Leigh LaValle was born in a time when ladies shopped at the modiste and rogues sent heated looks across a crowded ballroom. Time slipped forward a few hundred years, and she currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. When she is not writing about said ladies and rogues, mommying, or reading, she is rarely seen cleaning. More often, she is found hiking or, when she is really lucky, in the white powder of the ski slopes. She is also a devoted yoga practitioner and instructor.
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THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS is a Regency retelling of the Robin Hood legend in which the figurative Sherriff of Nottingham captures one of Robin Hood’s Merry Maids.
Trent Carthwick must find the famed highwayman before lawlessness spreads into riot and revolt. However, his prisoner, Mazie Chetwyn, refuses to tell him anything about her masked accomplice. The two spar and cajole and test each other to exhaustion. Sparks of attraction fly between them, igniting into a hungry blaze. Brought close by fate and laid bare by circumstances, they are given a rare glimpse into each other. What they discover is a beauty beyond measure. The two enemies fall in love.
In this letter, Trent has received a solid clue as to the location of the highwayman known as The Midnight Rider. He has ridden out in the dark of the night with a small militia of men. Mazie is waiting at the window, her heart torn in two with worry.
My bed is cold and you are far away. Fear keeps me awake, fear of the darkness. Fear of losing you to the darkness forever.
I watch the slim light of the moon and her impossibly slow journey across the sky. I await your return. Where are you? Are you safe? There were so many guns—too many guns—among the men tonight.
I taste blood with this waiting.
Come home and let me love you.
You were upset with me when you left. Hurt and angry. I ask the impossible, I plead you understand what cannot be understood. I love you but I cannot tell you the truth about the man you seek. It is not a choice I want to make. It is a terrible fate that has befallen us. You have my heart even as you hunt those I love.
The moon is lost behind a cloud. I am fallen into a thousand disjointed pieces. I can no longer hold myself together. I am torn apart by loyalty, and the wound of love will kill me.
I would die a thousand deaths for you. Come home to me, Trent. Come home safe to me. I cannot give to you the Midnight Rider’s life, but I can give you mine.
My heart is forever yours.
Check out Mazie and Trent's love story in The Runaway Countess
Then the pawn broker snitches, and Mazie is captured by the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. A man who is far too handsome, far too observant…and surely as corrupt as his father once was.
Sensible, rule-driven Trent Carthwick, twelfth Earl of Radford, is certain the threat of the gallows will prompt the villagers’ beloved Angel of Kindness to reveal the highwayman’s identity. But his bewitching captive volunteers nothing—except a sultry, bewildering kiss.
And so the games begin. Trent feints, Mazie parries. He threatens, she pretends nonchalance. He cajoles, she rebuffs. Thwarted at every turn, Trent probes deep into her one vulnerability—her past. There he finds the leverage he needs and a searing truth that challenges all he believes about right and wrong.
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