Margaret McPhee


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A Smuggler's Tale

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The door shut with a quiet click, leaving Francesca alone with Mr Black.

‘Now, Miss Linden,’ he said. He crouched down close before her. ‘Have you no sense in your head? What did you think would happen, following him alone in the dead of night to the harbour?’ He sounded angry and nothing like he had when he had spoken to Mr White.

His words touched a chord in Francesca but she wasn’t about to admit any such thing.

She stared at him defiantly. ‘I would have stopped him had it not been for you.’

‘So your predicament is my fault is it?’ His voice was hard and his eyes blazed into hers.

Francesca looked away. ‘No. But had you not tried to abduct me from the harbour...’

Abduct you?’ He raised an eyebrow at that. ‘Was that what I was doing?’

She ignored his question and regarded him suspiciously. ‘Why would you help us, sir, if Mr White is your friend and you are involved in this...this...’

‘Gentlemen’s revenue trip,’ he supplied.

She said nothing.

‘Let’s just say, whatever my interests are, they do not stretch to slitting young women’s throats and throwing them overboard.’

Francesca felt a spasm of fear at his words but she kept her face impassive. ‘What do you propose to do, sir?’

‘Have my wicked way with you, Miss Linden,’ he said smoothly.

She could not prevent the gasp that escaped her. ‘This is no time for jests.’

‘I’m not jesting.’ He looked at her straight-faced.”


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