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Authors: Candace Camp

Treasured

From the rugged Scottish Highlands to elegant Regency drawing rooms,
New York Times
bestselling author

CANDACE CAMP

delivers pure romantic delight!

Praise for her Legend of St. Dwynwen trilogy

The Marrying Season

A Summer Seduction

A Winter Scandal

“Filled with sensuality, intrigue, and Camp’s trademark romantic sparring . . . Delightful.”


Publishers Weekly

“A charming courtship . . . Readers will be captivated.”


Booklist
(starred review)

“Sexy and sweet! Candace Camp delivers another beautifully written story with just the right touch of mystery and a generous helping of a scandalous romance.”


Coffee Time Romance

“A charming, sometimes suspenseful tale of romance.”


Romance Reviews Today

Be sure to read Candace Camp’s dazzling Willowmere novels. . . . Critics adore this breathtaking Regency trilogy about the unforgettable Bascombe sisters!

An Affair Without End

“[A] delightful romantic mystery . . . Cunning intrigue. With clever and witty banter, sharp attention to detail, and utterly likable characters, Camp is at the top of her game.”


Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

“Sprightly dialogue . . . [and] a simmering sensuality that adds just enough spice to this fast-paced, well-rendered love story.”


RT Book Reviews
(4
1
/
2
stars)

A Gentleman Always Remembers

“An intensely passionate and sexually charged romance . . . A well-crafted, delightful read.”


Romantic Times
(4 stars)

“A delightful romp . . . Ms. Camp has a way with truly likable characters who become like friends. The action pops . . . and the relationships are strong.”


Romance Junkies

“Where the Bascombe sisters go, things are never dull. Candace Camp delivers another witty, heartwarming, and fast-paced novel.”


A Romance Review

A Lady Never Tells

“This steamy romp . . . will entertain readers.”

—Publishers Weekly

“With a bit of mayhem, humor, misunderstandings, and enough sensuality to please any reader, this consummate story teller writes a well-crafted and enchanting tale.”


Romantic Times
(4
1
/
2
stars)

“Superbly written and well paced,
A Lady Never Tells
thoroughly entertains as it follows the escapades of the Bascombe ‘bouquet’ of Marigold, Rose, Camellia, and Lily in the endeavor to make their way in upper-crust London society.”


Romance Reviews Today


A Lady Never Tells
carries an allure that captures the reader’s attention. Ms. Camp brings a refreshing voice to the romance genre. The touch of elegance mingled with the downright honesty of the main characters takes your breath away. . . . One of those rare finds you don’t want to put down.”


Winter Haven News Chief

“Filled with humor and charm . . . Fine writing.”


A Romance Review
(4 roses)

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For Stacy

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to:

Colin, who told us about the Highland Clearances, and to all the wonderful people we met in Scotland. I had never before thought of setting a book there, and I am sure I could never do justice to this beautiful land and its tumultuous and often tragic history. But one look at the ruins of a castle in the mist, and I knew I had my next story.

Anastasia Hopcus, for all her support and help. I couldn’t have written
Treasured
without you.

Abby Zidle, editor extraordinaire, the wonderful folks at Pocket, and especially Steve Boldt, who caught all my mistakes.

My wonderful agent, Maria Carvainis, who always has my back.

Prologue

APRIL 1746

H
e walked swiftly, footsteps muffled
on the dirt path, barely noticing the damp stone walls around him. He had taken care of the gold, putting it in safe hands—hands in which he would entrust his very life. Now he was free to find the prince and his fleeing Highlanders. Despite the crushing defeat, he was certain that they could recover, given time and fierce resolve . . . and the fortune he had brought back for them. He had no doubts that he could find them. This land was his, and he knew every cleft, every cave, every bramble that might offer shelter. If he could not evade the Redcoats and find the men they so zealously pursued, then he was not worthy of the name Laird of Baillannan.

But that search was for tomorrow. Right now, Malcolm Rose had a far different quarry. His mind was on only one person. One place. One night before they must part again.
His heart sped up as he neared the end of the tunnel, wanting, as it always did, to burst out of his chest at the thought of seeing her. Even after all these years, even though he had been with her only yesterday, he was still as eager as a lad.

He opened the low wooden door at the end of the tunnel and bent to step through it. As he raised his head, the sight that met him was so unexpected that for a moment he could not speak, could not think. “You!”

“Yes. Me.” The smile that accompanied the words held a bitter triumph.

“What the devil are you doing here?” His secrets were shattered. He knew that. Yet there was a relief in having it known. Over and done with.

