Authors: Stephanie Laurens
Tags: #historical romance
BY WINTER’S LIGHT
A Cynster Novel
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the writer’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
BY WINTER’S LIGHT
Copyright © 2014 by Savdek Management Proprietary Limited
Cover design by Savdek Management Pty. Ltd.
Cover artwork © 2014 Doreen Minuto
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
No part of this work may be used, reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior permission in writing from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
First electronic publication: October 2014
Savdek Management Proprietary Limited, Melbourne, Australia.
The names Stephanie Laurens and the Cynsters are registered trademarks of Savdek Management Proprietary Ltd.
BY WINTER’S LIGHT
A Cynster Novel
New York Times
bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to romantic Scotland to usher in a new generation of Cynsters in an enchanting tale of mistletoe, magic, and love.
It’s December 1837 and the young adults of the Cynster clan have succeeded in having the family Christmas celebration held at snow-bound Casphairn Manor, Richard and Catriona Cynster’s home. Led by Sebastian, Marquess of Earith, and by Lucilla, future Lady of the Vale, and her twin brother, Marcus, the upcoming generation has their own plans for the holiday season.
Yet where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind—the festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster’s sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster’s daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion smolder between them, but once bitten, twice shy, Claire believes a second marriage is not in her stars. Daniel, however, is determined to press his suit. He’s seen the love the Cynsters share, and Claire is the lady with whom he dreams of sharing
life. Assisted by a bevy of Cynsters—innate matchmakers every one—Daniel strives to persuade Claire that trusting him with her hand and her heart is her right path to happiness.
Meanwhile, out riding on Christmas Eve, the young adults of the Cynster clan respond to a plea for help. Summoned to a humble dwelling in ruggedly forested mountains, Lucilla is called on to help with the difficult birth of a child, while the others rise to the challenge of helping her. With a violent storm closing in and severely limited options, the next generation of Cynsters face their first collective test—can they save this mother and child? And themselves, too?
Back at the manor, Claire is increasingly drawn to Daniel and despite her misgivings, against the backdrop of the ongoing festivities their relationship deepens. Yet she remains torn—until catastrophe strikes, and by winter’s light, she learns that love—true love—is worth any risk, any price.
A tale brimming with all the magical delights of a Scottish festive season.
A Cynster novel – a classic historical romance of 71,000 words.
Praise for the works of Stephanie Laurens
“Stephanie Laurens’ heroines are marvelous tributes to Georgette Heyer: feisty and strong.”
“Stephanie Laurens never fails to entertain and charm her readers with vibrant plots, snappy dialogue, and unforgettable characters.”
Historical Romance Reviews.
“Stephanie Laurens plays into readers’ fantasies like a master and claims their hearts time and again.”
Romantic Times Magazine
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Richard and Catriona Cynster’s household at Casphairn Manor, December 1837
Lord Richard Cynster, aka Scandal
- married to Catriona, half-brother to Devil, Guardian of the Lady.
