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by Janis Susan May
Description: Both aunt and niece find themselves in romantic imbroglios as a love thought twelve years dead awakens to complicate the present.
eBook Publisher: Awe-Struck E-Books/Awe-Struck E-Books, Inc., 2008 2008
eBookwise Release Date: December 2008
9 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [334 KB]
Reading time: 195-274 min.
"Second Chance is a poignant tale of love lost, love found, and love recovered. Charlie, the boy, made my heart flutter. Bradford, the man, made me swoon. The sister is deliciously bad yet sympathetic in her addiction. Janis Susan May patiently transitions Lisbet and Charlie from childhood affection to full blown love. Readers will fall in love with them. Second Chance is a delightful and unique Regency romance." Reviewed by Kimber of Fallen Angel Reviews, 5 ANGELS
At first he almost failed to recognize her. The memories he had carried so long in his heart were those of a wild, laughing girl--on horseback, in the garden, even thinly disguised as a sedate churchgoer--all only faintly gilded with the bitter memory of her tearful renunciation. There was nothing to connect that untamed young creature with the beautiful goddess of ivory and amethyst who now stood before him. Bradford's very being twisted as he saw her stiffen and pale as she recognized him; with pain he watched her reach out blindly to the Friday-faced creature at her side and the man's tender response.
Of course! Had not Charlie said something about Lisbet coming to stay with a married aunt? If only he had listened to his nephew's prattle about the girl he could have figured it out for himself much earlier. He could not recall the name, but Bradford recognized the man; he had been a devilish ugly creature when he had hung around Verity all during her Season and Time had not improved him. Bradford remembered how he and Verity had laughed at his determined suit ... who would have thought she might accept him?
More realization; it must be Verity and her husband with whom Lisbet was staying, for certainly no one in his right mind and especially not that stuffed shirt Percy would let an innocent and impressionable girl stay with a woman like Catherine Conover. Bradford felt betrayed; idiot he might be not to have seen the whole earlier, but still Charlie might have told him! That unfortunate young man's uncle selected a number of words to convey to his nephew at the next private opportunity.
The tableau seemed as frozen as if all the participants had been encased in ice. Verity felt as if she might be dying, yet conversely as if her heart were pounding hard enough to be heard across the room.
There was no doubt about it; he was older, heavier, darker, but still unquestionably Bradford ... and here, in London, with Catherine. Catherine, who had always wanted him.
Could it be that he had never really left London, that all the time she had been buried alive down in the country, still waiting for him in her heart of hearts, he had been in Town desporting himself with the very willing Catherine?
The world heaved and buckled beneath Verity's suddenly unstable feet. Were it not for the steadying pressure of Sir Rodney's arm at her waist she might have fallen.
Rescue approached from two quarters. Annabelle Bellthorpe swept in from the music room and, fastening a displeased gaze on Verity, flew directly to her side. "My dear, we must get inside. You do not wish to miss the entertainment, do you?"
Her eyes widened as she saw Catherine and then her mouth gaped as her mind leapt the intervening years to recognise the man at her side as Bradford Pemberton. She quickly reached the same conclusion as Verity, but uncluttered by old emotion she could also see beyond it. There had been rumours about The Prodigal returning, rumours which she had been very careful to keep from Verity's ears.
"Come, Verity!" she said almost as she would have to a recalcitrant housemaid, only with difficulty restraining herself from physically hauling her friend away. "You don't want to miss hearing Lisbet sing, do you? There's no need to discuss the girl's change of custody now."
The words 'change of custody' soaked into the fevered brain of Catherine Conover like a death sentence and she clung even more tightly to Bradford's unwilling arm. Those same words, however, went totally unheard by Verity. By sheer luck Annabelle had said the only thing that could penetrate the sick shock which surrounded her ... Lisbet.
"Yes..." she murmured woodenly. "We must find Lisbet..."
Once in the jungle Bradford had been bitten by a particularly poisonous viper. Though his native workers had done their best to save him, for hours his life had been in the balance and he could have died much more easily than he could have lived. Then the image of Verity, a fever dream that sat beside him and held his hand during his delirium, had saved his life. Now he felt much the same--lightheaded and queerly disassociated from his body--but there was no loving touch (fantasy or otherwise) to bring him back to sanity.
Catherine ground her teeth, her face a mask of horror. Verity had not come to Town in years! How spiteful of her to come now, just when all was going so well! Well, she wasn't going to give in! Bradford was hers now, and she wouldn't give him up!