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Authors: Heather Graham

Love Not a Rebel

BOOK: Love Not a Rebel
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A LOVE WICKED AND BEAUTIFUL

“YOU’RE FORGETTING THAT YOU’RE MY WIFE,” HE REMINDED HER. “AND THAT I AM A SOLDIER, RETURNED FROM THE FRONT!”

“I am forgetting nothing! We are bitter enemies, milord, and no matter how I try, you refuse to believe me.”

“You speak of war again. You chose to fight this particular battle. Well, I won, madame. You lost. And you are my wife.”

“Your despised wife! Eric, for the love of God—”

“For the love of God, lady, no. I will not free you this night. If it is war, madame, than know the truth of it. If the rebels win, then I am a hero. If the king is victorious, then I am a traitor indeed. But this night, lady, I am the conqueror, and the rewards of the conquest are as old as time.”

Published by
Dell Publishing
a division of
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.
1540 Broadway
New York, New York 10036

Copyright © 1989 by Heather Graham Pozzessere

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law.

The trademark Dell
®
is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

eISBN: 978-0-307-81578-1

v3.1

Contents
Prologue
  
BETRAY NOT THE HEART!

Cameron Hall
Tidewater Virginia
June 1776

“A
manda!”

The door to the bedroom burst open just as she heard the distant thunder of the cannon upon the sea. Amanda leapt up from her bedcovers and dreams to streak across the polished floor to the full-length windows. There were ships in the harbor. Flying the British colors.

Danielle stood behind her. Another cannon boomed; Amanda saw the explosion of black powder upon the sea.

“It’s Lord Dunmore! Aiming at the house!” Amanda gasped. She swung around to see that Danielle was watching her, her dark eyes condemning.

“Aye, ‘Highness.’ He’s come for revenge against Cameron—no matter what service you’ve offered him.”

Amanda’s eyes flashed in offense at Danielle’s blunt words while fury reigned in her heart. She had fulfilled her part of every bargain she had ever made with the royal governor. And still he was threatening Cameron Hall. After fleeing Williamsburg, he had asserted his royal vengeance
from the sea, destroying so much of the coast! And now he was here.

Fear struck her heart. He knew! He knew about the weapons and powder that had been brought to the dock. He knew …

But
she
had not told him! She would never have gone so far. There had not been anything left to threaten her with, and she could not have done so … not now. Not against … Eric.

“Amanda—”

“Shush! I have to act quickly!”

Amanda ran to her wardrobe. “Help me!” she commanded Danielle sharply. She stepped from her nightgown, her fingers trembling as she tried to tie the knots of her corset.

Danielle came at last behind her. “What do you intend to do?”

“Send the slaves and servants and workers into the forest. I’ll go out and speak with Dunmore—”

“And if your father is with him? Or Lord Tarryton?”

“God’s blood!” she swore in panic, as no lady should. But the events of the last two years of her life had prevented her from being the lady she might have been. She stared hard at Danielle before the woman could offer reproach. “Stop! I cannot think—”

“You should have thought before taking on the role of spy, milady!” Danielle told her woefully.

“Leave off, mam’selle!” Amanda commanded her. She chose a shift and gown and quickly pulled them over her head, then stumbled into her garters and stockings. She gazed across the room to the now-empty bed and shivered in sudden fear of what was to come. What had she done? Should she be praying for British defeat or victory at this moment?

She didn’t dare think. “My shoes,” she murmured, sliding her feet into a pair of black leather slippers with rhinestone buckles. “Now, Danielle—” she began, but broke off. A British officer was standing in her bedroom doorway. Lord Robert Tarryton. She realized instantly that he had ridden in while the attack had been staged upon the sea.

“Hello, Amanda.” He paused for a moment, looking her over from head to toe, then taunted, “Ah, Highness! You are a sight. I feel that I have waited a long time to claim you.”

“You cannot
claim
me,” she told him flatly, despising him.

