If He's Daring (Wherlockes Series #6)

If He's Daring (Wherlockes Series #6)

by Hannah Howell

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In a dazzling new novel in the Wherlocke family saga, New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell creates an unforgettable story of intrigue, jeopardy, and desire. . .

Stealing a stranger's carriage is the second most reckless thing Lady Catrin Gryffin de Warrene has ever done. The first is succumbing to her powerful attraction to the carriage's owner. Catrin has heard the rumors about Sir Orion Wherlocke's family and their otherworldly gifts. He's the one person who can keep her son and his inheritance safe from her late husband's ruthless brother. As for how to protect herself. . .it may be too late for that.

Orion is facing the worst danger a man of his ilk can find: a woman he can't walk away from. Catrin is an intoxicating blend of innocence and sensuality, and for the first time, seduction is far more than a game. But her beauty and fortune have made her a target--one that will dare him to risk everything he's known--in pursuit of everything he's ever longed for. . .

Praise for Hannah Howell and The Wherlockes

"Gentle but passionate love scenes and endearing descriptions of close-knit, quirky families will have readers beaming from the first page to the last." --Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on If He's Dangerous

"Another Howell winner!" --RT Book Reviews on If He's Tempted

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420135008
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 10/07/2014
Series: Wherlockes Series , #6
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 47,753
File size: 386 KB

About the Author

Hannah Howell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of acclaimed historical romances. Howell, twice awarded the Golden Leaf Award, has been a Romance Writers of America RITA Award Finalist, received RT Book Reviews' Career Achievement Award for Historical Storyteller of the Year, and has had her books on Amazon's Top 10 Romances of the Year list. She lives in West Newbury, Massachusetts with her family. Visit her website at hannahhowell.com.

Read an Excerpt

If He's Daring



Copyright © 2014 Hannah Howell
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4201-3500-8


England, Fall, 1790

The groan echoed through the small house, every note of it filled with pain and helpless fury. Catryn tossed her cloak on the hook near the front door and rushed toward the room she was certain the sound was coming from. Her heart pounded with fear for her family as she cursed herself for leaving them alone. She never should have given in to her friend Anne's pleas to join her at the morning salon on the servants' day off. She certainly should never have lingered there as long as she had.

She found her father on his knees in the library, one hand on the settee as he struggled to get to his feet. Catryn ran to his side to help him stand and then urged him to sit down on the settee. Blood stained his pale cheek as it seeped from the side of his head, the red of it stark against the white of his hair. The knuckles on his right hand were scraped and his left eye was already swelling. A quick look around the room revealed a knocked-over table and a smashed vase. Who would attack her father? The man was just a quiet, somewhat reclusive scholar.

A demand to know what had happened burned her tongue with the need to be uttered, but she bit it back. Her father needed tending to first, the dazed look in his gray eyes telling her that he was not ready to answer all her questions, not even the one now screaming in her mind. Where is my son?

Catryn quickly dampened her handkerchief with a little of the spring water her father always brought to the city from their country home and kept in a decanter on his desk. Her heart still twisted with fear, she gently bathed the blood from his face. By the time she was finished, his wound did not look quite as bad as she had thought it was, and his eyes had cleared. The first words he spoke chilled her to the bone.

"He took Alwyn."

"Who took him, Papa?" she asked, although she already had a very good idea of who would commit such a crime against her.

"Morris." He took the damp handkerchief from her hand and held it against the small wound on the side of his head. "He and some hired brute came into this house, marched right into this room whilst I was reading a story to Alwyn, and demanded that I give him the lad. Told the man he was a daft fool and to get out. Then we had us a tussle and I lost."

She could see how that shamed him and patted his knee. "It was two men against one, Papa. I know, with all my heart, that you did all you could do to stop him. Now I will do what I can."

