Celia Vallerand fears for her life as she stares into the deep, arresting eyes of the dashing man who purchased her from the brigands who had abducted her. But it soon becomes clear that it's her virtue, not her life, that's in danger. The rugged, powerful renegade known only as "Griffin" arouses desires in Celia as dangerous as they are forbidden. And though she knows she must resist him, she fears she may be unable to do so.
But the magnificent adventurer is a man trapped in a perilous deception. And the shocking secrets he guards could deny him the love of the fair captive lady who has enslaved his reckless heart.
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November 05, 2002
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Excerpt from Only With Your Love by Lisa Kleypas
Before ten minutes had passed the sounds of combat died away and hundreds of footsteps seemed to pound the deck. Celia remained in the cabin, longing to open the door and see what had happened. But all she could do was wait with terrified anticipation.
She stiffened with alarm as heavy feet walked the length of the companionway and the door rattled. "Locked," a voice growled. Celia jumped as a blunt object crashed against the other side of the door, splintering the fine paneling. Swiftly she readied the gun to fire. Another sharp blow, and the hinges creaked in protest.
Celia used her palm to wipe at the cold sweat on her face. She raised the barrel of the pistol, pressing it to her temple. At the touch of the metal to her skin, thoughts raced through her mind. If Philippe had died, she would not want to live. And if she did not use the gun on herself now, she would face a horrifying fate at the hands of the sea bandits. But something inside rebelled at the thought of pulling the trigger. She took a deep breath and steadied her hands.
The door crashed open. Frozen, she stared at the two men who stood there, both swarthy and unkempt, their matted hair held back with kerchiefs, their faces sunburned and stubbled. The shorter of the two held a cutlass in his hand, while the other clasped a bloodstained boarding pike.
Dropping his cutlass, the small but sturdily built man stepped over the sill at the bottom of the doorway. He licked his lips and watched her with keen eyes. "Put it down," he muttered in a thick American accent, gesturing to the gun.
Celia couldn't utter a word. Now, her mind insisted, end it now ... But her arm lowered to her side. In a flash of self-hatred, she realized she was too much of a coward to take her own life.
"I'll stake me share of th' spoils now," one pirate said to the other. His mouth split in a yellowtoothed grin as he walked toward her.
Automatically Celia raised the gun and squeezed the trigger, feeling as if some force outside herself was guiding her actions. The bullet that should have ended her own life buried itself in the man's chest. A crimson flood spread over his unwashed shirt. Blood spattered everywhere, and Celia heard herself scream as the body crumpled at her feet.
"Little bitch!" Enraged, the other pirate grabbed her and threw her against the wall. The pistol fell from her hand and clattered to the floor. Her head hit the hard surface, and she halffainted, sinking into a world filled with gray mist. She moaned as she was dragged through the companionway and up to the main deck, where she was dropped to the yellow planking. The ship rang with the sound of voices, and barrels and boxes being moved across the deck. There was a strange smell mingling with the scents of salt water and sea air.