The Duke of Gilchrest, spends his days restoring his inheritance, raising his two young sons, and forging a path past his guilt over his wife’s death. Then one night he catches a thief breaking into his bedroom, and his well-ordered world is turned upside down.
Emma Whittingham is leading a double life. Her father’s suicide leaves her to care for her five younger siblings alone. Her estranged uncle is in no financial position to be their guardian, but he does teach her his only skill, how to be a jewel thief.
The trouble is, she can’t seem to stay away from the sexy duke. Each time she visits him under cover of darkness is another chance he will figure out her real identity. Then one job goes terribly wrong, and she must ask for help from the only man powerful enough to protect her and her family from ruin.
He strode off after Miss Whittingham, finding her in what looked to be the breakfast room. The bird flapped around the chandelier, and Miss Whittingham batted at it with her broom. She froze as he entered the room. Lowering the broom, she shrugged her shoulders. “I hoped to chase it out that open window.”
Andrew looked around and saw a large silver serving tray with a lid. “Let’s be still and see if it will set itself down somewhere I can capture it.” Walking over, he grabbed up the tray and lid.
“Brilliant!” Miss Whittingham said. They waited patiently for the badly frightened bird to settle down. “It was my sister,” she said, “who screamed, I mean. We were watching the children put on a play, and the bird flew in the window and landed right atop Lucy’s blonde curls.” Her lips twitched in amusement, and Andrew found himself grinning at the picture she described. “I would have been able to shoo it out the window easily enough if the boys hadn’t thought it was a grand idea to send the dogs after it while I was getting the broom from the kitchen.”
She stilled and slowly nodded her head to the left. The bird had landed on the table. It picked delicately at a leftover biscuit on one of the plates. Andrew silently edged nearer to the bird, then swiftly lowered the lid on top of it. A great flapping of wings sounded from underneath. Andrew managed to slide the top over to the edge of the table. Placing the tray underneath, he neatly trapped the bird inside.
Grinning triumphantly, he turned to show Miss Whittingham. From behind her came a deep “woof,” and the giant furry body of Fergus leapt up, knocking Miss Whittingham to the side, and landed directly against his chest. Andrew overbalanced, falling backward onto his rear end, arms flailing. The bird escaped his trap and flew calmly out the window. Andrew shoved at Fergus ineffectually, trapped under more than one hundred pounds of wolfhound, the dog’s large paws pinning him to the ground.
“Fergus, off,” cried Miss Whittingham. Fergus immediately got up and returned to her side. Andrew lay there a few moments, staring at the ceiling, and tried to figure out why every time he encountered this woman calamity ensued. At the sound of muffled laughter, he sat up to face Miss Whittingham. She had also been knocked to the floor in Fergus’ frenzy to capture the bird. She sat across the rug from him, wild wisps of hair escaping from her bun, her face alight with laughter. Her eyes sparkled. She laughed so hard she gasped for breath between giggles. He had never seen such a beautiful sight. His breath caught in his throat. Why hadn’t he noticed before how breathtaking she was?
From the time she read fairytales as a child, Karla was hooked on stories that ended in Happily Ever After. She was fourteen when she read her first romance novel and discovered there was a whole genre that celebrated the HEA. Karla writes sexy historical romance with strong spirited heroines and flawed heroes with hearts of gold.
Karla is a former social worker, mom to two teenagers and two dogs, and wife to her own swoon worthy hero. She is a Taurus. Like any good earth sign she loves good food, good wine, and getting her hands dirty growing things in her garden.
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