Andrea Jameson is an heiress with an unconventional upbringing. He mother died when she was 10 years old and she went to live with her grandfather whom she loved dearly. He father disappeared upon her mother's death. Her grandfather taught her to play chess, drink brandy, shoot a pistol among other things. While she lived with her parents however her life had been one of misery. Her father had several mistresses and openly tumbled the maids. Andy had witnessed some of these situations and was always left to comfort her crying, depressed mother. She felt that her mother had died of a broken heart. As a result she did not want to be involved intimately with a man. After her grandfather died she stayed with her household staff at his London townhouse and walked her dog in the park every day. On 3 different occassions she came across a man named John. He was too handsome, too big, and simply too dangerous. She never learned his last name.
Six months after her grandfather's death she decides to marry a man almost 3 times her age. He promises her the protection of his name and no sex. His name is Lawrence Lyndhurst, Earl of Devbridge. The John she had met in the park was his nephew and heir, John Lyndhurst.
As soon as she arrives things begin to happen. An ugly woman with long straggly hair tries to stab her with a knife belonging to John her first week in her new home. She falls down a partial flight of stairs and someone puts a strand of barbed wire under her saddle and she is thrown while riding. She learns that there are many family secrets at Devbridge Manor. Lawrence has a daughter he did not tell her about and his second wife jumped from the tower balcony to her death. There are rooms in the house that have the feel of ghosts inhabiting them. But who is trying to kill Andy and why? Andy and John join forces to solve the mystery and in the process Andy learns that she has been hiding from living life and that she made a huge mistake marrying Lawrence as she admits to herself that she is in love with John.
John has been attracted to Andy since their first meeting in the park and stays close by her at Devbridge manor to protect her as best he can. Then on cold winter day just after Christmas he leaves the manor and his valet goes missing also. Andy tries to escape and is captured by Lawrence and taken to an old cottage. There she learns about her father, what he has to do with the attempts on her life, and that she has a sister. She also finds that John and his valet have been kidnapped. The resulting chapters tell us the story of Lawrence's hatred and the love John and Andy have for each other.
This report prepared by plnorth