Love in the Afternoon





  Praise for

  Seduce Me At Sunrise

  “Has plenty to keep readers turning the pages: wit, suspense, secrets to learn, and, of course, lots of love and passion.”

  —The Monitor

  “Each member of the family is a delight to meet, and the depths of emotions and love they have for each other are shown magnificently . . . a spectacular story that continues the saga of the Hathaway family.”

  —Romance Reviews

  “Lushly sexy and thoroughly romantic . . . superbly crafted characters and an intriguing plot blend together brilliantly in this splendid romance.”

  —Booklist

  Mine Till Midnight

  “Vintage Kleypas . . . An unforgettable story peopled with remarkable characters and a depth of emotion that will leave you breathless with the wonderment of knowing what falling in love is really like.”

  —Romantic Times BOOKreviews

  “Kleypas’s effortless style makes for another sexy exploration of 19th-century passion and peccadilloes, riveting from start to finish.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  “Will steal the hearts of readers.”

  —Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina)

  MORE…

  “Captivating . . . The love story brims with humor and touches of pathos as the characters struggle with lost love and relinquishing grief to embrace life anew.”

  —Fresh Fiction

  “Strong characters, compelling romance, an intriguing story, and steamy passion.”

  —The State (Columbia, South Carolina)

  “Aside from creating wonderfully alluring characters in Cam and Amelia, Kleypas shows sexual tension, sensitively handles prejudice, and expertly weaves in a bit of the supernatural to round out a tale that is pure delight. Cam and Amelia’s romance is well-paced and is a pleasing balance of wit and passion. Their relationship is . . . riveting from beginning to end.”

  —Romance Reviews Today

  “RITA Award–winner Kleypas presents another wonderfully entertaining, lusciously sensual historical romance.”

  —Booklist

  St. Martin’s Paperbacks Titles by

  LISA KLEYPAS

  Married By Morning

  Tempt Me At Twilight

  Seduce Me At Sunrise

  Mine Till Midnight

  Smooth Talking Stranger

  Blue-Eyed Devil

  Sugar Daddy

  Love in the

  Afternoon

  LISA KLEYPAS

  St. Martin’s Paperbacks

  Table of Contents

  Title

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Prologue

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Epilogue

  NOTE: If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

  This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

  LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON

  Copyright © 2010 by Lisa Kleypas.

  Excerpt from Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor copyright © 2010 by Lisa Kleypas.

  Sketch of dog by Hillary James

  All rights reserved.

  For information address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

  ISBN: 978-0-312-60539-1

  Printed in the United States of America

  St. Martin’s Paperbacks edition / July 2010

  St. Martin’s Paperbacks are published by St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

  10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

  To my brilliant and utterly fabulous friend Eloisa. If I may paraphrase E.B. White: “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Eloisa is both.”

  Love always,

  L.K.

  Prologue

  Captain Christopher Phelan

  1st Battalion Rifle Brigade

  Cape Mapan

  Crimea

  June 1855

  Dearest Christopher,

  I can’t write to you again.

  I’m not who you think I am.

  I didn’t mean to send love letters, but that is what they became. On their way to you, my words turned into heartbeats on the page.

  Come back, please come home and find me.

  —[unsigned]

  Chapter One

  Hampshire, England

  Eight months earlier

  It all began with a letter.

  To be precise, it was the mention of the dog.

  “What about the dog?” Beatrix Hathaway asked. “Whose dog?”

  Her friend Prudence, the reigning beauty of Hampshire County, looked up from the letter that had been sent by her suitor, Captain Christopher Phelan.

  Although it wasn’t proper for a gentleman to correspond with an unmarried girl, they had arranged to send letters back and forth with Phelan’s sister-in-law as a go-between.

  Prudence sent her a mock frown. “Really, Bea, you’re displaying far more concern over a dog than you ever have for Captain Phelan.”

  “Captain Phelan has no need of my concern,” Beatrix said pragmatically. “He has the concern of every marriageable miss in Hampshire. Besides, he chose to go to war, and I’m sure he’s having a lovely time strutting about in his smart uniform.”

  “It’s not at all smart,” came Prudence’s glum reply. “In fact, his new regiment has dreadful uniforms—very plain, dark green with black facings, and no gold braiding or lace at all. And when I asked why, Captain Phelan said it was to help the Rifles stay concealed, which makes no sense, as everyone knows that a British soldier is far too brave and proud to conceal himself during battle. But Christopher—that is, Captain Phelan—said it had something to do with . . . oh, he used some French word . . .”

  “Camouflage?” Beatrix asked, intrigued.

  “Yes, how did you know?”

  “Many animals have ways of camouflaging themselves to keep from being seen. Chameleons, for example. Or the way an owl’s feathering is mottled to help it blend with the bark of its tree. That way—”

  “Heavens, Beatrix, do not start another lecture on animals.”

  “I’ll stop if you tell me about the dog.”

  Prudence handed her the letter. “Read it for yourself.”

  “But Pru,” Beatrix protested as the small, neat pages were pushed into her hands. “Captain Phelan may have written something personal.”

  “I should be so fortunate! It’s utterly gloomy. Nothing but battles and bad news.”

  Although Christopher Phelan was the last man Beatrix would ever want to defend, she couldn’t help pointing out, “He is away fighting in the Crimea, Pru. I’m not sure th