Sunday, 1 July 2012

Grace Elliot: 'Hope's Betrayal'

One wild, winter's night two worlds collide.

Known for his ruthless efficiency, Captain George Huntley is sent to stamp out smuggling on the south coast of England. On a night raid, the Captain captures a smuggler, but finds his troubles are just beginning when the lad turns out to be a lass, Hope Tyler.

With Hope as bait, the Captain sets a trap to catch the rest of the gang. But in a battle of wills, with his reputation at stake, George Huntley starts to respect feisty, independent Hope. Challenged by her sea-green eyes and stubborn loyalty Huntley now faces a new threat - his growing attraction to a sworn enemy. But a love where either Hope betrays her own kind, or Captain Huntley is court-marshaled, is not an easy destiny to follow.

            "I don’t want your pity."
            "And I have no pity to give."
            Slowly he turned. "Then why are you here?"
            "Once you helped me. You protected me when others condemned me…and didn’t judge."
            “But I don’t want anyone, least of all you, to feel sorry for me.”
            “And why would I do that?”
            “Because I am not the man I was. Because I am useless. A wreck.”
            “Well the man I know is bigger than that. The man I see before me, stood up to his fellow officers for what he believed was right. Your body will heal and you will recover, but your injury has taught you humility…and that’s a very appealing quality.”
            Huntley stared at her, astounded. “It is?”
            “Oh yes, I didn't liked the arrogant, bully of a man you were before, but this Huntley, the one who cries into his horse's mane, is altogether more attractive.”
            “Well I’ll be damned if I ever understand women.” His heart thudded, as they faced each other, so close that he could smell the scent of bedsheets on her skin. Merciful heavens, a man could lose himself in the depths of those tilted green eyes, standing there with her luscious lips softly parted.
            He cleared his throat, acutely aware of the pulse at the base of her throat. “Miss Tyler, unless you want to be ravaged, I would suggest you leave now.”
            She didn’t move. A primal beat throbbed through his blood. He licked his lips and took a step forward to trap her against the stable wall.
            “Why didn’t you go?”
            Without fear she gazed into his eyes. "Because I chose to stay."
            He claimed her mouth, so warm and moist, such precious heat as she returned his kisses, gently at first then with urgency. He leant closer, pressing the delicious length of her against his body. It excited him to know that beneath the redingcote was no armoury of stays and petticoats, just one thin nightrail. A sense of mastery swept through his body, as he lowered her hands to caress the undulating line of her waist. Breathing heavily, he leant down to taste her skin of neck. She arched and groaned in response, throwing back her head to expose the milky curve of her throat…

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