Evangeline Lindenmayer slipped through the marble halls toward her favorite room at 660 Fifth Avenue. Somehow the library had escaped the lavish attention to detail Mama and her architect had opulently bestowed on the other 149 rooms in the chateau.
The massive oak doors opened on well-oiled hinges, and the papery scent of books and leather enveloped Lindy. Sunlight streamed through the leaded glass windows and sparked off the gold lettering on the book spines. Her shoulders relaxed, and she gave a contented sigh. Such riches! In a lifetime, she could never read all the books here.
Her copy of Robinson Crusoe lay in the overstuffed chair where she'd left it the previous afternoon. Her mother had summoned her just as Robinson had been enslaved by a Moorish pirate.
And one didn't disobey Vera Lindenmayer.
Lindy had waited all day to discover his fate. Curling in the chair, she lost herself in seventeenth-century Africa. Sometime later, she closed the book and sighed.
"Is all well?" A tousled blond head peeked over the back of a leather Chesterfield sofa, and then a young man sat up and rubbed his eyes.
"Oh!" Lindy dropped the book and sprang to her feet, her hand at her throat. "Who might you be? What are you doing here?"
The man stood hastily and clutched a book against his black frockcoat. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. I must have fallen asleep."
"You did startle me, sir. And an unwelcome shock it was too!"
He reddened and took a step back. "Please forgive me. My name is Jack Winthrop." He glanced at the bookshelves. "Mr. Lindenmayer has kindly offered me the use of his excellent library while I'm studying for the ministry at Union Theological Seminary." He gulped and ran a finger around his collar.
"Oh." That sounds like Papa, with his tender heart.
"I'm also taking classes at Columbia, where the new anthropology department has recently opened."
Lindy's mouth fell open. Not one but two colleges. Does the fellow even know how fortunate he was? Oh, to have been born a man. It isn't fair.
"Please accept my heartfelt apologies for startling you, Miss . . ."
"Lindenmayer. Evangeline Lindenmayer."
"I'm pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Lindenmayer.
"Winthrop, you said? Are you related to Reverend Joseph Winthrop at St. Thomas?"
The young man nodded. "He is my uncle."
Lindy examined him a moment. The edges of his sleeves were shabby and his blond hair a trifle too long, falling over his collar, but something undeniably attractive about him telegraphed itself to her.
"I recognize you now. You usually sit at the back of the church."
Mr. Winthrop nodded. "That's right." He retrieved his hat off the sofa. "I'll be going now. Sorry to intrude."
Lindy laughed. He looks like a dog caught with the Sunday roast in his paws. "Don't leave, Mr. Winthrop, you won't be disturbing anyone. The only books Papa reads concern the care and breeding of horses, and my mother never comes in here. I'm the only one who frequents it with regularity. But aren't you going to be frightfully busy with classes at two different colleges?"
His face brightened. "I thrive on it, actually. It's a great privilege to attend both the university and the seminary. My uncle has generously made it possible."
"Do you have other family besides your uncle?"
"I don't believe I've seen her with you."
YOU ARE READING
The Test of GoldRomance
Heiress Evangeline "Lindy" Lindenmayer has been groomed since childhood to marry into the British aristocracy as her mother's ultimate ambition is a royal title for the family name. Literature fascinates Lindy far more than ballgowns, and she spends...