Dukes of Distinction

As Phoebe stood, the stranger caught her hand. A rip­ple of warmth ran through her.

I thought I should intro­duce myself to you.”

I’m not sure you should,” she blurt­ed out, try­ing to remove her hand from his and failing.

Why not?” he asked, puzzled.

Because I know you are a criminal.”

The man frowned. “And how did you come to that con­clu­sion, Madam?”

We are in Corn­wall, Sir. Home to smug­glers too numer­ous to count. You’ve been shot. It had to be a dis­pute over what­ev­er you brought back from France. Frankly, I don’t want to know what goods you smug­gled or who might want you dead. The fact that you are in my home is bad enough. If I don’t know your name and learn noth­ing about you, then when you leave I won’t be able to tell any­one in author­i­ty about you.”

You think who­ev­er shot me will come look­ing for me?” he asked.

She jerked hard and freed her hand. “I don’t care. I am a sim­ple wid­ow who was only try­ing to help a stranger in dis­tress. I will do my best to see you healed and then I want you gone, Sir. Is that understood?”

He gave her a bril­liant smile. “I see. Well, you’re going to have to call me some­thing while I’m here.” The man thought a moment. “Why not … Andrew?”

She was appalled. “I can­not call you by your first name!”

The smug­gler gave her a lazy smile. “Who said it was my first name?”

Oh. Mr. Andrew. I’m sor­ry. I’m a bit flustered.”

He grinned. “It must a lit­tle bit dis­con­cert­ing, hav­ing a naked smug­gler in your bed.”

Phoebe’s jaw dropped. So, he was a smug­gler. Admit­ting it to her. She shook her head, try­ing to rein in her wild emotions.

I shall be back, Mr. Andrew. Then I’ll see to your shoulder.”

She grabbed the tray and left the room, irri­tat­ed at the chuck­ling she heard.

*Excerpt com­ing soon!

*Excerpt com­ing soon!

*Excerpt com­ing soon!

*Excerpt com­ing soon!