When what a lady hears isn’t always the truth,
she must learn to see with her heart and trust the rest to...
They say love is blind, but Lady Fortuna Morley doesn’t believe it. Sightless since birth, she can think of only one reason a gentleman would wed her—for the dowry and three thousand a year her father will provide. She’s in London the spring of 1814 to help launch her younger cousin into society, but prefers living quietly in country with her music. The last thing Fortuna wishes is to cross swords with the arrogant Marquess of Granville.
Charles Lowden, Lord Granville, has decided to take a wife. The bride he’s chosen is thirteen years his junior, but meets all criteria. What he won’t abide is interference from the girl’s impertinent cousin, the outspoken and opinionated Lady Fortuna Morley. The woman is determined to thwart the match. Charles is just as determined to charm Fortuna out of her disdain for him.
What neither expects in the ensuing battle of wills is to fall in love.
"Are you familiar with Herr Beethoven?"
Fortuna shook her head and, like a puff of smoke, the emotional tension between them dissipated.
Charles felt a twinge of regret at its passing. Out loud, he said, “His Quasi una fantasia—Almost a fantasy—is just as somber but much more full-bodied. I’d be honored to play it for you.”
Rising from the piano, she stood aside so he could take it.
Charles shot her an assessing look as he stepped forward. “I have an idea, something that might enhance your enjoyment of the piece.”
He crooked one arm around her waist, then bent to hook the other behind her knees. She squeaked a protest as he lifted her against his chest. Flexing his fingers in the flimsy material along her rib cage, he savored the warm supple body beneath his hands.
Striding down the side of the piano, he swung Fortuna onto its lid. Seated upright with her legs stretched out, she wore a dumbfounded expression.
Charles tucked her nightgown around her limbs and stepped back. “Lie down, with your head toward the music stand.”
He then returned to the piano stool. Releasing the buttons of his jacket, he sat and ran through a set of scales to limber his fingers.
As the notes reverberated through the mahogany lid, Fortuna uttered a small cry of surprise and turned her wide, cat’s eyes his direction.
He grinned. “They say Beethoven was out one evening for a walk when he passed a cobbler’s shop and heard someone practicing one of his compositions. He went inside and found a blind girl struggling with the piece.”
Tentatively, Fortuna scooted forward, then laid down on her back with her arms at her sides. Bronze curls snaked through the music stand to hang over the keys. Spellbound, Charles stared at them. Then, swallowing hard, he cleared his throat and continued.
“Herr Beethoven offered to demonstrate how the piece was meant to be played. He became so caught up in the beauty of the moonlight falling through the open window on the blind girl that he went home and composed this sonata.”
With that, he began to play.
As Charles’ fingers flew over the keys, he let his gaze rest on the copper froth dangling just above his hands. He tried to imagine the sensations Fortuna was experiencing. How each keystroke pulsed through her body and sent vibrations quivering along her limbs. Especially when he came to the fast-paced, accentuated finale.
He ended the movement in one abrupt crashing stroke. Hands suspended above the keyboard, Charles waited for the last note to reverberate through the music room.
“Fortuna?” he quietly breathed.
She lay still, as thought she hadn’t heard him. At last it registered that the piece had ended. With a heartfelt sigh, she pulled herself upright.
Charles leaped to his feet. In two swift steps, he was beside the piano.
Fortuna swiveled toward him on her bottom, until her legs hung over the lid’s edge. She wore a dazed expression, like that of a well-loved, satiated woman.
Desire spiked through Charles. Deliberately, he pressed his chest against her knees, then slid the palms of both hands up over each rounded hip until he clasped her slender waist. Lifting her off the piano, he stepped away and let her slippers slowly slide to the floor.
Her legs seemed incapable of support. “That was…so…” she whispered breathlessly.
Fire burned a trail straight to his groin. Charles barely managed to stifle a groan. Unable to resist the sexual pull between them and accepting the inevitability of his actions, he lowered his head and captured Fortuna’s rosy mouth with his own.
Images of the people and places in BLIND FORTUNE
click on these store logos to purchase BLIND FORTUNE
in ebook or trade paperback