Lewys Gryffin looked at his daughter, his only child, and wished he had shot Sir Morris de Warrenne a long time ago. Since her husband, Henry, had died nearly two years ago, life had become one vicious, unending battle with the man's younger brother over who should have control over the heir, her son, and all the riches the little boy now had claim to. The months of strife had left them all weary and angry. It was clear to see that the fight over Alwyn had now turned truly dangerous and it hurt him to be of so little help to her when she needed him so badly.

"I should be the one to fight this," he muttered. "'Tis my place as the man in this family, as the head of this house."

"Ah, Papa," she said as she sat down next to him and kissed him on the cheek. "You have been fighting and doing a fine job of it. Fighting since the moment Henry took his last breath. And as soon as I get Alwyn back home with us where he belongs, you will be fighting again. Now it is my turn to take up the fight. I will go after Morris and retrieve my child."

"It will not be easy. Do not forget how they took him from us. This was an attack. He demanded, and when I said no, he attacked. He came prepared to fight us for the boy. I think Morris has lost his mind, most probably when he lost the last court battle to be named Alwyn's guardian. I ne'er considered Morris a very clever fellow, but I did not think he could ever be as lack-witted as this."

"Neither did I. I had no warning at all, no sense that this could happen. This tastes of pure desperation, Papa."

"It does. I thought the same when he showed up with the obvious intent of taking the boy no matter what or who stood in his way. I have heard that he is having some financial difficulties, but this was still a very drastic action to take."

"That would depend on how deep his financial troubles run." She resisted the urge to tell him all she had discovered about the dire condition of Morris's finances, for the man needed no more weight added to his worry about Alwyn. "All this trouble with the courts and lawyers cannot have been cheap for him. It certainly pinched our purse hard. The why does not matter," she said as she stood up. "He had no right."

"No, he did not, but now he does have the boy and he may well think that is enough to help him win his case."

"Then he will be wrong. All he will get from this is a prison cell."

Lewys cursed when she hurried out of the room. He placed the damp handkerchief she had left behind over his throbbing eye. He should be at her side in this fight, but he knew he would be useless, his sight still affected by the blow to his eyes, and the blow to his head made it throb so hard and constantly that it scattered his thoughts. Good sense did not stop him from being infuriated that his barely five-feet-tall, not quite eight-stone daughter was about to confront a man who had just revealed how violent he could become when he did not get his way.

Catryn was unfastening her gown even as she strode into her bedchamber. She hastily changed into something far more serviceable and then began to stuff two more sturdy gowns into her saddlebags. It took her only minutes to pack a few other things she considered necessities and then she hurried down to the kitchen to gather some food. There was a good chance she could confront Morris right in his town house in the city, but she had been taught to always prepare for the worst. There was a chance she might have to chase him down.

They had been prepared for Morris to try and take Alwyn almost from the moment her husband died, for they had known he would heartily dislike the fact that her father had been named Alwyn's guardian and, along with a few trustees, given control over Alwyn's inheritance. Yet, as the months dragged on and all Morris had done was drag them through probate and the courts time and time again, they had lost that cold fear. They had been foolish to drop their guard.

Racing toward the front of the house, she paused when her father yelled out, "Take your pistol!"

Peering into the library, she was relieved to see that his color was better than it had been. "I have it with me, Papa. I will be very careful. Do not worry. And have Eccles look at those wounds when he returns. I will return when I have Alwyn and not before," she vowed as she hurried away, confident that their clever butler would care well for her father.

Lewys wanted to argue that but heard the front door slam. He made an attempt to stand up but swayed with the dizziness that assaulted him and quickly sat down again. As he took several breaths to recover from nearly swooning and sprawling in an undignified heap upon the carpet, he thought about Catryn going after Morris, armed for battle with no strong man to protect or aid her. She was a true redhead in all the ways people thought of the breed, although her temper rarely showed itself. She was also a mother about to fight for her child. Morris had no idea what he had just unleashed.

