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Secret Fire - Johanna Lindsey

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Published: January 2000
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A master storyteller who spins romantic fiction like not other, Johanna Lindsey weaves together endearing characters, enthralling adventure and pulsating passion to create stories that touch the hearts of her readers.

Secret Fire

He'd caught only a glimpse of her from the window of his carriage, but the young prince knew he had to have her. Within minutes, Lady Katherine St. John was dragged from the London street and carried off to a sumptuous town house — for the pleasure of her royal admirer...

From the tempestuous passion of their first encounter, across stormy seas, to the golden splendor of palaces in Moscow, she was his prisoner — obsessed with rage toward her captor even as an all-consuming need made her his slave. Yet theirs was a fervor beyond her understanding, carrying them irrevocably toward final surrender to the power of undeniable love.

About the Author

Johanna Lindsey has been hailed as one of the most popular authors of romantic fiction, with more than sixty million copies of her novels sold. World renowned for her novels of "first-rate romance" (New York Daily News), Lindsey is the author of forty-seven previous national bestselling novels, many of which reached the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Lindsey lives in Maine with her family.

"A dreamspinner extraordinaire."-- "Romantic Times

Chapter One

London 1844

Another spring shower was in the offing, but Katherine St. John took Me note of the overcast sky hanging heavily above her. She moved absently about the little garden, snipping pink and red roses that she would later arrange to her satisfaction, one vaseful for her sitting room and one for her sister Elisabeth. Her brother Warren was off in his typical endeavor of enjoying himself somewhere, so he didn't need flowers to brighten a room he rarely slept in. And her father George disliked roses, so she cut none for him.

"Give me lilies or irises or even wild daisies, but keep those cloying roses for you girls."

Katherine wouldn't think to do otherwise. She was adaptable in that way. So a servant was sent out each morning to find wild daisies for the Earl of Strafford, never mind that they weren't easy to find in the city.

"You're a wonder, my darling Kate," her father was fond of saying, and Katherine would accept the compliment as her due.

It wasn't that she needed praise; far from it. Her accomplishments were for her own sense of pride, for her own self-esteem. She loved being needed and she was needed. George St. John might be head of his household, but it was Katherine who ran the household, and it was to her that he deferred in all things. Both Holden House here on Cavendish Square and Brockley Hall, the Earl's country estate, were her domains. She was her father's hostess, housekeeper, and steward. She kept domestic trivialities and tenant troubles at bay, so the Earl was free from worry and free to dabble in politics, his passion, to his heart's content.

"Morning, Kit. Come havebreakfast with me? Do. I "

Katherine glanced up to see Elisabeth leaning precariously out her bedroom window, which overlooked the square. "I've had breakfast, love, several hours ago, " Katherine called back in a voice just loud enough to carry. It wasn't in her character to shout when anything else would do.

"Coffee, then? Please," Elisabeth entreated. "I need to talk to you. "

Katherine smiled in agreement and carried her basket of roses inside. She had in fact been waiting patiently for her sister to awaken so that she could have a talk with her. No doubt they both had the same subject in mind, for they had both been called into the Earl's study last evening, separately, but for the same reason -- Lord Wilham Seymour.

Lord Seymour was a dashing young man of devilishly good looks, who had taken the innocent young Elisabeth by storm. They had met at the start of this year's season, Beth's first, and the poor girl had looked at no other man since. They were in love, that universal emotion that made fools out of the most sensible people. But who was Katherine to scoff just because she thought the emotion silly and a waste of energy that could be better put to some useful endeavor? She was happy for her younger sister, at least she had been until last night.

In the time it took her to cross the back- hall to the stairs, she had servants running to do her bidding: a breakfast tray to be sent upstairs, the mail delivered to her office, a reminder sent to the Earl that Lord Seldon had an appointment this morning and was due in half an hour, two maids dispatched to the Earl's study to make sure it was in order to receive a guest (her father was not known for his neatness), and vases of water carried to Beth's sitting room. She would arrange the roses while they had their talk.

if Katherine had been one to put things off, she would have avoided Elisabeth like the plague. That wasn't her way, however. Even though she wasn't sure yet exactly what she intended to say to her sister, she was certain she wouldn't fail her father in his request.

"You're the only one she'll listen to, Kate," her father had told her last night. "You have to make Beth understand I wasn't just making idle threats. I won't have my family associated with this bounder."

He had laid the whole dismal tale in her lap by that time, but her calm "Of course, Father" had only made bun more defensive over his decision.

"You know it's not my way to be autocratic. I leave that to you, Kate." They both smiled over this, for she really could be domineering when warranted, though that was rare, since everyone did their best to please her. George St. John continued his defense. "I want my girls to be happy. I don't lay down the law, like some fathers."

"You're very understanding."

" I like to think so, 'deed I do."

It was true. He didn't interfere in his children's lives, which wasn't to say he lacked concern. Far from it. But if one of them got into trouble -- he left it to Katherine to sort out the mess. Everyone depended on her to keep things running smoothly.

Secret Fire. Copyright by Johanna Lindsey. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

ISBN: 9780380750870
ISBN-10: 0380750872
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 389
Published: January 2000
Dimensions (cm): 17.6 x 11.0  x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.2

Johanna Lindsey

Johanna Lindsey has been hailed as one of the most popular authors of romantic fiction, with more than sixty million copies of her novels sold. World renowned for her novels of "first-rate romance" (New York Daily News), Lindsey is the author of forty-seven previous national bestselling novels, many of which reached the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Lindsey lives in Maine with her family.

Visit Johanna Lindsey's Booktopia Author Page