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Authors: Jude Deveraux

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The Scent of Jasmine

BOOK: The Scent of Jasmine
13.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“A master storyteller” (
The Literary Times
), Jude Deveraux creates a wonderful world of family ties and small-town secrets in these unforgettable
New York Times

Days of Gold

“Deveraux has a sure hand evoking plucky heroines, dastardly villains, and irresistible heroes, as well as a well-rounded supporting cast. . . . The pace moves quickly and the romance sparks with enough voltage to keep readers turning pages.”

Publishers Weekly

Lavender Morning

“Sweet and salty characters . . . entertaining . . . one of her most fun and pleasing tales.”


“A fabulous family drama filled with twists.”

—The Best Reviews

“Deveraux once again delivers. . . . Readers will find it hard to resist the charms of Edilean, the manor house, the town, the woman of many secrets, and, of course, the series to come.”

Publishers Weekly

“Quick dialogue, interesting settings, and plot twists.”

Deseret Morning News
(Salt Lake City, UT)

The Scent of Jasmine
is also available as an eBook

“Deveraux’s touch is gold” (
Publishers Weekly
) in all of her “exquisite and enchanting” (
) novels . . . read them again and again!


“A sweet love story filled with twists and turns.”


“The deceptions will keep readers trying to guess the next plot twist.”

Romantic Times

Someone to Love

“Fabulous. . . . Fast-paced. . . . Delightful paranormal romantic suspense.”

—Harriet Klausner

Have you ever wanted to rewrite your past?
Get swept away in the magic of

The Summerhouse
Return to Summerhouse

“Marvelously compelling. . . . Deeply satisfying.”

Houston Chronicle

“Entertaining summer reading.”

The Port St. Lucie News

First Impressions

“An adventurous tale spiced with both humor and danger.”

Romantic Times Book Club

Jude Deveraux “instinctively knows what every woman is searching for—her own knight in shining armor” (
Romantic Times

Savor her wonderful trilogy

Forever . . .     Forever and Always     Always
“Bewitching. . . . High-spirited. . . . Irresistibly eerie, yet decidedly a love story.”

Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

“An intriguing paranormal tale . . . a delightful otherworldly fantasy.”


“Cannot be put down until the last word is read. . . . Truly amazing.”

Romance Reviews Today

“[A] modern fairy tale. . . . This is Deveraux at her most pleasurable.”


Wild Orchids

“[Deveraux] does a superb job of building up to her chilling conclusion.”

Publishers Weekly

The Mulberry Tree

“Mystery, romance, and good cooking converge. . . .”


“Any novel by Jude Deveraux is just plain fun to read, and she keeps readers on the edge of their seats.”

—The Advocate
(Baton Rouge, LA)


The Velvet Promise

Highland Velvet

Velvet Song

Velvet Angel


Counterfeit Lady

Lost Lady

River Lady

Twin of Fire

Twin of Ice

The Temptress

The Raider

The Princess

The Awakening

The Maiden

The Taming

The Conquest

A Knight in Shining Armor



The Mountain Laurel

The Duchess


Sweet Liar

The Invitation


The Heiress


An Angel for Emily

The Blessing

High Tide


The Summerhouse

The Mulberry Tree

Forever . . .

Wild Orchids

Forever and Always


First Impressions

Carolina Isle

Someone to Love


Return to Summerhouse

Lavender Morning

Days of Gold

Scarlet Nights

Pocket Books
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2011 by Deveraux, Inc.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Pocket Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

First Pocket Books paperback edition January 2011

POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

For information about special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-866-506-1949 or [email protected]

The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at

Cover illustration by Melody Cassen

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN 978-0-7434-7902-8
ISBN 978-1-4391-6896-7 (ebook)


Charleston, South Carolina, 1799

“Think about the Highlands,” T.C. Connor said to his goddaughter, Cay. “Think about your father’s homeland, of the people there. He was the laird, so that means you’re the laird’s daughter, which means—”

“Do you think my father would want me to do what you’re asking of me?” Cay asked, her thick-lashed eyes smiling at him.

