Night Shadow, the second book in the Night Trilogy, originally came out in the summer of 1989. I haven't rewritten it, just cleaned it up and wrapped it in a very nice new cover.
Knight Winthrop, Viscount Castlerosse, first appeared in Night Fire. He is the quintessential Regency bachelor who plans to marry and impregnate his wife just before he croaks, and thus his heir will be raised without the vagaries of his sire.
Yes, Knight is a very happy camper, what with him being the center of the universe. Then the unthinkable happens. A woman shows up on his doorstep claiming to be the widow of his murdered cousin, Tristan Winthrop. As if that isn't bad enough, with her are his cousin's three children. If that still isn't enough they are destitute and have nowhere to go. To top it all off, Ugly Arnold is hard on her heels.
What is Knight supposed to do now? Why, he takes them in and bids his former life goodbye. You'll laugh until your belly aches at the antics of Laura Beth, Sam, and Theo. You'll enjoy how the very clever, creative Lord Castlerosse deals with this new species. But how will he deal with his cousin's widow Lily?
It was eight o'clock on a rainy Thursday evening. Knight Winthrop, Viscount Castlerosse, was at home at Winthrop House on Portland Square, seated in his favorite leather chair in his high-ceilinged, thoroughly masculine library. Voltaire's Candide lay facedown on his thigh. He was looking into the flames that were sluggishly throwing off embers, a snifter of French brandy in his hand. The wainscoted room was dim and shadowed, the only splash of light from the branch of candles near his right arm. It was a cozy setting, and Knight felt appropriately coddled and relaxed and pleasantly tired.
He grinned at the memory of Sir Edward's face when Allegory, Knight's chestnut Barb, bred at Desborough Stud, had left him and his nag in the dust only halfway to the finish line marked by the Four Horse Club on Hounslow Heath. Knight had placed a healthy bet on Allegory's speed and indomitable spirit, and on his own skill, and had come away with a thousand pounds in his pocket, at Sir Edward Brassby's expense.
Allegory hated to lose even more than he did, he thought. The chestnut got that mean look in his eyes when he saw another horse drawing close. Knight wondered if the gelding had gotten his mean look from him or from his famous sire, Flying Davie.
He took another slow sip of brandy, then leaned his head back, closing his eyes. Life was well-nigh perfect. He had no complaints, no suggestions to the powers-that-be for improvement. He was content. He was healthy, his teeth were white and straight and strong, he was in no danger of losing his hair, he currently mounted a mistress who met his every sexual whim, and no one save an occasional new stallion ever disturbed his very fine existence. No, there was nothing more he could ask for.
He picked up his book and thumbed negligently through the pages.
Knight cocked open an eye at the sound of Duckett's soft voice. It could be quiet as a vicar's closet and still one wouldn't hear Duckett approach. Just five feet tall, round as his nearly bald head, Duckett was blessed with an abundance of perception, knew his master better than did even his master's valet, Stromsoe, and endeavored to smooth away any rough pebble that found its way onto his path.
"What is it, Duckett? Nothing dire, I trust."
"That I cannot say, my lord."
Knight opened both eyes at that and looked at his butler. "I beg your pardon?"
"There are a Young Person and three Very Young Persons here to see you, my lord. The Young Person wishes to see you first."
"The Young Person, as opposed to the Very Young Persons?" Another thing about Duckett, Knight thought, he had no sense of humor. Not even an echo of one. "Well, tell this person I've left the country, tell her--him?"
"A she, my lord."
"-I've fallen into the North Sea, tell her--who the devil is she anyway?"
"She says she is your cousin's widow."
"My cousin's what? Tris?" Knight stared at Duckett blankly. Tristan dead? Knight paused a moment, trying to remember the last time he'd heard from him. Lord, it had been five years at least. He rose to his feet and straightened his clothes. "Bring her in, Duckett. As for the three Very Young Persons--I assume they are Tristan's children-give them over to Mrs. Allgood. She'll feed them, or whatever it is that very young per-, sons require at eight in the evening."
"Yes, my lord."
Tristan dead! He felt a wrenching sadness, deep inside him, for the Tristan he'd known as a boy. Tris had been his senior by ten years, and on the rare occasions Knight had seen his uncle's son, he'd worshipped him ardently. Gay, devil-may-care Tris.