The young Duchess of Havenhurst has a dangerous secret -- one that's worth a king's ransom in stolen gems. And the handsome, dark-eyed Captain Alexie Wittelsbach, has no idea that the woman he desires most is the smuggler that keeps eluding his grasp.
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Amongst the wealth and power of
Queen Anne's court...
the young Duchess of Havenhurst honed her skills in seduction and diplomacy. But it was in her father’s house where Selinda first learned the lucrative trade of smuggling stolen gems from some of the world’s most dangerously guarded mines. Married against her will to the Duke of Havenhurst – a man thirty years her senior who neither loved nor wanted her – Selinda found refuge as one of the queen’s courtiers. But when she was suddenly widowed, the young duchess discovered her fortunes were desperately depleted.
Diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires –
the aristocracy had an unquenchable appetite for gems of rare beauty and Selinda found an eager market willing to pay dearly for what she could provide. With ample income to start rebuilding her legitimate estates, Selinda’s world of secrecy and intrigue seemed well on course. That is, until Alexie Wittelsbach, the handsome, dark-eyed captain of the HMS Nemesis, was charged with putting a stop to smuggling and piracy in England’s colonies. With her operations and identity threatened, Selinda gambled everything to succeed in one last venture that would finally free her from financial ruin. But only at the risk of losing all she had gained…and more.
“You have nothing to fear, Selinda,” Captain Wittelsbach whispered, sensing her unease. “Believe me when I say that you are safe in my presence. As an officer in Her Majesty’s service,
I am more than capable of defending you.”
She turned her head to look at him. His reassurance did little to comfort her. The fragrance of the garden blossoms was intoxicating and she wasn’t entirely sure of her senses. His eyes were on her again and Selinda felt her lips part slowly to speak, though she had no idea as to what she
might say. Before she could utter a word, his warm, firm lips were pressed to hers. He kissed her lightly once, then slowly backed away as if giving her a chance to salvage her dignity and slap him across the face. Like the first time she tasted champagne, she knew there would be no satisfying this thirst with one sip. But could she stop herself before the glass was drained and the bottle emptied?