BUY THE BOOK:

Espionage, secrecy, and thwarted assassination attempts. The only thing more dangerous is being in love…

Gillian Chauncey, Baroness Chauncey, is a master of disguise, trained by her expatriated husband, a former French royalist, in the arts of espionage. When a dangerous life or death secret lands in her lap, she’s thrust into a perilous world of ticking clocks and desperation, arrowing her directly into the arms of the man who arranged her marriage.

Lord Simon Danbury is no ordinary nobleman. He’s been tasked by Admiral Nelson to organize an elite group of clandestine first sons willing to sacrifice all to protect England’s shores. When an assassination attempt is made on Nelson, Simon isn’t sure what poses more danger, the enemy or the masterfully seductive Gillian.

EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

Gillian stepped into the tub and slipped beneath the surface, releasing an audible sigh. She submerged her body, cleansing away her sorrow, guilt, and pain. Then she sank down, allowing the water to wash over her face. Beneath the surface, she held her breath, envisioning her garden, her home, and the solitude and sanctuary she and Lucien had experienced there, hanging on to the life they’d once lived. But she couldn’t. Her lungs squeezed. Her pulse began to pound like a death knell, every inch of her screaming for air. It was useless to cling to the past. She could never get back what she’d lost.

Lucien was dead.

She broke through the surface of the water and inhaled a wrenching breath. She smoothed the hair away from her face and settled her head back against the rim of the tub. Relaxing there, she fought to bring her heartbeat back under control and closed her eyes.

The scent of leather and spice infiltrated her senses. Was this still part of her imaginings? Had she finally come so unhinged that she could actually smell Simon when he wasn’t there? It was impossible for him to be. She’d left him in his townhouse with his wife. And yet, Gillian fought an odd sensation that he was there, that she was being watched.

A strange fizzling sound fractured the stillness, and Gillian sprang to attention. She reached for one of her knives, sloshing water over the sides of the tub. The weapon securely in hand, she surveyed the room, stifling the urge to scream. When would this night, and the dangers it brought, ever end?

In the corner of the room, she spied a small flame blaze in the darkness, then disappear. Tobacco filled the room as another glowing ember took shape. Someone was in her room!

“Forgive my intrusion,” a familiar voice said.

It was Simon!

She scrambled for something to cover herself even as an unbidden heat coiled in her belly. “How did you get in here?” she blurted, scarcely recognizing her own voice.

Had he entered while she’d been underwater? Or had he somehow left his wife after discovering she’d been there and come for retribution? Thinking upon it, she supposed the latter was possible since she’d been forced to fight for her life in the alley. She had no earthly idea how much time had passed since she’d last seen him.

He studied her thoughtfully. “I snuck in . . . The same way you entered my wife’s bedchamber.” There was an underlying sadness in his voice she’d only heard once before: the day they’d said goodbye five years earlier. Something was terribly wrong.

“I meant no harm,” she quickly told him. “Goodayle said your wife was ill, and I—”

“Didn’t believe him?” Simon stood up from the chair he was sitting in and slowly limped forward, his six-foot height looking impressive in the candlelight. His brown hair was abnormally mussed, his cravat askew. And he was still the handsomest man she’d ever known. “Edwina told me why you’d come. I thought you should know—and there is no gentle way to tell you this—she died shortly after that.”

She gasped, stricken by sadness for Simon and his wife but also riddled with guilt. Dear God, was Lady Danbury’s death her fault? Tears welled in her eyes. “Oh, Simon! I’m so very sorry. I never meant to cause your wife any harm. I learned of the old medicinal remedies in Kent, ways to help the sick, and I thought . . .”

“You thought what?” he asked.

“I thought I could help. I wanted to help her get well. But I did not comprehend how ill she was. And she . . . she . . .” Gillian couldn’t finish. How could she reveal that Lady Danbury had pleaded for Gillian to vow to always stay by Simon’s side?


 

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