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The Millionaire Rogue
Jessica Peterson

One of the richest and most trusted bankers in London, Thomas Hope, keeping his dubious past hidden, gets tangled up in scandal an... Weiterlesen
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Beschreibung

One of the richest and most trusted bankers in London, Thomas Hope, keeping his dubious past hidden, gets tangled up in scandal and mystery when he attempts to acquire the infamous French Blue Diamond with the help of a beautiful young lady who is drawn into his exploits. Includes teaser. By the author of The Gentleman Jewel Thief. Original.

Praise for the Hope Diamond Trilogy

“The fabled Hope Diamond is the centerpiece of Peterson’s charming trilogy, where she mixes one very bad-boy gentleman with a headstrong heroine, a stolen gem, a duel, a band of acrobats and an exiled French king…[Peterson] keeps the pace flying and readers hanging onto their utter joy.”—RT Book Reviews (4 Stars)

"Deliciously fun! What a lovely, witty book - I can´t wait to see what Jessica Peterson does next!"—Kate Noble, author of If I Fall

"Sexy and sparkling with wit, The Gentleman Jewel Thief overflows with adventure, suspense, and fast-paced action. Jessica Peterson is a fresh, new voice in historical romance."—Shana Galen, author of The Spy Wore Blue

Autorentext
Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark, and handsome heroes of her own. She is the author of the Hope Diamond trilogy including The Gentleman Jewel Thief.

A graduate of Duke University, Jessica worked in investment banking before leaving to pursue her writerly dreams. She lives with her husband, the tall, dark, and handsome Mr. Peterson, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Zusammenfassung
In an age of stately decorum, the Hope Diamond was a source of delicious intrigue—and a font of unimaginable adventure…

Though not of noble birth, Thomas Hope has a skill in banking that’s made him one of the richest, most trusted men in London. Still, he keeps his dubious past hidden. So when an old acquaintance calls on Hope to help acquire the infamous French Blue Diamond, he’s desperate to be discreet. He never expects that his biggest concern shouldn’t be losing his reputation, but his heart…

Sophia Blaise is determined to make a brilliant match with this season’s most eligible, most titled bachelor, but her true passion has been ignited by the incredible stories she hears while secretly transcribing the memoirs of a notorious Madam. After a night of clandestine writing ends with Sophia caught up in a scandalous adventure of her own—with an alluring banker—she begins to question whether she’s suited to the proper life she’s always known…

Caught up in a thrilling exploit and unexpected romance, Sophia must make a choice between what her head knows is safe and what her heart desperately desires, before both slip from her grasp forever…

Leseprobe

Acknowledgments

Prologue

THE FRENCH BLUE:

A HISTORY OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST DIAMOND

Vol. I.

By Thomas Hope

Across lands dry and rivers wide, through centuries of bloodshed and the downfall of great kingdoms, the French Blue’s siren call has, like forbidden fruit, proven irresistible to royal and common man alike.

It all began in that mythic land across the great sea: India. Nearly three hundred years ago, a blue-gray diamond the size of a snuffbox was mined from the bowels of the earth. The great Shah Jehan, an emperor the likes of which the world had never seen, made an offering of the jewel to the goddess Sita; he commissioned a great statue of his goddess, the diamond glittering from the center of her forehead as an all-seeing third eye.

It was during this time that a Frenchman by the name of Jean Baptiste Tavernier traveled to the court of Shah Jehan. Being French, Tavernier was by nature dirty, wily, a born thief, and, of course, a libertine. Goading the Shah with false gifts and flattery, Tavernier gained his trust, and the love of his court.

It is impossible to know what, exactly, happened next; but it is widely assumed that, just as the Shah pressed Tavernier to his breast as brother and friend, Tavernier betrayed him. Some accounts even posit the Frenchman slit his host’s throat; others, that Tavernier poisoned him and half his glorious court.

