Mills & Boon are excited to present The Anne Mather Collection – the complete works by this classic author made available to download for the very first time! These books span six decades of a phenomenal writing career, and every story is available to read unedited and untouched from their original release. Married for revenge! Abby believes her Aunt Ella was responsible for the break-up of her parents’ marriage – and she is determined Ella will pay for what she has done. So Abby’s plan is to marry her aunt’s ‘friend’ irresistible Luke Jordan and her revenge could be unexpectedly sweet… But her union with older man of the world, Luke, is far from a bed of roses. Has Abby got herself into deeper water than she can swim in…?
Mills & Boon is proud to present a fabulous collection of fantastic novels by bestselling, much loved author
Anne has a stellar record of achievement within the publishing industry, having written over one hundred and sixty books, with worldwide sales of more than forty-eight MILLION copies in multiple languages.
This amazing collection of classic stories offers a chance for readers to recapture the pleasure Anne’s powerful, passionate writing has given.
We are sure you will love them all!
I’ve always wanted to write—which is not to say I’ve always wanted to be a professional writer. On the contrary, for years I only wrote for my own pleasure and it wasn’t until my husband suggested sending one of my stories to a publisher that we put several publishers’ names into a hat and pulled one out. The rest, as they say, is history. And now, one hundred and sixty-two books later, I’m literally—excuse the pun—staggered by what’s happened.
I had written all through my infant and junior years and on into my teens, the stories changing from children’s adventures to torrid gypsy passions. My mother used to gather these manuscripts up from time to time, when my bedroom became too untidy, and dispose of them! In those days, I used not to finish any of the stories and Caroline, my first published novel, was the first I’d ever completed. I was newly married then and my daughter was just a baby, and it was quite a job juggling my household chores and scribbling away in exercise books every chance I got. Not very professional, as you can imagine, but that’s the way it was.
These days, I have a bit more time to devote to my work, but that first love of writing has never changed. I can’t imagine not having a current book on the typewriter—yes, it’s my husband who transcribes everything on to the computer. He’s my partner in both life and work and I depend on his good sense more than I care to admit.
We have two grown-up children, a son and a daughter, and two almost grown-up grandchildren, Abi and Ben. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com) and I’d be happy to hear from any of my wonderful readers.
Table of Contents
About the Author (#u72ba3076-a502-5ce4-b7f5-a5621318fd30)
Title Page (#u7019386a-3c13-5faf-b25f-2cf2c7709c8a)
CHAPTER ONE (#u30f6ca6c-d228-55f9-9bfc-adc0e2945302)
LUKE pushed the Lamborghini up to a hundred on the brief straight, impatience making him grind the gears as yet another corner confronted him, forcing him to slow to a saner sixty. Since leaving Fort Augustus, the scenery had grown progressively more rugged and wilder, the road narrow and winding between reed-edged lochs and purple banks of heather. After the motorways of the south, the powerful car baulked at these primitive highways where long-horned Highland cattle seemed to have right of way. He had already had to make one detour to avoid a lumbering stock wagon, and wondered how long it took to develop the kind of temperament that took all these obstacles in its stride.
Glancing at the plain gold watch on his wrist, he saw that it was only a little after three o’clock, and taking into account the fact that he had stopped for a superb lunch of locally caught salmon and out-of-season strawberries, rounded off by strong black coffee and brandy, he was making quite good time. Ardnalui should not be much further and with luck he would have time before dusk to study the general layout of the place so that when he rang Scott later, he could give him an honest opinion.
A few spots of rain landed on the windscreen, as if to mock his intentions, and he looked up at the low clouds hanging over the mountains that had dogged his progress. It was so remote, thought Luke irritably. How could they possibly bring a film crew out here? And not even an airstrip within fifty miles.
The road swung round a steep curve and there ahead of him lay the village, a cluster of whitewashed dwellings bordering the shores of the loch. A long narrow inlet of water, Loch Ifor ran into the Sound of Sleat, and a collection of fishing vessels nudging a stone jetty indicated the livelihood of many of the villagers. As he drove slowly between the cottages, he had to concede that Scott had been right in his belief that Ardnalui was the ideal setting for Luke’s novel. But then Scott had been born here. Luke, born and bred in Liverpool, had seldom been far from the concrete trappings of his kind of civilisation.
He wondered what his host, Daniel McGregor, would be like. The fact that Scott had been closely acquainted with the parish priest did nothing for Luke himself, who on the whole preferred to make his own arrangements. But Ardnalui did not possess a hotel, and the inn he passed on his way through the village did not look as if it had room for boarders. Besides, Scott had arranged that he should stay with McGregor, and it was only for a couple of nights anyway. It would be amusing to tell Ella he had been to her birthplace when she got back from Rome. Somehow he sensed she would not altogether approve. She was not proud of her humble beginnings, while he had no compunction about telling people how his mother had struggled to bring up his three sisters, four brothers and himself after their father lost his life in an engine explosion at sea.
Several children turned to stare at the car, and Luke felt his normally good humour returning. He liked children, and had several nephews and nieces who benefited from his weakness. Now that he was here, he could forget about the tortuous journey, and concentrate on the job in hand.
He passed the grey stone church of St Cecilia and there, exactly as Scott had described it, was the presbytery. Grey stone, like the church it served, with small leaded panes and a sturdy wooden door. A cobbled yard fronted the building, and Luke parked the Lamborghini here before sliding out to stretch his legs.
He was a tall man, easily six feet, with a lean muscular frame. Used to an active life, since his writing success, he had kept himself fit with a twice weekly workout at a gym not far away from his London apartment, playing squash and badminton whenever he had the time. He was tanned, from a recent holiday in the Bahamas, and his hair was silvery fair, bleached even whiter by the sun. It was smooth, thick hair, overlapping his collar at the back, but it needed no hairdressing and always looked clean and vital to the touch. He was not a handsome man, but he was attractive to women, a fact he had not lived until thirty-eight years without appreciating.
The air was sharp for April, or perhaps he was soft from the milder London climate, he thought dryly, breathing deeply. And it was so quiet here. He doubted he’d be able to sleep. Looking about him, he wondered where Ella used to live. One of these cottages? Some transition to a May-fair apartment and a villa in the South of France. What a pity she had no relatives to share her success.
A huge lion’s head knocker resounded noisily throughout the presbytery, and he stood, his hands in the pockets of his black leather jacket, waiting to be admitted. He had never expected to stay at a priest’s house, but at least he had been baptised into the Faith.
The door was opened by an elderly woman in a long black dress and a white apron, a lace mob cap set on her grey hair. Good God, thought Luke in astonishment, do servants like this really exist outside of novels?
Smiling disarmingly, however, he said. ‘I’m Luke Jordan. I believe Father McGregor is expecting me.’
‘That he is,’ agreed the woman politely. ‘Will you come in, sir?’
Luke stepped inside, his eyes taking in the polished floor with its single rug, the dark wood panelling and angled staircase. The doors opening into the hall were all closed, but even as he registered this, one of them opened to an elderly man, leaning on a cane, whose sharply alert eyes belied any diminishing faculties of his advanced years.
‘Is it Mr Jordan?’ he asked, staring at Luke appraisingly.
‘That’s right, sir,’ Luke nodded. ‘How do you do?’
‘I’m well.’ The man smiled and held out his hand. ‘I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr Jordan.’