Authors: Jane Feather
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Historical, #General
TO WED A WICKED PRINCE
“Enchanting and witty…sizzling.”
“A poignant love story…strong characters, political intrigue, secrets and passion…it will thrill readers and keep them turning the pages.”
A WICKED GENTLEMAN
“Consummate storyteller Feather entices with a mystery tinged with humor that will enchant readers who desire a sprightly story filled with marvelous characters.”
“Intriguing and satisfying…. The captivating romance is buttressed by rich characters and an intense kidnapping subplot, making this a fine beginning for Feather’s new series.”
More praise for Jane Feather’s extraordinary novels
“Delightful…fascinating and entertaining characters.”
“A devour-it-like-chocolate page-turner.”
To Wed a Wicked Prince
A Wicked Gentleman
Almost a Lady
Almost a Bride
The Wedding Game
The Bride Hunt
The Bachelor List
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2009 by Jane Feather
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HE MAN KNOWN TO HIS
enemies only as the
stepped into the shadow of a doorway in the narrow village street, his saber drawn. The sounds of the battle were all around him, the screams of horses, the clash of steel on steel, the roar of cannon as the tattered remnants of Sir John Moore’s army fought their last-ditch rearguard battle in the village and on the heights above Corunna. Below in the bay, one hundred British transports escorted by twelve ships of the line waited to evacuate what was left of the general’s army after the devastating retreat through the winter-locked Cantabrian Mountains.
waited as the pursuit came closer to his doorway. He wasn’t sure how many men there were, but he must hold them off until the ensign carrying the document was safely aboard one of the British ships. Thirty minutes should be long enough for the man to attain safety, and if the
prevailed here, he would have time to make his own way to the harbor. If he did not…
His expression hardened. He would at least have secured the safety of the document, duty done. He was a soldier and always had been. It was a hard truth that men who fought battles tended to die in them eventually. But losing colleagues in battle didn’t become easier, and even less so when they were as close a friend and partner as Frederick had been. If he could avenge Frederick’s death in these streets this evening, he would take pleasure in doing so.
The French were searching the street, soldiers banging on doors, shouting commands and questions. But the inhabitants of Corunna were staying tight behind their doors, waiting for the raging battle to cease. When the
judged the moment right, he stepped out in the lane facing the two men as they slammed the hilts of their sabers against the door across the lane.
“Messieurs…are you looking for me?” he inquired gently.
They spun around, swords at the ready. The
kept the doorway at his back as he took a further step towards the enemy.
Only two of them
. He had more than a chance…unless there were reinforcements on the way.
He could hear only the distant mayhem of the battle, however, and with a grim little smile, he lunged. They were no novice swordsmen these two, he reflected, as he parried thrust after thrust, striving always to keep the doorway at his back as he danced, pirouetting, beating back the seemingly indefatigable blades. He saw an opening. The man on his left faltered as his boot tip caught on an uneven cobblestone, leaving his side open. The
’s blade slid into flesh,
and his opponent’s sword clattered to the cobbles, the man swaying for an instant before crumpling, his hand pressed to the pumping wound under his arm.
turned his attention to his remaining assailant. He was tiring himself now, but the knowledge that he had only one man to defeat and a death to avenge brought him a renewed burst of energy. His opponent fell back, feinted, then lunged. The
’s point slipped beneath his guard and drove deep between his ribs.
stepped back, holding his sword, point down, as the other man slid to the ground with a grunt, his sword dropping useless beside him. The victor kicked both weapons away from their wounded owners and stood looking down at them for a moment with cold gray eyes. Then he shrugged with faint resignation. Vengeance was one thing, cold-blooded murder another. He leaned down to pull the kerchief from one of the men’s necks. Fastidiously he wiped his sword.
“I am probably going to regret this,” he observed almost amiably. “But I have always found the prospect of killing a disarmed and wounded opponent distasteful. So, gentlemen, this is your lucky day.”
He sheathed his saber, dropped the stained kerchief to the ground beside its unconscious owner, and loped off down the lane towards the harbor, his part in the battle now done.
As long as he could avoid any further encounters with the French on his way to the ships, he would win free…for this time anyway.