Tremaine's True Love (True Gentlemen #1)
by Grace Burrowes
He's had everything he could ever want...until now
Wealthy wool magnate Tremaine St. Michael is half French, half Scottish, and all business. He prowls the world in search of more profits, rarely settling in one place for long. When he meets practical, reserved Lady Nita Haddonfield, he sees an opportunity to mix business with pleasure by making the lady his own.
Nita Haddonfield has a meaningful life tending to others, though nobody is dedicated to caring for Nita. She insists the limitations of marriage aren't for her, then Tremaine St. Michael arrives-protective, passionate, and very, very determined to win Nita's heart.
Message From the Author
What makes a man a gentleman?
For a romance writer, this question has to be answered in every book, because implicit in the term “hero” is something of the gentleman. Heroes need not be charming, handsome or wealthy, and they might not even be obviously heroic, at least at the start of the book, but they have to be worthy of our loyalty for the duration of an entire book.
In the True Gentlemen series, I took three men who’d wandered across my pages in previous stories—Tremaine St. Michael, Daniel Banks, and Willow Dorning—and found them each a happily ever after. Tremaine is a flinty business man, Daniel is poor and pious, Willow finds polite society an enormous trial and would far rather be with his dogs. These fellows were not obvious choices as romance heroes, but they each had something that tempted me to write stories for them.
When we met Tremaine in an earlier book (Gabriel: Lord of Regrets), Tremaine was convinced that he’d found a good candidate for the position of wife. He offered marriage, listing all the practical advantages to both parties, and he congratulated himself on how much sense his proposed union would make.
The lady turned him down flat, and as a gentleman is bound to do, he graciously ceded the field. He didn’t like it, he didn’t entirely understand how or what he’d lost, but he wished the happy couple well.
Daniel’s role in David: Lord of Honor was to charge to London with sermons at the ready in an attempt to restore his sister’s honor. The very man Daniel accused of wronging that sister had already set her back on the path to respectability.
Oops. But again, being a gentleman, Daniel wishes the couple every happiness, even if doing so costs him the future he’d envisioned for himself and his loved ones. Like Tremaine, he’s a gracious and even dignified loser.
Willow’s appearance in Worth: Lord of Reckoning is brief, but he too is determined to see a sister rescued from a possibly compromising position, and again, rescue is simply not on the heroine’s agenda.
In all three cases, the true gentleman acts in the best interests of those he loves and is responsible for, regardless of the inconvenience or cost to himself. Because Tremaine, Daniel, and Willow were honorable, I liked them. I trusted them, I wanted them to have the happiness they clearly already deserved.
In the Nicholas Haddonfield’s sisters—Nita, Kirsten, and Susannah—I found ladies willing to oblige my ambitions for these men. In each case, our hero has lessons yet to learn, and in each case, his inherent honor wins the day. He might not be handsome, wealthy, or charming in the eyes of the world, but because he’s a true gentleman in the eyes of his lady, he wins her true love.
I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!
“Nobody will believe we spent the past three hours trotting about the shire, not in this miserable weather,” Tremaine groused.
“They won’t ask,” Lady Nita replied, turning her horse onto the snowy lane.
She had trained them not to ask, in other words.
On this refreshing hack through the nearer reaches of destitution, Tremaine had picked up two splinters, a twinge in his left shoulder—a dull ax was an abomination against God and Nature—and dirty fingernails.
Lady Nita was still tidy, serene, and unruffled by their visit to that miserable cottage.
“Your brother won’t have to ask us what we’ve got up to,” Tremaine said. “He’ll interrogate the grooms about how long we were gone and in which direction we rode.”
Even the Earl of Bellefonte would recognize the stink of boiled cabbage clinging to their clothing.
Tremaine’s recitation did not please her ladyship. She turned her face up to a frigid breeze, as if seeking fortification from the cold.
“Nicholas might ask, but he won’t interfere, though he probably wishes all the infirm and indigent would leave the realm, or his little corner of it.”
No, Bellefonte wished his sisters would leave—for the dubious comforts of holy matrimony. In this his lordship was simply a conscientious English patriarch.
“Then why not marry?” Tremaine asked. “You’d be out from under your brother’s roof.”
“I have no use for marriage. If I hadn’t attended Annie’s birth, she’d likely have died. Addy was decent once, and she does not cope well with her fall from grace. Women in such circumstances can give up—”
She fell silent as the wind gusted, the breeze re-wrapping the tail of her ladyship’s scarf so the wool covered her mouth.
“You hope,” Tremaine said gently, “that by attending the birth, you did the child a service, rather than a disservice, for life in that cottage is precarious indeed.”
Lady Nita’s plough horse shuffled onward, head down, gait weary. As the wind whipped through the bare branches of the hedgerows, tiny flakes of snow came with it. Any shepherd boy knew the smaller the snow flakes, the more likely the weather would turn nasty in earnest.
“Here is the rest of the syllogism,” Tremaine said, because Lady Nita’s family had apparently neglected to say these words to her. “Babies will be born and babies will die, and it’s the duty of those amply blessed to aid those in precarious circumstances. However, because babies do die, we all occasionally need a pretty waltz and a pleasant evening in good company.”
Lady Nita swiped at her cheek, as if a stray snowflake might have smacked into her, then she did it again on the other cheek.
“I love to waltz,” she said, gaze on the horse’s coarse mane. “I love to sing, especially, and I like nothing better than to join my sisters for great silliness over cards, until we’re laughing so hard we’re in tears. Nicholas would take even that from me to see me married to some viscount or lordling.”
She tapped her whip against the horse’s quarters, and sent it into a businesslike canter.
Tremaine followed several yards behind, and grappled with a realization. His objective was no longer strictly a profitable transaction with Lord Bellefonte, for where Lady Nita was concerned, a point had to be made, about life, and her entitlement to some of its joy.
Tremaine was bound for Germany at week’s end, but in the remaining two days, the choice of weapon belonged to Tremaine:
Waltzing, singing, or cards.
Or perhaps, all three.
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