The Lost Baroness by Judith B. Glad



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In all his wanderings, Buffalo Lachlan has only once before seen eyes winter-sky blue like Siri Trogen's. He promised a dying man he'd find a lost twin, and he's been following nebulous clues and vague rumors halfway around the world ever since. His search leads him to Astoria, Oregon, the cold, rainy winter of 1873.

Could Siri be the lost sister, heiress to a barony? Before Buff can find proof, he becomes caught up in her hunt for her stolen children. Inexplicable accidents and unexplained disasters complicate their efforts. Is someone trying to prevent Siri from finding her children, or him from finding the missing heiress?

Shared danger drives them into each other's arms. Shared adventure teaches them that they each have a streak of recklessness, a core of courage, and a heart full of love to share. But before they can make any decisions about the future, they have to find Siri's children, prove she's the lost baroness...and stay alive.

Excerpt:

For the second time that day, he told of the girl child he sought, of the strong possibility she had been on the Dancing Goddess.

"So young a child? Why was she alone? Why were her parents not with her?"

"Because she was cargo, Siri. She was to be sold, like any commodity. To the highest bidder."

At first she didn't understand him. When his words at last made sense, her jaw dropped. "Ohyggligt! Vad syndig! A child! So terrible." Again tears spilled across her cheek, leaving wet trails on skin gone pasty white. "How her parents must have grieved! I will help you. Just tell me what you want me to do." She reached across the table again. This time she clasped his right hand in both of hers.

An arrow of heat stabbed through Buff's gut, leaving him dry-mouthed and weak. Then he realized she had not offered herself in payment for his help.

Buff was no celibate. He had bedded some of Europe's infamous beauties, had spent most of a night in a Hong Kong bordello known worldwide for the charm and allure of its courtesans. He liked women, all ages, shapes, sizes. He enjoyed the feel of them, the smell of them, the taste of them. Women thought differently than men, and he liked that, too. Some women were his friends, some had been his lovers. A very few were both.

Siri was like no woman he'd known. He became aware that her hands, work-roughened and strong, were still holding one of his. In that clasp he sensed more than the first stirrings of friendship. More than the simple pleasures of sex.

He and Siri were bound together, for some as yet unknowable purpose.

"What's your other name?" he demanded, determined to break the spell. "Siri what?"

"Hansen...no Trogen. My name is Sigrid Hansen Trogen. Siri is a... a smeknamn... I do not know how--"

"A nickname. A pet name, used by your friends and family."

"Ja, but not just my family. Everyone knows me as Siri. Sigrid is so fine, so formal. I am a plain woman, not fancy."

He looked past the lines of exhaustion, past the weight of worry and fear for her children. Her hair was the color of moonlight, her eyes as blue as the river that flowed deep and clear past Cherry Vale. The hollows in her cheeks showed the underlying bone structure. She would be a beautiful old woman, would be lovely now if she had a bit more flesh on her bones.

Ice blue satin and silver lace. That's what she should wear.

Buff vowed he'd feed her every chance he got, until she filled out as she was meant to be.

And wondered why he cared.

Shoving that thought aside, he disengaged his hand. "Looks like the wind's died down. Let's walk awhile. We're mostly dry." If he wasn't looking into eyes that invited him to dive in and never come up, maybe his thoughts could be kept where they ought to be.

Obediently she rose. From the astonished look she gave him when he went to help her with her coat, he decided her mother-in-law might be a rich woman, but she hadn't taught her son any manners. Siri acted like no man had ever treated her with common courtesy.

Her shy smile, as he settled the coat on her shoulders, warmed his heart.

And other, less mentionable parts, too.

  • Published by: Uncial Press


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