A life of crime was her only option...
A troubled lady...
Malvina is in over her head. Blackmail, highway robbery, murder, and treason are just some of the crimes she’s become embroiled in. With each passing day, her chances of escape—and survival—lessen.
A bored gentleman...
Gideon stumbles upon a holdup where all is not as it seems. Kidnapping one of the robbers’ accomplices hands him the very lady he was sent to investigate. Is she caught up in her husband’s treasonous activities, as his superiors suspect, or is simple highway robbery more her cup of tea?
A dangerous alliance...
Gideon is determined to help Malvina even if doing so leads to some unpleasant truths. Malvina acknowledges her need for Gideon’s help, but accepting might require her to make the ultimate sacrifice: her son.
Awarded a 4½-star Crowned Heart in the February 2014 issue of InD'tale Magazine!
“Writing that shouts “well above average” should never be missed, and Ms. Grant certainly has attained a lofty position with this story!"
~ InD'tale Magazine
Read an excerpt below...
Gideon could hardly believe his luck when he came upon the holdup. It was just what he needed to relieve the truly abominable ennui he’d been cursed with of late.
His eyes scanned the area. The lady appeared the typical vaporish female with more hair than wit, though he couldn’t accurately judge either simply from seeing her bonneted form wreathed in moonlight. Her attackers lounged about, saying little, seeming bored and unenthusiastic about their task. What the devil were they waiting for?
It was an odd situation and just the thing to appeal to a man of Gideon’s mercurial temperament.
He pulled Black to a halt. The horse did his best imitation of a statue, the flick of his ear the only indication of life.
Gideon dismounted silently, letting the reins drop to the ground. He crept around the robbery, assessing the situation. One band of robbers held the woman, but another was surrounding them.
Footpads who preyed on footpads? Gideon supposed such a thing, though unlikely, was possible. It didn’t answer the question of why the ones holding the woman acted as though they waited for something.
Or perhaps they awaited someone.
He had to remove two of the gun-toting thieves before he could get close enough to the woman who was, thankfully, near the bushes along one side of the road. He made a sound that got her attention. She shrugged at the man who held her at gunpoint. Gideon’s pale brows lifted.
A strange development, indeed. The little beauty was obviously in league with the villains. The intelligent thing was for him to ride away and search out the widow he needed to locate. If this girl was one of the villains, she’d not be hurt and the Home Office wanted him watching the widow as soon as may be.
But this girl was obviously a lady. A rich cloak fell in graceful folds over her proud form, expensive jewels glinting with her every movement in the pale moonlight. Nothing in her expression—what he could make out in the meager light—indicated a willing accomplice. Perhaps they were using her as a means to an end.
When the gunman turned away, Gideon snaked out an arm and snagged the girl, clapping a hand over her mouth before she released the scream he knew was hovering on her pretty lips. He heard the immediate shout go up and cursed.
“If you do not scream, woman, we may yet get out of this alive.”
Screaming was exactly what Lady Malvina Brackney wanted to do. She swiveled her head to look at the man who’d dared accost her. Night-darkened eyes gazed back at her in lazy amusement. She had only a moment to feel outrage before good sense came to her rescue. Nodding, she found her hand firmly clasped and then they were running through the trees. Malvina had to keep all her wits about her to avoid tripping over her own two feet and the many branches and animal holes along the way.
They broke out of the trees. A large, dark horse stood complacently near the road, blending into the shadows. The beast waited while Malvina’s rescuer threw her into the saddle and mounted behind her. Wrapping one arm around her, he pulled her tight against him. He said something in a tongue she didn’t recognize that set the horse off at a smooth gallop. Once the beast broke into a run Malvina knew her tormentors would never catch them.
She shifted just enough to get a look at the man who held her. All she could see in the moonlight was a pair of eyes gazing back at her. Suppressing a shiver of unease, she returned her eyes to watch where they were going.
A few miles from the scene of the holdup, he slowed the horse to a walk.
“Who are you?” she ventured to ask.
“Who are you?” he countered, his tone containing the barest hint of amusement.
“I asked you first.”
“And you’ll answer first, too, I think.”
Astounded at his effrontery, she swung her upper body around so fast she’d have unseated herself if not for his restraining arm around her middle. Unnerved, she couldn’t suppress the anger in her words. “What, sir, makes you think that?”
There was so little she could tell about this man. He was a gentleman, of that she was sure. The night hid everything except the glint of gold on his head. The man wore a hat but he’d pushed it back on his head, allowing shafts of moonlight to caress his hair. Gold curls, from what she could deduce.
He shrugged, the movement brushing his body just a bit closer to hers. “The appearance of a magistrate.”
©2013 Laura J Miller (Jaimey Grant). All rights reserved.