T.C. lay on his bed with a splint from his knee to his hip. He’d broken his leg just hours before and grimaced from pain at the slightest movement, but he gave Cay a weak smile. “If your father knew what I was asking of his precious daughter, he’d tie me to a wagon and drag me across a couple of mountains.”

“I’ll go,” Hope said from the other side of the bed. “I’ll take a carriage and—”

T.C. put his hand over hers and looked at her fondly. Hope was the only child of Bathsheba and Isaac Chapman. Her beautiful young mother had died years before, while her grumpy, unpleaseable old father lingered on. T.C. Connor claimed he was just “a friend of the family,” but Cay had heard whispers among the women that there had been more between Bathsheba and T.C. than just friendship. It was even whispered that T.C. could possibly be Hope’s father.

“That’s very kind of you to offer, dear, but . . .” He trailed off, not wanting to state the obvious. Hope had been raised in a city and she’d never been on the back of a horse. She traveled only in carriages. And, also, she’d fallen down a staircase when she was three and her left leg had healed incorrectly. Under her long skirts she wore a shoe with a two-inch-thick sole.

“Uncle T.C.,” Hope said patiently, “what you’re asking of Cay is impossible. Look at her. She’s dressed for a ball. She can’t very well ride a horse wearing that gown.”

T.C. and Hope looked at Cay and the sparkling splendor of her nearly lit up the room. Cay was just twenty years old and, while she’d never be the classical beauty her mother was, she was very pretty. Her dark blue eyes peered out from under extraordinarily long lashes, but her best feature was her thick auburn hair that was now pinned up, with curls escaping and softening the strong jaw line she’d inherited from her father.

“I want her to go directly from the meeting place to the ball.” When he tried to sit up, T.C. had to suppress a groan. “Maybe I can—”

Hope gave him a gentle push on the shoulder, and he fell back against the mattress. She wiped his sweat-covered forehead with a cool cloth.

Winded, he looked back at Cay. The gown she had on was exquisite. A white satin overlaid with gauze, it was covered with hundreds of little crystal beads set in intricate patterns. It clung to her slim figure perfectly, and if he knew her father, Angus McTern Harcourt, the dress cost more than T.C. had earned last year. “Hope is right,” T.C. said. “You can’t possibly go in my place. It’s much too dangerous for anyone, especially for a young girl. If only Nate were here. Or Ethan or Tally.”

At the mention of three of her four older brothers, Cay sat down on the chair by the side of the bed. “I can outride Tally,” she said of her brother who was less than a year older than she was. “And I can shoot as well as Nate.”

“Adam,” T.C. said. “If only Adam were here.”

Cay gave a sigh. She couldn’t do anything as well as her oldest brother Adam could. But then, only her father was a match for Adam.

“Uncle T.C.,” Hope said and there was warning in her voice, “what you’re doing isn’t right. You’re trying to goad Cay into doing something that is absolutely and utterly
for her to do. She—”

“Maybe not impossible,” Cay said. “I mean, all I’m to do is to ride to a specified place leading a pack horse, and pay a couple of men. That’s all there is to it, isn’t it?”

“That’s all,” T.C. said as he again tried to sit up. “When you meet the men, you hand the bag of coins to them, and give Alex the reins to the packed horse. The men will go away, then you’ll ride your mare on to the ball. The whole thing is really quite simple.”

“Maybe I could—” Cay began, but Hope cut her off.

Hope had stood up, with her hands on her hips, and she was glaring down at T.C. on the bed. “T.C. Connor, what you’re doing to this poor child’s mind is nothing short of evil. You are twisting her thoughts around until she can’t even remember the facts of all this—if she ever knew them.”

Hope was nearly thirty, a full nine years older than Cay, and she often treated Cay as though she were barely past the age of rope jumping.

understand what he’s asking,” Cay said.

