Smuggler's Bride [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Darlene Marshall
eBook Category: Romance/Historical Fiction Lories Award Finalist
eBook Description: Julia Cooper has a secret that could cost her her life. She's really Lady Julia Anne Sanders Delerue, and she's investigating who's using Delerue-Sanders Shipping to smuggle contraband into frontier Florida. But when her disguise as a cleaning woman at her uncle's tavern gets her kidnapped and taken deep into the pine woods, she has to think fast to stay alive--while asking herself, who would kidnap a cleaning woman? Rand Washburn has a secret that could cost Julia Cooper her life. When two pea-brains dump an Englishwoman at his farm while he's recovering from yellow fever, he has to figure out how to get rid of her before she finds out he's sitting on top of the biggest smuggling operation ever seen in Territorial Florida. Julia's following in the footsteps of her parents, who put an end to the career of a notorious brigand in Pirate's Price. If she ever wants to make it home to England in one piece, she's going to have to think fast to keep Washburn and his cronies from burying her deep in the back woods, even if it means marrying that handsome scoundrel at gunpoint. Can Rand convince Julia that she's destined to be the smuggler's bride, or is he going to have to make sure she's not able to tell anyone--ever--about what he's up to along the Florida coast?
eBook Publisher: Amber Quill Press, Published: 2006
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2006
14 Reader Ratings:
"4 Stars! ... Marshall weaves historical facts into a well-written and highly captivating romance. The scene in which Julia and Rand find out that neither is what the other thought is humorous as well as poignant. The author ties up loose ends with a big bow and has an extraordinary way of setting the plot for her next book."--Romantic Times Bookclub
"5 Cups! ... Darlene Marshall has written a wonderful story filled with romance and humor. The sexual tension explodes between Julia and Rand. This book will keep you up late into the night. It is impossible to put down."--Coffee Time Reviews
"8.5 Gargoyles! ... A superbly written historical, the first book that kept me reading till the wee hours of the morning in a long time. I loved the characters and how they interacted with each other, they were vibrant and realistic. You felt for Julia and Rand, as things got more and more complicated for them. Her perfect blend of historical romance with a slight touch eroticism was a breath of fresh air. I loved the way [Marshall] made this entire book come together. I would most definitely read more by this author."--In The Library Reviews
"There are so many 'forced to live together, she isn't who she says she is, he isn't who he says he is' stories out there, and I can usually find one that takes place in just about every time period. What's different about Smuggler's Bride is the twists applied to the intrigue, and the side characters like Ma Ivey that almost overshadow the main protagonists. It's as fun and light in tone as Pirate's Price and a pleasure to read."--Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels
"Smuggler's Bride has it all, backwoods language, pirates, romance, thievery, secrets and lies all tied together for a wonderful tale of life in Florida and England long ago."--Roundtable Reviews
"...A fast-paced, adventurous, passionate and thrilling plot that will please any reader loving a good mystery or romance novel. Again, Ms. Marshall has written a great yarn!"--The Best Reviews
"You sure are skittish for a tavern gal." His movements were loose, his speech slower. He pressed the jug into her hands, but she set it aside unsteadily.
"I thin' we've both had enough, Mr. Washburn."
When she turned back, his lips were inches from her own, and she smelled the tang of wine on his breath.
"Rand," he whispered.
"Call me Rand. After all, the squar' says we're married, so maybe it's time you called me by my name, 'specially seein' as how this is our weddin' night and all." His hand was on her back, and when she tried to wiggle off his lap, he sucked in his breath, and moved his leg over hers, trapping her there.
"I didn' know you was so eager, darlin'," he said thickly, and brought his head down close to hers. For a moment she thought he'd kiss her, but he hesitated a fraction above her mouth, and instead placed his lips below her ear, on the sensitive spot just beneath her jaw. Her protest came out as a breathy gasp, not the strong words she wanted to say.
In fact, her entire mind seemed to have come disengaged from the rest of her body as Washburn's mouth slid across her neck, nibbling and licking his way 'round to her other ear. He also had more than two hands, she was sure of it, because they seemed to be everywhere, roaming over her back, her arms, and now on her bodice, plucking at the laces. When she feebly moved her own hand down to stop him, he held it and rolled them both down and over, cradling her head with one of those extra appendages until she was on her back on the quilts.
Julia looked up at the thatched roof, the wine she'd consumed spinning the room around her. How had this happened? One moment she was sitting shivering, and the next moment a silver-tongued devil was using that tongue to rob her of her ability to think. That same devil sighed in satisfaction as he pushed apart the opening of her bodice, his own liquor consumption not impairing him as he plucked open the ties of her chemise and stared at her breasts. He touched the ring on its ribbon, and it bounced against her skin.
"Oh yeah," he murmured. "These beauties looked wonderful down by the creek when you was bathin', darlin', but they're even better up close. Bet the drovers down at the Cup pay a pretty penny for this sight. And tonight they're all mine."
Julia opened her mouth to explain that no one at the Cup had ever seen her breasts, but lost her ability to speak, because Washburn's long-fingered hands were on those breasts and they felt wonderful. No boy or man who'd ever shared a kiss with her had ever presumed to try such a thing. A smooth-talking smuggler dared, and instead of throwing him off her body, she gave in to the instinct that arched her back, each gentle squeeze and touch of his fingers across her swollen mounds stoking the fire building deep inside her body.
"Does that feel good, darlin'?"
"It feels wonderful!" she gasped, the honest admission torn from her.
He chuckled. "Well then, maybe you'll like this, too."