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HOME >> Product 0330 >> The Shadow Bride>>

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The Shadow Bride


When Alexandra Jamieson is called in to the London offices of Jonas Manningham to discuss the behaviour of her half brother Stephen Canford she learns nothing of what is supposed to have happened from the dismissive Jonas. Alexandra, devoted to Stephen, her only living relative, is not at all pleased. When she realises that Jonas has mistakenly assumed that she shares her cousin's family name, Canford, she does nothing to correct him.


Stephen, a young scientist, is taking up a postgraduate position in California. He confesses to Alexandra his responsibility for the loss of valuable silverware from Jonas's property, the beautiful Comptonhill House, but assures her that he is able take care of everything. When the true value of the silver emerges Alexandra tells Stephen, now in California, that she will help. However Jonas wants complete reimbursement and tells Alexandra (whose name he still assumes to be Canford) that he will waive the debt if she will live with him; despite her unspoken and defensive misgivings she agrees to do so for a period of six months and succeeds with a certain amount of luck in maintaining her deception. In the end, attracted to Jonas and sensing no real commitment on his part, she abruptly leaves.

Discovering she is pregnant Alexandra lets half her small house to a tenant, Graham, and finds a post with the Morgan Collection. More than a year has gone by when Jonas sees her at Heathrow Airport; he traces her to her house, furious not only at her having left him and at her having misled him but also at not having been told about the birth of Logan, his small son.

When the baby is taken into hospital with an acute fever Jonas insists that he should recuperate at Comptonhill House, where Alexandra, herself ill, succumbs to a more severe variation of Logan's flu. Jonas proposes marriage and agrees to an arm's length engagement; it is only after the wedding ceremony that Alexandra learns of the restrictions on her freedom that Jonas has put in place . . .





43066 Words



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Cover Art:

T.L. Davison


Terrie Lynn Balmer


Ellen Farrell

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SURPRISINGLY THE AFTERNOON WAS warm, and the sun brilliant, and Alexandra Jamieson was looking hard at the front of what might have been a private house except that it was in the City of London and only a short walk from the Bank of England. The terrace was handsome, and some of the houses had window boxes containing tiny regimented evergreen shrubs, and one had two splendid bay trees guarding the front door. All the houses had brass plates, rows and lines of brass plates, and those she was now scanning were glitteringly clean, though some were virtually indecipherable. Alexandra found Manningham and Partners, Manningham Holdings, Manningham Tree, then Jonas Manningham, Fourth Floor.

Alexandra went up the steps. In the narrow hallway there were mahogany doors but if there was a lift she didn't see it, and from the number of stairs she had to climb from floor to floor the rooms certainly had exceptionally high ceilings. She'd been in London anyway, in a library, and she intended to go back to the reading room to spend the rest of the day completing the work she'd begun that morning. Tramp, tramp, up we go, she thought as she climbed.

At the reception desk on the fourth floor she said only, 'I'm here to see Jonas Manningham about Stephen Canford.' It was at that point that she noticed the duplicate of what downstairs she'd taken to be the door to a locked box room. 'I suppose,' she conjectured, 'that that's the lift.' The receptionist nodded without looking up. She was to go straight in.

The north facing room, unlit except for a green lamp on a very large desk, looked out on to the brick wall of an adjoining property, and Alexandra thought the gloom rather charming.

She'd taken a single step when a cool voice said, 'Perhaps you wouldn't mind putting on the main light,' quite as though she had no choice but to obey. It was only when she turned from the switch near the door that she saw a tall man standing at one of the high windows.

'Sit down.'

There was what seemed to be the briefest possible moment of mutual astonishment and Alexandra, who'd been expecting him to say thank you, somewhat hesitantly did as she was told; though his voice was quiet, the tone had been peremptory, and there was something in his expression which told her that he was capable of being quite effortlessly disagreeable.

'You're about to say that you have no idea why I asked to see you.' He'd spoken as though he were wondering at the exact nature of some bizarre phenomenon, but not wondering to the extent of being concerned with her reply.

Alexandra, conscious of his physical presence, felt her awkwardness was showing. 'I was told that it was about Stephen Canford. Other than that I know nothing.'

'You're what, his cousin?'

It seemed to her that her shadow reached towards him. 'He's my half-brother.' Her mother had married twice; her second husband, a widower, had a son by his first wife. Simon would now have been twenty eight; she thought Jonas Manningham older, perhaps thirty-five, and without any of Simon's rather web-like charm. She found the comparison disturbing. She said slowly, 'In fact Stephen's my only living relative.'

'Then, Miss Canford, it's not altogether clear to me what this has to do with you and before things go any further I'm going to suggest that you talk to him.'

'Actually I'm--'

She'd stopped, stood up, because he didn't seem to have any interest in what or indeed who she actually was, or what she was saying. He seemed more concerned with her appearance, which he was studying as though somehow she were at a greater distance from him than she really was. And she, Alexandra Jamieson, chose to take it that she'd been very plainly dismissed. She turned abruptly and left the room.




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