“No, you don’t.” Hope’s voice was growing louder. “All of them are criminals. Every one of them. Those two men you’re to pay—” She glared at T.C. “Tell her where you got them.”

“Jayz,” T.C. mumbled, but at Hope’s look he said more clearly, “Jail. I got them as they were being released from prison. But where else was I going to get men to do what I needed done? From church? Hope, you’re forgetting that it’s Alex who matters in all this. It’s Alex who—”

“Alex!” Hope put her hands to the side of her head, and for a moment she turned away. When she looked back at the man on the bed, her face was red with anger. She wasn’t an especially pretty woman and the color didn’t make her more so. “You know nothing about this Alexander McDowell. You never even met him until you went to see him in prison.”

Cay’s eyes widened. “But I thought—”

“You thought our dear uncle T.C. knew him, didn’t you? Well, he doesn’t. Our godfather served in the army with this Alex’s father and your father, and—”

“And the man saved my life more than once.” T.C.’s tone was angry. “He protected us when we were so green we didn’t even know to duck when people started shooting at us. Mac was like a father, or a big brother, to all of us. He—”

“Mac?” Cay said as she was finally beginning to put the story together. “The man you’re helping to escape from prison is the son of the Mac who my father speaks of?”

“Yes,” T.C. said as he turned toward Cay. “I don’t think your father would be alive today if it weren’t for Mac.”

“Tell her what the son did,” Hope said, her face still as red as a sunburn. “Tell Cay what the man did to get himself put in jail.”

When T.C. was silent, Cay said, “I thought he was—”

“What? Arrested for drunkenness? For falling on his face into a horse trough?”

“Hope!” T.C. said sternly, and Cay could see that his face was also red—and in exactly the same way as Hope’s. “I really think that—”

“That you could bamboozle Cay into doing what you want her to do without telling her the facts?”

“What did he do?” Cay asked.

“He murdered his wife!” Hope nearly shouted.

“Oh.” Cay was unable to think of anything else to say. Her eyes were so wide she looked like a doll in her beautiful dress. There were three stars covered in diamonds in her hair and they sparkled in the candlelight.

Hope sat down on the chair by the bed and looked at T.C. “Should I tell her or will you?”

“You seem to be set on telling all the gory details so
tell her.”

“You weren’t here,” Hope began, “so you didn’t see all the nasty stories in the newspapers. Alexander Lachlan McDowell came to Charleston three months ago, met the very beautiful and talented Miss Lilith Grey, and married her right away. The day after the wedding, he slit her throat.”

Cay put her hand to her neck in horror.

Hope looked at T.C., who glared back at her. “Have I said anything wrong? Exaggerated anything?”

“Every word is straight out of the newspapers,” T.C. said tightly.

Hope looked back at Cay. “This man Alex was only found out by accident. Someone threw a rock with a note attached to it through the window of Judge Arnold’s bedroom. The note said that Alex McDowell’s new bride was dead and she could be found beside her husband in the suite at the top of the best hotel in town. At first the judge thought it was a horrible joke, but when Dr. Nickerson started pounding on the door, saying he had received the same note, the judge went with him to investigate.” Hope looked at T.C. “Should I go on?”

“Can I stop you?”

Cay looked from one to the other and saw two jaws set in exactly the same way, two pairs of eyes flashing anger in the same way. She imagined how when she got home she and her mother would giggle together over every word, every gesture, of what had gone on tonight. She’d tell her father, too, but she’d have to edit the story carefully and leave out any mention of “jail” and “murder.”

“The judge and the doctor burst in on this Alexander McDowell before it was even daylight, and beside him on the bed was his new wife. She was lying there with her throat cut!”

Again Cay gasped, her hand at her neck.

“I’d be willing to stake my life on it that Mac’s son did not commit the murder,” T.C. said calmly.

“That would be all right but you’re risking
life, not yours!” Hope shot back at him.

Cay looked from one to the other and wasn’t sure they were ever going to speak to each other again. “So you’re breaking him out of jail and sending him away?”

