One Moonlit Night received
a makeover in June 2008 – I just adore this lovely new
cover! Of course, I suspect in part it’s because my favorite
color is blue . . .
While the cover changed, the words
have not. The story is exactly the same as it was when
released in 1998... In red.
arrives in the strangest places
sometimes. The idea for ONE
MOONLIT NIGHT arrived in the
waiting room of a doctor's office.
I was thumbing through reading
material when I noticed an article
from a reader who'd written about
a nostalgic memory of a Gypsy caravan
coming through town when he was
a child. Coupled with the fact
that one of my daughters had a
friend whose grandmother was a
Gypsy . . . well, I knew I had
my story then and there.
MOONLIT NIGHT is set in England,
my visit to Scotland provided
yet more inspiration. While we
were there, we stayed at a castle
that had been converted into
a small hotel; the surrounding
countryside fueled my image of
the village setting where ONE
MOONLIT NIGHT takes place.
It was great
fun coming up with the names in
this book. Coupled with a Gypsy
curse and hero Dominic's dark past,
I wanted to come up with names
that were . . . well . . . dark.
Thus, Ravenwood Manor came about.
And the big black dog that nearly
frightens Olivia out of her wits
in the opening chapter . . . well,
I just couldn't resist calling
him Lucifer (he was just being
Besides our heroine
Olivia and her hero Dominic, there's
a secondary love story featuring
Olivia's sister Emily, who
had been stricken with hysterical
blindness. Somehow I couldn't write
about Emily, and her loneliness,
without making sure that she, too,
had her own happy ending.
And yes, yet
another book with a title change!
I originally called it GYPSY MOON.
Times nominee for
Best Regency Historical
Ravenwood Manor, 1821
"There was a
terrible storm last night," said
Charlotte. "The thunder was so
fierce, why, it nearly shook me
from my bed!"
slightly. "We're often given to
such storms in summer, I'm afraid.
My father used to say it was the
angels clapping in time to the
in time to the Lord's music," Charlote
repeated. Her eyes lit up. "Why,
I think I'll tell that to Colin,
so he won't be so frightened again!"
"Charlotte! Olivia!" The
whisper came from Fanny, another
of the maids. "Hurry! We're all
to assemble in the entrance hall
to greet the new master."
sank like a weighted stone. The
moment she had dreaded had arrived.
As luck would
have it, she and Charlotte were
among the last to fall in line.
Under Mrs. Templeton's watchful
eye, she stood smartly alert.
From the corner
of her eye she saw him. Faith,
but he was tall! He towered over
Franklin, who was certainly not
small in stature. Her stomach churning,
she waited, praying this would
all be over as quickly as possible.
But Providence was not smiling
on her today, for he stopped before
each and every servant, calling
each by name and exchanging some
Her nerves were
screaming as he came near. She
longed to sink through the floor
to the depths below. At last he
stood before her, his hands behind
his back, looking so relaxed and
at ease she longed to scream.
"My lord, Olivia
Sherwood, one of the maids."
deep for the courage to meet his
gaze—oh, a mistake, surely!
His regard, though ever so brief,
was intensely penetrating. No sign
of a smile broke the plane of his
lips. No hint of recognition flickered
in his eyes, which she was stunned
to discover were not dark at all,
but a piercing shade of blue.
He inclined his
head. "Miss Sherwood, I'm exceedingly
pleased to have you here at Ravenwood."
He moved on to
'Twould seem he didn't remember
her! Was she insulted . . . or
relieved? She decided most heartily
in favor of the latter.
last it was over. They were dismissed,
free to go back to their duties.
The other maids
were all a-twitter.
"Did ye see him?
No wonder all the fine ladies of
London were fallin' all over 'im!"
"He has his father's
eyes. Blue as sapphires, I tell
"He deigned to
smile at me. Did ye see it? He
smiled at me!"
"He took my hand.
Why, it nearly made me swoon!"
gaze, Olivia smiled and shook her
over and whispered, "Oh, come now,
luv. Ye have to admit it, 'e is
a handsome devil!"
