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Tamara Gill

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A Captain's Order - A Duke's Command
by Tamara Gill   

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Books by Tamara Gill
· A Marriage Made in Mayfair
· Guardian (Daughters Of The Gods, Book II)
· Banished (Daughters Of The Gods, Book I)
· To Sin with Scandal
                >> View all

Category: 

Romance

Publisher:  Noble Romance Publishing, LLC ISBN-10:  1605922404 Type: 
Pages: 

33

Copyright:  Jan 24, 2011 ISBN-13:  9781605922409
Fiction

Lady Eloise Bartholomew's trip to Australia on the shirttails of her adventurous brother ends in tragedy when he dies from a fever. But with the conventions of English society suspended on the high seas, she finds passion and excitement in the arms of a rugged ship's captain—only to be dumped back into the ton, still burning from the fire ignited in her and the loss of the only man she could ever love.

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Noble Romance Publishing, LLC
Tamara Gill - Historical Romance Author

Lady Eloise Bartholomew's trip to Australia on the shirttails of her adventurous brother ends in tragedy when he dies from a fever. But with the conventions of English society suspended on the high seas, she finds passion and excitement in the arms of a rugged ship's captain—only to be dumped back into the ton, still burning from the fire ignited in her and the loss of the only man she could ever love.

More at home on his ship than dallying with the ton, Gabriel Lyons, now the Duke of Dale, intended never to set foot in London again. But when an elder brother dies, and the woman who claimed his heart over his love for the ocean brings him home, he knows he has to face the secrets of his past. He can only pray their love will survive the scandal that sent him away, the lies he has told her, and the duel he must fight for his honor and her hand.


Excerpt

Chapter One


The sea ebbed and flowed around her; great waves rolled and brought her ever closer to home. Yet never had Eloise felt more homeless.


England.


So different from the dry, barren, and barely civilized colony of Australia. Six months it had taken them to travel there, on a brother's whim to visit new climes and enjoy his newly acquired inheritance. An inheritance now solely hers because of his sudden death to a fever they blamed on a mosquito.


Eloise shook her head at the knowledge such an insignificant bug could kill a man in his prime. A much-loved brother left on foreign shores many miles from where he, the earl, should have been laid to rest at Belmont House, Surrey.


They docked not an hour later in the murky brown water of the Thames. The filthy stench from the overpopulated waterway made her yearn for the crystal streams that surrounded Sydney Town.


"Right this way, m'lady, if you please." No doubt, years of wind and sea had hardened the gravelly voice of the man stepping around her.


Eloise followed the hunched gentleman off the boat and walked toward a highly polished, enclosed carriage. Dark and foreboding, it reeked of her future.


That of a lady. With a title she no longer deserved . . . .


Because the daughter of an earl did not yearn for the touch of a hardened sea captain. Nor desire, nor crave, his roughened, stubble-strewn jaw marring the skin of her most intimate places.


And yet she did. Desperately.


Before she was three feet from the vehicle, the door opened with a snap, and a childhood friend, now woman, alighted—ribbons and frills flying about her like a kite in strong winds—pulling Eloise from her troubled thoughts.


She laughed. "Emma," she said, hugging her dearest friend. "I have missed you."


"You are home. Oh, dearest, England has been such a bore without you. How have you been? You must tell me of your voyage and all you know of Australia. I long to travel and would visit such a place if my Bertie would allow. But"—Emma rubbed the distinctive lump under her skirt—"because of my current condition I am not allowed."


Eloise smiled, biting back the nip of jealousy over her friend's happy news. "Congratulations. I'm happy for you and Lord Rine. And as soon as I'm home and settled, I promise to tell you all."


Well, perhaps not all. How could she explain the Lady Eloise Bartholomew had fallen in love? Lain with a man out of wedlock and enjoyed every decadent, sinful moment of it.


Deep in her belly, a thread of desire thumped at the thought of his hands. His lips, grazing her skin, kissing her breasts, her—


"Are you well, Eloise? You look flushed." Emma frowned. "Oh dear, I do hope you are not falling ill, my dear."


"I'm perfectly well, I—"


"I heard of Andrew's demise," Emma said, clasping her hand. "I'm so sorry, dearest, truly sorry. He was a wonderful man, whose life was cut tragically short. I wish I had been there for you."


Eloise blinked, refusing to give in to emotions already running high. "Thank you, Emma. I wish you had been there as well."


"Come," Emma said. "Let's get you home."


Eloise settled her skirts on the leather squabs, the excess material feeling bulky and awkward around her legs. For months, while on the ship home, she had worn breeches, shirts, and a jacket to keep her modest when in the view of the captain's crew. The freedom had been liberating for a girl used to the strictures of society. After the death of her brother, something inside her snapped.


No longer was she willing to pass through life unhappy, doing what everyone else thought was right. For, within a moment of time, one's life could be over. And she'd lived by the rule for six months. But her hiatus of freedom had now ended. She was an aristocratic, and with such dire circumstances came the dreaded high-waisted gowns of English fashion, and responsibilities she now had to face.


"Tell me," she said, changing the subject. "Everything I have missed while I was away. What's the latest on dit scandalising the ton?"


Eloise listened to her friend's gossip and exploits covering the last fifteen months, but sadly, she had heard it all before. Life, it seemed, did not change in London during the season or at the ton's country homes during the winter.


As usual, life here was tedious to the extreme.


And the complete opposite of what she had tasted.




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