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High Seas & High Stakes Box Set, Books 1-3 (Ebook)

High Seas & High Stakes Box Set, Books 1-3 (Ebook)

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His Lady Smuggler

After two failed seasons in town, May Stanford sees her future no longer with her family, but in a nearby convent where she’ll not be anyone’s financial burden. But before she can embark on her new life, May must complete her dealings with the local smugglers, men who have kept a roof over her family’s head during frugal times. One last Christmas at home and her life would change forever. So when William Scott, the Earl of Grandison arrives and crumbles her perfectly planned future to rubble, May is less than pleased.

William, Lord Grandison works for the Crown, and is determined to catch the nuisance Englishmen who dare smuggle along the Cornwall coast. William has never veered from his pursuit of these men working against the law, that was until he meets May Stanford, the maddening daughter of his host for Christmas. May drives him to distraction and forces him to admit to feelings he has never felt before.

But when May and William discover the crippling truth of each other, their secrets will threaten to tear them apart.

Her Gentleman Pirate

Kidnapped by a smuggling pirate, Miss Arabella Hester is appalled by the circumstances that have befallen her. Imprisoned on a ship in the most scandalous of company, her reputation as a lady betrothed to a English Viscount is in tatters.

Captain Stephen Doherty aka Blackmore was left with little choice but to kidnap the daughter of Sir Ronald Hester, a man who’s payment for services rendered is long overdue. The ransom due on Arabella will settle her father’s debt, and allow Stephen to restore his family’s fortune.

Pursued across an ocean by those determined to restore a daughter to her rightful place, Arabella and Stephen navigate high seas and high emotions. But when their time is up, it remains to been seen whether this lady wishes to be caught by anyone other than her pirate...

A Wallflower's Christmas Wreath

When Mother Nature is in the mood for a Christmas miracle, anything can happen…

Heidi Lewis never thought her best friend would abandon her. She was wrong. Because when he came home from London with a fiancée who despised her, their lifelong relationship died. But now he’s back. And while she’d love to give him a second chance, she’s just not sure her heart could stand losing him again…

Matthew Stanford knows he made a mistake when he let Heidi go. Now that his horrible betrothed is firmly in his past where she belongs, he wants nothing more for the holidays than to win back his childhood friend’s trust. It won’t be easy. But he’s sure Heidi’s worth the trouble…

When fate—and a devastating storm—strands them together, Heidi and Matthew realize their feelings for each other are decidedly romantic this time around. And that it’ll take more than the magic of the season to get them to happily ever after…

