Tossed by Fate...Caught by love. Across the continents and upon the raging seas, she sought to offer one man the gift of her desire.
Heiress to a vast shipping empire, Juliette le Roy, fragile flower of the French court, is forced to fight for her honor, her fortune, her life as she struggles against her attraction to her father’s avowed enemy, the ruthless Captain Christian Youngblood. Through every heartbreak and trial—marriage to an English lord whose cold indifference is fed by a dark secret, abduction by pirates to the teeming slave markets of Istanbul, swept by fate across the ocean to a Caribbean island engulfed by the raging revolutionary war—her heart burns for the dashing Youngblood whose struggles with his past stand in the way of the love he would deny. Across the continents, upon the raging seas, love pursued her, haunted her, conquered her.
Familiar emerald eyes flashed at him. “Let go of me,” she said, pulling free.
“What are you doing here?” he demanded.
“I am just as surprised to see you,” she said, her chin tilting up at him. “I was out for a morning ride when my horse picked up a stone. If you will excuse me now, I must be going.”
“Hold it,” he said, spinning her back around before she could mount. “You can leave after you answer my questions.”
“Questions? I don’t have to answer any questions. Am I on trial?”
“Nobody’s on trial,” he said, letting her go. “But I’d still like to know what you’re doing here. First you appear at the Royal Palace at Versailles on the arm of a traitorous Frenchman, then you nearly run me down in the street fleeing a very sticky situation. And after I rescue you from that, you thank me by running off with my money. Now you turn up here, claiming to be someone you’re not.”
Juliette gasped. “I don’t claim to be anyone other than who I am.”
“Don’t you think I know you’re the wench my…the Duke is going to marry? I can put two and two together. That’s a Kenmare horse you’re riding. What sort of game are you playing now?”
“You’re insane,” Juliette responded. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Do you take me for a fool? The Duke plans to marry a Mademoiselle Delacroix. You are Mademoiselle le Roy. How do you explain that?”
Green eyes narrowed with fury “Madame le Roy is my Godmother,” she said tersely. “She was the best friend of my mother who died when I was very young. When the Chevalier le Roy died, she traveled to Spain to take me out of the convent my father had placed me in. She took me into her home and treated me like her own daughter. So it is with gratitude and deep affection that I use the name le Roy, but my real name is Delacroix. Juliette Delacroix.”
Christian swallowed hard at the revelation. “You are the daughter of Michel Delacroix?”
“Yes, although I cannot see that it is any concerns of yours, you…you…pirate. And you have not told me what you are doing here. I know not what your association is with the Kenmare family, but I assure you, mon Capitaine, when I become Duchess of Amherst, you’ll not set foot on this land again.”
“I am an acquaintance of the Duke’s,” he said. “I came for the wedding. I’m surprised you’re going through with it. From what I heard, you were reluctant to marry him. Yet you seem eager enough now to claim the title. What changed your mind?”
Bristling at his mocking tone, Juliette replied, “Whoever told you that was mistaken. Now, if you will excuse me, it’s getting late and I must return. I have a fitting this afternoon with Monsieur Hamilton Wycliffe who is traveling all the way from London with my wedding dress.” She waited impatiently for him to cup his hands to receive her boot and hoist her into the side saddle. With her skirts draped over the white mare’s back like a mantle, she gave a final look of haughty disdain down at Christian and galloped off.
Christian watched her disappear into the woods. With her went all though of leaving Amherst Hall. Just minutes ago he could have turned his back on it and left it buried in the past. But now…
Now there was no turning back.