Catriona, Lady Cynster, Lady of the Vale
- married to Richard, mother of their five children
- eldest child of Richard and Catriona, twin to Marcus, future Lady of the Vale - 17years old
- eldest son, twin to Lucilla, future Guardian of the Vale -17 years old
- second daughter of Richard and Catriona - 14 years old
- second son of Richard and Catriona - 11 years old
- third son and youngest child of Richard and Catriona - 10 years old
- tutor to Richard Cynster’s sons, confirmed bachelor
Melinda Spotswood, Miss
- governess to Richard and Catriona’s daughters, confirmed spinster
- Catriona’s ageing mentor
- ancient retired butler of the manor
- current butler of the manor
- housekeeper at the manor
- just that
Cynster families visiting for the holidays
Lady Helena Cynster, Dowager Duchess of St. Ives, Her Grace
- matriarch of the clan, Devil’s mother
Lord Sylvester Cynster aka Devil, Duke of St. Ives, His Grace
- married to Honoria
Lady Honoria Cynster, Duchess of St. Ives, Her Grace
- married to Devil, mother of their three children
Lord Sebastian Cynster, Marquess of Earith
- eldest son of Devil and Honoria - 18 years old
Lord Michael Cynster
- second son of Devil and Honoria - 17 years old
Lady Louisa Cynster
- only daughter, third and youngest child of Devil and Honoria - 14 years old
Spencer Cynster, aka Vane
- cousin of Devil, brother of Demon, married to Patience
- married to Vane, mother of their four children, sister to Gerrard Debbington
- eldest son and eldest child of Vane and Patience - 17 years old
- second son of Vane and Patience -16 years old
- third child and only daughter of Vane and Patience - 14 years old
- third son and youngest child of Vane and Patience) - 11years old
- tutor to Vane and Patience Cynster’s sons, confirmed bachelor
Harry Cynster aka Demon
- brother of Vane, cousin of Devil, married to Felicity
Felicity Cynster aka Flick
- married to Demon, mother of their four children
- eldest daughter, eldest child of Demon and Flick - 16 years old
- eldest son of Demon and Flick - 15 years old
Tobias Cynster aka Toby
- second son of Demon and Flick - 11 years old
- second daughter and youngest child of Demon and Flick - 10 years old
Rupert Cynster aka Gabriel
- brother of Lucifer, cousin of Devil, married to Alathea
- married to Rupert, mother of their three children
- eldest son, eldest child of Rupert and Alathea - 16 years old
- eldest daughter and second child of Rupert and Alathea - 14 years old
- second son and youngest child son of Rupert and Alathea - 13 years old
Claire Meadows, Mrs.
- widow, governess to Gabriel and Alathea’s daughter, has turned her back on marriage
Alasdair Cynster aka Lucifer
- brother of Gabriel, cousin of Devil, married to Phyllida
- married to Alasdair, mother of their five children
- eldest son and eldest child of Alasdair and Phyllida - 16 years old
- second son of Alasdair and Phyllida - 15 years old
- third son of Alasdair and Phyllida - 11 years old
- eldest daughter and fourth child of Alasdair and Phyllida - 10 years old
- second daughter and youngest child of Alasdair and Phyllida - 8 years old
- tutor to Lucifer and Phyllida Cynster’s sons, intent on wooing and winning Claire Meadows
Others in the locality
- nephew of the neighboring laird, Mad Manachan Carrick - nearly 20 years old
- Thomas’s very large and impressive deer hound, gray, shaggy, with a lot of teeth
- a crofter on Carrick lands, married to Lottie
- crofter-wife of Jeb
- new-born daughter and first child of Lottie and Jeb
- deer hound puppy gifted to Lucilla by Thomas Carrick, Hesta’s daughter
- deer hound puppy gifted to Marcus by Thomas Carrick, Hesta’s son
Others mentioned but not present
Manachan Carrick aka Mad Manachan
- Laird of the Carricks, a neighboring clan
- son and heir of Manachan, cousin of Thomas
Lady Antonia Chillingworth
- daughter of Gyles and Francesca, best friend to Lucilla and Prudence
Lady Francesca Chillingworth
- wife of Gyles and mother of Antonia, referred to by Cynster children as Aunt
Lady Celia Cynster
- married to Martin, mother of Rupert and Alasdair
Lord Martin Cynster
- married to Celia; father of Rupert and Alasdair
- family of Gerrard, artist, brother of Patience Cynster, and his wife Jacqueline
- deceased, Claire’s late husband
- Claire’s chaperone when she was presented to the ton
Therese, Lady Osbaldestone
- grande dame, close friend of Helena and well known to all Cynsters
Titles and their meaning:
- ancient Scottish deity worshipped in the Vale of Casphairn
Lady of the Vale, the -
Catriona’s title as principal representative of the Lady in that region
Guardian of the Lady -
title held by husband or male protector of the Lady of the Vale, currently held by Richard
- honorific bestowed by locals on those they consider to be the Lady’s representative
- refers to Lucilla as her mother’s ultimate successor
- denotes Her chosen who have heightened intuition and awareness of the land, and a degree of foresight
December 23, 1837
Casphairn Manor, the Vale of Casphairn, Scotland
Daniel Crosbie felt as if all his Christmases had come at once. Letting his gaze travel the Great Hall of Casphairn Manor, filled to overflowing with six Cynster families and various associated household members, he allowed himself a moment to savor both his unexpected good fortune and his consequent hope.