Read By Winter's Light: A Cynster Novel (Cynster Special Book 2) Online

Authors: Stephanie Laurens

Tags: #historical romance

By Winter's Light: A Cynster Novel (Cynster Special Book 2)





A Cynster Novel


Stephanie Laurens

This e-book is licensed to you for your personal enjoyment only.

This e-book may not be sold, shared, or given away.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the writer’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.



Copyright © 2014 by Savdek Management Proprietary Limited

ISBN: 978-0-9922789-6-0


Cover design by Savdek Management Pty. Ltd.
Cover artwork © 2014 Doreen Minuto



No part of this work may be used, reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior permission in writing from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.


First electronic publication: October 2014

Savdek Management Proprietary Limited, Melbourne, Australia.

[email protected]


The names Stephanie Laurens and the Cynsters are registered trademarks of Savdek Management Proprietary Ltd.

A Cynster Novel


New York Times
bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to romantic Scotland to usher in a new generation of Cynsters in an enchanting tale of mistletoe, magic, and love.

It’s December 1837 and the young adults of the Cynster clan have succeeded in having the family Christmas celebration held at snow-bound Casphairn Manor, Richard and Catriona Cynster’s home. Led by Sebastian, Marquess of Earith, and by Lucilla, future Lady of the Vale, and her twin brother, Marcus, the upcoming generation has their own plans for the holiday season.

Yet where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind—the festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster’s sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster’s daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion smolder between them, but once bitten, twice shy, Claire believes a second marriage is not in her stars. Daniel, however, is determined to press his suit. He’s seen the love the Cynsters share, and Claire is the lady with whom he dreams of sharing
life. Assisted by a bevy of Cynsters—innate matchmakers every one—Daniel strives to persuade Claire that trusting him with her hand and her heart is her right path to happiness.

Meanwhile, out riding on Christmas Eve, the young adults of the Cynster clan respond to a plea for help. Summoned to a humble dwelling in ruggedly forested mountains, Lucilla is called on to help with the difficult birth of a child, while the others rise to the challenge of helping her. With a violent storm closing in and severely limited options, the next generation of Cynsters face their first collective test—can they save this mother and child? And themselves, too?

Back at the manor, Claire is increasingly drawn to Daniel and despite her misgivings, against the backdrop of the ongoing festivities their relationship deepens. Yet she remains torn—until catastrophe strikes, and by winter’s light, she learns that love—true love—is worth any risk, any price.

A tale brimming with all the magical delights of a Scottish festive season.
A Cynster novel – a classic historical romance of 71,000 words.


Praise for the works of Stephanie Laurens

“Stephanie Laurens’ heroines are marvelous tributes to Georgette Heyer: feisty and strong.”
Cathy Kelly

“Stephanie Laurens never fails to entertain and charm her readers with vibrant plots, snappy dialogue, and unforgettable characters.”
Historical Romance Reviews.

“Stephanie Laurens plays into readers’ fantasies like a master and claims their hearts time and again.”
Romantic Times Magazine



Richard and Catriona Cynster’s household at Casphairn Manor, December 1837

Lord Richard Cynster, aka Scandal
- married to Catriona, half-brother to Devil, Guardian of the Lady.

Catriona, Lady Cynster, Lady of the Vale
- married to Richard, mother of their five children

Lucilla Cynster
- eldest child of Richard and Catriona, twin to Marcus, future Lady of the Vale - 17years old

Marcus Cynster
- eldest son, twin to Lucilla, future Guardian of the Vale -17 years old

Annabelle Cynster
- second daughter of Richard and Catriona - 14 years old

Calvin Cynster
- second son of Richard and Catriona - 11 years old

Carter Cynster
- third son and youngest child of Richard and Catriona - 10 years old


Oswald Raven
- tutor to Richard Cynster’s sons, confirmed bachelor

Melinda Spotswood, Miss
- governess to Richard and Catriona’s daughters, confirmed spinster


- Catriona’s ageing mentor

- ancient retired butler of the manor


- current butler of the manor

Broom, Mrs.
- housekeeper at the manor

- just that


Cynster families visiting for the holidays

Lady Helena Cynster, Dowager Duchess of St. Ives, Her Grace
- matriarch of the clan, Devil’s mother

Lord Sylvester Cynster aka Devil, Duke of St. Ives, His Grace
- married to Honoria

Lady Honoria Cynster, Duchess of St. Ives, Her Grace
- married to Devil, mother of their three children

Lord Sebastian Cynster, Marquess of Earith
- eldest son of Devil and Honoria - 18 years old

Lord Michael Cynster
- second son of Devil and Honoria - 17 years old

Lady Louisa Cynster
- only daughter, third and youngest child of Devil and Honoria - 14 years old


