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Authors: Jude Deveraux

Tags: #Fantasy Fiction, #General, #Romance, #Fantasy, #Historical, #Fiction, #Love Stories

Heartwishes

BOOK: Heartwishes
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Heartwishes

B
OOKS BY
J
UDE
D
EVERAUX

The Velvet Promise
The Invitation
Highland Velvet
Remembrance
Velvet Song
The Heiress
Velvet Angel
Legend
Sweetbriar
An Angel for Emily
Counterfeit Lady
The Blessing
Lost Lady
High Tide
River Lady
Temptation
Twin of Fire
The Summerhouse
Twin of Ice
The Mulberry Tree
Temptress
Forever . . .
The Raider
Wild Orchids
The Princess
Forever and Always
The Awakening
Always
The Maiden
First Impressions
The Taming
Carolina Isle
The Conquest
Someone to Love
A Knight in Shining Armor
Secrets
Holly
Return to Summerhouse
Wishes
Lavender Morning
Mountain Laurel
Days of Gold
The Duchess
Scarlet Nights
Eternity
The Scent of Jasmine
Sweet Liar

ATRIA
BOOKS
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
www.SimonandSchuster.com

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2011 by Deveraux, Inc.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Atria Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

First Atria Books hardcover edition August 2011

ATRIA
BOOKS
and colophon are trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at
www.simonspeakers.com
.

Manufactured in the United States of America

10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Deveraux, Jude.

Heartwishes: an Edilean novel / Jude Deveraux.—1st Atria Books hardcover ed.
   p. cm.

1. Title.

PS3554.E927H38 2011
813ˈ.54—dc22           2011007602

ISBN 978-1-4391-0800-0
ISBN 978-1-4391-4981-2 (ebook)

Contents

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Epilogue

1

A
LL
G
EMMA KNEW
for sure was that she wanted the job so much she would have murdered to get it.

Well, maybe not killed anyone, but certainly broken a few arms or legs.

She stood beside Mrs. Frazier and stared at the storage room full of dirty old boxes stacked neatly on new wooden shelves, and knew she’d never seen anything so beautiful in her life. “Original sources” screamed in her head. She was looking at containers full of documents that no one had touched in hundreds of years.

Mrs. Frazier, tall and majestic-looking, was gazing down her nose at Gemma and obviously waiting for her to say something. But how could Gemma put what she was feeling into words? How could she describe her lifetime fascination with history? Could she tell of the adventure of discovery that these documents represented to her? Or the excitement of the hunt to find new information, new—

“Perhaps it is all a bit overwhelming,” Mrs. Frazier said as she
flipped off the light switch, a sure sign that Gemma was to leave the precious boxes and their mysterious contents. Reluctantly, Gemma followed her into the cozy living room. Even the guesthouse that was to be used by whomever got the job was lovely. It had a large living room with a kitchen at one end, a big bedroom with a private bath, and the storage room they’d just seen. At the front of the house was an extraordinarily beautiful and spacious office with double French doors that opened out onto acres of lawn and flowers. Outside, just beyond a covered carport, was a three-car garage that was filled floor to ceiling with many more boxes full of uncataloged documents.

Gemma’s mind was reeling with the enormity of the task the job entailed. When her adviser for her doctorate in history e-mailed her that he’d managed to get her an interview for a temporary job in the tiny town of Edilean, Virginia, Gemma had been pleased. But then he’d explained that their university was the alma mater of a woman who wanted to hire someone to go through her family’s papers and write a history. Gemma had scoffed at the idea. What did that mean? Great-granny and Ellis Island? Too, too boring.

Later that day she’d stopped by his office to give him the courtesy of a personal reply. Gemma told him sorry, but now that her course work was done, she needed to work on her dissertation so she could finish her Ph.D.

“I think you should look at this.” Her adviser handed her a letter printed on expensive, heavy vellum. It said that Mrs. Peregrine Frazier had purchased from her husband’s family’s estate in England several hundred boxes full of documents that dated back to the sixteenth century. She was offering a job to someone to catalog them and write a history from what was found.

Gemma looked across the desk at her adviser. “Sixteenth century” and “several hundred boxes” weren’t exactly the normal genealogy. “Who else has seen these papers?”

“Rats, mice,” her adviser said as he held up a fatly stuffed envelope. “It’s all in here. The papers have been in the attic of a house in England since the place was built back around Elizabeth the First’s time. The family—” He pulled a page from the envelope and glanced at it. “They were the earls of Rypton. They sold the house about the time of the American Revolution, but a generation later the family managed to buy it back. Just recently the old place was sold again, but this time the house went to a corporation that wanted the attics cleared, so they held an auction.”

Gemma sat down. Actually, she half collapsed onto the chair in front of the man’s desk. “So this Mrs. Frazier . . .”

“Went to England and bought every piece of paper that had been stored in the house over the centuries. It doesn’t say exactly how much she paid for all of it, just that it was ‘multithousands.’ Seems there was a bidding war at the auction, but Mrs. Frazier came away with everything. I get the impression that she’s a rather formidable woman. If she wants it, she gets it.”

Gemma looked at the letter she was holding. “And no one knows what’s in there?”

“No. The auction house hauled everything downstairs and divided it into lots. That they didn’t open anything was part of what caused the bidding frenzy. For all anyone knows they could all be just household accounts and of little interest to anyone outside the family. How much beef the earl bought in 1742 would probably fascinate his descendants but no one else. Certainly not the Ph.D. committee.” He paused. “But then something of a more universal interest could be in there,” he added with a smile.

Gemma was trying to digest this information. “How long does this woman think it will take one person, with no staff, to go through these documents and piece together a family history?”

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