The goddess Sita was witness to the violence; and when Tavernier pried the jewel from her forehead with a dagger thieved from Shah Jehan’s still-warm body, Sita cursed the Frenchman and all those who would come to own the diamond after him.

Sewn into the forearm of a slave girl, the diamond was brought to Europe, where Tavernier sold it to Louis XIV for the princely sum of two hundred thousand livres. The Sun King recut the jewel to improve its luster and wore it slung about his royal breast on a blue ribbon. As part of the crown jewels of France, the diamond would be henceforth known as the French Blue.

Alas, the jewel that bewitched the Frenchman and the king would also bring doom upon their heads; Sita would see her curse satisfied. Tavernier, living out his last days exiled in the wilds of Russia, was torn limb from lip by a pack of wild dogs, and buried in an unmarked grave.

Neither were the kings of France immune to Sita’s curse; it was on a bitterly cold day in January when the last king, Louis XVI, lost his crown, his fortune, and his head before a crowd of angry Parisians.

And yet Sita’s thirst for vengeance is not yet satisfied. The French Blue, along with most of the crown jewels, was thieved in late 1791 from the Garde Mueble, a royal warehouse on the outskirts of Paris. No one knows who stole it, or where it might be hidden away; in a Bavarian duke’s treasure chest, perhaps, or the dirty pocket of a serving wench in Calais. The diamond could be anywhere.

While the trail grows cold, Sita’s thirst burns hot. The French Blue is far too glorious a gem to remain hidden forever. Only when it is again brought into the light; only when it is claimed by whomever is brave, or perhaps daft, enough to claim it; only then will Sita’s lust for blood be satisfied, and her curse at last fulfilled.

One

City of London
Duchess Street, near Cavendish Square
Spring 1812

Resisting the impulse to leap from his chair, fists raised, with a great Huzzah!, Mr. Thomas Hope thrust the quill into its holder beside the inkwell. He gathered the pages scattered across his desk and settled in to read the History.

The gray afternoon light was fading, and he drew the oil lamp closer so that he might read his masterwork without having to squint. For a masterwork it was, surely; how could it not be, after the years Hope dreamed of the diamond, researched its origins and the fantastic claims behind its curse?

But as his eyes traveled the length of each sentence, it became abundantly clear that Hope’s History was no masterwork. Indeed, it was something else altogether.

Dear God, it was awful. Dramatic to the extreme, like an opera, but without the painted prima donna to compensate for its lack of narrative savvy. The size of a snuffbox. Whence had come that rubbish?

Tossing the pages onto the desk, Hope tugged a hand through his tangle of wayward curls. He was reading too much of that brooding, wicked man Lord Byron, and it was starting to take its toll on his pen.

He didn’t have time for such frivolity besides. Hope had a goodly bit of work waiting for him back at the bank, and an even larger bit—a barrel, actually—of cognac to drink this evening.

Literary aspirations all but shot to hell, Hope was about to crumple the pages into his fists, when a strange noise, sounding suspiciously like muffled laughter, broke out over his shoulder.

His blood rushed cold. Not one of his men, the butler or a steward or a cashier from the bank. He was not expecting any visitors, and the hour for social calls had long passed.

Hope glanced across the gleaming expanse of his desk. His eyes landed on a silver letter opener, winking from its place beside the inkwell. Then there was the pistol in the top right drawer, of course, and the bejeweled Italian dagger in its box on the shelf; and his fists, he couldn’t very well discount those weapons—

He swallowed, hard. Those days were behind him. The time for violence and subterfuge had passed; Hope was a respectable man of business now, like his father, and his father before him.

Respectable men of business did not greet visitors with a sock to the eye or a bejeweled dagger thrust at their throats.

At least not in England.

Removing his spectacles one ear at a time, he carefully placed them beside the pages on his desk. For a moment he closed his eyes, pulse racing.

Hope spun about in his chair. The breath left his body when his gaze fell on the hulking figure that loomed half a step behind him.

“Oh, God.” Hope gaped. “Not you. Not now.”