Spencer Cynster, aka Vane
- cousin of Devil, brother of Demon, married to Patience

Patience Cynster
- married to Vane, mother of their four children, sister to Gerrard Debbington

Christopher Cynster
- eldest son and eldest child of Vane and Patience - 17 years old

Gregory Cynster
- second son of Vane and Patience -16 years old

Therese Cynster
- third child and only daughter of Vane and Patience - 14 years old

Martin Cynster
- third son and youngest child of Vane and Patience) - 11years old


Samuel Morris
- tutor to Vane and Patience Cynster’s sons, confirmed bachelor


Harry Cynster aka Demon
- brother of Vane, cousin of Devil, married to Felicity

Felicity Cynster aka Flick
- married to Demon, mother of their four children

Prudence Cynster
- eldest daughter, eldest child of Demon and Flick - 16 years old

Nicholas Cynster
- eldest son of Demon and Flick - 15 years old

Tobias Cynster aka Toby
- second son of Demon and Flick - 11 years old

Margaret Cynster
- second daughter and youngest child of Demon and Flick - 10 years old


Rupert Cynster aka Gabriel
- brother of Lucifer, cousin of Devil, married to Alathea

Alathea Cynster
- married to Rupert, mother of their three children

Justin Cynster
- eldest son, eldest child of Rupert and Alathea - 16 years old

Juliet Cynster
- eldest daughter and second child of Rupert and Alathea - 14 years old

Henry Cynster
- second son and youngest child son of Rupert and Alathea - 13 years old


Claire Meadows, Mrs.
aka Medy,
- widow, governess to Gabriel and Alathea’s daughter, has turned her back on marriage


Alasdair Cynster aka Lucifer
- brother of Gabriel, cousin of Devil, married to Phyllida

Phyllida Cynster
- married to Alasdair, mother of their five children

Aidan Cynster
- eldest son and eldest child of Alasdair and Phyllida - 16 years old

Evan Cynster
- second son of Alasdair and Phyllida - 15 years old

Jason Cynster
- third son of Alasdair and Phyllida - 11 years old

Lydia Cynster
- eldest daughter and fourth child of Alasdair and Phyllida - 10 years old

Amarantha Cynster
- second daughter and youngest child of Alasdair and Phyllida - 8 years old


Daniel Crosbie
- tutor to Lucifer and Phyllida Cynster’s sons, intent on wooing and winning Claire Meadows


Others in the locality

Carrick, Thomas
- nephew of the neighboring laird, Mad Manachan Carrick - nearly 20 years old

- Thomas’s very large and impressive deer hound, gray, shaggy, with a lot of teeth


Fields, Jeb
- a crofter on Carrick lands, married to Lottie

Fields, Lottie
- crofter-wife of Jeb

Fields, Lucy
- new-born daughter and first child of Lottie and Jeb


- deer hound puppy gifted to Lucilla by Thomas Carrick, Hesta’s daughter

- deer hound puppy gifted to Marcus by Thomas Carrick, Hesta’s son


Others mentioned but not present

Manachan Carrick aka Mad Manachan
- Laird of the Carricks, a neighboring clan

Nigel Carrick
- son and heir of Manachan, cousin of Thomas

Lady Antonia Chillingworth
- daughter of Gyles and Francesca, best friend to Lucilla and Prudence

Lady Francesca Chillingworth
- wife of Gyles and mother of Antonia, referred to by Cynster children as Aunt

Lady Celia Cynster
- married to Martin, mother of Rupert and Alasdair

Lord Martin Cynster
- married to Celia; father of Rupert and Alasdair

Debbingtons, the
- family of Gerrard, artist, brother of Patience Cynster, and his wife Jacqueline

Randall Meadows
- deceased, Claire’s late husband

Lady Mott
- Claire’s chaperone when she was presented to the ton

Therese, Lady Osbaldestone
- grande dame, close friend of Helena and well known to all Cynsters


Titles and their meaning:


Lady, the
- ancient Scottish deity worshipped in the Vale of Casphairn

Lady of the Vale, the -
Catriona’s title as principal representative of the Lady in that region

Guardian of the Lady -
title held by husband or male protector of the Lady of the Vale, currently held by Richard

- honorific bestowed by locals on those they consider to be the Lady’s representative

- refers to Lucilla as her mother’s ultimate successor

- denotes Her chosen who have heightened intuition and awareness of the land, and a degree of foresight



December 23, 1837

Casphairn Manor, the Vale of Casphairn, Scotland


Daniel Crosbie felt as if all his Christmases had come at once. Letting his gaze travel the Great Hall of Casphairn Manor, filled to overflowing with six Cynster families and various associated household members, he allowed himself a moment to savor both his unexpected good fortune and his consequent hope.

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