Catryn checked her saddle and saddle pack to make certain both were secure before swinging up onto the back of her mare. She had packed enough to sustain her if she had to chase Morris down to the de Warrenne country house, but sincerely hoped she did not have to. Although she was a good rider, she had not ridden any great distances for a long time.

Fury warmed her blood as she rode through the cool, misty streets of London toward Morris's town house. The man had been a thorn in her side from the moment her useless husband had breathed his last, but this act went far beyond being a nuisance. For a moment she considered setting the authorities on his trail, but she was not sure who to go to or if she could even afford such help. Legal help of any kind did not come cheaply and, after so many court battles with her brother-in-law, both her and her father's purses were painfully light.

Just as she rode within sight of Morris's town house she saw him shoving a thrashing, screaming Alwyn into his carriage. Shouting at him to halt gained her only a hard glare before he joined her son in the carriage, which began to move. The heavy traffic upon the road made a swift escape impossible, but it also slowed down all her attempts to catch up with him.

Cursing softly, she did her best to gain enough speed to overtake Morris's carriage, but the only thing she was able to do was to keep him in sight. Catryn knew he would soon reach a road that led out of the city. If she could not catch him before then she would quickly lose sight of him. Her mare was a fast, sturdy creature, but the animal could not outrun a carriage pulled by four strong horses.

"Never expected him to actually leave the city, Sorley," she muttered to her horse. "Am certainly readied for a journey but truly did not expect, or wish, to make one."

Ignoring the curse shouted at her by the man she splattered with muck as she wove her way through the crowded streets, she struggled not to lose sight of Morris's carriage. It troubled her when she realized they would soon leave the part of the city she knew well, might even pass through the more dangerous streets. Even as a child she had been sternly warned about the dark, filthy, and dangerous streets where the desperate poor and the criminals lived. Catryn prayed that Morris's carriage would soon turn away from that rapidly approaching peril.

A moment later Morris's carriage took a left turn and she breathed a silent sigh of relief. She quickly moved to follow him, only to see several small boys rush into the street to pick up the coins Morris had tossed out of the carriage. In her frantic attempts to avoid trampling the children, Sorley reared and then stumbled as its hooves hit the cobblestones again. Once she was safely through the crowd, Catryn realized that the hasty prayer she had uttered that they would all survive the brief confrontation unharmed had not been answered. Sorley's gait was no longer smooth.

Moving to the far edge of the street, Catryn dismounted and began to walk her horse, closely studying the way the animal moved. The injury was not a bad one, just soreness in the muscle or hoof, but there would be no chasing Morris on horseback now. Not only would continuing to ride Sorley worsen the mare's injury, but she would have no chance of catching the man while riding an injured horse. She would have to come up with another way to chase after the man. Fighting the strong urge to weep or scream, Catryn walked along trying to think of what she could do.

Then she saw it. It was like a miraculous answer to her prayers. The carriage stood in front of a pleasant town house, ready to be driven away. It was being idly polished by a liveried servant as the man waited for the passenger to arrive. Catryn's heart pounded with excitement and terror as a desperate plan formed in her mind. Stealing a carriage was a hanging offense, she reminded herself as she approached the vehicle and the servant, but she might find some mercy for her actions since she was attempting to rescue her kidnapped son.

"Can I be of help, ma'am?" asked the servant when she halted in front of him, and yanked her saddlebags off of her horse.

"Why, yes, I believe you can." She pulled her pistol from a hidden pocket in her skirts and aimed it at the man. "I have need of this carriage."

The man took a step back and blinked. "Ma'am?"

"It is of the greatest urgency that I have this carriage. I must chase down a man. As you can see, my mount is no longer able to serve me in that endeavor. Her name is Sorley. She is a very good mare. I will leave her with you in trade for the carriage."

"But, ma'am ..."