She stood warily watching the man. He was handsome, with light hair and light eyes and beautiful lean features. Once she had thought him the most beautiful man she had ever seen. Then she had come to notice that there was a twist to his smile which marred his good looks, for there was a hint of cruelty to it.

Alas, she had discovered the truth of the man too late.

“We’ve come for you,” he said.

Her heart quickened with horror. “I will not go with you.”

“What? The Tory princess is suddenly casting her fate with the rebels? Don’t be a fool. They say that Cameron knows you alerted us. Take care, lady! My touch would be ever more gentle than his!” Robert spoke swiftly as he moved into the room. He looked from the elegant bed to the wardrobe and the tables and the graceful length of the windows, and his jaw twisted further with some inner rage. The essence of the man who owned the room remained. And something of his power. Perhaps it disturbed Robert, Amanda thought.

It had often disturbed her.

“Eric knows!” She gasped suddenly. “But I did not betray—”

“Lady, you did. We are here. And I
have
come for you!” he told her with sudden fury.

Her mouth went dry as he came toward her. Danielle tried to block his way, and he shoved the Acadian woman to the side. In seconds he was before Amanda. She struggled with him, tearing her fingers down his cheek. He laughed as he caught her fingers, twisting them brutally. “Don’t play your games, Highness. You called, and I am here.”

“No!” She gasped, horrified.
She
was the one who had been betrayed. She knew that the arms had been stored at
the docks, but she was no longer Highness! She had told no one.

She struggled furiously against him but he held her firmly in a viselike grip. Danielle lay on the floor where she had fallen, her eyes closed.

“You’ve killed her!” Amanda cried, trying to escape him. “God, how I hate you, loathe you—”

“The crone lives,” Robert replied. “Let’s go! Warn your people to get out. We’re firing the house.”

“I’ll never come with—” Amanda began, then she realized what he’d said.
We’re firing the house. Firing the house. Cameron Hall
. “No!” With a rage of energy she flung herself against him, tearing at his flesh again. His cheek bled as she fought for the house, bricks and chimneys and walls that suddenly seemed so desperately dear to her. “No, you can’t burn the hall, you can’t—”

He caught her fingers, his face white with fury except for the blood-red scratches her nails had left. “I have to fire the house,” he said. “But …”

“But?” She cast back her head.

“Walk out of here with me. Come aboard the
Lady Jane
, your husband’s
seized
ship, of your own free will, and I will see that the fires are set small, and that your people can come back and quickly put them out.”

She stared at him in anguish, thinking quickly. She knew that she had little choice. He could drag her away screaming anyway.

“I’ll walk,” she said, fighting the tears that threatened to fill her eyes. They could not burn the house! They couldn’t! She jerked away from him as he pressed a handkerchief to his face and prodded her forward.

The stairway was filled with the servants. Amanda swallowed hard and looked at them all—Pierre, Margaret, Remy, Cassidy. “You all must go outside quickly. They plan to burn the house.”

“Look at ’er—the Tory bitch!” Margaret cried out.

Amanda’s face went ashen. Robert stepped forward to strike the woman.

“No!” Amanda called.

He turned back to her, smiling, offering her an elbow. “Highness?”

She bit her lip and took his arm. Amanda didn’t turn back as he led her down the stairs. Remy spit at her, but she stiffened her shoulders, remaining silent. She was a Tory. That was the truth. But the rest of this was some bitter irony. At the door she pulled away from Robert and turned back to the servants. “Get out. Get out, please! They’ll—”

“This is a house of wicked rebellion against God’s own anointed King of England! Leave it or die in the flames of hell!” Robert shouted, pulling her along.

But on the porch he paused, conferring with one of his lieutenants. The young man cast her a leering gaze, then nodded to his superior.

“The house, lady, will survive. The docks will not,” Robert stated.

She could smell fire. One of the tobacco warehouses was ablaze. When the shed with the powder went, there would be explosions everywhere.

BOOK: Love Not a Rebel
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