Amelia Beckett is delighted to be a widow. Married by proxy to a man she'd never met, Amelia recognizes that a fortuitous entry into widowhood frees her from meddlesome chaperones and matchmakers. Heiress to her mother's sugar plantation in Jamaica, she happily anticipates working in a man's world, with the additional credibility of her new title: Lady Lockwood. But with the arrival of Captain Sir William Drake, her plans quickly go awry . . . William has traversed the Atlantic with one purpose. If he cannot prove that Amelia's marriage to his brother was a fraud, she will be entitled to a sizeable portion of his family's estate. He is determined to return this duplicitous Lady to London for an official hearing, and he carries with him a letter that will ensure her cooperation . . . Left with no choice, Amelia joins the captain on his return voyage to England, and the two quickly find that ship life does not allow for evasion. Amelia and William are ceaselessly thrown together, and amidst fierce storms and ocean battles, what began as antipathy seems to be evolving quite unexpectedly. But as they draw ever closer to their destination, will the impossibility of their circumstances shatter any hope of a future together?
After a few turns around the room, Amelia felt her tension ease. The music was beautiful, and Captain Drake had a way of drawing her across the floor as if she was floating. When she finally braved a glance at his face, she met his eyes, and her nervousness returned.
“And is your punishment so dreadful, Miss Becket?” he asked. “I have yet to see you smile.”
Amelia allowed herself a small smile. “It is a very nice punishment indeed, sir. Is it one you utilize regularly?”
“Perhaps I shall, if you believe it will keep the men in line.”
Amelia laughed. “I do not know what they would think if you waltzed with each sailor who failed in his duty.”
“I imagine it should be quite effective at discouraging rule breaking, don’t you?” William looked thoughtful, as if considering the idea.
“Perhaps. Until some of the men develop a taste for waltzing. You might begin to worry when the same men continually require discipline.”
William laughed. Amelia had only heard his laugh a very few times and found she quite liked it. Especially knowing she was the one who had inspired it. She also realized that the sound had caused her heart to trip ever so slightly, and to her dismay, she found that she quite liked that as well. She lowered her eyes, suddenly finding the gold buttons on the captain’s coat fascinating. She was extremely aware of the captain’s arm, the way it wrapped around her, and his hand resting on her lower back. The hand that held hers was strong, and she felt each movement of his fingers and the subtle tightening around her own hand. And had he always had such a pleasant smell?
Jennifer Moore is a Passionate reader and writer of all things romance, helping her find balance with the rest of her world, which includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that are anything but romantic. Jennifer has a BA in linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family. You can learn more about her at authorjmoore.com. The author's first book, Becoming Lady Lockwood, is a regency romance centered on the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 1800s.
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