"I am very sorry," she said and moved toward the front of the carriage, keeping her pistol aimed steadily at the man. "Truly, truly sorry, but I really must do this. I will return the carriage, but if something goes awry and I cannot, you may keep the mare as payment." She tossed her bags up on the seat and scrambled up after them. "If it is not enough to cover the cost then go to Lord Lewys Gryffin, Baron of Gryffin Manor in Chester. He is residing now at Gryffin House here in London. Tell him Lady Catryn Gryffin de Warrenne sent you to get recompense for the loss of the carriage."

She snapped the reins just as he lunged toward her. Catryn nearly screamed when the horses darted forward. The pull on her arms was far greater than she had anticipated. It hurt, a lot, and she had to brace herselfjust to stay on the seat. A quick look back showed her that the man was not chasing her, however, so she turned her full attention to making her way through the busy, narrow streets. A few shouted queries to people she passed were enough to keep her on Morris's trail, for the man's fancy blue-and-gold carriage caught the eye of nearly everyone it passed by.

When she was finally free of the crowded streets of the city, Catryn breathed a hearty sigh of relief. That relief was short-lived, however, as she realized that Morris was headed southeast. If he was taking Alwyn to the coast, he could be planning to take her child out of England. It would make it all that much harder for her to find her son.

A rush of fear left a sour taste in her mouth before she could push it back. Morris could just as easily be taking her son to his country home in Easebourne. Catlyn scolded herself, determined not to keep falling into a deep mire of panic. Such fear clouded the mind and she needed hers to be clear and sharp. Her thoughts needed to be fixed upon one thing only: getting Alwyn back, no matter where Morris went or what obstacles were put in her path.

Catryn's arms ached and her back wept with pain, but she kept the carriage moving along the road at as fast a speed as she dared. She was not surprised by the occasional look of shock she saw on the faces of the people she passed. Driving a carriage was not something women were supposed to do. She had only learned the skill because she had had to. Everyone at Gryffin Manor had had to work hard in the two years before she had married Henry, learning as many skills as they could to try and save the estate after a hard loss in an investment scheme her grandfather had foolishly made. They had succeeded, but during those hard times she had lost both her grandfather and her mother. Grief had stolen her father from her in many ways, too, leaving her carrying far more weight than a girl her age ever should have had to.

The pain of those losses still lingered, though the good memories came far more often than the sad ones now. Catryn did not regret all she had had to learn, either. She wished she had continued to use those skills from time to time, for now she was not sure how much longer she could continue without a rest. She had been racing along for nearly an hour and her whole body was protesting the exertion. Morris's carriage had long been out of sight, but she was certain she was on the right trail. It would help if she had some idea of how far behind him she actually was, however.

Worry was a constant ache in her heart. She did not think Morris would hurt her son, but then she had never thought he would resort to kidnapping Alwyn either. Morris had never spent much time with her son and knew nothing about him. She doubted he had ever spent time with any child. Catryn feared what the man would do when he became aware of Alwyn's habit of talking to people who were not there, such as his dead father. She had worked hard to make Alwyn understand that he needed to hide that little quirk, for it bothered, even frightened, too many people, but he was only five years old. She could not be certain he truly understood the danger.