Smirking in that familiar way of his—one side of his mouth kicked up saucily, provokingly—Mr. Henry Beaton Lake reached past Hope and lifted the History from the desk.

“‘Forbidden fruit’?” Lake wheezed. “Oh God indeed! That’s bad, old man, very bad. I advise you to leave alliteration to the feebleminded, poets and the like. And the curse!”

Here Mr. Lake whooped with laughter, going so far as to bend over and slap his knee with great jollity. “Brilliant, I say, brilliant! Reading your little history, I’d almost venture you believed it. Heavens, what a good laugh you’ve given me, and how in the gloom of these past months I’ve needed it!”

Hope snatched the pages from Mr. Lake’s pawlike hand and stuffed them into a drawer. “It’s a work in progress,” he growled. “I wasn’t expecting to share it, not yet. What in hell are you doing here, and in daylight? Someone could have seen you.”

Lake turned and leaned the backs of his enormous thighs against the desk. He crossed his ankles, then his arms, and looked down at Hope. “Anxious as always, old friend. You haven’t changed a bit—well, except for those clothes. You look like a peacock.”

Hope watched as Lake’s penetrating gaze lingered a moment on Hope’s crisply knotted cravat, his simple but exquisitely cut kerseymere waistcoat, and the onyx-studded watch peeking from his pocket.

“And you, Lake, look like a pirate out of Robinson Crusoe. What of it?” Hope took in Lake’s broad shoulders, the corded muscles in his neck. He wore the black patch over his eye as some men wore a well-cut dinner jacket: with pride and a sort of impudent, knowing smile, confident any female in the vicinity would find him a little dangerous, wholly debonair, and far too tempting to resist.

“Thank you for the compliment.” Lake’s smile broadened. “And you needn’t worry about being seen associating with the likes of me. I used the alley, and came in through the drawing room window.”

“Of course you did. Still up to your old tricks, then?”

“King and country, Hope,” Mr. Lake sighed, the laughter fading from his face. “Boney didn’t stop when you and I parted ways. Someone needed to stay and fight.”

Hope looked away, blinking back the sting of Lake’s words. A beat of uncomfortable silence settled between them.

At last Lake pushed to his feet and made his way to the sideboard.

Hope watched the man limp across the room, his right leg remaining stiff at the knee. For a moment sadness and regret pressed heavy into his chest. Too many memories; memories that Hope did not care to revisit.

Mr. Lake held up an etched decanter. “Mind if I pour us a finger, or three?”

“I do indeed mind, very much,” Hope replied.

But as he expected, Lake paid him no heed. His guest busied himself at the sideboard, and a moment later returned with a generous pour of brandy in each of two bulbous snifters.

“I’ve too many engagements this evening to begin with brandy, and at so early an hour,” Hope said, but even as the words left his mouth he found himself reaching for the snifter Lake had set before him. Something about the man’s stone-set gaze made Hope feel as if he’d need a drink, and then some, after Mr. Lake revealed what he’d come for.

Hope watched Lake lower himself with a wince into the high-backed chair on the other side of the desk. He took a long pull of brandy and, after he felt the familiar fire relax his limbs, asked, “How’s the leg?”

Lake finished his own pull before replying. “Good, bad, it’s all the same. Scares off the right people, attracts all the wrong ones. I rather prefer it that way.”

Hope scoffed, grinning wistfully at his brandy. “And you. You haven’t changed, either. Not a bit.”

Again charged silence stretched across the desk. Hope gulped his liquor. Lake did the same.

“The outcome of the war in Spain shall be decided in the coming weeks.” Lake’s voice was low. He did not meet Hope’s gaze. “Wellington marches for Madrid; when the battle comes, it shall turn the tide of our fortunes there. For better or worse, I cannot say. That wastrel Frenchman Marmont, damn him, has the luck of the devil. The lives of thousands, tens of thousands, of British soldiers hang in the balance. My men—good men, smart men—they will die. Men like you.”

