Runaway Heart by Claudy Conn - Read Online
Runaway Heart
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Spirited Chelsea decided she’d sooner run away to a family friend than return to her vain and selfish guardian, Aunt Augusta. Expecting to settle for a quiet life in the country, she never in her wildest dreams imagined her dear godmother would arrange a season in London—or convince the haute ton’s most eligible bachelor to take her under his wing.

Lord Wainwright was a handsome rogue uninterested in coy games and missish airs. He expected a country mouse with no polish, but instead he found a thoroughly engaging minx and was oddly irritated by all the male attention she received.

Chelsea with her unspoiled eye saw beyond Wainwright’s pursuit of hedonism to the intriguing man underneath. But to her shock, it appeared his heart belonged to her horrid Aunt Augusta!

Published: Claudy Conn on
ISBN: 9781301660087
List price: $2.99
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Also by Claudy Conn

Risqué Regencies

Myriah Fire

Oh, Cherry Ripe

Rogues, Rakes & Jewels

Taffeta & Hotspur

Wildfire Kiss

Netherby Halls

After the Storm (coming in Feb. 2013)


Legend Series

Prince Prelude—Legend


Aaibhe—Shee Queen (Novelette)

Shee Willow—Legend

Prince in the Mist (Novella)


Free Falling—Legend

Catch & Hold—Legend


Shadow Series





Through Time Series

Through Time-Pursuit

Through Time-Whiplash (coming in Feb. 2013)


Hungry Moon Series

Hungry Moon: Quicksilver


DarkLove (published by Wild Rose Press)

What reviewers are saying

about Claudy’s books

ShadowLove—Stalkers is hot, Hot, HOT

ShadowLove—Stalkers is filled with steaming action and dramatic tension … Claudy delicately plants the seeds for future development and characters without distracting from the excitement and romance of Stalkers. The result is that she has a paranormal, vampire series, of romance novels, which carries her own unique and spicy aroma.

ShadowLove—Stalkers is hot, Hot, HOT … and yes, I am blushing.

~ Vonnie Faroqui, Ink Slinger’s Whimsey

Five Cups and a CTTR (Coffee Time Reviewer’s Recommend) Award

ShadowLove—Stalkers is a story that immediately hooks the reader. It reminds me of a roller coaster just beginning, only to plunge into speed, drawing the reader into non-stop action. Intense and spellbinding, this paranormal romance kept this reader engrossed until the conclusion. I loved the passion and chemistry between the main characters. With tremendous action and well thought out characters, this fantastic read sizzles and sparks like a firecracker.

~ Coffee Time Romance & More

Trapped Legend has my pulse skyrocketing!

A clever, fast paced, unpredictable blend of action, adventure, mystery, magic and steamy hot loving … I picked it up and couldn’t tear myself away from it until I read the last page.

I highly recommend each book in Claudy’s Legend series. You’re seriously missing out on some wonderful adventures if you haven’t read the previous stories. It’s by far one of the most exceptionally crafted, enchanting Fae series I’ve ever read.

~ Candice Stauffer, author

Five Stars for ShadowHeart—Slayer

This second in Conn’s Shadow series is filled with vampires, a vampire slayer, demons, wizards, a Fae prince and an unlikely romance. Claudy Conn does an excellent job of making this a standalone story while incorporating some of the characters from the first book and introducing us to several new characters. The war is still brewing and now the fae are becoming involved. Can’t wait for the next book in the series.

This is another one I couldn’t put down and read in a single sitting. I got so caught up in the action I was sad to see it end. Fans of the paranormal romance, urban fantasy and vampire genres should enjoy this as well.

~ Wild About Bones on GoodReads

One hot and thrilling book

I fell for all three of the main characters, fun loving Maxie, dark and brooding Julian, and one hot Fae, Breslyn. However, it wasn’t just the characters that kept me on the edge of my seat, it was the entire involved plot that included jealously, betrayal, magic, murder, and, of course, hot passion … The well-written out mixture of myth and legend, not to mention the characters, all in today’s world has me Joyfully Recommending Spellbound—Legend as one book you won’t want to miss.

