USA Today Bestselling Author Susan Stephens
Susan Stephens' Books
Heath Stamp was a very bad boy growing up. If there was a fight, he fought. If there was a woman, he took her to bed. If there was a sweet, innocent girl with big doe eyes - he ran a mile. Bronte Foster-Jenkins sure as hell isn't looking at him with big doe eyes any more. Instead she's shooting daggers in his direction. All grown-up, Heath is rich, arrogant and ready to raze his family estate to the ground - even if Bronte will do anything to stop him. He'll do it with a glint in his eye and happily take her down with him. For, make no mistake, Heath Stamp has gone from bad...to irresistible!
Dawn. And in front of us the idyllic English country scene. Smell that grass - Look at that thin stream of sunlight driving night-shadows down the velvet hills —
How long did he have to stay here?
With an exasperated roar, Heath flipped channels, silencing the farming programme. All he’d smelled so far was cow dung. And it was raining.
Resting his chin on one arm he slammed his foot down on the gas. The Lamborghini roared drowning out the birdsong. Perfect. He missed the concrete jungle — no smells — no mud — no cranky plumbing. Why Uncle Harry had left him a run-down country estate, remained a mystery. Heath was allergic to the country – to anything that didn’t come with dot-com attached. His empire had been built in a bedroom. What did he need all this for?
And it was only after asking himself that question that he spotted the tent someone had erected on a mossy bank just inside the gates… spotted the small pink feet sticking out of the entrance. Forget hating the place. He felt proprietorial suddenly. What would he do if someone pitched a tent outside the front door of his London home?
Stopping the car, he climbed out. Striding up to the tent, he unzipped it.
A yelp of surprise ripped through the steady drum of falling rain. Standing back, he folded his arms, waiting for developments. He didn’t have long to wait. A strident pixie crawled out, screaming at him that it was the middle of the night as she sprang to her feet. Red hair flying, she stood like an irate stick insect telling him what she thought of him in language as colourful as the clothes she was frantically tugging on - a camouflage top, and shot-off purple leggings that displayed her tiny feet. One furious glance at his car and he was responsible for everything from frightening the local wildlife to global warming, apparently, until finally, having got over the shock of being so rudely awakened, she gulped, took a breath, and exclaimed, “Heath Stamp…” Clapping a hand to her chest, she stared at him as if she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Bronte Foster-Jenkins,” he murmured, taking her in.
“I”ve been expecting you —”
“So I see,” he said, glancing at the tent.
Expecting Heath to arrive? Yes, but not her reaction to it. He wasn”t supposed to arrive at dawn, either. Around midday the postmistress in the village had suggested. Heath Stamp, hip, slick, rugged, tough, and even better looking than his most recent images in the press suggested. This was a vastly improved version of someone she”d dreamed about for thirteen years, two months, six hour, and —
“You do know you’re trespassing, Bronte?”
And as delightful as ever.
The years melted away. They were at loggerheads immediately. She had to remind herself Heath was no longer a violent youth who’d been locked up for bare-knuckle fighting, and who used to visit Hebers Ghyll on a release programme, but a successful internet entrepreneur and the new owner of Hebers Ghyll, the country estate where Bronte had grown up, and where her mother had been the housekeeper and her father the gamekeeper. “The estate has been deserted for weeks now —”
“And that’s an excuse for breaking in?”
“The gates were open. Everything’s gone to pot,” she told him angrily.
“And that’s my fault?”
“You own it. You tell me.” Heath’s inheritance had a special hold on her heart for all sorts of reasons, not least of which she considered the estate her second home. While Heath had gained nothing in charm, Bronte registered as he turned his back. Heath couldn’t care less what people thought of him. He never had.
Mills & Boon By Request