The Highwayman’s Proposal

Vanessa Liebe

 

Chapter 1
1783 Surrey

 

“Stand and deliver!”

The demand came loud and clear, as Lady Caroline Godwin’s coach came to a sudden stop. She sucked in a deep breath, holding onto the sides of her bench seat to brace herself against falling off. Her maid did the same, looking up at her in fright. “Oh, my lady. It’s a highwayman. I knew we shouldn’t have travelled at night.”

Lady Caroline couldn’t have agreed more. However, upon receiving news that her father was gravely ill and had lost a fortune at cards again, she knew she must leave London and return home. Travelling at night to get there as quickly as possible had seemed worth the risk. Not only did she need to know exactly how much her father had lost, she knew that her mother wouldn’t be able to cope with the situation. Her father had suffered a stroke immediately after losing and was currently bed bound.

Lady Caroline tried to reassure her maid. “I need you to be calm, Maisie. If we do as the rogue asks, we will come to no harm.” Yet after the initial shout, there was no sign of the highwayman. Furious both at her father for gambling away his money, and for getting stopped like this, Lady Caroline was feeling brave rather than scared. She was about to get out of the coach and see what was going on, when there were a few muffled curses from above them, a few thumps and then silence. She frowned, straining her ears to hear more.

“He’s going to kill us all!” cried Maisie fearfully, before fainting.

Lady Caroline looked at her maid lying in a crumpled heap on the bench seat opposite and couldn’t help feeling even crosser. “For heaven’s sake,” she muttered. And what has happened to my coachman and footman? “Frank? George?” she called out. She was met with silence.

She gasped as the door was suddenly pulled open and a tall, masked figure appeared, holding a pistol. The man, dressed all in black and with a tricorn hat on his head, looked around the coach, before returning his gaze to her. The pistol was aimed at her. “Good evening, my lady.”

Lady Caroline stared at him. The moonlight shone down on him, but didn’t reveal much, due to his dark clothing and black eye mask. She could make out sensual lips though, her gaze drawn to them because it was the only part of his face she could clearly make out. Then her gaze dropped to the pistol aimed at her and she felt renewed anger.

The Highwayman’s Proposal Description:

Gabriel Blakeney is a man who protects those he loves at all costs. If that means becoming a highwayman to help support the community that raised him, then that’s what he’ll do. Risking his life each night, he robs from the rich to redistribute among the poor. He does it to survive. But what he’d really like is to find a woman of his own to protect and love. Despairing of ever finding her, things change one night when he meets Lady Caroline Godwin. Here is a lady who needs protecting, all right – from herself.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And Caroline Godwin is desperate. Her father has lost a fortune at cards and is bed bound after a stroke. Somehow, she must raise the money within a month or lose her home. Worse, she may be forced to marry the despicable Lord Shard – her father’s creditor – to protect the family name and pay the debt. Frantic, Lady Caroline remembers being held up a few weeks ago. She makes the audacious decision to rob the handsome highwayman. But Caroline gets far more than she bargained for.

With card sharps, traitors, and the militia to worry about, Gabriel and Caroline find danger ever present. He is determined to keep her safe throughout, no matter what it takes!

Publisher’s Note: This suspensful romance contains elements of power exchange, and explicitly described sexual encounters.

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