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Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas Read Online (FREE)

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Read Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1) by Lisa Kleypas full novel online for free here.

About the author

Lisa Kleypas is the author of a number of historical and contemporary romance novels that have been published in fourteen languages. In 1985, she was named Miss Massachusetts and competed in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. After graduating from Wellesley College with a political science degree, she published her first novel at age twenty-one. Her books have appeared on the New York Times bestseller lists. Lisa is married and has two children.

Visit Lisa Kleypas online:

www.lisakleypas.com

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Chapter 1

Hampshire, England

August 1875

 

“The devil knows why my life should be ruined,” Devon Ravenel said grimly, “all because a cousin I never liked fell from a horse.”

“Theo didn’t fall, precisely,” his younger brother, Weston, replied. “He was thrown.”

“Obviously the horse found him as insufferable as I did.” Devon paced around the receiving room in restless, abbreviated strides. “If Theo hadn’t already broken his damned neck, I’d like to go and break it for him.”

West sent him a glance of exasperated amusement. “How can you complain when you’ve just inherited an earldom that confers an estate in Hampshire, lands in Norfolk, a house in London —”

“All entailed. Forgive my lack of enthusiasm for land and properties that I’ll never own and can’t sell.”

“You may be able to break the entailment, depending on how it was settled. If so, you could sell everything and be done with it.”

“God willing.” Devon glanced at a bloom of mold in the corner with disgust. “No one could reasonably expect me to live here. The place is a shambles.”

This was the first time either of them had ever set foot in Eversby Priory, the ancestral family domain built over the remains of a monastic residence and church. Although Devon had become ennobled shortly after his cousin’s death three months ago, he had waited as long as possible before facing the mountain of problems he now confronted.

So far he had seen only this room and the entrance hall, the two areas that were supposed to impress visitors the most. The rugs were worn, the furniture threadbare, the plaster wall moldings dingy and cracked. None of this boded well for the condition of the rest of the house.

“It needs refurbishing,” West admitted.

“It needs to be razed to the ground.”

“It’s not so bad —” West broke off with a yelp as his foot began to sink into a depression in the rug. He hopped away and stared at the bowl-shaped indentation. “What the deuce…?”

Devon bent and lifted the corner of the rug to reveal a rotting hole in the flooring beneath. Shaking his head, he dropped the rug back into place and went to a window fitted with diamond-shaped panes. The lead came that joined the window glass was corroded, the hinges and fittings rusted.

“Why hasn’t that been repaired?” West asked.