She had squeezed herself into an overcrowded hired coach in Cumbria and tried not to breathe when she realized that her fellow passengers apparently did not share her fondness for bathing. All to end up here, at Gretna Green, wet and tired, with little more than the coat on her back and two coins in her pocket. On the Cumbria coach, someone had had the temerity to steal her reticule, leaving her with only the coins that had slipped out and settled into the deepest recesses of her pocket. Margaret Pennypacker was definitely not in good temper. And when she found her brother, she was going to kill him. It had to be the crudest sort of irony, but neither thieves nor storms nor runaway horses had managed to deprive her of the sheet of paper that had forced her journey to Scotland.
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Chapter One Margaret Pennypacker had chased her brother halfway across a nation. She had squeezed herself into an overcrowded hired coach in Cumbria and tried not to breathe when she realized that her fellow passengers apparently did not share her fondness for bathing.
All to end up here, at Gretna Green, wet and tired, with little more than the coat on her back and two coins in her pocket. On the Cumbria coach, someone had had the temerity to steal her reticule, leaving her with only the coins that had slipped out and settled into the deepest recesses of her pocket. Margaret Pennypacker was definitely not in good temper.
And when she found her brother, she was going to kill him. It had to be the cruelest sort of irony, but neither thieves nor storms nor runaway horses had managed to deprive her of the sheet of paper that had forced her journey to Scotland.
It had been folded and refolded, and it was probably getting wet as she huddled under the overhang of a building, but the message was still clear. Edward was eloping. Annabel Fornby was a hideous snob, Camilla Ferrige had no sense of humor, and Penelope Fitch was dumb as a post.
Margaret had once heard Penelope recite the alphabet and leave out J and Q. Edward Pennypacker was not getting married — not if his older sister had any say in the matter. Angus Greene was a strong, powerful man, widely reputed to be handsome as sin, and with a devilishly charming smile that belied an occasionally ferocious temper.
When he rode his prized stallion into a new town, he tended to elicit fear among the men, rapid heartbeats among the women, and wide-eyed fascination among the children — who always seemed to notice that both man and beast shared the same black hair and piercing dark eyes. His arrival in Gretna Green, however, caused no comment at all, because everyone with a lick of sense — and Angus liked to think that the one virtue common to all Scots was sense — was inside that night, bundled up and warm, and most importantly, out of the driving rain.
But not Angus. This was yet another transgression for which Anne would have to take the blame, Angus thought grimly. When he found that girl, he was going to kill her. He took some comfort in the fact that if he was slowed down by the weather, then Anne would have been forced to a complete stop.
And if there was any luck floating about in the damp air, Anne might even be stranded here, at Gretna Green. As a possibility it was fairly remote, but as long as he was stuck for the night, it seemed foolish not to look for his sister. He let out a weary sigh and wiped his wet face with the back of his sleeve. At his loud exhale, Orpheus instinctively drew to a halt, waiting to see just what it was his master planned for his next move. But first things had to come first, and he might as well get himself settled before beginning his search.
A quick scan up the street told him that The Canny Man possessed the best quarters for his horse, and so Angus spurred Orpheus in the direction of the small inn and public house. But before Orpheus had managed to move even three of his four feet, a loud scream pierced the air. A feminine scream. If anyone had touched so much as the hem of her dress… He galloped down the street and then around the far corner, just in time to see three men attempting to drag a lady into a dark building.
She was struggling mightily, and from the amount of mud on her dress, it looked as if she had been dragged a fair distance. Anne would never have known to knee the second man in the groin. He stared at the two remaining conscious men, one of whom was still sprawled in the street.
The other one, who had been doubled over and clutching at his nether regions ever since the lady had kneed him, looked at him as if he wanted to say something.
But before he could make a sound, Angus planted his boot in a rather painful area and looked down. Angus stroked his chin. Angus moved his foot and the men ran off, squealing all the way. With the threat finally removed — the third villain, after all, was still unconscious — Angus finally turned his attention to the young lady he had possibly saved from a fate worse than death. She was still sitting on the cobbles, staring up at him as if he were a ghost.
Her hair was wet and sticking to her face, but even in the dim light shining from the nearby buildings, he could tell that it was some sort of shade of brown.
Her eyes were light in color, and utterly huge and unblinking. He was here to find Anne, not dally with some misplaced young Englishwoman. And speaking of which, what the devil was she doing here, anyway, alone on a darkened street? He leveled his sternest stare at her. Her shaking lips managed something that could never be called a smile, although Angus had the distinct impression that she was trying to placate him.
