Silent Deception is set in Cornwall in the mid-1800s. A remote country house. A young, penniless heiress. An earl with dubious intentions. And a dark family secret...
Lord Drake caught up within seconds, and for a mile, they followed the swerving outline of the path. The droning of the sea grew louder, the breeze picking up.
“Wait a moment.” She brought her mare to a halt and adjusted her hat and shawl which had become askew in the wind. ‘We should slow down, this close to the cliffs.” A sudden sense of trepidation coursed through her.
At a weathered gate, the path ended. Lush grass stretched beyond, until it stopped sharply. The cliff’s edge.
“Allow me.” He helped her off the mare and tied the horses’ reins to a stake. Opening the gate, he let her through before he secured it again behind him.
“Take my arm, Miss Goodridge. The ground appears uneven in places.”
Spotting rabbit holes in the knee high grass, Minnie was grateful for his support. As she slid her arm through the crook of his elbow, a surge of heat seared through her. Her cheeks flamed but fortunately the breeze cooled her face instantly. With her free hand, she clutched her hat.
“How far can we go? Is it safe?”
He shrugged. “A few yards at most. Up to there, perhaps.” He pointed to the beginning of a slope ahead.
She nodded, relishing the fresh air. Canterbury had been so…stuffy. “Home.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I do feel at home here already. Strangely so.” She smiled, swallowing hard as he covered her gloved hand with his.
“Yes, this land pulls you in, doesn’t it? I never much liked the seaside in Kent where my mother resides. It’s too…” He cocked his head.
“Civilized?” Minnie smirked when he laughed.
“Yes, I guess you’re right. We appear to share a sense of adventure, don’t we?” His gaze met hers, full of mischief and…something she couldn’t determine.
“We may,” she whispered, suddenly hot beneath her skin.
They stopped at the slope. The view ahead was dizzying. Only a short distance away, the land crumbled steeply into the sea. Minnie could only guess how high up these cliffs were. To her left, a mile or two away, the shoreline dipped gently downward to a beach.
Minnie startled. What made her say that?
Lord Drake eyed her quizzically. “Mr. Walker’s murdered wife?”
“Yes.” Dread settled in her stomach. “I was just thinking how she…died.” A sense of flying gripped her. Black spots blurred her vision. “The cliffs. I…”
Strong arms encircled her, and the spell of giddiness passed as his warmth seeped into her. Minnie blinked.
“Here, look this way.” He steered her away from the abyss, toward the manor barely half a mile away.
She blinked again, then straightened. “Thank you. I don’t know what came over me.”
Lord Drake didn’t loosen his hold. “Don’t worry, these heights often have that effect.”
“I never feel faint, Lord–” Her breathing stilled as his gaze–only inches away–captured hers. She licked her suddenly dry lips.
“Gideon,” he groaned, then his mouth was on hers, fierce at first, then tender, softening.
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