~ Jo, Joyfully Reviewed

5 out of 5 stars

Fanning the flames of Myriah Fire!

What was once an innocent, if rollicking, regency romance has exploded with passion as Claudy Conn revisits Myriah Fire to turn up the heat.

The addition of unbridled sexual passion to Myriah Fire’s strong story brings dimensions of maturity and depth to the struggles faced by Myriah and Kit, without diminishing any of the innocence, joy or charm found in the original story. This revised version of Myriah Fire allows Claudy’s regency followers to appreciate what her paranormal romance fans have discovered—mind-bending eroticism.

A truly captivating tale with a blast of added sizzle, Myriah Fire will kindle the flames of your heart and burn up the night.

~ Vonnie Faroqui, Ink Slinger’s Whimsey

Love, love, love Myriah Fire!

It’s a brilliant, fast-paced, and ‘true to its title’, ‘going to catch you on fire’ romance. Looking forward to more! Hoping Claudy Conn plans to share more of her historical treasures with us.

~ Candice Stauffer, author

Myriah has always been my favorite

This is a sweet, funny, charming romance. The characters are likeable and the story is well told. I loved all of the Claudette Williams (now Claudy Conn) books, but this one has always been my favorite. I hope she will put out more of her backlist.

~ lmjolicoeur on Smashwords

5 Stars for Rogues, Rakes, and Jewels!

Being a huge fan of Jane Austen, with Emma and Pride and Prejudice being two of my favorite romance novels, I was thrilled when Claudy sent me her regency romance to review. This novel had everything: danger, a villain, twists, and more secrets between characters then I could count. I really enjoyed the story and the strong female lead. One thing that I will say about Conn’s Regency romance is this is no Jane Austen. There was serious heat in the book between the main characters. That just made this an even better Regency piece. I recommend it for a fun and delightful read. I will look to read her other Regency romances now.

~ Emily Walker’s Reviews

5 Stars

Another fun regency by Claudy Conn. Full of characters who come to life and pull you into the story. And as always the evil villain lurking about ready for his chance to wreak havoc. From the forests of Nottingham to the streets of London, there is plenty of excitement and page-turning adventure from beginning to end.

~ Reviews by Jutzie

Runaway Heart


Claudy Conn

Copyright Page

Runaway Heart

By Claudy Conn

Copyright © 2013 by Claudy Conn

Edited by: Karen Babcock

Cover Artist: Kendra Egert

All rights reserved

Published in the United States of America

Smashwords Edition

First edition, 2012

Second edition, January 2013

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Names, characters, and events depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, places, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.

Excerpt of Netherby Halls

Copyright © 2013 by Claudy Conn

Excerpt of Wildfire Kiss

Copyright © 2012 by Claudy Conn

Excerpt of Rogues, Rakes, & Jewels

Copyright © 2012 by Claudy Conn

Excerpt of Prince Prelude—Legend

Copyright © 2012 by Claudy Conn

Discover this and other titles by Claudy Conn at

Risqué Regencies

Oh, Cherry Ripe

Myriah Fire

Rogues, Rakes & Jewels

Taffeta and Hotspur –

Wildfire Kiss

Runaway Heart

Netherby Halls –

Legend Series

Prince Prelude—Legend


Aaibhe—Shee Queen

Shee Willow—Legend

Prince in the Mist


Free Falling—Legend

Catch & Hold—Legend

Shadow Series




Time Series

Through Time-Pursuit

Hungry Moon Series

Hungry Moon: Quicksivler


This is for a friend, a fellow author, and such a dear person,

Teresa Bohannon

~ One ~

PERT, SASSY, AND although about to turn nineteen still full of mischief, Chelsea Halloway stood before the headmistress of Strubett’s Finishing School.

Mrs. Farthing sighed. I hold you, in spite of your rebellious nature, in great affection, my dear girl—and do not think you can tease me with those bright silver eyes. She took a long strand of Chelsea’s gold-lit auburn hair and sighed again.

No, Mrs. Farthing, but—

No buts. We must deal with this situation now.

