The Wolf of Winterthorne by Tracy Goodwin

Title: The Wolf of Winterthorne

Series: Scandalous Secrets #4

Author: Tracy Goodwin

Genre: Adult, Historical Romance

Published: August 23, 2016

Logan Ambrose has endured a tortured existence. After learning how to fend for himself at a young age, he eventually amassed power and wealth. His fortune came at an extreme cost, as rising from poverty often does. Branded, he wears his sins on his marred flesh. Each scar represents a past he doesn’t wish to remember, the ruthless man he holds at bay, the tortured soul who would do anything to survive.

Bruised, battered and bloodied, Arabella Sutton is a woman lost. With no recollection of who she is or what terrors she suffered, she stumbles onto the imposing Winterthorne estate running from those who hunt her, haunted by the memory of her bloodied hands holding a blade and wearing a bracelet monogrammed with the initial S.

When she stumbles into Logan’s arms, he recognizes her instantly. She is one of two women he once knew: Arabella or her twin sister, Sybil. One he dared to love years ago, though he now despises them equally. Logan recognizes her bracelet as belonging to Sybil … the last woman he wished to see.

While Arabella must overcome the loss of her memories, she is drawn to the brooding and menacing master of Winterthorne who knows much more about her past than he is willing to admit. Meanwhile, Logan is assailed with memories of his lost love while offering protection to the woman he believes to be her vicious twin, the woman who once reveled in making his life miserable, all the while fighting against the strong attraction that pulls him towards his charge and the reminders of Arabella that she rekindles in his hardened heart.

As Arabella pieces together her past, scandalous secrets come to light and Logan will stop at nothing to save his beloved from the dangerous machinations of her evil identical twin.
Together, Logan and Arabella rekindle a romance they long thought extinguished. Meanwhile, they concoct a grand scheme to unmask Sybil and rescue Arabella from her sister’s misdeeds.

Can they protect Arabella from peril and assure their future before it is too late?

“Every time I read one of Tracy Goodwin’s beautifully written novels, her words and unforgettable characters steal a little piece of my heart. Her books are exquisite and totally addictive.” –SUSAN DUERDEN, AWARD WINNING FEATURE FILM/TELEVISION ACTRESS AND NARRATOR

“Tracy Goodwin is a promising new voice in historical romance.” –BARBARA DAWSON SMITH, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR

“Tracy Goodwin is definitely an author to look out for. She writes a sensual and clever novel that makes for an enjoyable read.” –WW BOOK CLUB BLURBS, PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY, BARBARA VEY BLOG

 

The Wolf of Winterthorne © Tracy Goodwin 2016
Chapter 1

1851 Northamptonshire, England

Her lungs burned as she raced farther into the darkness, the stench of decaying leaves and brush assailing her nostrils until she thought she might retch.

Help me …

The words wedged in her throat, which was raw from a mixture of sheer panic and dehydration.

Had she screamed?

Why couldn’t she remember?

Her mind was muddled in a murky abyss, helped none by the ominous clouds sheathing the moon, casting foreboding shadows across her path. Recollections she couldn’t decipher haunted her in the form of shapes she couldn’t comprehend and occurrences she couldn’t quite piece together.

Swallowing hard, she attempted to speak but, again, no words formed.

Panic rose as the ringing in her ears heightened to a shrill crescendo. She struggled to breathe, her corset constricting her airflow, reducing her panting to swift, shallow breaths.

Why couldn’t she breathe?

Why couldn’t she remember?

What did she recall?

Being hunted. Yes, men who wished her harm were chasing her. That was her reality. As was the fact that her predators must be close.

What if they overheard her trudging through the woods? What if they, too, could hear her ragged lungs as they strained to inhale, though with little success?

The possibilities sent her senses reeling.

Clutching a low-lying branch, she wrapped her fingers around its rough, spindly bark. Leaning against it, she allowed herself one moment to gather her wits.

Swooning in the forest wouldn’t save her life.

No, it would hasten her demise.

Breathe. She silently instructed herself. Breathe then run.

Run for your life.

She shoved herself away from the branch and sprinted as fast as she could before stumbling on a protruding root. Pain radiated from her hand as she clumsily righted herself against a large tree trunk. Her palm was wet and sticky, the thick, rugged bark having slashed her skin.

Grinding her teeth, she grabbed her skirts then propelled herself farther into obscurity.

Do not trip.

It was her silent command as she veered across the uneven terrain, hard from the early freeze. Ruts and indentations challenged her at every step as did the thick roots, sturdy and unrelenting, that stretched across the landscape.

Stalking her.

Like the men who sought to kill her.

She could not evade them. No matter how hard she tried, no matter how careful she was. The roots, like those men who chased her, continued to hound her, continued to creep towards her, surrounding her at every turn.

Again she tripped, this time landing on her knees with a loud grunt she could no longer suppress.

Dear God, it is cold.

3

She wore no cloak. Just a simple muslin gown and skirts. No boots, just slippers. Her toes, which once ached, were now numb.

The frigid temperature seeped into her body, into every limb and muscle. Nature appeared to want her dead as much as those in pursuit.

Choking back a sob, a puff of air swirled like vapor from her mouth into the icy shadows. The bitter cold and damp night enveloped her. The more she knelt on the ground, the more the frost assailed her body, causing her to sway as she tried desperately to stand.

Every joint stiffened, as if frozen in place.

Her teeth had begun to chatter as she crawled to the silhouette of what appeared to be a tree trunk. Or perchance a log? The closer she got, the smaller it appeared. White spots blurred her vision as realization set in.

She was close to losing consciousness.

God, please help me, she prayed in silence.

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