Read a Sample

Cornwall – 1811

May stared at her father, who sat nestled against the squabs of their family carriage. Thin-lipped, he perused the literature the mother superior from the Convent of the Little Sisters of Jesus had handed him just before their departure.
Granted, becoming a nun wasn’t what most women longed for. A husband, children, friends and an active social life in London was what most well to do debutantes aspired to.
She no longer lived under the misapprehension such a dream would ever come to fruition for her. Firstly, they lived too many miles from the capital to travel each year for the Season, and secondly, they lacked the connections or money to fund subsequent Seasons, which, unfortunately, May required after her mortifying Coming Out.
Not to mention too many years had passed now for her to bother with all the fuss. Now at the ripe old age of four and twenty, her chances of finding a husband were slim. And, in all truth, she no longer wanted a spouse to dictate and tell her what to do or how to live. Life this far from the capital had showed her another side of life, and it was one she’d grown to love and wouldn’t give up no matter what fob bowed before her.
Her little brother sat beside her, staring in silence at the ocean to the left of the carriage. He was angry at her decision, his sullen face throwing daggers at her every so often. But she refused to be a burden to him in the years to come. It would be hard enough for her sibling to keep the estate without the added stress of a spinster sister who ate his food and needed clothing and board. Becoming a nun allowed her the life she wanted to lead without straining her family’s coffers.
“Explain to me again just why a beautiful young woman such as you wishes to lock herself away in such a place. Now, don’t get me wrong, May, I’ve always encouraged you to make your own decisions, but it’s a convent. You’ll be married to God. I fear you will regret your choice,” her father said.
May cringed, hating his dejected tone, or that she’d had the same argument numerous times with her papa. Today, finally, she’d been able to persuade him to make the five-mile trip to the convent and meet the mother superior. It may not have been what she’d always wanted, but it was for the best considering her changed opinion on husbands and the family’s circumstances, which were worsening every year. “This is my choice to make. I know it’s not something you agree with, but I’ll be happy there. I know I will.” She forced herself to sit back and take a calming breath, as she tried to enjoy the view of the Cornwall coast as much as she could.
He raised a suspicious eyebrow. “Which of us are you trying to persuade? I think it’s a mistake.” He paused. “You are allowed to change your mind, my dear. You only have to say so.”
“It is done now and there is nothing left to discuss. I have only a few weeks before I must return, so please,” she said, her voice sounding unsteady even to her own ears, “let’s make my last few weeks and this Christmas the best we’ve ever had. I want us to enjoy ourselves, be happy. Please try and accept my choice.”
Her father huffed out a breath and stared at the ocean. The silence threatened to consume her, along with a flutter of panic over the fact the rest of her life would be full of prayer and religion. But if it allowed her independence and freedom of will, then it was a small toll to pay.
Even though they were not an overly religious family, the thought of becoming a ladies companion would never suit her, she was too outspoken for such employment, but a convent here in Cornwall, not far from home, where she could visit often, and enjoy her beloved sea suited her more than anything else.
Days of camping on the beach, swimming and enjoying the type of pastime she’d always loved would surely end, should she marry. No gentleman wanted a hellion for a wife. And yet, the mother superior had stated should she attend her chores and not miss prayer time, she could pursue her hobbies without censure. It was the most perfect solution to her worries. And sitting in church, praying for the good of others and taking care of the sick wasn’t something she would shy away from. If anything she looked forward to the quiet, and keeping herself company.
May smiled. She was doing the right thing and that knowledge outweighed the youthful desire to marry for love and have children of her own. Those dreams had dried up along with any offers of marriage. Not that she received any…
Of course had the family had an abundance of funds, May could’ve tried for a third season, but it wasn’t to be. It had taken some years to stomach the thought of becoming an old-maid or nun, but it no longer bothered her and she was now content with her choice.
She looked across at her little brother, ten years her junior and calm washed over her like a wave. She loved him more than anything, and it was no sacrifice to ensure his future flowed with ease of purpose, and with her tucked away at a convent not being a drain on his funds, that’s exactly how he’d live. But oh, how she would miss her brother’s informative and always enthusiastic conversations about science or history. Never did they have boring or stilted conversations at dinner.
The carriage turned into their family’s cliff-top drive and May thought she caught a glimpse of a ship. Sitting back against the squabs, she wondered if Stephen, Captain Doherty had come early… Surely not, he wasn’t due for some weeks, well after New Year’s.
“Matthew, you have studies to attend to when we return. As for you, May, I’ll see you at dinner.”
She nodded, but didn’t reply to the curt dismissal or react to his glower. It was obvious her father would take some time to come to terms with her decision. Her family were angry and upset, but hopefully, they would come around to her way of thinking eventually.
The carriage pulled up before their home. May stepped out first and turned away from the front door, instead heading for the beach. Sunset was only an hour away, so she wanted to enjoy what little light she had left during these precious weeks left at home. All too soon such walks to the beach would be impossible, both by her relocation to the convent, but also the damp, chilling winds of winter would be upon them. Cornwall, the most beautiful place to live was also, one of the hardest.
May walked the well-worn track that wove its way down the steep incline to the beach. Due to the shape of the cove, it was well-protected from the elements and the water was reasonably shallow and safe for swimming during the summer months.
