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The HEIRESS of WINTERWOOD
“My kind of book! The premise grabbed my attention from the first lines and I eagerly returned to its pages. I think my readers will enjoy
The Heiress of Winterwood
LASSEN, BESTSELLING, AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR
“Oh my, what an exquisite tale! With clarity and grace, Sarah E. Ladd has penned a timeless regency that rises to the ranks of Heyer and Klassen, a breathless foray into the world of Jane Austen with very little effort . . . and very little sleep.”
ESSMAN, AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF
Read The Heiress of Winterwood online, free book, all chapters, no download. Full english version. Disbelief rendered her motionless. BOOK: The Heiress of Winterwood. 5.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub. Read Book Download Book. “A delight from beginning to end, The Heiress of Winterwood is a one-of-a-kind regency that kept me sighing with joy, laughing, crying, and even biting my nails when the occasion called for it! A whirlwind of emotions captured in an exciting tale of intrigue, kidnapping, and bittersweet love. Free Ebook: The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers On The Moors) by Sarah E. Ladd Do you want to download The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers On The Moors) book for free? Or you want to find a book with a The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers On The Moors) pdf format for free to read online? You can get the book for free here. Book is one of the.
“Captivated from the very first page!
The Heiress of Winterwood
marks Sarah E. Ladd as a rising Regency star sure to win readers’ hearts!”
RANTZ, AUTHOR OF
“A delight from beginning to end,
The Heiress of Winterwood
is a one-of-a-kind regency that kept me sighing with joy, laughing, crying, and even biting my nails when the occasion called for it! A whirlwind of emotions captured in an exciting tale of intrigue, kidnapping, and bittersweet love. This is Ms. Ladd’s debut? I can’t wait to see she writes next! Remember the name Sarah Ladd because I’m sure you will be seeing much more from this talented author.”
YNDALL, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF
© 2013 by Sarah Ladd
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail [email protected]
All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
Publisher’s Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013931019
Printed in the United States of America
13 14 15 16 17 18 RRD 6 5 4 3 2 1
For my husband, Scott. Your quiet strength
and unconditional love inspire me daily.
Thank you for believing in me.
atherine was going to die. And Amelia could do nothing to prevent it.
Amelia Barrett dabbed at her dearest friend’s brow with a damp cloth. A single tear, hot as fire, slipped unchecked down her cheek. Exhaustion pulled at her limbs. Fatigue pleaded with her to sit and rest. But she dared not stop.
Beyond Winterwood Manor’s stone walls, icy rain pelted the earth, driven hard by the gusts from the moors. Not so very long ago, that wind had hummed soothing lullabies. Now, in dawn’s gray light, its mournful wail whispered chilling omens.
From a distant chamber a wee infant’s cry echoed through Winterwood’s ancient halls. The babe, at least, would recover from the horror of the past three days. Katherine, however, would be fortunate to see another sunset.
Amelia rubbed her palms against her forehead, longing to erase the memory of a childbirth gone terribly amiss. Hours of anxiety had
rolled into days of dread, and now her unconscious friend’s breathing waned. Each shallow pant hinted another might not come.
The fire’s dancing light cast shadows across Katherine’s ashen cheeks. Perspiration trickled down her neck. Fiery locks clung to her damp forehead. Amelia immersed a cloth in a basin and drizzled cool water over her friend’s fevered skin. At the touch, Katherine’s eyelids fluttered. Amelia snatched back her hand with renewed optimism and fell to her knees next to the bed.
“Katherine!” Amelia clutched her friend’s arm. “Katherine, do you hear me?”
A groan escaped Katherine’s parched lips, followed by a shallow cough. “Where is the letter?” Her voice sounded dry. Raspy.
Eyes wide, Amelia nodded toward the letter on the writing table. “It’s here.”
“Promise you will give it to him.”
“My baby.” Katherine’s weak whisper broke as a sob caught in her throat. “Please do not leave her. You will soon be all she has.”
Deadening pain surged through Amelia’s core, constricting her lungs. She squeezed her fingers around Katherine’s clammy hand. “You have my word.”
Katherine released a slow breath and closed her eyes.
