Read Julie Garwood Online

Authors: Rebellious Desire

Julie Garwood

BOOK: Julie Garwood
12.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Also from Pocket Books and
New York Times
bestselling author

JULIE
GARWOOD

Return to medieval Scotland in her
beloved novel

THE WEDDING

Discover the unforgettable
Clayborne family

FOR THE ROSES

THE
CLAYBORNE BRIDES:

One Pink Rose • One White Rose
One Red Rose

COME THE SPRING

And don’t miss her page-turning
novels of romantic suspense

HEARTBREAKER

“A crackling good thriller.”

New York Post

MERCY

“A page-turner.”

The Toronto Sun

“Julie Garwood attracts readers like beautiful heroines
attract dashing heroes.…”
—USA Today

Praise for Julie Garwood’s splendid
New York Times
bestseller

RANSOM

“AN ENTHRALLING TALE. … In this powerful story, passion, loyalty, friendship, and mystery superbly blend with realistic, three-dimensional characters.”


Romantic Times

“PURE ENTERTAINMENT. … TRULY UNFORGETTABLE. Romance never felt so good.”


Rendezvous

“A KEEPER. … Anyone who has had the pleasure of reading Julie Garwood’s classic tale
The Secret
will remember the two lovable rogues, Brodick Buchanan and Ramsey Sinclair. Now they star in their own story. … The plot is crisp, entertaining, and makes medieval England seem real.”


Under the Covers Book Reviews

Available in paperback from Pocket Books

B
OOKS BY
J
ULIE
G
ARWOOD

Gentle Warrior
Rebellious Desire
Honor’s Splendour
The Lion’s Lady
The Bride
Guardian Angel
The Gift
The Prize
The Secret
Castles
Saving Grace
Prince Charming
For the Roses
The Wedding
Come the Spring
Ransom
Heartbreaker
Mercy

The Clayborne Brides
One Pink Rose
One White Rose
One Red Rose

P
UBLISHED BY
POCKET BOOKS

For information regarding special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-800-456-6798 or [email protected]

Contents

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Epilogue

About the Author

The sale of this book without its cover Is unauthorized. If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that it was reported to the publisher as “unsold and destroyed.” Neither the author nor the publisher has received payment for the sale of this “stripped book.”

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

An
Original
Publication of POCKET BOOKS

POCKET BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc. 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
www.SimonandSchuster.com

Copyright © 1986 by Julie Garwood

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

ISBN: 0-671-73784-8
eISBN-13: 978-1-451-62316-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-671-73784-9

First Tapestry Books printing June 1986

First Pocket Books printing January 1990

POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster Inc.

Cover art by Lisa Litwack
Cover photo credits: horse and carriage © Chris Andrews/
Oxford Picture Library/Corbis; trees © Tony Stone Images

R
EBELLIOUS
D
ESIRE

Prologue
England, 1788

A
NGRY VOICES AWAKENED THE CHILD.

She sat up in bed and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “Nanny?” she whispered into the sudden silence. She looked across the room to the rocking chair adjacent to the hearth and saw that it was empty. The child quickly squirmed back down under the feathered quilt, trembling with cold and fear. Nanny wasn’t where she was supposed to be.

The dying embers in the fireplace glowed a brilliant orange in the darkness and resembled the eyes of demons and witches to the little four-year-old’s imagination. She wouldn’t look at them, she determined. She turned her gaze to the twin windows, but the eyes followed her, terrifying her by casting eerie shadows of giants and monsters against the windows, giving life to bare branches that scraped against the glass. “Nanny?” the little girl repeated, tears in her whisper.

She heard her papa’s voice then. He was yelling, and though his tone sounded harsh and unyielding, the fear immediately left the child. She wasn’t alone. Her father was near, and she was safe.

Soothed, the child became curious. She had lived in the new house for over a month now and in all that time had never seen a visitor. Her papa was yelling at someone, and she wanted to see and hear what was happening.

The little girl scooted to the edge of the bed and then
turned onto her stomach so that she could slide to the floor. There were pillows placed there, along each side of the bed on the hardwood floor, and she pushed one out of her way as she landed. Barefoot, she padded soundlessly across the room, her toes hidden by the long white nightgown she wore. She brushed the curly black hair out of her eyes and carefully turned the doorknob.