She sat, kicked off her boots and squished the sand between her toes. Scooping some into her palm, she opened her fingers and watched it filter through her hand, enjoying the sensation of the grains as they trickled to the ground. The ocean swept calm waves against the golden earth and drew her eye toward the horizon where she started at the sight she beheld.
A sailing ship rocked on the waves beyond the reef, its sails furled as if stationary. Were they anchored there, and if so, why were they? She squinted and from this distance could just make out a few men scurrying about on deck. But it wasn’t a ship she recognized, certainly none of the smuggling vessels she was familiar with. Her friend and smuggling partner Stephen, wasn’t due to shore for some weeks yet. So who was out there?
She stood and shaded her eyes to get a better view and stilled when she noticed a small wooden craft headed for shore. She’d not noticed it hidden in the waves while she sat. A lone passenger rowed the boat with ease and great precision toward her beach.
With her gaze fixed firmly on him, May hurried toward the cliff face and sheltered behind a boulder. The closer he came the more aware she was of his attire, or lack thereof. Tanned muscles flexed with every stroke of his oar, the contours of his lower arm muscles glistening in the last remaining rays of sunlight. Her breath caught. She’d never seen a man in such a state of undress. As a daughter of a viscount, the men she was usually introduced to were dressed in the height of fashion—knee breeches, waistcoats, jackets and cravats that oozed privilege and breeding.
Not this man it would seem.
May licked her lips the salty residue of the sea spray lingering on her tongue. When the prow hit the shallows, the man jumped into the water and pulled the boat onto shore. He looked around and started toward a cave that was once an old smugglers’ den, which hadn’t been used for many years, there were other caves that remained drier for such use on the next cove. In fact, her father could only remember it used sporadically when he was a boy.
But the land the stranger was now on wasn’t a public beach. It was owned by her father, Viscount Levinstone, and this smuggler, pirate or curious sailor was encroaching on their property. Anger thrummed through her veins, and forgetting her own safety, May stood to show herself. “You there. What’s your business here?”
He paused mid-stride and ran a hand through his hair, pushing long sea swept locks from his forehead. Again, she struggled to control her breathing. He was like a male water nymph, with his wet shirt clinging to the contours of his chest and abdomen. A very rippled, perfect abdomen…She swallowed. Had he come to seduce women with his good looks.
May waited for him to respond to her question, and heat bloomed from her toes to her face as he travelled his insolent gaze down the length of her form. She bit her lip, hating the fact that having his attention on her made her nerves tremble and her stomach flutter, nothing like she’d ever experienced before.
“What is yours?”
His deep English accent, clipped and well tutored startled her out of her musings over what his legs may look like out of the breeches he wore. “This is my land. You’re trespassing. So unless you wish the local magistrate to deal with you and your crew, you had better explain why you’re here.”
He laughed, the deep raspy sound was there again to tempt and lure. Of course she’d heard men laugh before, but this man actually sounded as if he found whatever she said genuinely funny, not false to appease a possible future bride. She glared, finding no mirth in her reaction to him. Never had she been so out of sorts with a man before, certainly no one raised such delectable butterflies in her stomach during her Season.
“Explain. Now.” His knowing smirk sent odd warmth spreading to her stomach.
“I’m William Scott, Earl of Grandison. I was expected here today by Viscount Levinstone. He’s an old friend of my father’s.”
May frowned. She’d never heard her father speak of him before. Odd. For all she knew, he could be a liar, a cutthroat wanting to kill them all, steal what little they had in their home. “And you’re going to present yourself to my father dressed as you are?” She studied his ratty clothing, or at least very ratty pants, a dull brown that hardly fit the title of earl he declared to be.
He shrugged. “As you see.”
“You’re not fit to be seen.” She paused. “How do I know you’re not some scoundrel pirate who’s masquerading as lord what’s-his-name only to kill or steal from my family?”
“You will have to trust the word of a gentleman.” His grin was devilishly handsome.
Damn the man. “Gentleman? You think me a fool?”
“I would never presume such.” The chuckle that followed his words only indicated he did indeed find her a little foolish and one to be trifled with. “Shall we?” He raised his eyebrows and gestured toward the house.
May narrowed her eyes. “Give me some proof you know my father.” She paused. “Describe his appearance.”
“Well,” he frowned, “he’s a short, bald man, rotund, seems to like his desserts a lot. He’s a kind, considerate and trusting man. The last three traits would not go astray with you, if you don’t mind my saying.”
She shut her mouth with a snap. “I beg your pardon. Who are you to tell me what to do or how to act? I’ll have you know I’m going to be a nun in only a few weeks. A woman who will show mercy, kindness, and godliness, much like the pope.” To be chastised by someone who knew her not at all wasn’t to be borne. How dare he.
He crossed his arms, smiling. “Really? You’re going to be a woman of the cloth?” He laughed. “Perhaps I’ll stick around long enough to see that.”
“You think I would lie about my future situation? I would never do such a thing.” And as for explaining what her father looked like, she was loath to admit he’d described him perfectly, maybe even a little too perfectly. “You speak about my father as if you’ve seen a painting and are copying it from memory. Now we’ll just wait and see if he remembers you or if you, Lord Grandison, are the liar.”
May marched back toward the estate and left the earl-turned-sailor standing on the beach. The distance that opened up between them did little to relieve the blasted nerves assailing her every time she looked at him. Or the fact she could feel his gaze marking her back like a scorching flame. She fought her body’s ridiculous reactions to the man and turned her mind to how much he’d annoyed her. How dare he say she was inconsiderate? There was nothing wrong with her. She was one of the nicest people she knew. Even if she had to say so herself.

Main Tropes

  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Wallflower
  • Regency Romance
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