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Hazel Statham Writer of Historical Romantic Fiction
Can a rake reform his ways and truly love? Lizzie's head tells her one thing, her heart another.
Infamous rake and Corinthian, Maxim Beaufort, Earl of St. Ive, finding himself in possession of a property in Yorkshire, is unprepared for the changes it will bring into his life.
Irresistibly drawn to Elizabeth Granger, the former owner’s daughter, he attempts to help the family, finding himself filling the role of benefactor.
When the house is razed to the ground, he arranges for temporary accommodation for Elizabeth and her siblings on his estate and when Elizabeth rejects his proposal of marriage, he is nonetheless determined to win her over.
However, events and his reputation conspire to thwart his efforts and his course is one fraught with dangers.
Trust does not come easily and determined to protect her heart, Elizabeth struggles to resist her own longings. At times, their difficulties appear insurmountable but the earl is widely known as ‘The Indomitable’ and the name was not lightly earned.
“Indeed you have, my dear,” he said earnestly, and she raised her eyes quickly to his face. He moved away as if the look discomfited him and there existed a silence between them, only the stamping of the horses’ hooves as they moved restlessly in the stalls invading the moment.
Suddenly turning and coming to stand before her, St. Ive asked quietly, “Do you still think of me as an intruder, Elizabeth? Am I still not welcome in your home?”
“Maxim…” she began, and would have turned away but immediately his arm detained her, drawing her back to face him. For a long moment his searching gaze devoured her face until, tilting back her chin with his free hand, he bowed his head and kissed her.
As the gentle kiss turned more demanding and he drew her tightly to his chest, he became aware that her soft lips remained frozen beneath his and she held her delicate frame rigid within his embrace. The fear in her eyes cut through him and immediately he released her from his arms.
“Why?” she demanded, the instant she was set free, bewilderment heavy in her voice.
“Why?” he repeated softly, almost as if he spoke to himself, a slight smile on his lips, and after the briefest hesitation he said flippantly, “Because you have rain on your face, my dear.”
“Odious, detestable man,” she cried angrily, running out into the night, not even pausing to take up her lantern.
He stood watching as the dark downpour devoured her.