When she reached the landing, she paused. Another man’s voice reached her. The stranger had started to yell, spewing hateful words with great belching sounds that caused the child’s blue eyes to widen with surprise and fear. She peeked around the corner of the bannister and saw her father facing the stranger. From her position at the top of the steps, she could see another figure, partially hidden by the shadows of the entry hall.

“You’ve had your warnings, Braxton!” the stranger yelled with a guttural clip to his voice. “We’ve been well paid to see you don’t cause no more trouble.”

The stranger held a pistol much like the one her father often carried for his own protection, and the child saw that he was pointing it at her papa. She started down the curved stairway, her intent to run to her father so that he could soothe her and tell her everything would be all right. When she reached the bottom step, she stopped. She watched as her father hit the stranger and knocked the pistol out of his grasp. The weapon landed with a thud at the little girl’s feet.

From the shadows the other man appeared. “Perkins sends his respects,” he said in a raspy voice. “He also sends the message that you’re not to worry about the girl. He’ll be getting a good price for her.”

The girl began to tremble. She couldn’t look at the man talking. She knew that if she did, she would see the eyes of the demon, orange and glowing. Terror assaulted
the child’s senses. She could feel evil surrounding her, smell it and taste it, and if she dared to look, she knew she would be blinded by it.

The man the child believed to be the devil himself returned to the shadows just as the other man lunged at her father and gave him a hard shove. “With your throat slit, you’ll not be making speeches,” he said with a harsh laugh. Her papa fell to his knees and was struggling to stand when a knife appeared in the attacker’s hands. An ugly, mean laugh permeated the foyer, echoing around the walls like a hundred sightless ghosts screeching at one another.

The man flipped the knife from one hand to the other and then back again as he slowly circled her father.

“Papa, I will help you,” the girl whimpered as she reached for the pistol. It was heavy and as cold as if it had been lifted from the snow, and she heard a clicking sound when one of her chubby fingers slid through the circle underneath.

Her arms were outstretched and stiff and her hands trembled with fear when she pointed the weapon in the general vicinity of the two men struggling. She slowly started to walk toward her father, to give the weapon to him, but stopped abruptly when she saw the stranger plunge the long, curved knife into her papa’s shoulder.

The child screamed in agony. “Papa! I will help you, Papa!” The little girl’s sob, full of terror and despair, penetrated the harsh grunts of the two combatants. The stranger lurking in the shadows rushed forward to join the tableau. The struggle ceased and all three men stared in stunned disbelief at the little four-year-old pointing the gun at them.

“No!” the devil screeched. He wasn’t laughing anymore.

“Run, Caroline. Run, baby, run.”

The warning came too late. The child tripped over the hem of her gown as she rushed toward her father.
She instinctively grasped the trigger of the pistol when she fell and then closed her eyes against the explosion that reverberated as obscenely as the demon’s laughter throughout the foyer.

The little girl opened her eyes and saw what she had done. And then she saw nothing more.

Chapter One
England, 1802

G
UNSHOTS SHATTERED THE SILENCE, DISRUPTING THE
peaceful ride through the English countryside.

Caroline Mary Richmond, her cousin Charity, and their black companion, Benjamin, all heard the noise at the same instant. Charity thought the sound was thunder and looked out the window. She frowned in confusion, as the sky above was as clear and blue as the finest of fall’s days. There wasn’t a single angry cloud in sight. She was about to comment on that fact when her cousin grabbed hold of her shoulders and pushed her to the floor of the hired carriage.

Caroline saw to her cousin’s protection and then pulled a silver pearled pistol from her drawstring purse. She braced herself on top of Charity when the vehicle came to an abrupt halt along the curve of the roadway.

BOOK: Julie Garwood
12.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Stolen Child by Peter Brunton
HOLD by Cora Brent
Blood Slave by Travis Luedke
Ensayo sobre la ceguera by José Saramago
The Robin and the Kestrel by Mercedes Lackey
Danger Close by Kaylea Cross
Nor Will He Sleep by David Ashton