The air thinned. The suffocating weight of death crept into the room. It lingered in the shadows, loitering like an unwelcome guest. Watching. Waiting.
Amelia’s hands shook. She released Katherine’s hand and curled her own into tight fists to prevent them from trembling. How could God let this happen? How dare he take away yet another person she loved? If she thought a prayer might help, she’d cry out in desperation. But she’d seen death’s shadow too many times. Prayer had not saved the life of any she had cared for. She had no illusion it would avail this time.
She swallowed the dry lump in her throat and began to recite. Katherine would find comfort in her words, even if she did not. “The Lord is my shepherd,” she began. “I shall not want.”
Eyes still closed, Katherine’s cracked lips mouthed a slow, faltering response. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still—”
Katherine’s voice stopped. Her labored breaths dissolved into shallow gasps until she breathed no more.
Amelia stared unblinking at the lifeless body before her. Her limbs tingled, then numbed. Disbelief rendered her motionless. No tears remained for her to cry.
The infant’s wail pierced the eerie silence and snapped her from her trance. With deliberate, reverent movements, Amelia pressed her lips to Katherine’s forehead, then drew the linen sheet over her friend’s pallid face.
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Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever
melia knew what she needed to do. In fact, she’d known ever since Captain Graham Sterling returned to Eastmore Hall.
plan would work. It must work. She had addressed every detail and anticipated every objection. Now nothing remained but to convince the captain.
Her only regret was sharing her intentions with her younger cousin Helena.
“This is madness. Absolute madness!” Helena’s russet curls bounced in animated vigor with every syllable. “Whatever would possess you to even consider such a thing, let alone see it through?” She tossed her embroidery on the small side table and jumped up from the settee. “Captain Sterling will think you are a lunatic, and then where will you be?” Helena waved her hand in the air to silence Amelia’s protest. “I will tell you where you will be. You will be without a husband, without money, and without prospects. That is where you will be.”
“Oh hush. You are overreacting.” Amelia shifted the sleeping baby in her arms. “You will wake Lucy with all of your carrying on. The last thing we want is for her to be out of sorts when she finally meets her papa.”
Helena huffed. “Don’t you dare change the subject, Amelia Barrett. The child is fine. It’s you who is clearly daft. How could you even consider proposing to a man—and a veritable stranger at that? It’s just not done.”
Amelia lowered Lucy into a small cradle. “Captain Sterling is not a stranger. Well, not
And as I told you before, I am resolved. Let us speak of it no more. Now, will you kindly hand me that coverlet?”
Helena snatched the yellow knit blanket and tossed it in her cousin’s direction. “And what do you think Mr. Littleton will think about this, hmm? Five weeks, Amelia. Need I remind you that you are to marry in five weeks? Why, for you even to have a private meeting with another man, let alone—”
“Shhh! There’s no need to get so excited.” Amelia averted her eyes as she coaxed the conversation back to the captain. “There is no impropriety in my meeting with Captain Sterling. He has every right to visit his daughter. After all, she’s nine months old, and he’s never even laid eyes on her. And my proposal to Captain Sterling will be a business proposition, nothing more. If he refuses it, no harm is done. Edward need never know.”
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“No harm? No harm!” Helena’s hazel eyes widened. “Do you not consider your reputation? I shudder to think what will happen when news of this reaches the gossipmongers. Edward could think—”
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“He could think a number of things, Helena, and will no doubt do so. But I cannot stand by and say nothing.
nothing. For if I did, Captain Sterling could take Lucy away from us forever, and that I could not bear. Furthermore, I will not break my promise to Katherine.”
A pretty pout darkened Helena’s fair features, and she tipped her small nose in the air.
The Heiress Of Winterwood Series
“You and Mrs. Sterling may have grown close, but you had not known her a year before she died. I sincerely doubt she would expect you to go to such drastic measures to keep a promise.” She leaned closer, not allowing Amelia to look away. “And need I mention that you have never even met this man, this
? He could be a monster—a scoundrel who will take advantage of your giving nature. Why subject yourself to such a fate and risk your fortune when you already have secured such a fine match in Edward Littleton?”