The Charming Devil
ISBN 978-1-60174-254-4 © 2020 Buy now from Amazon.com


Cecelia Medbourne had not known that an afternoon of wonder and delight could lead to seven years of hardship. She had been a completely innocent young woman, just eighteen, at the start of that afternoon. By its end, her ignorance had been enlightened, and her life had been changed forever.

Darius Darton, Viscount Knyckham, had never thought that harm would come to him. In the way of young men, he had thought himself invincible. Seven years of painstaking recovery after a devastating carriage accident had taught him differently.

Their paths had crossed once. When they crossed again, under very different circumstances, Darius had no memory of that past afternoon. Cecelia thought that her secret was safe. It was, for a while. Then he remembered.

When Cecelia realized he knew her daughter was also his, she feared for their future. Flight was her only response to the danger she believed he presented. But reconciliation was the solution he sought to their problem.

There had been magic in their afternoon together. If they can reclaim it, their lives will be enriched. If they cannot, three people will suffer the consequences.



"I was ungoverned, undisciplined and diabolical." He dropped his gaze.

"And beautiful," she said, remembering. She looked at the lines of pain carved in his face, the scar on his cheek, the myriad silver threads in his hair. "You are not now."

"One should not look like an angel, when one is a devil," he said with great bitterness.

"They say you are not a devil now."

"I hope not. I was a bastard."

Cecily laughed on a broken sob. "Oh, no. You were not. You ensured that our daughter is that."

He groaned and sank to both knees, hiding his face. After a long moment of immobility he looked up at her. "It took no more than a moment's thought to know that Lucy must be our daughter. At least, so soon as I realized who you were, I suspected she was our child. I am glad to know the truth. There was never a Mr. Northcott, was there?"

Cecily lifted her chin and admitted the lie. "No, there was not. Death is a handy thing; it covers a wealth of lies."

He winced. "I am sorry my actions forced lies upon you. Thank you for bearing my daughter, thank you for caring for her. She is beautiful, a credit to your courage and decency.

"You will not take her away from me?" She had not meant to ask it, had determined to be cold, and hard, and strong. She despised the quiver in her words.

He reached out a hand to her then, when she flinched, he dropped it to his side. Sitting unwarily back on his booted heels, he exclaimed in pain and subsided onto the stone floor. "What? No! Of course not. Dear God no!"

The relief almost made her collapse. She concealed it with a snap. "For goodness sake, get up and sit in a chair. You make yourself ridiculous." She looked away as he awkwardly gathered himself, and moved to the stool near to the kitchen door. She felt none of the pity she had when he had fallen in the village street.