“I was never one of your men, Lake. I was a refugee in need of aid and asylum. You gave me what I needed, and in return I gave you the same.” Hope looked down at his glass. “I was never one of your men.”

Lake’s one pale eye snapped upward. “Yes, you were. You still are.”

Hope tried not to flinch as he waited for what he knew came next.

“We need you,” Lake said. “Your country needs you. To turn the tide in our favor.”

Ah, so there it was. Hope knew he should run and hide, for those very words spelled the death of hundreds of England’s finest men.

But with his earnest eye—the one eye the surgeon managed to save, after the accident—Lake pinned Mr. Hope to his chair.

“I would help if I could.” Hope splayed his palms on the desk. “But it’s the same as it was ten years ago. I was born to count, Lake, not to spy. My father was banker to the great houses of Europe, and his father before that. After I fled the Continent, I dreamed of restoring Hope and Company to its former glory. And now I’ve done that. I’m a respectable man of business—”

“Man of business, yes, but the respectable bit is questionable.”

Hope chewed the inside of his lip to keep from rolling his eyes. “Regardless, I’ve a lot at stake. People depend on me, lots of people. Clients, employees. I can’t risk the livelihood of thousands of families—never mind my own, my brothers, bless their black souls—by engaging in your sort of intrigue. It’s bad business. I’ve worked long and hard to build my reputation. I won’t see that work undone, and millions lost along the way.”

Hope sipped his brandy, then swirled it in its glass. “But you knew I would say all that. So, Lake. Tell me why you are here.”

Lake drained his glass and smacked his lips. “I’m here because of that diamond you write so very ardently about.”

“The French Blue?” Hope eyed his visitor. “Quite the coincidence, that you should appear out of the ether just as I am finishing my history.”

“I thought together we might begin a new chapter of your lovely little history,” Lake said. “And you know as well as I do it’s no coincidence. You’ve heard the rumors, same as me. You’re going to buy the diamond from her, aren’t you?”

Hope looked down at his hands. Damn him, how did Lake know everything? He assumed the existence of the French Blue in England was a well-kept secret. The Princess of Wales made sure of that, seeing as she likely came into possession of the diamond through illegal, perhaps even treasonous, means.

But Hope assumed wrong. He should have known better, especially when it came to Henry Beaton Lake, privateer-cum-spy extraordinaire. The man sniffed out secrets as a bloodhound would a fox: instinctively, confidently, his every sense alive with the hunt.

“Perhaps.” Hope swept back a pair of curls with his fingers. “I admit I am looking to expand my collection. And diamonds—jewels—they are good investments. In the last decade alone—”

“Psh!” Lake threw back his head. “You’re buying it for a woman, aren’t you?”

This time Hope did not hold back rolling his eyes. “I avoid attachments to women for the very same reasons I avoid the likes of you. Much as I admire the female sex.”

“You did a great deal more than admire said sex when we were in France.”

“That was almost ten years ago, and hardly signifies.”

Lake leveled his gaze with Hope’s. “The distractions of women aside. You are attempting to buy the French Blue from Princess Caroline. I’m asking you to buy it for me. For England.”

Hope choked on his brandy. Before he could protest, Lake pushed onward.

“We’ve tried to buy the stone from the princess, but she is holding it hostage from her husband the prince and, by extension, our operation. Relations between them are worse than ever. I’m shocked, frankly, that they haven’t yet tried to poison one another.”

“Would that we were so lucky as to be delivered from that nincompoop they have the nerve to call regent.”

Lake waved away his words. “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. If we manage to obtain the French Blue, we could very well change the course of the war. For years now old Boney’s been on the hunt for the missing crown jewels of France. We have reason to believe he’d trade valuable concessions for the largest and most notorious of those jewels. In exchange for the French Blue, that blackhearted little toad might hand over prisoners, a Spanish city or two. We could very well save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives, and in a single stroke.”

