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Only a Viscount Will Do (To Marry a Rogue, Book 3) (Ebook)

Only a Viscount Will Do (To Marry a Rogue, Book 3) (Ebook)

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Lady Alice Worthingham never conforms to Society's norms. Ever. She loves adventure, new experiences, and approaches life with a sassy attitude Society can take or leave. But even for her, robbery by a highwayman is a bit much.

Lord Arndel, Lady Alice's neighbor, is playing a dangerous game--acting the proper viscount by day and the Surrey Bandit by night. And to brazenly steal from the woman who's captured his attention is no mean feat, or the wisest of moves.

When Lady Alice learns the truth, the viscount finds that when a well-bred woman seeks revenge, she'll make a gentleman thief pay for his crimes with everything...including his heart.

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Callum squinted, the light in the room blinding as the blindfold was ripped from his face. He blinked, growing accustomed to the brightness in the room.
He didn’t recognize any of the men staring at him, but he could understand the menace that glistened in their eyes. Callum rolled his shoulders, the bands about his wrists leaving his hands almost numb.
“Who the hell are you?”
The man behind the desk, a rotund, balding gentleman, stared at him nonplussed. “I’m a moneylender. One who’s come to collect.”
Two more burly men came into the room and stood behind the man at the desk. They crossed their arms over their chest and Callum understood the unspoken threat. “I don’t owe you any funds.”
The man laughed. “Tsk tsk, a minor detail that you’ll soon be remedied of. You, Lord Arndel may not owe the money, but you have inherited the debt of your late cousin, along with his title.” He shrugged. “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the debt your cousin owed me is perhaps more than you can pay, and, therefore, just as your cousin was asked to do, you, too, shall have expectations toward us that will be met.”
“I’ll do nothing you ask of me. I have no idea of this debt that you speak, and I fail to see why I should inherit it.”
“All true,” the man said, his eyes narrowing slightly. “And yet you do inherit the debt and you shall do as we say or your sweet, loving family shall be, how do I say this,” he said, tapping his chin, “hurt.”
Callum swallowed, the need to hurt the bastard increasing tenfold. If only he wasn’t tied up, he’d pummel the man within an inch of his life. How dare he threaten his child? “You touch my daughter, even one hair on her head, and you will rue the day.”
“You will rue the day if you think I am joking, my lord.” The moneylender took a sip of his amber liquid, placing the glass down as if he had not a care in the world, and hadn’t, in fact, just threatened a man and his family with who knows what horrendous consequences. “Before your cousin died, we had a contract written up, in case his demise was earlier than foreseen. Now that you’ve inherited the estate and title, we have forwarded the contract to your solicitor, and I’m sure in the coming days he will ask for an audience with you.”
“How much is the debt?” With any luck it wouldn’t be as much as he feared, though his cousin Robert had lived a misbegotten lifestyle full of vice and debauchery, which apparently involved large wads of blunt.
“The debt is in the vicinity of eighteen thousand pounds. More than I know you have.”
Callum tried to take a calming breath and failed. The room shrank, and for the first time in his life he thought he might pass out. “Eighteen thousand pounds…no doubt you thought nothing of lending such sums to a man who you knew would never be able to afford such debt. How dare you act so criminally.”
The moneylender laughed, his gut shaking in mirth. “Alas, my lord, if it hasn’t escaped your notice, I am a criminal and I will get my money back, and with your help.” He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a file with a multitude of papers within it. “Would you like to know the details of the services that will render me happy?”
“Do I have a choice?” Callum asked, his words cutting, severing any hope he may have had of his and his family’s future.
“In this folder is a listing and drawings of jewels that I want you to procure for me. Each piece is of high value, made of the finest quality jewels and will make me so rich that you may even see me gracing the ballrooms of the ton in the years to come.”
Callum doubted that very much, nor did he want to think about what the moneylender’s words meant. He wracked his brain for a way to remove himself from the situation, to walk away without debt nor any links to the man before him, but his mind came up blank. There was no way out for him. He had no money of his own; he had the estate only and most of that was entailed and untouchable.
“You, Lord Arndel, shall steal these jewels from these rich toffs, and deliver them each month until the debt is paid. And just to sweeten the deal, some of these jewels are worth up to a thousand pounds, so do not despair that I’ll be requiring your services forever.”
“You want me to become a thief, stealing into these people’s homes, people who I shall see most nights at Town events and such? Damn you. I shall not do it.”
The moneylender gestured to one of his guards, who then went and opened a door, mumbling to someone inside the dark space. Rage unlike any he’d known consumed him when they carried out his daughter, her body limp in the man’s arms.
“What have you done to her?” he roared, standing and throwing the chair his hands were tied to against the wall. A satisfying crack sounded and he did it again, the chair giving way, enough so he could pull his hands free.
As he went to his daughter, the second burly man tackled him to the ground, his weight and solid punch to his lower back winding him. “Tell me what you’ve done?” he wheezed, his gaze blurring with the horrible realization that they may have killed his little girl.
“She’s alive, for now. Too much liquor in her tea, unfortunately. Knocked her out cold.” The man laughed and Callum promised he’d kill the bastard. Maybe not today with his daughter’s life still in the fiend and his cronies’ hands, but one day. One day, the man laughing down on him would pay for daring to take her from his home.
“In one month’s time the first jewel is due. There will be no sneaking into their homes. You must wait for them to be attending a ball, or traveling to or from their estates after a jaunt. It is at these times you must strike, steal their valuables, and bring them to me.”
“So I’m to be a highwayman?” The absurdness of the situation was too much for his brain to register. Just when his life had taken a positive turn, and now this. He fought to move, to get up. The moneylender gave one curt nod and the man took his knee off the middle of his back. Callum ran to Amelia and wrenched her from the second guard’s hands, hating the fact these bastards had been anywhere near her, had stolen her from right under his nose with nary a problem.
“Fine,” Callum said, holding his daughter tight. “I shall do as you ask, but if you ever come near my child again I will kill you. Even if I hang before all the ton, do not doubt that I will allow you to live, should you hurt one hair on her head.”
The moneylender threw him an unamused glance. “I will have no reason to hurt anyone should you do as I ask, within a timely manner.”
“Give me the list.” The man held it up and Callum ripped it from his grasp, striding to the door. He stopped when one of the guards stood before it, his arms crossed over his chest.
“Let Lord Arndel pass. Our business today is complete.”
Callum strode from the room, his steps faltering when a bevy of half-naked women stood along the walls, watching him, some of their eyes beckoning him to join them in the rooms behind them. How dare the bastard take his daughter into such an establishment. Amelia mumbled in her sleep and Callum frowned. What liquor had they given to her? What if they’d killed her by accident? If his cousin Robert wasn’t already dead, he’d kill the man himself for placing his daughter into such a predicament.
Stepping free of the building, Callum made his way out of the circular square that had buildings in dire need of repair and headed toward where a busier road lay beyond. He would get Amelia home and then he would decide what was to be done and how he would face the next few months under the order of such a man as he’d just left.
It wasn’t to be borne, and yet somehow it must. Callum couldn’t see a way out of the situation. He was beholden to him until he paid off a debt that wasn’t his.

Main Tropes

  • Highwayman
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Regency Romance
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