert, knowing he has been deceived, goes in search of her.

At journey’s end, both make startling discoveries about love.

A short novel.

Robert Guildford and his riding party made a splendid picture as they rode through the low hills of West Sussex. As they came around a bend, Guildford caught sight of a girl walking along the road. Even from this distance, he could see that she had a luscious shape: her derriere was sweetly rounded, as soft and inviting as a piece of perfectly ripe fruit.

“Robert?” said Sir Ruthven, one of his companions. “Why are you slowing down?”

He didn’t answer.

Another said, “So that’s what distracted you, Robert. Shall we offer her a ride?”

“No,” Guildford said. “Leave her alone.”

The girl, hearing the approach of horses, turned. She wore a simple muslin dress buttoned down the front with a soft white scarf draped over her shoulders. She had a gently curving waist that made Guildford want to run his hands over her hips. She quickly turned back around, but not before Guildford caught sight of a face that seemed to be all ovals and milky white skin.

Sir Ruthven trotted right up alongside her. “Are you going far, miss? Perhaps you would like a ride?”

Guildford stopped a few paces ahead and turned around. Seeing the girl’s evident fright, he said, “Leave her alone.”

Ignoring Guildford, Ruthven said, “A girl has to be careful out here all alone. Allow me to escort you.”

“No, really, sir, I’d rather not.” Her voice was as sweet as her face.

One of Guildford’s companions said, “She has plenty of sense, that’s plain. No girl in her right mind would trust herself to you, Ruthven.”

The men around Guildford laughed.

“Come on, pretty one,” Ruthven insisted, “I’ll help you up. Your fine shoes will be ruined by the time you get wherever you’re going.”

Again all the riders laughed–except Guildford.

“I’ll be all right, sir, thank you.” Her voice was quieter, and she was evidently trying to hide her fright. She kept her face averted, but Guildford could see the blush that spread over her neck. Her embarrassment brought out his protective instincts.

“Leave her alone,” Guildford said, this time in the tone he reserved for commands. “She said no and she evidently knows her own mind. Come on.”

“Robert–”

“I said, leave her alone.” To the girl he said, “Forgive our intrusion, Miss.”

She looked up at him with such awe and gratitude that he melted completely. She was even more beautiful than he had thought at first. In her face, sweetness and sensuality were perfectly blended. Her eyes were such a deep blue they were almost purple, reminding him of the blue star sapphire in the brooch his mother used to wear. The light seemed to gather around her.

She carried a small knapsack. For a moment he thought maybe Ruthven was right: A girl like her should not be traveling alone. At least if he and his companions offered her a ride, Guildford could take care to see that no harm came to her.

But Guildford had no desire to see his companions make sport of her. He touched the brim of his hat in a gesture like a salute, then spurred his horse and galloped away, knowing his companions would follow.

He felt restless now, spurring his horse faster, gripping the reins as if motion would ease his turbulence. He hated to gallop away and leave her behind, but he did have four companions with him, so there was little else he could do. Had he been alone, he would certainly have stopped and at least cajoled her into telling him her name and where she lived. He had the feeling if he could be alone with her, he could win her trust and perhaps even tempt her into his arms.

“Ho, Robert,” said Carlyle, one of his companions. “Why did you make us leave? Did you see that face?”

“She wants to be left alone,” Guildford said.

“She wants–?” said one of his companions. Guildford spurred his horse and galloped ahead.

For several minutes the only sound was the clapping of hooves against the road and the faint jingling of harness bells. He felt completely chivalrous.

Ruthven said, “I think I know why Robert made us leave. I’ll wager he already knows her. We are not far from his manor house. Guildford, tell the truth, is she on your list of planned conquests?”

“I’ve never seen her before in my life.”

“He is behaving oddly,” Ruthven said. “Do you know what I think? I think he has fallen in love with that girl!”

This bit of nonsense brought Guildford out of his reverie. “I have not fallen in love, my friends, nor do I expect to.”

“Now he’s talking like himself again,” said Carlyle.

* * *

Julia Brandon watched the riders gallop away, weak with relief. If the gentleman wearing the striped waistcoat hadn’t intervened, who knows what they would have done. She imagined he was a great lord who still held to the old code of chivalry.

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Title:What is Love?Format:Kobo ebookPublished:October 9, 2011Publisher:Castell BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN:9990005623711

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