Hope let out a long, hot breath. “You’re shameless, Lake. Absolutely shameless. I refuse to be cowed into thinking I’m a selfish bastard for wanting to protect the interests of those who depend on me for their livelihoods, and their fortunes. I care for the thousands of lives you’ll save, I do, but—”

“But.” Lake held up his finger. “You are a selfish bastard, then.”

Hope gritted his teeth, balling his palms into fists. “I’ve too much at stake,” he repeated. “Princess Caroline has been a client of Hope and Company for years. She is more dangerous than she appears, and wily besides. I’m sunk if she uncovers the plot. I won’t do it.”

For a long moment Lake looked at Hope, his one pale eye unblinking. He shifted in his chair and winced, sucking in a breath as he slowly rested his weight on the bad leg.

The leg that had saved Hope from becoming a cripple, or a corpse, himself.

“Not even for me, old friend?” Lake’s face was tensed with pain, and glowing red.

Hope shook his head. “Shameless.” He laughed, a mirthless sound. “How do you know I’m worthy of the task? I am not the nimble shadow I once was. These days, a daring evening is a few too many fingers of liquor and a long, deep sleep—alone, sadly—in my bed.”

All traces of pain disappeared from Lake’s face as he grinned. “You are not as handsome as you once were, I’ll give you that. But I wouldn’t have asked you if I didn’t believe you were a capable partner in crime. We shall work together, of course.”

“Of course.” Hope sighed in defeat. “So. What’s the play?”

Lake leaned forward, resting his forearms on his knees, and rubbed his palms together with a look of fiendish glee. “Those engagements you have—cancel them. We make our move tonight.”

Two

London
King Street, St. James’s Square

Adebutante of small name and little fortune would, surely, commit any number of unspeakable acts in exchange for a voucher to Almack’s Assembly Rooms. For there lurked unmarried gentlemen of the rich, titled variety, the kind with palaces in the country and interests in exotic things like shiny boots and perfectly coiffed sideburns.

So why did Miss Sophia Blaise’s pulse thump with something akin to relief, exhilaration, even, when one of said gentlemen excused himself from her company and disappeared into the crush?

The Marquess of Withington was not the handsomest peer, but he was the richest, and quite the Corinthian besides. His sideburns were surely the most perfect and the most coiffed, and his boots very shiny indeed. Every heiress and duke’s daughter would willingly claw out the other’s eyes for a chance to be courted by the marquess; such crimes were tolerated, welcomed, even, while on the hunt for this season’s most eligible quarry.

Even now, as Sophia teetered awkwardly on the edge of the ballroom, she felt the sting of stares from venomous female passersby. Her two-minute conversation with the marquess was apparently grounds for preemptive attack by her fellow fortune hunters.

But Sophia was nothing if not ambitious. She took a certain pride in being the object of such naked envy. Perhaps she did have a chance at making the brilliant match to which she’d always aspired, after all. Perhaps the marquess—the filthy-rich, swoon-worthy marquess!—was not so far out of reach.

The conversation itself had been a moderate success—his eyes had remained glued to her bosom, yes, but he had laughed at her jests—and even in the wake of her relief at his departure, Sophia felt the satisfaction of a job well done.

Now she had only to dread their next interaction.

“It will get easier,” her mother counseled earlier that evening, swaying in time with the carriage.

“You mustn’t take it too seriously,” Cousin Violet said. She took a swig from her flask and let out a small hiss of satisfaction. “Men like Withington are in possession of little wit, and even less intelligence. You’ve nothing to fear from them.”

It certainly hadn’t gotten easier, or any less serious, as the beginning weeks of the season passed with alarming speed.

For as long as Sophia could remember, she desired two things above all else: to make a brilliant match with the season’s most eligible bachelor, and a suitably large castle to go with him. Having grown up in a family teetering on the edge of penury, Sophia desired stability, security, too, and a man like the marquess could provide her all that and more: the titles, the crests, the fortune and fame.

