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Becca McQuaid came to England to find the perfect horse but instead met a darkly mysterious challenge in Austen Heath, Baron of Hampton. She’s determined to buy Austen’s stallion Gambler’s Choice. He’s determined not to sell, but the rivals are thrown together by an accident that leaves Austen with a broken leg and the threat he’ll never ride again.
Austen Heath has the title, heritage and manor house…but not the fortune. Becca is wealthy. Her charms are irresistible, but he believes she’s shopping for a Ladyship to go with her money. He has another reason to hold the sexy blonde at arms’ length—the unexplained disappearance of an old friend everyone thinks was his lover. When her body is discovered on his property, he becomes a suspect in her murder.
Then the killer begins stalking Becca. Who is the slayer haunting Hampton Hall? Is it the Baron of Hampton himself?
Can I be ruthless?
It would be a new role for her.
As soon as Meg’s derriere hit the seat, Becca fired her question. “What are you not telling me about Austen Heath?”
“Nothing.” Meg glued her attention to the white stone drive.
She slid her arms into the sleeves of his coat. “Then why the big secrecy act?”
“How do I say this?” Meg glanced at her, hesitated, and finally shrugged. “Austen, well he…” She fumbled for words. “May be after your money. I like the boy, but he does have some problems.”
Becca tilted her head, staring at her friend and frowning. Meg wasn’t telling the whole truth. She remembered Austen’s arm around her, hugging her close to his hard, muscled body. How contented she’d been and disappointed when Patti shattered the moment. What was Meg reluctant to tell her about the enticing Baron?
“There’s something else.” Meg pursed her lips.
“Meg?” Becca prompted.
“Julia disappeared.” Meg spun the Jaguar onto the road home. “While she was living with him. The police suspected Austen but could never prove anything.”
Shock drew Becca straight, her backbone rigid.
At her incredulous look, Meg said, “No one knew if they were involved. She hadn’t lived at the Hall long when she vanished. She was pregnant.”
God, she dreaded the answer. “Was Austen the father?”
“No one knows. And he doesn’t talk about it. Austen’s a very private person.” Meg slowed the car for a hairpin curve. “Whether he was the father or not, I don’t believe he was involved in her disappearance, but he changed. He’s too quiet, keeps to himself too much.”
In her warm coat, Becca shuddered. “Just disappeared. Was no bod—body ever found?”
“No.” Meg shook her head.
“Then why are you warning me?” She crossed her arms, arching her brows. “The only way he can rob me is to set his price too high on Gambler’s Choice. Even in that event, I’d pay.”
“I wasn’t warning you. You wouldn’t have it any other way. I told you.”
“Don’t be afraid for me. Be afraid for Austen. He has something I want really bad.”
Meg shook her head, sadly. “Oh, Becca, if you set your heart on that horse, you’re courting disappointment.”
The enigmatic Baron Hampton, emerging moment by moment, intrigued Becca. He could be cold as ice or hot as a forest fire. Julia had run away, but Becca wasn’t likely to—not until she had what she needed to return home in success. Tumbling into bed might persuade the captivating nobleman to cooperate in her dreams. A thrill trembled through every cell in her body.
Becca decided to seduce Austen Heath.
Now all she had to do was gather the courage and step five hundred miles beyond her comfort zone.