All of a sudden
a hush fell over the group. Olivia
soon saw the reason.
had appeared—and she was
marching straight toward her!
sank. What had she done that the
housekeeper looked so disapproving?
stopped before her. But first her
snapping gaze swept toward the
others. "Do none of you have duties
to attend?" she snapped.
The group dispersed
in a heartbeat. Olivia started
to leave as well, but the housekeeper's
hand on her arm forestalled her.
"He's asked for
you," the woman said tersely.
Olivia was confused. "Ma'am?
I beg your pardon?"
"He's asked for
you. The master." Mrs. Templeton's
lips were thin. "He wishes to see
you in the library."
She didn't like the sound of that,
nay, not at all! "Very well," she
to leave. Mrs. Templeton's voice
stopped her. "One more thing, Miss
She glanced back.
"A good servant
is neither seen nor heard, young
woman. In future, you'd do well
to bear that in mind."
Her stomach felt
as if it were tied up in knots.
But so was his.
He stood near
the marble fireplace, his hands
behind his back, his mind still
reeling. Never had he thought to
find her at Ravenwood. He'd thought
of her last night—and again
this morning when he woke. He'd
been faintly irritated that their
encounter had taken place in the
dead of night; he'd wanted to see
her in the full, stark light of
day, to see if she was as fair
as she'd appeared in the moonlight.
Now he knew.
She was exquisite,
as exquisite as he'd somehow known
she would be.
Her face was
oval, her skin smooth and the color
of Devonshire cream. Her eyes were
the color of jade, wide and thickly
lashed; the arch of her brows was
slightly piquant. The sun streamed
through the window, gleaming on
her hair—it was part gold,
part russet. Oh, she'd not have
been considered a beauty by London
standards—her hair was not
pale and blond, and she was far
"You wished to
see me, my lord?"
Direct and to
the point. Dominic liked that,
just as he liked her quiet dignity.
She stood with her hands folded
primly before her, her narrow shoulders
squarely set. She was nervous,
he decided, but determined not
to show it. That made her rather
brave . . .
tells me you been employed here
only a short time, Miss Sherwood."
"Yes," she said
quickly. "Much of the staff has
been employed but a short time.
The house has been closed up since
the earl—-I mean the old
earl . . . I mean your father-"
"I take your
meaning quite well, Miss Sherwood."
faint coolness had crept into his
tone. Olivia fell silent; she couldn't
help but take note of it. Her fingers
curled into her palms. She couldn't
have taken her eyes from him, even
if she'd wanted to.
She would not
have called him swarthy, for his
hair was not black—but rather
like darkest chocolate—and
a trifle longer than was the fashion.
And his skin looked as if it had
been kissed golden brown by the
It struck her
anew . . . he did not look like
a Gypsy. Yet neither did he look
like any gentleman she'd ever seen.
He was dressed in a snowy white
shirt and cravat, tight doeskin
breeches and shining knee-high
boots. Yet he possessed a curious
roughness that was almost at odds
with his elegant clothing. But
there was no denying it . . .
He was almost
It was he who
broke the silence. "Finished?" he
of her perusal had not gone unnoticed.
Never in her life had she been
She shifted uncomfortably. "Sir,
"Look as long
as you like. I'm sure you find
me quite the oddity."
His tone was
ever-so-pleasant. Olivia flushed. "I'm
"No need to apologize.
I've grown accustomed to it."
He hadn't; there
was an edge in his tone that told
She clasped her
hands before her. "Sir," she began,
her voice very low, "if you've
no further need of me—"
"I would like
for you to show me about the house."
Her lips parted. "But
. . . I've only been here a scant
week. May I suggest that someone
"No. I want you,
I want you.
She had an uneasy feeling he meant
something else entirely.
inclined her head. "Very well then." She
gestured toward the door. "Shall
"Indeed we may."
Was he making light of her? She
could have sworn a faint mockery
dwelled in his voice.
It didn't make
the next half-hour any easier.
