on January 21st 2018
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He knows trouble when he sees it.
Fortunately, Drake likes trouble, especially when it comes in a particularly attractive package. While he and his crew of smugglers are waiting for their next job, Julianna makes a welcome distraction from the damned ache in his leg and the scars making his skin itch.
A shame Julianna doesn’t like him one jot then, not even when he rescues her and promises to bring her to her brother. She knows a rogue when she sees one and the last thing she needs is another man in her life telling her what to do. Not even her brother…
A brother who happens to be the face of the smuggling operation Drake partakes in. And a terrifying face at that. Knight is the muscle behind the crew, ensuring their cover remains in place so that they can help the war effort whilst making a pretty penny. Knight won’t be too happy when he finds out Drake has decided Julianna is a challenge he more than welcomes.
It’s a risk he’s more than willing to take.
Drake gulped down some ale, watching her from the periphery of his vision. She kept her gaze pointedly ahead. “If you do not tell me what you want with Knight, I am not sure I can help.”
Her head snapped around. Fire flared in her eyes. “I have had a long, tiring day. If you know something, I suggest you tell me immediately.”
His lips quirked. “Is that a threat?”
“Yes.” She sighed. “No.” Her shoulders sagged. “I just need to know where Lewis is.”
The hint of vulnerability in her posture pulled at some seldom tugged string inside him. He’d done heroics. Still did occasionally, though they rarely involved women. The smuggling ring for which he captained a ship was mostly a cover for their wartime involvement. Under the guise of nothing but lawless smugglers, he and three other men organized shipping goods and spies to help the war effort. However, that was about as heroic as he got since getting struck by shrapnel in battle. The pretty penny he earned smuggling goods in was the real benefit.
As much as he wanted to continue to toy with her, he could not. “Away on business, I’m afraid.”
“You are an acquaintance of his?”
He nodded. “A friend I suppose. Though Knight might say otherwise.”
The brooding hulk of a man had been brought on as the face of their smuggling efforts. He had a criminal look to him and hardly anyone knew a thing about him. Red, the Earl of Redmere, who had been the one to bring them together, knew little more than the rest of them, save that Lewis Knight’s terrifying exterior saved them from many a scrape.
“When will he return? Where are his lodgings?”
“That is a more difficult question to answer, I’m afraid.”
“If you are his friend, how do you not know where he is?”
Drake lifted a shoulder. “That’s Knight for you. He likes to keep himself to himself.”
She sighed again and tightened the cloak around her neck. When she made to leave, he put a hand to her arm. Her gaze shot up to his, her eyes reminding him of luxurious, warm whiskey.
“It’s a dark night.”
Her lips curved. “Most nights are.”
He chuckled. “It’s cold and wet too. Why do you not join me for a drink by the fire? Dry off before venturing out again?”
“I did not come here for a drink.” She slid off the stool and flipped up the hood of her cloak. “Particularly not with a man who enjoys the company of…well…” She slid a pointed look toward the women who had found another couple of men to occupy them.
“I see I am to have my previous sins held against me.” He stood and straightened. “But regardless, you should not be out there alone. Many unsavory sorts frequent nights like these. It’s not safe for a woman like yourself.”
“I have travelled a long way alone, sir, and dealt with many unsavory sorts.” Her lips tilted. “Some even worse than you.”
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