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BARNES & NOBLE:
King George sends his private investigator, an Irishman, Kieran Flynn,
Lord Montsimon, on a mission, the reason for which is unclear. Is it a
plot against the Crown? Or something entirely unrelated? Flynn's
inquiries lead him to the widow, Lady Althea Brookwood. Known amongst
the ton as a rake, Flynn is rarely turned down by a lady, and when
Althea refuses not just him but many other men, he becomes intrigued.
After her neighbor, Sir Harold Crowthorne informs Althea that he means
to take her country property, Owltree Cottage, by fair means or foul,
she must search for help. The first man she turns to is promptly
murdered and the second lies to her. That leaves Flynn, Lord Montsimon, a
man she has been studiously avoiding. But Montsimon is decidedly
unhelpful, and more than a little mysterious. Her only option is to
seduce him. Althea has little confidence that she will succeed,
especially as before her husband was killed in a duel, he often told her
she was quite hopeless at intimacy. When a spy is murdered, Flynn
wonders just what Althea knows and what her involvement might be with
the man the king wants Flynn to investigate.
County Wicklow, Ireland
Kieran Flynn, 4th Viscount Montsimon, reined in his horse and stared ahead at Greystones Manor. His father was dead, the malevolent force of his nature gone from the house. Perhaps now, a loving family would fill the empty rooms. He eased his stiff shoulders. Some other family, not his. Let the cursed Montsimon name die out with him.
In the depths of winter, heavy clouds hung low over the house, a blunted dark shape stark against the sky, like a blemish on the beautiful land it occupied.
With a sigh, which was half exhaustion, Flynn nudged the flank of his bay. He rode up to the house and dismounted.
Blackened stone glistened wet in the misty air, the mullioned windows blank eyes gazing inward to shadowy corridors and empty rooms.
A grizzled-headed groom hurried from the stables.
Flynn nodded. “Gaffney, isn’t it?”
“You be the young master, Lord Montsimon. I remember ye,” Gaffney said and led the horse away.
Flynn crossed the south lawn to the shallow set of stone steps, leading to a pair of solid, brass-studded doors. The family crest sat above it, gold and green, a knight’s helmet, a stag, and a boar. From the top step, he turned to look at emerald meadows stretching away to the east, where cliffs descended to the sea.
Despite the lack of a breeze to carry the salty spray, he tasted it on his tongue. Memories came uninvited of his boyhood, climbing those cliffs above the thrashing waves in search of birds’ eggs.
He had quit this place and his father as soon as he was old enough to make his way in England. If he’d thought he’d turned his back on his Irish roots, standing here, he knew they ran deep to his very marrow. Almost against his will, his pulse quickened at the sight of the fertile land. Now all this was his, every brown trout in the stream, every deer in the forest, every square of stone rising above him.
Annoyed by the unforeseen emotion, he reminded himself that his future lay in England where he would return as soon as he settled matters, long overdue. He’d raked up enough blunt to have repairs done and would seek a good tenant.
The door flew open. A wizened male servant, dressed all in black with a smudge of dirt on his cheek stood beaming at him.
“Welcome home, milord.”
“Thank you.” Flynn didn’t know the fellow from Adam. Their butler had died of old age some years ago. He stepped inside the oak paneled Great Hall and caught his breath at the memory of it decked out with flowers for a ball when he was a young lad. The buzz of excitement in the air, that not even his father’s vicious temper could dispel. Flynn had watched from the stairs as his mother danced with Timothy Keneally, a ringlet of violets in her fair hair matching her gown. A month later, she was gone.
Question: What did Flynn do as a boy climbing the cliffs?
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