Lost – The Love of a Lord (Calling all Rakes #5) Read Online Tammy Andresen

Categories Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Tags Authors: Series: Calling all Rakes Series by Tammy Andresen
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Total pages in book: 45
Estimated words: 42260 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 211(@200wpm)___ 169(@250wpm)___ 141(@300wpm)
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He’s just been made an earl but he can’t tell a soul…

Mr. Ralph Fitzroy is about to receive an entire earldom for good deeds done. The catch? He needs to perform one more. Go to the funeral of the Earl of Kinross and figure out if foul play is involved. Easy enough. Except for that from the first, one major complication is making the entire affair very difficult, Miss Clara Welby. Beautiful, vivacious, and promised to his lead suspect. She’s in his way at every turn and muddling his investigation and his senses. There’s only one thing to do. Use Clara and her connection to Kinross to his advantage.
Because only a fool would let desire stand in the way of an earldom.
Which is why, he will not succumb to the guilt niggling in his gut. Even if he were willing to sacrifice his future for love, the lies he’s told are piling up so high and so thick, how could a woman as perfect as Clara ever trust a man like him?

FULL BOOK START HERE:

CHAPTER ONE

Occasionally, there is a day in a girl’s life that changes everything.

For Miss Clara Melby, the first such day had occurred at the tender age of thirteen.

She’d been waiting for her brother to return home from Oxford for the winter holiday. Weather and final exams had delayed his homecoming, and she’d missed him terribly. Without him at home, there was little to do save crochet and attend her ceaseless lessons on elocution and decorum.

So when his carriage finally turned up the drive, she forgot both as she raced out into the drizzle, heedless of her slippers and the hem of her gown as she splashed down the stairs and across the drive toward the slowing carriage.

And when the door flew open, Clara tossed herself bodily toward the vehicle, sure her brother would catch her in his arms.

Only it wasn’t her brother who traversed the carriage step. Rather than the thin shoulders and blond hair of her brother, Marcus, a dark-haired, much broader young man caught her in midlaunch, laughing as he stepped down and lightly set her aside.

Heat filled her cheeks as she grasped the strong shoulders of the stranger, her tongue inexplicably tied.

“I say, Marcus, you didn’t tell me your sister was a hoyden.”

And the rosy glow that had filled her turned into an inferno of shame as he laughed at his own joke.

“Clara,” her brother called, stepping out. “I see you’ve met my friend, Viscount Aslin, heir to the Earl of Kinross.”

She dipped into an awkward curtsy. “I beg your pardon, my lord. I expected Marcus to exit.”

But Aslin only laughed the more as he leaned closer. “Think nothing of it. I much prefer a hoyden to any other type of lady. Especially one who looks like an angel.”

And with those words, she’d been completely smitten.

That was the first day that changed her entire world. Because after Aslin had entered her life, it didn’t matter how many men attempted to win her hand, her heart had always belonged to him.

Never mind that her mother asserted he was a terrible rake.

Or her father ranted that while they wanted her to marry well, Aslin was too big a catch, even for her.

Nor did she heed Aslin’s unpredictable behavior, lavishing her with favor one visit and then not writing for months on end.

He was her future, she was sure of that. And she’d grown more certain with each yearly visit he made.

On one such visit years later when she’d been sixteen, she’d found herself alone in the garden with him on a sunny but cold afternoon close to Christmastide. He wrapped his arm about her and held her close to keep her warm.

She looked up at his warm brown eyes and whispered, “I could stay like this with you forever.”

He’d given her a warm smile in return as he leaned closer, and for a moment, Clara thought he might kiss her, but instead, he did something almost as wonderful. He confessed a deep secret to her. “Angel, I can’t wed. Not until I’ve taken over the earldom and this business with my father is done. He hates me, I know he does, and I won’t give him that power over my wife.”

She’d been beyond honored that he’d shared this piece of himself with her. Didn’t that mean he had feelings for her the way she did him? Wasn’t that why he shared this secret with her? And clearly, he was attempting to explain. With his relationship to his father so tumultuous, he’d not wed until after the earl had passed.

He couldn’t show her favor until he was the earl.

But how long might that be? What if it were years? Would she have to be placed on the shelf in order to save herself for him? She’d do it, she decided. She was nothing if not tenacious.


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