on September 18th 2018
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AN HEIRESS FALLS FROM THE HEAVENS…
When Bermudian salt heiress Caitrin Beckett drops out of a tree in her haste to escape a brothel, she comes face to face with Lord Daniel Westham and instantly catches the rogue’s attention. Luckily, she secures his promise to help her locate a childhood friend who’s gone missing in London. Now if only she can keep from losing her heart to the charming rake in the process.
Once upon a time, Englishman Bernard Beckett built a Caribbean salt empire in Bermuda. Many years later, he found himself quite in love with a pretty young salt-raker from a long line of Irish dissidents. The two married and had three daughters – Cara (How to Land an Earl in Ten Days or Less); Caitrin (How to Tempt a Rogue Without Really Trying); and Corinna (upcoming – How to Charm a Duke in Five Easy Steps). After a hurricane orphaned the Beckett Salt heiresses, they find themselves running their late-father’s business and trying to navigate the political struggle for control of the Turks Islands’ salt pans.
Cara, the most politically savvy of the sisters, ended up in London and became inexplicably involved in a scandalous wager involving the Earl of Darling. After she succeeded at landing her earl in ten days or less, Cara’s younger sisters in Bermuda were summoned to England for the wedding.
And so begins HOW TO TEMPT A ROGUE WITHOUT REALLY TRYING.
Upon her arrival in London, Caitrin Beckett tries to locate a childhood friend whose letters home came to an abrupt stop some months ago. Cait heads to the address of the seamstress shop where the girl had been working but finds a brothel at the location instead. Determined to find and rescue her friend if it should come to that, Cait sneaks into the establishment in question and promptly gets herself captured by the madam’s flashman.
What is a proper hoyden to do other than climb out a window and scale her way down a tree to escape when in such a predicament?
Before Cait makes it to the bottom, however, she captures the attention of Lord Daniel Westham, on the ground beneath her. It won’t be long before she’s tempting the rogue without even trying.
My dearest Sean,
I do hope you are well. I wonder if you will find satisfaction in knowing that you were right, as I do seem to miss home a little more every day. With that said, London is everything I had hoped for, and I have been more successful than I could have imagined at the shop, but I do miss you and the pretty sunsets over Bermuda.
My position at the dress shop can be exhausting from time to time, but I enjoy the work, and Mrs. Malveaux says I’m a natural seamstress. I hope this bit of money will help you, Mary and your little ones. Give them a kiss from their aunt.
Your loving sister,
Mrs. Malveaux’s…Dress Shop?
44 Queen Ann Street, Covent Garden
Miss Caitrin Beckett blinked into the shadowy night at the building before her. Candlelight flickered in all the windows, and loud raucous laughter spilled out into the street as a couple of London bucks let themselves inside. It had been a while since Cait had been in London, but there was no way that particular establishment was a dress shop. In fact, it seemed all the clientele were of the male variety who seemed much more intent on getting women out of dresses rather than into them.
She looked back down at the envelope in her hand. 44 Queen Ann Street. Then she refocused on the building in question. She was on Queen Ann Street and the house number 44 was posted right above a bright red door on the building in question. She was in the right place, or the wrong one it would seem.
What in the world had Iona gotten herself into?
Just as that thought popped into Cait’s head, the front door opened and one of the fellows she’d just seen enter the place was unceremoniously tossed out onto the dirty street.
“And don’t come back,” an enormous man called from the threshold, just as intimidating as he was large. “If ye bother Mrs. Malveaux again, ye won’t live to see mornin’.”
The ejected man pushed up on his arms and spit out a mouthful of blood onto the street.
Instinctively, Cait moved backward into the shadows, beneath a large beech tree, to keep from being seen. In hindsight, she probably shouldn’t have slipped from Hythe House alone so late at night to see about Iona. But Sean hadn’t heard from his sister in quite a while, and Cait had promised that she’d look in on the girl once she arrived in England. Until tonight, she hadn’t really had another chance to do so. Besides, she thought she was headed to a little room above a dress shop not—she glanced up at the building with the red door once more—not whatever that establishment was.