Excerpted from If He's Daring by HANNAH HOWELL. Copyright © 2014 Hannah Howell. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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If He's Daring 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
kydirtgirl68 More than 1 year ago
Lady Catryn will do anything to save her son. Including stealing a carriage to help save him. She doesn't expect to be tracked down by the owner of the carriage or what it leads to. Sir Orion is from a family with a history with different gifts. He isn't looking for anything other than his carriage back but once he meets Catryn he knows he has to help her save her son from her brother in law. She knows about his family and doesn't let it bother her. The more time she spends with him the closer they get. Orion soon wants more than just a fling. He grows to care greatly for her. Now he will do anything to help her even if it puts his self in danger. Catryn is a beautiful woman who is a great mother. She always puts her son first and will do anything for him. She really doesn't know much about being sexy or what a man may want. She and her late husband had an odd relationship. She doesn't want to believe in the gifts the Wherlocke family are rumored to have but the more she is around the more she believes. Orion has never been one to deny when he wanted a woman but in some ways he is scared of Catryn. Se makes him want more. He has a unique gift that I really liked. He also is amazing in the fact he loves his family and will do anything to help them as well. I like this story as it has romance, danger, secrets and a family with amazing gifts. Some of them are harder for the person to deal with but still awesome to read about. Catryn does things she never thought she would do. She is a strong woman to begin with but she becomes more so in this book. She learns to accept what her son deals with. Orion is different as he has his wild oats but doesn't try to hide them. He steps up and takes care of them. He doesn't care what people think of him. He never looks down on Catryn and I love that about him. There is tons of danger as Catryn's brother in law knows no bounds in order to get what he wants. I hate him so much. He has put Catryn through so much and doesn't care to hurt an innocent. If you love a great romance with wonderful characters this is a must try book. I eagerly look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is as good as other ones in this series...want another one
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of this series and have read each and every one. Catryn’s son has been taken by his greedy Uncle and she will do anything to get him back, even stealing a carriage. When she stops to rest she learns that there was a passenger on board. A little boy about her son’s age, name Giles. Giles had been living on the streets until he recently found his Father. Orion Wherelocke works for the government and is an expert tracker and goes off in search of his son. Once he catches up with them Giles convinces him that they must help Catryn. I have been waiting for this book since I finished the last. The family is colorful, funny and loyal to one another. The story is exciting fast paced and passionate, I loved it. Looking forward to more.
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
This is the 6th book in the Wherlocke series. Catrin Gryffin de Warrenne is chasing after her brother in law who has taken off with her son, when her horse goes lame. Lucky for her, there is a carriage near. Because it's the only thing she can do, she steals the carriage to continue the pursuit of her son. Sir Orion Wherlocke can't believe that someone stole his carriage which happened to have his son in it. Even knowing who took it and that she promises to bring it back, he can't leave his son in the hands of a stranger. Giles, Orion's son, befriended Catrin when they stopped to rest the horses and when Orion catches up with them conveniences them to help Catrin get back her son. Orion knows that Catrin is not someone to have an affair with and then leave, so when he finds himself attracted to her he has to decide if he wants to give up his bachelor ways. Is he willing to do that for a once in a lifetime love? There is so much that I love about this story, but I don't want to give away too much! I loved Orion and Catrin together. Howell does a masterful job with the secondary characters, several of whom we've met in previous stories. They add so much to the rest of the story and it just wouldn't be complete without them. If you've not read the rest of the books in the series, I recommend reading them first. It's not a necessity to do so, but you will enjoy the story a lot more in doing so. I can't wait to read more about his family!! Thanks go out to Kensington Books via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable historical romance with a touch of magic, If He's Daring was a lovely read. With magic, romance, and a few surprising secrets, this book was great and I really liked it. Catryn was a lovely character. Very protective of her son and determined to bring him back, she definitely proved that she could be a force to be reckoned with. And she was a likable character in general, compassionate, accepting, and kind-hearted. I thought she was great. Orion was good as well. He might have been avoiding marriage for his entire adult life but, once he met the woman he would love, all that went right out the window. He was caring, honorable, and, most adorable, a great father. I really liked him as well. The romance was sweet. Catryn and Orion were lovely together. It was clear from the start that they were both smitten and that only grew as the book went on. Though there was definitely an attraction between them, this was a fairly clean romance with fade-to-black scenes. Overall, I thought they were a sweet couple. There were a couple of things that brought the book down for me. 1) Though Orion had 3 sons, we only got to see 1 for the most part. The other 2 only appeared a few times. I would have liked it if they had all featured in the story, rather than just Giles. 