“That was my plan, except that I was going with him.”

“On another of his long, dangerous treks,” Hope said, her voice still angry. “Where were you planning to go this time?”

“Into the wilds of Florida.”

Hope gave a shiver of revulsion.

All her life, Cay had heard about Uncle T.C.’s travels. He’d gone with exploration teams into the far west and seen things no other white man had. He loved plants, seemed to know the Latin names of all of them, and he’d spent three years learning to draw what he saw. However, while others praised his drawings, Cay and her mother had kept their opinions to themselves, for they shared a talent for art and they found his paintings too simple, too unschooled. One of Cay’s drawing masters—she’d had them since she was four—had been the English artist Russell Johns. The man was a tyrant in the studio, and Cay’d had to work hard to keep up with his demands, but she’d done it. “If only you were a boy,” he’d said to her many times, his voice wistful.

Cay didn’t realize she’d said the words aloud until she saw T.C. and Hope staring at her. “I was thinking about—”

“Mr. Johns,” T.C. said. “Your latest teacher.” He was looking at her with envy. “How I wish I had your talent, Cay. If I could draw as well and as quickly as you, I’d produce three times as much, and all of it would be good. Foreshortening drives me mad!”

Hope didn’t know much about Cay or her family. Their shared interest was T.C., as he was godfather to both of them. All Hope had been told was that Cay had “a decision to make” and she’d come to stay in Charleston while she made it. “Do you paint?”

T.C. gave a little laugh that sent pain shooting through his body. He rubbed his knee under the bandages while he tried to catch his breath. “Michelangelo would be jealous of her talent.”

“I hardly think so,” Cay said, but she was smiling. Modestly, she looked down at her hands on her lap.

“And you want to risk this lovely young woman to rescue a murderer?” Hope was glaring at T.C.

“No. I just want her to do something for a man who has lost everything! If you’d visited him in jail with me, as I begged you to do, you would have seen his grief. He was more concerned about what he’d lost than what was going to happen to

Hope was unmoved and Cay guessed that this was an argument they’d had many times before. “And after this man is rescued, then what does he do?” Hope asked. “Spend the rest of his life running from the law?”

“As I said, the original plan was for Alex to travel with me into Florida with Mr. Grady.” He glanced at Cay. “Mr. Grady is the leader of this expedition and we’ve been planning this trip since the spring. I was to be the recorder, to draw and paint all that we see. Mr. Grady was kind to hire me, as he knows I can’t draw a person or an animal. Only plants interest me. Cay can—”

Cay didn’t want to hear more praise of her artist skills; they seemed superfluous when someone’s life was in danger. “If no one is there to meet him, what will this man do?”

“Get caught, returned to jail, and hanged tomorrow morning,” T.C. said.

Cay looked at Hope for confirmation, but she refused to make a comment. “So you want me to take a horse to him?”

“Yes!” T.C. said before Hope could speak. “That’s all. Pay the men who are to break him out of jail, give the horse to Alex, then leave.”

“And where will he go if I do this?”

“To Mr. Grady. I’ve drawn a map of where Alex is to meet the expedition.” He gave Cay a look of speculation. “I guess that now Mr. Grady will have to get someone else to do the recording as I can’t go. Too bad . . .”

Cay smiled, knowing what he meant. “Even if I were male, that’s not something I’d like to do. I’m quite happy living near my family in Virginia, and I want to stay there. I leave the adventuring to my brothers.”

“As is right and proper,” Hope said. “Women aren’t supposed to run all over the country doing what men do. And they are most certainly
supposed to straddle a horse and ride out to meet a murderer.”

T.C. was looking at Cay with serious eyes. “I’ve known you all your life and you know I’d never ask you to do anything dangerous. You can cover your dress with Hope’s big hooded cloak, and I know you can ride. I’ve seen you jump fences that scare most men.”

BOOK: The Scent of Jasmine
13.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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