He took a step forward, and so intent was he on the confrontation before him that he did not hear the whisper of movement behind him until the thin blade of Toledo steel slipped between his ribs and into his heart.

APRIL 1807

I
t was raining. It had
been doing so, Jack thought in disgust, ever since he set foot in this benighted land. Sometimes the water fell in slanted sheets, lashing him like bits of iron; other times, it subsided into a steady, miserable drizzle. But even when the rain stopped briefly, mist still hung over everything, as if the very air were so laden with moisture it could not hold it.

A cold drop of water slid between cloth and skin, trickling down his back, and Jack turned up the collar of his greatcoat as he gazed out across the bleak landscape. The road—if this rutted, narrow path could be termed that—cut across thick mats of heather and disappeared into the distance. There were few trees between him and the gray curtain of mist, only the brown and green land and a few scrubby bushes. Off to his right, a trench had been dug into the ground, exposing a straight wall of black earth. Rocks of
all sizes dotted the lumpy, irregular ground, adding to the image of desolation.

What had possessed him to come to Scotland?

He had asked himself that question last night as he’d lain on the thin straw mattress in the grim little inn in Kinclannoch—indeed he’d asked it almost nightly for the past week, and had still not come up with a satisfactory answer. There was no reason to see the house that was now his or to talk to the people who worked on the estate. His only desire was to sell the place, which fortune had dropped in his lap like an overripe plum. Whatever little tickle of proprietary instinct had made him want to see it, whatever odd pull he’d felt at the thought of being a landed gentleman, the truth was his impulsive journey up here to claim the estate made him as big a fool as the bird-witted Scotsman who had wagered his home on the turn of a card.

Still, it made even less sense to turn back now, when he had drawn so close to his destination. If he had understood the innkeeper’s thick brogue, the house could not be much farther.

His horse whickered and shifted as a gust of wind whipped through them, driving the rain into Jack’s face and nearly taking his hat with it. He grabbed the once elegant, now sodden hat, jamming it more firmly down on his head, and leaned over to stroke a soothing hand down the horse’s neck. “Steady on, Pharaoh.”

Now, blown by the wind, the mist receded, and he could see the narrow loch and, at last, the house. It lay on a shelf of rock beside the water, a long, straight line of stone unbroken by curve or ornamentation. As gray and dreary as the loch and the sky above it, the house might have been formed out of this bleak landscape itself.

Baillannan
.

If Jack had harbored some hope that the sight of his new home would lighten his mood, he knew now he was doomed to disappointment. Nothing could have looked less welcoming. Suppressing a sigh, he dug in his heels and started forward.

Isobel was carefully pulling out the last few stitches in her embroidery when her aunt startled her by exclaiming, “We have a visitor! How nice! Barbara, did you know someone was coming?”

“Isobel,” she corrected automatically, and her aunt nodded vaguely.

“Yes, dear, of course.”

“Who is it?” Isobel set aside her needlework and stood up, suddenly hopeful. “Is it Andrew?”

Aunt Elizabeth squinted down at the courtyard below. “I don’t think it’s anyone I recognize.”

“A stranger?” Isobel joined her aunt at the window, but their visitor had already disappeared, and she saw nothing but the groom leading off an unfamiliar bay horse.

“He looked soaked, poor man,” Elizabeth went on sympathetically. “Perhaps he’s a traveler seeking shelter from the rain.”

“A traveler to where?” Isobel asked pragmatically. “It’s my guess he’s gone astray. No doubt Hamish will set him straight.”

“It would have been nice to have a visitor,” her aunt said wistfully. “So many people have left, one hardly sees anyone anymore.”

“Yes, since the Clearances began, our closest neighbors are now sheep,” Isobel agreed tartly.

“The MacKenzies would not have sold if Ronald was still alive. Poor Agnes; she will not enjoy living in Edinburgh, however much her son may have profited.”

Agnes MacKenzie had been Elizabeth’s closest friend, and Isobel’s aunt had been lonely with her gone. Isobel could not help but feel that the loss had affected Aunt Elizabeth’s mind as well as her spirits; she had grown more forgetful the last few months.

Isobel murmured a vague agreement, not wanting to set her aunt off on that unpleasant path. She returned to the sofa and picked up her embroidery hoop, saying, “I fear I’ve made a shambles of my stitches. What do you think I should do?”

Elizabeth was distracted by Isobel’s plea for help, and she started toward her niece. But she had scarcely taken a step when the quiet was interrupted by the sound of a voice rising in agitation downstairs. Surprised, both women glanced toward the door. A moment later, there was the clatter of feet on the stairs, and one of the maids burst into the room.

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