2) The dialogue in this book tended to get very rambly. The characters would go on and on, overexplaining things in a way that was both tiresome and unnatural sounding. It came off as stilted, particularly when a little boy would speak in that overly formal, long-winded way. Not all of it was like that, but it was enough to be noticeable and somewhat annoying. So, it brought down the book a little for me. The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. There were definitely some twists along the way, as well as a few secrets that took me by surprise. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was lovely. If He's Daring was a wonderful historical romance with a touch of magic. It was sweet and enjoyable, with a few surprises in store. Romance lovers, this is a book worth checking out. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous 9 months ago
Always a joy to read these books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Giles is simply one of the best characters in this wonderful family story.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was both funny and scary and full of love highly recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best author in a long time I like her story telling ability .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all of Hannah Howell books . This one has mystery, action, love and children's input. Very entertaining .
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PureJonel More than 1 year ago
Howell is vividly in your face from the first page of this novel. You can’t escape her upbeat writing or her captivating storytelling. Readers are drawn into the intricate world that she has crafted. Reality and fantasy merge in this one of a kind story. Howell captured my imagination and my heart throughout, making the story easy to follow and to picture. The main characters in this novel are very easy to get to know and like. I thoroughly enjoyed Howell’s gradual character development throughout. It was also nice to see the characters getting to know more of themselves and what they are capable of throughout their adventures. The fact that much of the supporting cast in this novel was children added another unique element to the story. The full cast was remarkable, filling out the story perfectly. This is definitely one of those series that you should read in sequence for context, otherwise you start the story in the middle of an ongoing conflict. At the same time, this story could be read on its own and still be very enjoyable in and of itself. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
celticmaggie More than 1 year ago
I haven't really read one of my own books for quite some time. I enjoy reviewing my books from NetGalley. I couldn't not read one of Hannah's books. I love her books and have all but her first books. This story surely will be one of her best. Her characters would fit right into your living room. Wish they were in mine! Catryn is fighting her brother-in-law for custody of her son from her late husband. There are a lot of spoilers in this story. She snatches a carriage and meets Sir Oliver when he follows her chasing to get her son back. Here is where the spoilers start. You will miss a good book if you don't read this book. Please give it a try and Enjoy! I have this book for an honest review for NetGalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
2nd in series I've read and enjoyed both. Good mix of mystery, romance, paranormal, historical period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book by this writer - that i could not read. I skipped to page 150 and never improved. I quit. Money wasted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is one of the best out there today. Other Authors try to imitate but can't come close. My only complaint is that I have to wait so long for the next one. The characters and plots are strong. Get to know the family!
Emptrix More than 1 year ago
Each new volume for the Wherelocke and Vaughn families, is like a special edible present! It goes way to fast and then you have to wait too long for more! I won't belabor the events of the book with another retelling. I will only say that I am so grateful that Hannah Howell has created such prolific families for these two amazing families! There are endless tales yet to tell of amazing people with miraculous talents and sensual dispositions. Hannah Howell is a talented and wonderful author, who never lets us down with her tales of these two families! She makes you believe in the miraculous and has you searching crowds for tall, dark and handsome men, just in case . . . Orion may still have to deal with stolen coaches, given the increasing proximity of his family as neighbors, and given the nature of the children he and Catrin now have and will undoubtedly have many more of in the future. I love this world Hannah Howell has created and populated with Wherelockes and Vaughns, and the interesting people who become attached to them! MORE NOW PLEASE HANNAH HOWELL!!
ALWasha More than 1 year ago
Hannah Howell has done it yet again!! This story is so good. I really enjoy a story when I laugh so hard that I am crying!! If you have read any of her other books in this series or any of her series, then you know what I am saying!! This is a must read, page turner book!! Don't wait GET THIS BOOK!! Thank You Hannah Howell for your amazing talent! Keep them coming!!
DustymomCA More than 1 year ago
All her books are good. I love the Wherlocke series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hannah Powell has done it again I just love her books! I would recommend this book for book club discussions. I would recommend reading all of her If He's series. If you like the paranormal mix with romance you will love this.