WHEN OLD DECEPTIONS …
Ross Carlisle, Earl of Spalding, has dedicated his life to serving his country. When he discovers secrets that could endanger England, he’s forced into an impossible situation—commit treason and race to London to clear his name before the crown turns against him. He’s prepared to abandon everything he possesses in order to protect England, including his life…until he crosses paths with a woman who’s keeping her own secrets.
LEAD TO NEW DESIRES . . .
Ten years ago, Grace Alden fled London in order to protect her son, only to come face-to-face with that past when Ross collapses on her doorstep. They strike a deal—she’ll help him travel to London if he helps her reclaim her son’s inheritance. But as old deceptions turn into new desires, will they be willing to sacrifice everything they hold dear in order to protect the people they love?
“You are not a gentleman.” Her words were so soft that they were nearly lost beneath the rain pounding against the roof. “You are despicable.”
She held her breath and stood her ground, waiting for him to unleash his fury on her. It was what Vincent would have done. Just like her brother-in-law, would this stranger have enjoyed hurting her?
But instead of a harsh warning—or making good on his threat to tie her up—he forced a tight smile and turned back to mutter into the fire, “So much more than you know.”
He was quickly lost in his own thoughts, but Grace knew he was still aware of her and every move she made. If she attempted to run, he would pounce before she reached the door.
Entering her bedroom, she hesitated in the doorway. Part of her contemplated defying him and closing the door anyway. Would serve him right! But something in her gut told her not to press him. So far he’d kept true to his word and not attempted to hurt her, and the last thing she should do was provoke his anger. The night was half over now; by dawn the storm would be weakening, and then he’d be gone. She only had to wait him out.
Even knowing that, though, her fingers trembled as she shrugged out of the wet coat, then reached for her dress and undergarments in her dresser. The room was dark, and the shadows hid her from view, yet she took repeated glances over her shoulder to make certain he still kept his distance, still standing at the fireplace with his eyes focused on the flames.
After she’d changed into her dress and wrapped a shawl securely around her shoulders, she blew out a deep, silent breath of relief. Both at finally being properly dressed and that the stranger hadn’t moved from where she’d left him.
Her hands fumbled with putting up her damp hair as she emerged from the bedroom, with two hairpins between her lips. Grudgingly, she mumbled around them, “Thank you for not—”
He glanced up from the fire as she stepped from the shadows, his face fully visible in the firelight.
She halted in mid-step, her breath catching in her throat at the intensity of his stare as it trailed slowly over her. Not lasciviously, not predaciously—she’d expected that. Instead, he gazed at her in an assessing manner, a look filled with such deliberate aloofness that she couldn’t help but see the arrogant reserve beneath, the cool detachment…
At that moment, a long-forgotten memory rushed over her like a tidal wave. She placed him in her mind, as clearly as the moment she first saw him over ten years earlier at that crowded ball in London, and she shuddered.
Ross Carlisle, Viscount Mooreland, heir to the Earl of Spalding…
Dear God—so much worse than a stranger!
I fell in love with historical romances—and all those dashing Regency heroes!—while living in London, where I studied literature and theatre. I love to travel, fly airplanes, and hike, and when I’m not busy writing, I can usually be found in my garden, tending to my roses. I love to hear from readers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on all my social media. And be sure to sign up for my newsletter to be the first to receive exciting news, enter contests, access exclusive content, and more!