Yes, Mrs. Farthing, but—

Mrs. Farthing sighed loudly once more and repeated, No buts. It is now beyond my scope to do anything more about this. You shouldn’t be here—at school. You should be enjoying your London season. Oh my, but this situation is shameful!

When Chelsea had lost her parents at age fourteen, her guardianship had gone to her uncle, who had looked after her fortune and doted on her until his death the year before. Responsibility for Chelsea had then passed to her aunt, a young widow determined not to grieve. No more than thirty, attractive, vain, and selfish, Augusta Halloway had scarcely bothered with Chelsea in the past year. She’d even left Chelsea to amuse herself at school over Christmas, as she was busy gadding about; outraged, Mrs. Farthing had taken Chelsea home with her.

I won’t go to her, Chelsea said heatedly. She doesn’t really want me—and why should I go where I am not wanted? She put up her chin. I shall set up an establishment of my own. There is nothing in Papa’s will that prohibits me from doing that.

"Perhaps not, but you do not get control of your immediate inheritance until you are one and twenty—or married. In the meantime, your trustee would have to agree to such a scheme, and let me assure you, Chelsea, he will not. It just isn’t done …"

Well, my aunt doesn’t want me underfoot. She would be happy to set me loose.

"Well, be that as it may, I think she is smart enough to know that she would be severely criticized by the members of the ton for it, and I don’t think she wants that either. You will have to go to your aunt for the time being." Mrs. Farthing tried to pat Chelsea’s hand, but she was already pacing away.

Who is my trustee, please? asked Chelsea.

Your dear father’s friend, Lord Rupurt Lytton.

Is he also living in London?

Well … I am not certain. I know he resides in London now and then, but—

Chelsea interrupted. I shall apply to him.

My dear, do you not think I already did that? I inquired if there was anyone more suitable than your frivolous aunt to see to your season, and he said there was not. However, it was his influence that prompted your aunt to send for you. I daresay he threatened to withdraw the handsome allowance your father’s will allows your guardian.

I shall write to him and implore his lordship. Where does he reside?

Lytton House in Lymington, but, Chelsea—

Dear Mrs. Farthing, you are not to worry about me. I won’t do anything rash, Chelsea assured her.

Then you will pack and make ready to leave—as your aunt wrote that she expects me to send you right to her.

Yes, immediately, agreed Chelsea.

"I do hate to lose you, my dear, but it is your time to enter the haute ton, take your rightful place, make a good marriage, and enjoy your womanhood. The time for being a child is done."

Chelsea smiled affectionately at her. I understand, she said and then added under her breath as she left the room, "Ha—not if I can help it!"

* * *

Here. Take this—quickly, Chelsea whispered as she threw her portmanteau down from her window. She then proceeded to lower the knotted sheets that she had tied to a sturdy side table leg out the window.

Careful, you silly chit! her cohort admonished as Chelsea wrapped her hands and legs around the sheet. She was hampered by the folds of her long skirt but managed through sheer determination to hold onto the sheet. She closed her eyes and made her way down from her second-story bedroom, dangling at times and afraid she wouldn’t be able to hold on.

The sheets stopped about eight feet short of the grass, but it was close enough, and with her partner in crime urging her to hurry, she made the jump.

She giggled from a combination of nerves and accomplishment upon landing, and the young man who held her one piece of luggage snorted and said, You are a complete hand.

Am I, Sam? Is that not good?

If you were a man, aye … that would be good. But you are not. You are a woman and nearly nineteen.

And here you are helping me even so, she said on a short laugh.

Because you are a twiddle-poop that cannot be left to her own devices, he answered.

What an unhandsome thing to say, she answered slapping him lightly across the back of his head.

Well, never mind that now, he returned impatiently as he led her forward. It just happens that tonight I am a bit in agreement with you as to this scheme. You don’t seem to have a choice. He bent and picked up his peaked hat, which had fallen off when she had slapped him. He looked around and said on a tease, But on second thought, still a twiddle-poop.

She managed to control herself and did not knock off his hat again, though she pinched his cheek a bit roughly.

