by Adrienne deWolfe
Raphael Jones is a Kentucky-born scoundrel, who has never played by the rules. When Colorado mining heiress, Silver Nichols, hires him to stop her precious daddy from marrying a golddigger, Rafe sets out to seduce Silver and win her fortune.
But beneath Silver's cool veneer, Rafe encounters a sweet vulnerability and an aching secret that threatens to send his whole world up in smoke.
Now the wily scoundrel must choose: walk away or wager the one thing he can't afford to lose—his heart.
Read an exclusive excerpt:
"The spirits speak of danger, yes," Celestia said solemnly, in answer to Silver’s question.
"What kind of danger?"
Celestia closed her eyes, rocking rhythmically for a moment behind her crystal ball. Her purple turban listed aft, allowing her blonde curls to jut past her ears, like corkscrews. But somehow, as Celestia waved her chubby, bejeweled fingers over the odd mist that was rising in that ball, Silver had to concede that the fortune-teller maintained her dignity.
"Retribution," Celestia announced dramatically.
Every man who'd been holding his breath at the séance released it on a gasping rush of air—and just as quickly gulped another.
"Hot damn," Papa muttered. "Penhalion, you and your boys aren't planning any dynamite mischief, are you?"
The squat, feisty miner scowled. "Now see here, Nichols, we may be immigrants, but we're law-abiding—"
"Gentlemen, gentlemen." Celestia held up her hands for silence. “Please. Communication with the otherworld is a delicate matter. One cannot bully answers out of spirits. One must show gratitude. And respect." She shot a blistering look at Buckholtz, who was scribbling notes into his news reporter’s notebook.
"Now then." Celestia settled more comfortably on her pillow, threw her slipping shawl over her shoulders, and gripped her crystal ball once more. "I shall ask the questions. You will listen for answers. Spirits, is someone in this circle in danger?"
Everyone in the room jumped as an audible thud answered her query.
"Does one rap mean yes?"
A single rap answered, this time from the other side of the room.
"How will you answer no?"
Two raps sounded close to the window. So did a faint scratching noise.
"How the devil is she making those sounds—"
Everybody at the table glared daggers at Buckholtz for interrupting.
"Is a man from this circle in danger?" Celestia intoned.
One rap. Silver frowned, glancing uneasily at the shadow-steeped walls. Had Papa helped his fiancé rig the knocking noises? If so, how had they done it so convincingly?
"Will there be bloodshed?" Celestia demanded.
Silence rolled like a tangible fog through the candle-lit chamber. Silver counted five, perhaps six heartbeats before the answer finally knelled: One rap.
"For heaven's sake, who is it? Who is it!" Daisy wailed.
"Is it the husband of Daisy Trevelyan?" Celestia intoned.
The elderly socialite sobbed with relief.
"Very well," Celestia said. "Then we shall determine who among the remaining gentlemen it is. Spirits," Celestia called, her voice rising in volume and power, "we seek the intended victim’s name. Kindly knock when I state the first letter. A," she said slowly. "B." Each syllable resonated with dramatic authority. "C—"
A horrific crash drowned out her voice. Papa leaped to his feet. So did Rafe and Daisy.
"It's the ghost!" Daisy shrieked, pointing at a renegade crab puff. It bounced from the armchair to the floor. Before everyone's astonished eyes, the pile of china on top of the cushion toppled, shattering into a dozen pieces. Slowly, spookily, the white ticking on the armchair began to rise.
"Merciful God on Sunday," Buckholtz choked, his eyes bugging out to twice their normal size. The ghost gave a sleepy bark, and the newsman drew his .45.
"No!" Rafe shouted, lunging for the newsman's arm.
The Colt fired. Plaster showered from the ceiling. Daisy wilted in a dead faint.
And the ghost, yiking in terror, streaked out from under the ticking to dash beneath Silver's petticoats.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Adrienne deWolfe is a #1 Bestselling Author and a recipient of 48 writing awards, including the Best Historical Romance of the Year. She consistently delights readers with sexy, action-packed, western-style romances, including her Wild Texas Nights series and her Velvet Lies series. In addition, she is the author of the bestselling non-fiction ebook series, The Secrets to Getting Your Romance Novel Published.
Fascinated by all things mystical, Adrienne writes a weekly blog about dragons, magic, and the paranormal at http://MagicMayhemBlog.com to help her research her upcoming YA Epic Fantasy series. She also writes a weekly blog with fiction writing tips and advice about the business of writing at http://WritingNovelsThatSell.com. She enjoys mentoring aspiring authors and offers professional story critiques and book coaching services.
Other Books in the Velvet Lies series:
Book 1: SCOUNDREL FOR HIRE
Book 2: HIS WICKED DREAM
Book 3: SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL
Book 4: DEVIL IN TEXAS (Available 2014)
Author web links:
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Velvet Lies Series
Wild Texas Nights Series
The Secrets to Getting Your Romance Novel Published (Series)
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