Tremaine’s True Love (The True Gentlemen #1) Read Online Grace Burrowes

Categories Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Tags Authors: Series: The True Gentlemen Series by Grace Burrowes
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Total pages in book: 112
Estimated words: 104133 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 521(@200wpm)___ 417(@250wpm)___ 347(@300wpm)
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Tremaine St. Michael is firmly in trade and seeks only to negotiate the sale of some fancy sheep with the Earl of Bellefonte. The earl’s sister, Lady Nita, is pragmatic, hard-working, and selfless, though Tremaine senses she’s also tired of her charitable obligations and envious of her siblings’ marital bliss.
Tremaine, having been raised among shepherds, can spot another lonely soul, no matter how easily she fools her own family. Neither Tremaine nor Nita is looking for love, but love comes looking for them.

FULL BOOK START HERE:

CHAPTER ONE

“The greatest plague ever to bedevil mortal man, the greatest threat to his peace, the most fiendish source of undeserved humility is his sister, and spinster sisters are the worst of a bad lot.”

In the corridor outside the formal parlor, Nicholas, Earl of Bellefonte, sounded very certain of his point.

“Of course, my lord,” somebody replied softly, “but, my lord—”

“I tell you, Hanford,” the earl went on, “if it wouldn’t imperil certain personal masculine attributes which my countess holds dear, I’d turn Lady Nita right over my—”

“My lord, you have a visitor.”

Hanford’s pronouncement came off a little desperately but had the effect of silencing his lordship’s lament. Quiet words were exchanged beyond the door, giving Tremaine St. Michael time to step away from the parlor’s cozy fireplace, where he’d been shamelessly warming a personal attribute of his own formerly frozen to the saddle.

Bellefonte’s greeting as he strode into the parlor a moment later was as enthusiastic as his ranting had been.

“Our very own Mr. St. Michael! You are early. This is not fashionable. In fact, were I not the soul of congeniality, I’d call it unsporting in the extreme.”

“Bellefonte.” Tremaine St. Michael bowed, for Bellefonte was his social superior, also one of few men whose height and brawn exceeded Tremaine’s.

“Don’t suppose you have any sisters?” Bellefonte asked with a rueful smile. “I have four. They’re what my grandmother calls lively.”

So lively, Bellefonte had apparently bellowed at one of these sisters for the entire ten minutes Tremaine had been left to admire the spotless Turkey carpets in Belle Maison’s formal parlor. The sister’s responses had been inaudible and then an upstairs door had slammed.

“Liveliness is a fine quality in a young lady,” Tremaine said, because he was a guest in this house, and sociability was called for if he was to relieve Bellefonte of substantial assets.

His lordship was welcome to keep all four sisters, thank you very much.

“Fat lot you know,” Bellefonte retorted, taking a position with his back to the fire. “If every man in the House of Lords had rounded up his lively sisters and sent them to France, the Corsican would have been on bended knee, seeking asylum of old George in a week flat. How was your journey?”

Bellefonte had the blond hair and blue eyes of many an English aristocrat. The corners of those eyes crinkled agreeably, and he’d followed up Tremaine’s bow with a hearty handshake.

Bellefonte would never be a friend, but he was friendly.

“My journey was uneventful, though cold,” Tremaine said. “I apologize for making good time down from Town.”

“I apologize for complaining. I am blessed in my family, truly, but Lady Nita, my oldest sister, is particularly strong willed.” Bellefonte’s hearty bonhomie faded to a soft smile as feminine laughter rang out in the corridor.

“You were saying?” Tremaine prompted. When would his lordship offer a guest a damned drink?

“Nothing of any moment, St. Michael. My countess and my sister Della have taken note of your arrival, though her ladyship has an urgent appointment in the nursery. Shall we to the library, where the best libation and coziest hearth await? Beckman gave me to understand you’re not the tea-and-crumpets sort.”

When and why had his lordship’s brother conveyed that sentiment? Another thought intruded on Tremaine’s irritation: Bellefonte knew his womenfolk by their laughter. How odd was that?

“I’m the whisky sort,” Tremaine said. “Winter ale wouldn’t go amiss either.” Not brandy though. Not if Tremaine could help it.

His lordship was too well-bred to raise an eyebrow at tastes refined in drovers’ inns the length of the realm.

“Whisky, then. Hanford!”

A little old fellow in formal livery stepped into the parlor. “My lord?”

Bellefonte directed the butler to send some decent sandwiches ’round to the library, to fetch the countess to her husband’s side when the fiend in the nursery had turned loose of her, and to inform the housekeeper that Mr. St. Michael was on the premises earlier than planned.

His lordship set a smart pace down carpeted hallways, past bouquets of white hothouse roses, across gleaming parquet floors, to a high-ceilinged, oak-paneled treasury of books. Belle Maison was a well-maintained example of the last century’s enthusiasm for the spacious country seat, and whoever had designed the house had had an eye for light.

The library was blessed with tall windows at regular intervals, and the red velvet draperies were caught back, despite the cold. Winter sunshine bounced cheerily off mirrors, brass, and silver, and here, too, the hearth was blazing extravagantly.


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