Published by Diversion Publishing on January 10th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Ariana Fitzroy has lost her family and her fortune and is left to cheat at cards for survival.
Connor Grant, trainer of the fallen women from the English court and personal assassin to the king, is just as broken as the women he trains.
After catching Ariana cheating at cards, Connor has a new trainee to instruct at one of the king’s many confiscated castles. In the dilapidated ruins, he discovers Ariana is more than she appears.
Ariana suspects Connor isn’t telling her everything—not just about the mission they venture out on, but also about his past. Will the secrets between them threaten their mission? And will they be able to fight their attraction as they wonder who they can trust?
Ariana Fitzroy had been too greedy.
She gave a charming smile to the men at the table and pulled a pile of coins toward herself. They clinked against one another, the merry tinkling rising above the din of laughter and conversation.
How she’d come to love the sound of her winnings.
Tonight though, she’d taken it a mite too far.
She’d gone beyond what she needed for the merchant’s bills, the servants’ pay, and the rent on her meager lodgings.
The coins were cool against the warmth of her palm.
Winning always gave her such a heady rush, a wash of heat spreading from her cheeks to her chest and all the way down to her satin-slippered toes.
A discomfiting sensation settled on Ariana, one of which she’d always been especially wary.
The weight of being watched.
A woman with dark blonde hair had joined the table and regarded her with a quiet curiosity. Her red lips lifted into a smile, and Ariana noted she had a slight freckle beside her generous mouth.
Ariana looked down at the cards being dealt out before them, severing the connection.
The last thing she needed was one of the girls at court trying to make friends with her.
Not like this.
Perhaps a year prior, when she’d had not a care in the world, when all her possessions were paid for with unseen coin.
She piled the cards against one another in an indiscernible stack, enabling her to see the faces with discretion while masking the number of cards displayed.
The hand was not in her favor. But then, was it ever?
Ariana glanced up at the blonde again and found the other woman’s gaze had settled somewhere across the room.
Ariana tucked her hands lower against the table as if she were deep in concentration. And truly, she was.
In deep concentration of feeling the sharp edge of the card in her sleeve and sliding it out before anyone noticed.
Her heart pounded in her chest and her breath came faster—it always did when she cheated at cards.
How she despised the word.
How she despised the necessity of it.
Yet she loved winning, the knowledge that for one more day or week or month, she could afford to live.
A warning nipped at the back of her mind. She’d been at the table too long and had won too much.
She risked discovery.
Madeline is giving away to one luck commenter a signed copy of Highland Spy.
She is curious…
“Would you cheat at cards if you had no money to live? If not, how would you try to provide for yourself?”