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Sebastian Addison has a powerful secret. To society he is the Earl of Claybrook, the patriarch who raised his siblings after the death of their parents. But to the king, Sebastian is Britain’s top spy—a position that has taken an emotional toll on him. Contessa Gabrielle Marciano has also been living a lie, her title a cover devised by the Office of Intelligence. The femme fatale was plucked from a life of crime and prostitution and trained to restrain her passionate nature. Until she meets the earl.
For three deeply sensual days and nights, Sebastian and Gabrielle drop their masks, indulging in pleasures that seem too good to be true. Then the lovers go their separate ways. Seven months later they reunite when inside sources report that an English aristocrat has been aiding France in a plot to topple the Crown. Their objective: to find the turncoat. Their greatest challenge: to keep their wild, wounded hearts from derailing a mission of life and death.
Gabrielle smoothed her skirts and drew in a fortifying breath. The Eastmans’ ball had started two hours ago, and Sebastian had yet to make an appearance. Damn the man.
After leaving Atwater’s residence, she’d ridden home in her carriage, refusing to shed the tears that pushed against her eyes. It had taken every bit of willpower to ignore the raging pain that Sebastian’s cutting words and looks had inflicted on her.
A fool. That’s what she was. So he didn’t fall at her feet, as she’d stupidly hoped. So what?
Lady Eastman appeared at her side, bustling with efficiency and purpose as she always did, dressed in a pink gown, a color that should have been reserved for debutantes. “Chin up. Don’t let him see you’re nervous.”
“Men like to believe they have the upper hand, and they don’t like to be told what to do. He’s biding his time because he’s angry.”
That was only part of why Sebastian was angry. However, Lady Eastman’s no-nonsense approach was exactly what Gabrielle needed to hear to shore up her courage.
Just then the crowd stirred. The orchestra continued to play, the conversations around them faltered.
Gabrielle glanced over her shoulder to find the earl of Claybrook parting the crowds, looking neither right nor left as he approached her. Her heart started thundering, and all the talks of courage that she’d given herself vanished.
He could have been much more circumspect in his approach, but she supposed this would work as well.
He eschewed fashion and wore no wig. His black hair was cut short, falling over his forehead. There was white at the temples that hadn’t been there seven months ago. She found him even more desirable, if such a thing were possible.
A quick glance around showed that other females were having the same reaction: Whether they were new debutantes, firmly on the shelf, or married, they all watched him with the hunger that she knew was on her face as well. Seven months ago they’d had a torrid but all too short affair that had ended in a mutual understanding. She had not been able to walk away as easily as she had from her other lovers. She found herself thinking of him often. And now here he was. And they were working together.
And he was furious.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon Cullen is the author of the historical romances The Notorious Lady Anne, Loving the Earl, and Pleasing the Pirate, as well as many novels of romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. If you’d like to find out more about the author and her books, you can visit her blog or her website. She is addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion: books.