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NOOK Book. In this Regency romance, Kleypas, the author of Seduce Me at Sunrise, tells the story of a scandalous beauty with no memory of who she is and the man determined to unravel the secrets of her past. She lives in Washington State with her husband Gregory and their two children. He followed the waterman through the swirls of fog, cold mist clinging to his skin and forming beads on his wool coat. He kept both hands shoved deep in his pockets, while his gaze chased restlessly around the scene.
The river looked oily in the dull glow of lamps hung on the massive blocks of granite near the landing. Two or three tiny boats ferried passengers across the Thames, bobbing like toys on the water. Chilly waves lapped against the steps and face of an embankment wall. A wintry March breeze curled around Grant's face and ears and slipped persistently beneath the edge of his cravat. He suppressed a shiver as he stared at the sloshing black river. No one could survive much longer than twenty minutes in water that cold.
He reached inside his coat, fingering the case of his pocket watch. The drifting mist surrounded them in a yellow-gray haze, causing him to squint in the effort to see better. Morgan hisself Why, no one will believe it when I tell 'em.
A man who guards the king I would ha' thought you above such dirty business as this. The stairs is awful slick by the water, specially on a dampnight like this. In the course of his detective work he often saw dead bodies, but drowning victims were surely among the most unpleasant.
The body had been left facedown, but it was clearly female. She was spread akimbo like a rag doll abandoned by a careless child, the skirts of her dress heaped in a dripping mass around her legs.
Crouching beside her, Grant clasped the woman's shoulder with a leather-gloved hand and began to turn her over. He recoiled instantly, startled, as she began to cough and retch salt water, her body spasming. The waterman yelped in terror behind him, then drew nearer. How long had this poor woman been left in the bitter cold while the waterman had sent for a Bow Street Runner to investigate? Her chances of survival would have been far greater had she been taken care of immediately.
As it was, her odds weren't good. He flipped the woman over and lifted her head to his knee, her long hair soaking his trousers. Her skin was ashen in the murky light, and there was a swelling lump on the side of her head. Even so, the delicate, distinctive features were recognizable. He knew her. He made a point of never being surprised by anything It was inconceivable. Her eyes half opened, dull with the knowledge of her imminent death. But Vivien was not the kind of woman to slip away without a struggle.
She whimpered and reached upward, her hand brushing the front of his waistcoat in a feeble attempt to save herself. Spurred into action, Grant locked his arms around her and hauled her upward. She was small and compact, but the skirts of her waterlogged gown nearly doubled her weight. Grant held her high against his chest, giving a grunt of discomfort as the icy salt water soaked through his own clothes.
I done someone a favor, didn't I, finding the lady afore she croaked. I wouldn't take no thanks, o' course Jacob Linley," Grant said harshly, interrupting the man's eager speculation. Tell him to come to my residence at King Street. Why, I could earn five shillings yet tonight. Is that motivation enough? You're not a-tall like they write you in the papers.
Hours I've spent in the taverns whilst they read aloud about yer doings Grant's mouth curved in grim amusement. He was well aware of the way his exploits were described in the papers. Editors and writers had exaggerated his accomplishments until he was made to seem superhuman. People regarded him as a legend, not as a normal man with flaws.
He had made the job of Bow Street Runner into a highly profitable one, earning a fortune from recovering stolen property for banks. With each case solved, his name had garnered more celebrity, until he was discussed in every coffee shop and tavern in London. To Grant's amusement, the ton had taken him to its bejeweled bosom, clamoring for his presence at their social functions.
It was said that a ball's success was assured if the hostess was able to write "Mr. Morgan will attend" at the bottom of the invitation. Yet for all his apparent popularity with the nobility, it was clear to all that he was not one of them.
He was more a figure of entertainment than an accepted member of the high social circles he frequented. Women were excited by the notion that he was a potentially dangerous character, and men wanted his friendship in order to appear more brave and worldly themselves. Grant was aware that he would never be accepted except in the most superficial way.
And he would never be trusted by the ton He knew too many of their dirty secrets, their vulnerabilities, their fears and desires. A gust of frosty air whirled around him, making the woman in his arms moan and tremble.
Clutching his unwieldy burden more tightly, he left the embankment and crossed a cobblestoned street coated with mud and manure. He strode through a small, square court filled with stagnant water barrels, a fetid pigsty, and a cart with broken wheels. Covent Garden was littered with courts like these, from which dark, winding rookeries spread out in disease-ridden webs. Any gentleman in his right mind would be terrified to venture in this area of the city, rife with thieves' kitchens, whores, bullies, and criminals who would kill for a few shillings.
But Grant was hardly a gentleman, and the London underworld held no terrors for him. The woman's head lolled on his shoulder, her weak, cool breath hitting his chin. Butchers and peddlers paused to stare curiously as he passed, while prostitutes ventured from the shadows. He crossed the northwest corner of the square and reached King Street, where the decaying buildings turned abruptly into a row of tidy town houses, coffeehouses, and a publisher or two. It was a clean, prosperous street with bow-fronted houses inhabited by the upper class.
Grant had purchased an elegant, airy three-story air town house there. The busy headquarters at Bow Street was only a short step away, but it seemed far removed from this serene location. Swiftly Grant mounted the steps of his town house and gave the mahogany door a resounding kick. When there was no response from within, he drew back and kicked again. Suddenly the door opened and his housekeeper appeared, spluttering with protests at his cavalier treatment of the polished wood paneling.
Buttons was a pleasant-faced woman in her fifties, kind of heart but bottled-up, steel-spined, and possessed of stern religious convictions. It was no secret that she disapproved of Grant's chosen profession, abhorring the physical violence and corruption he dealt with as a matter of course.
Yet she tirelessly received the wide assortment of underworld callers who came to the town house, treating all with equal parts of politeness and reserve. Like the other Bow Street Runners who worked under the direction of Sir Ross Cannon, Grant had become so immersed in the world of darkness that he sometimes questioned how much difference there was between himself and the criminals he pursued.
Buttons had once told Grant of her hopes that he would someday step into the light of Christian truth. Buttons exclaimed. Buttons gasped, making a visible effort to recover herself. God knows what they would do to her at a hospital. It was clear she was burning to know more, but wouldn't presume to ask. Morgan, wouldn't you prefer to have one of the guest rooms prepared?
Frowning, Mrs. Buttons directed a housemaid to wipe up the puddles they had left on the inlaid floors of the amber marble entranceway. The town house, with its long windows, Sheraton furniture, and English hand-knotted carpets, was the kind of place Grant had once never dared to dream of living in.
It was a far cry from the crowded flat he had occupied as a small child, three rooms crammed with the eight offspring of a middle-class bookseller and his wife. Or the succession of orphanages and workhouses that had come later, when his father had been thrown into debtor's prison and the family had fallen to pieces. Grant had eventually found himself on the streets, until a Covent Garden fishmonger had taken pity and given him steady work and a pallet to sleep on at night.
Snuggled up against the heat of the kitchen stove, Grant had dreamed of something better, something more, though his dreams had never taken precise shape until the day he met a Bow Street Runner.
Someone to Watch over Me (Bow Street Runners Series #1)
List Chapter Read free. Grant Morgan is one of London's most eligible and unattainable bachelors. He's also a powerful member of the Bow Street Runners, and when he's called to the waterfront late one night to investigate a drowning victim, Grant is stunned to recognize the face of Vivien Rose Duvall, a well-known woman of the night. He's even more startled when he realizes that she's alive. With no one to care for her, Grant carries Vivien to his home and revives her, only to learn that she is suffering from amnesia.
Someone to Watch Over Me