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𝑾𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒅𝒆𝒃𝒖𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒄𝒖𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒂𝒍 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒊𝒕𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒓𝒐𝒘𝒏?
Lily Davies’ first—and final, if she has anything to say about it—Season in London is mercifully coming to an end. Exhausted by the parade of balls, importuning gentlemen, and the endless dismissal of her suspicions about a certain captain, Lily wants nothing more than to return to her quiet life of country walks and intensive study. Unfortunately for this bluestocking, she is besieged en route to Derbyshire and kidnapped by a highwayman.
In London to assist his brother, the brand new Earl of Talbot, Captain Nathan Jones is on the hunt for the traitor to the crown. But when it becomes clear that Miss Davies’ life is very much in danger, Captain Jones is dispatched to ensure the reluctant debutante travels safely. Escorting her safely home will also give him the perfect opportunity to question Miss Davies about the highly dubious gifts she’s been receiving from the French.
As Captain Jones becomes the unlikely hero to a very uncooperative damsel in distress, he quickly learns that rescuing Miss Davies is only the beginning of his troubles. One unfortunate compromise leaves this pair with no choice but to head for the altar, and the unnecessary distraction just might ruin his opportunity to uncover the identity of the traitor once and for all.
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The Season was nearly over, thank God. Not that Nathan would be returning home afterwards. He was serving as his brother’s proxy in London. Now the Earl of Talbot, Sebastian was overwhelmed at home trying to undo all the harm their father had done to the estates. Sebastian had sent Nathan to London to handle all everything he could in the capital, which had been fortuitous since Oliver Stuart, the Marquess of Camden and Spymaster to the Crown, had also requested Nathan’s presence in London.
Though he wouldn’t be returning to Brentwood Manor and the family estates, the end of the Season would still be a huge relief for Nathan, as it meant his social duties would be at an end. Most of the ton were returning to the countryside until the next Season, where they would have house parties, tend to their home duties, and otherwise occupy themselves.
Truth be told, Nathan preferred country life, so if he had to be in the city, he preferred it when everyone else… wasn’t.
Already, Mayfair was much quieter, the streets clearer, and he could go for a gallop through Hyde Park without having to arrive before dawn. Which was what he was doing this morning. It was not far after dawn, the sun still barely over the horizon, which meant the park was completely deserted today.
Nathan wasn’t often an early riser, but this past week he had been plagued by anxiety. Every morning he’d risen early and gone riding, trying to shake away the elusive feeling that something was going to happen. That sense of premonition had served him well as a captain in the army, but now it was far more ominous, because he was in the middle of London, not a battleground. The Season had ended without catching the traitor they’d been hunting for.
They had come close, he believed. They were getting closer. But somehow, the traitor had eluded them.
And none of his friends wanted to believe that Miss Lillian Davies had anything to do with it. They did not believe it. However, Nathan knew from personal experience that women could be treacherous, pretending to be one thing when actually they were waiting for an opportunity to stab you in the back.
She was an unlikely suspect at first glance, he admitted. A debutante. A good friend to the Marquess of Camden’s family – a neighbor in fact. Her father had once saved the Duke of Frederick’s life.
Yet, would that not be the perfect cover?
She was smart. Too smart for her own good. Nathan had heard the mutterings of gossip that swirled out her. Despite her quiet beauty, she did not have a quiet tongue, and she’d sharpened it on several members of the ton. She certainly had not made any new friends during the Season, but then, she did not need them. Before she had arrived in London, she had already collected an array of correspondents from cross Europe, including powerful and influential figures, especially in the French government.
They had not yet been able to prove that the French were backing the traitor, who had arranged to assassinate the Duke of York, but the French were who Nathan would put his money on. The other mostly likely option were the Russians, and while some evidence had recently come to the surface to suggest they were the true culprits, Nathan thought it best not to trust either until they knew for sure.
And Miss Lillian Davies had contacts in Russia as well. She reminded him far too much of… well. Never mind that.
Unfortunately, neither the Marquess of Camden nor his son, Elijah, was willing to consider her a suspect. They still saw her as the little girl who had grown up next to them and eventually become a good friend of the Marquess’ niece. To Nathan, that only meant she would be the perfect person to turn.
Elijah had already told him to drop the subject, and he had, but he still kept an eye out. He was sure the tingle on the back of his neck, his inability to sleep, had to do with her. And not because of her wide, dark eyes, lithe figure, or beautiful face, though she had all of those attributes as well.
If he were being completely honest with himself, the fact that he remained attracted to her, despite his suspicions, also stirred his resentment.
“Bloody women,” he muttered under his breath, reining in Merlin abruptly. The stallion obediently came to a halt. Riding was not giving him the peace of mind he desired. He might as well return home rather than completing his circuit.
That sudden movement saved his life.
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Read the First Chapter HERE!
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Golden Angel is a USA Today best-selling author and self-described bibliophile with a “kinky” bent who loves to write stories for the characters in her head. If she didn’t get them out, she’s pretty sure she’d go just a little crazy.
She is happily married, old enough to know better but still too young to care, and a big fan of happily-ever-afters, strong heroes and heroines, and sizzling chemistry.
When she’s not writing, she can often be found on the couch reading, in front of her sewing machine making a new cosplay, hanging out with her friends, or wandering the Maryland Renaissance Fair.
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