Of course, she had a very good idea what that establishment was. She’d grown up on an island in the middle of the Atlantic where similar establishments littered the area near the royal dockyards. The question remained, how in the world had Iona ended up in a brothel?
A shiver raced down Cait’s spine, but she shook the sensation away. She’d promised Sean she’d see about Iona, and now that she’d seen what Mrs. Malveaux’s really was, she needed to see about Iona for herself too.
Cait steeled her back as she began to formulate a plan. She couldn’t go to the front door. For one, it would be rather ruinous to be seen entering such a place. For another, she was sure to be turned away. She chanced a glance down the alley not too far away. She could head around to the back and enter through the kitchens without being seen. Then she’d just have to find a way to navigate the place inside until she found Iona. And if the girl needed a rescue, Cait would somehow manage that too.
It was as good a plan as she was likely to come up with on such short notice. So Cait pulled her cloak around her shoulders and ducked her head under her hood as she stepped from beneath the tree and started toward the alleyway. She continued around the back of the building and climbed the grimy steps, relieved to find the door unlocked.
She quietly stepped into the kitchens, but there was no one about, which was unfortunate. A cook or scullery maid could probably have been persuaded to help her find Iona for just the matter of a few coins. Trepidation washed over Cait as did the sudden feeling that she should leave immediately. She was not one to ignore that sort of feeling and she turned quickly around only to find…
The same enormous man who had tossed that patron through the front door now stood right behind her, blocking her exit.
“What ‘ave we got ‘ere?” A ruthless smile spread across his lips, revealing a set of blackened teeth in the process.
Cait sucked in a breath. “I—I was just looking for a friend, but—”
“Oh, yeah?” He clutched her shoulders in his meaty hands, rather painfully. “Who’re ye lookin’ for?”
What if she somehow got Iona into more trouble than she was already in? Cait shook her head. “I think I’m in the wrong place.”
The large fellow laughed wickedly, and the awful sound sent panic swirling through Cait. “A pretty girl like you, and so clean like. You’d go for a pretty penny, I’d wager.”
A pretty penny? Cait tried to struggle out of the man’s grasp, but it was to no avail. He hefted her over his shoulder and started into the main section of the house.
“Mrs. Malveaux will know what to do wif ye.”
“Let me go!” Cait squirmed in his hold, hoping to free herself.
But then he slapped a hand to her bottom. “Stop that or I may just keep ye for meself and tame ye the way I see fit.”
What a horrid thought! Cait stilled her movements instantly, though her mind raced ahead, looking for some way to escape. A dizzying array of rugs and staircases floated beneath her, and then she was abruptly dropped onto a shaky bed in the middle of a darkened room.
“Might want to get used to that bed,” he said, before turning on his heel.
The bit of hope in Cait’s heart plummeted when she heard the jingle of a set of keys from the other side of the door. Blast it all. He’d locked her inside! Her stomach roiled as she took in the little room. How in the world had she landed herself into this mess? By acting before she thought, just like usual. If she ever got out of here…Well, she could never tell a soul. Her sister Cara would never let her forget this error in judgment if she found out.
If she got out of here.
What if she didn’t?
No, no. Cait shook her head. She had to get out, one way or another. She’d tell Mrs. Malveaux that she was a special guest to the Duke and Duchess of Hythe. They had to hold some weight, didn’t they? And Cait would explain that she was just days away from being the sister-in-law to the Earl of Darling. And if all else failed, she’d buy her own freedom. She did have the funds, after all. Or Beckett Salt had the funds, rather. Of course, she’d have to admit all to Cara at that point, and that Cait did not want to do.
There had to be another way. Something she hadn’t…
A shadow moved against the floorboards and…
It was the clouds moving outside the window!
She was saved.
Cait leapt from the bed and started across the room. That beech tree she’d stood beneath was right outside the window in her would-be prison, and relief fluttered in her heart. How many trees had she conquered in Bermuda in her youth? Nearly every single one of them, at one time or another.
The window was fairly high, but with a bit of luck, she could make her way up to the sill; and if she could just get that window open, she’d make her way to freedom, or die trying.
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