Rooted In Dishonour
Rooted In Dishonour
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.Golden sands, blue skies, burning desires… The island could only be described as a paradise – but for Beth, it’s most definitively not! Beth is here for one reason only – she must marry a widower twice her age; a gentle man who respects her. Or so she thought. When she meets delicious stranger Raoul Valerian, she is suddenly filled with doubts…and fresh hope. Perhaps Raoul help her out of her predicament? Soon Raoul is getting under her skin as much as the pervasive beauty of the island – and Beth is left unable to control her primitive emotions that drew her to Raoul…
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.
Rooted in Dishonour
Table of Contents
About the Author (#u292c47ab-089b-5435-8b35-511ecbcb6815)
Title Page (#ua64287b8-26f1-500a-a305-ce91f4082c10)
CHAPTER ONE (#ue3c43a83-e339-5c13-b95b-b257fbd1539e)
BELOW the verandah, the ground sloped away gently towards the shoreline. Clumps of sand-rimed grass marked the boundaries of the beach and the bleached whiteness of the fine coral sand was in sharp contrast to the luxuriant greenery that grew so darkly down to the water’s edge in places. Palms spread their leaves abundantly, and when the noonday heat became unbearable provided welcome oases of shade, while the whispering fronds of the swamp oaks made their own shadows over the lagoon. Beyond the beach, the waters that curled more passively in the cove had been beaten into submission by the ragged ramparts of the reef just visible above the greeny-blue waters, whose spectacular display was heard in distant thunder from the house.
It was early morning, and the air was still cool with the dampness of the rain which had fallen before dawn. But already the warmth of the day was sending tiny spirals of mist rising from the trees into the arc of blue-gold brilliance, and soon the sun would rise above the mountains that swelled the hinterland of the island and its heat would banish the turtles and the sand-crabs to moister hiding places.
The woman came down the slope from the house, impatient at finding its occupant absent, and scanned the heaving waters of the lagoon. Almost immediately, she saw the dark head she was seeking only a few yards out from the beach, and as she watched, the body of a man rose from the waves to walk the shallow waters to the shore. He was some distance from her, it was true, but near enough for her to see that he was naked, the water streaming smoothly from his bronzed limbs. Long limbs, with powerful muscles, topped by the head and shoulders of a man who had not spent his days idling in this lotus-eating paradise, but who worked as hard as anyone to make the plantation pay. He was deeply tanned, and the darkness of his hair had often made her wonder whether there might be some distant ancestry there from even hotter climes, but perhaps that Flemish strain he possessed was responsible. Whatever, the sun made no impression on the black hairs that spread arrowlike down to his flat stomach.
She averted her eyes abruptly and turned away, knowing he had seen her, and presently he strode up the beach towards her, a towel looped carelessly about his hips. He came round her stiff figure to face her, and his peculiarly green eyes mocked her taut embarrassment.
‘You should not come on me unannounced, Sister Barbara,’ he remarked, without contrition. ‘And don’t tell me you’ve never seen me swimming before, because I should not believe you.’
‘I am not your sister!’ she declared crossly, and he moved his shoulders in an indifferent gesture, as she went on: ‘I asked you to come to the house yesterday evening. You didn’t come.’
He mounted the rise towards the building and she had perforce to walk with him. ‘I was—engaged last evening,’ he said at last, and saw the way her lips tightened to his words.
‘You were visiting that Pecarès woman!’ she accused, and his dark brows ascended.
‘You have been having me followed?’ he enquired softly, and her pale cheeks flamed.
‘Of course not,’ she denied, but his expression confirmed that he did not believe her.
They reached the house, a bungalow really, its verandah supported on poles and shaded by a palm-thatched roof. Inside, the accommodation was adequate, but spartan—a living room, with armchairs and bookshelves, a kitchen-cum-dining room, with surprisingly modern equipment, and his bedroom, with its single divan and wardrobe. There were the usual offices, but as Barbara seldom visited the place, she had never used them.
Open-slatted steps led up to the verandah where two basketwork chairs and a glass-topped table created a second living area, and just now the table was set with a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice, a slice of melon, some rolls and butter, and a jug of aromatically-flavoured coffee. Provided by Tomas, Barbara guessed, identifying the black servant who lived in a hut out back of the bungalow. He owed his life to his master since he had saved him from a mob of drink-crazed youths in Martinique eight years ago, and since then he had lived on the island and looked after the man he looked on as his saviour. Barbara had found the whole story rather distasteful, and Tomas’s ubiquitous presence about the place irritated her immensely.
‘Raoul …’ she began now, pausing on the verandah, but the man behind her made a negative movement of his hand.
‘At least permit me to put on some clothes,’ he remarked lazily, and she was forced to sit on one of the verandah chairs and tap her fingers impatiently until he reappeared.
Tomas came and asked her if she would like some breakfast, but she refused, speaking offhandedly, caring little for the black man’s feelings. This was typical of Raoul, she thought resentfully, ignoring her summons to the big house, and then making her wait his convenience after she had made the journey over here.
She crossed her legs and admired the scarlet ovals of her toes. She decided she liked the colour after all, although when the store assistant in Soufrière had showed it to her, she had been unimpressed. It went well with the background material of the floral cotton skirt she was wearing, and complemented the dark chestnut colour of her hair. She would try it on her nails, she thought. Papa would like it. And then the reasons for this hasty visit reasserted themselves, and her firm lips narrowed unbecomingly.
‘Did Tomas not invite you to share my breakfast?’
She glanced round as Raoul joined her, a disreputable pair of denim jeans his only apparel. Their age did nothing to disguise his undoubted masculinity, and she had to force herself to look at the bronze medallion suspended from the leather cord around his neck.
‘Do you call those things clothes?” she enquired shortly, anything to hide her uninvited attraction towards him, and he shrugged as he subsided into the chair at the opposite side of the table and raised a foot to rest across his knee.