The Lady Who Drew Me In
by Thomasine Rappold
GENRE: Historical Romance
Jackson Gallway's reputation as a rogue has far surpassed his success as a lawyer. In the wake of yet another scandal, he decides to head west. But before he can escape Misty Lake, Jax makes a promise to find an elusive killer. When he encounters a lovely young artist with an unusual talent that could help him in his search, what he finds is something neither of them can escape . . .
She checked the hour on the gold watch around her neck. Her appointment with William Markelson was at three o’clock, so she had only minutes to brace herself for more bad news. Rubbing her temples, she soothed the budding throb of a headache. At the sound of a woman’s laughter outside, Daisy glanced to the window. Felice Pettington.
Daisy shot to her feet. “It’s about time,” she mumbled, scooting around the desk for a closer view. Misty Lake’s most celebrated summer guest strolled up the walkway, blond spit curls bobbing beneath her stylish bonnet as she slathered her charms on the tall man at her side.
And who do we have here?
Daisy craned her neck toward the window. The pretty heiress nestled against her handsome escort, her gloved hands like twin boa constrictors coiled around his arm. Curious as to whom the woman had snared to join her on the impromptu visit, Daisy hurried out to the porch. Felice’s sweeping yellow skirts brushed the blooming shrubs flanking the stone walk, stirring petals and the scent of rhododendrons through the air. Her mousy maid followed in the flurry.
“Yoo-hoo!” Felice unfurled her grip on the man just enough to wave her gloved fingers. “This is Mr. Gallway.” She leaned toward the man’s impressive shoulder, batting her lashes as they stepped up to the porch. “Mr. Gallway is from Troy.”
Daisy’s heart lurched, as it always did, at the mention of Troy. Even after all this time, the painful memories of her past in the city hadn’t faded a whit. Felice smiled smugly. “He’s an attorney.”
Daisy took a deep breath. Of all the lawyers Felice might have cajoled to browbeat Daisy on her behalf, the woman had enlisted a relative of Daisy’s closest friend. Tessa Gallway had gushed that her rakish brother-in-law was handsome, but the simple description hardly did him justice. Daisy gave a slow nod, her aversion to lawyers suffering a brief lapse as she studied him closer. Layers of wavy black hair matched his thick brows and the sideburns that led to his jaw. His sapphire eyes sparkled in the sunlight.
And his mouth. Good Heavens, his mouth. Daisy swallowed hard, awed by her response to the man. He was nothing like she’d imagined, yet everything portrayed in the gossip. A notorious rogue intent on skirting marriage and sowing a silo’s worth of oats in the process.
His smile widened, as though he’d heard Daisy’s unspoken assessment and expected no less. More likely he was simply too arrogant to care.
“You can wait for me here, Myrtle.” Felice waved her maid toward one of the rocking chairs on the porch.
Daisy ushered them inside, and then led them down the hall to the library. After all this time, the scent of Lawry’s final cigar still clung to the paneled walls. The familiar smell she’d relished so fondly after his death affected her differently now. How could he do this to her?
Blinking back tears, she returned her focus to her guests. Felice batted her lashes, then proceeded with a formal introduction. Extending an arm toward Daisy, she said, “Mr. Jackson Gallway, I present the Widow Lansing.”
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To Tempt an Heiress
by Susanna Craig
GENRE: Historical Romance
Captain Andrew Corrvan has an unseemly reputation as a ruthless, money-hungry blackguard—but those on his ship know differently. He is driven by only one thing: the quest to avenge his father's death on the high seas. Until he agrees to abduct a headstrong heiress…
If traveling for weeks—without a chaperone—isn't enough to ruin Tempest, the desire she feels for her dark and dangerously attractive captor will do the rest. The storm brewing between them will only gather strength when they reach England, where past and present perils threaten to tear them apart—even more so than their own stubborn hearts…
Kidnapping was one of them.
This conversation ought to have been taking place in some dark dockside alley, not in the sun-dappled sitting room of the little stone house occupied by the plantation manager at Harper’s Hill. Andrew had never met the man before today, although he knew him by reputation. Throughout Antigua, Edward Cary was talked of by those who knew him, and by many more who didn’t, as a fool. As best Andrew had been able to work out, he had earned the epithet for being sober, honest, and humane—a string of adjectives rarely, if ever, applied to overseers on West Indian sugar plantations.
As the afternoon’s exchange suggested, however, even a paragon of virtue could be corrupted by a villainous place. Why else would Cary be attempting to arrange the abduction of a wealthy young woman?
“So, the talk of valuable cargo was just a ruse to lure me here?” Andrew asked.
“Not at all,” Cary insisted with a shake of his head. “Between her father’s private fortune, which she has already inherited, and Harper’s Hill”—he swept his arm in a gesture that took in the plantation around them—“which she will inherit on her grandfather’s death, Miss Holderin is worth in excess of one hundred thousand pounds.”
Despite himself, Andrew let a low whistle escape between his teeth. The chit would be valuable cargo indeed. “And how do you benefit from sending her four thousand miles away?”
“I don’t,” Cary said, and behind that rough-voiced admission and the mournful expression that accompanied it, lay a wealth of meaning. So the man had taken a fancy to his employer’s granddaughter, had he? “She has always been like a younger sister to me,” he insisted; somehow Andrew managed to contain his scoff. “When Thomas Holderin was on his deathbed, I gave him my solemn oath I would do all in my power to look after his daughter.”
“And now you wish to be rid of the obligation.”
“I wish—” he began heatedly. But apparently deciding his own wishes were beside the point, he changed course and said instead, “I believe she will be safer in England.”
“Then book her passage on the next packet to London.” Andrew thumped his battered tricorn against his palm, preparatory to placing it on his head and taking his leave. At his feet, his shaggy gray dog rose and gave an eager wag of his tail, bored with all the talk and ready to be on his way.
“If I could, I would. I have tried many times to reason with her. But Miss Holderin is . . . reluctant to leave Antigua. She believes she is more than a match for the dangers the island presents.” Cary turned toward the window. “She is wrong.”
Andrew followed the other man’s gaze. Fertile fields, lush forest, and just a glimpse of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea where they touched a cerulean sky. It would have been difficult to imagine a less threatening landscape, but Andrew knew well that appearances could deceive. The dangers here were legion.
“Why me?” Andrew asked after a moment, folding his arms across his chest and fixing the other man with a hard stare. “Do you know the sort of man I am?”
Unexpectedly, Cary met Andrew’s gaze with an adamant one of his own. “I do. You are said to be a ruthless, money-hungry blackguard.” Andrew tipped his chin in satisfied agreement. He had spent ten years cultivating that reputation.
“But of course, the sort of man you are said to be might not be entirely accurate, I suppose,” Cary continued, steepling his fingers and tilting his head to the side. “Your crew tells a slightly different story, Captain.”
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