Claims of the Heart, a brand new full-length novel, is the third story in my Macbeth series. If you read Fated Hearts and wondered what became of Macbeth’s daughter Lucie, this is her story:
Since a perilous fall, Lucie Macbeth has been seeing more than a settled future as the heiress to a Scottish barony. The visions plaguing her include a man—one far above her class and breeding, and English to boot. He’s engaged to a duke’s granddaughter as well, and thus wholly inappropriate. Though she can’t marry him, and she won’t become any man’s leman, when the Sight warns her of danger to him, her conscience and her heart tell her she can’t walk away.
Since returning from Waterloo, Major Lord Rudgwick has been rusticating in the country teaching himself how to live as a man with only one hand and pondering how to end the engagement he contracted before his world turned upside down. But then a letter arrives from an old army comrade, requesting Rudgwick’s aid for his daughter, Lucie Macbeth, the woman he met one year earlier, the woman whose claims on his heart he can’t deny.
Across the theater from Lucie, a braw, dark-haired man, as tall and straight as the duke, stood in his grace’s box, a young lady upon his arm.
Drawn like a giddy moth, she lifted her chin and met his gaze, bridging the yawning space, watching his mouth soften into the quizzical half-grin he displayed to such advantage.
Tristan Hamilton Howton, Major Lord Rudgwick, was, in fact, in London, in the flesh. He was here and looked ready and willing to annoy her. He looked hearty, healthy and well too; not at all impaired. As fully recovered from his injury as a man who’d lost a hand might be.
She let out a breath. She’d wondered how he’d fared after she and her parents left him in Brussels. Mother parsed the news she received in letters from Lady Rudgwick, and Lucie was too proud to ask after him.
She was glad to see him looking so well. Now she must simply keep the chasm between them as wide as the pit of this theater. Easy enough to do, given their different social circles.
He wasn’t in uniform tonight, yet he’d still make hearts flutter, and the cocky smile said he knew it. Wide shoulders filled out the elegant dark coat, and strong thighs the legs of his trousers. He was, after all, a horseman, a cavalry officer with a stable of the finest horses.
With a quiet breath she attempted to quell her pounding heart, to blot out the seductive smile that she saw over and over in stirring visions of a future that could not be, that must not be.
She mustered a bored, how-annoying tone. “Rudgwick is here.”
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