Dukes don’t need help, or do they? [italic]
Michael Redmond, the Duke of Cortland, needs to be in London—most expeditiously—but a band of highway robbers have thwarted his plans. Purse-pinched, coachless, and mired in mud, he stumbles on Lilly Beauchamp, the woman who betrayed him years ago.
Ladies can’t be heroes, or can they? [italic]
Michael was her first love, her first lover, but he abandoned her when she needed him most. She’d trusted him, and then he failed to meet with her father as promised. A widowed stepmother now, Lilly loves her country and will do her part for the Good of England—even if that means aiding this hobbled and pathetic duke.
They lost their chance at love, or did they? [italic]
A betrothal, a scandal, and a kidnapping stand between them now. Can honor emerge from the ashes of their love?
She was so sweet. She was a virgin. She would one day be his completely.
But not tonight.
“Lilly.” He gasped for breath. “I need to stop.”
She tightened her legs around his waist. “No!”
“Lilly,” he said again, burying his forehead under her chin. “Not here. Not now.” He was but a hair’s breadth from coming completely undone.
As a hint of sanity began to niggle its way back into Lilly’s passion clouded thoughts, she dropped her legs from around his waist.
They sat quietly, holding each other as their breathing slowed. Michael turned his head and pressed his ear against her chest. The beat of her heart squeezed at his own.
“I will speak to your father.” He finally found his voice. “When will he arrive in London? If not soon, then I will journey to Plymouth myself.”
“He should be here when we return from your house party.” There was a smile in her voice. She was everything he ever wanted.
Remembering he was leaving tomorrow, he pulled her closer once again.
“I wish I could go with you.” It was as though she read his mind.
Michael laughed and moaned a little, both at the same time. “I’d have to take you to Gretna Green first, my love.” He then lifted his face to gaze into her golden eyes. “Be patient, Lilly. We have the rest of our lives.”
She nodded, touching his face. She seemed to marvel at his whiskers. His jaw was roughened slightly as his recent shave had been early that morning. Her eyes were warm and loving.
“I can’t wait to see your home. I will love it, you know, simply because it is yours.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve been there.” Michael was uncertain as to how much work awaited him, but he would make the repairs himself, if necessary. He wanted it to be perfect for her.
Before his resolve left him, Michael pulled Lilly’s dress up to return her to modesty. With his assistance, she hopped off the branch and then attempted to straighten her skirts. He watched her, smiling, as she did her best to tidy up. She had leaves in her hair, and her skirts were twisted tightly around her.
“Hold still, love,” he said. He plucked the leaves and twigs out of her hair and then tugged at her dress in a few strategic places. “Now, turn around.”