Grayson St. Cyre, Baron Cliffe has a mysterious past and present. One morning he is visited by his 2 great-aunts, his mother's aunts and their valet, Mad Jack. Their home has suffered a fire and then a flood and they wish to stay with him while repairs are being made. He invites them into his home for as long as they desire. There is something strange about Mad Jack however. First of all, he is not strong enough to lift and tote traveling trunks and he stays with the aunts in their rooms and seldom leaves. One night Mad Jack leaves and steals a horse. He is seen by Grayson who tries to stop him unsuccessfully. The chase last for several miles until finally it begins to rain they are forced to take cover in a deserted barn. Grayson discovers that Mad Jack is really Winifrede Levering Bascombe and the aunts are trying to protect her from an evil step-father who is trying to marry her off to a greedy neighbor. He allows her to keep her hidden identity and manages to stall her stepfather from finding her. As they are attracted to one another, Grayson asks her to marry him thus saving her from the greedy neighbor. Her step father also has her half sister, Georgie and Grayson and Jack travel to his home to rescue her. Grayson has to make him believe that he is not really interested in the little girl and the deception works and they are given custody of Georgie. When they return home they find that Grayson's god father and Jack's financial guardian are one and the same man and he summons Grayson to his home to tell him he cannot be married to Jack as they are half brother and sister. Grayson is almost destroyed by this information but Jack refuses to believe it and when she is told that his mother is still alive on one of his estates they go to visit his mother. While here Jack learns that Grayson had murdered his father when he found him beating his mother when he was 12 years old. To his surprise his mother turned against him for killing the only man she ever truly loved. This experience caused him later in life to aid abused women in the same way that Ryder Sherbrooke, one of his closest friends, saves abused children. His mother will not give them the answers they are looking for so they search the house and finally find a portrait of his father painted at a time when he was about Grayson's age. Jack confronts his mother with this information and at the same time his mother is enchanted by Georgie and finally admits that they are not brother and sister. This book is part of the Bride Series and many of the Sherbrooke family are supporting characters.
This report prepared by plnorth