And then, with a wary glance in his direction, she started walking away, moving sideways so that she could keep one eye on him and one on wherever it was she thought she was going. Margaret clutched at the folds of her skirt and chewed nervously on the inside of her cheek.
The man standing in front of her had saved her, but for what purpose? But did that mean she could trust him? As if sensing her thoughts, he snorted and jerked his head slightly. The big Scotsman was probably correct, and she knew her deceased mother would have ordered her to get down on her hands and knees just to thank him, but the truth was — he looked a little unbalanced. His eyes were hot and flashing with temper, and there was something in him — something strange and indescribable — that made her insides quiver.
I have a friend with property in the area, and he tells me that the inns are full of women who have been compromised on the way to Gretna Green but never wed. Tell me, sir, how old is she, what does she look like, and are you a Fornby, Ferrige, or Fitch? My name is Angus Greene. Bigamy is still illegal in England, is it not? She kept on talking through the entire maneuver. Angus yanked her in closer, purposefully using his size and strength to intimidate her.
Do you have any idea what happens to women traveling alone? Did you give no thought to your own safety? He let go of her and started to pace. The woman is daft. Who are you to judge me? He raked his hand through his hair. The fellow had woken up, and was slowly rising to his feet, obviously trying to move as silently as possible. He was in front of the burly man in two steps, then grabbed his collar and hauled him up until his feet dangled in the air.
The man shook his head. Angus ignored her. Perhaps you ought to let him go. His voice was hard and strangely flat as he repeated his question.
He would have dishonored you. It quite satisfied my meager bloodlust. She was going to have to make a run for it soon. This Angus Greene fellow might have saved her life, but he was completely mad. Angus dropped the man and pushed him forward. She might not like this huge Scotsman, but she was no idiot. He was twice her size, after all. He quickly closed the difference between them, crossed his arms, and glowered down at her. He shook his head. Therefore, you are coming with me, and we will decide what to do with you in the morning.
If she is indeed here, she will not resume her journey any earlier than ten. I have no qualms about delaying my search for her until the morning. You, on the other hand, I have my doubts about.
A warm bed, a good meal — how can those be so very offensive? As if English girls were ever actually allowed to study more than embroidery and the occasional history lesson — British history, of course. Angus caught her expression and nearly doubled over in laughter. It should make the job a bit easier, one would think. He touched her chin, startling her with his gentleness. Now then, shall we be off? After all, the man had saved her from a horrible fate, and she had responded by calling him a lunatic.
It had always been easier for her to show her gratitude through deeds, rather than words. Cleaner, and the food is hot. Come with me. End of Excerpt is available in the following formats: Avon Books.
Julia Quinn - Gretna Greene
Sua chegada a Gretna Green, entretanto, no causou comentrio absolutamente, porque todos aqueles com um pouco de sentido comum - e Angus gostava de pensar que a virtude que compartilhavam todos os escoceses era o sentido comum - estavam dentro quela noite, agasalhados e quentinhos, e, o mais importante, fora da chuva que aoitava. Mas no Angus. No, Angus estava, graas a sua exasperante irm mais nova, a quem ele comeava a pensar poderia ser o nico escocs do comeo dos tempos em no ter sentido comum, parado na forte chuva, congelado e tremendo, e estabelecendo o que precisava ser um novo recorde nacional para o maior emprego das palavras "maldio", "maldita" e "merda" em uma s tarde. Esperava chegar mais longe que a fronteira esta tarde, mas a chuva o fazia mais lento, e ainda que estivesse com luvas, seus dedos estavam muito frios para agarrar corretamente as rdeas. Alm disso, no era justo para o Orfeo; era um bom cavalo e no merecia este tipo de abuso. Esta era outra transgresso pela qual Anne teria que assumir a culpa, pensou com gravidade Angus.
Julia Quinn - Gretna Green
Chapter One Margaret Pennypacker had chased her brother halfway across a nation. She had squeezed herself into an overcrowded hired coach in Cumbria and tried not to breathe when she realized that her fellow passengers apparently did not share her fondness for bathing. All to end up here, at Gretna Green, wet and tired, with little more than the coat on her back and two coins in her pocket. On the Cumbria coach, someone had had the temerity to steal her reticule, leaving her with only the coins that had slipped out and settled into the deepest recesses of her pocket. Margaret Pennypacker was definitely not in good temper.
Um pouco de sensualidade. Gostoso de ler. Boa leitura. Tudo para terminar em Gretna Green, molhada e cansada, com pouco mais que o casaco sobre as costas e duas moedas no bolso.