She was not prepared, however, for just how difficult it would be to fulfill her ambitions. Nor did she anticipate how intimidating, how repellent, she would find a goodly majority of the gentlemen who belonged to said titles and crests.

Her first season, in short, was turning out to be quite a disaster. Yes, quite.

Sophia’s shoulders slumped.

But even as the weight of that sobering truth bore down upon her heart, a flicker of anticipation pulsed there. Faint at first, it flamed hotter as the minutes passed. The hour of her departure from Almack’s drew near; which meant, of course, Sophia was that much closer to her second engagement of the evening.

And this one, praise God, had nothing at all to do with sideburns or castles.

Sophia shivered with anticipation when at last the family’s musty, creaking carriage jostled its occupants away from Almack’s door on King Street later that evening, making for the family’s ramshackle manse in Grosvenor Square.

“You’re smiling.” Violet eyed Sophia from across the carriage. “What’s wrong?”

Sophia bit the inside of her lip, hoping to hide her grin of excitement. “Nothing out of the usual, Cousin. I very likely offended a marquess. Being the graceful swan that I am, I stepped on Lord Pealey’s feet—yes, both of them—during the minuet.”

Violet shrugged. “That makes for a better turn at Almack’s than last week.”

Lady Blaise said nothing as she swatted back Cousin Violet’s attempt at another swig from her flask.

Violet tilted her head back and swigged anyway, draining every last drop.

Sophia sighed and looked out the window. One more hour. One more hour until my escape.

*   *   *

Grosvenor Square

Pulling her hood over her nose, Sophia leaned against the crumbling brick of her uncle’s house and stepped into her boots, one stockinged foot at a time. She straightened and peered into the shadows, long and sinister in the flickering light of the gas lamps. Satisfied no one was about, she stole into the square, pressing to her breast the pages hidden in her cloak.

The night was cool and clammy; there would be rain. Above, the stars hid behind a thin layer of gray cloud, while the light of the full moon shone through like a lone, opaque eye, following her as she moved through the dark.

With each step her pulse quickened. The daring of it all, the risk—reputation, ruination, retribution—was immense. And exhilarating, all at once.

Whatever this feeling was, it far outshone the anxiety, and the disappointment, she’d experienced while in the Marquess of Withington’s presence at Almack’s.

It was not far to The Glossy. While Sophia had no occasion on which to dwell on such things, it had surprised her nonetheless that establishments such as La Reinette’s populated Mayfair as thickly as potbellied peers.

Those potbellied peers, Sophia had quickly discovered, were possessed of wicked appetites in more ways than one.

The Glossy occupied a stately spot between Viscount Pickering’s massive pile and the Earl of Sussex’s broad, tired-looking townhouse. Now Sophia understood why Sussex was such a jolly fellow, despite a succession of sour-faced wives.

Its namesake shutters were lacquered deep blue, the slick paint glittering in the low light of lanterns on either side of the front door. Sophia slipped past The Glossy’s facade onto a narrow lane that descended along one side of the house. She stopped at a hedgerow—wait, yes, this was the one—and ducked into the boxwood’s firm grasp.

For several heartbeats she scraped through the darkness, complete and sweet smelling. She emerged onto a small but immaculately groomed courtyard, illuminated by exotic-looking torches standing guard around the perimeter. With light footsteps she crossed to a door, half-hidden by a budding vine of wisteria. She knocked once. Twice.

Waited a beat.

Then knocked twice more.

The door opened. A tall mulatto emerged, his enormous bulk occupying the whole of the threshold. His black eyes sparked with recognition as they fell upon Sophia’s half-hidden face.

“Good evening, miss.” He bowed. “Please, come in. The madam is waiting for you. Lily will show you up.”

Sophia stepped into the hall but did not remove her hood.

The scent of fresh-cut flowers, mingled with a vivid musk Sophia had yet to name, filled her nostrils. She followed Lily, a yellow-haired woman so beautiful it was difficult not to stare, down a wide gallery and up a curving stair.