Come on … He frowned at her. We haven’t any time for foolishness.

Which horse did you bring me?

Well, as to that, I didn’t bring you a horse, Chelsea. Thought it best to tweak m’father’s gig.

Mr. Martin! Chelsea objected in shocked accents. You will catch holy horror for this … and be in the suds forever. Never say you have your father’s bays?

Aye, Mr. Sam Martin said, his voice edged with a touch of concern.

No—we simply cannot take them, Chelsea argued.

Well, and we must. We can make the road to Lymington and be there by morning tea. It is four now, and we should reach the Lytton House by eight or so. Then, I can rest the team a bit, turn around, get home, groom ’em, and none the wiser. Papa is away and won’t be back for a couple of days yet.

Sam, you are the best of good friends to do this for me. Chelsea flung her arms around him. He smiled at her, and in the morning duskiness, she fancied she saw him blush. How odd, she thought before realizing he must be flushed from the adventure.

He had been like a brother to her for so long. They had met at a pond when she had been twelve; it was her first year away from her parents and up at school. She had walked up to him as he sat quietly fishing and shoved a frog in his face with a proud giggle and demanded to know if he had ever seen any frog quite that large.

They immediately became fast friends.

He was a bit older, having just attained his majority the week before. He was one and twenty and was forever lording his age over hers, but he had told Chelsea he would help her. Given what he considered her deplorable situation, he felt it his duty to look after her. As though I would let that mean-spirited woman gain financially from your inheritance. She doesn’t give a fig about your welfare.

Oh, Sam. Chelsea sighed sadly. She doesn’t at all. Truth is, I think she never loved my uncle. Married him for his money …

Come on then, he said gruffly. Let’s go, can’t keep m’horses standing, you know. He took her elbow, and they rushed down to the lane where he had his team tethered to a nearby tree. He helped her up, climbed up beside her, and put a blanket over her lap, which she shared with him by stretching it across his lap, and onward they went in comfortable silence for a time.

You were very brilliant to think of a blanket as well, Chelsea commented.

Aye, so I was, he agreed happily.

Chelsea sighed. Poor Mrs. Farthing. I am afraid the note I left her won’t be enough to alleviate her discomfort in this situation, but I had no choice. I did not mention your part in all of this.

Don’t worry yourself over it. Lord Lytton will no doubt send her word that you arrived safe and sound.

"Do you think he will try and force me to go to my aunt? For I shan’t!"

Don’t think he would be such a rum touch as to send you there after you tell him how you have been used since your uncle died. He shook his head and said with disgust, Left to rot at a boarding school you have been too old to attend for more than a year!

Chelsea sighed and patted his arm. You are quite wonderful … and I shall miss you so very terribly.

Won’t have to miss me. Will visit you wherever you are. He grinned broadly, and Chelsea put her face against his arm and sighed.

He glanced at her and patted her head, and the two once again fell into a comfortable silence.

This, however, did not last very long, as all at once Chelsea sat up straight before shouting, Stop! Sam—stop!

He pulled up his team and exclaimed, What, Chels—what is it?

As an answer, she jumped from the curricle and headed towards a group of young boys no more than seven or eight years old.

Sam shook his head, for he knew Chelsea all too well. Oh no, Chelsea! he called out. We don’t have time for this.

However, by the time he got these words out, Chelsea had two young lads by their blazer collars and looked as though she were just about ready to knock them into one another. A much smaller and younger lad lay flat in the dirt and not moving.

What do you two think you are doing? Cowards. Little scoundrels! Look at him—he is smaller and younger, and there are two of you! Chelsea declared while shaking them roughly.

Sam set the brake in placed and secured his team before rushing into the scene. The two boys began to cry when he arrived and hurriedly disengaged Chelsea’s hands from their coats to say to them, "Go on with you two ruffians, go on!"

Feeling this was not quite enough, Chelsea shouted after them, If ever you go after someone who can not defend themselves against you, you will be asking for terrible trouble. Understand?

They blubbered and nodded and ran as fast as they could while Chelsea and Sam saw to the youth on