As they moved through the house,
she prayed he would not discern
In the study,
she dared to breathe a little easier.
They were almost done. There was
a portrait of his father there,
hanging over the mantel. He stood
before it for the longest time,
his hands behind his back, the
set of his shoulders rigidly square.
Though James St. Bride had hair
of light brown, there was a marked
resemblance between father and
son. Both possessed the same square
chin, the same high cheekbones.
. . the same intense blue eyes.
Dominic St. Bride
had yet to move. He stood as if
frozen in place, his gaze locked
on the portrait of his father.
There was a protracted
silence. "You favor him," she said
awkwardly, not knowing what else
"I have his eyes,
but I should like to think I am not like
him." His voice was clipped and
He had yet to
look away from the portrait. An
odd prickle crept down her spine.
He hated him, she realized. He
hated his father. Olivia sensed
it with every ounce of her being.
Yet when at last he turned toward
her, his manner was as easy as
"Pray let us
continue, Miss Sherwood."
All that was
left was the conservatory. To her
surprise, Olivia was curiously
reluctant to rush, for in her mind,
the conservatory was the loveliest
room in the house. It was immense,
with an extraordinary sense of
light and grandeur. On the far
wall, double doors opened onto
a stone verandah. Just beyond was
a little garden crammed full of
A feeling of
wistfulness welled up inside her.
She sighed, for it reminded her
of the house she'd grown up in,
the house that the new vicar, Mr.
Reynolds, now lived in. She and
Mama had spent many a happy hour
tending the tiny rose garden outside
the back door. Lord, but she missed
"Do you live
alone, Miss Sherwood?"
A deep male voice
jarred her from her reverie. It
gave her a start to realize Dominic
St. Bride stood directly behind
She turned that
she might see him—and retreated
a step in the bargain. "No," she
"I see. You've
a husband then?"
"No. I live with
my sister Emily."
He continued. "You
are extremely well spoken, Miss
chin came up a notch. "Thank you,
"And I assume
"My mother, God
rest her soul, would like to think
"And well educated,
"My father saw
to it that I was well-schooled,
yes." Olivia was uneasy. What was
"Then I must
say, I find it odd that a woman
such as you would take a position
in my household."
She knew what he meant now—that
she was out of place. Taking a
deep breath, she chose her words
carefully. "My father always said
that hard work was good for a man's
soul, and I daresay, a woman's
as well. But if you must know,
'tis a case of needs must. I have
no family other than my sister,
so 'tis up to me to care for her."
His eyes flickered. "I
didn't mean to offend you, Miss
Only then did
she realize she'd been a trifle
defensive. "You did not, my lord."
For the longest
time, he said nothing. His gaze
roved over her face, making her
pulse quicken. Then, before she
had a chance to think, he raised
a hand and brushed his knuckles
across the scratch on her cheek. "It's
hardly noticeable," he murmured.
Her heart lurched.
She felt a rush of heat in her
cheeks. "Yes," she said breathlessly. "'Tis
But he was not
finished. He took her hands within
his and turned them palm up. With
his thumb he traced the blisters
that had risen there. Olivia flushed.
Her heart stood still. What was
he thinking? she wondered frantically.
That she was unsuited for the work
here? Nay. She couldn't even contemplate
such a thing. If she were without
employment, how would she and Emily
Their eyes met.
A lazy half-smile curled his mouth. "I
thank you for your time, Miss Sherwood," he
murmured, "and I trust we'll meet
With that he
carried one small hand to his lips.
To her utter shock, he kissed the
back of each hand in turn, a fleeting
brush of his mouth upon her flesh.
He turned and
strode away. Olivia was left standing
there, her pulse hammering wildly.
It was quite
improper, the way he'd touched
her cheek. The way he'd kissed
her hands . . .
But he was no
And she was no
lady—not a proper lady,
like those in London. ..
was to be believed, he was a rake
of the highest order—a profligate
rogue, no doubt! She could not
approve. She did not approve.
Yet all she could
think was that Charlotte was right.
He was a handsome devil.
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