Setting the scene - Wolfgang Arrandale has returned to England to clear his name, and his first call is to the parson at Arrandale. Mr Duncombe is delighted to take him in, but Grace, the parson's daughter, thinks Wolf is just another vagabond claiming charity from her kind father. However, she is prepared to let the man sleep above the stables for a few nights, but when there is a crisis in the kitchen and she offers to peg out the washing, she gets something of a shock.....
Grace took a deep breath. She loved spring days like this, when there was warmth in the sun and a promise of summer to come. It was a joy to be out of doors.
A clothes line was fixed up in the kitchen gardens, which were directly behind the stable block. As she crossed the yard Grace heard the noise of the pump being worked and assumed it was Truscott fetching more water for the house, but when she turned the corner she stopped, her mouth opening in surprise to see their guest, stripped to the waist and washing himself.
Her first reaction was to run away, but it was too late for that, he had spotted her. She should not look at him, but could not drag her eyes away from the sight of his half-naked body. The buckskins covering his thighs could not have been tighter, but although he was so tall there was nothing spindly about his long legs. They were perfectly proportioned. He had the physique of an athlete, the flat stomach and lean hips placing no strain on those snugly fitting breeches, but above the narrow waist the body widened into a broad chest and muscled shoulders, still wet and glinting in the morning sun. He bent to pick up his towel, his movements lithe, the muscles rippling beneath the skin. As he straightened she noted the black beard on his cheeks and watched as he flicked the thick dark hair away from his face. Droplets of water flew off the tendrils, catching the light. Like a halo, she thought wildly. A halo for a dark angel.
The Outcast's Redemption, published by Harlequin July 2016