Heart of Gold (MF)

Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

Heat Rating: Steamy
Word Count: 92,023
0 Ratings (0.0)
[BookStrand Historical Romance, HEA]
As her widowed mother’s constant companion, Lauren Cameron can only dream of traveling the world in search of adventure—until Prince Anton Danilov abducts her to St. Petersburg, Russia. The ransom is a jeweled heart his brother lost to hers. Anton will do whatever it takes to retrieve the heart of gold that was his late father’s last gift to his mother. If only his deceptively demure captive didn’t enjoy her scandalous predicament! And if only he didn’t wish to make it even more enjoyable for her!
Lauren can’t help losing her heart to this golden-haired prince who compromised her simply by kidnapping her. If all she has to face upon returning to America is a lifetime trapped in her mother’s oppressive shadow, then what else does she have to lose if she lets him make her ruin truly worthwhile? Anton wants her only for that jeweled heart...but will he keep Lauren for another heart even more precious?
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
Heart of Gold (MF)
0 Ratings (0.0)

Heart of Gold (MF)

Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

Heat Rating: Steamy
Word Count: 92,023
0 Ratings (0.0)
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Cover Art by Harris Channing
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Excerpt

 

STORY EXCERPT

 

Lauren stared at the tea as if it might be poisoned. “Why are you taking me to Russia?”

“Eat, Mrs. Cameron. I mean to treat you well for as long as you’ll be with us. I have no intention of starving you or otherwise torturing you in any way.”

“Then for the last time, what exactly is your intention? Who are you and why am I here?”

Her abductor took a sip of tea. “I am Prince Anton Pavlovich Danilov.”

Her heart leaped as she gaped at him. “Prince—”

“And you are Mrs. Charles Cameron.”

Now her heart dropped. She should have known this was too good to be true. He didn’t want her. He wanted Roxanne—probably because she was prettier and more petite and buxom. “No, I’m not. It hasn’t escaped my notice that you’ve been calling me Mrs. Cameron all this time, but I’ve had more important things on my mind than correcting you. I am Miss Cameron, and I’m Charles Cameron’s sister.”

“His sister.” Her abductor set down his glass with an emphatic clink and muttered something unintelligible, probably a Russian obscenity. A fresh chill of disappointment swept over her at the realization that she wasn’t his first choice—but for what? She mentally slapped herself. The man had abducted her—couldn’t she feel just a little bit outraged, instead of moping because he hadn’t really meant to take her at all?

She tackled her fish fillet as hunger finally overpowered her confusion. She glanced up as Prince Anton sank his teeth into an apple with a loud crunch. He gazed back with those mesmerizing green eyes as he chewed and then swallowed before expressing his disbelief anew.

“So you are not Roxanne Cameron?”

“No, I am Lauren Cameron, her sister-in-law.”

“Last night I saw you enter the drawing room at Colfax Park on the arm of Charles Cameron. At the time I was with his uncle, Lord Robert Maxwell, who declared you were Cameron’s wife.”

Lauren finally sipped her tea, satisfied it wasn’t poisoned. “Uncle Robert was wrong. Last night was the first time he’d ever seen me or Charlie.”

“Yes, he mentioned something about that. He assumed, and therefore so did I, that you were young Mrs. Cameron.”

“Young Mrs. Cameron was unable to come downstairs last night. If she had, I assume she’d be in my place right now?”

“Yes, she would.”

“Then you would have had an expectant lady on your hands, Your Highness—should I call you that? How should I address you?”

“You may address me as Highness, or Prince, or you bloody cad, or whatever makes you the most comfortable. I am not one to stand on ceremony. And what do you mean by ‘an expectant lady’? Is she—uhh…”

Lauren could not help smiling. “Yes, she is—uhh…”

“I see. Then perhaps it’s just as well we took you instead. I suppose you’ll do.”

“For what purpose?”

“Do you know anything about a heart of gold enchased with a ruby that your brother gave to his wife as a wedding present?”

She went rigid as her pulse quickened with instant suspicions. “Yes, I do. He acquired it in St. Petersburg when he was there on business last fall.”

The prince nodded. “It actually belongs to my mother. You see, Mrs. Ca—pardon me, I mean Miss Cameron—I have an older brother who gambles. And he—”

“Oh, I knew it!” Lauren slumped back in her chair. “Please don’t tell me Charlie won that heart from your brother in a card game!”

His eyes widened, allowing her to see more of that intriguing green. “Hm, I suppose I could make up a different story for you, but I’m afraid I’ve never been good at improvising tall tales on short notice.”

She wanted to laugh, but instead she picked up the gold teaspoon next to her plate, striking it against the plate’s edge in impotent rage at her incorrigible brother. “Last Christmas he gave our mother a brooch—an amethyst fashioned into a pansy. I’d seen Mrs. Josephine Preston wearing the brooch only a month or two earlier, when she called one afternoon and I had to receive her on my mother’s behalf, because my mother was in bed with a bad cold at the time. So Mother never saw the brooch till Charlie gave it to her on Christmas Eve, and fortunately for her—and Charlie—she’s never run into Mrs. Preston while wearing it. When I confronted him, he said he’d won the brooch from Mrs. Preston’s son at a card game. I should have known he’d acquired the Russian heart the same way.”

Prince Anton sighed. “Why don’t men like our brothers use regular coin when they gamble? I’ve never been able to get my own brother to explain, how about yours?”

“Charlie says it livens up the game when someone wagers something unusual.”

“That heart had been at the jeweler’s for a minor repair. My brother was supposed to pick it up and bring it straight home to my mother. But on his way home, he stopped at the gambling establishment of a certain Count Gretzky, where they sometimes use jewels for ante. He met your brother at one of the tables therein, and the rest, as they say, is history. I understand Mr. Cameron won the heart with a royal flush. Impressive as that is, I would be even more impressed if he was gracious enough to forfeit his winnings.”

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