Unlike her two sisters who followed their dreams to the altar,Kathryn Bright Goodale doesn't want to be a bride.
What she needs is to win the Great Centennial Race now that her late husband has left her penniless. So Kate reluctantly turns to the famous adventurer Lord James Bennett for help. Once, long ago, James stole from her a lingering, forbidden, and unforgettable kiss. And now the lady wants the incorrigible rogue to stick strictly to business -- and is troubled that shemay not be able to resist him if he does not.
James, too, can never forget that wild, passionate moment in Kate's garden, and he's certain the rigors of a far-reaching adventure will be too much for her. But the fetching young widow surprises him with her bold determination and a courage that compliments her breathtaking sensuality. Might Lord James be competing for a more elusive, yet far more valuable, prize: the hand and heart of Kathryn Bright Goodale?
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About the Author
A former science geek, Susan Kay Law turned to romancewriting as a career because it was the perfect excuse to avoid housework and continue spending all her time doing what she really loved: reading and daydreaming. Also because she was really bad at sitting in a swamp at 5 A.M. in forty-degree weather and tracking bird behavior.
Winner of the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award and a Waldenbooks Bestseller award, twice nominated for a RITA Award, she confesses that the biggest surprise of her career was when this small town Midwestern preacher's kid was named to New Woman magazine's list of "the steamiest writers of women's fiction." Her greatest joy, however, is spending her days thoroughly outnumbered by four of the best males on the planet -- her husband and three sons. She currently lives in Minnesota, and plans to be a ski bum in her next life.
Read an Excerpt
A Wedding Story
August 28, 1899
Battle preparations ...
Were she a man, she might have checked the loading of her pistol one more time, held it out with one eye narrowed along the barrel. Or she'd have drawn her sword from its sheath and watched the light shear down the keen edge of the blade before swishing it through the air to reacquaint herself with its weight. Perhaps bounced on her toes once or twice like a boxing champion finding his balance.
But she was Kathryn Virginia Bright Goodale, and so, in the silent, lush hallway of the Waldorf-Astoria, she leaned closer to a mirror framed in elaborate gold and inspected herself with ruthless precision. She pinched fresh color into her cheeks and bit red into her lips.
Will it do? she wondered. Twelve years ... She'd held up well, she judged. Kate didn't believe in false modesty, particularly when one could not afford it. Would he look at her and see a mature and blossoming woman or immediately note the fading of that glowing girl that had perhaps only existed for one brief moment, for him?
But delaying never solved anything. She'd little enough time as it was. And so she made one final adjustment -- this, to the neckline from which she'd shaved a full inch for just this occasion -- and turned her smile up to full brightness.
The door was a thick gleaming slab of rosewood; the sharp report of her knuckles against it, satisfyingly authoritative. She must not give the impression that she came in supplication ...even though that veered uncomfortably close to the truth.
"Come on in." The voice was muffled through the door, low and hoarse, and her heart pounded harder than the echo of her knock. Nothing ventured ...
"You coming in or not? Because I'd rather not get up."
Well, she hadn't sought him out for his manners, had she? Though he'd certainly owned them once; she recalled a handsome bow, an elegantly correct kiss of her foolishly trembling fingers.
She pushed open the door, stepped through in a hiss of expensive silk, and forgot how to breathe.
She'd been so busy worrying about how he'd view the changes in her that she'd never considered that he'd have changed, too. He'd remained constant in her memory, handsome and brash and so vibrantly alive the air had seemed to hum around him. A perfect reminiscence, one she'd no right to claim but had cherished just the same.
His skin had darkened. His hair, too, from light, sun-streaked brown to something richer and darker and far more interesting. His shoulders, clad in the thin silk of a burgundy robe, were broader. He sat sprawled in a chair, contemplating the half-filled glass in his hand, the gaping front of the robe exposing a long length of hairy, muscular leg and far too much chest for any healthy woman's composure.
"Put the towels down anywhere." Years of travel had roughened the edges of his aristocratic British accent but never eliminated it entirely, an odd contrast with the informality of his grammar.
"I --" She'd practiced her speeches, all the arguments she'd suspected she'd need. And they'd all fled the instant she stepped into the room.
"Huh." Eyes that were more than a shade blurry focused on the hem of her skirt. "Guess you're not the maid."
That put genuine warmth into her careful smile. "I most certainly am not."
He made no move to get up, just traced his gaze slowly up her until he paused at her chest. He grinned, lazy, seductive. "Heard this place had the best service in the city, but I certainly underestimated it."
And then he looked up, into her face at last, and every trace of boozy warmth disappeared from his expression. Hooded eyes, set mouth, all emotions carefully blanked away, the expression he'd worn the last time she'd seen him. Just before she'd walked away.
He set his drink aside, taking more care than the task required to place it square in the center of the tiny carved table at his elbow. Was he that soused? She hadn't considered him a drinker but a lot could change in twelve years. A lot had changed.
"Starting early this morning, aren't you?" she asked. She meant her comment to be light, nothing more than conversational -- and winced when it came out sounding like an accusation.
"It's never too early," he said, in a tone that implied he'd have started a whole lot sooner if he'd suspected who would show up at his door. He pushed himself out of his chair with far less concern for the gap in his robe than Kate would have preferred.
His steps were slow, a bare saunter, yet they ate up the space between them with disconcerting speed until he towered over her, her nose level with his -- bare!breastbone.
She couldn't look up at him, so she studied the room instead. It was as lush and rich as the hotel lobby had promised, gleaming in shades of blue and gold and cream. It was an awful mess, three mismatched socks strewn over the Aubusson carpet, a crumpled khaki jacket tossed over the back of a chair, a clutter of glinting rock specimens and poor, stuffed creatures strewn across a fine tabletop. The bed was in worse shape, a riotous twist of sheets and blankets that gave testament to one sort of wild night or another.
"Mrs. Goodale," he said, so formal and stiff and suddenly British that he could have been another man than the warmly tipsy, casual one who'd spoken before he'd realized her identity, "I am sorry about your husband."
"I know that."
He was perhaps more sorry about her husband's death than anyone else on earth ...A Wedding Story. Copyright © by Susan Kay Law. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In 1899 penniless widow Kathryn Bright Goodale goes to the Waldorf-Astoria to see explorer ¿Lord¿ James Bennett who is giving a talk there. Twelve years ago they met and passion exploded until he learned she was the wife of his friend ¿Doc¿. Kathryn needs James to help her win the Great Centennial Race because she needs the $50K prize since her agreement with her late spouse of fifteen years was that his estate would go to his children from his first wife. James shows up just before the race begins. He listens to the first clue, a children¿s rhyme before deciding to rest while his opponents, many of whom he knows, races off into the sunset with no game plan. Kathryn is frustrated with his seeming delay, but when she falls asleep he deserts her. He believes he can win the race without an upper class pampered woman tagging along. However, Kathryn shows her stubborn resiliency by catching up to him and forcing him to take her on the global race. As they work together, the attraction of a dozen years ago explodes into love even as someone tries to sabotage their efforts to win. This is an entertaining adventure romance that feels like an Indiana Jones meets love while on an escapade. The story is fun to follow once the action of the great race begins. The lead couple is a delight as James wants to rid him of Kathryn, but her abstinence refuses to allow him to succeed although her being physically able to keep the pace seems ludicrous. Still, historical romance readers will want to join on this around the world novel. Harriet Klausner
This was a good book about 250 pages good read