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Authors: Karolyn Howard

Devil Disguised

BOOK: Devil Disguised
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Devil Disguised
Howard, Karolyn
(2014)

Publication Date: May 30, 2014
A dark cloud hovers over Lady Lily Montgomery. Her future is no longer her own. She is betrothed to a man she cannot recall meeting, and worse; many close to her have perished under mysterious circumstances. For her protection, her guardian sends her away from London to stay with his friend, Lord Duncan Cavanaugh, the Earl of Westbrook. Duncan is not convinced Lady Lily is a virtuous victim and steels himself to unearth what lies beneath her beauty and boldness. Does she orchestrate the tragic deaths of those close to her or is someone covering his or her tracks too well? He vows to solve this deadly mystery and to ignore her charming spell. As he begins to uncover the truth, Duncan must decide if Lily is an angel of misfortune or the devil in disguise.

Copyright © 2014 Karolyn Howard
All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1497586127
ISBN-13: 9781497586123

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Cover design and artwork by: Alan O.W. Barnes

dedicate this to everyone who read my first book, family, friends, and complete strangers. It is beyond thrilling to know so many people enjoyed reading A Lady’s Choice. I hope to continue to write fun romances with action and a bit of surprises for you to enjoy.

I continue to be grateful for my husband’s ongoing support and encouragement.

       
Thanks to Alan O.W. Barnes for another great cover design and to Beverly G., Laura L. and Leslie D. for the editing assistance.

I must say Cathy Z. gave me a great surprise by hosting my first “Author Party”! Thanks Cathy.

Finally, there are many others who may not even realize the confidence they give to me by their enthusiasm in asking me about my writing. I must say a big thank you to Kim C., Mike H., Mary Ann M., Jeanette W., Michelle M., Jeanine E., and Jenny H.

I hope you enjoy this new love story, which includes a little added suspense and mystery.

Thank you all, again, for your support!

CONTENTS

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

HAT?” LILY GASPED.
Clasping her hands together, she stood abruptly and began to pace next to the sofa.

Charles stood and held onto his niece’s shoulders before she turned again. He replied, “I really think this is in your best interest, Lily.”

Shaking her head, tears formed in her eyes as she gazed imploringly at her uncle. “But, it is too soon.”

“Lily, it has nearly been a year since Joshua’s passing and your parents would have wanted you to be happy,” Charles said softly.

“I will not be happy with Lord Hastings! I hardly even recall meeting him; much less have any feelings for him. I want time to make my own decision about my future.”

Charles released her shoulders and inhaled deeply. “I know you want to marry for love, but you may find that will come with time with Lord Hastings. Many men have offered for your hand and he seems the most honest in his intentions. You have had your chance at love, my dear, and now you must accept this could be good for you. I fear you will never decide again on your own, no matter how much time passes.”

Lily’s stomach tightened knowing the truth of her uncle’s words. She could never seem to accept the many advances from men since Joshua’s demise, but she needed time. Clenching her fists at her sides, her voice was laced with venom as she said, “Please spare me the speech about doing my duty and needing someone to look after me. I would hate to remind you that you have yet to take a wife and are seven years older than I, with a title to pass along. I did not know I had become such a bother to you.”

Charles pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingers. “You know you are not a bother to me. You have always been more of a sister to me than a niece, but I worry about you. Joshua’s accident so soon after your parents’ deaths took us all by surprise, yet you continue on bravely. You are still the ton’s darling, but you may suit well with Lord Hastings.”

Tears surfaced again in her eyes blurring the colors of green and gold that were spread throughout the grand salon. She wiped her tears away as she glared at her uncle. There was something else, there had to be. She tilted her head and crossed her arms over her chest. “I want to know the real reason you have said I will accept his suit.”

Inhaling deeply, he walked swiftly to the sideboard and poured a glass of whiskey. He sipped his drink. With
his back to her, he replied, “I will be leaving soon for India. I want to feel secure in the knowledge that if something happens to me, that someone will be there for you.”

“Because of Martin,” she gasped.

Gripping the edge of the sofa Lily recalled the horrible news that her brother, Martin, had died of a fever on his travel back from India.

Charles turned slowly to face her. “Because of Martin and because of Warren and Edith too. You and I are all that remain of the Montgomerys, Lily. I need to know you will be taken care of and I need to know you will be safe while I am away.”

She inhaled sharply. “Please tell me that you have not promised I will marry Lord Hastings before you leave!”

Smiling slightly, Charles shook his head. “No. I told Lord Hastings that you needed time and that I would not agree to the marriage unless the announcement was made upon my return. He consented and there will be no mention of your impending nuptials until I have come back to London. However, I still need you safe while I am away.”

“I will be safe here,” she scoffed.

“Will you?” Charles shook his head. “I am still disturbed by the run-away carriage that almost struck you and the fact that you would have been in the carriage with Joshua had you not decided to stay at the party.”

“Both were accidents and I was very lucky,” she murmured, nodding slightly.

“Still, I am in the process of arranging a place for you to stay while I am traveling to India.”

“Please say it is not at Great Aunt Gertrude’s.”

Charles laughed. “No, even I am not that cruel. I have an idea, but I do not have everything set yet.”

Lily nodded, trying to absorb all the information as Charles took both of her hands in his. “Lily, please trust me. Let me go away knowing that you will be safe and then when I come back we can revisit this. If you find you do not suit with Lord Hastings when he courts you, we can consider other options.”

“Thank you!” Lily flung her arms around her uncle and hugged him tightly.

“Whoa.” He stepped out of her grasp. “Do not get too excited! I have not changed my mind yet and you may not like my plan for where I would like you to stay while I am away.”

“I do trust you. But now, I feel much better knowing I do not have to run away to avoid marriage in the near future.”

Chuckling, he shook his head and exhaled. “Lily, I only want what is best for you.” He paused as if considering his next words. “I will be leaving for a short trip tomorrow to visit an old friend, but I will be back in a day or two. Please know that I only have your best interests in mind. All right?”

Lily nodded. “Of course.”

Charles smiled and left the room. She did trust her uncle. He had always been there for her, especially after her parents died. Always protective of her, he did not hesitate to move into his role as her guardian and she would be forever grateful, even if he took it too seriously at times. Sitting down on the sofa, she wondered where she would be staying when her uncle left for India.

BOOK: Devil Disguised
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