The Hill family saga concludes as loyalties are questioned, faiths will be tested and undying love may come at a terrible cost…
Fara Hill, mother and faithful wife, is torn between her family at home and her urge to be at sea. Soon, she learns some disturbing truths. Was the past a fairy tale instead of reality?
Chloe Hill, loving wife and young mother, questions her faith when her husband sets an ultimatum she cannot meet. Will she be able to keep her marriage from falling apart?
Adrienne Bellamont Hill, born of a valiant captain and a fiery redhead, is untamed to her core and will bow to no man. Then Christian du Plessis enters her life with an offer she can’t refuse. Discovering the man behind the polished gentleman, she is drawn to him in many ways. Holding out for love is a family tradition, but can she resist the temptation of passion?
Christian finds this young woman to be a fascinating challenge, and is torn between keeping his distance from her and succumbing to her charms. A fierce battle of wills ensues as he sees she is much more than he ever imagined.
But danger lurks, threatening to destroy everything…
Can these two strong-willed individuals unite in the cause before time runs out?
Christian scanned the wall and came to rest on a woman whose face was obscured by the way she stood. She was turned slightly away, in conversation with another girl. She had long, dark wavy hair and a nice form. When she turned back towards him, he caught his breath at the stunning figure she posed. Her eyes were a violet color; he could tell because the gas lights in the room caught them like fine gemstones. She was also fairly tall for a woman. Her skin was a fine, light golden shade, which didn’t detract from her beauty at all. Most of her contemporaries avoided direct sunlight. It was clear that her skin tone was natural, perhaps with a hint of being blessed by the sun’s rays. He wondered what sort of woman would place herself in the elements while the other women in her circle managed to elude such avenues.
His gaze continued to travel over her strange perfection. Her décolletage dipped to the tops of her full breasts, hinting at pleasure, and she was dressed in a long gown of pale blue. The shape of the gown gave off the suggestion of ample curves beneath. What kind, he could only guess. He imagined the costume was an heirloom because most women’s fashions these days weren’t so revealing. “Who is that?” he pointed.
“Mademoiselle Bellamont Hill.”
“I haven’t seen her before.”
“It is past her season. She hasn’t been to a function in a couple of years, I believe. Something about a mourning period.”
“But, isn’t she from around here?”
“Yes, in a way. Her family travels often. Her father is a captain, and so is her brother. When she is here, she lives with her mother and aunt.”
“Why hasn’t she married?”
Pierce shrugged. “It could be any number of reasons. Why? Do you want me to ask her to dance?”
“No, not her. Perhaps her companion would be interested.” He referred to the blonde woman at Mademoiselle Hill’s side. Christian didn’t allow himself to wonder why he thought the other girl would not suit his friend.
Pierce agreed, and they both started in that direction. When they approached the ladies, Christian took the first woman’s hand, brushing his lips over it. He observed that her skin was incredibly soft and had a tantalizing sweet scent. He curbed the urge to explore it further.
She gasped, a flush staining her cheeks. “Monsieur?”
“Forgive me for the abrupt entrance. I am Christian du Plessis. It is a pleasure to meet you, Mademoiselle.”
She smiled. “Thank you. I am Adrienne Nicolette Bellamont Hill.” She looked over at her companion. If she noticed the impropriety of not being introduced by a common acquaintance, she did not say. “This is my good friend, Elena Wyndham. She’s visiting from England.”
Though he’d blinked as she gave her full name, he managed, “Oh? It is so good to have your acquaintance. Ladies, this is my ami, Pierce Laroque.”
“Hello, Pierce,” both girls chimed and shook his hand alternately.
Pierce looked flustered as he murmured a greeting.
“I hope you’ll take good care of my friend here. He is rather shy with women. Perhaps you might make him feel welcome,” he whispered, leaning in close to Elena with a smile.
She gave him a conspiratorial smile, and then turned to Pierce. “Might you dance with me, Monsieur? I can’t stand here and simply watch this gaiety.”
Pierce readily agreed and escorted Elena to the dance floor just as the music for another waltz began.
The woman named Adrienne frowned, looking up at Christian. “What was that? What are you up to?”
“Just a little matchmaking,” he shrugged.
“Perhaps your friend wouldn’t be pleased with your interference.”
Christian took her hand and tucked it in the crook of his arm. “Shall we walk?” At her nod, he led her in a stroll around the edges of the room. As they ambled along, the heavenly scent of blended flowers and honey drifted into his nose. He struggled with the desire to lean closer so that he could breathe more of her in. “I’m sure he would welcome it. Pierce is rather reserved, and not at all used to conversing with women.”
She nodded. “He asked for your help then.”
His mouth twisted. Pierce would never have asked; he was far too honorable a man for that, which was why he’d volunteered. “In a manner of speaking, yes.”
“I suppose I cannot reprimand you for assisting a friend,” she sighed. “For a moment, I simply thought you had ulterior motives.”
“To pair myself off with you?”
She lifted a brow. “You can’t blame me for the assumption.”
“No, I cannot. Don’t take this the wrong way, Mademoiselle Hill. You are very tempting, and I am more drawn to you than I should be. But, my purpose in coming here tonight wasn’t self-serving. It was to help Pierce find a wife.”
She stumbled a little, and he clasped her arm in time. “A wife? Surely you cannot be serious.”
“But, Elena wouldn’t… she would never—”
“No? And why not? Pierce is a good man.”
“So? What woman would agree to marry a man after one night?”
“Stranger things have happened, I’m sure.”
Her beautiful, dark brows drew together and even her apparent perplexity appealed to him.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 23 other books. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.
Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.