An Earl’s Path to Passion Read Online Meghan Sloan

Categories Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 96
Estimated words: 85443 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 427(@200wpm)___ 342(@250wpm)___ 285(@300wpm)

The fiery Lady Olivia Oakley is the only one left to protect her family’s heritage, after losing almost all of her family to a terrible illness. When the only home she has ever known, the ancestral seat of Essington Manor, is to be sold off to a seductive stranger, she’s ready to claim what is rightfully hers. With Olivia’s rivalry transforming into burning lust upon their encounter, it is clear that it is too late to resist the overwhelming fire between them. What kind of sacrifices will she have to make to keep her family’s Earldom?

All she ever wanted was to find a true love match, but little did she know she would find herself bursting with primal desires…

Captain Alexander Fletcher loves his life on the sea and has never wished for another, until a mysterious letter arrives from the Earl of Weaver. When he hears of the Earl’s tragic past and his need for an heir, Alexander accepts. Yet, when he discovers that his future rests upon marrying the gentleman’s granddaughter, he baulks, despite the tantalising Olivia awakening thrilling sensations in him. While no woman has ever hoped to capture his heart, could the Earl’s ravishing granddaughter be the one who will irreversibly seduce him?

If only Olivia was not so enthralling to make him long for her sinful touch…

As Olivia and Alexander fight their fierce attraction, they realise that the devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven. Still, they refuse to surrender to their feelings, even if their bodies shiver in each other’s presence. Will the arrogant captain and the spoiled lady manage to turn a business deal into love, and let their passion conquer them? Or will they be separated by dark storms and empty promises once and for all?



Essington Manor, Kent, England, 1797

The organ blared a mournful tune as the two coffins were carried down the aisle of the chapel. The sound of subdued sobbing filled the air as well. Reginald Oakley, the Earl of Weaver, watched stony-faced as the coffins went by. His heart felt as tight as a drum. He had not shed a single tear yet.

The mourners followed the coffins in single, silent file. Reginald watched a tall, willowy lady dressed entirely in black silk shuffle past. His daughter-in-law, Henrietta. Always a pale woman, her face was the shade of ivory now, her eyes red-rimmed from weeping. Henrietta clutched a white lace handkerchief, pressing it against her eyes, her face a rictus of sorrow.

Reginald’s heart constricted again. Two coffins, one long, one small. The first contained the last earthly remains of his last son, Charles. The heir to the Weaver Earldom and estate was gone, carried away quickly, by a strain of influenza that had swept through the countryside. A tragedy. Charles had only been two and thirty. Still such a young man, with so much left to do.

But the second coffin—the smaller one—was almost more heartbreaking to witness, if that was indeed possible. For it contained Reginald’s only grandson, William. Only seven years old and he had been carried away by the same sudden illness that felled his father.

Now, father and son were making their last journey to the small graveyard at the top of the hill, where they would be laid to eternal rest side by side in the family plot. Beside each other in death as they had been in life.

Reginald joined the procession. He could barely place one foot in front of the other. He had never felt so wretched and devastated in his life, and he had suffered much before. The deaths of his two elder sons, when they had just been lads, in a carriage accident. The loss of his beloved wife, Isabel, only two years ago. Reginald was used to sorrow and grief. But seeing these two coffins was too much even for a stoic, strong man like him.

It was too much to bear. Far too much.

In the graveyard overlooking Essington Manor, his ancestral home, he watched as the two coffins were lowered into the ground. The vicar was intoning a prayer. Suddenly, his daughter-in-law swayed, looking like she was about to collapse. Looking like she might want to leap into the grave to join her husband and son.

Quick as a flash, Reginald was by her side, his arm around her. Henrietta clung to him, in a desperate way, burying her face into his chest and sobbing piteously.

“I cannot go on,” she moaned softly. “It is too much.”

Reginald’s heart twisted. “You must go on, Hetty,” he whispered. “You must. For the small girl who is lying in the bed yonder.” He looked up, gazing at Essington Manor as he spoke, thinking of that girl.

Henrietta took a deep, shuddering breath. “I know. I shall go to her as soon as I have said farewell to her father and brother.” Her face contorted. “She is the only thing I have to live for now. If she… if she…”