The Glossy was as lovely as Sophia remembered. Lovelier even than the first-rate homes of the ton, for La Reinette eschewed overstuffed severity in favor of feminine flair. Enormously tall ceilings were frescoed in the Italian style, blues and pinks and naked bodies aflutter. Light sparkled from heavy crystal chandeliers. The gilt furniture was upholstered in various shades of ivory and pink. Paintings lined the walls, depicting lovers past in various states of repose—Tristan and Isolde, Diana and Actaeon, Romeo and Juliet.

When at last Lily drew up before a pair of painted doors, Sophia was dizzy, intoxicated by her surroundings. Lily opened the doors and Sophia stepped mutely over the threshold, blinking to bring her blood back to life.

Before she could thank her guide, the doors swung shut behind her. A voice, thick and seductive, called out from inside the room.

“Ah, mademoiselle! S’il vous plaît, entrez, entrez!”

La Reinette approached, knotting the tasseled belt of her Japanese silk robe. She dropped into an elegant curtsy, and in her excitement Sophia did the same. La Reinette was more legend than lady; really, how did one greet the mistress to prime ministers and Continental royalty? She was called the little queen—la reinette—for good reason.

Madame clucked her tongue and lifted Sophia by her elbows. She drew back Sophia’s hood and smiled in that languid way only Frenchwomen could, placing her palms on Sophia’s neck.

Her spine tingled at La Reinette’s touch. “Good evening, Madame. I am happy to see you again.”

“And I am very happy, yes.” Madame nodded at a table and chairs set before the fire. On the table, several quills were placed beside a mother-of-pearl inkwell and a quire of fine paper. “Come, let us sit. I am most eager to see the work you have done with my tales.”

Sophia settled into her chair and placed the pages, bound in thin red ribbon, on the table. She watched as La Reinette hovered at a sideboard, pouring red wine into elegant goblets. Without asking, Madame placed a goblet on the table before Sophia and swept into the chair opposite.

“Drink it,” Madame said. “It is very good, from my country. Not the vinegar that is made in Italy. It helps me to remember. I think it will help you to write.”

Sophia brought the glass to her lips, gaze flicking to meet Madame’s. In the glow of the fire her eyes appeared wholly black, like a stag’s; a striking foil to her pale skin and hair.

Sophia pushed the bound pages across the table. “The edits from our first meeting are complete, and I compiled everything you gave me from the second. I—” Sophia blushed. “I enjoyed this week’s tales. Thoroughly. That spy you knew, back in France—the one with the curls, who could fell a girl with his gaze alone? He is my favorite gentleman yet.”

Again Madame smiled. “Yes,” she said. “He is my favorite, too.”

She placed a reticule, woven with pink thread, before Sophia on the table.

“Five pounds, as we agreed, and a bonus.” Madame held up a thin, elegant hand at Sophia’s protest. “It is no small risk you take, visiting me like this.”

“I have come to enjoy our meetings, very much.” Sophia squirreled away the reticule in the folds of her cloak. “The adventure you have seen, and the gentlemen you have known—they certainly don’t make them like that in England.”

Madame raised an eyebrow. “Your prince, you have not found him yet? But this is your season!”

“No prince. Not yet. Perhaps it is not my season, after all.” Sophia set down her wine and picked up a quill, examining its sharpened nib. &...

Produktinformationen

Titel: The Millionaire Rogue
Autor: Jessica Peterson
EAN: 9780425272084
ISBN: 978-0-425-27208-4
Format: Kartonierter Einband (Kt)
Herausgeber: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Romane & Erzählungen
Anzahl Seiten: 336
Gewicht: 136g
Größe: H170mm x B104mm x T25mm
Jahr: 2015

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  • Klicken Sie auf den "Pfeil"-Button, rechts neben dem Eingabefeld
  • Wählen Sie eine Filiale in der Trefferliste aus

Die nächste Filiale auch mobil finden
Zuletzt angesehen
Verlauf löschen