Heart of Stone
In 1840s Cornwall, 25-year-old Sarah Govier supports herself and her illegitimate son, Jory, on the income from Talvan, the granite quarry she inherited from her father. But businessman Kinser Landry has good reason for wanting Talvan and will stop at nothing to get it. Her problems mounting, Sarah turns in desperation to James Crago, a gunpowder manufacturer whose land adjoins hers. After twenty years as soldier and diplomat in India, Crago, 37, has returned home, his face horrifically scarred, a wound sustained during his attempt to help the girl he loved escape a despotic raja. Local reaction to his appearance has turned him into a recluse. Rejected by society, emotionally bruised and deeply wary, neither James nor Sarah is prepared for the powerful attraction that draws them ever closer. But as others plot against them, can they overcome the past and find the courage to love again?
‘I know you will applaud my decision to secure the girls’ future comfort and security by making them my heirs.’
Philip had to clear his throat before he could speak. ‘That is most generous of you.’ He waited for the rest, guessing it would not be to his advantage.
‘They will be the sole beneficiaries of my estate. To keep everything simple, and spare you an unnecessary burden, their inheritance will be administered by a trust until each of them reaches the age of twenty-one.’
He could not have made it plainer. While the girls would be wealthy their father would not have access to a single penny. But Philip had his pride. He’d be damned before he’d give his father-in-law the satisfaction of seeing his furious disappointment.
Baring his teeth in a smile he stood and offered his hand. ‘Let us hope such arrangements prove unnecessary.’
Tregenza’s handshake was brief. ‘Indeed. However I’m a great believer in foresight. My ability to look ahead and recognize potential problems has proved invaluable in protecting and expanding my interests while others have watched theirs dwindle.’
As heat climbed his face Philip’s head came up. ‘You are fortunate indeed, sir, that your interests do not depend upon conditions outside your control.’
Tregenza patted Philip’s shoulder. ‘My dear boy, I intended no slight on your father. Indeed, the loss of so many cargoes to Falmouth would have finished a lesser man. But I understand he has weathered that particular storm and is prospering once more with the upsurge of traffic in granite and tin.’
‘You will excuse me, sir,’ Philip said stiffly. ‘I must return to Margaret. She frets if I am away from her too long.’
‘Of course, of course. I’m so glad we had this little chat. I feel we understand each other far better now, don’t you?’
Seething, Philip bowed briefly then strode from the room. There was no escape now. He was trapped.