Katharine Ashe continues her lush and sensual Devil’s Duke series with a sweeping story of unbreakable love.
Six years ago, when Lady Amarantha Vale was an innocent in a foreign land and Gabriel Hume was a young naval officer, they met . . . and played with fire.
Now Gabriel is the dark lord known to society as the Devil’s Duke, a notorious recluse hidden away in a castle in the Highlands. Only Amarantha knows the truth about him, and she won’t be intimidated. He is the one man who can give her the answers she needs.
But Gabriel cannot let her learn his darkest secret. So begins a game of wit and desire that proves seduction is more satisfying—and much more wicked—the second time around…
About the Book
by Katharine Ashe
Devil’s Duke #3
September 26, 2017
Before he could duck his head beneath the lintel and move forward, she turned to him eyes the color of cloverleaves and lit like lightning.
“Don’t gape, you big column of shark bait,” she shouted. “Help me!”
A blast of wind struck the building and the shop above them shuddered. Her grip slipped over the window latch. Gabriel shoved his shoulders through the narrow doorway and in three strides crossed the room. The wind blew hot and punishingly hard through the opening, but she did not release the latch. Covering her hand with his, he drove the frame shut.
The building moaned, and Gabriel found himself looking down upon a nose both freckled and wet, lips both lush and damp, lashes both long and dripping, and cloverleaves that had gone entirely round. Her features were English, fine, and not unattractive. After five months at sea, he would have been one sailor in a million to resist following the trail of rainwater down her pale throat in which her pulse beat visibly to the gown laced tight around her collar, sodden, and clinging to her curves.
“Remove your hand from mine and your eyes from where they have fallen out of your head,” she said in such an altered tone that he barely heard it below the groaning of the walls and the pounding of the rain. Rather, the pounding of his pulse.
Too long at sea.
He removed his eyes and then his entire self. Stepping back, he offered his hand for her descent from the crate.
She lifted a single brow.
“I beg your pardon,” he said roughly, withdrawing his hand once again.
She grasped her sodden skirts and climbed nimbly down. “You are pardoned, Shark Bait. This time.”
“Lieutenant,” he corrected.
Swiftly scanning the room with those eyes that even in the murky light of this day were like the green of Highlands mountains, she untied the ribbons at her throat, removed her dripping bonnet, and tossed it atop a barrel.
“Have you got a handkerchief?”
He reached into his waistcoat and proffered the square of linen. She glanced at his outstretched hand, then at his face, then at his hand again, and did not move forward.
“You are a giant beast of a man, aren’t you?” she said.
“So I’ve been told.” He set the linen on a crate and backed away, curling his fingers into his palm that had easily encompassed her whole hand. Taking up the kerchief, she unfolded it with trembling fingers and wiped the rainwater from her face. Wind and rain battered the building in frenzied fury, filling the tiny space with sound.
“I wonder how you go along aboard a ship.” Her gaze passed up and down him anew. “The crown of my head is barely to your chin yet I found the quarters aboard our ship frightfully cramped. Unless naval ships are much more spacious, you must spend every day bent over.”
“Aye, but only the part o’ the day below decks.”
The lush lips twitched. When she withdrew her gaze to look about the room, he felt the loss of that reluctant smile in his chest like the loss of air.
Nonsense. He was muddled with exhaustion from preparing the Fairway for the storm. This storage room beneath the shop was minuscule, heavy with heat, and packed with sacks of rice and grain, barrels of sugar and ham, wooden parts for furniture, skeins of silk, boxes of nails and other tools, and even one small keg of gunpowder. She strode the circumference of it, rounding him, and then halting where she had begun.
The wind blasted against the shop above and she tilted her face upward to peer at the ceiling that hung an inch above his head. Biting her lips between her teeth, she drew a hard breath, and then looked at him again.
“I suppose you have experience with storms of this sort,” she said.
Not of this sort. But spots of pink sat upon each pale cheek now. She had tucked her hands into her soggy skirts to hide their quivering. She was making a valiant effort to conceal her distress—more valiant than many a sailor he’d known.
“ ‘Twill blow over soon enough, lass.”
“That was a lie,” she said, a dart forming between her brows. “Why did you lie to me?”
“I didna—” He bit back his retort. But his patience was frayed. There had been no sign of the Theia entering the harbor, though he had stood in the downpour until the swells were rising so suddenly and steeply over the quay he had finally been obliged to shelter here. And now this: a sharp-tongued English girl with the manners of a stevedore.
Gabriel didn’t care much for social niceties. But a man wasn’t made First Lieutenant of a ship of the line at twenty-three by failing to mind his tongue.
Minding his behavior was another matter entirely.
About Katharine Ashe
KATHARINE ASHE is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of historical romances reviewers call “intensely lush” and “sensationally intelligent,” including her acclaimed Devil’s Duke Series, and My Lady, My Lord and How to Marry a Highlander, 2015 and 2014 finalists for the romance industry’s most prestigious award, the RITA®.
Katharine lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European History, she writes fiction because she thinks modern readers deserve grand adventures and breathtaking sensuality too.