on October 20th 2017
Charlotte Vale isn’t just a pretty debutante like London society thinks she is. Behind her golden curls and blue eyes is a soul that craves adventure. She won’t be happy living a sedate and safe life with some Duke or Earl like her friends-she needs more. So when she is presented with the opportunity to take part in an undercover mission for England, she jumps at the chance. Even better, it involves finding her father who has been acting as a double spy in France.
Anthony Graylocke takes his career in the Royal Navy seriously. The adventurous life of sailing the high seas suits him. There’s plenty of time to settle down later with a demure, refined lady like his mother, right now he enjoys the freedom and excitement that commanding his own ship offers. The last thing he wants to do is accompany and protect the offensive disagreeable and unladylike Charlotte Vale on an undercover mission to France. Too bad his orders state that he must do just that.
But when a startling secret that will shock the core of the Graylocke family is revealed, Charlotte and Anthony must set their differences aside and work together in a race against time to stop a sinister plan that could destroy everything they hold dear.
Drawing his pistol, Gray followed the first wave of his men onto the friendly vessel and into the thick of the battle. Allies grappled with the enemy, too close together to shoot safely. Steel clanged as saber met saber. Men yelped as they were cut or grunted if caught by an unexpected fist. The French bolted for their ship, shooting blindly behind them to cover their retreat. Gray returned fire then stepped into the shadow of the quarterdeck to reload.
The shadow of the King’s Grace loomed behind the French barque as it pulled alongside. Stills’s voice rang as he directed the men to trim the sails and lower the plank. Gray and most of the men boarded the French vessel, cutting off the enemy’s escape. Pinned between two forces, the Frenchmen dropped their weapons and surrendered.
“Check every nook and cranny,” Gray bellowed. “I want every last cur rounded up and at our disposal.”
As his men shouted acknowledgement, Gray turned toward the open door of the hold. Sounds of a struggle drifted from inside. A man cursed in French. A woman responded in the same language, albeit with a British accent, “It’s no less than you deserve, you dog!”
A woman? Gray cursed under his breath. Pistol at the ready, he sheathed his dirk and dropped into the hold, gripping the lip of the entrance to slow his descent. He landed lightly just as the enemy soldier sliced into the back of the woman’s hand. She hissed, dropping the letter opener she wielded and clutching her bleeding hand to her stomach. It left a red line on her pale-blue dress.
The French blackguard leveled his blade at her. “Up against the wall.”
The beautiful woman’s face contorted as she sneered. “Or you’ll do what?” Her eyes shone with inner fire. Her expression might have cut glass.
The enemy pulled out his pistol and leveled it at the woman. Her pink cheeks paled, but she showed no other outward sign of being afraid. In fact, she glanced toward the letter opener on the ground, her damp blond hair falling across her face. If she leapt for it, the fiendish Frenchman might shoot. Simply the fact that he’d cornered the woman was proof that he had no morals.
Gray aimed his pistol and shot. The blackguard howled in pain and buckled forward. Drawing his dirk, Gray advanced on the enemy and planted his boot in the middle of the man’s back. He rested the tip of his blade next to the open, bleeding wound in the soldier’s shoulder, a silent warning. “Are you hurt, other than your hand?”
Her gaze snapping with anger, the young woman bent to snatch the letter opener off the floor with her uninjured hand. The tip was red with blood. “I’d be better if you hadn’t come. I had him perfectly well in hand before you startled him.”
The enemy hadn’t bloody well noticed my arrival! “A fine way to treat the man who just saved your life,” he snapped. The hum of the battle was soured by her demeanor. A beauty she might be on the outside, but she was savage underneath.
“I am not some weeping damsel in distress. I didn’t ask for or need your help.” Without another word—certainly no mention of the thanks he was due—she balled her skirt and stomped to the ladder leading out of the hold.
Gray gritted his teeth and tied his captive’s hands in front of him with perhaps a bit more force than was necessary.
He was certain he’d win this battle with the French, but the battle he saw coming with the woman, he wasn’t nearly as confident about.
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How far would you go to expose an enemy spy?